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Thursday 23 September 2004

Formative prejustice [Lurks]

One of the headlines in the news yesterday was Yusuf Islam, aka Cat Stevens, was denied entry into the US. Reading between the lines, this is basically because Israel has told the US that dear old Yusuf has donated money to Hamas. I can't possibly comment on that further but it does seem a touch extreme for the US to do that - his views are hardly inflamatory.
And yet I can finger Cat Steven's conversion to Islam as being one of the formative events that shaped my prejudice against the Muslim religion. When I was in University, I was a huge Cat Stevens fan. That makes me sound older than I am. It wasn't big and cool but I didn't listen to big and cool stuff. Of course he had long since converted to Islam, changed his name to Yusuf Islam in the late 70s and decided that all of his work and being a musician was evil or something.
For me that rammed home the illogical nature of religion and instilled in my mind the fact that Islam was irrational mumbo jumbo whose greatest achievement to date, in my view, was brainwashing this wonderful musician. How can a religion deny those wonderful songs? If such a religion is 'incompatible' with the works of Cat Stevens then such a religion is clearly incompatible with me, I remember thinking.
And I didn't give it any more thought other than watching with some mild annoyance as Yusuf Islam pops up in the news, generally connected with some new Muslim school he's helped form in the UK - which I don't agree with at all. Leave the bloody kids alone.
Yet on the tube this morning, I read the story of him denied entry to the US and I realised that it was actually him which was the trigger for my underlying prejudice of the entire religion. I can't help but thinking, it was something of an own-goal on his behalf. Imagine if he'd just gone and done another album with gentle songs of Islam?
I might be sporting a foot-long beard today.


  1. Cat Stevens / Yusuf Islam does actually still make music, but they are "Islam Approved" - i.e. all in one key, and with monotonous wailing instead of lyrics (in fairness, a quick glance at the Top 40 shows that this style of music isn't limited to Islam).
    I detest the Islamic religion because quite frankly, it's as close to self fulfilling oppression as you can possibly get. I'm sick to death of listening to some prick in a turban tell me that at the end of the day, I'm just a western infidel who really needs my head cutting off, and if I'd just step on a plane to Iraq, they could sort that out quick pronto.
    Cat Stevens was a great talent. Yusuf Islam is a brainwashed numpty who gives cash to terrorist organistaions and wonders why the Yanks won't let him in the country. Islam has, in this case, a shit load to answer for.

  2. Hmmmm.... 'Detest'?
    Having been brought up with Islam, IMO I think you're being a little unfair to something that you probably only have cursory knowledge of. I'm not defending the religion in so much as the fact that I don't believe in the traditional notion of 'God', but Islam itself as a religion is no better or worse than Christianity, Judaism or anything else - the problem is the interpretation that some groups take from the relgion.
    I mean for example, Islam is fractured into SEVERAL sects, all of which tend to in-fight and believe to have the true interpretation of the Quran - something I found amusing as I was growing up, as my mum would prefer me to go round to a Christian kid's house to play rather than another Islamic sect, due to the 'extreme' views of that sect's beliefs.
    To say it's full of self fulfilling opression is also somewhat sweeping and prejudiced. Granted the Islamic way tends to focus on a patriarchal society, but the MAJORITY of sects in Islam are peaceful, independent and like to keep themselves to themselves, and certainly not 'oppressive'. Of course there are extremes - to use a comparison, the BNP with regards to political, religious and 'race' issues - but you wouldn't use the BNP as a blanket representation of most Christians would you now?
    So how can you therefore make assumptions on the Islamic relgion and the people that follow it, when all you have to go on is the actions and beliefs of a vocal and belligerent MINORITY?

  3. The UK public are broadly loud and pro-active in preaching the dangers of the 'extremists' in the Far Right and the hypocrisy of the BNP.
    The same doesn't apply to British Muslims and their comparitively passive approach to extremism, fanaticism, and the more grey areas like intolerance and unethical preaching/teaching of the Koran.

  4. Good point Beej, but I think you're only able to say that because we live in the UK, and we are able to witness the aversion to the BNP because of their contentious nature and the coverage it receives here.
    The muslim community, is at best marginalised here when it comes to 'voice'. Believe me, the UK muslims are constantly preaching against this alleged holy war, and trying to focus their communities' beliefs on the more pious elements of their religion. However, the challenge isn't with convincing themselves that they are different, it's convincing the general public that this 'holy war' is not what the majority are about.
    You don't think in Pakistan, the same kind of distancing doesn't occur by the majority of muslims not wanting to get tarnished by the same brush as the extremists?
    In any case, my point was simply to highlight Brit's ridiculously prejudiced point of view.
    If I was to 'detest' all gays on the basis of my hatred for camp twats like Julian Clary and Graham fucking Norton, that wouldn't be fair to the majority of gay people who are quite normal and not extreme walking cocks.

