Championing the Prophet

22 Mar, '06

Championing the Prophet Conference billboard

Action by the Muslim world over the publication of offensive cartoons in European papers will be the focus of a two-day conference to be held in Bahrain from today.

The international event will be chaired by renowned Qatar-based scholar Yousef Al Qardawi and attended by Muslim scholars, government officials and members of the diplomatic corps.

More than 300 participants will take part in workshops and panel discussions supporting Prophet Mohammed and action to promote understanding of Muslim’s relationship with him, said participant and Muslim Educational Society chairman Shaikh Essam Ishaq.
read more…

Championing the Prophet Conference panel meets
Member of Bahraini Parliament Shaikh Adel Al-Moawdah seen chairing a panel on the Championing the Prophet Conference in Bahrain. photo credit: Al-Wasat

Marhaba Qaradawi and Ahlan wa Sahlan even though some people don’t like you thinking that you’re too soft, you’re most welcome in Bahrain. Just tone it down for goodness’ sake and tell the 300 “scientists” with you not to mix issues up. You’re here supposedly to promote the correct understanding of Islam and its great prophet, and you’re not going to do that with burning flags and preaching violence.

The least you can do to really demonstrate the forgiveness and greatness of this religion is to stand solidly against extremism in all its forms and say so without leaving any shadow of a doubt.

How about starting this process by calling for the re-interpretation of Islam and doing away with the chopping off body parts, call for the release of Abdulrahman and setting him free to follow whichever path he and others choose to reach God, and looking at the laws which subjugate women? Oh, and unconditionally condemn terrorists and their attacks no matter where they are?

Good luck, and I hope your conference is a success.

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Comments (86)

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  1. Qatar Cat says:

    I hope they take your suggestions into considerations, Mahmood. Keep us posted!

    Thanks

  2. jasra jedi says:

    and the women are … where??

  3. AbuRasool says:

    Did you watch the fascinating debate between alQaradawi and Sadek Jalal alAzm aired few years ago in alJazeera?
    According to a commentator
    “For the first time in the memory of many viewers, the religious conservative came across as the weaker, more defensive voice”. I agree. I watched it and I was amazed how shallow was Qaradawi compared to alAzm. Later I read that he regretted taking part in that debate.
    Abu Rasool

  4. AbuRasool says:

    May 1997.

  5. mahmood says:

    have to dig up the transcript for THAT one, should be interesting reading! Or is it on MEMRI?

  6. AbuRasool says:

    There is (was?) a Kuwaiti outlet that sells videos of alJazeera programmes…

  7. mahmood says:

    I found this reference which is quite interesting:

    Al-Jazeera tackled the long-held taboos in the Arab society one after another with its programs covering topics as varied as polygamy, politics, religion, corruption and academic freedom. In its popular show “The Opposite Direction,” an imitation of CNN’s “Cross Fire “two guests from diametrically opposed sides on a variety of issues come face-to-face in debate and take calls and respond to faxes from viewers.” In one episode of the show prominent Islamic scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradwi faced off with Sadeq Jalal Al-Azm, a staunch secularist and professor of philosophy at the University of Damasacus. Sheikh Qaradawi’s spirited defense of Islam was met by Al-Azm’s scorn and derision. Not only this but Al-Azm ridiculed religious thought, mocked the prophets, claimed that Islam is a “backward” religion and praised Kemal Ataturk for banishing Islam from his country. This episode and many others like it point the authors show that Al-Jazeera is not an Islamist entity but an independent entity providing diverse opinion.

    Qalandar

  8. mahmood says:

    Here’s a good interview with Sadeq Jalal Al-Azm. A must read.

    Especially to you Steve!

  9. Farah says:

    Mr Mahmood,

    Thanks for your great writing. I was hoping that maybe Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradwi would be giving a public lecture somewhere in Bahrain. I would love to go.

    Regards,
    Farah

  10. AbuRasool says:

    Although it is nearly nine year old debate, I clearly remember that AlAzm did not say anything near “Islam is a backward religion. A central point in his argument, outlined already in 1969 in his نقد الفكر الديني Critique of the Religious Mind , was that strict interpretations of all religious teachings, including the Islamic one, require superbeings.
    We, he claims, are nothing more than humanbeings, i.e. we do not possess the required super qualities. Strict interpretations of Islam, therefore, cannot be applied. He takes examples from the behaviour of prophets, including Mohammad, and their followers to show that the Quranic teachings have never been applied or enforced. In these examples he points to their human failings and mistakes.
    Needless to add that his 1969 book نقد الفكر الديني remains on the lists of banned books. ( It is soooo banned that even the al-Najma bookshop, in Manama, dared not sel it openly).

  11. Chanad says:

    His 1969 book may be banned, but AlAzm himself isn’t! He gave a lecture in Bahrain a year or so ago, on the invitation of the Sh Ebrahim Centre, I think. I’m really sorry that I missed it.

  12. Steve The American says:

    It turns out that one of the delegates to this conference in Bahrain turns out to be Ahmed Akkari, one of the dishonest imams behind the Danish cartoon jihad. While Akkari was meditating upon the inexplicable attachment of Islam to terror in Western perception at the International Conference for Supporting the Prophet, a covert videotape was released of him advocating the assassination of a moderate Danish Muslim, Naser Kader, who was joining the Danish government.

    Says Akkari, “If he becomes Foreign or Immigration Minister, one should send a couple of guys to blow up both him and the ministry.

    That’s how Akkari supports the Prophet and Islam, the religion of peace and tolerance.

  13. jasra jedi says:

    aaah.. steve. we missed you. how are our beloved evangelicals doing in the states? have u managed to get pat roberston to keep his mouth shut yet? or do you think we should invite him to the conference in bahrain? he would be in great company ..

  14. Steve The American says:

    I have special ordered a large cork for Robertson from Portugal but it has not arrived yet.

    In fairness to Pat Robertson, he usually makes a lot of sense when he analyzes events, usually from a sound conservative perspective. The only problem is that he will suck you in, making sense, then make a 90 turn into frooty loops land with a boast that he’s steered a hurricane away from America or a plan to declare a jubilee every fifty years to wipe clean all debts or urging a head of state be assassinated. That’s when you slap your forehead and say, “I can’t believe I was listening to this loon.”

    In fairness to the evangelicals, they are at best annoying and long-winded. I know. I lived with them in Texas. They also want to slip their crazy-ass creationism into the curriculum of the public schools. That’s when I came up with my idea for a slapping machine, a robot with a rotor-like device above with rubber gloves full of foam on the ends. I would set it loose in a Baptist church and just let it slap sense into people. It wouldn’t be bad for the office either. Alas, it’s an idea before it’s time.

    However, as tiresome as the evangelicals are, I have yet to see them draw blood for their religion, other than the snake-handlers in North Carolina who only hurt themselves.

    That said, I think it would be a wonderful idea to invite ole Pat to the Muslim hootenany in Manama. In fact, he should take over a posse of his brother preachers with him. Lock the doors and let them get to know each other. Then toss some fully-gassed chainsaws in the windows and let nature take its course.

  15. Madsen says:

    Hi Mahmood

    I believe you might find this article interesting:

    http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2006-03-23T164714Z_01_L2397527_RTRUKOC_0_UK-RELIGION-DENMARK-THREATS.xml&archived=False

    “COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Danish police will launch an investigation into allegations that an imam at the centre of the Prophet Mohammad cartoon row issued death threats against a moderate Muslim politician, a spokesman said on Thursday.

    At least 50 people have been killed in protests in Asia, Africa and the Middle East after Danish paper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons about the Prophet last year.

    A French TV documentary crew secretly filmed Imam Ahmed Akkari threatening to have Naser Khader — a founder of Denmark’s Democratic Muslims network, which opposes violent protests over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad — bombed.

    “It is truly shocking that an elected Danish politician can be the object of threats in this way,” Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters. “I take for granted that the police will investigate what happened and will deal with it.”

    Police spokesman Flemming Steen Munk said the inquiry would begin as soon as Akkari returned from Bahrain, where he was attending a conference that finished on Thursday.

    If convicted, Akkari would face a maximum of eight years in prison.

    Akkari, a spokesman for the Islamic Religious Community in Denmark, told Danish National TV he regretted his threat and said he “in no way” wanted to provoke an attack on Khader.

    “I am deeply sorry about the remark, which was meant as a joke, but was taken seriously,” he said in an open letter to Khader, who lives under police protection……”

    Akkari is currently in Bahrain attending the conference you’ve mentioned in your posting…

    Kind regards…have a nice weekend

    Madsen

  16. Steve The American says:

    Don’t we all enjoy a good murder threat joke from a Muslim radical? I’m sure Naser Khader got a big belly laugh out of it just like Theo Van Gogh got a big charge out of that merry Muslim prankster Mohammed Bouyeri. There’s nothing that livens a party up like a death threat from an imam.

  17. Dr. Jensen says:

    Dear Steve the American.

