Women have a right to pray in the Grand Mosque

13 Sep, '06

And any other mosque for that matter and the right to lead prayers as far as I am concerned.

So here’s another petition that is looking for your support, especially if you are Muslim as this will affect your wife, your mother, your sisters and daughters if you do not take action now.

Grand Mosque Equal Access for Women petition

Update 060914: The petition has now been closed by the author, I suspect as a ruling has now been issued by the authorities that they will not close off the area in question for women worshipers.

Thanks to Tariq and Publia for the heads up.

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Comments (107)

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  1. Tariq says:

    It appears that there has been some sort of miscommunication regarding this matter.

    I read in a recent article that the proposal is to allocate new areas for women on the upper levels of the mosque IN ADDITION TO THE EXISTING area near the Ka’ba.

    This is the link to the article form alarabiyah.net :

    http://www.alarabiya.net/Articles/2006/09/11/27366.htm

  2. mahmood says:

    Then I’m glad that the campaign and the backlash on the original ruling has forced them to rethink their position.

  3. Lorena says:

    OMG …. Thats just not NICE at all ! …

  4. M says:

    Well, if they are trying to give the women more space, then how very generous of them. Thoughtful souls.

    What’s behing the women in black and men in white?

  5. F says:

    Pilgrims are steadily increasing and they need to redesign the surrounding areas.

    M – During the time of the Prophet (PBUH), the women of the time respected the Christian women living in the Meditteranean region.
    They adopted the black cloth they were wearing. Since the Prophet’s
    wife wore black, rest of the new Muslim soceity copied it.

  6. milter says:

    Oh yes, the great leaders of Saudi Arabia will definitely soon be able to rank their country among the most free, just and equal countries of the world!

    Maybe next year they’ll introduce visas for infidels to visit the holy cities of Mekka and Medinah.

    Somehow, though, I have my doubts.

  7. Sam says:

    Actually…I believe the issue has been resolved. The proposal for women to go about a separate area in the mataaf (circumambulation area around the Holy Ka’ba) has been rejected. You can read it on arabnews.com.

  8. Publia says:

    The petition has been closed.

  9. mahmood says:

    thank you all for your support. I’ll leave the comments open, but shall update the main article that the petition has now been closed.

    thanks Publia for the heads-up.

  10. F says:

    milter – clarification on the issue of infidel – are people who have waged a war against the Muslim nation. There are 6 billion people on our planet. People of the Book are people of Jewish, Christian and Islamic faith. Approximately 1 billion people are Muslim. The rest 5 billion are not infidels.

    Issue of Mecca and Medina – these Holy sites are open to Muslims – people entering these Holy places have to recite – There is only one God and Mohammed is his Prophet.

    Saudi Arabia, like the rest of the Gulf states, are more tribal in nature than Islamic.

    It is interesting to note that many people have a lot of misconceptions of Islam and are curious to know more about it. But many others seem to view it negatively, cult-like, or from their own religions’s view, historicaly or politicaly.

    I, as a Muslim, would like to see more concrete discussions developing from all Faiths – see what unites us and see what makes us unique.

    Respect to all faiths is important and one always needs to be reminded that God/Allah/Creator is not on our side, but that we ALL should be on God’s side.

  11. M says:

    F,

    Thanks for the explaination. I knew there had to be some reasoning behind it and just always wondered. Regards.

  12. milter says:

    F, you wrote:

    clarification on the issue of infidel – are people who have waged a war against the Muslim nation.

    Now, this thread really isn’t about the definition of the word “infidel”, but since you brought it up I will try to explain why I used it here.

    I agree that there are different interpretations about who is to be considered an “infidel”. Muslim scholars disagree about it, but they all agree that even “people of the book” are not to be considered equal to muslims.

    When I used the word “infidels” I was trying to look at it from the Saudi point of view and I think you’ll find it difficult to quote an influential scholar of the Wahhabism (or Salafism) beliefs stating, that the Jews and Christians are not infidels.

    Even the Catholic church has it’s own definition of infidelity .

    And the sad thing is, the more convinced religious leaders become of the infallibility of their versions of God, the more victims you’ll find.

  13. F says:

    M – you’re welcome and my salaams you to your family. : )

  14. F says:

    milter – The Wahhabi viewpoint, from my perspective, is very puritan in form. That is where the problem lies.

    A couple of hundred years back, the Wahhabi’s puritan form took shape. At the time, many councils were debating, discussing, arguing about various laws and definitions within Islamic life. This is something Wahhabis wanted to avoid – discussion.

    In the Quran, we have God’s laws. In addition to this, God allowed man
    to develop society’s laws. God’s laws cannot be changed. However, society’s laws CAN be changed, through discussion.

    Wahhabi’s did not like it. Warrior tribes reigning the various areas in
    the Arabian peninsula did not really do much thinking. Wahhabism
    appealed to them. They dominated various areas and stopped people
    from having discussions. They, over a generation or two, enforced a
    certain way of thinking.

    The tribal warriors are now leaders of Gulf nations. Most of the smaller
    kingdom are relaxed and do not really adhere to Wahhabism. Only
    Saudi Arabia does. Saudi Arabia leadership also used it to suppress
    thinking process. Because of this and other forms of suppression, radicalized entities started to form.

    I cannot be a Muslim if I do not accept Moses’s message and Jesus’s
    message. To us, they are Prophets of God as well. Wahhabis are
    wrong to call the ‘People of the Book’ or any other non-Muslim an
    infidel.

    I disagree with the muslim scholars you mentioned that the ‘People
    of the Book’ are less equal to Muslims. For that one has to read the
    Prophet’s last sermon – http://www.islamicity.com/Mosque/lastserm.HTM

    I think Wahhabism will die out. The Prophet (PBUH) wanted people
    to simplify their lives and not burden them or live in a strict environment.

    Here, we need to get our house in order. New generation of leaders
    want change as well. Unfortunately, it will take a while.

    I have visited Saudi often and have good friends there. But, I am always
    happy to come back to Bahrain. 🙂

    Salaams

  15. milter says:

    F,

    Deep down I think we both agree about how to treat our fellow human beings. We both seem to agree that we must respect each other.

    The only problem, seen from my side, is that there is a majority of islamic scholars that preach a violent version of the Quran and find justification in the Quran itself and in the hadith.

    Here is an excerpt from the last sermon of the prophet:

    Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.

    Don’t you think that may lead some Muslims to believe that if that thing didn’t belong to a Muslim, it was legitimate?

    My main concern is that in the Muslim world you have to back up your opinions with some sort of religious quotations to be taken serioously. Why is that so important?

  16. F says:

    milter,

    We both agree that we have respect for each other and for every
    single human being on this planet. It does not only have to be deep
    down. I might agree or disagree with you on viewpoints, etc.
    However I will still have respect for you.

    I think only a small portion of misguided scholars preach violence. Majority of the scholars interpret the Quran and the Hadith. At the end of the day, they only provide counceling. It is left for the person to decide which path he or she will take.

    In areas, where there are major disputes, scholars have to preach only defensive actions.

    Regarding the last sermon of the Prophet, it took place in his last pilgrimage. At the place there were only Muslims. Taking possession of
    non-Muslim property is not acceptable. There are clear guidelines that
    are in place. In Bahrain, we have people of various Faiths who reside here.
    They own businesses, properties, etc. Their possessions are equally protected as those of Muslims.

    Muslims, like Christians, Jews, etc., are God fearing. They only wish to do
    the right thing. When there are situations that they don’t know which path to take, they refer to the Quran, the Hadith or both. From then on, they embark on the path they have chosen.

  17. milter says:

    F,

    I hope you are still here. You wrote:

    I think only a small portion of misguided scholars preach violence.

