Islam Questioning Conservatives

by

I have had an eight-month dialog with fellow Conservatives on Islam, Muslims and their place in the Global War on Terror. I have come to share my assessment of the overall discussion, with the hope of sharing this perspective with Americans who follow Islam. I trust Muslim readers to offer advice, resources, and information that may permit me to change some hearts and minds in my side of the blogosphere.

In the discussions that I have had in chat rooms and websites, I think there are basically three sorts of Rightosphere posters. For simplicity, I will classify them according to constructs analogous to how this blog categorizes Muslims:

1) Humanist Conservatives – those who recognize there is a difference between terror-embracing Islamic extremists and the rest of the Islamic population. Though there may be some concerns about the percentage of extremists, these commentators do not consider all Muslims jihadists.

2) Anti-Islam Extremists – those who think each and every Muslim is a taqqiya talking, sharia-loving potential suicide bomber.

3) Islam Questioning Conservatives – those who have little experience with peace-oriented, tolerant Muslims but are essentially fair minded, and who also have rational and genuine concerns regarding the actions and true beliefs of Muslims.

My Muslim friends, it is with this third class that I need your help. The Humanist Conservatives are open to respectful dialog, honest friendship, and will provide helpful assistance to Humanist Muslims. Anti-Islam extremists will continually negate the existence of Muslims that don’t fit into their Jihadist mould, seek out information on Islam if very limited venues, and are quite beyond rational exchanges. It is the Islam Questioning Conservatives that we need to respectfully address. This post is an attempt to begin dealing with their justifiable concerns and their reasonable views.

I do not hesitate to admit that my personal and positive experiences with individual Muslims have influenced my comments. However, one of the aspects of Islamic discourse I have discovered, is that many fellow Americans have only dealt with the Islamic extremists and Wahhabi-embracing members of Islam. The Republican Party and Conservative movements have numerous current and former members of the military. These honorable servicemen and women, who sacrifice to protect our freedoms and liberties, have only met the anti-Western Jihadist fomenting terror and craving the complete conquest of the West.

One of these American servicemen is Jarhead, who has often expressed his distrust of Islam in our debates. Jarhead joined the Marines as a response to the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1979 and is one of America’s Beirut Veterans. Jarhead wishes to note that some Americans have been aware of the threat of “Radical Islam” (to use the current phrase), along before 9/11 or the Global War on Terror. He writes:

Many Marines (and not all I do know), former and current active duty that I associate with, see ourselves as the wall that protects America from her enemies. In doing so, we have adopted the idea, we are individual bricks in the wall. It is our love of country, our duty, our mission in life, our honor to be a member of that wall. This is the mortar that holds us together. We see ourselves and all those who serve, as the watchdogs and yes even the guardians of freedom. If need be, we also are the point of the spear of “Force Projection”.

Unfortunately force does become necessary as we all know. We also think of it as the barrier to give people like yourselves and ‘celebrities’ like Ann Coulter the time to foster the open well mannered debate that hopefully will reach the compromise we all seek.

Now part of the attitude is that although we as a nation allow people to migrate into America, we also realize that our openness is an open door to our enemies. Therefore, we watch, and we mistrust, whether rightly or wrongly, to see if the migrant is an honest, wanting a better life immigrant, or here under false colors and means to do us and our way of life, our families and friends harm. In other words, there is a bit of the “guilty until proven innocent”.

I do not apologize for that. It is my country, and I swore an oath to defend her. Yes, I know that in today’s society, there are those that think of people who still regard their word of honor as binding and a noble cause, as anachronistic. So be it. We try to do it in an unobtrusive manner. And I would hope that we are honest enough that if one has proven to be the person we hope, i.e. an American, then the cloud of mistrust is removed. But this is an individual reward, not a blanket. Not all illegal aliens are bad people, but they are not all good either. I cannot yet say with any belief that there are any good muslims. I have seen no proof of anything other than the words do not match the deeds. After watching the presentation of Obsession on Fox News the other night, I see (thankfully) I am not alone.

Many Muslim readers could question whether Jarhead is really open to what they may have to say. Yes, he is open. For example, he has acknowledged an appreciation for the service and sacrifice of Capt. Kahn and condemned the killing of Mrs. Ansari in dialogs that I have had with him. The manner of his questioning may be direct – but you expect that of a Marine. However, he reads this blog and other items and is a target audience for American Muslims desiring to spread the message that there are peace-loving, religiously tolerant sects, clerics, and practitioners within Islam.

Jarhead, fellow Conservatives, and I tend to shun the politically correct approaches to dealing with hard issues (e.g., unquestioning acceptance of all views and minimization of the impact of personal responsibility). We prefer that individuals be judged solely on the content of characters and the nature of specific actions. Therefore, Jarhead highlights points worth addressing.

