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Julian
In the thread The Muhammad Cartoons Fiasco, we were asked what we thought about the cartoons and the reaction to them - were they hurtful or offensive, is a boycott of Danish product warranted, and should the publishing newspaper(s) apologize.

The thread has generated a lot of debate and interest (Despite almost everyone agreeing on the answer to the first two questions - "Yes, but not to me" and "They can do what they like within the law").

When posted, Carlsen's thread couldn't take account of embassy burnings or widespread unrest, protesting in Western cities, and rioting across the Muslim world (leading to at least six deaths at the time of writing) because none of those things had happened yet.

However, they have now, so I thought that it was time to update and broaden the debate, without changing the subject of the other thread midway through (which, apart from being a bit cheeky, is against forum rules).

In that thread, I and others have argued that freedom of speech includes the right to say "I don't think you should say things like that" and the right of Muslims to peacefully protest against perceived insults to their religion. (Nobody except extremist Muslims has argued that violence is acceptable or excusable.) At least, that was what I was trying to say.

Others argue, there and elsewhere, that there is something fundamental in Islam that is deeply incompatible with Western freedoms of speech, behaviour, dress, etc.

For example, time and again, we have debates here about this specific problem caused by some Muslims here - be it terrorism, "honour" killings, etc. - and another specific problem also caused by other Muslims there.

Some (including me) take the view that we should take individual problems one at at time, and that Islam itself is not the root problem. Others see that all these issues are linked, and that the link is Islam.

I must admit that I've been confounded by events. It seems to me that world Islam has played to it's lowest common denominator in the last week or so. The overall impression I've had is that people I've disagreed with, because they seemed to me to be reflexively intolerant, have been more perceptive in this case than I have. (Even a broken clock is right twice a day w00t.gif devil.gif )

Even in spite of promising signs that some moderate Muslims are finally asserting themselves and openly condemning extremism, especially among Muslim communities in Western Europe. To their credit, some of the harshest critics of Islam on these boards have made more of such hopeful glimmerings than woolly-minded liberals like me. (moif springs to mind).

Yet I still can't agree, or bring myself to agree, that 1.8 billion people are all bad because of their religion. That's just counter-intuitive to me.

We don't have many Muslim posters on here (I've only ever seen one) - most of us are North American or Western European. So I'd like to focus this discussion not on what Muslims could or should do to put their own house in order, but on if, and how, we in the West can do.

What can the West do about domestic Muslim extremism in the immigrant communities that live among us?

What can the West do about foreign Muslim extremism that falls short of terrorism, given that most Muslim governments have no control over Muslim extremists in their midst, many openly agree with their grievances and may even tacitly (or in some cases, openly) approve of their methods?

Clearly, there IS a problem in the way the West and Islam relate to one another. How do you define the problem?

Is the problem, however you define it, absolutely inherent to either Islam, the West, or both?
If it is, is it possible to change a religion or culture from the outside, against the will of many on the inside?


Edited to add: May I also draw your attention to another new thread by Victoria Silverwolf in a similar but sufficiently different vein here
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Victoria Silverwolf
Thank you for starting this thread. Clearly you and I are thinking in the same way, but you did so in a much more profound and sophisticated way. flowers.gif

This is a gigantic issue; perhaps it will turn out to be the most important of the twenty-first century.

QUOTE
What can the West do about domestic Muslim extremism in the immigrant communities that live among us?


First of all, make it clear to everyone that acts of violence will not be tolerated, and will be treated as the criminal acts that they are. This will include, of course, acts of violence directed against the Muslim community. It must also include both "external" acts of violence (riots and so on) as well as "internal" acts of violence (honor killings and the like.)

In addition to this, the Muslim community must be given exactly the same civil rights and religious freedom as all other communities. It must be made clear that society will act fairly in all its dealings with Muslims.

The peaceful members of the Muslim community must be encouraged and supported as strongly as possible. In the United States, for example, we have the Free Muslims:

Link

It is important to let the members of the Islamic community see the many advantages of a liberal, secular, democratic society. This is best done through as much communication as possible. If enough people learn, for example, that equal rights for women are good for everybody, much progress can be made.

QUOTE
What can the West do about foreign Muslim extremism that falls short of terrorism, given that most Muslim governments have no control over Muslim extremists in their midst, many openly agree with their grievances and may even tacitly (or in some cases, openly) approve of their methods?


Speak out strongly against such actions; bring international pressure against governments that approve of such actions; provide as much truthful and accurate information as possible to the people who live under repressive Islamic governments as possible, via telecommunications and the Internet. Stress such basic virtues as secular, representative governments, human rights, and so on.

QUOTE
Clearly, there IS a problem in the way the West and Islam relate to one another. How do you define the problem?


The biggest problem, I think, is the fact that some nations have Islamic-based governments. Mixing religion and government (or an official position against religion and government, as in Communist regimes) is always a recipe for disaster.

QUOTE
Is the problem, however you define it, absolutely inherent to either Islam, the West, or both?
If it is, is it possible to change a religion or culture from the outside, against the will of many on the inside?


In some sense, it is inherent to Fundamentalism of any kind (including, as I have said, Fundamentalist atheism), as opposed to liberal secularism. Islam just happens to be unlucky enough to have an important Fundamentalist component, including some national governments, in 2006.

As you have hinted, the healing of Islam must come from within, with as much help as possible from non-Muslims.




moif
QUOTE(Julian)
What can the West do about domestic Muslim extremism in the immigrant communities that live among us?
Root it out by any and every means possible and make examples of those who promote extremism.

As the Danish Muslim MP Naser Khader said recently. (I paraphrase) We don't have to explain ourselves. We don't have to apologise. We are the strong ones. We have the law and the principles of democracy on our side.

Some imam who says that unveiled women bring rape upon themselves... that man should be ashamed of himself! That man should hide in his home and cover his face in disgrace! ...but he doesn't. No matter that so many of us disagree with him, that 'man of God', walks amongst us with pride and an upright forehead.

In order to defeat Islamic extremism we need to support those who support us. We need to empower people like Naser Khader with our support and remove the influence of the unelected clerics and priests like Abu Laban and Abu Hamza.


QUOTE(Julian)
What can the West do about foreign Muslim extremism that falls short of terrorism, given that most Muslim governments have no control over Muslim extremists in their midst, many openly agree with their grievances and may even tacitly (or in some cases, openly) approve of their methods?
First and foremost we should stand united against them and the threats and attacks they bring against us.

As Ayaan Hirsi Ali has said:
QUOTE
SPIEGEL: What should the appropriate European response look like?

Hirsi Ali: There should be solidarity. The cartoons should be displayed everywhere. After all, the Arabs can't boycott goods from every country. They're far too dependent on imports. And Scandinavian companies should be compensated for their losses. Freedom of speech should at least be worth that much to us.
Link.
She is right. We are the strong ones here as well... if we choose to use our strength to stand up for ourselves and the principles we believe in.

The extremists who live in Syria or Saudi Arabia or any other Islamic nation are not our problem. We should do everything we can to divorce ourselves from them and their corrupt governments.
Clearly we need to break the stranglehold of oil on our economies as fast as possible. We need to cease all support, economic as well as military to states that maintain undemocratic rule over their populations because by supporting these we are unwilling partners to their tyranny and the blood of their crimes stains our hands as a result.

People in the Islamic world are not stupid. They can see what keeps the Saudi royal family alive and kicking and for as long as they see that, then they will react against it.
Its only our problem because we need cheap oil. Get rid of the need for oil, or at least diminish it as much as can be done, and we get rid of our need to ally ourselves with these tyrants.

We are already deeply involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. As long as these remain democratic and dedicated to peace, then we should continue to support them.

But, if extremists (like Hamas) are elected, then we should turn our backs on them. Plain and simple. Lying with dogs will only give us flea's.


QUOTE(Julian)
Clearly, there IS a problem in the way the West and Islam relate to one another. How do you define the problem?
As one of conflicting ideologies. Mehdi Mozaffari is a professor of political science at Århus University. He is also a Muslim immigrant from Iran. He has said;
QUOTE
We need a cognitive approach to Islamism by conceiving it as a totalitarian ideology.

A clear and full internalization of the fact that Islamism is an ideology and not a religion will purify the whole question from a variety of difficulties. In many ways, Islamism is like an octopus. We have to aim directly at the head in stead of wasting our time and energy to deal with the complicated body. By evacuating religious contents from Islamism, we change our direction from theology to ideology, from religion to politics. In this way, we put forward the real face and real nature of Islamism. The Muslims, especially among the young people, who are potentially ready to give their lives for the sake of Islamist ideals, will find out that their struggle is not a part of a religious duty but purely an ideological and political one emanating from a dangerous utopia.
Link.