    It was wrong of me to say that. I don’t have any figures that will support my statement.

    But I have several statements from the Quran and the Hadith that can be used for a violent interpretation of it, and several scholars do that. The problem is, it doesn’t take many of them to create a lot of bloodshed.

    Has anybody told you what Aisha and Abdullah bin ‘Asome said about some of the final words of the Prophet. They are from Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 8, Number 426:

    Narrated ‘Aisha and ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas:

    When the last moment of the life of Allah’s Apostle came he started putting his ‘Khamisa’ on his face and when he felt hot and short of breath he took it off his face and said, “May Allah curse the Jews and Christians for they built the places of worship at the graves of their Prophets.” The Prophet was warning (Muslims) of what those had done.

    Those words in the wrong hands could very easyli be used to preach a lot of intolerance and hatred.

    Your own interpretation of the Quran probably doesn’t agree with those words. How would your scholars interpret them?

    And, most importantly, do you need anybody at all to interpret them? Why can’t you just say: “I don’t agree with that statement”.

  18. F says:

    milter – good to hear from you and hope all is well.

    You wrote ‘But I have several statements from the Quran and the Hadith that can be used for a violent interpretation of it, and several scholars do that. The problem is, it doesn’t take many of them to create a lot of bloodshed.’

    There are a few misguided people (should not really be called scholars since they take things out of context), who certainly preach hatred and 99.9% are Muslims are against them and their hatred. Note – not several scholars – only a misguided few.

    History and Politics has shown that people can manipulate, twist, bend, blend, spin, fabricate, coerce, etc., just to promote their own agenda. Some examples – World War I, Iraq War, Afghanistan War, Crusades, Spanish Inquisitions, etc., etc.

    Regarding the Hadith, one has to see it in the right context :-

    a) Islam is a continuation of Judaism and Christianity. Islam is
    the Final Testament from GOD. So, references are made to the followers
    and the followers that went astray.

    b) Prophet Moses lead his chosen people and at times they went astray.
    Not only was Moses upset but so was GOD. (This statement is to show that GOD did get angry when followers did not adhere to the Message.)

    c) The message is ‘There is only one GOD and nothing else’.

    Since that time many people of Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith
    have lead exemplary lives and are referred to as Saints. For the saints, some people have built shrines at their graves, visit often and ask for blessings FROM them.

    That is a major sin in our eyes – to associate anything or anyone with GOD. We believe there is only One GOD and one can ask HIM for anything. But not anyone else. If one asks anyone else, then one is associating that person with GOD in the same level.

    The scholars and normal followers, like myself, would have the same view
    on this issue – That we will not associate anyone with GOD and the ones
    who are doing it, be it Jews, Christians or Muslims, are wrong to do so and
    we will not follow their ways.

    You wrote – And, most importantly, do you need anybody at all to interpret them? Why can’t you just say: “I don’t agree with that statement”.

    First question – If I am not familiar or understand what the Hadith is saying, then I will go to a scholar. This is like anyone going to their teacher/profressor to find clarification on a problem.

    Second question – I would recommend that you not ‘direct’ me to an
    answer you are looking for, want me to have. I am here to ask, learn,
    communicate, answer queries. If I can’t answer them to the best of my ability, I shall refer to someone who can give me advice. If you ask me a question, I will do my best to answer to it. However, to ask me one and have to answer it in your way defeats the purpose.

    Take care, keep in touch and have a good day.

    Salaams 🙂

  19. jasra jedi says:

    Milter ..

    You state :”But I have several statements from the Quran and the Hadith that can be used for a violent interpretation of it, and several scholars do that. The problem is, it doesn’t take many of them to create a lot of bloodshed. ”

    How true. Just like the Bible.

    Gen 9:6. Whoever sheds human blood, by other humans must his blood be shed; for in God’s image God has made humankind.”

    Exo 22:2. If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no blood guilt for him.”

    Lev 15:55 “When a woman’s discharge of blood flows many days not at the time of her menstruation, or if it flows beyond the time of her menstruation, all the days of her discharge of impurity will be like the days of her menstruation – she is unclean.”

    Lev 20:9 If anyone curses his father and mother he must be put to death. He has cursed his father and mother; his blood guilt is on himself.

    Lev 20:13 If a man has sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman, the two of them have committed an abomination. They must be put to death; their blood guilt is on themselves.

    Num 35:19 The avenger of blood himself must kill the murderer; when he meets him, he must kill him.

    Psa 58:10 The godly will rejoice when they see vengeance carried out; they will bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.

    Isa 34:36 The Lord’s sword is dripping with blood, it is covered with fat; it drips with the blood of young rams and goats and is covered with the fat of rams’ kidneys. For the Lord is holding a sacrifice in Bozrah,a bloody slaughter in the land of Edom.

    Jer 46:10 But that day belongs to the Lord God who rules over all. It is the day when he will pay back his enemies. His sword will devour them until its appetite is satisfied! It will drink their blood until it is full! For the Lord God who rules over all will offer them up as a sacrifice in the land of the north by the Euphrates River.

    Job 19:19 Fear the sword yourselves, for wrath brings the punishment by the sword, so that you may know that there is judgment.”

    Jer 50: 25 I have opened up the place where my weapons are stored.I have brought out the weapons for carrying out my wrath. For I, the Lord God who rules over all, have work to carry out in the land of Babylonia

    Rev 19:15 From his mouth extends a sharp sword, so that with it he can strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod, and he stomps the winepress of the furious 6 wrath of God, the All-Powerful.

  20. jasra jedi says:

    My point in the above is NOT to get into a debate into whether the Bible is more violent than the Quran .. it is meant to prove a point that people will find what they want in either book. Be it a reason to crucify homosexuals or a reason to preach love and tolerance.

    The latest remarks by our friend the Pope was very unwise and racist in nature. He shouldnt be allowed to speak for Christianity any more than Bin Laden or Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab have a right to speak for Islam.The profound lack of wisdom shown by any of these men is not one of the high points of where man has reached in this day and age.

  21. Ibn says:

    Sigh… my intuition tells me I shouldnt get involved in this…but I just have to say this – I dont care for the pope, christianity or Islam…

    … but I found it so amusing to hear that churches were firebombed and even a nun killed by certain violent Muslims … who are angry because the pope said they were violent

    …Way to prove a point.

    Either they are experts at comedic irony, or they are extremely, extremely dumb.

    I cant believe it.

    Maybe after the pope apologises for his remarks about Muslims being violent, those particular Muslims should apologise for being violent.

    What tangled webs we weave.

    Pathetic.

    -Ibn

  22. milter says:

    jasra jedi,

    My point in the above is NOT to get into a debate into whether the Bible is more violent than the Quran

    … that wasn’t the point I was trying to make either.

    My point was to try to find an answer to why some people can find justfication in holy texts to harm other people.

    How many have been killed over the last 50 years by people that used your quotations from the Bible as their reason?

    You mention homosexuals. The “quality” of societies can normally be judged by their acceptance of minorities. Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is considered one of the progressive scholars of the Muslim world, yet his description of homosexuals can hardly be considered very tolerant.

    Or how about apostasy?

    Jamal A. Badawi discusses that issue here ,using several quotations from the Quran and Hadith, trying to explain why apostates should be killed or not

    In the beginning he states:

    There has been a wide variety of opinions by Muslim scholars throughout nearly fourteen centuries concerning punishment for apostasy with the majority of the opinion that apostasy is a capital crime as it threatens the integrity and stability of the Muslim community and state.

    Both of these scholars are considered moderate.