  5. Those who shout loudest tend to colour the public perception of all those who stand around them. However unfair that may be.
    I don't think I'm particularly biased against Islam, personally. I don't like it or agree with it being practised, and I'm disgusted when it is taken to fundamentalist extremes, as it is so often in some parts of the world.
    Thing is, I feel exactly the same way about Christianity. Okay, so Christianity generally isn't quite as brutal and oppressive when it's in a fundamentalist form, but it hasn't exactly always been so, has it? Ultimately they're both backwards-looking, oppressive, thought-control belief systems which prey on weak-minded individuals and children to give a power base to some very manipulative people (who may themselves be completely misguided, of course).
    I don't think that George W Bush - who belongs to a small and quite extremist church in the USA which believes that the "Rapture" is coming soon (interestingly the same church that Ronald Reagan was a member of...) - really has much more of a leg to stand on in terms of his daft religious beliefs than Moqtada al Sadr. (Except that I can spell Bush's name right, obviously.) The temptation to see the current conflict in terms of a struggle between two groups of fundamentalists is pretty strong, isn't it? Sure, there are a hell of a lot of other economic and geopolitical factors there, but isn't it a bit scary to think that some of the Washington hawks could see this as a final Crusade, just as some of the Islamic extremists do?


  6. I agree that there are undoubtedly a lot of Islamic followers who don't condone the actions of al-Sadr, al-Zarqawi and all the others who are busy plotting to bring down Western nations through various terrorist schemes. There was after all no way that 100% of Catholics or 100% of Protestants agreed with the mayhem of Northern Ireland for example.

    However, if you analyse people's perceptions of Catholics and Protestants I suspect you won't find your average man in the street singling out those two religions for particular concern.

    You ask him about Islam, and he will immediately link that particular religion with some of the biggest terrorist atrocities in recent memory. He'll probably not remember the names of those involved, but will definitely be able to point at the words "fundamentalist", "terrorism", "september 11" and link them to Islam.

    So the question is, why would he do that - why would I do it? On a rational level, even the most stupid and prejudiced respondent would acknowledge that a religion on the scale of Islam cannot be entirely populated by characters like al-Sadr; it would be simply impossible. My local newsagent is run by a Muslim family, and I am entirely aware that unless there is something deeply threatening about the sale of lotto tickets and chocolate bars, they are nothing to do with any terrorist atrocity.

    Yet we continue to see and hear about terrorist attacks carried out in the name of Islam all over the world. There are approximately 1 billion Catholics (covering off quite a few divisions or "sect" equivalents) on the planet, yet we don't see priests, nuns and seminary students blowing up people waiting in job queues. Why is it only Islam that seemingly breeds the fundamentalists?

    We are referred to as everything from imperialists, to zionists, to devils - the sort of crusades mentality rhetoric that you thought got left behind in the 11th century; but it is obviously not the case.

    The shocking thing is of course, it works.

    So we are left with a highly destructive, vocal Islamic minority using Islam as one of the core reasons for their ongoing "war" against the West. The interesting thing however, is that whilst everyone is keen to point out that there are many more Islamic followers *not* threatening to drive planes into buildings, there is hardly a word said against the perpetrators by fellow Islamics.

    Now, I'm fully aware that the British Muslim communities (or rather, the London and Liverpool ones) have spoken out to attempt to convince an increasingly irritated public that it is indeed only a minority involved in these terrorist actions and as such not to tar every muslim with the same brush. However in my view their attempts have been just shy of pathetic; the odd lonely voice.

    Is it because, as I said, Islam is an oppressive religion that effectively makes speaking out against your fellow follower (which means speaking out against Islam itself), even when they are engaged in terrorist acts, something of a faux pas? Let's see what the Koran has to say about it.

    Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another. (Q 48:29) - in other words; so long as the followers are killing off unbelievers, Islamic types are OK to ignore it, because they are simply following Muhammad.

    Prophet, make war on the unbelievers (that means me for instance) and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home: an evil fate. (Q 9:73) - this surely means that making war on unbelievers is OK.

    When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters (since I'm not an Islamic follower, that would be me again) wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. (Q 9:5) - yup, definitely OK.

    The Koran is absolutely full of this sort of stuff; and make no mistake, it's exactly this rubbish that al-Sadr and al-Zarqawi are using as one of the chief underpinning authorisations for their continued terrorist actions. And my other personal favourite:

    A man can have sexual pleasure from a child as young as a baby. However, he should not penetrate; sodomising the child is OK. If the man penetrates and damages the child then he should be responsible for her subsistence all her life. This girl, however, does not count as one of his four permanent wives. The man will not be eligible to marry the girl's sister. - Not from the Koran, but from Ayatollah Khomeini's book "Tahrirolvasyleh", vol. 4, Darol Elm, Gom, Iran, pub.1990.

    That one, and plenty more are from a man who spent the late seventies right through to the late 1980s preaching the Koran's less than lovely "kill every fucker who isn't following me" content to hundreds of thousands of folk some of whom went and started practicing what Khomeini was preaching.

    This one is particularly relevant to the hostage situation we have going on at the moment:

    Remember Allah inspired the angels: I am with you. Give firmness to the believers. I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: you smite them above their necks and smite all their fingertips off of them. - (Koran, 8:12)

    In my mind, Islam is an inherently oppressive religion that sees all non followers as people who should be exterminated - even the Jewish Faith which is in some ways an equally wierd hotbed of fundamentalist nonsense doesn't go that far. If you're not an Islamic believer, then you have to be converted or killed - or as it's otherwise known, Jihad.

    It is unlawful to give up Jihad and adopt peace and weakness, unless the purpose of giving up is for preparation, whenever there is something weak among Muslims and their opponents are strong. - Taken from the accepted texts of Islamic States' Foreign Policy mandate by Sheikh Ghoshah 1970.