Basically, the only Muslims that Jarhead has regularly dealt with were shooting at him or planting IEDs in his travel route. Furthermore, broadcasts focused on the Global War on Terror display the toxic beliefs of Islamic fundamentalists and the populations that support them (or seeming unable to free themselves from terror domination). I can see why he wishes to treat practitioners of that faith with some caution. However, he is open to judging the actions of American Muslims fairly. Therefore, I think it behooves American Muslims to seriously consider the perspective of Islam Questioning Conservatives.

Being involved in regular dialogs with Conservatives, I am aware of several matters that are genuinely concerning for members of the Rightosphere.

1) How much funding to American mosques is actually provided by anti-Western, sharia-promoting Wahhabis?

2) Are American mosques being filled with Islamic extremists?

3) Are American Muslims different from European Muslims? To be honest, the Anchoress, whose views I respect, shares the following concerns (after her completion of Mark Styen’s new book, America Alone):

Right now, Europe is gone mad and is dying by its own hand. Unwilling to fight for itself, unwilling to breed, unwilling to give up on government dependence, Europe has looked around, realized that in 20 years she will be the conquest of ten million Mohammeds and she has decided to sit back and, like Edward G. Robinson in Soylent Green, listen to pretty music and look at the pretty flowers as she dies.

Eurabia is dawning, and nothing about that fact promises progress or stability. On the contrary, Eurabia will bring with it Shari’a. Eurabia will bring the undoing of those human rights gained over the last century – you know, the ones we keep hearing George W. Bush is “stealing” from us.

These are just a very small sample of the weighty questions presented by Questioning Islamic Conservatives whose views I respect. I try to address them, but am limited by time and experience. This is why I could use the assistance of American Muslims of goodwill, who decry terror tactics and embrace religious tolerance. New approaches, insights, resources and actions to acquaint others like Jarhead with a different face of Islam can assist us all in the Global War on Terror. Muslim populations tend to concentrate in specific, urban locales – the Internet and its information transmission is critical as a means for American Muslims of good faith to show another side of Islam to Jarhead and other Americans who won’t typically meet Muslims in the neighborhood market.

To fair to Islam Questioning Conservatives, it can be hard to discern the voice of Humanist Muslims. For example, American Muslim essayist Ali Eteraz, who is launching a new web community to promote the Humanist Muslim cause, is very unsatisfied with the level of productive and effective Muslim activism. He writes in History of AmeriMuslim Activism:

History of AmeriMuslim Activism:

    1961 – 1991

A: We desperately need a mosque. I really think our children are lost without a mosque.
B: Who will populate this mosque?
A: You and the children, of course.
B: And you?
A: I am a doctor.

    1991 – 2001

A: I really love those Palestinians. I really rage at seeing their suffering. I will not rest till they are free.
B: You are aware that other people suffer as well?
A: Yes, but they can’t get me on TV.
B: Idolator.

    2001 – 2005

A: Silence
B: Silence
A: We are the new Jews. Can I get some pity please?
B: You sir are an anti-Semite. Can I get on TV now.

I would encourage fellow Americans who follow Islam to reach out to Islam Questioning Conservatives. For example, brave some of the sites on the Rightosphere and attempt to engage in respectful dialog and demonstrate your presence. While it may be difficult to ignore the slings and arrows of insults shot by anti-Islam extremists, rational Muslims (who can retain composure) may be able to connect with someone with genuine concerns and open-mindedness — in other words, an Islam Questioning Conservative. That Conservative American might actually be willing to engage in meaningful exchange and consider source materials not authored by Jiahd Watch members.

I assert that to embrace blind, anti-Muslim rage is to play right into the hands of Islamic terrorists. Americans, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, must develop effective methods for promoting the message of Humanist Muslims and encouraging their views to prevail globally. I believe we are at the incipent stages of such planning.

Jarhead is the warrior; I am the diplomat. However, we are both fair minded people and relish the American principals of individual liberties and responsibilities. In the next week or so, I will be posting queries I have previously received from Islam Questioning Conservatives. Sometimes, we move forward best with small steps. Such dialog will hopefully give Jarhead and others like himself a new, positive experience members of the American Islamic community.

In conclusion, I would like to demonstrate how to distinguish between an anti-Islam extremist and an Islam Questioning Conservative for the benefit of my readers. As an example, here are two different types of dialogs reviewing the Alia Ansari murder I have experienced:

Anti-Islam Extremist:You’re a stupid moselem apologist. Their filthy religion is nothing more then a death cult, and this was probably an honor killing. Good riddence, as it means that there is one less moselem spy spewing taqqiya. Haven’t you ever heard of “dhimmi”, you liberal moron?

Islam Questioning Conservative: While I am with you on catching this murderer and giving that person the maximum penalty allowed by law; I am not with you on the other. When Christian/Jews/Buddhists commit violence it usually is despite the fact that they are Christian/Jews/Buddhists, there just exists a level of violence which comes around since we are all flawed humans. However there is a much heightened level of violence in the muslim world and in countries (France, where hundreds of cars are burned every night by Moslems) because of Islam, in the name of Islam, and to further Islam. Just the facts, Ma’am.