    Mr. Akkari said something stupid, but the way he said it made it a remark with no criminal intent in my ears. I’m not a lawyer, but in my eyes a stupid remark without criminal intent is not enough to take these matters to court. But the police will need to hear him explain with his own words what he said and what he meant.

    The remark complicated things, because the stupid remark was said about Mr. Khader, a member of parliament in Denmark, who is living with police protection because of threats. It was also complicating things that Mr. Akkari was the official spokesperson for a group of islamic groups when he said it. He has just stepped down from this position.

    I wish to say that the different newsprograms on TV at once quoted many muslim communities for condemning Mr. Akkaris comment. Also the communities who disagree with Mr. Khader.

    The journalist from France2 who exposed Mr. Akkari is a muslim himself. He was given time on prime time TV to explain about his faith and devotion and did so in a very decent way.

    There is no need to target all muslims for the actions of a few people or to speak badly about Islam just because Mr. Akkari is a muslim. Mr. Akkari made a mistake so I think we should let him deal with the consequenses. Not the rest af the muslim community.
    We really don’t need polarisation between people of different faiths living in the same country.

    Yours sincerely
    Dr. Jensen

  18. Anonymous says:

    This conference is destined to failure in its own terms. If they want to deal with the image problem then all they’d have to do is condemn the death sentence hanging over the Afghan convert. No ten point programme needed about sending delegations here and there, instead they only need to direct three words to the Afghan government “This is wrong”.

  19. Steve The American says:

    Dr. Jensen: “Mr. Akkari said something stupid, but the way he said it made it a remark with no criminal intent in my ears.”

    We disagree there. Akkari’s death threat, uttered in confidence in private, reveals his true nature.

    Dr. Jensen: “We really don’t need polarisation between people of different faiths living in the same country.”

    We agree there. Unfortunately, polarization between religions is what Islam is all about. It wasn’t the Christians who invented the Dar al Harb versus Dar al Islam nor is it Christians seeking to build a “wall of resentment” between Muslims and non-Muslims as many Muslims seek. Nor are Christians sticking knives in the chests of their critics. The best way for Muslims to end such polarization is to punish their members who practice it, rather than make excuses for them, and to stop killing people for their religion. The burden rests on you.

  20. Dr. Jensen says:

    Dear Steve The American.

    About Mr. Akkari
    I don’t speak arab, so I don’t understand what Mr. Akkari says. I have now seen three translations. None of them suggest that Mr. Akkari would do something violent himself or that he would suggest that someone should do it.
    It’s more like “if Mr. Khader was minister someone would…” So he doesn’t show criminal intent. To wish evil for someone or even hoping for it is not against the law in a court room but more a question af moral.
    A democratic constitution must have the power to act according it’s own rules even when the foundation is attacked. Mr. Akkari is a danish citizen, with a danish passport. He must be judged just like any other danish citizen and must not be treated differently because of religion, race or the place of birth.

    About polarisation.
    I’m not familiar with the the concepts you mention. (Dar al Harb and Dar al Islam).
    What I know is, that most people want to live, work and raise their families no matter what religion they believe in.

    There has been racist attacks in Europe for decades and I believe even the USA can document assaults based on religion or race. It doesn’t excuse the violent acts but it’s unfair not to mention it.
    Knives and guns are found in any culture and going back some 65 years Europe harboured a bloodthirsty totalitarian regime of fascism/nazism. But I wouldn’t blame that on christianity.

    There has been demonstrations against terrorism – I remember seeing pictures from Bahrain or was it Dubai? – but they don’t attract the same attention as the more spectacular acts. Did the US media show pictures from the demonstrations for peace and dialogue in Denmark taking place while the buildings and flags were burning in the ME?

    It’s a strange time for my country and while all these events are taking place, it’s even more important to observe that the members of the muslim community are not isolated and on the contrary are offered the possibility to contribute positively to the country as equal citizens.

    In my opinion it’s the authorities in Denmark – the police and the courts – who must handle the people not acting according to the law.
    The muslim community shouldn’t be targeted or blamed for the acts of a few muslim.

    Yours sincerely
    Dr. Jensen

  21. M says:

    Dr. Jensen,

    You are probably right that his comment was not a serious one and meant in jest; we all do it. Unfortunately there appears to be a difference of standards for Mr. Akkari and the rest of us, or at the very least, cartoonist and Danish newspapers.

    I’m sure Mahmood is not holding his breath for these guys to advance anything but themselves. It certainly is the height of something when you instigate the kind of hatred these guys routinely do around the Muslim world and then have the balls to call a conference to “promote” understanding about Islam which is nothing more than an attempt promote yourself as a good guy. What a blown opportunity these clowns could have to make a contribution for the good of everyone.

  22. mahmood says:

    Well said M. And what were the resolutions this “conference” end up with?

    Continue the Boycott!

    What else do you expect from people who have literally left all logic completely out of their lives for dogmatic and literal translation of ancient text?

    Calling for “understanding?” bah!

  23. billT says:

    Dr Jensen “In my opinion it’s the authorities in Denmark – the police and the courts – who must handle the people not acting according to the law.
    The muslim community shouldn’t be targeted or blamed for the acts of a few muslim”

    I dont blame the muslim community for the acts of a few but and its a big but it gets harder and harder every month not to. If Ahmed Akkari were to be convicted and sent to prison for threatening to assassinate Naser Kader what do you think the Muslim reaction would be? My guess is outrage and probably violence with silence by the majority. That silence is what is making it harder for me to not blame all Muslims. The good thing is that here at Mahmoods I get a dose of Muslims speaking out against the idiots in their religion.

    billT

  24. Dr. Jensen says:

    Dear M.

    The biggest problem for Mr. Akkari saying a stupid remark is, that when he did so, he was the spokesperson for a danish islamic council, which is a representation of a number of smaller muslim communities. So even if it’s not against the law to wish misfortune for someone, it’s not acceptable for an official spokesperson and he has been asked to resign from that position.
    It’s more disturbing that Mr. Abu Laban filmed with hidden camera is linked to knowledge about terrorism. He denies of course but it will be looked into by the police.

    At the moment the reputation of the danish islamic council is totally ruined and so is their influence. Since they are known to be among the most conservative muslims (salafist they say, but I don’t know what it means), it will give room for other less conservative muslims to speak their mind.

    The participation of the danish imams on the conference was interesting but their influence is obviously neglectable. I think they hoped to be recognized for their efforts to end the boycott but that message was overshadowed by the french documentary.

    Yours sincerely
    Dr. Jensen

  25. Steve The American says:

    Dr. Jensen: “I don’t speak arab, so I don’t understand what Mr. Akkari says. I have now seen three translations. None of them suggest that Mr. Akkari would do something violent himself or that he would suggest that someone should do it.”

    Arabic, not Arab, as Mahmood is fond of reminding me.

    This is an evasion, not an argument. Inciting others to violence while maintaining a disconnect to actual acts of terror is a well known tactic of radical imams in England. The strategy is to float the idea of violence so that somebody will make it his project.

    Dr. Jensen: It’s more like “if Mr. Khader was minister someone would…” So he doesn’t show criminal intent. To wish evil for someone or even hoping for it is not against the law in a court room but more a question af moral. A democratic constitution must have the power to act according it’s own rules even when the foundation is attacked. Mr. Akkari is a danish citizen, with a danish passport. He must be judged just like any other danish citizen and must not be treated differently because of religion, race or the place of birth.

    We agree that Akkari’s threat is immoral. I would add that Akkari’s wish for evil is part of a larger wish for evil by the radical Muslim world.

    The rest of your argument is beating a straw man. I’m not much interested in what legal action is taken against Akkari. That’s up to the Danes. I’m interested in illustrating the evil intent of these imams.

    Dr. Jensen: “About polarisation. I’m not familiar with the the concepts you mention. (Dar al Harb and Dar al Islam).
    What I know is, that most people want to live, work and raise their families no matter what religion they believe in.”

    Islam divides the world into the Dar al Islam or House of Peace where the Muslims live, and the Dar al Harb or House of War where the non-Muslims or unbelievers or infidels live. Violence is not allowed against Muslims in the Dar al Islam, in theory, but anything goes in the Dar al Harb.

    That’s why Muslims have no complaints about the Sep 11 atrocities or the Madrid train bombings or the London Tube bombings. Those are infidels dying in the House of War. That’s perfectly acceptable as part of the inevitable conquest of the infidel world by Islam. However, when terror comes home to the Dar al Islam, then it’s considered wrong.

    That basic concept of Islam is the foundation for the polarization between Muslims and all other faiths. You may want to raise your children in your religion, but the fundamentalist Muslims expect you to convert to Islam, submit to Muslim rule, or die.

    Dr. Jensen: “There has been racist attacks in Europe for decades and I believe even the USA can document assaults based on religion or race. It doesn’t excuse the violent acts but it’s unfair not to mention it.
    Knives and guns are found in any culture and going back some 65 years Europe harboured a bloodthirsty totalitarian regime of fascism/nazism. But I wouldn’t blame that on christianity.