And I agree. This is not a question of painting Muslims as evil. Its not a question that '1.8 billion people are all bad because of their religion'. We have to stop looking at Islam as just being a religion and recognise that it is also an ideology.

That Islam as an ideology is every great a threat to western democratic society as facism was, if not more so. Every where Islam exists, there is social violence. Everywhere Islam is the majority ideology there is tryanny and oppression. In some countries more than others, granted, but tyranny and oppression nonetheless.

It doesn't matter if the bulk of Muslims are 'good people'. For as long as they remain in 'submission' to Islam then their qualities play no role. Islam needs to be reformed just as christianity did if it is to be compatable with the democratic principle of freedom.


QUOTE(Julian)
Is the problem, however you define it, absolutely inherent to either Islam, the West, or both?
If it is, is it possible to change a religion or culture from the outside, against the will of many on the inside?
I see no problem in the western appraoch to Islam... what I do see, and lament, is the problem which exists between capitalism and the third world.

The unchecked exploitation of poor people for profit and the deliberate tactic of keeping three quarters of the world in poverty for the benefit of the remaining quarter is evil and must be addressed. If it isn't then religious extremism will continue to recruit followers to its cause.

It is not possible to change a culture or a religion from th outside. All change must come from within... but, it is possible to provoke and encourage change by focusing on those forces who stand for democracy whilst ignoring, or destroying those who oppose it.

From the other side of the divide however there is clearly a problem within Islam. It is frequently described as a beautiful religion... a religion of peace, but no matter how hard I try, I can't see it. I've read through the Koran and it strikes me as being oppressive, aggressive and full of barely concealed malice.

Looking at the Islamic world, I see no large forces of freedom or reform. All I see is a silent majority that blindly follows the lead set by the extremist minority's being barely contained by oppressive governments who need to use brute force to survive.

Andrew78108
What can the West do about domestic Muslim extremism in the immigrant communities that live among us?
Tough question. Within the limits of the law, a hard line has to be taken with this. Muslims are given the same liberties and should be expected to follow the same rules of behavior. No excuses or leeway can be given on the basis of religion.

What can the West do about foreign Muslim extremism that falls short of terrorism, given that most Muslim governments have no control over Muslim extremists in their midst, many openly agree with their grievances and may even tacitly (or in some cases, openly) approve of their methods?
I'm not sure there's anything that the West can do stop this type of extremism. We need to encourage moderate Muslims to police themselves. I don't think anything the West does or does not do is going to change the extremist line of thinking. We could fall in line with all their demands and still they would hate us. That's the very nature of an extremists.

Clearly, there IS a problem in the way the West and Islam relate to one another. How do you define the problem?
Class of cultures more than anything else. One culture is centered around religion and is very judgemental of anything not in line with their religious beliefs. The other is a free society that has strong religious groups, but also has any other type of group, all of which are(or should be) viewed equally and without judgement. These are polar opposites and class at the most fundamental level.

Is the problem, however you define it, absolutely inherent to either Islam, the West, or both? If it is, is it possible to change a religion or culture from the outside, against the will of many on the inside?
I don't think that it is inherent to either. The proof of that is the majority of moderate Muslims who coexist peacefully in Western societies every day. They choose to live there, accepting that by doing so, they must follow the rules of that society. However, it is inherent for any fundamentalists or extremists not to be able to live in a society not in line with their beliefs. As far as changing a culture, that can only be done from within.

Western societies have a long history of being open. The caveat to that openness is that by choosing to move or live in our societies you are subject to our laws. We can't make exceptions. If our laws go against their religious beliefs, the can move.

For the most part I think, like most other groups, Muslims are good people with good intentions, but a vocal/violent minority are ruining perceptions of the entire religion. It is a shame, and we can't fix it for them.
Amlord
What can the West do about domestic Muslim extremism in the immigrant communities that live among us?

First of all, we must all recognize that there are responsibilities involved for those who live in democratic, open societies. We all have the responsibility to follow the law, participate in the process, and tolerate those around us. The concept of equal under the law must be understood and it must be followed.

Lawbreakers cannot be given a pass because of their motivations. Inciting violence must be seen as just as much of a crime as perpetrating violence. Those who incite violence must be dealt with, whether they are a neo-Nazi, a anti-abortionist, or a Muslim. Free speech does not extend to those that incite violence.

What can the West do about foreign Muslim extremism that falls short of terrorism, given that most Muslim governments have no control over Muslim extremists in their midst, many openly agree with their grievances and may even tacitly (or in some cases, openly) approve of their methods?

Muslim governments have no control of extremists? A bit too simple. Closer to the truth is that the extremists have control of several Muslim governments or at least overwhelming influence over them.

The Muslim religion does not separate church and state. It never has. Islam has a concept called tawhid which is the "oneness of God". You cannot separate your political life from your spiritual life. Life cannot be compartmentalized in such a way.

Clearly, there IS a problem in the way the West and Islam relate to one another. How do you define the problem?

Some people define this as Islam being hijacked by extremists. I think this is true, but overly simplistic.

Every human society has sought to advance itself, either in this world or the next. It has been pointed out that Muslim societies in general are violent, intolerant, and economically downtrodden. Which is why Islam appeals to these populations: as a way to better their life--either here or in heaven.

Keep in mind that Islam divides the world between Dar-al-Islam (House of Islam) and Dar-al-Harb (House of War). Dar-al-Islam is where Islams rule. There is continual war between these houses, interrupted by periods of truce called hudna. But the conflict is eternal until the house of war submits to the rule of Islam and becomes part of the Dar-al-Islam.

Islam is tolerant: as long as you accept Islamic law such as dhimmitude.

Muslims must change their way of thinking and Muslim leaders need to change what they are teaching their people. But to even bring up such a suggestion is blasphemy. If Muslims cannot accept criticism to their way of thinking, they will never change. Those who are above criticism are fools, believing that their system is perfect is foolish. They assume that humans can invent and implement a system inspired by God (Allah). They assume too much.

So what's the answer? I'm not sure...

During the third Crusade when Richard the Lionheart defeated Muslims time and again, Saladin respected Richard and assumed that Allah had given him the power to defeat the Muslims because of some sin of the faithful. Saladin actually refused to kill Richard when he had the advantage because he saw Richard as an instrument of God. Perhaps a sound defeat of Muslims will convince them that Allah feels they are on the wrong course. It worked for Richard III.

Is the problem, however you define it, absolutely inherent to either Islam, the West, or both? If it is, is it possible to change a religion or culture from the outside, against the will of many on the inside?

If we define the West as open, democratic societies that are tolerant of minorities then the problem cannot lie there.

If we view Islam as a religion of peace and tolerance then the fault cannot lie there.

So which of these views is flawed?

Cultures cannot change from the outside, but they can be influenced from the outside. Muslims are under-educated and overtly indoctrinated into a hate-filled ideology in many countries. There is where the fault lies.
Andrew78108
QUOTE(Amlord @ Feb 8 2006, 10:53 AM)

During the third Crusade when Richard the Lionheart defeated Muslims time and again, Saladin respected Richard and assumed that Allah had given him the power to defeat the Muslims because of some sin of the faithful.  Saladin actually refused to kill Richard when he had the advantage because he saw Richard as an instrument of God.  Perhaps a sound defeat of Muslims will convince them that Allah feels they are on the wrong course.  It worked for Richard III.


I'm not quite sure what you're getting at there. Most of the problems come from extremists within the Muslim culture. Richard was attacking whole societies and while that was effective at the time, now we deal with a Muslim culture that has ingrained itself in Western societies. You can defeat a nation or an army, but not a belief system.

No, I don't think an outside source can convince them that their ways are wrong(they being the extremists). In your your example with Richard, he was able to gain their respect. Nothing we do will be able to gain there respect. They already believe us to be inherently evil and it is their duty to defeat us.

I strongly believe that change will only come from within. Any Muslim that is not actively condemning the extreme attitudes is part of the problem. Silence gives the extremists a license to act in their name. If outsiders want to help influence, we need to persuade the moderates to start taking back control of their religion.
Hobbes
Is the problem, however you define it, absolutely inherent to either Islam, the West, or both? If it is, is it possible to change a religion or culture from the outside, against the will of many on the inside?