Clearly, one group has the potential and ability to hear the message of terror-despising, religiously tolerant fellow Americans who follow Islam. Humanist Muslims must devise ways to reach them.

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40 Responses to “Islam Questioning Conservatives”

  1. Yursil Says:

    Peace,

    Problem #1 with your dialogue: Your continuous use of the word “Humanist Muslims”. Humanism carries a lot of backage, including specific Renaissance baggage. Why not use the words compassionate Muslims, caring Muslims, or dare-we-say-it practicing Muslims?

    1) How much funding to American mosques is actually provided by anti-Western, sharia-promoting Wahhabis?

    The first problem is in the question. Sharia promoting Wahabi’s? Can we not have Sharia promoting Sunni’s or Shite’s?

    I mean, do all parties (you and the rightosphere “Islam Questioning Conservatives”) understand that Islam does have a Shariah that definitively applies in the personal sphere, for example, how to properly get married, slaughter meat, organize our inheretance, or dress modestly?

    Please realize while we respect and believe they were divinely inspired, we don’t recognize the 10 commandments as -our commandments-. You may know which Biblical book they are from, but most of us don’t know. Our ’10 commandments’ equivilants are written right into the Shariat.

    So, lets first help everyone understand that the Shariat is something we will, at a personal level, try to apply in our lives. Without it, Islam is just a theology which has no impact on one’s daily life.

    There does exist a public sphere to Shariat, this handles matters of finances, loans, trade, as well as criminal cases. However, in terms of the public sphere, most Muslims will acknowledge, that for those in Muslim majority countries (i.e. Iraq) the Shariah will nearly always be mentioned in our constitutions (like the majority voted for in Iraq).

    In terms of America, all of us are happy to live secular lives and apply the personal aspects of the Shariat which is something the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him) taught us to do where the Shariat is not applied.

    As far as money from Saudi Wahabi’s, probably quite a lot. The American’s sure aren’t donating 🙂

    This does affect a few Mosques as carrying pamphlets of the specific theological differences of the Wahabi’s and general Sunni’s. These are issues internal to Muslims, including whether Saints can be asked of things or whether God directly must be asked. This *rarely* flows over into a political ideology, Wahabi’s in general don’t like extremist ideologies now a days.

    However, I have made clear that what Wahabi’s do do that is harmful is start questioning the status quo of scholarship and religious authority. This leads down the road of self interpretation, and eventually leads to extremism in rare occasions.

    But on the whole this is generally managed with common sense.

    2) Are American mosques being filled with Islamic extremists?

    No, we are your nerds working in computers. Your doctors making you wait forever to give you prescriptions. Your librarians telling you “shhhh!”

    Basically the majority of American Mosques are filled with skilled professionals whose family managed to get a Work visa (because they have some skills that you needed).

    Either that or they are born American Muslims who have come from the African American community, or converts from other communities.

    Now a days the generation coming falls into line with either the R&B/rap crowd or the Britney/pop crowd (isn’t she going to have a comeback now?). Just like most kids.

    3) Are American Muslims different from European Muslims? To be honest, the Anchoress, whose views I respect, shares the following concerns (after her completion of Mark Styen’s new book, America Alone):

    Sure they are different. Muslims in Europe are a subclass, immigration was ridiculously easy for them and they have more kids than Europeans. They didn’t come over as high level professionals like American immigrant Muslims.

    Want a comparison? Muslims are Europes blacks and hispanics. A lot of them are in a societal condition where many are young and fueled more by hormones and frustration than knowledge of politics, science or their religion.

    Again, I ask you to engage the majority.

  2. Yursil Says:

    please excuse the long post and multiple mistakes in spelling i’m in a bit of a rush 🙂

  3. Yursil Says:

    I would encourage fellow Americans who follow Islam to reach out to Islam Questioning Conservatives. For example, brave some of the sites on the Rightosphere and attempt to engage in respectful dialog and demonstrate your presence.

    Finally, can you please point us in a good direction for this? I am totally clueless about the parts of rightosphere where dialogue occurs and matters.

    Peace- Yursil

  4. isis13 Says:

    Yursil: By convention on this site, when I say “Humanist Muslim” it is my short-hand way of saying “religiously tolerant, peace-desiring Muslim who revile terrorism and want to live in harmony with neighbors”. Please don’t nick-pick this Episcopalean on the fine points. 🙂 Though, I promise to mix it up with your suggested terminology in the future. 🙂

    Thanks for beginning to address the various questions posed here. There will be much more on our side, to be sure. But thank you for giving us an excellent start.