    It would be bad history if you did. Nazism was a nationalistic brand of socialism that endorsed a pagan religion of Norse gods. Communism is distinctly atheist. Religious violence is fairly rare in American history. We set up America to avoid all that. However, religious violence is a constant in Islamic history. The current campaign of religious terror fomented by the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia is all about propagating Islam through violence.

    Dr. Jensen: “There has been demonstrations against terrorism – I remember seeing pictures from Bahrain or was it Dubai? – but they don’t attract the same attention as the more spectacular acts. Did the US media show pictures from the demonstrations for peace and dialogue in Denmark taking place while the buildings and flags were burning in the ME?

    Yes, I saw the demonstrations in Denmark on TV and on the Internet here in the US. They were dwarfed by the demonstrations demanding Western free speech submit to Islam.

    There are some demonstrations in the Middle East against terrorism but they are less than they seem to be. For example, there was a large demonstration against terrorism at Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt after terrorists blew up the resort there. However, questioning of the marchers revealed that they believed the CIA and Mossad had perpetrated the bombings, not the fundamentalist Muslims who actually spilled the blood. They believed that because that’s what their imams had told them along with what the government-controlled Egytian TV said.

    Dr. Jensen: “It’s a strange time for my country and while all these events are taking place, it’s even more important to observe that the members of the muslim community are not isolated and on the contrary are offered the possibility to contribute positively to the country as equal citizens.

    The Muslim radicals do not want to be equal citizens, but dominant citizens in a country run by Sharia law in which you are an inferior who must pay a tax for not being a Muslim and who has few rights. They have no interest in contributing to a democracy. That is blasphemy in their eyes. They are very interested in bending Denmark to Islamic custom.

    Dr. Jensen: “In my opinion it’s the authorities in Denmark – the police and the courts – who must handle the people not acting according to the law. The muslim community shouldn’t be targeted or blamed for the acts of a few muslim.

    The Muslims in Denmark, and across Europe, intend to displace you from your own country, to transform your democracies into theocracies, and rely on your naivete and tolerance to do so. They are not immigrants to Denmark, but colonists.

  26. Steve The American says:

    Dr. Jensen: “At the moment the reputation of the danish islamic council is totally ruined and so is their influence. Since they are known to be among the most conservative muslims (salafist they say, but I don’t know what it means), it will give room for other less conservative muslims to speak their mind.”

    Salafist means Wahhabi, the death cult which runs Saudi Arabia and which currently is engaged in a world wide war of terror on civilization. They are responsible for the World Trade Center attack, the Madrid bombing, among other atrocities. If you want to learn what the Wahhabis are about, google Nick Berg and you can watch the video of Wahhabis in action, professing their faith.

  27. Dr. Jensen says:

    Dear Steve The American.

    First I would like to thank you for telling me the difference between arab and arabic. I didn’t know and I will try my best to remember.

    I read what you say about House of War and House of Peace. I have no opinion about it and if I had – noone would listen.
    You may call me naïve but I still refuse to generalise and blame all Muslims for the acts of a few evil claiming to act in the name of Islam.
    Terrorism must be opposed just like any other violent movement.

    I don’t believe that “Muslims” want to displace democracy with theocracy. I have too many muslim friends to believe that. But I’m not blind to the fact, that some – but not the majority – want to do so.
    As an example Hisb-Uth-Tahrir is legal in Denmark. Freedom of speech give them the right to wish and work for a different constitution. It’s not different from others who want a totalitarian or antiauthoritarian regime, but it puts them in a position, where the intelligence will have to keep an eye on them.

    Dealing with extremism can be done within a democratic constitution, where the limit is intimidation, violence and the advocating for it. Europe has tried it before. Some of us haven’t forgotten Rote Arme Fraktion.

    I have heard about the Nick Berg video, I have read the transcript, but I’ve chosen not so see it. It’s too bloody for a doctor 🙂

    Yours sincerely
    Dr. Jensen

  28. Dr. Jensen says:

    I’m so sorry.
    I should never have put the smiley there!

    First of all I chose not to see the video out af respect for Nick Berg and his family. And I knew that I would never be able to forget the pictures.

    I’m so sorry.
    Dr. Jensen

  29. M says:

    ” he has been asked to resign from that position

    At the moment the reputation of the danish islamic council is totally ruined and so is their influence. Since they are known to be among the most conservative muslims (salafist they say, but I don’t know what it means), it will give room for other less conservative muslims to speak their mind

    The participation of the danish imams on the conference was interesting but their influence is obviously neglectable.”

    Dr. Jensen,

    With all due respect, are you pulling my leg? It would seem that the Danish Islamic Council and Mr. Akkari’s stature has done nothing but grow in the Muslim world. Good grief, now he’s at a conference with Yousef Al Qardawi; how much more could an aspiring imam want? It would seem he has gotten a promotion instead of having his hands slapped by the powers that be.

    Listen, the majority of people in the West understand the problem with painting all Muslims with the same brush; there will always be some who do just as there will be some in the Muslim world that need the hatred to fester and continue to hold onto their power. Bill’s point is valid, and we all have to speak out against the stupidity as Mahmood and others have done, because it then gives strength to others to stand up for what is right.

  30. Johnster says:

    Did the conference discuss whether cutting an innocent person’s throat in the name of Allah is offensive to the religion?

  31. Steve The American says:

    Dr. Jensen: “Dealing with extremism can be done within a democratic constitution, where the limit is intimidation, violence and the advocating for it. Europe has tried it before. Some of us haven’t forgotten Rote Arme Fraktion.”

    Some of us haven’t forgotten the democratic election of Hitler to power in Germany. Their democratic constitution did not stop Nazi extremism. The current Euopean democracies have sought to accomodate and appease Muslim extremism. You are going to need to be more tough-minded in your approach to such extremism if you intend to maintain a democracy. You are playing badminton while the Muslim extremists are playing hardball.

  32. Dr. Jensen says:

    Dear Steve The American and billT.

    I don’t think Mr. Akkaris remark will put him in prison.
    My point is that criminals don’t get convicted for religious beliefs but for violation of the law. Riots in general or after a conviction will not be accepted neither by the authorities nor the public.
    Riots and outrage in the muslim world would be handled by the authoritíes there. Some of the danish imams are expelled from muslim countries as a result of extremism and are granted humanitarian asylum here.
    Violent crimes and the support of it are the kind of crimes that get immigrants expelled from Denmark.

    The danish constitution grants freedom of religion. The muslim community have the right to speak up against what they believe is blasphemy. It’s the courts that decide the matter balancing free speech and religious sensitivity. A boycott won’t change the law.

    The imams who went touring the Middle East with the aid of a foreign minister and an embassador from another country will have to explain their actions and their material to the authorities. This tour was a political action more than a religious action in my eyes.

    We are debating the implementation of “terrorism laws” at the moment to deal with extremism.

    What is appeasement? What is consideration? Maybe the danish way to do things isn’t the best way to do things. Danes are debating it at the moment. There has never been so many letters-to-the-editor in the newspapers.

    Dear M.

    I’m trying to tell how I see things from my place in the world with the limited knowledge I have and I’m trying to learn more at the same time. I appreciate your informations and opinions very much.

    Imams in Denmark has been figthing each other for influence. Some are moderate and some are more radical. Until now the radicals are the ones, we have heard the most. When other imams or muslims spoke, the radicals would immidiately say that the others were not proper muslims.

    A group of secular muslims (muslims believing in democracy and rejecting sharia) in Denmark are at the moment represented by Mr. Khader who is an MP and highly respected among Danes. The radical imams have until now limited Mr. Khaders influence since they would call him “apostat”, “infidel” or “rat” when he opened his mouth, claiming that he couldn’t speak for anyone but himself.
    The radical imams are now seen as people speaking for or at least joking about and accepting violence, which is totally unacceptable for Danes.

    Maybe their stature in muslim communities inside and outside Denmark is bigger but it can’t be used, when it comes to influence in the decision making in a secular country. Being associated with Yousef Al Qardawi won’t open doors in Denmark – in fact it will close doors.
    The Danish Islamic Council speaks for a minority of danish muslims and I think their actions have backfired. I will see if I’m right in the near future.

    The government have to cooperate with someone else and they have months ago started inviting muslim groups and politicians to find others to cooperate with.

    The painting with the same brush by some is quite obvious now and the danish politicians doing it are actually loosing support.
    Many danes have started giving money to support muslim groups in Denmark who are actively opposing the use of violence. So have I. Supporting a muslim group is for me not a religious choice but a political choice.

    Yours sincerely
    Dr. Jensen

  33. Jared in NYC says:

    Dr Jensen,

    Based only on your own remarks and perspecitive, it seems to me that a humanist perspective in critical thinking, transparent democracy, and informed public debate are alive and well in Denmark. I believe these will serve your country well, and hope that mine recovers a sufficient measure of these things that seem to be at a low ebb here.

    Jared

  34. Dr.Jensen says:

    Mahmood’s Den is now on my daily read list and I will keep stopping by.