How 'bout neither? This is a very important point, as one must understand their enemy in order to defeat it. The problem is NOT Islam. There are many, many peaceful Islamic people, all over the world. There are a fair number is Muslims here in the United States, and yet we have almost none of the rioting, violence, etc. Indonesia is the world's most populous Islamic country, and yet most of the violence doesn't come from there (and most of what does can be traced to involvement with Al Queda or other Middle Eastern influence). The problem is with the Middle East, and it is more cultural than it is religious. Religion is simply a tool through which those that have a political agenda can corrupt others into following them. Take a look at the issues bin Laden has with the US. Are these issues religious? No, they are political, with religious trappings. Why is this so centered in the Middle East? I think there are a variety of factors, some cultural, some historic, some economic, some political, and some religious. It is the confluence of all these factors that only occurs in the Middle East, and it from there that all the violence stems.

Is it possible to change these factors from the outside? No, not really. You can influence such things from the outside, but the problem can only really be addressed internally. I really don't want to drag Iraq into this...but this is the hope of how success there could translate into the rest of the Middle East. If the people there are shown that they have another avenue to end their perceived oppression, then they might embrace it. Pressure on Middle Eastern government to crack down on imams preaching violence against the West is also very helpful, as this is how most fanatics are indoctrinated. Economic reforms are needed, as economic depression is the root of most political discontent. Removal of the cast system prevalent in much of the Middle East which allows royalty to live like, well, royalty while the peasants suffer is needed. Jordan is a good example of what should be strived for....how often do you hear of Jordanian terrorism?
Bikerdad
What can the West do about domestic Muslim extremism in the immigrant communities that live among us?
Here's one option...

Prohibit Muslim "missionaries" from working in the prisons. Deport immediately any non-citizen Muslim extremists, especially the radical imans. Apply the death penalty under humiliating circumstances to any Islamofascist terrorists. Eliminate any and all public funding for any organizations that serve as a mouthpiece or soapbox for extremists. Freedom of speech does not include the obligation of others to fund your yakkin.

What can the West do about foreign Muslim extremism that falls short of terrorism, given that most Muslim governments have no control over Muslim extremists in their midst, many openly agree with their grievances and may even tacitly (or in some cases, openly) approve of their methods? Most of the Muslim gov'ts have more control than you acknowledge. Anyhow, we should engage in a deliberate, ongoing and very extensive campaign to discredit them in any way possible. Dirty tricks, humiliation, its all fair game. Oh, we should also bar them from entering Western countries.

Clearly, there IS a problem in the way the West and Islam relate to one another. How do you define the problem? Islam ="submission"

Is the problem, however you define it, absolutely inherent to either Islam, the West, or both?
If it is, is it possible to change a religion or culture from the outside, against the will of many on the inside
The problem is inherent in Islam. It is possible to change it, doing so will first require utterly defeating it, a la Japan's Imperialism and Germany's Nazism, both of which have been discredited. This approach requires that we recognize that it is the ideology that is the problem. Discredit, humilate, shame, and destroy.

edited to add: Why?

Here's why: What it comes down to is that the people that are most dangerous to you (Islamofascists), do not even acknowledge your right to exist. Moreover, this is a position that has divine approval. No argument is possible.
Christopher
Stop dealing with fundamentalist Islam like an actual society worthy of respect.

Any culture that will kill you or threaten to kill you for something as SILLY as a CARTOON has simply Jumped the Shark.

Clearly, there IS a problem in the way the West and Islam relate to one another. How do you define the problem?
The world moves ever closer to global free societies and in such you must simply accept that not everyone is either going to be bound by your rules--or even respect them.
You cannot go around killing or attacking everyone who disagrees with you or you get nothing short of....well the Middle East.

Islam may have restrictions about images of prophets and such--but we do not. We use them constantly in many media forms. Compared to the cartoons that they run on jews alone discredits their outrage as far as I am concerned. So Mo had a bomb for a hat?

It would almost be worth being banned permanently from AD to actually express just how silly i find that. Instead i shall be pleasant and reserved....

What a crisis rolleyes.gif
So fundamental islam cannot get out of a kindergarten frame of mind and I am supposed to fall backwards over myself for their cultural immaturity and insecurity?
Even worse I need to keep a gun under my pillow because one of them is gonna toss a grenade through my window or I'm going get sliced and shot like Theo van Gogh?

Let's consider for a moment that being acceptable hmmm.gif

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huh.gif

ohmy.gif

mellow.gif

hmmm.gif

Forget it.

We don't accept that behavior from our Christians--and outside of Eric Rudolph just how many of those types of christofundies can YOU name? hmmm.gif

How to deal with them...
Welcome the peaceful ones with wide open arms, reward the friendly ones with business and friendship.

For those who think they get to kill you cause allah said so,

If you find them here in the West? then pack them up and ship them home.

If you find them actually plotting something --lock them up and never let them out--ever.

If you catch them in the act--try them in court and if found guilty --press the Inject button.
Waqar Arshad
First of all hi to all the members, i am waqar arshad from Pakistan and a muslim (hope i don't get banned for being one)
So let's head to the topic now first a simple fact the West thinks freedom of speech is above everything ok we can agree to that by then why did this happen
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4446646.stm
why do people get arrested for denying the holocaust, wearing a swastika or deny the number of jews killed in WW2. Why didn't any newspaper show solidarity with this guy above?
Freedom of speech means you can say anything you like even if it is against or offensive to anyone? yes, then why are muslim clerics banned to use loudspeakers and tell extreme views to the youth---i know this may turn the youth's to terrorism but they aren't hurting anyone (the clerics) are they? they are just giving their own point of view?
Why are muslim girls banned from wearing headscarves to the school? isn't it freedom of expression?
And then you ask why isn't the voice of the moderate muslims being heard simply because you refue to listen to moderate muslims? i m sorry to say you only hear the voice of extermists otherwise you don't listen. When the cartoons were first published a group of diplomats went to lodge and offical protest with the government of Denmark, and what they did! they simply refused to meet them, when the government's of muslim countries protested against the cartoons still Denmark refused to listen to them the only time Denmark listened when their products were boycotted and embassies burned then they came with a apology. so don't you think you deliberatly shut out the voice of moderate muslims?
QUOTE
Any culture that will kill you or threaten to kill you for something as SILLY as a CARTOON has simply Jumped the Shark.

And what about your own culture? You simply not kill just one person but millions just because you don't like their ruler or want to enforce democarcy on the people their? You said Iraq has WMDS so you attacked and killed them where are those weapons please? Is the life of a muslim less important then that of an amercian or european?
What did Iraq do to you? And who created the Taliban and Al Qaeda did your government ever tell you? why weren't their suicde bombings are muslim terrorists in the 70s or 80s? Because you created the extremist groups of Taliban and Osama Bin Laden funded them provided them with weapons to destroy the Soviets and left us to take all the blame.


Sorry for bad spellings and grammar.
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moif
Waqar Arshad

Welcome to the forum smile.gif And don't worry about being a Muslim. You certainly won't get banned for that at ad.gif

QUOTE(Waqar Arshad)
So let's head to the topic now first a simple fact the West thinks freedom of speech is above everything ok we can agree to that by then why did this happen
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4446646.stm
why do people get arrested for denying the holocaust, wearing a swastika or deny the number of jews killed in WW2. Why didn't any newspaper show solidarity with this guy above?
The problem with what you are saying is the west does not think freedom of speech is above everything.

Freedom of speech only exists inside the law. So you can say anything you want, as long as you don't break the law. This means that mocking the Holocaust is illegal, where as drawing the prophet Mohammed isn't.

Now, this might seem odd to people in other parts of the world, but it stems from the fact that the Holocaust was a crime... one of the biggest and most horrible crimes in western history and because of this, it is illegal to make fun of it or try to argue it didn't happen.

Drawing the prophet Mohammed is not illegal because there is no crime involved. In the west, the freedom of expression is a fundamental human right that supersedes the dogma of any religion.

In other words, we are not Muslims and so we are not subject to Muslim law.

Now... you could say that its still unfair to draw the prophet Mohammed because so many people consider it an insult... but in the west, it is not illegal to insult some body by having a different opinion... just as long as you keep within the boundaries of the law (in other words, you don't incite to hatred or violence).


QUOTE(Waqar Arshad)
Freedom of speech means you can say anything you like even if it is against or offensive to anyone? yes, then why are muslim clerics banned to use loudspeakers and tell extreme views to the youth
Because they are considered to be preaching violence.


QUOTE(Waqar Arshad)
Why are muslim girls banned from wearing headscarves to the school? isn't it freedom of expression?
Well, I think this is only true in France... all the other western nations allow head scarf's.

But remember, several Muslim nations also ban headscarves.