  5. isis13 Says:

    Yursil: In terms of going to the Rightosphere, I would honestly say it depends how patient you are. One of the reasons the level of anti-Muslim toxicity is so bad is that knowldegable Muslims, such as yourself, do not post sound counter-points to the materials presented in the Rightosphere. Therefore, the screed of the anti-Muslim extremists is allowed to go unchallenged, and the Islam Questioning Conservatives don’t get exposed to other material.

    I will ask a Rightosphere member whom I respect about specific sites that may worthwhile. But even braving Jihad Watch could be worthwhile if you can change one opinion. Keep in mind, most Americans have a few favored links. You need to go there to provide them access to a new perspective.

    Here is how I handle it on the chat room. I look at the posts. I make a determination as to which commentator is making a worthy point. I will address that point with respect, thoughtfulness, and etiquette 3 times. If they concede a valid item, and a respectful to me, then I am dealing with and Islam Questioning Conservative and I try to weed through the material to address respectful concerns. Otherwise, they are a close-minded anti-Islam extemist and no further dialog is worthwhile.

  6. Yursil Says:

    Thank you for mixing up the terminology 🙂 Ihonestly don’t want to come across as nitpicky 🙂

    The only reason I mention it is because it will help engage other Muslims who, like me, associate the various definitions of Humanism with an emphasis on rationalism and a rejection of faith. We don’t believe we have to give up our faith to be peace loving.

    Humanism entails a commitment to the search for truth and morality through human means in support of human interests. In focusing on the capacity for self-determination, Humanism rejects transcendental justifications, such as a dependence on faith, the supernatural, or divinely revealed texts.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism

    An example, strict Humanists may not have a problem with eating Pork. Its a fairly clean animal now-a-days (esp if processessed). But Muslims all across the world rely on the transcendental prohibition of it.

    just one example… 🙂 I love your site and linked to it.

  7. isis13 Says:

    Yursil: I agree. You shouldn’t have to give up your faith to be deemed peace loving. On the whole. most of us are ignorant of issues of faith outside our own. In fact, I am much more versed in the obscure matters related to Isis worship in ancient Egypt then the finer points of Christian theology. And since the founder of my sect (Henry VIII) beheaded 2 wives in the course of his lifetime, I tend to to be too judgmental in historical niceties of other religions.

    I would be interested in learning more about the basics of Shariat, for example. There is a lot of misinformation out there, I sense. And also how Shariat can be balanced with living in a secular society such as the USA. Links or further comments would be appreciated.

  8. Yursil Says:

    Isis,

    I believe SunniPath is a great resource on the traditional, Sunni understanding of Shariat.

    These are required readings and give a broad understanding:
    “Obeying the law of the land… what about the West?”
    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=2409&CATE=144

    When one lives in a particular country, one agrees verbally, in writing or effectively to adhere to the rules and regulations of that country. This, according to the Shariah, is considered to be a promise, agreement and trust. One is obliged to fulfil the trust regardless of whether it is contracted with a friend, enemy, Muslim, non-Muslim or a government. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and his Companions (Allah be pleased with them all) always stood by their word and did not breach any trust or agreement, as it is clear from the books of Sunnah and history. Thus, to break a promise or breach a trust of even a non-Muslim is absolutely unlawful and considered a sign of being a hypocrite (munafiq).

    “Shariah: The Clear Path”
    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=7&ID=899&CATE=1

    The Shariah covers all aspects of human life. Classical Shariah manuals are often divided into four parts: laws relating to personal acts of worship, laws relating to commercial dealings, laws relating to marriage and divorce, and penal laws.

    This is just one example of how Muslims are told to abide by the law-of-the-land
    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=7&ID=8538&CATE=3600

    Basically it is part of the Shariat to obey the law of the land as an individual. Where we are capable of choosing our government en masse, we add penal and legal codes which can apply for others.

    In general they have a nice, compassionate, Q&A service. Knowledgable scholars from a variety of backgrounds are answering.

    Its worth looking into it just to see what kind of questions Muslims are asking every day (it can be very detailed!)

    (i.e. Can we use Sexual toys in bedroom relations:)
    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=2139&CATE=117

    This is the main Q&A site:
    http://qa.sunnipath.com/

  9. Patricio Says:

    Okay, here’s a “Right-O” coming to you, instead of waiting for you to find me.
    Isis, I noticed your comments on Ali Eteraz (and Aisha’s) blog. I tracked this blogsite to see what you are about.
    Very nice site. Thank you for what you are doing. I hope to be able to contribute where I can, as one who has learned a good deal from thoughtful Muslims.
    I may disagree on a point, but I will not form blanket opinions about any group or person until I listen carefully to what they say and observe their deeds.

    I look forward to your reading your essays and learning from wisdom, wherever it may be found.

  10. samaha Says:

    Isis,

    I’m working with someone that is going to focus on talking about funding mosques, one mosque in particular but it will shed some light on “concerns of the rightospehere”.