    Instead of giving a lenghty, academic explanation, why can’t they just say: “These acts used to be a crime at the time of the Prophet. Today, 1400 years later, we don’t consider them punishable anymore”?

  23. milter says:

    F,

    I’m happy we can continue.

    When I wrote:

    Why can’t you just say: “I don’t agree with that statement”.

    , I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth. I just meant that if you didn’t agree with a certain statement from, or interpretation of a text from the Quran or the Hadith, then why can’t you use your own, based on your experiences from your own life?

    If your brother, sister or somebody else you love, decides to do something you think is wrong, do you then have to consult a scholar to give you advice on how to handle that situation?

    You wrote:

    First question – If I am not familiar or understand what the Hadith is saying, then I will go to a scholar.

    Again my question is: “Why”?

    Will you accept any explanition that scholar gives you? Or will you search your own mind and see if you agree with him? If you don’t agree, will you then try to get an explanation from a different scholar, or what?

    I’m looking forward to hearing from you again.

  24. F says:

    Salaams JasraJedi.

    Hope all is well.

    I think the Pope is a very clever politician. The statements were made
    on purpose and with his full knowledge of that strong reseent that
    would take place.

    1) We have to consider statements made by Al-Qaeda and the bunch –
    them asking the West to convert to Islam. I think it is their way of bringing
    the message to the Western masses. From their point of view, they probably consider that they have done their deed.

    2) The present Pope, wrote the speeches for the Pope John Paul II. Pope
    John Paul wanted to open dialogue with the Muslims and that was positive. Possibly, he chose not to accept Pope Benedict’s views. Although, during the time, the Vatican passed a law to all churches – If there are any mixed marriages between Muslims and Catholics, then the Muslims have to sign an agreement that the children be brought up Catholics.

    3) Since he became Pope, his first address to world faiths, he did not mention Islam. Since that time, he only mentioned Islam in a minor way whenever world faiths were discussed.

    3) Due to present situation, 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq and the growing discontent in various countries involving Muslims, the Pope took an opportunity to show that his dominion is strong and the will stand against the ‘perceived’ threat. This is also to close ranks behind him and for Catholics to see him as a strong leader. Also, for Western Christians to
    see him as a Christian guardian.

    4) Muslim populations are growing within Europe and this to worries them.

    5) I don’t think is truly sincere to open dialogue and foster good relations. Time will tell if he really wants to do so. However, he will come up with something or the other (possibly something positive to say about Islam – in a minor way) before his visit to Turkey.

    Salaams

  25. F says:

    Salaams Ibn,

    Hope all is well.

    1) It was very sad to see a Somalian gun down a nun. I hope they bring
    this man to justice and pay for his crime.

    2) It is also very sad to see churches desecrated in Palestine. The people should be brought to justice and made them physically fix the damage they caused. Possibly, they’ll learn carpentry, acquire a positive trade and
    live a moral life.

    Both incidents took place in lesser developed areas. People are at war
    and there is very limited proper education. This is not to justify their actions. A crime is a crime. In Bahrain, we are upset about the Pope. However, we are not going to attack a local Church or a Christian.

    Certainly, we should keep in mind people who incite hatred. And, these
    people are also responsible for ‘actions’ that are carried out by others.

    Salaams

  26. F says:

    Salaams Milter,

    Hope all is well.

    I have to keep this reply short as I’m pressed for time.

    1) Certainly, we take everyday life – within our family, our work, our social network etc., in considering any decision making process. As I explained before, if we are in doubt, we refer to the Quran, Hadith or a scholar.

    2) Should one scholar’s view on a issue be not acceptable, certainly, we will seek advice from another. There are conservative and moderate scholars around and we can take advice from as many scholars.

    3) We follow a certain ‘way of life’. It is what our society lives by. Altough a very distant example – the Japanese are involved in whale hunting. Something the West abhors. It is their way of life. The West allows the Eskimos to hunt ways as well – it is their way of life. Europeans, Africans, Arabians, Asians, Americans, etc. have their own way of life.

    Have to run. Take care and have a good day.

    Salaams,

  27. jasra jedi says:

    Milter ..

    You state “Both of these scholars are considered moderate. ”

    Not by me. I think they both suck.

  28. milter says:

    jasra jedi,

    I think they both suck

    I agree. The only probem is, millions of people don’t, instead they go to them for advice on what to think.

  29. milter says:

    F,

    You said:

    Should one scholar’s view on a issue be not acceptable, certainly, we will seek advice from another.

    Doesn’t that mean you already have formed your own opinion? And that you are only seeking acceptence of that opinion from somebody who is considered more knowledgeable.

    Why isn’t your own conscience enough?

  30. milter says:

    F, you said:

    Although, during the time, the Vatican passed a law to all churches – If there are any mixed marriages between Muslims and Catholics, then the Muslims have to sign an agreement that the children be brought up Catholics.

    Can you give me any links with references to that? Preferably in English, French or German.

  31. F says:

    Salaams milter,

    Doesn’t that mean you already have formed your own opinion? And that you are only seeking acceptence of that opinion from somebody who is considered more knowledgeable.

    Why isn’t your own conscience enough?

    Quick answer –

    1) If you have an idea, but are unsure or you have no idea. Still, you take the opinion or two or more from various scholars.

    2) No man has all the answers. Everything in life is not always clear. If it was, then people have no need of Judges, Academics, Scholars, Researchers, etc., etc.

  32. F says:

    Salaams milter,

    1) http://www.wwrn.org/article.php?idd=15354&sec=33&con=56

    2) A friend is planning to settle down with a Catholic girl. He is actually
    facing this issue.

    3) For various languages and references, it is advisable that you inquire with the local Catholic priest.

  33. milter says:

    F,

    Yes, I saw that link,too. And I saw several other links. But none that state or even come close to stating that:

    1: The vatican passed a law,
    or:
    2: Then the Muslims have to sign an agreement.

    Can you show me, where it says so?

  34. milter says:

    F,

    And have you read the Pope’s speech yourself, or have you just quoted and interpreted what others have told you?

    You can read his speech here .

    Please read it and let me here your comments.

  35. F says:

    milter,

    1) Passed a law – well, I don’t have access to that information. That statement was issued by the Vatican and there was discussion here about it. I have not discussed it with a priest or requested one to show me.

    2) Muslims, marrying Catholics, have to sign it. As mentioned before, my
    friend is going through this, and he is seriously thinking about it. Signing the document, by a Catholic church, agreeing to raise his kids as Catholics goes against what he believes in.

    3) I would request you to ask a local Catholic priest for clarification.

  36. F says:

    milter,

    I’ve read the Pope’s speech myself. No quotes from others needed. I have also read his previous speeches and excerpts.

    My opinion – is that the Pope is more of a politician. He chose the words specifically to incite resentment. He quoted an 14th century emporer who was mobilising forces to fight the Ottomans forces.

    He might end his speech in dialogue of other Faiths, etc., etc. – in reality he softened the blow within the speech he was delivering.

    Now, my turn to ask questions – What do you think the Pope was stating?

    What do you think of Islam and Muslims?

    Where do you make of potential dialogue developing between your people and mine?

    Enjoy your day.

  37. milter says:

    F,

    This is probably going to be a long “speech”, but I hope you will bear with me 🙂

    Let’s start with your statement:

    My opinion – is that the Pope is more of a politician. He chose the words specifically to incite resentment. He quoted an 14th century emporer who was mobilising forces to fight the Ottomans forces.

    If those words had been uttered for a political reason I think he would have had most of the Catholic world calling for his resignation the day after. The Catholic church of today sees itself as a promoter of faith and spirit, not as a political force. Anytime some catholic is trying to influence politics in Europe with a view based on Catholic doctrines or interpretations, he/she is told immediately: “We have tried that way and we abandoned it long ago”.