QUOTE(Waqar Arshad)
And then you ask why isn't the voice of the moderate muslims being heard simply because you refue to listen to moderate muslims? i m sorry to say you only hear the voice of extermists otherwise you don't listen. When the cartoons were first published a group of diplomats went to lodge and offical protest with the government of Denmark, and what they did! they simply refused to meet them, when the government's of muslim countries protested against the cartoons still Denmark refused to listen to them the only time Denmark listened when their products were boycotted and embassies burned then they came with a apology.
This subject has been debated at length in the Cartoon thread, and I have addressed this very question in detail here.

In short, the answer to why the Danish government refused to meet with the Islamic ambassadors is because these put forward unreasonable demands on the Danish government. They called for the Danish government to punish the newspaper and the Danish government cannot do this.

In Denmark it is the courts of law that deal with punishing newspapers, but neither the diplomats nor the Muslims Faith Society of Denmark chose to take the newspaper to court.


QUOTE(Waqar Arshad)
so don't you think you deliberatly shut out the voice of moderate muslims?
No. Because the Islamic Faith Society are not moderate Muslims. They are extremists with known links to the Muslim brotherhood and al qaeda.

There are moderate Muslims in Denmark and these have stood up and made their views clear, but the people to whom you refer are not numbered among them.


QUOTE(Waqar Arshad)
And what about your own culture? You simply not kill just one person but millions just because you don't like their ruler or want to enforce democarcy on the people their? You said Iraq has WMDS so you attacked and killed them where are those weapons please? Is the life of a muslim less important then that of an amercian or european?
Thats a good question and I believe the answer is no. No one is more valuable than any one else.

But...

All nations have an obligation to protect themselves and their people. This is a fundamental principle to which most people agree. Where we might disagree is the extent to which a nation may go to protect itself.

I think what we must consider is that whilst the Islamic world feels threatened by the western world, so also does the western world feel threatened by the Islamic world and it is in the western worlds best interests to stem the growth of religious fundamentalism by installing democracy in the Middle East.

Remember though that in an Iraqi democracy, it is the Iraqi people who decide, not the USA. Whilst the USA has killed people in Iraq, it has also freed that country from Saddam Hussein and has given the Iraqi's the chance to decide for themselves what they really want.


QUOTE(Waqar Arshad)
What did Iraq do to you? And who created the Taliban and Al Qaeda did your government ever tell you? why weren't their suicde bombings are muslim terrorists in the 70s or 80s? Because you created the extremist groups of Taliban and Osama Bin Laden funded them provided them with weapons to destroy the Soviets and left us to take all the blame.
Giving people weapons does not mean you are responsible for them for the rest of their lives.

The only person responsible for the actions of Osama Bin Laden is Osama Bin Laden.

I also wonder what the alternative would have been. Would you have been happy to see the Soviet Union take over Afghanistan and then possibly Pakistan as well?

Hasn't the USA also given help and weapons to many many other countries? Including Pakistan...

I don't think its fair to only point the finger at those people who the USA supported and who turned out to be bad. You also have to consider all the countries the USA helped who are good.

Paladin Elspeth
QUOTE(Waqar Arshad @ Feb 10 2006, 05:08 AM)
First of all hi to all the members, i am waqar arshad from Pakistan and a muslim (hope i don't get banned for being one)
So let's head to the topic now first a simple fact the West thinks freedom of speech is above everything ok we can agree to that by then why did this happen
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4446646.stm
why do people get arrested for denying the holocaust, wearing a swastika or deny the number of jews killed in WW2. Why didn't any newspaper show solidarity with this guy above?
Freedom of speech means you can say anything you like even if it is against or offensive to anyone? yes, then why are muslim clerics banned to use loudspeakers and tell extreme views to the youth---i know this may turn the youth's to terrorism but they aren't hurting anyone (the clerics) are they? they are just giving their own point of view?
Why are muslim girls banned from wearing headscarves to the school? isn't it freedom of expression?
And then you ask why isn't the voice of the moderate muslims being heard simply because you refue to listen to moderate muslims? i m sorry to say you only hear the voice of extermists otherwise you don't listen. When the cartoons were first published a group of diplomats went to lodge and offical protest with the government of Denmark, and what they did! they simply refused to meet them, when the government's of muslim countries protested against the cartoons still Denmark refused to listen to them the only time Denmark listened when their products were boycotted and embassies burned then they came with a apology. so don't you think you deliberatly shut out the voice of moderate muslims?
QUOTE
Any culture that will kill you or threaten to kill you for something as SILLY as a CARTOON has simply Jumped the Shark.

And what about your own culture? You simply not kill just one person but millions just because you don't like their ruler or want to enforce democracy on the people their? You said Iraq has WMDS so you attacked and killed them where are those weapons please? Is the life of a muslim less important then that of an American or european?
What did Iraq do to you? And who created the Taliban and Al Qaeda did your government ever tell you? why weren't their suicide bombings are muslim terrorists in the 70s or 80s? Because you created the extremist groups of Taliban and Osama Bin Laden funded them provided them with weapons to destroy the Soviets and left us to take all the blame.


Sorry for bad spellings and grammar.
*


Hi Waqar Arshad. You are certainly welcome to post here as far as I'm concerned. There are some rules everyone is expected to follow, such as not making one-sentence replies and avoiding inflammatory or insulting language, but the rules are pretty reasonable and easy to follow. And the moderators do like us to stick to the subject. Sometimes I have trouble with that one. blush.gif

So many questions--where to begin? First, I'll address the questions Julian asked when he posted this thread:

What can the West do about domestic Muslim extremism in the immigrant communities that live among us?

When it comes to the United States, our legal authorities can treat Muslim extremists according to the law of the land. If the person in custody poses a threat to the community before the trial, he (after all, it is most usually "he") can be remanded to jail without bail. A Muslim extremist should expect to not be treated with kid gloves or any differently from any other disruptive person. While none of us wants to see the beloved founders of our particular religion slammed or parodied, our society has the expectation that we value human life (creatures of our God, if you will) by not staging violent protests.

What can the West do about foreign Muslim extremism that falls short of terrorism, given that most Muslim governments have no control over Muslim extremists in their midst, many openly agree with their grievances and may even tacitly (or in some cases, openly) approve of their methods?

Governments are now urging Muslim governments to keep the peace and follow the letter of the law regardless of the religious intent of disruptive extremist practice. They cannot look away from what is taking place and then criticize other governments on how they govern--it is a double standard. Muslim governments, more than ever, need to take control and not be swayed or intimidated by those whose purpose is to inflame the Muslim faithful.

Clearly, there IS a problem in the way the West and Islam relate to one another. How do you define the problem?

Our American government did have a hand in exacerbating the problems in the Middle East, particularly when it came to preventing the Soviets from expanding into Muslim countries. Unfortunately, in several instances we backed the wrong leaders, not considering the long-range consequences of our actions.

In addition, Capitalists are developing the reputation of being amoral when profits are involved. As long as the bottom line is secure, corporate leaders don't have much to say about repressive governments and the downtrodden in any given country. With the Middle East, this obviously has to do with oil. In China, these corporations are willing to censor their computer programs, eliminating such words as "freedom" and "democracy" if it means that they can deal profitably with the Chinese People's Republic. This practice is going to turn around and bite them in the rump some day, and you heard it here first.

As far as the Muslims go, they need to realize that they are not going to get anywhere with the vast majority of citizens in democratic countries by advocating suppression and mistreatment of women and intolerance of other religions (see Wahabism). And openly advocating the destruction of Israel is not going to get them very far, either. If they believe that Allah is a god of love, they need to follow Allah's example to convince the rest of us. If Muslim governments cannot control their own people as evidenced by the recent violence, why would Muslims think that other, non-Muslim governments would want to welcome them with open arms? huh.gif Why should they?

Is the problem, however you define it, absolutely inherent to either Islam, the West, or both? If it is, is it possible to change a religion or culture from the outside, against the will of many on the inside?

When there are disputes, it is rarely one side that is exclusively to blame.

I do not believe that it is possible to change a religion or culture from the outside. The Muslims are going to have to address their own problems.

Yes, the nations of the West are to blame for a number of the problems. One big "whoops", from my point of view, was our leaders first supporting Saddam Hussein when he was fighting Communism but gassing Kurds at the same time, and the other big "whoops" was then acting as though he had the capability and the desire to attack the United States and then invading a sovereign country that had not attacked us.

Regardless of what the West has done, however, it will garner no sympathy from the peoples of the West for Muslim extremists to kidnap and kill journalists and other non-combatants from other countries or torch embassies. There is a saying that I hate but that nevertheless rings true: If you want to attract flies, you will attract more with honey than with vinegar. Or in other words, it is hard to shake hands with a closed fist.

Muslims must show us that 1) they can compel their own people to behave themselves, and 2) they are willing to meet us halfway to negotiate, and maybe then some headway can be made and we can talk about letting their female students wear headscarves in school and other issues.