    The Koran insists Jihad is required. The five pillars of the Islamic faith are there to prepare the follower for Jihad. To question Jihad is to question the authority of the Koran, and to do that would make you an unbeliever and therefore likely to be subject to Jihad. Not oppressive?

  7. Shinji: Well I dunno about that but I'm sure they all think God is in their side.

  8. Oh for gods sake, dont make me go through the bible for absolutley insane quotes like that (basically the same up to the new testiment anyway). The differances between us and them is that we left religion behind as our source for guidance in life. And that was not very long ago. Its crowd control, basically for the powerful (church) to stop people from killing eachother and get cash, and it is thousands of years old. It is of course fucking sad that it still exist today. But as i said, our society that has cleansed itself from the church is young.
    You wont have any problems at all finding similar christian groups in the US that takes the book literally. Problem is of course that the more you try to force these things to go away the stronger they get. I really dont want what is coming. A few countries is poking the bear in the cage for money, pride or just some weird obsession when we really shouldnt mess with it.
    And when it comes to fanatics, well, islam has its share of the worst, and running right along with them are the settlers of israel. Claiming land because god gave it to them???? They actually kill people for it.
    Aint christians referend to The People of the Book in islam? Accepted as long as they dont try to convert muslims?

  9. I have to say that Brit's comment is about the most fucked up thing I've ever read on here.
    Blaming all Muslims is crazy talk and playing right into the fundamentalist's hands. I know loads of Muslims who are utterly appauled by what's happening. Not one of them have voiced anything anywhere near support for the terrorist's actions. I'm sure they'd be quite rightly offended that you've written of their religion by the acts of a minority.
    And comparisons with modern day christianity is entirely bogus. You make the mistake of thinking that levels of civility are the same throughout the world and that everyone should play by our rules. You make a big point of the fact that there are no christian fundamentalists. Okay, not now maybe, but nip back a few hundred years and the christian church was burning people at the stake for suggesting that the earth went around the sun. Christian fundamentalist's were hanging black people from trees in the name of God this century ffs.
    You want oppresive smiting and smoting in the a holy book? You don't even need to find a translation of the Koran chum... why not just read the Christian bible? "An eye for an eye" ring nay bells? How's about the Christian stance on homosexuality? Female menstruation? Wanking??
    So muslim countries haven't quite reached our level of "advancement"? So what... the part of the world they're in hardly is condusive to the advancement of democracy. Having to spend the day figuring out where your next lamb kebab or camel burger is coming from doesn't leave you with a lot of time to ponder the complexities of democracy and liberal thinking!
    The solution is certainly not for us "civilised" westerners to march in with our democratic tanks o' liberty and say "Listen Abdul, we've matured, and its about time you pulled your socks up and did the same, what what?", then kick their ass when they don't take kindly to the gift of rapid advancement.
    A lot of the problems in the middle east can be attributed to this kind of thinking, and I can't help but suspect that if we'd let them get on with it, we might all be sitting down and smoking the some pretty fucking amazing drugs from an Iraqi water pipe right about now.


  10. There may be moderate Muslims, but Islam itself is not moderate. There is no difference between Islam and Islamic fundamentalism. At most there is a difference of degree but not of kind - Ibn Warraq, executive director of the Institute for the Secularization of Islamic Society

    Now, it's true that the Bible has it's fair share of "teachings" incompatible with anything approaching the modern day - indeed, both the Bible and the Koran agree on certain principles; especially where the place of women in the grand scheme of things is concerned, and indeed where believers and unbelievers will end up on the final day of reckoning.

    That is however completely irrelevant - whole chunks of these texts appear to mirror each other with some quick name changes.

    Where they differ massively is in the crucial concept of Jihad. There are no less than 164 separate passages in the Koran concerned with it. As far as I know, the Bible does not have an equivalent component to it's teachings.

    Yes, wars were fought because of the Bible content, but that was a decision by ego driven politically savage minded rulers to go whack the living crap out of Johnny Moor & chums.

    The Koran actually writes down exactly what you should do and makes it one of the central points for Islamic followers; and it's one of the reasons there are so many suicide bombers aka "martyrs" on the Islamic side - the Koran specifically says it's a good thing, and boy do some of them obviously believe it.

    Some scholars, particularly at the al Azhar Islamic Research Academy have proposed that Jihad is specifically concerned with defense of the nation against occupation and the plunder of its resources and if we were to take that as the absolute truth, then it would be reasonable to consider actions by terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan to be fully within the remit of Jihad and therefore understandable.

    The problem with this is twofold. Firstly, Jihad as laid down in the Koran doesn't make any assertion that it's invokation is only for when the defense of a nation is required. Jihad is 24/7. Indeed, as a fairly pre-eminent Kuwaiti Sheikh says:

    In order to preserve Islam, and convey it to people at large, and to remove the obstacles in its way, Allah, the Exalted, has decreed jihad as a legitimate institution or warfare. - Sheikh Hmoud M. Al-Lahim, State of Kuwait.

    Which boils down to "if you're not Islamic, we can take the battle to you, for no other reason than you're not Islamic".

    Now, staying with the al Azhar Islamic Research Academy's supposition that Jihad is OK when the defence of the nation is called into action, you can understand completely the use of the Koran and Islamic Scripture as a tool to rally the hearts and minds of the oppressed people.