    That doesn’t mean The Catholic church hasn’t had any influence on politics in Europe at all. Ireland is a good example. Let me explain why I’m bringing Ireland into this now.

    I’m Danish and would probably be considered a kafir by most Islamic scholars. I don’t believe in religion as a guide for my life or political beliefs, but I acknowledge the influence the Protestant belief has had on the society I grew up in. I met my wife in Bahrain and she is an Irish Catholic. In her family are both priests and nuns, so I had to read up a bit on Catholisism and Ireland after I met her 🙂

    The Catholic church has had a big influence on the way Irish people think, on what they consider wrong or right. It had more or less full control of all schools and health services in Ireland up till a few years ago, but gradually people began to realize that a lot of their problems were caused by that reliance on the clergy to “show the way”.

    How do you think the following will contribute to developing more “peace on Earth”. It is being taught to children in Kuwait:

    At the center of this debate was the question of studying the topic of Jihad in the schools. This discussion arose following a news item in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Ra’i Al-‘Aam about the mention of Jihad in fourth-grade curricula. On p. 61 of Islamic Education – Part I, pupils were asked:

    “In their war against the enemies of Islam, the Jihad warriors need:

    A) Aid in lives, money, and weapons.

    B) Submission of complaints to the superpowers.

    C) Spreading the news about them in newspapers, radio, and magazines.”

    According to the textbook, the correct answer is A.

    The link is here .

    You have said earlier that you don’t agree with the Saudi way. Will you now say you don’t agree with the Kuwaiti way, either?

    Now have a look at these clips about children and Shahada.

    Do you agree with that? Or do you disagree with the way supporters of the Palestinian cause try to seek followers?

    Or look at this statement from Sheik Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah, the spiritual leader of Hizbollah.

    What martyrdom is greater than making yourself a human bomb detonating it among the enemy? What spiritualism is greater than this spiritualism in which a person loses all feeling of his body and life for the sake of his cause and mission?”

    .

    Would those words really come from somebody that wants to contribute to understanding and tolerance between people?

    Look at where people are fleeing from and to. How many refugees do you have in the Arab/Muslim World coming from Europe because of persecution here, and how many have moved in the opposite direction?

    People vote with their feet today, i.e. if they can get away from a society they don’t like, they will.

    I’m sure you’ve heard about and followed the controversy about the cartoons of the Prophet in a Danish newspaper.

    I followed it very closely, but I didn’t see any Arab media reporting that one of the instigators of it, Ahmad Abu Laban, was here in Denmark because of his radical views of Islam in The Middle East.

    Another person that was involved in that case was Ahmed Akkari.

    During the recent fighting in Lebanon, Ahmed Akkari was one of more than 5000 people that were evacuated and brought back to Denmark (payed for by the Danish government) because of their relations with Denmark (refugees or citizenship).

    Hizb ut-Tahrir (which you have probably also heard of), has it’s own Danish website, is a recognized organization and is allowed to organize meetings here. They don’t have many followers and recently they have been taken to court for distributing leaflets with the wording “Kill the Jews whereever they are”, but they are still a legal organization. How many Arab/Muslim countries accept the presence of Hizb ut-Tahrir?

    Does that indicate that Denmark is a society filled with hate and resentment towards Muslims?

    Let’s get to your friend’s predicament about marrying a Catholic girl. Please, read this link .

    I don’t know the details of that case, but my guess is that the girl he is marrying, is just trying to make sure that she will have the same rights to divorce and the children in case of a divorce as in her own country.

    I had a bit of the same problem when I married my wife. I know the difference between Catholic and Protestant views are not as big as between Catholic and Muslim beliefs, but can’t they agree (like my wife and I did), to try to bring up the children to respect a universal respect of other people and beliefs. When the children get older, let them make their own choise.

    I will have to stop for now, but I will get back to you later on the rest of your questions , if you still have the patience to listen 🙂

  38. Johnster says:

    F, doesn’t Islam forbid (not even discourage) Muslim women marrying Catholic men?

    On the question of islam and Catholicism, they are actually closer than you might think – the onereal difference is that islam is unitarian whereas Catholicism is trinitarian.

    However, where they do converge is on issues of salvation.

    Both catholics and Muslims believe that you can earn your salvation through doing things and that at judgement day a reckoning is made of your account and all the pluss and minuses added up. then -and only then – will you know whether you are in paradise or on athe down escalator.

  39. F says:

    milter,

    Thank you for your views. The subject we discuss is as big as the Universe itself and we can discuss issues and link them along like strings – from apples to bananas to oranges to kiwis to pineapples etc. I would recommend we discuss and compare apples to apples. This would make it easier.

    Also, due to my work and social commitment, I will have difficulty of having a detailed discussion. I hope you understand.

    1) Pope being politician – I find him to be a crafty and clever individual – similar to politicans …but only in influencing within the Catholic and, to a degree, the Christian community.

    2) Catholic / Protestant – There was a clear breakaway due to the Catholic church being oppressive in nature. People protested and wanted an easier existance this developed to secular views – separation of Church and State. Due to this mindset, the West views Islam similar to the old opressive Catholic church. This preception is wrong. Islam is complete way of life where the civilians rule everyday life.

    3) Kuwaiti issue – Shahada vidoes are supplied by MEMRI and Palestinian media watch – both Israeli propoganda machines (do keep their agenda in mind)

    a) Religious education systems does need addressing. I disagree that this is the Saudi way or the Kuwaiti way – This sounds more like Wahhabi writings. The Intellectuals in all Arab countries want change in how education is thought. In Bahrain, a complete think tank is devoted to this. One must keep in mind tribal rule that exists here and its dominating motives.

    b) I think teaching people to blow themselves up in wrong. Unfortunately, the people do not see any other option to defend themselves in this way. The question here is what is leading the Palestinians to do this? Is their land stolen? Are their family members, including children, prisoned, murdered – accidentally or otherwise. What would one do to protect ones family? I hope peace will come soon.

    4) People seeking refuge in West – we need to compare apples to apples.
    These are not true Islamic states. If they were, people would not leave. They are tribal states and there are no full freedoms (talking about Arab countries as a whole)..a few decide for the rest and so the rest of the people do not participate in its development. Soon, the present state will change should it want to develop. US are states United. EU are economic states united. This part of the world needs to unite as well.

    5) Cartoons issue was in bad taste – Denmark, being a Western Christian secular country, does not have to abide or adhere to our views. I can understand that. Lack of education, understanding, incitement, led to an massive outcry, etc. I think what should have been done was to contact the Danish representative/ambassador and relate to him/her that it was done in bad taste.

    5a) I am not too familiar with the two you mentioned. These people were radicalized within their former states for various reasons. Certainly, if a state gives them refuge, they should start new lives. Unfortunately, many come with baggage – same negative ideas and perceptions. If they remain radicalized or become deviant, then it is for the community to re-educate them and accept the new environment they live in.

    6) Hizb ut-Tahrir – I am not familiar with them or their views. I cannot accept radicalized views. I have to face my Creator one day and I want to add value to the planet before I leave.

    6b) I don’t believe Denmark resents Muslims. I believe the majority of the people in every nation of the world are good people. Each country too has deviants. Every nation has jails.

    7) Muslim/Catholic marriage – I am sure they have or are discussing issues of children, divorce, etc. However, my friend has to sign a church document that states that he accepts that the children will be brought up Catholic.

    Again, I would recommend keeping it short and comparing apples to apples.