QUOTE
And who created the Taliban and Al Qaeda did your government ever tell you?
I would like to answer this question, even though it is not the subject of this topic.

No, our U.S. government did not tell us who created the Taliban and Al Qaeda. It was the "free press" and writers who told us in newspapers and books. We do know that Osama bin Laden and the Taliban were CIA "assets" during the struggle in Afghanistan against the Soviet threat. That is why it is so important that we maintain our freedom of speech and freedom of the press, even when the press publishes offensive caricatures and the like. This is one way that the truth can come out, even at times when a government may not want its citizens to know the truth.
Victoria Silverwolf
I would also like to welcome Waqar Arshad to ad.gif flowers.gif

I, for one, am very glad to see the opinions of a Muslim expressed here. It's an insight that we need very much.

Let me say that I agree with much of what you have stated. Here in the USA, it is legal to deny the Holocaust, to wear Nazi symbols, and so on. I agree that this sort of free speech, no matter how ugly it may be, needs to be allowed. Here in the United States, I have seen a few anti-Muslim fanatics suggest destroying Mecca with a nuclear bomb. This is, of course, an evil suggestion which all decent people must denounce as strongly as possible. But even speech as horrible as this must be allowed to be heard. Of course, people also have the right to peacefully protest such speech, to organize boycotts, and so on.

I also agree that the French ban on headscarves was a very bad idea.

There are also many of us who agree that the invasion of Iraq was not justified.

So far, so good. The problem I have is with violent forms of protest. I understand that the depiction of the Prophet in these cartoons was extremely offensive to Muslims everywhere; more offensive than those of us who are not Muslims can even imagine. However, this does not, in any way, excuse those persons who engage in acts of violence.

TheCook
QUOTE(Julian @ Feb 8 2006, 12:48 PM)

Clearly, there IS a problem in the way the West and Islam relate to one another. How do you define the problem?

Is the problem, however you define it, absolutely inherent to either Islam, the West, or both? 




Hmmm...very interesting questions. If no one minds, I would like to answer the above questions only. I've been (and still am) wrestling with this very issue and offering my opinion will, I hope, add clarity to my very confused internal monologue.

To my mind, part of the problem lies in a desire to address a complex situation in a rather monolithic manner. I don't believe "The West" and "Islam" can ever come to concordance because I believe both groupings are almost too large to have meaning. The "West" in this case could be assumed to involve Western Europe, The US, Canada, Japan and, in some fashion, Eastern Europe and Russia. The countries that make up this block have trouble coming up with a consistent way of interacting with one another, much less an external entity and so, I wonder if it's really possible to have a "Western" relationship with anything. Even within (for example) the US, views on how best to interact with Islam range from (and I'm simplifying for purposes of comparison) extreme cultural relativism (we must see things from the Islamic point of view and accommodate that view up to the point of explicit violence) to extreme cultural absolutism (values such as equality of sexes and freedom to speak and worship are universal and fundamental and long term positive relations with an entity that doesn't recognize this is difficult if not impossible). Evidence of this range of opinion can be seen within this forum, to say nothing of "Western" media. Further, the level of secularism varies across many "western" entities (there are parts of the US where the idea that the US is a purely secular democracy would meet with sincere and strong disagreement) muddying the waters of western opinion further.

"Islam" is equally tricky, to my mind. As many have pointed out, the range of behaviours and attitudes in Indonesia (on the one hand) and Iran (on the other) regarding Islamic law, the use of violence, etc seems to be quite wide. Add countries like India where there is a significant Muslim minority in a country that seems to swing between secular and religious (Hindu) political parties and, well, I'm not sure how one creates a monolith with which to have a consistent policy.

Having said all of that (and it is a lot to say), there do seem to be some disturbingly common trends across much of the Islamic Middle East - a certain fundamentalism and desire to base the rule of law on a religious belief structure, a willingness to actively incite violence, justify violence and glorify violence, a world view that creates two or three common demons (the US, Israel) as the root of all evil and harm, and the desire to achieve religious aims via political ends (many a religion calls for conversion, only in Middle Eastern Islam to the calls to force conversion by subsuming the rule of law to the rule of God or to expand the reach of Islam via the use of force seem to be considered within the mainstream of thought). Perhaps part of the problem (as others have suggested) is that we seem only to be able to take one of two views, that the majority of Muslims feel this way (despite the fact that Muslims are living peacefully in many countries in the world, that the government of Indonesia and others condemn violence, etc) OR that the violence and hate are the actions of a few, fringe thinkers well outside of the mainstream (despite large demonstrations celebrating acts of violence, relatively common examples of religious leaders preaching hate, etc).

I suspect that the truth lies in the middle, are perpetrators and inciters of violence in Islam the minority? Probably. Do they lie as far outside the mainstream as members of other religions who also preach hate and violence? Probably not. I think that we must be open to the idea that, in parts of the world, calls for martyrdom, jihad, the destruction of Israel, etc are popular and do reflect, if not the majority, than perhaps a significant minority. I also suspect that it is possible that while there may be many moderate Muslims within their communities, that the intellectual avant-garde and the activists tend to be rather fundamentalist and extreme, that is to say that right now, while fundamentalist/extremist Islam is a minority, it is also providing most of the scholarly thinking and energy within the faith (as an imperfect example, consider how for a long time the "conservative" wing of the Republican party was seen as a minority but was providing disproportionate amount of scholarly writing, were disproportionately represented within the ranks of party activists, etc). This trend is disturbing in the US and Europe, with good reason, as it opens the possibility that minority opinions today may be majority opinions 20, 30, 40 years hence. The fundamentalist interpretation of the religion becomes more common and the mainstream gets redefined closer to what was once the edge. I believe, however, that these are cultural as much as (if not more so than) religious issues. That is, that while doctrine is a religious matter; the interpretation of doctrine is very much a political and cultural question (consider what being a “good Catholic” was in the 1800s in Ireland vs. what it is in Cambridge MA today).

Therefore, I guess, I would say that elements of the conflict are inherent to Islam and other elements are inherent to the West and some are simply the by-product of international relations. To my mind, the movement towards fundamentalist Islam that seems to be popular in the Middle East and gaining currency generally (even in Muslim communities in the west) is a matter internal to Islam. On the other hand, the poverty of immigrant Muslims in Europe, discrimination against minorities, etc are Western problems and go against what many in Europe and the US believe and hold dear. The tragedy is that both sets of actions feed one another, with greater injustice leading to greater extremism. I am, however, harder on Islam in this case as, in the end, there are many ways to react to social injustice or balance of power politics and the decision to react with fundamentalism and the (tacit) support of violence as well as the decision for the moderate Muslim community to cede the field to the more extreme thinkers and actors are not forced upon the Islam in general or the Middle East in particular. To put it another way, Muslims could be politically active or even civilly disobedient to redress grievances; choosing to work outside of both legal and social recourses for injustice or demanding that your minority sensitivity be given primacy, even to the threat or commission of violence is both unacceptable and fully the responsibility of that community.

Likewise, while many could (and do) object to foreign policy actions in the US, many can (and do) object to the foreign policy actions of…well…everyone. Countries always put their national interests ahead of the “common good” if a choice must be made. Countries always have strong elements of hypocrisy, disingenuousness and deception in their relations with others. While this may not be pleasant or positive, it is the fact of international relations 2006; again, most other countries and actors seem to be able to swim within the shark pool without regularly using explicit violence or the threat of same as a tool (implicit violence is quite another matter). Choosing to embrace violence or it’s explicit threat in order to alter the foreign or domestic policy of others is often seen as an act of war and it seems particularly patronizing for me to say that Iran or Pakistan or anywhere else deserves a pass because of culture.
Artemise
QUOTE
The problem I have is with violent forms of protest. I understand that the depiction of the Prophet in these cartoons was extremely offensive to Muslims everywhere; more offensive than those of us who are not Muslims can even imagine. However, this does not, in any way, excuse those persons who engage in acts of violence.


This has been something that has been bothering me on many levels of late, the lack of viewpoint on violence.
Because I dont believe that a cartoon is really the bottom line.

I have to think deeply about this post, because my reaction is not typical to Western thought, as usual.