    I thank you Mr. Mahmood for the hospitality on the blog and the opportunity to comment and receive feedback from other readers.
    My perspective has broadened and the world has become a little smaller.

  35. Faisal says:

    Dear Mahmood,

    Hello.
    “How about starting this process by calling for the re-interpretation of Islam and doing away with the chopping off body parts”
    I was just wondering since you take a very strong stance against what you call the “religious extremists”, when you say “chopping off body parts” are you referring to the islamic laws that state that a thief shall have his hand cut, etc. etc., and by the flow of your article and many other articles I’m speculating that you mean to criticize it.

    Regards,
    Faisal

  36. mahmood says:

    I do Faisal. So what’s your point?

  37. mahmood says:

    Dr. Jensen, you’re most welcome and thanks for your kind words.

  38. Ethan says:

    Blah, my comment never posted.

    If Dr. Jensen (and is European, though I think he is) is still reading, I’d like to ask him regarding the Muslim Danish MP who is forming that Democratic Muslim movement in the country. I heard he was now in hiding. Is there any news there?

    The fact that democratic or secular Muslims have to go into hiding is disheartening and spells doom for Europe. The more I read regarding Europe’s self-flagellation and multicultural wastelands, the more I slide into despair.

    When the Louvre burns and Chatres’ buttresses are turned into minarets.. then will Europe wake up? By then it will be too late.

  39. Faisal says:

    Dear Mahmood,

    I have been visiting this site for quite a while, many of the information posted and talks in the forums are very useful, and very influential, and readers are definitely forming perceptions of our religion based on the content in this site, some perceptions which are true and worthy of acquiring, and some which are distorted and very disturbing. Every person is entitled to opinions, such as yours about “chopping of body parts”, but it does not mean that opinions can not be wrong, and it is only the ignorant that continue to grasp onto an opinion after knowing that it is wrong (meaning when reason or logic proves an opinion to be not worthy of holding on to). “chopping of body parts” is a law, directly from God, to humans, it is a law that cannot be abolished, as god describes many times in the Quran.

    For example, as God says in surat al Noor {The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment. } Such laws as chopping of the hand of a thief, or hitting a man guilty of adultry a hundred stripes, are matters prescribed by Allah, and if a person believes in Allah, then he is obligated to do it, and if he or a government does not enforce those laws, then obviously, as God states, they do not believe in God and the Last Day. So by criticizing laws such as those, you are not criticizing Al Qardawi’s laws, you are in fact criticizing God’s laws, which is just insane. I am dying to understand when you liberals became wiser then god and how you aquired the qualifications to challenge God’s laws, and not only that, but to go to the extent of criticizing them. What is apparent is that the ego of liberals is growing and growing, and is stepping over line, a servant of a king would not dare challenge a king and criticize him, but unbelievably, humans are criticizing their creator, who created them out of nothing, and are in reality indirectly claiming to be wiser then God, which is just ridicilous and completely ignorant. And if liberals are that ignorant, then it definitely worries me to know that those are the people that are making day to day decisions that are running our country and economy. I definitely would be more comforted if the people making our decisions, are atleast wise enough, to know that God surpasses them in knowledge, and that Allahs laws, are wiser then laws formulated by humans. I cannot see how any sane bright muslim can disagree with this.

    Regards,
    Faisal

  40. mahmood says:

    Faisal, you should realise that most of the things applied today in the name of Islam is nothing more than just culture and tradition and is so far removed from Islam that it could be anything you want it to be.

    To put it another way, it is my personal belief that the muttawa (and I mean all sects of Islam) have hijacked Islam and moulded it in whatever they want it to be, to arrive now, at this day and age, at such a critical condition that if it is not fixed, and fixed in a way to demonstrate its greatness and its tolerance as God and His prophet intended, then it will be defeated and lost for ever,

    I’m off to bed in a few minutes, but let me leave you with an interesting debate that you should read and explore some more; this is a comment I entered on Margaret Hassan’s (rest her soul) article a while ago. Please do take the time to read it and then come back and let me know what you think.

    Good night.

  41. “That’s why Muslims have no complaints about the Sep 11 atrocities or the Madrid train bombings or the London Tube bombings. Those are infidels dying in the House of War. That’s perfectly acceptable as part of the inevitable conquest of the infidel world by Islam. However, when terror comes home to the Dar al Islam, then it’s considered wrong …”

    1) If you take a look at the Arab media and the English-language Arab blogosphere like found on http://www.itoot.net, you’ll find a pretty unilateral condemnation of terrorist acts wherever. These voices are seldomly reported by the media, though.

    It’s not that people in the Muslim world are not against these terrorist attacks and that they were not horrified by them, but such voices of sanity are underreported by our media. (I’m not saying there isn’t a problem with some clerics’ priorities, tho – but that’s another matter).

    2) Need I remind you that many of the victims of the London and Madrid bombings were not only innocent civilians, they were innocent civilian Muslims

    3) Need I remind you that most acts of terrorism committed in these days seem to take place in the Muslim world: Pakistan, Iraq and Amman, Jordan have taken severe hits.

    So, your statement is simply blatantly untrue IMO.

  42. Steve The American says:

    Carsten Agger: “If you take a look at the Arab media and the English-language Arab blogosphere like found on http://www.itoot.net, you’ll find a pretty unilateral condemnation of terrorist acts wherever. These voices are seldomly reported by the media, though.”

    The English language Arab blogosphere does not represent the Arab world but rather that tiny subset of it that speaks English and has enjoyed a Western education. It is outweighed by a larger Arabic language blogosphere that delights in passing around beheading videos or Internet movies of jihadis attacking Coalition troops in Iraq. That, in turn, is outweighed by a larger Arabic Muslim population that has no access to the Internet, is functionally illiterate, lives in villages where the most murderously intolerant interpretation of Islam is the norm.

    I also disagree with your assertion that there is unilateral condemnation in the English-language Arab blogosphere. It is not difficult to find Arab Muslims justifying the terrorist attacks in English. Likewise, the objections of so-called moderate Muslims to terror always seems to be followed by a BUT where they justify the act. You might take a closer look at these objections, many of which rely on ambiguous words that mean one thing to Western readers and another to Muslims. All too often, there is less to their objections than you would assume.

    Carsten Agger: “It’s not that people in the Muslim world are not against these terrorist attacks and that they were not horrified by them, but such voices of sanity are underreported by our media. (I’m not saying there isn’t a problem with some clerics’ priorities, tho – but that’s another matter).”

    That’s wishful thinking, Carsten. You can easily peruse translations of the Middle Eastern media and find jubilation at the deaths on Sep 11, for example. In Palestine, they danced in the streets and passed out sweets. In Saudi Arabia, they slaughtered goats and had feasts. In Germany, the Turkish immigrants shot off home-made rockets. I have yet to read or see an unequivocal condemnation of terror by a leading Muslim.

    I’m not too much impressed by your attempt to transfer the blame for Muslim acceptance of terror to Western bias in the media. Quite frankly, that is an example of the typical European multi-culti cult which seeks to excuse all Muslim crimes as expressions of Western racism.

    Carsten Agger: “Need I remind you that many of the victims of the London and Madrid bombings were not only innocent civilians, they were innocent civilian Muslims.”

    Actually, I need no reminder. It demonstrates the indiscriminate nature of Muslim terror. In the Islamic radical’s view, such Muslims killed in jihad go right to paradise unless of course they were Muslim women riding the subway unescorted, in which case they were infidels who deserved to die.

    However, since we are reminding each other, allow me to remind you that 40% of the Pakistani immigrant community in London said that they would not report such a bomb plot to the police should they learn of one. Rather than being horrified by such terrorist atrocities, as you claim in error, they seemed to support them. They don’t seem to be as impressed as you are that innocent Muslims died in the Tube attacks.

    Carsten Agger: “Need I remind you that most acts of terrorism committed in these days seem to take place in the Muslim world: Pakistan, Iraq and Amman, Jordan have taken severe hits.”

    Terrorist attacks in the West have declined because more aggressive security has prevented them. If you check the papers, Muslim terror plots are still regularly uncovered in the West and the would-be perpetrators prosecuted. The terrorists have been driven back to their home countries where they can rely on the support of Muslims who support their cause.

    Need I remind you of Mao’s dictum that guerrillas swim among the people as fish swim in the sea? It applies to terrorists, too. Terrorists swim from mosque to mosque, safe house to safe house, in Arab countries because the people support them and their terror.

    Carsten Agger: “So, your statement is simply blatantly untrue IMO.”

    Needless to say, I disagree, but you have the right to your opinion, no matter how wrong. However, if you truly feel that Muslims abhor terror, why don’t you put it to the test? Take one of those cartoons of Mohammed and post it on your door right there in Denmark. Let’s see how many Muslims come to your defense and preach peace. Or then again, let’s see if you end up with a knife in your chest.