    Back to work I go. Take care and have a good day. 🙂

  40. F says:

    Johnster – Islam forbids Muslim women to marry a man from any other faith, unless he converts to Islam. This condition was set at the time when Islam was introduced and not a new condition.

    I concur, that Christianity, Judaism and Islam are linked, the main stories
    mentioned are the same. Apart from Mohammed (PBUH), Muslims also believe in Moses and Jesus. Muslims accept that Jesus is the Messiah and wait for his return.

    You’re right – they do converge when it comes to salvation.

    Salaams 🙂

  41. Johnster says:

    F, I just want to clarify why I said Catholicism (rather than all Christianity in general) and Islam.

    The Catholic faith says that you cannot be certain of salvation and that salvation is through works. In other works, you do things to earn salvation.

    The rest of Christianity believes that salvation is through faith alone. Faith in the redeeming power of Jesus (to redeem us and make us able to stand before God in judgement and then in heaven)and acceptance of him as God. From that faith, springs your relationship with God. Faith is a gift that we can choose to accept or not. Thus the concept of salvation through faith alone runs very counter to our “cause and effect” way of human thinking ie if we do something then we earn something. Christians would argue that we as humans cannot “do” anything for the almighty and perfect God

    That is the crucial difference between Catholics and most other non Catholics.

    I tend to view this paradox as like a relationship between man and wife. Let’s take a slightly banal example, the husband through his life will do a number of things for his wife(tell her “I love you”, buy her flowers, make love with her, etc etc). All these actions spring out of the relationship and the love they mutually enjoy. So it is with God, it’s not a ticklist of things to do (don’t sin, help old ladies across the road, wear appropriate clothes, support your fellow man in need). You may well do all these things but they spring out of your relationship with God rather than then leading to that relationship.

  42. F says:

    Johnster – that is very interesting – thank you for educating me on this.

    I like your example too. I believe any road that leads to a higher moral
    and ethical way of life brings one closer to God.

    Have a good day 🙂

  43. milter says:

    F,

    Thanks for your comments.

    I apologize for maybe not making it clear enough why I seemed to have drifted away from the aim of our discussion in my previous comment. I was trying to substantiate my views with links and quotations. I hope I can make it clearer now.

    And, by the way, I did not use examples of the words and acts of unknown people or organizations. The Kuwaiti school books are sanctioned by the government and scholars and Hizbollah and Hassan Nasrallah are considered heroes by millions of people. The shahada videos may have been published on the net by MEMRI, but they were not produced by them. They were just recordings of what was produced and transmitted by the PA. The two Danish imams claimed to be speaking on behalf of the vast majority of Muslims in Denmark. The only one who really disagreed with them is now under a 24 hour police protection. So, when you say that 99,9 % of Muslims are against them, I disagree. I’m afraid it’s wishful thinking.

    You wrote:

    People seeking refuge in West – we need to compare apples to apples.
    These are not true Islamic states. If they were, people would not leave.

    What country is “truly Islamic”? Who is to decide what is “truly Islamic”?

    You also wrote:

    There was a clear breakaway due to the Catholic church being oppressive in nature. People protested and wanted an easier existance this developed to secular views – separation of Church and State. Due to this mindset, the West views Islam similar to the old opressive Catholic church. This preception is wrong. Islam is complete way of life where the civilians rule everyday life.

    So does that mean you agree that the constitution and laws of a country should be based on secular ideas? Or do you think think they should be based on the Quran and Hadith?

    If Islam is to be a complete way of life, then it must also include the views and actions of those civilians that rule every day life. And since they are not really experts on Islam, where will they get their guidance from? From the scholars! And these scholars claim to have access to a perfect and infallable source. I get very suspicious every time somebody claims to have a faultles solution to anything.

    You asked me what I thought of Islam and Muslims and where we could start a dialogue.

    I see Muslims as potential friends, like anybody else I meet. But I wish a lot more of them would free themselves of the (in my opinion) exagerated respect of religious scholars and fear of being seen to disagree with them.

    Religious scholars are ordinary people, like the rest of us. Some of them see religion as a way to gain power over the minds of people and Islam helps them by saying: “Obey your leaders”. They will say: “I know the Quran and Hadith better than you, so you’d better do as I say”.

    You asked me to keep my comments short. I’m sorry, I didn’t succeed this time, either 🙂

  44. F says:

    milter – hope all is well.

    1) issue of MEMRI – keep in mind that it is their propaganda machine. They take things out of context to suit their agenda. I do not deny that videos are created within Gaza and West Bank. There is a war going on and extreme situations are taking place.

    1b) Even it Kuwait, as a state, published the materials, it is not what that state really stands for – These were tribal areas that became states. Many tribal ways were and some still are in place. That is why the education system is being updated in the region.

    1c) Hizbollah and Nasrullah are considered heroes – they have fought an enemy (which actually created Hizbollah). Our people, Palestinians are dying everyday because of oppression and occupation. Finally, there is a power that challenged them. At the end, there are no true victors. Everyone pays a price.

    1d) Danish Imams can claim the fact that all Muslims were offended and request that the offensive material be removed. Nothing more. If they say
    otherwise, then they are only representing themselves.

    1e) Muslim population approximately 1.2 billion – 99.9% = 1.2 million

    2) Presently, there is no true Islamic state. An Islamic state is a just state.
    The people decide and no one is above the law.

    3) There are laws that God has stated clearly. They should be part of the state legal system. There are laws where man has to decide. Society forms them.

    4) There are many experts on Islam. Scholars duty is to interpret the Quran and the Hadith. The job ends there. A scholar is not a scholar if
    he imposes fear on someone. A scholar cannot, in any way or form, say ‘obey me’. If this was a reality, a scholar would only have himself to talk to.

    I guess we will reach a ‘one issue’ discussion in time. 😉

  45. Johnster says:

    F, I just noted you said

    “Islam is complete way of life where the civilians rule everyday life. ”

    I have to disagree with you. two obvious examples, Iran and KSA. But also, here in bahrain, pious Muslims are instructed by what their imams/mullahs say…at least that’s what they tell me.

  46. F says:

    Johnster –

    KSA – again..its a tribal state that follows Islam and not a true Islamic
    state.

    Iran – went through a revolution where, after brief chaos, the religious
    group took over the country. Again, not a true representation of an Islamic state, but they have done quite a few things that are good. One, developed a parliament. Two, a women’s council debating laws pretaining to them. Three, women can vote. etc. Iran might be strict, but steadily it will become a moderate state. Every human being wants that.

    In Bahrain and elsewhere, Imams/Mullahs can only advise and interpret. There are people who will listen and follow instructions blindly. Education certainly is needed. However, the majority listen to their views.

    You see, an Imam or Mullah, has to be carefully as to what he says. Should
    he offer wrong advice, he is then responsible for that aspect in the Day of Judgement.

    Presently, there is no true Islamic state. New leaders are taking over and, with the help of the people, are pressing for reforms. These reforms will, Inshallah, lead us to setting up a just state.

  47. milter says:

    F, you wrote:

    MEMRI – keep in mind that it is their propaganda machine

    Then we have a different interpretation of the word “propaganda”. In my understanding it means twisting the words of your opponent or attributing statements to them that they never made, glorifying the deeds of your own group, lying about actions of the enemy, etc.

    If PA-Television had archives on the net, and if I understood Arabic, I’d be happy to use those links as references. The clips would have shown exactly the same.

    You say they are taken out of context. I say no, they were produced and aired with the sole purpose of teaching children that they would be secured a place on the front seats in Heaven if they blew themselves up, taking as many of their enemies with them in the act. That kind of message, to me, can only be thought up by people with a sick mind. Children should never be involved in acts like that, no matter how just you consider your cause.