    I have to say, that it can be difficult for a lot of us Muslims to reach out to the rightosphere when we get to be under attack when we do so. We begin to make a point and the word “taqiya” shows up. It can get very frustrating.

  11. isis13 Says:

    Patricio: I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to stop by with such a kind comment. It inspires me to continue this interesting journey. I would welcome additional information, links, references and resources.

    Samaha: Yes — I deal with that frustration, too. Basically, I ignore the taqqiya comments when they appear, and strive to bring facts, links, and other materials to the table. You will be surprised how many readers will track back! But, I remain an optimist at heart.

  12. samaha Says:

    I know, I do too, but I will only do it for so long. No one wants to put up with all of that negativity for too long – and I’m not talking about your blog. What you have going here is absolutely wonderful.

  13. isis13 Says:

    Samaha — That is why I have my three response rule. I figure that if a commentator can’t concede a point or ask another question within 3 responses, then their heart is hardened and there is no need to go on. That, too, is why I have this blog. I am hoping to extract genuine concerns and questions from the Rightosphere and present them in a respectful, meaningful way that may actually generate understanding.

    For those interested in really great dialog on Islamic law, please look here:

    http://eteraz.wordpress.com/2006/11/09/more-on-the-apostasy-hadith/

  14. Jarhead Says:

    So Samaha, can you explain to me ‘taqiya’ and how it is being mis-used by extremists? BTW..thanks for providing the answers you did.

    Also when you answered question #2 you mentioned that American Muslims were the Doctors, Computer nerds, etc, but what about the Florida University Professor convicted of financing Islamic terrorism? What about the Egyptian students who came here on student visa’s and then disappeared? Refering to my original posting, can you now understand why it is difficult to determine whom among Muslims we can trust?

  15. samaha Says:

    Jarhead, I haven’t answered any questions, unless you are referring to a different thread.

    Not to be dismissive, but no, I’m not going to get into the “taqiya” thing. I really do not have the time for the research on the topic.

    Even though I have nothing to do with the answer to #2, I want to know what it is that you propose doing about this problem of not knowing which Muslims you can trust?

    Do you question if you can trust your mailman? Do you question if you can trust the anti-abortion demonstrators? Do you question radical Americans, those like Timothy McVeigh? Or are you just concerned about which Muslims can be trusted?

    I’m not trying to be a bitch here, I’m just trying to understand where this whole “which Muslims can we trust?” is getting people.

  16. Jarhead Says:

    Well if my mailman had made threats to kill me and my family then yes, I would begin to mistrust all mailmen. When Radical Christian Groups begin to kill me because I don’t follow thier brand of Christianity, then I will begin to mistrust that sect of Christianity. Timothy McVeigh is and was buthcher. My sister worked in that Federal building up to three months before it was bombed. I mistrust all anti-abortion demonstrators, they are the two-faced murderers, killing to stop killing. Oh so briliant. But what worries me is salafist islam like these mentioned in this report

    http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/issuesideas/story.html?id=eb74b136-3729-42a1-821b-77366f7af920

  17. samaha Says:

    Jarhead – What’s your solution to the Muslim problem?

  18. Jarhead Says:

    Honestly, I don’t know. I’d like to believe that there are the good and decent Muslims that actually believe the parts of the Quran that allow the Christians/Jewish/Muslims to live in the same land with peace and tolerance. Then on the other hand, I cannot determine whom among the Muslim population is the unlawful jihadist, the salafist, the wahabi’s, i.e. the lawbreaker.

    I went to the sunnipath site to try to get some understanding of Islam beyond the MSM’s blathering s and the Anti-muslims “kill them all” or “outlaw Islam” screechings. I used to be one of them but perhaps there is a better way. I don’t know yet.

    Did you read my post in the original blogging by Isis? I watch and I do not trust UNTIL you have shown by actions that you are indeed peaceful and tolerant. It is my country, not yours until you accept the law of the land and fit in. You may practise your religion, but DO NOT try to force it upon me, or kill me because I do not follow Islam. I am a Christian, although not the best follower of Jesus Christ, but I try. I can live and let live, or I can defend if the case is needed.

    This mistrust is not limited to Islam, but anyone who immigrates to America. I don’t trust anyone at first, I don’t care what their race is, or their gender or their sexual practise or their religion. There are Christians I believe are blasphemers. Does this answer your question?

  19. samaha Says:

    Ummmm, no I haven’t seen that post, but Jarhead, I am an American and this is my country too.

    Take a peek at my blog and see where I stand on issues.

  20. Jarhead Says:

    Well, I would say based upon how you described yourself here, I would say “welcome and good luck”

    [quote]It is no longer enough for us to just sit around the dinner table and discuss the wrongs being committed in the name of Allah, it is time to do something about it.[quote/]

  21. Jarhead Says:

    Samaha or any Muslims reading this, something else that has bothered me for some time.