Victoria, you talk about violent forms of protest, yet, we have invaded a country whose people NEVER had a bad thing to say or do towards or against us. We are NOT comprehending in the least the thing we did, the thing we have done for decades.
WE are violent, to the extreme. I have never lived a year in my life as an american that was not dedicated to a WAR or an enemy, somewhere, not one. I have lived in war in this country all my life. Fancy that for a free person.
WE are very violent users and abusers and mass murderers of innocent people. The thing we have done in Iraq is inexcusable. WE have supported a dictator, used him against his people and others, punished the people for years afterwards, starving them, then bombed them again for our faults in supporting said dictator, which the people hated as much as we did, or more. Then we said, we would fight in 'thier land' rather than our own, in other words, lack of basic needs for them amd more suffering, which they had nothing to do with. Do you think they dont know what we did? They are not stupid.
What in any Gods name makes one violent person better than another? Bigger bombs?

WHY is it ok to carpet bomb a nation, if you have an army, yet not ok to set fire to an embassy or suicide bomb, when you have no army. I dont think all this is about cartoons, I think its about frustration and a view that there is no way out. I think its about pain, fear and hopelessness. Suicide takes alot of courage and comes from hoplessness. We cant seem to understand this.
As americans , we would not even consider suicide bombing, because we have an army, we have guns and we do not have an invasion, but if we did, we would definately have an insurgency here that would never end until the last american was dead.
We think we are bringing 'good' to these people but they have no precedent to believe that. We have a religion that is alien to them and beliefs that have given them nothing but suffering in the past, besides values that look like complete and total decadence to their way of life.
Mostly, and arrogantly, we think we have all the answers, however we dont even have all the answers for ourselves, how is it we have answers for them?

All of your questions ask about problems with Muslims, it reminds me of similar questions of 'How to deal with the Negro problem"? Well I must admit, Muslims are proving harder to manage than Negros were, and women. They beat us all in the 'uppity' catagory.

Do you think if someone stopped to HEAR them and adress them as human beings with rights to their beliefs we might get a lesser tone?
What IF we brought them to the negotiating table? And gave them a fair shake?
Im not saying it hasnt been tried in the past, it has. It should be tried again, and again, and again.






Julian
Here's what a prominent Muslim leader thinks both sides should do

Abdullah Badawi is the Malaysian Prime Minister, and is seen as a leading moderate Muslim by both sides.

First off, it has to be a good thing that moderate Muslims like Mr Abdullah are speaking out in this debate, AND are being given coverage in Western media.

moif has argued in the Cartoon thread that if the outcome of this international row is to force moderates on both sides, but especially inside Islam, to get off the fence, then it might turn out to be a positive in the long run. I tend to agree (even if I differ with him on the rights and wrong of the route to get there).

But this quote intrigued me:

"The West should treat Islam the way it wants Islam to treat the West and vice versa. They should accept one another as equals

Fundamentalist Islam, and maybe even most moderate Muslims, view the West as their economic and military superior, for certain. However, they look down their noses at the West morally and spiritually - scantily-clad women are ubiquitous in the media & advertising; we debauch ourselves with drink drugs, sex, etc.; our societies elevate greed above other impulses, and so on. (Some Westerners would agree, if for different reasons). THEY count themselves culturally superior to US.

And the West - almost across the board - while recognising our economic / political and military might, also counts ideas like equality of gender, race and sexual preference, freedom of speech, democracy, rule of law, and so on as evidence of OUR cultural superiority over THEM.

So it's hard to see right now everyone suddenly thinking we are just different but equal.

And in this context, many millions of Muslims live quite happily in Western countries, not just as visiting workers or recent immigrants, but into third and fourth generations. And many more in the Islamic world aspire to many of the freedoms we take for granted (but not all of them, either in terms of all Muslims, or all freedoms). But there doesn't seem to be any real appetite in the West to curb our own excesses of consumption, indulgence, etc. Westerners living and working in the Islamic world are as adept at taking the whole of thir culture with them and refusing to give it up as any Muslim in the West (e.g. illicit alcohol use in dry countries like Saudi or Kuwait) The majority view would seem to be quite the reverse.

The treatment of Israel must also figure largely in this. Much of the bad blood in the Islamic world over our "preferential treatment" of Israel is merely distorted perceptions, but not all of it is.

So perhaps the West (as a totality) might find it rather harder to see Islam (as a totality) as an equal, and treat them as such, than they would see us?
moif
QUOTE(Artemise)
Victoria, you talk about violent forms of protest, yet, we have invaded a country whose people NEVER had a bad thing to say or do towards or against us. We are NOT comprehending in the least the thing we did, the thing we have done for decades.
WE are violent, to the extreme. I have never lived a year in my life as an american that was not dedicated to a WAR or an enemy, somewhere, not one. I have lived in war in this country all my life. Fancy that for a free person.
WE are very violent users and abusers and mass murderers of innocent people. The thing we have done in Iraq is inexcusable. WE have supported a dictator, used him against his people and others, punished the people for years afterwards, starving them, then bombed them again for our faults in supporting said dictator, which the people hated as much as we did, or more. Then we said, we would fight in 'thier land' rather than our own, in other words, lack of basic needs for them amd more suffering, which they had nothing to do with. Do you think they dont know what we did? They are not stupid.
What in any Gods name makes one violent person better than another? Bigger bombs?
Yes.

Everything your saying here Artemise, all the condemnation your bringing down on your own country is just as valid for the whole planet, so why do you expect your nation to be any different?

The sad fact is that bigger bombs do make better people... why else do you think every one wants bigger bombs?

If the USA was not the nation it was, then it simply wouldn't exist today. It would have been overwhelmed by the Soviet Union, along with western Europe because the Soviet leadership did not have your qualms and reservations and would have annhiliated the USA as a threat, regardless or not as to whether it was a credible threat or just a potential threat.
America would have become a province of the USSR and then you would have that insurgency to the last American you refer to. Is that what you'd prefer?


QUOTE(Artemise)
WHY is it ok to carpet bomb a nation, if you have an army, yet not ok to set fire to an embassy or suicide bomb, when you have no army.
First of all, there has been no carpet bombing in Iraq. Carpet bombing doesn't happen any more.

Second, there is no difference between your two examples except in method. The west chooses to use military forces who are controlled and subject to democratic laws. The Islamic extremists use deliberate murder and social violence and choose to ignore laws, even their own.

Really though, it is not okay to bomb or kill people, regardless of the motivations or reasons and both sides ought to stop, put down their weapons and enter into negotiations. The problem is, that is not going to happen any time soon because neither side trusts the other. If they did, they wouldn't be fighting in the first place.


QUOTE(Artemise)
Suicide takes alot of courage and comes from hoplessness. We cant seem to understand this.
Sure we can understand it. How hard is it to understand?
But that doesn't make it any better. Just because you killed yourself doesn't change the fact that you slaughtered a bunch of innocent people on your way out... and if these people really believe in paradise, then just how great a sacrifice is it to leave this world for the bounty of the next?


QUOTE(Artemise)
Mostly, and arrogantly, we think we have all the answers, however we dont even have all the answers for ourselves, how is it we have answers for them?
Now... who has ever claimed we have all the answers?

Come on, be realistic. No one has ever said that. No one believes it. We're not giving Iraq 'answers'. We're giving them the right to decide for themselves. What is wrong with that?


QUOTE(Artemise)
Do you think if someone stopped to HEAR them and adress them as human beings with rights to their beliefs we might get a lesser tone?
What IF we brought them to the negotiating table? And gave them a fair shake?
Im not saying it hasnt been tried in the past, it has. It should be tried again, and again, and again.
We've been listening to them for decades... how has it helped?

Your talking about your nation being a war nation... well, my nation is not a war nation and has not been since 1864. Denmark has not fought a single war since then... and where has it gotten us? We are in the exact same situation as the rest of Europe, indeed, apparently more so because we have the audacity to voice our opinions!

A few days ago I heard a story about a TV guy who was an expert on bears. I think he was called the Grizzly Man but I'm not sure. This story is second hand and I can't vouch for the truth of it.
This guy had a theory that bears were smart, like children, so he developed a way of communicating with them by talking to them as if they were children.

Not so long ago, whilst filming in Alaska, or where ever it was, he was eaten (along with his wife) by a hungry grizzly bear and the whole event was caught by the microphone on the camera which was still turned on. Even as he was being eaten alive, the Grizzly Man held on to his cherished notion that by talking to the bear in a childish fashion he could influence it.

If that Grizzly Man had shot the bear when he understood it was dangerous, then both he and his wife would still be alive.


If we just carry on and on and on at the negotiating table without ever backing up our position with action, then we are going to get eaten alive.

Lesly
Welcome, Waqar.

QUOTE(moif @ Feb 10 2006, 06:00 AM)
QUOTE(Waqar Arshad)
So let's head to the topic now first a simple fact the West thinks freedom of speech is above everything ok we can agree to that by then why did this happen
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4446646.stm

why do people get arrested for denying the holocaust, wearing a swastika or deny the number of Jews killed in WW2. Why didn't any newspaper show solidarity with this guy above?