    And, talking of interpretation of words, what is your understanding of the “just society” you are talking about?

    Is it a society built on the principles of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, defined by the UN in 1948, or is it built on the Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights , or on The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam ?

    The latter two will only recognize human rights as defined by the Quran. Laws made by humans cannot be accepted.

    And Ramadan mubarak 🙂

  48. F says:

    milter ….thank you. I wish you a blessed month as well.

    1) I concur that is very sad that there is such a thing as suicide bombers.
    War is bloody. I hope peace comes soon!

    2) As mentioned earlier – An Islamic state is a just state. The PEOPLE decide and no one is above the law.

    2b) There are laws that God has stated clearly. They should be part of the state legal system. There are laws where MAN has to decide. Society forms them.

    Looking at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam is a good start.

  49. Ibn says:

    F,

    2) As mentioned earlier – An Islamic state is a just state. The PEOPLE decide and no one is above the law.

    Curious – Whats so Islamic about it? Why add the prefix “Islamic”?

    There are laws that God has stated clearly

    And what might those be, as it pertains to a modern state should I choose to live there?

    -Ibn

  50. F says:

    Ibn,

    1) Prefix ‘Islamic ‘or no prefix, as long as the state is just, it is Islamic.

    2) Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of time to get into the details – work commitments. Suffice to say, there is the Quran, the Hadith, the legal documents developed by the various schools and how institution ‘think tanks’ are developing governing policies round the world.

    2b) You can live in an Islamic state, an Arab state or any state in the world.
    You have only one life. Enjoy what the world has to offer and add value to it before you leave.

  51. Ibn says:

    F,

    Prefix ‘Islamic ‘or no prefix, as long as the state is just, it is Islamic.

    … And what exactly do you mean by “just”? What metric are you using? Degree of freedom? Degree of car-thefts? Degree of taxation? How many girraffes there are in their zoos? What?

    Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of time to get into the details – work commitments. Suffice to say, there is the Quran, the Hadith, the legal documents developed by the various schools and how institution ‘think tanks’ are developing governing policies round the world

    I am also a working man. So all I can do is write! 🙂

    Now I have no doubt in my mind that certain Islamic thinktanks are out there brainstorming about “how an Islamic state must do so and so.”
    But the million dollar question is what exactly those ideas are! Thats what I am asking about.

    You can live in an Islamic state, an Arab state or any state in the world. You have only one life. Enjoy what the world has to offer and add value to it before you leave.

    I agree. The difference is, I think creating religious states – Islamic or otherwise, is a step backwards, not forward.

    -Ibn

  52. F says:

    Ibn,

    A just state, in my opinion, would be in some ways similar to
    the US model.

    1) Executive Branch
    2) Judicial Bracnh
    3) Parliament/Congress/Shura
    4) Academic Institution – a creation of an information bank.
    4b) Research & Development department
    5) Religious Institution – responsible for education the scholars.
    5b) A Womens’ religious council – pretaining to all women related issues.
    6) Utility, Economic, Industrial, Defence and Foreign institutions.
    7) Think-tanks to develop domestic, regional and international policy.
    8) Minority Rights Committee within Parliament

  53. Ibn says:

    F,

    Thats interesting. … So would you call the US system of government Islamic?

    Thats seems to be the conclusion one would draw from that list you have provided. It is a copy-paste of the US system, onto a new title of “Islamic”.

    So the US system is Islamic, and if Islamic countries wanted a real Islamic system, they should simply copy the US system of government?? …

    Ill tell you what – thats the first time I have heard of anything like that!

    The only one that is not on the US list would be 5b. I would ask, why should government be responsible for the education of certain people in religion? Which religion would this government educate those people in? There must be hundreds of them across the planet. What power would those scholars have over the Judicial branch? Legistlative? Executive?

    Again, it does not seem that the list you have provided is in any way “Islamic”. All those issues (save for 5b) are products of centuries and centuries of failures and successes in Western political culture. They took a long long time to form. Like I said before, it seems like you have just copy/pasted this.

    Again, I fail to see anything “Islamic” about this.

    -Ibn

  54. Anonymous says:

    Jasra Jedi: The latest remarks by our friend the Pope was very unwise and racist in nature. He shouldnt be allowed to speak for Christianity any more than Bin Laden or Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab have a right to speak for Islam

    What make you say Pope was racist? Don’t Muslims come in all races?

    It’s ridiculous to compare him to bin ladin. He may have used poor judgement in his choice of words, but he isn’t calling for harm to anyone.

    He doesn’t speak for all of Christianity, just the Catholic sect.

  55. Anonymous says:

    F, I am disappointed. No, really disappointed that you have fallen into the “ah yes but it’s not a TRUE Islamic state you see” argument.

    Let me let you into a little secret.

    There never will be a true Marxist state

    or a true Islamic state

    or a true welfare state

    or a true anything-ist state

    Because as soon as one is established, there will always be someone else who says “This is not the true religion/political ideology/philosophy” or whatever was the founding principales of that state.

    The Russians probably had the best crack at it. Where are they now? And Cuba? Angola? Remember the great Syria-Egypt state?

    Nope, everything is imperfect – first and foremost ourselves, you, me, everyone. And that’s why there will never be the perfect X-ist state.

  56. Johnster says:

    Sorry, the anonymous post beginning “F I am disappointed…” was from me. No other anonylous posts were from me.

    And now that I am back here, F, a quick question for you.

    I understand that you bel;ieve the perfect Islamic state is possible.

    Is a perfect Sunni state possible?

    And is a perfect Shi’a state possible?

    Johnster

  57. F says:

    Ibn – No..it was not copy pasted.

    Western states have more transparency in their governments and that is good. Islamic countries needs to have their governments be transparent.

    Education is for everyone and not for a particular people.

    Scholars would study the Quran, Hadith and related books and then give their finding to the parliament. Parliament decides laws and Judicial system will make sure that its upheld.

    The difference between an Islamic state and a normal state is very little.

  58. F says:

    Johnster,

    I understand where you are coming from – people searching for a
    perfect Utopian state – some setup Marxist states, etc., etc.

    I concur that we, as human beings, are not perfect.

    However, I do believe that people should try to work towards developing
    a state that is based on higher morals and ethics. What is the US Constitution. After months of discussing and bickering, the founding fathers of the US developed a document for the whole land to abide by.
    It is a work in progress and it will keep on developing.

    An Islamic state would be the same.

    That is a good question – Sunni or Shia state.

    Political history is certainly viewed differently between the two sects.
    However, there is no different position on religion.

    Within the Islamic institution, the two sects can follow their own
    political views and development. The laws they would propose would
    go to parliament and then, after approval, to the courts.

  59. Johnster says:

    F

    I am wondering and, I admit, being a little provocative (because I always get very world weary when someone wants to establish a system which follows their ideology because everyone else is wrong)

    1) Would kaafir such as myself have to pay a tax because I do not subscribe to your set of beliefs?

    2) Would hindus, sikhs, budhists and other non-people of the book be permitted to live in your utopia?

    3) Would your utopia ever see the need to engage in a holy war even if there has been no physical attack upon your country?

    4) If your utopia is a shi’a one, what sort of law would apply in the courts to sunni citizens?

    5) In the last 1500 years, have there been any communities, states or nations that approximate to your vision of an Islamic state?

    Yours

    Johnster

  60. Ibn says:

    F,

    Scholars would study the Quran, Hadith and related books and then give their finding to the parliament. Parliament decides laws and Judicial system will make sure that its upheld.

    My dear F,

    First you told me, that this system would be “just”. Then you told me, that it would be “very similar to the US model”. But my dear F, telling me that a “council” of bearded government indoctrined “scholars” is going to be responsible for making the laws of the land, is in NO WHERE NEAR what the US is, and is in fact just the opposite of how business is conducted there.