  43. Steve The American says:

    Faisal: “Every person is entitled to opinions, such as yours about “chopping of body parts”, but it does not mean that opinions can not be wrong, and it is only the ignorant that continue to grasp onto an opinion after knowing that it is wrong (meaning when reason or logic proves an opinion to be not worthy of holding on to). “chopping of body parts” is a law, directly from God, to humans, it is a law that cannot be abolished, as god describes many times in the Quran.”

    Faisal,

    You might consider that your interpretation is wrong and that you are substituting your own opinion for God’s so as to give yours greater weight than it deserves. Islam is just one religion among many, and certainly not the best of them. It’s values are that of savage desert tribes in perpetual conflict over limited resources, not of modern people who cooperate with and tolerate each other for the greater good of all. Muslims cutting off body parts because Allah commands it is as barbaric as the Aztecs cutting out human hearts because Huitzilopochtli commands it. Such barbaric practices should be rejected and the religion which demands them reformed or abandoned.

  44. Steve The American says:

    Thanks, Mahmood. That was a good article.

  45. steve wrote:


    I also disagree with your assertion that there is unilateral condemnation in the English-language Arab blogosphere. It is not difficult to find Arab Muslims justifying the terrorist attacks in English.
    —-

    Steve, I’m sorry, but even though I’ve been a rather avid reader of iToot for the last couple of months, I have not been able to find such examples. I’m sure you could give me a few pointers to blogs in English which defends the sep. 11 attacks and/or the Mar 11 attacks in Madrid and/or the July 7 attacks in London?

    It’s not that I can’t believe such a thing exists, but the English-language blogs I’ve seen so far (and I’ve seen a lot) do not express such sympathies. It’s not enough to say “Such and so once wrote” – I rather expect links to specific posts.


    Likewise, the objections of so-called moderate Muslims to terror always seems to be followed by a BUT where they justify the act.

    References, once again? The Jordanian blogosphere was pretty clearcut in its condemnation of the attacks in Amman. If you speak of attacks on american soldiers in Iraq the subject is less simplistic and more up for discussion: I mean, it’s not like the American soldiers in Iraq are civilians, in there own country or even got a formal invitation.

  46. Steve wrote:


    Likewise, the objections of so-called moderate Muslims to terror always seems to be followed by a BUT where they justify the act.

    I regard Mahmood as a moderate Muslim who objects to terror. Where is his BUT?

  47. Faisal,


    “chopping of body parts” is a law, directly from God, to humans, it is a law that cannot be abolished, as god describes many times in the Quran.

    I am not a Muslim, so I will not profess to know the Quran better than you.

    I do know another thing, though: the prophet Muhammad received he Quran in the Arab society in Makkah and Medinah in the early 7th century. God will have instructed Muhammad to deliver and interpret justice in a way that made sense to people at the time, in accordance with practise that was commonly accepted and understood. That included measures which might not be approved of today.

    I believe that the spirit of justice should not be by the letter of what the Quran contains, but according to its spirit. It is my understanding that God is merciful and Muhammad was friendly, forgiving and helpful. More importantly, it is a way many Muslims like to see their prophet.

    These decades are decisive for the world in general, and the Muslim world in particular. The world is in turmoil, and the Muslim world is becoming modern. The Middle East experiences a construction boom, India is (who would have though!) becoming a rich country, Saudi Arabia is awash with cash, in the UAE Dubai is audaciously trying to become the greatest and most modern city in the world.

    With modernity, industry and wealth follows another thing: Openness, freedom, what we might call human or civil rights. Dare I say it: Yes, freedom of speech. Presumption of innocense.

    Individuals are getting more power. They have strikes in Dubai, and the authorities are powerless to just crack down (even though they’d probably like to).

    As Tariq Ramadan said about European Muslims: Muslims need to find a new way of being Muslims in our modern societies – a way which does not contradict being open and well-educated. That, or face complete secularization, marginalization – and more decades of backwardness. And that may mean going back to the Quran and the example of the Prophet – and forget the fiqh which was developed in societies which were very different from the modern societies which might arise in the Middle East.

    The Islamic societies were once the scion of civilization and brought the culture of India, Persia and the ancient Greeks to Europe. They taught Europe medicine, algebra, geography – and other things.

    But – this is a very long time ago. This was in the days of Saladin, my friend. Up through the centuries, the Muslim world stagnated while the West rose. For better and for worse, I will admit it.

    But if the Muslim world is to rise again, you need *openness* – and liberals like Mahmood. You do *not* need to stick to laws given by god or interpreted by clerics for more than a thousand years ago.

    regards, and greetings from Denmark,

    Carsten

  48. mahmood says:

    well said Carsten.

  49. Chanad says:

    Carsten said:

    I believe that the spirit of justice should not be by the letter of what the Quran contains, but according to its spirit.

    You’ve touched on a very important point here. A famous hadith from Imam Nawawi’s fourty is:

    According to Wabisah bin Ma’bad, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said:

    I came to the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, and he said: “You have come to ask about righteousness ?” ” Yes,” I answered. He said: “Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels tranquil and the heart feels tranquil, and sin is what creates restlessness in the soul and moves to and fro in the breast, even though people give you their opinion (in your favour) and continue to do so.”

    [A good hadith transmitted from the Musnads of the two Imams, Ahmad bin Hanbal and Al-Darimi]

    This hadith suggests the existence of an internal moral compass. Traditionally, one of the important disciplines that would make up an Islamic education (in traditional Sunnism at least… I don’t know enough about Shi’ism in this regard) has been the nurturing and perfection of this moral compass. “Polishing the mirror”, to use a traditional metaphor.

    Unfortunately, this aspect of Islam has been greatly neglected due to the onslaught of the revivalist-salafist ideologies. Equally sad is the huge number of Orientalist scholars who agree with the Wahhabis in believing that there exists only one version of “Islam”, and that textual study/ jurisprudence (a greatly hacked one, at that) is the ONLY means to ascertain what this “real Islam” is.

  50. mahmood says:

    Chan’ad that’s a beautiful hadith and I can certainly work with! This to me is the essence of our religion.

  51. Dr. Jensen says:

    Dear Ethan.

    I’m sorry that I haven’t seen your comment before.

    I’m danish.
    Mr. Khader is still living under police protection as he has done for a long time. He is very unpopular in some parts of the muslim community, where the death threats are coming from.
    He is at the moment the most popular MP in Denmark and is considered a hero by most danes.
    The link can maybe explain, why his views are so controversial for some groups of muslims.

    http://www.khader.dk/flx/in_english/

    Best wishes
    Dr. Jensen

  52. mahmood says:

    Mr. Khader has a very impressive CV, and just looking at his 10 Commandments are enough for me to vote for him, if I could.

    Comparing that with the CHAIRMAN of our House of Representatives makes me embarrassed that he was selected for so long for the Shura council, let alone him now being elected and is chairing the paliament… pretty good for someone whose only academic qualification is primary school!

  53. Steve The American says:

    Carsten Agger: “With modernity, industry and wealth follows another thing: Openness, freedom, what we might call human or civil rights. Dare I say it: Yes, freedom of speech. Presumption of innocense.”

    Carsten, I’d say vice versa: Modernity, industry, and wealth follow openness, freedom, human rights, and freedom of speech. I might add that property rights are also essential to create wealth. The fewer property rights you have, the closer you move to slavery.

    To give an example, the Spanish established their colonies in South America as state enterprises where the monarch’s rights were emphasized over the subjects. Consequently, the modern states of South America, which have all the natural wealth of North America, remain poorly developed nations. They are in such a sad state because Spain never cared to establish civil rights, openness, freedom, human rights, nor property rights. Like most Third World nations, the title to your home is uncertain and the process to legally establish a business is hopelessly labyrinthine.

    By contrast, the English settlers in North America established their colonies as private enterprises, specifically as joint stock companies, or corporations in the modern sense. While Spain established dense thickets of laws and regulations to maintain control over their South American colonies, the English colonies were interested in making a profit and cut the rules to a minimum to make that happen.

    As a consequence, colonies developed under the English scheme of private enterprise flourished to become Canada and the US while colonies developed under the Spanish scheme of government enterprise became the undeveloped slums of South America.

    The freedom to say what you please, do what you please, and dispose of your property as you please is essential to creating the wealth that makes the good life of a great nation. The infringement upon those freedoms is what makes Europe lag behind America in economic development.

    Steve

  54. And so what is making the rest of the world lag behind China in economic development rate these years?
    (Anyway, you do have these freedoms in Europe much the same as in the US – there’s no fundamental difference in this regard, for better and for worse. Taxes are higher in many European countries, but then so are other things. Freedom of speech is better here than in the US, I believe :-)).

  55. “And so what is making the rest of the world lag behind China in economic development rate these years?”

    Two Words Carsten… SLAVE LABOR

  56. mahmood says:

    That’s not true anymore CW. They are the fastest developing economy maybe in part due to their low wages, but much more due to the fact of their technological advances and recent legal and infrastructural changes.