    BUT, and it's a big but, Islam has pretty much got all the bases covered:

    But it [Jihad] does not cover the killing of innocent people, the elderly, women, and children, which is forbidden by Islam

    Kenneth Bigley and his two unfortunate American civilian co-captives are definitely in that category. To invoke Jihad within the context of Mr Bigley is completely illegal under Islam and therefore un-Islamic. You would have thought therefore that Islamic fundamentalists (supposedly who take the Koran at face value, hence the fundamentalism) would realise it's contrary to the teachings they hold so dear.

    But no. Two hostages down and no sign that Mr Bigley won't be the third.

    Additionally the idea that we should let these countries cause merry hell just because we did a few hundred years ago is absurd. You point out that it is a mistake to engage in comparisons with modern day Christianity and you may have a point; however it is equally bogus to compare another religion fueled slice of brutality with that experienced in the 11th century for example. The world has changed, but the teachings haven't, and yet they are still relied on as the very real truth by an increasing number of seriously nasty people.

  11. I really dont know where to begin. But lets try, islam is not evil. Its just old. Its certainly not the cause of any problems, its just the tool. The more rough parts in it was created because muslims were fair game in the beginning, and during those circumstances you needed a firm hand. This was very long ago. And not relevant in any way.
    The west has caused more or less every problem in that region, continously fucking them over. That may be by supporting the main aggressor israel, or by starting a coup in iran with the cia for american business. That part of the world has absolutely no reason what so ever to trust anything we say, and they sure as fuck dont have anything to grateful for. Fighting the west is impossible from a country without proper natural resources or infrastructure. So what to do? You use young men. Young men (and women) wants a purpose, a mission. They are easily fooled into whatever you throw at them. This is nothing new, or unigue, our armies does the exact same thing. The differance is that these people are so desperate that they accept dying. All those word your quote is directed not as a truth for the masses, but at the warriors they got, and at you and me, to scare us. Its war.
    Islam is not the cause (well, all religion is nasty shit since it demands the believer to an idiot) but it like saying that the whole democratic system is evil and should be banned since its used as an excuse to kill people.

  12. I never said Islam was evil. It, like all religions, is only as "bad" as the people who twist it. It is true in my opinion however that Islam explicity gives one hell of a lot more instructions for direct action against "non believers" than any other religion I can think of.
    And if you think that folks still don't require a firm hand, I suggest you watch the news :) - I'm just not convinced that religion is in any way a good method of keeping a "firm hand" on the people.