    Telling me that a government educated people are going to make laws for the government is telling me that the government is going to make its own laws, without any of the citizenry being in the loop. And the second damnation is that those laws are going to be based not on logical and rational derivations, but on archaic religious dogma fit for life in the desert 1500 years ago.

    But if you maintain however that such laws and discussions are going to be rational and logical anyway, then why do you even need Islamic scholars in the loop? What is there purpose? Why use the Qur’an and Hadith as a guide, and not other books published by learned men? What is going to be so “Islamish” about this?

    I am going to make a hypothesis: An “Islamic” state, cannot safegaurd the rights of individuals as liberal democracies can.

    -Ibn

  61. milter says:

    F,

    It looks like you’re under a heavy attack here 🙂

    I’ve been away for a few days, but others seem to disagree with you as well.

    You are trying to speak in favour of a just society, based on Islamic values. To be able to convince others that Islamic principles can create your “just society you must also be able to back it up with examples. It’s not enough just to say: “Islamic governance is just, because the Quran and Hadith say so”.

    Now, if Islam were a new way of life, you could use the excuse that it hadn’t had enough time to develop. But, that’s not the case. Islam has had 1400 years to prove itself as a viable source for creating a society with happy and free people.

    You can’t point at any Islamic society where people are free and happy, you can’t even point at one that is close.

    Marxism was once a political force. When it’s supporters couldn’t justify their admiration for the rule of the Soviet Union anymore as a “just and peaceful” society anymore, they turned to China, Khmer Rouge of Cambodia, Albania and others. Every time they used the excuse: “The old one wasn’t a true marxist state”, just like you say “It is not a true, Islamic state”.

    Islam had the possibility to reform itself into something that could have been an alternative to liberal democracy. Instead we now see more and more Islamic scholars that speak of “Going back to the roots of Islam”.

    Do you really believe that your interpretation of Islam will be a step forward in comparison with a secular and liberal rule? Shouldn’t a country be judged on how free peole are to live the way they like?

  62. F says:

    Johnster – salaams and hope all is well.

    I don’t believe others are wrong. There are many paths to God.

    1) I believe tax would be the same for Muslim and a non-Muslim
    2) Others should be able to live in an Islamic state.
    2b) Not a Utopia…but working towards and enlightened state. 😉
    3) Again not a Utopia – Jihad means struggle and Holy War can only
    be declared on defensive grounds and NOT offensively.
    3b) No one can be forced to convert to Islam – Islam was not spread
    by the sword – I can invite you, but not force you. If I force someone
    to convert, then I’ll go to Hell. I do not wish to go to Hell.
    4) A Sunni judge would preside over Sunni affairs. A Shia judge would
    preside over Shia affairs.
    5) I believe that there were attempts by various groups to develop
    Islamic states. My knowledge is limited there. I believe it is a struggle and it will continue.

    Ibn – salaams and hope all is well.

    I believe a system could be just
    No where I mentioned anything about ‘gov’t indoctrinated scholars’.
    I believe the concept was a just state. 😉

    The Religious Institutions will be good to clarify my misconceptions that
    people have. It will also help to curb radicalized groups taking shape.
    If there are learned scholars who interpret the truth, then there are no
    worries.

    Parliament will decide laws. People elected will propose and decide laws.
    Possibly, an greater notion of democracy, public referendums can take place. The Regligious Institution will only propose laws after their own
    council has cleared them.

    We follow a religion that was established over 1400 years. We see that message to be Truth. We live in a land and in a region where the majority are Muslim. So, I believe there should be an Islamic Council be part of running of the country. Minority rights will always be safguarded.

    I disagree with your hypothesis.

    Milter – salaams and hope all is well.

    Yes, I am certainly on the defensive here. I think people should realize
    that this is my view. I certainly do respect their views.

    I believe scholars speak of ‘going back to the roots’ because of the misconceptions Muslims have within Islam. If there is a Council, where scholars are clarify many issues, then there will be more clarity. I do believe that this would curb radicalized groups.

    Islamic society certainly has been developing over the 1400 years. Europe’s present era, after World Wars I & II, taken from the religious view – developed over 1900 years.

    Many Muslims believe that these are our dark days and to only way to come out of it is to work towards a just state.

    I believe that if a nation is majority Muslim, then there should be a religious institution set looking after its own affairs.

  63. can we talk now says:

    F,

    ONE)
    3b) No one can be forced to convert to Islam – Islam was not spread
    by the sword – I can invite you, but not force you.

    I seem to remember that if people did not choose to enter into Islam, they had to pay tax. force does not have to be with a sword, money can be quite forceful, especially if you don’t have much..

    TWO)
    4) A Sunni judge would preside over Sunni affairs. A Shia judge would
    preside over Shia affairs.

    what happens when the two affairs overlap? in business, in a marriage, in any dispute?

    THREE)
    If there are learned scholars who interpret the truth, then there are no
    worries.

    who decides who is learned?
    if something is truth, why do we need anyone to clarify it for us?

    FOUR) (from previous post)
    5b) A Womens’ religious council – pretaining to all women related issues.

    If this state was so fair and just, women wouldn’t need a special council in it for them because they would be human beings equal to every other human being in it so their rights would be safe gauarded. there would be no need for women’s rights because their would be human rights for everyone..

    cwtn

  64. johnster says:

    F – “there are many roads to God”

    any Orthodox Christian, Jew or Muslim would totally disagree with you?

    Or maybe, you mean there are many Muslim roads to God?

    CWTN – 2 of my friends just got married in Bahrain. Two witnesses were needed. Women were not considered valid for this purpose and so they had to find 2 guys (I think they ended up using the maintenance man and his friend) . Therefore men and women are not equal in the eyes of the current administration. I presume this reflects some Islamic teaching – perhaps someone can clarify?

  65. F says:

    CWTN – Salaams and hope all is well.

    1) During that period, most of the people on those lands were in
    turmoil. When Islam spread, the military established a base outside
    city. At the time, many people of other faiths had good commerce and for the caravans that moved from place to place, had Muslim protection. There was a charge for that. Presently, the system is that if there are good and services used from port to port, there are charges.

    2) That is a complex issue and I’m sure the parties would have to work
    that one out.

    3) Scholars who are well educated and certified. When people are in doubt, they can refer to the scholars for their advice on the matter.

    4) Women participation in society is very important and I think presently there are only men looking after women’s religious affairs. I believe women should have their own religious council looking into their affairs.

    Johnster – salaams and hope all is well.

    1) I think moderate people of ALL faiths would accept that there are
    many paths to God.

    Salaams CWTN and Johnster

  66. can we talk now says:

    Johnster,
    you are right, men & women are not treated equally, in the eyes of the law. This is evident in inheritance (man=2 women), in marriage (Sunni marriage, woman can have a guardian representing her, she doesn’t have to be there herself), citizenship (women married to foreigners can’t just as easily as men married to foreigners get citizenship for their kids) and a host of other things..
    although I do understand the logic behind that last one
    most importantly, as long as men are allowed to take more than one wife, we will never have an equal society, men will always have the upper hand

    F and Johnster,
    Yes, but I was referring to the ideal state, which if it is ideal will provide equality to all human beings, in which there would be no need for women’s rights & it would be just as unnecessary as men’s right..

    however, as long as polygamy is legal, we will never have an equal society, it is just impossible

    cwtn

  67. Ibn says:

    CWTN,

    however, as long as polygamy is legal, we will never have an equal society, it is just impossible

    I disagree with that. The fact that a contract between 5 consenting adults is viewed as illegal is NOT freedom. In a true free society, polygamy should be a legal endevour.