  57. Mahmood, your point is noted. From where I sit China is in that position from the Slave Labor marker for the most part. When I look at the items I import from China VS the same items from Japan, (quality being the same) the only difference between the mfg process is the cost of labor. Granted China had made some tech advances and infrastructure changes but I think it could be argued that these changes are in part a result of the extreme low wages being paid. Low wages = higher profits.

    The Chinese have not been innovators for some time but good a copying technology from others, out right buying it or stealing it.

  58. “The Chinese have not been innovators for some time but good a copying technology from others …”

    This may be so, but this will not remain true. The Chinese middle class is getting pretty wealthy and well-educated, and the day cannot be far off when China will have more people with PhDs than there are people in the United States.

    Alas, what they still lack is political freedoms.

  59. What I want to see (sorry Mahmood if this is to far off topic) is the new Chinese Cars and Trucks. I saw them on the floor in Bahrain but did not test drive one. The looked good. Looked good being the key point. Alas I will we have to wait to check them out when I come back to Bahrain as I doubt they will get much traction in the US.

    And yes Carsten what the Chinese need is poliitical freedom. It is what a good part of the world needs as well.

  60. Steve The American says:

    Carsten Agger: “And so what is making the rest of the world lag behind China in economic development rate these years?”

    It’s pretty disingenuous to hold China up as economically superior to fully developed states. You’re comparing mature and immature economies. It’s like saying kindergartners are superior because they have higher rates of growth than adults.

    It’s pretty easy to have a high rate of growth when you start from nothing. As a Communist state, China had been doing pretty much everything wrong to build itself up economically. The typical story of a Communist state is that it does not create much net wealth but rather consumes its capital assets until the state collapses. China is finally taking off because they are slowly adopting capitalism. It finally figured out what Singapore and Hong Kong had learned a century ago.

    Carsten Agger: “(Anyway, you do have these freedoms in Europe much the same as in the US – there’s no fundamental difference in this regard, for better and for worse. Taxes are higher in many European countries, but then so are other things.”

    Taxes are substantially higher in Europe than in the US with rather significant negative consequences. Such a high tax load squeezes newlyweds into tiny little rabbit hutches for homes where a single baby is a tight squeeze and a second child is impossible. That pushes the European birth rate below the replacement level. You are taxing yourselves into extinction and in effect handing your countries over to immigrants who wish to overthrow them to set up sharia states. That will end badly.

    The lighter tax load in America allows families to have children at the replacement level while living relatively nicer lives than Europeans.

    The many regulations imposed by quasi-socialist European governments also reduces property rights and stifles their economies. The enormous European tax on gasoline is in effect a tax on your liberty to move as you please. By contrast, in America businesses are quite free to reconfigure themselves to respond to economic conditions, which is why our economy far outpaces Europe’s. We are also much freer to pick up and move as we see fit, which makes our pursuit of happiness more effective.

    Carsten Agger: “Freedom of speech is better here than in the US, I believe.”

    I strongly disagree. Not even in Britain do you have the unfettered right of free speech that you have in America. Italy is prosecuting Oriana Fallaci for criticizing Islam, something that would never happen in America in a thousand years. That doesn’t sound like respect for free speech to me. While America media cover a broad spectrum of opinion from right to left, European media restricts itself to a narrow spectrum from left to far left. A newspaper editor in France was fired for criticizing the anti-American bias in French newspapers during the invasion of Iraq. You don’t get fired for criticising the media in America. You get a book deal and invitations to appear on talk shows.

    Steve

  61. Steve The American says:

    Carsten Agger: “This may be so, but this will not remain true. The Chinese middle class is getting pretty wealthy and well-educated, and the day cannot be far off when China will have more people with PhDs than there are people in the United States. Alas, what they still lack is political freedoms.”

    The Chinese middle class are becoming more wealthy and educated than what they were before, but not as wealthy and educated as the capitalist countries. And Carsten, doesn’t it bother your vision of China as a great success if its PhDs must get their degrees in America? Why is that? Doesn’t it strike you that free speech is the essential foundation to build a university system that matriculates PhDs worth having?

    What is a PhD worth if there are no intellectual property rights to protect the products of your brainwork? What is the incentive to write books or invent things or create software if your title to them is nonexistent and they can be copied at will by anyone for free? The inventions come from America because such intellectual success is rewarded and protected. China is having a hard time coming to terms with the idea of property rights for chattel let alone property rights for abstract things.

    Without that incentive, China will need a hundred million PhDs to do the equivalent work of a thousand American PhDs.

    To be as successful as America, China will need to change its economic system, its culture, its laws, and its leaders. I’m not holding my breath for that to happen anytime soon.

    Steve

  62. Dear Steve,

    I do not find your extremist views informative nor very informed, nor really worth arguing with.

    I shall refrain from discussing with you and will turn my attention to discussions and other efforts actually worth pursuing.

    greetings from Danmark, Europa
    Carsten

  63. Ok, then,
    (do I contradict myself? Well, then I contradict myself
    (I am large, I contain multitudes)
    — Walt Whitman)

    but you said:
    —-
    What is the incentive to write books or invent things or create software if your title to them is nonexistent and they can be copied at will by anyone for free?
    —-

    As it happens, I license the contents of my own weblog on a non-restrictive Creative Commons license, and I’m an active advocate of Free/Open Source Community. I believe the concept of “intellectual property” as pursued in software and businesss method patents as pushed by the US of A and its companies on the rest of the world is a sham.
    🙂

    And NOW I think I’ve said what I have to say to you, Steve the American.

  64. Steve The American says:

    Carsten Agger: “As it happens, I license the contents of my own weblog on a non-restrictive Creative Commons license, and I’m an active advocate of Free/Open Source Community. I believe the concept of “intellectual property” as pursued in software and businesss method patents as pushed by the US of A and its companies on the rest of the world is a sham. 🙂 And NOW I think I’ve said what I have to say to you, Steve the American.”

    Carsten, while open source software is an intriguing idea and has made a few good products, it’s pretty difficult to convince the world to work hard and long for free. You have to engage people’s self interest to motivate them. That’s why software that remains the intellectual property of its authors dominates market share in almost every category while open source software is mostly a peripheral player. If making software for free at great personal sacrifice for no reward were the ideal environment for the greatest productivity, then places where there are no intellectual property laws would be software superpowers. They’re not.

    To sum it up, economic systems flourish that reward people for making their contributions while those fail which snub productive people.

    Steve

  65. Steve The American says:

    Carsten: “I do not find your extremist views informative nor very informed, nor really worth arguing with. I shall refrain from discussing with you and will turn my attention to discussions and other efforts actually worth pursuing. greetings from Danmark, Europa”

    If my views were uninformed, then it would be very easy and great fun to knock them down. Is Oriana Fallaci not being prosecuted for her speech? Is European media not biased left? If these were false, it would be very easy for you to disprove them. Why don’t you?

    Perhaps, Carsten, you live in an intellectually airtight world where everyone agrees with each other and have all made the same unexamined assumptions which are largely false. Perhaps rather than intellectually engage those who disagree with those assumptions, you retreat back into the comfort of those who won’t challenge your assumptions. Perhaps that’s what keeps Europe intellectually sterile and conformist.

    Greetings from Washington, DC!

    Steve

  66. Oh well, I promised etc., but this one is too obvious …:

    “Perhaps, Carsten, you live in an intellectually airtight world where everyone agrees with each other and have all made the same unexamined assumptions which are largely false.”

    Pot. Kettle. Black. 🙂

    Actually, I’m trained to question my assumptions all the time.
    I also am not afraid to put my opinions on the line for discussion.
    I believe I did so in som detail in this thread.

    However, the other party needs to demonstrate at least some capacity for listening, whereas I’ve rather perceived a large capacity for lecturing.
    If I’m wrong in this, then mea maxima culpa. And now let’s get on with it … 🙂

  67. mahmood says:

    Steve, stop scaring every new guest out of here will you?

    Carsten, Steve’s got a blog too at http://conprotantor.blogspot.com/ where he is Always Right and never Wrong!

    That might give you a bit more insight into his psyche…

  68. Thanks Mahmood, for the additional insight.

    And thanks for your blog – I don’t think I agree with you on everything (and wouldn’t that be boring, too), but I enjoy the posts as well as your patience with people in the comments section.

  69. Steve The American says:

    Mahmood: “Steve, stop scaring every new guest out of here will you?”

    Alright, alright. I’m just sick of the typical lefty self-righteous schtick where anyone who disagrees with them is an extremist.

    Mahmood: “Carsten, Steve’s got a blog too at http://conprotantor.blogspot.com/ where he is Always Right and never Wrong!”

    Oh, Mahmood, admit it: You laughed when you read that, didn’t you? Thanks for the plug, though.

    Steve

  70. Steve The American says:

    Since you plugged my blog, Conservative Propaganda, may I direct those interested to my finest and most trafficked post, “Marching With The Moonbats In DC,” which covers the big anti-war rally in DC last September, complete with photos. It provides a piercing yet humorous insight into the geniuses of the anti-war movement here in America, captured in all their glory.