  13. Just let me elaborate on a few things that have been said here...

  14. To say Brits comments are extremely misleading is un understatment. Unfortunately Brit sees no need to research and keep track of historical precedent when talking about Islam and then takes sentences out of their context from the Quran and just serves up biased and dangerous drivel.
    It is apparant that Brit and many other people on this forum , who depict from their comments, that they already have a mind set predjudical and extremely distorted view of Islam and have no desire to broaden their view and gain knowledge regarding a major religion, which is the second biggest religion in the world and is the fastest growing religion in the United States and Western Europe, and intrestingly more women and teenage girls convert to Islam than to any other religion.
    Brit's comments about the Quran encouraging violence against anyone let alone non - believers is an amateur attempt to sway the novice reader to believe that what is presented is factually correct when the majority of his arguments are flatly incorrect, misleading, out of context, or at best, incomplete. Brit presents numerous arguments in a carefully deceptive style, disguising them for the English-only apprentice reader of the Quran to trace, understand within their proper context and rebut. For instance, he subtly integrates three Qur'anic verses that permitted Muslims to kill pagans ("When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads and when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly" (Surah 47, verse 4), (see also Surah 9, verse 5 and Surah 2:190-191) with a verse related to combating People of the Book: "Fight against such of those to whom the Scripture were given as they believe neither in God nor the Last Day É" (Surah 9 verse 29). While he correctly informs the reader that the first set of verses applied only to idolaters, he totally fails to report the context and circumstances that led Muslims to retaliate against the pagans, i.e., the pagans had breached pacts, conspired against, attacked and harmed the Muslims first and had left them no choice but to defend themselves. If you read the passage in whole it is clearly evident that this sentence refers to that battle and that battle only.
    Brit relies on lies, misinformation, and out-of-context citations, he uses other deceptive techniques by selecting less popular interpretations of specific events that suit his critical agenda of Islam (quotations from the Ayotollah) although alternative and more authoritative accounts of the same events differ with his selected account.
    Brits comments are evidently trying to incite racial hatred against muslims by saying that the Quran is evidence the religion of Islam is a source of world terrorism despite millions of Muslims living peacefully throughout Britain. He quotes verses that allegedly mandate violence and hostility to infidels, Jews and Christian. However, and i cannot emphasise this enough, his quotes of the Quran are mistranslated and presented outside important historical contexts. Islam is vast complex of many things: nearly 1500 years of history spanning a plethora of dimensions, none of which can be easily separated and addressed on this forum even by Islamic scholars.
    Ironically, Brits comments demonstrate how terrorists justify themselves using the Quran, or any other religion or "ism" for that matter: pull verses out of context, ignore other verses and juridical limits by misreading and mistranslating verses, and apply them as needed. His comments are sloppy, erroneous and dishonest, and have little regard for its subject matter and instead try to convince people to a distorted and evil image of Islam which in reality does not exist.
    Trust me i will be the first criticize the actions of some "muslims" in the name of religion. All i can say is dont judge Islam by the so-called muslims of the world but look at the actual teachings of religion by the Holy Quran and Sunnah (the teachings of the Muhammad (p.b.u.h). There is a lot of ignorance in the Muslim world. Its sad because these people dont understand their own faith and in turn are giving Islam a bad name. I ask you please study the Quran with an open heart and then u will see how beautiful it really is.
    The problem with the comments that Brit makes is that he utterly fails to mention positives in the Quran for humanity and only points out the lines in Quran that may be perceived as negatives at this particular juncture of time. A good example is about treatment of women. He ommits all the positives about women,which incidentally gave various rights to womenfolk back in 6th century against the women in the rest of the world who have only been able to attain some rights during the past 100 years, and instead he implies that islam is sexist against women. It is said many times in the Quran by god that men and women are EQUAL. No arguments, no debate, their both equal.
    While referring to specific verses in the Quran seems to validate Brits anti-Islam position, either his lack of understanding or his intentional misinterpretation of verses is clearly polemic and deceitful to the reader. Crosschecking verses with Islamic religious scholars would do be doing justice.
    Brit cites examples of Muslim intolerance towards those of other religions. An unbiased view of history would reveal many more such instances of intolerance by non-Muslims towards Muslims. Examples vary from the Crusades to more recent events such as in Yugoslavia. Over the course of Muslim history, Islam has been known as a religion of tolerance. For example, Jews and Christians lived freely in Muslim Spain and in Palestine, whereas when Christians conquered those areas, non-Muslims were expelled or killed.
    Religious texts, if not read within their proper textual and historical contexts, are easily manipulated and distorted. Let us look at the Bible and apply the standards applied by brit:
    * In Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Torah, Moses shares this message from God as the Israelites prepare to enter the Promised Land: "I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the long-haired heads of the enemy." (Deut. 32:42)
    * When your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, entices you secretly, saying 'Let us go and serve other gods,' . . . you shall kill him, your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. (Deuteronomy 13: 6-10)
    *"Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But spare for yourselves all virgin maidens" (Numbers 31:17-18)
    The New Testament attributes the following statements to Jesus:
    *"Do not think that I have come to send peace on Earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword. I am sent to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law" (Mathew 10:34-35).
    *"I say to you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. As for my enemies who do not want me to reign over them, bring them here and kill them in my presence" (Luke 19:26-27).
    There are dozens of other verses that, if taken out from their historical context, seem to favor violence.
    Some violent Muslim groups misuse the Qur'anic verses just as various violent Jewish and Christian groups have used them to justify their causes. The Crusaders used them against Muslims and Jews. The Nazis used them against Jews. Serbian Christians used them against Bosnian Muslims, and Zionists regularly use them against Palestinians. David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Baruch Goldstein all relied on religious texts to justify their violence.
    Muslims believe in all Prophets sent by Allah, and so do not misuse or misinterpret the religious texts of other faiths in order to defame them. Even in recent times, Muslims have and are facing genocidal campaigns in Bosnia, Kosova, Chechnia, Kashmir, and Palestine but they have not questioned Judaism and Christianity. Such a spirit needs to be reciprocated.
    Islam is a tolerant faith which denounces terrorism.
    The Holy Qur'an says, killing an innocent person (regardless of their faith and colur etc.) is the same as killing all of humanity, and saving a person is the same as saving all humanity. (See 5:32)...This line...This line sufficient as evidence that the Quran and Islam is a peaceful religion which denounces all kinds of evil including terrorism.

  15. Nearly a very good post indeed which is let down by a couple of pieces of invectice. Let's get some stuff straight;
    i)This is a clan forum and we also let members of the public post up their beliefs and we don't believe in censorship. This brings a wide diversity of comment. However your comment that there are "many other people on this forum" who support anti-Islamic sentiments is extremely irritating, factually wrong and dangerously prejudiced in itself. You've started to treat a group of people under a common banner and you may be aware of why that's just a little problematic. If you read up this thread you will see more rejections and oppositions to Brit's comments including phrases such as "the most fucked up thing I've read here". Therefore I'll take an apology for the rest of us, thanks.
    ii) Comments here are essentially secular in nature. I'm not going to defend any of the selective Biblical / Quranical quotes. What I believe you've got in general is a huge secular exasperation of the twisting of religious texts by people.
    iii) You bash out 1,500 words on this subject with really fairly parsimonious mention of the impact and problem of having extremists twist one of the world's great texts and the damage THEY are doing to the perception of the religion - just a couple of paragraphs with reference that its "sad" and "giving Islam a bad name". It's a hell of a lot more than that - it's a terrible threat to world peace and the mutual understanding of west and middle eastern cultures. All the internet and media clips the general populace see of bomb attacks on occupying forces filmed by those attacking have the same sound track over and over again - the chanting of "Allah Akhbar, Allah Akhbar". All the killings are justified in the name of Jihad and set in the context of Islamic belief by those who perpetrate them. Might be utterly wrong but they are and this leads to the popular, general man on the street question which is;
    Just where IS the huge multi-million person uprising of Islamic followers demonstrating against this sacrilegious twisting of the Quran that murders women and children with expressed jihadic justification? Now lets underline in fifty foot flaming letters – I know and truly believe that Islamic faith properly observed has nothing to do with these killings. However many many millions of people in the west marched against the war and deplore the killing of innocent men, women and children. Where is the show of the Islamic faith of the same scale against this disgusting defilement of its sacred tennets? Why has it not happened? Why are the pages of arabic websites not filled with it? Is it not apparent that there are hundreds of millions of uninformed people in the west about the basis of Islam who badly need to see that level of statement of rejection so they can see and understand Islam at work? Are you really surprised that the un-exposed and (many) un-educated will start to make assumptions that the violence is condoned because of this withering silence?
    In the secular state the people of Iraq are much more sinned against than sinning. They didn't ask to be invaded and they don't want occupying forces there. In the religious state, the most visible leader of christian religions - the Pope - has repeatedly expressly rejected the war and called for it to end. You need to recognise that even with the lack of such a clear figure-head, unless true Islamic followers make a big effort to put their message of rejection of violence in the name of their religion MUCH more widely about and repeatedly, they themselves are CREATING prejudice against Islam. Apathy and inaction will equate, inevitably, for people with tacit support no matter how wrong that is.
    So at the end of days, if you care enough about this topic to write these tracts, you need to see that if you do really care, what you need to do is educate people from their position of misperception and lack of knowledge. Where you let yourself down really very badly indeed is calling Brit's comments i) "carefully deceptive" and ii) (and this is a criminally libellous statement) "Brits comments are evidently trying to incite racial hatred against muslims". Given the option between someone who needs serious education and correction or treating someone as a deliberate sower of racial hatred, you choose the latter.
    So in this way you perpetuate a bit more hatred a bit more misunderstanding. As the old adage goes, you can either be part of the solution or part of the problem. You're not quite as balanced as you think and if you care about the proper expression of your religion then you should work on the way that you treat people with issues about it and be a relentless educator and informer rather than tarring them with the extremist brush.
    And for the rest of us, yes I'll take that apology please.