    Why is it some members of Islam found it necessary to attack the U.S on 9/11 after the U.S. and others sent troops in harms way to stop the slaughter of Muslims in Bosnia?

  22. samaha Says:

    Thanks Jarhead. Yes, that is where I stand. It will take some work to actually get Muslims “pro-active”. I said earlier in the day that I joined a group that is doing just that here in the Chicagoland area. It is mostly being pro-active locally, but it is a wonderful start.

    As for your question about members of Islam that found it necessary to attack the US, I can’t answer that with or without the Bosnia question. I could point back to all of the wars that we have funded within the Arab region, but it is really counterproductive.

    I am of the opinion that yes, it is important to answer these questions so that we know what turns a human being into a living bomb, a weapon of mass destruction. However, I think that it is going to be the Western Muslims that are going to redefine Islam, moreso, impact the third world Muslims into rationalization.

    By the way, just so you know, the so called Muslim world never really considered Bosnians to be Muslim. That’s why the wahibis are over there trying to make an impact.

  23. Yursil Says:

    Samaha Never considered Bosnians to be Muslim?

    What?

    The Muslim world considered them Muslims, of course they have a rich tradition of Islam.

    Jarhead,

    As far as whether one would wonder why 9/11 happened because of this or that good thing that America did.. I think its a bit confusing to think that way.

    Extremists act when it is in their political interest, they don’t hold punches for benefactors of others.

    Keep in mind religious extremists have killed more Muslims than any number of Americans before you ask this type of question. Once you come to understand that you will see that tihs is a lot more about power and control than it is religion or friendship.

  24. samaha Says:

    Yursil, I should say that once the war started, the Arabs didn’t really consider the Bosnians to be Muslim.

    That’s why they have heavilly invested into the reconstruction of Masjids and of new Masjids and Madrassas after the war. They also tried to erase our beautiful Ottoman art when reconstructing our Mosques.

    Over at Ali’s blog I made the comment once that being a convert was to natural born Muslims one step up from being a Bosnian. Omar G replied that while he was there that another Muslim told him that these people don’t even believe in God, they deserve this.

    I know what I’m talking about. Even though we have a rich tradition of Islam, it wasn’t and still isn’t really practiced. It is a majority secular society, agnostic and atheist. It’s sad, but true.

  25. Jarhead Says:

    Samaha, good luck in your efforts to redefine or rehabilitate Islam. I mean that. I agree with your statement that it will be the Western Muslim that will effect the change. From the outside looking in, I cannot understand the thought that a Muslim is not a Muslim to another Muslim!

    Yursil:
    Try to see it from the West’s perspective. I am well aware that Muslim extremists have killed more of their own than they did Americans. However, when the U.S. and other nations banded together to prevent Muslim slaughter by NON-Muslims we feel with our heritage and traditions that it should have counted for something. Whether or not you as Muslims see it as such, we spent some of our youths blood to preserve yours. So when we are attacked by “Muslims”, we are shocked, outraged, and vengeful. Part of the misunderstanding may come from the fact that extremist muslims are not a nationality, but a sect that trancends borders, and so we are confused on the whole issue.

    But, that brings me back to my original question, and this is not meant to be inflammitory. How do I know which Muslims I can trust? I can start with you and the others that post here, but how widespread is your influence with other Muslims living in the U.S.? We know there are ‘sleeper cells’ here already. Do you see the problem I am having?

    Let me clarify something for the Muslims here. In my stating that I am a brick in the wall that protects America, that includes you and your families as long as you are the peaceful, law-abiding (not sharia, U.S. National and State laws), positive contributors to society that has made America what it is today. I really don’t care what color you are, what name you give to God, or even if you are more affluent or less fortunate than I. All I care about is you are the people I described above. If we can all live together in peace, then fine, perhaps we can learn from each other, and both benefit.

  26. Yursil Says:

    Peace Jarhead,

    I am well aware that Muslim extremists have killed more of their own than they did Americans. However, when the U.S. and other nations banded together to prevent Muslim slaughter by NON-Muslims we feel with our heritage and traditions that it should have counted for something.

    1) Bosnian support was appreciated. But gaining one bosnian life while losing 2 Palestinians creates confusion, wouldn’t you agree?

    So let us be clear on this, this is all a political game. Muslim slaughter was stopped, but at the same time many very aggressive political moves have been made by stationing bases in Saudi, Israeli support, etc. Every move has a counter move on this big game of chess we call politics/the world.

    No doubt the help Bosnians received earned America political and emotional capital, but at the same time, it lost that capital in other ways.

    As I said though this attack on 9/11 has really nothing to do with that emotional feeling towards America. It has a lot more to do with Osama bin Ladens agenda of power, terror and fear.

    2)

    But, that brings me back to my original question, and this is not meant to be inflammitory. How do I know which Muslims I can trust? I can start with you and the others that post here, but how widespread is your influence with other Muslims living in the U.S.?