The problem with what you are saying is the west does not think freedom of speech is above everything…
Now, this might seem odd to people in other parts of the world, but it stems from the fact that the Holocaust was a crime... one of the biggest and most horrible crimes in western history and because of this, it is illegal to make fun of it or try to argue it didn't happen.
*

In the U.S. denying the Holocaust, wearing swastikas, and Ku Klux Klan parades are not considered criminal acts. This freedom is not extended universally outside the United States. I don’t agree with any Western nation that criminalizes speech denying the Holocaust. There is a delicate line between free speech and inciting violence. Legally speaking, offending a member of society is irrelevant.

Personally, I believe that anyone denying the Holocaust ultimately will have no problem coming across as the idiot and racist they are, but being an idiot and a racist should not be criminalized. Simply being should not be confused with actual harm by denying or infringing someone else’s rights. Europe and other Western countries have allowed progressive ideas to contaminate free speech. Unfortunately our allies have conflated speech with action and have passed laws, possibly through the lobbying of Jews, aimed at “protecting” Jews from being offended. Unlike Moif, I believe the fact that the Holocaust did occur and was a crime against humanity is irrelevant where speech is concerned. This legal duplicity will play into the hands of Islamofacist recruiters and un/elected Muslim governments pounding the podium about a Zionist conspiracy taking control of the world.

At this point Muslims living in Western countries that outlaw this speech can either peacefully petition their governments to protect them from offensive speech and ban satirizing the image of Mohammed, further weakening free speech, or ask the government to lift the criminalization of denying the Holocaust. If Muslims try the former, they will likely be viewed by the West as thin-skinned without giving the hypocrisy of Holocaust laws a thought. If Muslims try the latter the West and Jews will interpret this as proof that Muslims worldwide seek the destruction of Jews everywhere.

QUOTE(moif @ Feb 10 2006, 06:00 AM)
QUOTE(Waqar Arshad)
Freedom of speech means you can say anything you like even if it is against or offensive to anyone? yes, then why are muslim clerics banned to use loudspeakers and tell extreme views to the youth

Because they are considered to be preaching violence.
*

This is trickier. I’d have to say, it depends. Did the cleric generalize; did he call America/Europe the Great Satan, or did he tell his followers they should storm an embassy?

QUOTE(moif @ Feb 10 2006, 06:00 AM)
QUOTE(Waqar Arshad)
Why are muslim girls banned from wearing headscarves to the school? isn't it freedom of expression?

Well, I think this is only true in France... all the other western nations allow head scarf's.

But remember, several Muslim nations also ban headscarves.
*

I do not agree banning veils simply because they’re a religious and sometimes political symbol. If a school dress code does not allow children to cover their heads then the ban must be enforced universally. Meaning veils and yarmelkes must both be banned. I also don’t agree with banning Muslim women from covering themselves, except for the burka for security reasons. I don’t like the fact that Muslim women are still covering themselves, but their decision to unveil must be a personal one and not through coercion.

QUOTE(moif @ Feb 10 2006, 06:00 AM)
QUOTE(Waqar Arshad)
And then you ask why isn't the voice of the moderate muslims being heard simply because you refue to listen to moderate muslims? i m sorry to say you only hear the voice of extermists otherwise you don't listen. When the cartoons were first published a group of diplomats went to lodge and offical protest with the government of Denmark, and what they did! they simply refused to meet them, when the government's of muslim countries protested against the cartoons still Denmark refused to listen to them the only time Denmark listened when their products were boycotted and embassies burned then they came with a apology.

This subject has been debated at length in the Cartoon thread, and I have addressed this very question in detail here.

In short, the answer to why the Danish government refused to meet with the Islamic ambassadors is because these put forward unreasonable demands on the Danish government. They called for the Danish government to punish the newspaper and the Danish government cannot do this.
*

I agree with Moif here. The only people that can petition for legislative change or request representation in court are Danish Muslims. Foreign nationals can express themselves, but they can’t make demands of a foreign government that doesn’t represent their interests. Also keep in mind that the newspaper that published the cartoons is a private entity not run by the Danish government. The Danish government has to follow the laws it passes and can’t charge the newspaper with a crime it does not criminalize in the books. And we’re back to the issue of local Muslims petitioning their Western governments.

QUOTE(Waqar Arshad @ Feb 10 2006, 05:08 AM)
And what about your own culture? You simply not kill just one person but millions just because you don't like their ruler or want to enforce democarcy on the people their? You said Iraq has WMDS so you attacked and killed them where are those weapons please? Is the life of a muslim less important then that of an amercian or european?
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This is off topic but you will find that a sizeable number of Americans and Europeans in favor of invading Afghanistan were against the invasion of Iraq. I’ve never felt the administration/Bush had a case for declaring war against Saddam. Intelligence may get you out of a war, but chances are intelligence alone is not sufficient to justify declaring war.

I was not going to respond to this thread. Honestly I’m glad that there is some showing of solidarity between Western countries, but when some of those Western countries believe it can safely apply a double-standard and people start making responses like this one…

QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Feb 8 2006, 02:10 PM)
What can the West do about domestic Muslim extremism in the immigrant communities that live among us?  
Here's one option...
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…I imagine adding my support/ideas won’t be necessary . (BTW, it’s worked great for Israelis so far, Bikerdad.)

Edited to add: In light of Moif's clarification I'd like to amend my statement about laws that ban Holocaust deniers. It doesn't apply to Moif and those countries that restrict free speech. Just those countries. tongue.gif
moif
QUOTE
Unlike Moif, I believe the fact that the Holocaust did occur and was a crime against humanity is irrelevant where speech is concerned. This legal duplicity will play into the hands of Islamofacist recruiters and un/elected Muslim governments pounding the podium about a Zionist conspiracy taking control of the world.
Can I just point out that I agree with you Lesly and that I was trying to answer the reason why Irwin was charged and not putting forward my own belief.

If it were up to me then there would be no restrictions on free speech at all.

I think I expressed myself badly... sorry.
Bikerdad
While I find the prohibition of Holocaust denial to be problematic, I also believe it has valid grounds.

Holocaust denial is a form of slander/libel. The events are a historical fact, anybody who denies they happened is calling an entire generation liars. Whether or not the diffuse nature of this libel is sufficient to allow it to shelter under freedom of speech is another matter entirely. When coupled with further inflammatory rhetoric, Holocaust denial is, as noted, quite problematic. How problematic is dependent on the specific cultural and historical context. With a different context, we in the US don't find the problem sufficient to justify the restrictions, unlike those nations where the Holocaust actually played out. Understandable, and I won't fault them for it.

Now, the point of this is that drawing a parallel between denying a historical event that occurred less than 4 score years ago, and drawing any representation of a major cultural and religious figure is ludicrous.

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First of all hi to all the members, i am waqar arshad from Pakistan and a muslim (hope i don't get banned for being one)
Welcome, your perspective is appreciated.

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So let's head to the topic now first a simple fact the West thinks freedom of speech is above everything ok we can agree to that
Actually, no we can't. The West does not believe that freedom of speech, or more broadly, freedom of expression, is above everything. However, it is above the "right" to never be offended. At least some of us think so..., others, if college speech codes are any indication, are deeply conflicted on the subject.

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by then why did this happen
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4446646.stm
why do people get arrested for denying the holocaust, wearing a swastika or deny the number of jews killed in WW2. Why didn't any newspaper show solidarity with this guy above?
See above...

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Freedom of speech means you can say anything you like even if it is against or offensive to anyone?
Yup, that pretty much covers it, as long as what is said isn't false. Whether or not it is "offensive" is not the yardstick, its whether or not it is true. Saying something that is false removes the covering of free expression.

QUOTE
yes, then why are muslim clerics banned to use loudspeakers and tell extreme views to the youth---i know this may turn the youth's to terrorism but they aren't hurting anyone (the clerics) are they?
Not knowing the specific circumstances you're referencing, I can only say perhaps they were banned from using loudspeakers because they're disturbing the peace? Its not the content, so much as the volume. hmmm.gif

QUOTE
they are just giving their own point of view?
Why are muslim girls banned from wearing headscarves to the school? isn't it freedom of expression?
And then you ask why isn't the voice of the moderate muslims being heard simply because you refue to listen to moderate muslims? i m sorry to say you only hear the voice of extermists otherwise you don't listen. When the cartoons were first published a group of diplomats went to lodge and offical protest with the government of Denmark, and what they did! they simply refused to meet them,
A diplomatic protest against the publication is not considered "moderate" in the West. Had the Danish government published the cartoons, then a diplomatic protest would have been appropriate. They didn't, it wasn't.