  16. The fact that i said "many other people" and not ALL people on this forum, was meant to be evidince in it self that i had taken note of the people objecting to brits, beej, lurks comments and consequently was not 'treating a group of people under a common banner'. Yet if some misinterpreted my comments and thought i was tarring them all with the same brush, then i apologise. I can sincerley say that was not my intention.
    Now lets talk about the huge threat of extremists you posed and how I apparantly undermined it..."It's a hell of a lot more than that - it's a terrible threat to world peace..."
    Firstly there is much more of a threat to world peace and the mutual understanding of west and middle eastern cultures not from the extremists but in a cabal of advisors and members of the US administration known as the 'neoconservatives'. Just recentley a BBC2 documentary ( has shone a light on this shadowy group whose members include Paul Wolfowitz (Deputy Secretary of Defense), Richard Perle, Former Chairman now Member, Defense Policy Board, Department of Defense) and Lynne Cheney (National Security Advisory Board and wife of the Vice-President) with close associates, Donald Rumsfeld (Secretary of Defense) and Richard Cheney (Vice-President).
    However, it seems that the neoconservatives could also be called the neocolonialists. For they have no hesitation in using US military supremacy to fulfill their ambitions to establish a new world order. One of their principal claims is that they wish to spread democracy around the world. A laudable aim perhaps but unfortunately compromised by their unequivocal support of Israel at the expense of the Palestinians and the promotion of the War Against Terror. It is the latter issue which i believe is most worrying. Whilst i support the prosecution of anyone responsible for or even plotting to kill innocent people, i, and many other educacted people on this topic, doubt that the picture painted by the neoconservatives of an international web of terrorists just awaiting orders to massacre people around the world exists.
    After 9/11, the US had the sympathy of the world. Since then it has their contempt. Why? The neoconservative-backed Bush administration has been responsible for the effective suspension of the Geneva Convention in their treatment of captives at Guantanamo Bay, the failure of any senior resignations following the shocking revelations of torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, the assassinations of suspected 'terrorists' around the world and finally the deceitful war against Iraq.
    I am not going off in a tangant here, the reason i am saying all this is to emphasise that if anything, the above is the recruiting fodder for extreme and violent groups. Therefore the neoconservatives may actually create through their actions the vast army of 'Islamic terrorists' it claims already exists and ironically, destabilise the pursuit of democracy.
    Therefore in order for us to stop extremists from becoming extremists we have to first and foremost protest and by any LAWFUL means neccessary stop these inhumane actions that create them. Thats why you had instead of muslims trying protest against these extremists protesting against the cause and source of the problem i.e. war on Iraq, in which muslims and people of all faiths protested together.
    Let me make clear that I am not trying to incite or inrage any petty arguments and also i very much appreciate Am's comments "I know and truly believe that Islamic faith properly observed has nothing to do with these killings"
    However, something that I must say is untrue is that there are little "Islamic followers demonstrating against this sacrilegious twisting of the Quran". I find this offensive and frustrating as it is simply not true. Yet i do not ask for any apology but only for some more research on this. The amount of Muslim representitives and scholars that I hear denounce extremist action are in the thousands. Most predomanantly the Muslim Council of Britain ( The amount of people that prescribe to their newsletter in Britain are over 25,000 people and every week these people recieve a press release from the MCB condeming any beheading, or extremist act that has occured In Iraq or some other place. Yet how many people do you hear condeming the acts of American forces in Iraq in nearly an everyday basis now? Or how about the fact that near 45 CIVILLIANS in palestine have been killed by Israeli forces in the past 3 weeks and that over 7 innocent people a day being killed in palestine is the average figure now, but when once in 4 weeks 3 israelis are killed by a suicide bomber it makes the headlines!?? It is horrible that innocent Israelis are killed but the hypocracy in the media coverage is astonishing.
    Thats why you don't see the many, many muslims condeming these acts in the media that much as quite simply that dosen't attract many viewing figures. What does though is numptys like Abu Hamza standing outside mosques burning flags and that makes it to the front pages of the tabloids and on the mainstream news. Thats why you see "the internet and media clips the general populace see of bomb attacks on occupying forces filmed by those attacking have the same sound track over and over again - the chanting of "Allah Akhbar, Allah Akhbar". You see this is what is covered by the mainstream media and shown to be widepread when it isn't. There is no need for a multi million uprising as they (muslims) are already voicing there condemnation. Yet is it their fault that they are not heard?
    Remember when the late ken bigleys life was hanging in the balance the Muslim Council of Britain sent their top representitives and negotiaters to Iraq who risked their lives and went to danger zones to try and get his release. Already though the top Islamic scholars had publicaly condemed Mr. Bigley being captured and had travelled to Iraq to negotiate his release. Yet they were in the headlines in the middle eastern newspapers shown to be condeming acts of violence yet they never even got a mention in western papers. Those same scholars are not only protesting against extremists yet have negotiated the release of the recent french reporters.
    Also look at Yusuf Islam (a.k.a. Cat Stevens) he has publicly always denounced terrorism and writtin articles in the Guardian, The Times, and The Daily Telegraph informing people what islam is really about. He has also done the same on the Larry King Show, The Good Morning Show. Also many times on his website he has posted condemnation of extremists (
    As for us who aren't in the public eye we try our hardest to condemn these extremists and every chance we get we try and educate people on Islam, yet a lot of people just don't want to hear it but you also have to think that how many extremist are out there really? There all sort of stories about Sept. 11 and mainly that it was done over political issues funded by another govt. who had some sort of a dispute with the bush family. Theres palestine where if you study the history from the invasion of palestine in 1948 and then pretty much the complete destruction of it in 1967 and the on going oppression with the wall and illeagal settlements then you see that if there is any extremism it is on the part of Israel and the palestines in order not to become extinct must defend themselves but yet us muslims still condemn any situation in which innocent israelis are killed no matter how desperate the palesinians were.
    The media is our main source in todays society and it controls a lot of our thinking, however, a lot of it is owned by independent buisness firms that have their own adgenda in exploiting the extremist phenomena i.e. rupert murdoch or it is owned by the government. There are extremists out there but they have come from the result of severe oppression from super powers, this does not justify their action but when then the mainstream of people being oppressed are legally defending themselves but a minority are turing to extreme measures then you condemn the extremists but importantly also condemn and protest agains the oppressers. As most people who are labelled extremists they would be labelled as freedom fighters if it was the other way around.
    "You need to recognise that even with the lack of such a clear figure-head, unless true Islamic followers make a big effort to put their message of rejection of violence in the name of their religion MUCH more widely about and repeatedly, they themselves are CREATING prejudice against Islam." Although I disagree that you can blame muslims for somebody elses ignorant perception of you, but you do have a point,u are simply repeating what Imams (islamic scholars) tell us on a weekly basis and as I say we try our best,but a lot of the responsibilty does rely on the shoulders of muslims who have to show through their own personal conduct and by informing people around them about how much Islam is against any sort of terrorist actsand rejects violence.
    Another example of media bias is of how the British media were once again failing to truly convey the full horror of what is occurring in Iraq. The low-key coverage given by our media to the astonishing report last week in the scientific journal, The Lancet, which estimated that more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died than would have been expected had the invasion of Iraq not occurred, is truly regrettable. Again the muslim council of britain released two press releases on this and the most it got was a little mention in the Guardian.
    So trust me there is no silence amongst the billions of muslims across the globe, you look at the right websites and in arabic you will find condemnation of extremism and we will always try and condemn every act of violence and portray the true Islam, but unfortunately we dont have our voice heard, and it is hard to educate people when some don't want to be educated or are captivated by the media exaggeration of it all, yet we must remember that there are many freedom fighters out there as well who shout "Allah Akhbar" who must not be confused with extremists.