    The vast majority. Attend a Muslim convention and see what we talk about. Go to a mosque.

    My words in this regard are representing traditional SUNNI Islam, which is the majority sect of Islam, most prevelant in the US. Traditional Shia’s are not much different on this topic.

    The problem of extremists exists, but it is hardly as prevelant in the US as the media seems to be portraying.

  27. Jarhead Says:

    Greetings Yursil:

    Agreed that politics plays too much interference in the world and the agenda’s of a few affect all of us.

    I was under the impression that non-Muslims were not allowed into mosques and other religious meetings until they had converted. Is that then false? Isn’t a mosque defiled by an unbeliever entering? Also, are Christians and Jews unbelievers? Or is that the proper term for pagans/atheists?

    I know the American MSM has its own agenda, and at times you have to wonder just which side are they trying to present? They make money by fear-mongering and hate mongering and by stirring up irrational hatreds that in reality do not exist.

  28. Yursil Says:

    Peace Jarhead,

    Non-Muslims are routinely invited to mosques. There is no Muslim membership card, so you simply walk in 🙂 The issue of race might be a lot more significant than religion as Muslims tend to segregate their mosques into racial groups.

    Generally Pakistani’s immigrants have their own, Arabs their own, etc. Of course, being an American you will find a few stares here and there, but if you say you are here to learn I would think you would find the whole experience beneficial.

    No, a mosque is not defiled by people of other religions entering. In fact, our communities usually invite local politicians such as the mayor and other non-Muslim representatives speak at our mosques.

    Mosques evolve into community centers where all sorts of activities occur from Sunday School to overnight prayer vigils. Speeches are very common, and anyone can come and join the crowd.

    Christians and Jews are given a special status in Islam, they are called “People of the Book”, which implies that they are people who received revelation from God. They are to be respected and treated as fellow believers in God, although we may believe different things about the details of that God (trinity vs no-trinity).

    The term kaafir, or unbeliever, truly only applies to those who reject Islam outright (after they have understood it completely) who remain atheists or pagans. Although, commonly with tensions on the rise, the term is used for broadly for other percieved enemies.

    Definately their interest is in creating controversy.. but there is little we can do about that part!

  29. Yursil Says:

    (last part about controversy is applied to the media) 🙂

  30. Jarhead Says:

    Greetings Yursil,

    Too busy to respond today, but I will speak with you tomorrow.
    Some things I did not know or had misunderstood.

    Agree about the media and controversy. If I may, I suggest getting anyway you can, a spot on one of the more conservative shows Like O’Reilly Factor or Hannity and Colmes (Although I canot stand Alan Colmes). Getting your message out to people here is where you need to begin.

  31. Yursil Says:

    Jarhead,

    I wouldn’t even know where to start! When they don’t give a voice to our most famous lecturers why would they give any attention to ‘lil ole me.

    Anyway, I do what I can by writing on my blog

    http://www.yursil.com/blog

    Talk to you later, I’m travelling as well (amazing how random checkpoints had me checked each stop 🙂 )

  32. Jarhead Says:

    Peace Yursil,

    I cannot help the checkpoints, even I get stopped, and more often than you’d think. Sad commentary on the world today is it not?

    Your statement about Christians and Jews having special treatment in Islam is puzzling, especially when you take in the state of unrest not only in the Middle East, but everywhere Islam and other religions co-exist.

    So let me ask you, why do you think there is so much animosity if the Quran affords recognition of Christianity and Judaism? And even among Christians and Jews, we have differences between ourselves on all aspects of not only Jesus and his ministry, but just about every other aspect of Gods word. We are men, left to ponder with our limited knowledge, Gods word.

    I have to admit I am apprehensive about attending a mosque. Also I live far from any large metropolitian area’s and will have to check to see just where I may find one.

    Re-read Isis’ post and pay attention to where she references my only (so far) exposure to Islam. True, the circumstances were specific, but combat leaves an indelible mark upon you.

    Now, I have some German blood in me, my maternal grand father had relatives that were either Nazi’s or at least were in the German Army in WW2. My grandfather fought them so not all Germans were/are bad.

    After I left Beirut, we went to Israel for liberty (read Holiday, vacation etc) and not all Jews welcomed us. Street vendors and other people on the street treated us well and it was impossible (for me anyway or I just didn’t care to notice) to know who was Palestinian/Muslim and who was Jewish.

    So perhaps it is time for me to admit that I have been wrong about blaming all Muslims for the actions of a few.

    Very well, they say each journey begins with a single step.
    I will visit your blog (and Samaha’s), and learn on my own without Main Stream Media intervention and bias, just what is true and what is being falsley applied.

  33. Yursil Says:

    Peace Jarhead,

    So let me ask you, why do you think there is so much animosity if the Quran affords recognition of Christianity and Judaism? And even among Christians and Jews, we have differences between ourselves on all aspects of not only Jesus and his ministry, but just about every other aspect of Gods word. We are men, left to ponder with our limited knowledge, Gods word.