QUOTE
And what about your own culture? You simply not kill just one person but millions just because you don't like their ruler or want to enforce democarcy on the people their?
Millions? Care to give an example within the last century of where the democratic West has killed millions because we don't like a ruler? Or to enforce democracy?

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You said Iraq has WMDS so you attacked and killed them where are those weapons please?
In Syria.

QUOTE
Is the life of a muslim less important then that of an american or european?
Yes. The lives of my children are more important to me than the lives of anybody else's children. The lives of my fellow Americans (including Muslim Americans) are more important to me than the lives of any other country. The lives of my fellows in Western Civilization are more important to me than those of any other civilization. I say this with no apologies. Can you honestly say that the lives of your children are as important to you as the lives of mine? You will save your children from a burning house before you will save anybody elses, true?

"Less important" does not, however, mean worthless. If it did, then we would not have intervened in Bosnia and protected the Muslims there... or were you unaware of that? If we held Muslim life to be worthless, then we would have simply bombed Iraq back to the Stone Age, rather than putting American and European boots on the ground at the cost of thousands of casualties. Nor does it mean that anything an American does is okay.

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What did Iraq do to you?
Ask your fellow Muslims, the Kuwaitis.
QUOTE
why weren't their suicde bombings are muslim terrorists in the 70s or 80s? Because you created the extremist groups of Taliban and Osama Bin Laden funded them provided them with weapons to destroy the Soviets and left us to take all the blame.
There weren't suicide bombings because the terrorists were still busy with regular bombings, kidnappings, and hijackings. As counter-terrorism became much more effective in stopping those forms of terrorism, the homicide bombers came into use. And you should note that we didn't provide Osama and company with suicide bomb vests...

Incidentally, I'm not sure if you want to go down the path of using Osama as an example of Western malfeasance. We dealt with Osama because we believed he was a "moderate." So, perhaps you can see why some of us now are skeptical of Muslim "moderates". hmmm.gif

QUOTE
Sorry for bad spellings and grammar.
As long as you don't claim to be an English professor, we'll give you a pass. wink.gif

Respectfully, BD
Artemise
QUOTE
A few days ago I heard a story about a TV guy who was an expert on bears. I think he was called the Grizzly Man but I'm not sure. This story is second hand and I can't vouch for the truth of it.
This guy had a theory that bears were smart, like children, so he developed a way of communicating with them by talking to them as if they were children.

Not so long ago, whilst filming in Alaska, or where ever it was, he was eaten (along with his wife) by a hungry grizzly bear and the whole event was caught by the microphone on the camera which was still turned on. Even as he was being eaten alive, the Grizzly Man held on to his cherished notion that by talking to the bear in a childish fashion he could influence it.

If that Grizzly Man had shot the bear when he understood it was dangerous, then both he and his wife would still be alive.


An interesting analogy, and metaphor, that some people are human and others are just animals. Especially with the Grizzly man analogy- Ie: We are better than them, their beliefs, thoughts, lives do not matter. Their nature and the things they hold sacred can be infringed upon to the point of extreme prejudice, and when they retaliate, its considered barbaric, ( and it is barbaric, no doubt.) But if we just shoot them, its better.

Grizzly Man actually happened here. His name was Timothy Treadwell. To use your metaphor, he treated Brown Bears as children, named them things like 'Mr. Chocolate', 'Holly' and 'Taffy'. He saw himself as protectorate of these bears and went into their territory acting as superior and somewhat a 'bear sage', except they had a life of their own which had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with him, were never in need of his protection (the Katmai is a sanctuary already), nor his influence.
They had their life, instinct and nature, which apparently had nothing to do with being a "Taffy bear". Timothy Treadwell got himself killed by thinking he could bridge the gap between human and primal animal, much by infringing upon their space, resources and natural instinct to kill another predator. The woman he got slaughtered and eaten with him was not his wife but a girlfriend. The two bears were also killed in order to slit them open to examine the remains of the kill.

Noone won. The very bears Treadwell desired to protect were killed, he and his woman died and were eaten, and allow me to say that from the audio ( which I have heard a part), he was NOT talking sweetly to his killer, but screaming and running for help for which there was noone- in his last moments. It would never have happened if he were not stupidly trying to make the bears accept his influence over them, in their territory, under their rules, trying to break the rules between predators.
However this is a story of human and primal animal which do not share a common language. Are humans any different?

Well, we have speech, and we have politics and we make little use of the first and horrible use of the second. I dont think Muslims are 'Taffy bears' which we should treat as children who dont have a clue as to what they want from the world. They have shown themselves formidable enemies. I think we are politically inclined to treat and portray them as lesser than us in order to steal their resources with some sort of rationale on our part. I think they are in retaliation, often to extremes which are hard to comprehend, but it did not come in a vaccuum.

QUOTE
Really though, it is not okay to bomb or kill people, regardless of the motivations or reasons and both sides ought to stop, put down their weapons and enter into negotiations. The problem is, that is not going to happen any time soon because neither side trusts the other. If they did, they wouldn't be fighting in the first place.


Moif please, we have been doing this since time immemorial. Its really not about any of us here on the ground. 'We the people' have long been outsourced when it comes to covert and outright war. WE are just pawns. I can truly say I have no hatred towards any nation or people on the planet, since Ive traveled and talked and been housed and spoken to most people in most countries who are really also pawns of their governments. WAIT: I want this to be really heard. All the people I have ever spoken with world-wide bore no bad feelings towards individuals, ever.
Everyone knows, its the governments causing the problems.
We are being used,' they' are being used as well. Its the ultimate blame game and we Buy in Every Time, despite historic reasons to the contrary, to just say NO. We are sold ( in America) wars like candy, a different flavor each decade. We eat it up, we like nothing more than a tasty enemy, we always have one! Nothing we enjoy more than a good enemy, a war and someone to hate. What would we do without one? Why live in peace when a good war suits us all so well? Why negotiate? Oh yes, Sept 11. A good excuse to reign war on Iraq. I wont go into that as we all know the ins and outs of that discussion.

QUOTE
Is the problem, however you define it, absolutely inherent to either Islam, the West, or both?
If it is, is it possible to change a religion or culture from the outside, against the will of many on the inside?


It is never easily done to change the faith or spiritual belief of a people. The more you push the more they set ground. Especially if the invading belief system is alien to them, and if its done with violent oppression and obvious theft of resources apparent. In the past what invaders did was marry the newly infiltrated gods with the commonly accepted gods or godesses, creating a new religion, slowly more acceptable to the masses. Well, we certainley cannot have that sort of thing here.
Christianity has no gods or goddesses to share, neither does Islam. The timeline of the prophets is already known, the godesses eliminated, so infiltration by marriage is hardly a possibility. With One Prophet, one god (male), there is no room for descrepancy. You are either with us or against us on both sides.

It might just be a holy war, disguised. I personally think its a resource war and nothing we can do will stop it, ever. We may well be engaged in a continuous war that will burn more oil IN THE WAR than what was a stake in the first place.










lordhelmet
QUOTE(Julian @ Feb 8 2006, 06:48 AM)

 
What can the West do about domestic Muslim extremism in the immigrant communities that live among us? 
 
What can the West do about foreign Muslim extremism that falls short of terrorism, given that most Muslim governments have no control over Muslim extremists in their midst, many openly agree with their grievances and may even tacitly (or in some cases, openly) approve of their methods? 
 
Clearly, there IS a problem in the way the West and Islam relate to one another. How do you define the problem? 
 
Is the problem, however you define it, absolutely inherent to either Islam, the West, or both? 
If it is, is it possible to change a religion or culture from the outside, against the will of  many on the inside?
 
 
Edited to add: May I also draw your attention to another new thread by Victoria Silverwolf in a similar but  sufficiently different vein here
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1. What can the west do about radical Islam? Ban it. Prosecute it. Build consensus against it. Use our RICO statutes in the way that we've used them against the Aryan Nations, the KKK, and similar hate groups. Radical Islam IS a hate group and they are no more religious than the Aryan Nations clowns who hid behind the "Christian Identity religion".

2. The problem? The problem is a 7th century obsolete mentality colliding with the modern age. They need to get with the program. We need to ELIMINATE that way of thinking, one way or the other.

3. Is the problem inherent to Islam? Yes. Of the three great religion traditions guiding the world today we have one that hinges on the "Ten Commandments", the other that preaches "Love Thy Neighbor" and the third that states "Kill the Infidel".

Guess which one should be eliminated?

I wish Hollywood would get over their childhood guilt and start using their massive propaganda power to attack the TRUE evil in this world today which is not Christianity but radical Islam. It could help our cause of survival.
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