    But be sure to come back to Mahmood’s Den when you’re done.

    Steve

  71. mahmood says:

    More than welcome!

  72. Steve The American says:

    Carsten Agger: “Freedom of speech is better here than in the US, I believe.”

    Here is an article, “Illiberal Europe,” from The Daily Standard that details the speech laws which have stripped away much of Europeans freedom to speak freely. Some excerpts:

    “…European countries have never had America’s strong free-speech tradition. … Second, speech laws have been dramatically expanded to sanction speech that “incites hatred” against groups based on their religion, race, ethnicity, or several other characteristics. Third, these incitement laws are being interpreted so loosely that they chill not just extremist views but mainstream ones too. The result is a serious distortion and impoverishment of political debate.

    SO THE REAL DANGER posed by Europe’s speech laws is not so much guilty verdicts as an insidious chilling of political debate, as people censor themselves in order to avoid legal charges and the stigma and expense they bring. And the most serious chill is not of fringe racists but of mainstream moderates and conservatives.

    First of all, it turns out that some denials and incitements are more equal than others in Europe. For all the trials on charges of Holocaust denial, it is not clear that anyone has been charged with denial or minimization of crimes committed by Communist regimes. And the laws banning incitement of hatred on grounds of race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin do not ban incitement based on political orientation or economic status. Moreover, these laws protect speech that incites hatred against Americans and some others. And while there have been some convictions of Islamist radicals for inciting hatred against Jews and others, Europeans have been shy to move against the incitement pervasive in Islamist circles.

    In other words, Europe’s speech laws are written and applied in ways that leave activists on the political left free to whitewash crimes of leftist regimes, incite hatred against their domestic bogeymen of the well-to-do, and luridly stereotype their international bogeymen, often with history-distorting falsehoods such as fictitious claims of genocide said to be committed by the United States and Israel. It may be no coincidence that Socialist and extreme-left parties have played central roles in the design of speech laws. The crafter of France’s 1990 Gayssot law, for example, was Jean-Claude Gayssot, a longtime Communist party officeholder. All this matters. It sends an important signal to the broader culture when Hitler is the symbol of evil while Stalin and Mao are given a pass, and when, in effect, Pat Buchanan’s ideas risk indictment while Michael Moore’s are protected.

    BETWEEN EUROPE’S SPEECH LAWS, hypersensitivity, and cynical demagoguery, constructive criticism can become virtually impossible, and self-censorship the norm.”

    The assertion that Europeans enjoy more free speech than Americans is another of a rather large set of European parochial self-delusions.

    Steve

  73. Steve, in a word,

    nonsense!

    They were going to pass some unfortunately strong
    “anti-incitement” laws in Britain, but they gave it up again.

    In Denmark, we have a law banning the demeaning (you could
    say: Racist) characterization of an ethnic, religious or sexual
    minority, but it’s very rarely used and anyway I wish you could
    see some of the things they’re writing (especially about Muslims,
    by the by) anyhoo.

    In Israel, on the other hand, a young female settler was sentenced
    to two years in prison for making a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad
    as a pig. Well, it might have helped in the charge that she was
    a settler in Hebron and was actually distributing her cartoon to
    Palestinians in the town – she was convicted of inciting to riots; PM
    Netanyahu (yes, him!) personally apologized to the mayor of Hebron.

    But that was an aside … the Danish anti-incitement laws are actually
    quite weak, and you can say whatever you want and people do. And
    it’s more or less the same all over Europe, BTW.

    Austria and Germany have laws against Holocaust denial. I find that
    problematic, not because anybody with just a little grasp of the amount
    of documentation available for that part of European history would
    ever doubt it took place, but precisely because we can’t really argue
    against someone who aren’t allowed to speak.

    But there are historical reasons for these prohibitions. I mean, seriously:
    in Germany and Austria you had enormous parts of the populations who
    were accessories to the crimes, and who certainly did not want to
    be reminded of what happened, and the “old ways” might easily have
    reappeared (and Germany and Austria not been the open, democratic
    societies they are today) if there hadn’t been laws in place against
    Nazi activity.

    Whether these laws are still relevant is another matter
    (I think not – David Irving may be a despicable liar, but I don’t really
    see any point in sending him behind bars).

    But other than that, your article is rubbish. I also note that none of the
    major US newspapers have actually run the Muhammad cartoons.
    Why? Well, NY Times and the like cite “consideration” or some sort of weakminded liberal stuff, but I’m sure the good ole conservative newspapers … hey wait, no, not even the good ole New York POST has
    run them.

    I suppose you’ve got more censorship than us after all, right?

    (Just for the record, re: the Muhammad cartoons:
    1) The publication of the Muhammad cartoons should be understood
    as a Danish domestic matter. The newspaper never intended
    this to be an international affair in any way.
    2) I don’t think Jyllands-Posten should have published the cartoons; I
    think it was a childish and deliberate insult to the Danish Muslim
    community – rather similar to an immigrant descrating our flag.
    3) I don’t think we should have laws against doing such things,
    tho’ – freedom of speech includes the freedom to say childish things,
    even to make an ass of yourself).

    I suggest you find another source for what’s going on in Europe than
    the Daily Standard – freedom of speech is alive and well here.
    As for the freedom to speak out against minorities, e.g. immigrants
    and Muslims: Well, if you could only hear what our right-wing
    politicians are actually saying, you probably would be pleased.

    A lot of people wouldn’t, though.

  74. Steve The American says:

    Carsten Agger: “But there are historical reasons for these prohibitions. I mean, seriously: in Germany and Austria you had enormous parts of the populations who were accessories to the crimes, and who certainly did not want to be reminded of what happened, and the “old ways” might easily have reappeared (and Germany and Austria not been the open, democratic societies they are today) if there hadn’t been laws in place against Nazi activity.

    Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Exposing lingering Nazi sentiments to the light of day and debate would delegitimize them. Driving them underground does not, where they can fester unchallenged.

    Carsten Agger: “But other than that, your article is rubbish. I also note that none of the major US newspapers have actually run the Muhammad cartoons. Why? Well, NY Times and the like cite “consideration” or some sort of weakminded liberal stuff, but I’m sure the good ole conservative newspapers … hey wait, no, not even the good ole New York POST has run them.”

    You note correctly. The reason is cowardice. The liberals who run the major media here have very nice lives and paychecks which they don’t want interrupted by a knife in their chest planted by some Muslim fanatic while they are chatting with their friends over their smoked salmon in a nice Manhattan restaurant. Running the cartoons has been left up to the much smaller conservative media.

    Carsten Agger: “2) I don’t think Jyllands-Posten should have published the cartoons; I think it was a childish and deliberate insult to the Danish Muslim community – rather similar to an immigrant descrating our flag.”

    Assassinating Theo Van Gogh for criticizing Islam is a rather strong assault on free speech. The cartoons followed from that to test free speech in the face of Muslim violence. When authors and artists avoid broaching the topic of Islam for fear of being harmed, then there is a serious threat to free speech and all that comes with it. No topic should be immune from criticism. The issue is whether Denmark will allow Muslims to censor their speech.

    Steve

  75. Steve:
    Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Exposing lingering Nazi sentiments to the light of day and debate would delegitimize them. Driving them underground does not, where they can fester unchallenged.

    Oh, but I agree. But I do understand where the prohibition came from.
    The political situation in Germany and Austria in 1945 and on are very different indeed from that of a “normal” European country.

    Steve:

    Assassinating Theo Van Gogh for criticizing Islam is a rather strong assault on free speech. The cartoons followed from that to test free speech in the face of Muslim violence.

    The cartoons actually had nothing to do with the assassination of The van Gogh – like I said, they were a part of a purely domestic discussion.

    One observation, though: If you were able to read Danish newspapers you’d note that, like I said, people do actually not seem to be very afraid of saying things about Muslims which are not only bad, but completely outrageous. So there’s really no such censorship.

    On the other hand, a newspaper made a survey of Danish Muslims who had defended themselves against such attacks in letters to the editor to newspapers and found that about 80% of them had subsequently received threats telling them, among other things, that they were pigs, should leave the country immediately and should shut the f*** up.

    So who’s actually censoring and intending to intimidate whom?

    In all fairness, I won’t accuse the entire “right wing” of trying to threaten and intimidate these people to silence. This is the work of a few extremists.

    But, it makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

  76. Steve The American says:

    Carsten,

    The murder of Van Gogh certainly set the environment for the cartoon publication. Why do you think they couldn’t get artists to illustrate the book about Islam, the precursor to the cartoon publication? Certainly that murder in broad daylight influenced the artists decision to reject such commissions for fear of violence.

    From what I understand, Muslim on non-Muslim violence is much greater in Europe, and everywhere really, than non-Muslim on Muslim violence. That surely sets the scene as well.

    While I don’t approve of phoning anonymous threats to people for holding differing opinions, I wouldn’t be so quick to assign such threats entirely to the right. While the right has its share of unhinged loonies and racists, so does the left. There is many a lefty who presents a politically correct public face but who is anything but in private.