    The animosity has to do with the modern world and its games for power and money. In the old days, within Ottoman times and even older within al-Andalus (Muslim portion of Spain), Muslims and Christians got along very well. Famous poets, philosophers and centers of learning came out of those era’s but sadly all of that rich tradition has been abandoned.

    I have to admit I am apprehensive about attending a mosque. Also I live far from any large metropolitian area’s and will have to check to see just where I may find one.

    Ah that might be a sticking point, but next time you are in the NY area I would be happy to show you around.

    Thank you for visiting my blog, maybe we can continue the conversation there

  34. Red Tulips Says:

    How about a fourth viewpoint?

    I do not believe all Muslims are evil or inherently evil, but I am not convinced Islam is a peaceful religion at its core, and I do believe it needs a reformation. I believe there are peaceful elements to Islam, but I do not believe that it is a peaceful religion to its core. That said, I am hoping for a reformation, and not for anyone to be stamped out.

    I regularly cite the good actions of Muslims on my blog and never castigate people just for being a member of the religion, but perhaps a fourth perspective is valid: skepticism of Islam, disbelief in the holiness of Muhammad (or even inherent peacefulness of the man), yet a willingness to talk to Muslims with the intent of highlighting the GOOD in the hope that is what catches on.

  35. Red Tulips Says:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061119/ts_nm/religion_islam_women_dc

    Possibly good development

  36. harry Says:

    Red Tulip has addressed the major problem non-Muslims have with Islam – the life and times of Mohammad.

    Mohammad and Islamic Jihad slaughtered and enslaved, occupied and colonized from Africa to Europe to Asia. Muslims rarely acknowledge this history, but celebrate the ‘Golden Age of Islam’ in Andalusia, never mentioning the fate of Christians, Jews and unbelievers for 1400 years under Islam.

    Criticism of Islam is too often met with self-righteous and defensive attitudes, along with assigning blame to the West for imperialism, colonialism, occupation, slavery and, of course, the Crusades, which were a response to centuries of Islamic Jihad.

    Nonetheless, the Catholic church apologized for the Crusades, as it apologized for the church’s demonization of Jews. England led the way in ending slavery; half a million Americans died in the war that ended slavery here, and we continue to address the effects slavery has had on our society. It’s interesting that slavery existed throughout the ages, was not outlawed in Saudi Arabia until the 1960’s and still exists in parts of Muslim Africa. Yet it’s always assigned only to America.

    Accepting responsibility, apologizing and renouncing Islam’s violent history would go a long way in alleviating the unease many of us have with the teachings of Islam. Muslims can’t expect others to accept the good in Islam until past violence has been acknowledge and renounced. I have no idea how to deal with the unholy history of Islam’s founder – that’s always the 700 lb gorilla in the room.

    But we are all free to believe as we wish. Let’s remember that discussion and criticism of ideas, including religious beliefs, define living in a pluralistic society.

  37. isis13 Says:

    Harry: While you have some valid historical points, my site focuses on the here and now. I want to make the future better and safer, not constantly rehash centuries-old crimes. I also wish to distinguish radical Islamists from peace-loving, religiously tolerant Muslims — especially American ones. Too much focus has been placed on one, that the other is getting lost from discussion and consideration. This site focuses on the actions being taken by Muslims to positively affect change within that Muslim community, in support on the global war on terror.

    I am not here to debate theology or the relative merit of Islam. I am not qualified. So do not stop here if you intend to bash Mohammad, as it will not enhance the quality of this discussion to berate another’s religion. As far as I am concerned, people can worship tomatoes as long as is being done in peace and in tolerance of others.

    And two further points: Muslims are calling out for taking the responsibility you mention — read here:

    http://politicscentral.com/2006/11/10/only_connect_reconsidering_jew.php

    And before you get so down on Saudi Arabia, you may with to consider Americans utilize Mexican girls as sex slaves:

    http://www.gvnet.com/humantrafficking/Mexico.htm

    You may not like Islam. I, myself, am Episcopalian. This site is to promote a dialog in support of Muslims desiring to fight radical Islamists and wishing fellowship with Christians, Jews and people of other faiths. Come here again only if you wish to learn more of their view of their faith, and how they will affect change among themselves. Valid concerns will be addressed, as they relate to supporting the Humanist Muslims as part of eliminating the radical element. But take the high-level theological derisions of Islam’s founder elsewhere.

  38. Charles Mazuruk Says:

    Prophet muhhamad was a star child with the gifts of prophecy amongst other gifts? What is jihad? Is it politically movitaved (from the flesh, material world?) just a comment havnt even read the article yet?

  39. Charles Mazuruk Says:

    for the comment above

    no url!

  40. Charles Mazuruk Says:

    please remove myspace http from this page if possible

    thank you

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