  17. HC - an interesting post as before. I've been out celebrating the holidays with the influence of the grape this evening so I'll come back to you tomorrow when I'm more condusively set....

  18. My first post was only really posted to let people know how wrong Brit was about the Quran. I felt his comments created hostility and the COMMENTS incited racial hatred but as 'Am' duely noted what i said was "Brits comments are evidently TRYING to incite racial hatred against muslims". Which gives the impression that he set out to incite hatred which I admit was wrong to say and instead should of left it at how his comments about the Quran were very wrong and why they were wrong. So i admit in my first post i got a bit carried away as I have always tried to close the gap between people of different backgrounds and faiths but the statements i made on how much the Quran rejects violence and terroism were correct and that the quotes Brit took from the Quran were wrong in many ways which I have described in a little more detail why in my earlier post. My second post was only some information for people as to how the last thing proper muslims did was sit back and let their religion be defaced by an extreme minority. Its not an attack at 'Am' or any one else and its certainly not an attempt to try and offend anyone. I'm not trying to start a debate as I most probably wont be posting anything on thing this website again, like i said all it is was was a little piece of information that hopefully anybody reading it might do some more research on.

  19. Am said:
    Just where IS the huge multi-million person uprising of Islamic followers demonstrating against this sacrilegious twisting of the Quran that murders women and children with expressed jihadic justification?
    Glad you spotted that one too. Hc, I'm glad you've spent what is clearly a large amount of time replying here - it's essentially propoganda of course with a positive Islamic spin, but interesting reading nonetheless.
    But the question remains.
    Whilst the nutters in Iraq are busy hacking the heads off the likes of Bigley and Claire Hassan, where is the Islamic world uprising to protest at the use of the Quran in such actions? 25,000 people on a mailing list in the UK yet billions of Muslims worldwide? I'm right then eh? it is a little group indeed who are vocalising their objections to the rape of a religion.
    Frankly however, any defence of the way in which women are treated by followers of Islam is absurd. Yes it might have been progressive in the 6th century, but we're not there any more.
    "Islam is a tolerant faith which denounces terrorism."
    There is no such thing as a tolerant faith. Not in Islam, not in Catholicism, not in Judaism... if there was, we'd have skipped the Crusades, for starters.

  20. HC - I've read that through a few times and I'd like to make the following points;
    In general I have really no issue with what you say about the state of play in relation to the war in Iraq. It makes sense to me. I can't really argue that if the shoe had been on the other foot that I wouldn't take the same view. I opposed the war before it began, vascilated into support once it had started because it was a short sharp shock that got rid of a murderer of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people and now sit in a very uneasy uncomfortable spot where I hate the impact on the people of Iraq and the sacrifice of professional soldiers there. Most importantly of all what really pisses me off is that the UK government has given some credence to the morons who try to create an "us and them" between middle eastern cultures and the UK.
    Apart from that I'd really say only the following things;
    First off from the parochial, you did give a fairly balanced retraction but can we just get this clear - something like 40 people post on this site. There are not "many" people here posting anti-islamic commentary (on lets remember an uncensored site). We've had one very questioning, issue taking post which has been a strong point of view and two negative but hardly OTT posts. I judge that score to be 3 out of 40. A little perspective thanks.
    Onto the main stuff;
    Even with your comments, I actually do not think that the popular repulsion and denouncement of actions "in the name of Islam" which twist the Quran by normal and true followers of Islam has been noticeable or indeed adequate. No point in repeating the argument but several million people marched globally against the war in the west. The actions of a few representatives in hostage situations does not amount to what I believe we truly need - a circumvention and surplanting of these arrogant governments and terrorists - both, in many ways, as bad as each other - with a massive populist movement on both sides of the dispute that says "fuck this - we the people of these nations reject the murdering and false justifications on both sides". Unless the peoples on both sides connect rejecting the extremists who do not represent them, we have no hope.
    I don't think that's going to happen on the islamic side because I think that people think that the terrorists represent the only way of defeating the US. Which brings me to my second point;
    Ever since the beginning of territorial / tribe / nation state disputes, the attribution of "our action was caused by the prior action of the other side" has been the human justification for atrocities. Almost immediately in a dispute this becomes used time and time again with each side pointing back in a never ending chain to the other side along the lines of "if you hadn't done this then....".
    My post raised a question about where was the rejection of the action by islamic followers and you instantaneously jumped into a multi-paragraph pre-emptive blame exercise on the other side. If they hadn't, then......
    You will never ever be part of a human race coming out of the endless barbarity of murdering innocents and civilians (whether terrorists or governments) if you always do this. It relies on you, on all of us, a person at a time - if you really want to move to the next place where we can actually get on and stop this endless death and destruction, this pathetic and humiliating way of being in dispute with each other that you (and I) do not keep on raising the "they started it" argument.
    Nor will you if;
    You do not gain perspective and realise for real that not *everything* is connected to Palestine. It is NOT. To suggest it is is to hold onto the tennet that there is some massive conspiracy against the palestian people and the arab nation. If you really believe this, then again kiss goodbye to the notion that you can get on with the rest of the world. Its as simple as that - do you think that collectively we're all, the billions of us, in a massive collaborationist cabal? Or do you not?
    You used the word "Zionists" in your post. Zionists? The international Zionist conspiracy? Actually I think you've got to get past this. Seriously. The resolution of the Palestinian problem is a massively important human issue. It is. But we were having a discussion on Iraq. You made the connection to something that I believe is not fundamentally connected to the reason to invade Iraq. Note I do not say "unimportant" - indeed its a massively vital thing. But it's a bit like the blame-the-other-side card. Not everything western governments and peoples think about the middle east is associated to Palestine ffs! The UN and many many governments support the creation of the Palestinian State. If you can't get past it then you are dealing with the complexities of foreign policy like it's a game of football with only one goal - the domination of the other. Its not. Pulling this card is a diservice to your argument. Stop quoting Palestine like some trump card on any argument to do with any topic whatsoever that ever comes up between the west and middle east.
    And finally that will leave you with the fundamental point I would be worried about if I were you. If you drop the "they started it" card and started focusing on possible OUTCOMES not causes (and this is like the mental blinkers of most human beings - that they want to argue about whose fault it was that the traffic lights aren't working rather than focusing on the effect of it is that there is a fourteen tonne truck coming at them) - well a very possible outcome of this is the domination of the middle east by fundamentalist revolutionaries who twist Quranic interpretation into an abomination of a true and noticeable religion. That's the fourteen tonne truck coming in your direction regardless of what happened at the lights.
    And sure as hell it's up to millions and billions of islamic followers, not a few worthy but irrelevant people on local representative groups, to do something about it. And that one really is in your court and no-one else's whatsoever.

  21. Well anyway, let's all hope 2005 is a better year....