    You might consider that these bad and wrong responses are made in lieu of a proper and principled response by the government of Denmark to Muslims who wish to take advantage of your system to increase their numbers to a majority, then overthrow your state. When Muslims riot in your towns and claim that “This land belongs to us,” I would imagine that might worry some Danes who naively assumed Denmark was Danish. Likewise, some Danes may object to Muslim immigrants composing 5% of the population but consuming 40% of the welfare payments and commiting three fourths of the rapes in Denmark, Muslims clamoring to install Sharia law in Denmark when they become a majority, threatening to kill Muslim converts to Christianity, fomenting violent bigotry against Danish Jews, and offering $30,000 bounties for the murder of prominent Danish Muslims with whom the radicals disagree. When such belligerence goes unopposed and even ignored, it brings a lot of ugly and stupid reactions to the surface. Nice people sorely pressed begin to have crazy thoughts and reactions.

    Steve

  77. Steve, Steve, Steve …

    this “This land is ours” thingy was right here where I live.
    These so-called “riots” were performed by a bunch of punks
    and misfits, many of them actually of vintage Danish/Christian
    origin. You might consider finding yourself some more reliable
    sources than paranoid wingnuts like in JihadWatch … 😀 😀 🙂

    And this thing at danielpipes.org – isn’t it … isn’t it …
    Yes, it is! It’s the article Daniel Pipes wrote some years back
    with “historian” Lars Hedegaard which was debunked completely
    and exposed as a pack of lies; Pipes subsequently distanced himself
    from the article, saying it was all Hedegaard’s doing.

    Oh, the odor and feel of vintage propaganda lies. 🙂

    Frankly, other readers than Steve: Don’t believe a word you read in the articles at the end of those links Steve gave.

    Hedegaard (Pipes’ co-author on the last piece) has a record of distorting
    facts to fit his (s)creeds, and the “riots” mentioned in the uppermost
    link had very little to do with islam or muslims and a lot to do with
    juvenile delinquency.

    Now I know another thing about you, Stevie Boy – you never check
    your sources if they seem to confirm your prejudices.

  78. Chanad says:

    Carsten, you are a breath of fresh air 🙂

  79. Thanks, Chanad and Mahmood; basically, I’m probably not the
    right person to lecture on Danish matters – I might have a thing
    or to to add myself 🙂

    I’m on vacation for the next few days – see you after Easter,
    which the Jews call Peschach, I believe, and the politically
    correct Americans call Spring Holiday.

  80. al-Haj Abdullah bin Abdurahman al-Qadiri al-Chisti al-Athloni says:

    Giving without reserve

    It is with reticence that I write this. I do not wish to place myself on the moral high ground, or to sermonise anyone. This chapter tries to show the truth and importance of dreaming of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (May Allah Convey His Peace and Blessings upon the Holy Messenger). These words seek to confirm that ours is a Prophet of Mercy, a Witness, and a Bearer of Good Tidings. It also aims to portray the consequence of du’aa in the Masjid al-Haram. It is moreover meant as a method of encouragement for our children to some day continue with the Prophetic Tradition of raising an orphan for the sake of Allah, The One of Unbounded Grace. So that they may by this means know that there is more to life than just prayer and fasting. And that they should give of themselves unreservedly. That they might through it also, temper their adhkaar with compassion.

    We were asleep at the Mashrabiyya Hotel in Khalid bin Walid Street in Shubayka, Makkah al-Mukarramah when, by the Mercy of Allah, I had the most beautiful dream. I saw myself standing in the holy presence of our Truthful Prophet Muhammad (May Allah Convey His Peace and Blessings upon the Holy Prophet). Our Prophet (May Allah Convey His Peace and Blessings upon the Holy Messenger) was spotlessly dressed in white robes and a white turban. I stared aghast. Our Prophet stood about two meters away and faced me directly. I do not have the words with which to suitably portray this most wonderful man, the Seal of the Prophets. I have never seen anyone so unimaginably holy, so indescribably handsome. I reached for my turban, embarrassed for not wearing it. “Leave it,” I said to myself. “You are in the Company of the Prize of creation.” A brilliance shone from our Guided Prophet (May Allah Convey His Peace and Blessings upon the Holy Prophet). Our Prophet (May Allah Convey His Peace and Blessings upon the Holy Prophet) smiled at me. The smile radiated light. I stood alert, too humbled to speak. I wished that the dream would last forever. The heavenly smile lasted between ten and fifteen minutes, it felt like.

    Alhamdu-lillaah. I had never considered myself deserving of such an enormous honour. This was a spiritual experience of the first magnitude. “What does that smile mean?” I asked myself over and over again.

    Part of my da’waat in the Holy Mosque in Mecca, was to ask Allah, The One Who Makes Clear to us His signs so that we may be grateful, to Grant to ourselves the opportunity and blessings of raising an orphan for His sake.

    My wife and I had, over a number of years, tried to adopt a baby by applying at several local agencies, and were given all sorts of excuses which disqualified, and sometimes discouraged us. Reasons given were that we were not married according to South African law, that few babies from local Muslim parents came up for adoption, and the fact that we have children of our own. We were also faced with, what was to my mind, the worse aspect of the South African race laws. These regulations and those administering it, in this case, the social workers, prescribed that a ‘brown’ orphaned child had to be matched with ‘brown’ adoptive parents. A ‘yellow’ baby could only be placed with prospective ‘yellow’ adoptive parents, a ‘white’ orphan could not be raised by ‘black’ adoptive parents, and so on. They played dominoes with human lives. Some social workers were more ready to read the ‘race act’ than others. In an interview and in response to a question on whether we would mind adopting a child from a ‘lower rung’ of the colour scale, I told them that “a nice green one would do.” A jab to my ribs from my wife quickly halted the acid flow down the sides of my mouth. Stirring the ire of our then masters by criticising their political beliefs would not help, she meant. “When the white boss tells a joke, and regardless of its lack of humour – laugh!” she chided me later. Race inequalities existing at the time ensured that hundreds of black orphans went begging in more ways than one. It virtually excluded us from adopting a child. No orphans that matched our race and blood mix were on offer and they weren’t likely to easily present themselves for adoption, we were told. My wife is of Indian (as in “Indian” from India, as opposed to “American” Indian) stock and I am of (well) mixed blood.

    On the morning of Wednesday, 1st June 1994, just three days after arriving back home from Haj, we received a telephone call from Melanie Van Emmenes of the Child Welfare Society. She explained that a five-month old girl had come up for adoption. The baby had earlier undergone successful abdominal surgery and she asked whether we would adopt the child. We jumped at the chance.

    A rush of adrenaline replaced the after-effects of travel. We were rejuvenated. Capetonians usually visit local pilgrims before departure and also on their arrival back home. We excused ourselves from the few visitors and asked my mother-in-law to host them in our absence. My wife and I immediately went to the Adoption Centre in Eden Road, Claremont. We signed the necessary papers.

    Afterwards, we told our children that we were about to receive an addition to the family. We plodded through a maze of red tape in order to legalise the process. (My wife and I had to marry in court because Muslim marriages were not recognised then, believe it or not). A few days later, my wife, brother and I collected the petite infant from a foster-mother in Newfields Estate. I shall never forget the joyous feeling when I first carried the frail waif past the front door. Her name is Makkia. We named her after the great city from which we had just returned.

    Taking her into our home is one of the better things that we have done. Makkia has added a marvellous dimension to our lives. She is part of our life’s work. I shall always be grateful to the people who had assisted us with the adoption.

    The meaning behind the glowing smile from our Trustworthy Prophet Muhammad (May Allah Convey His Peace and Blessings upon the Holy Prophet) had played itself out in the most delightful way. In our Prophet (May Allah Convey His Peace and Blessings upon the Holy Prophet) we have a beautiful pattern of conduct. Like a lamp that spreads light, the Messenger of Allah invites to the Grace of Allah by His leave. Our Divinely-inspired Prophet is the first of the God-fearing. No person is better than him. Our Prophet Muhammad is the leader of the prophets. He is without sin. Our Prophet (May Allah Convey His Peace and Blessings upon the Holy Messenger) is faultless and the foremost of those who submit to the Will of Allah. An exemplar to those who worship God, our Kind-hearted Prophet Muhammad (May Allah Convey His Peace and Blessings upon the Holy Prophet) is the beacon of the pious. He is an inspiration to those who are thankful to God and the leader of those who remember Allah. How should I express gratitude to the Holy Messenger of Allah for his kind intervention? I am unworthy of untying the laces of our Prophet’s sandals.

    Allah, The One Who Is Sufficient For those who put their trust in Him, Had Granted our want through the barakah of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (May Allah Convey His Peace and Blessings upon the Holy Prophet).

    I’ve been fairly constant about wearing a turban during ’ibaadah since.

  81. mahmood says:

    Man, if you ever convert this into a script, please let me know, I’d like to be the executive producer!

    Brilliant!

    I just have a problem with the laces, I don’t think they had any. They did have thongs though.

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