    -Ibn

  68. mahmood says:

    on both sides Ibn? you’d be inviting chaos and the disintegration of society.

    1 Wife + 4 Husbands,
    1 Husband + 4 Wives

    Which would you choose?

    Neither as far as I’m concerned, it would be

    1 Husband + 1 Wife = equilibrium

  69. johnster says:

    I have a theory about polygamy and I would be interested to hear people’s views.

    Here is the theory (read to be shot down…)

    Polygamy is psychologically unhealthy because it encourages avopidance and denial rather than openness, intimacy and the confrontation and discussion of problems. It does this simply by allowing the husband to walk away from an argument, knowing that he has other wives and that they are each at a disadvantage to him.

  70. can we talk now says:

    Ibn, I was talking about a fair equal society and you are talking about a free one. They are different and sometimes contradictory. In a fair society, adult people have equal rights regardless of gender. A totally free society would be the jungle, chaos, lawlessness,
    by definition laws curtail freedoms, because they are there to safeguard other people’s rights as well and set boundaries.
    In a free society, there are no boundaries. In a free society, power would rule.
    I would rather see fair society where everyone’s rights are protected, and you get out as much as you put in above and beyond that. Polygamy is not a contract between five peopl, it is four contracts between one person and four others.
    Polygamy implies so much about the nature of men and women that I just don’t think is true. It assumes the worst in men and instates the worst in women.
    As long as polygamy exists, women will be second class.

    Johnster,
    I agree with you 100%. If a member of the pair does not feel the same desperate commitment to make it work because this is his destiny, it is too easy for it not to work. and imagine what it does to a woman’s esteem, it’s effectively saying “you are not woman enough for me.” and “you have to compete for my attention”

  71. johnster says:

    are we confusing liberal with free?

  72. Ibn says:

    on both sides Ibn? you’d be inviting chaos and the disintegration of society.

    1 Wife + 4 Husbands,
    1 Husband + 4 Wives

    Mahmood, how would this invite social chaos? I for one do not care for polygamy – I hope to find ONE wife one day when im older. But who am I, to stop 5 consenting adults from having a sexual-emotional relationship as they see fit? We dont care if a man is a player who promiscously goes after 4 women, or vice versa, thats just being “sexually free”. But god forbid if they get married, because then the sky will fall?

    Johnster,

    Polygamy is psychologically unhealthy because it encourages avopidance and denial rather than openness, intimacy and the confrontation and discussion of problems

    Psychologically unhealthy? And what of homosexuality? Is that psychologically unhealthy too and thus must be banned? Or how about breaking up after a long term relationship – thats very psychologically damaging – ban that too? Divorces? Im sure its not exactly psychologically healthy – lets ban divorces!

    Freedom means I mind my own psychological and biological health, and you mind yours. Telling someone that they cannot do “x” because “x” is “psychologically damaging” to me (or you), is the beginning of the end of freedom.

    Think of the runnaway effect “psychologically damaging” would have on a society if taken seriously – I could look at you, hate the haircut, and claim that your haircut is “psychologically damaging” to me, and thus must be banned. This isnt just a slippery slope. Its more like an glacial ice cliff.

    This is because “psychologically damaging” is extremely hard to quantify. Physical damage is easy and obvious.

    Mind you, I am not making the argument that it is not psychologically unhealthy. (Maybe it is, maybe it isnt – I would personally want to study it further). The argument I am making is that it wouldnt/shouldnt matter either way, since consenting adults have the right to enter into relationships/contracts irregardless of how psychologically healthy or unhealthy they are. We dont nanny adults.

    CWTN,

    Ibn, I was talking about a fair equal society and you are talking about a free one. They are different and sometimes contradictory. In a fair society, adult people have equal rights regardless of gender. A totally free society would be the jungle, chaos, lawlessness,

    Stop. My “free society” = your “equal and fair society”. Same meaning, different terminology. The jungle comment is therefore moot.

    Polygamy implies so much about the nature of men and women that I just don’t think is true.

    What? That they have free-will?

    It assumes the worst in men and instates the worst in women.

    Then dont polygamize! 🙂

    As long as polygamy exists, women will be second class.

    And what if you had one woman marry 4 men? Would women still be “second class”?

    Think of what you are saying for a minute:

    1) I am a woman. (…Im assuming you are …).
    2) I think a man marrying four women is bad, and implies bad things about women.
    3) I do not want bad things to be implied about my sex.
    4) Therefore, bad things that are implied about my sex must be banned.
    5) Oh and plus for good measure I think its psychologically unhealthy and the whole gamut.

    (!) ha! Thats what you may be thinking. But why dont you ask what those 4 wives are thinking? If they thought that “they are competing for his attention” or that “they arent woman enough for him” etc etc as you say, then why would they in this in the first place? Obviously by virtue of them being in such a relationship means they do not share your assessment of it, even though they are women like you. People are different.

    ———————————————————–

    Now having said all that, I want to add those other minor points:

    I have read some biological and anthropological books that make the case that humans are inherently “wired” with wanting to be monogamous, because it aided in child-rearing, so this trait was naturally selected and flourished. (Simply because it was good for reproduction). And I myself have a hard time imaging how I could ever be polygamous, it just feels wrong.

    But again, that is not the argument. I cannot want to ban something, purely on the basis of it “feeling wrong” for myself. The issue here is the freedom of others to pursue those “relationships that I feel are wrong”, if they so choose. And if they do, I have no right to stop them, provided they do not infringe on my rights. This is the essence of true freedom.

    -Ibn

  73. can we talk now says:

    Ibn,
    fair and equal does not = free
    fair and equal means everyone’s rights are upheld, basic rights , not absolute freedoms. free means I can do what I want and does not make allowances for other people’s freedoms and rights.free means no laws and regulations. fair means laws are there to ensure rights are not lost.

    again, 4-wife polygamy is not a 5-way contract, it is four two-way contracts.

    I don’t follow your train of logic. I think that marriage is a very sacred partnership which requires a lot of hard work and honesty and privacy in order to be wonderful. It’s a promise to share your soul with one person for the rest of your life and put them before yourself. you cant have that with too much traffic.

    You mentioned promiscuity and homosexuality. what does that have to do with the price of tea in china? completely apples and oranges. the world is not black and white and marrying four wives is not the righteous alternative to promiscuity, it is the disrespectful alternative to monogamy. Just because cheating is bad doesn’t mean that signing a 2nd, 3rd,4th marriage contract is ok. My personal opinion is that cheating is cheating whether he marries her or not.

    I don’t think that a man marrying four women imples anything about women in general, it just implies that his first wife does not fulfill all his needs whatever they are, social, psychological, emotional, sexual, whatever, as well as he would like them to be satisfied. and that is not very nice for any one to be made to feel, whether male or female.

    When the law allows polygamy, however, that means that it acknowledges that the man might have unmet needs and gives him the right to fulfil them, while not acknowledging the woman’s same needs or giving her recourse. that is not fair, and it is not equal. that’s why we have many women stuck in limbo, not married and not divorced, while the husband moves on and makes himself another life with someone else. the courts are full of such cases here. Which is why we need laws to protect them and order the relationship. and then, these women, who are sheep, go out and demonstrate against the law. I say sheep not because I disagree with them, but I have spoken to many of them and they say they are against t because they were TOLD it is wrong. Personally, I read the proposed laws and found women to be so second class even in them, but something is better than nothing, a good place to start.

    I think it’s good that you are not rushing into marriage until you feel ready, whenever that is, because it seems that many people nowadays rush and make the wrong choice for them and then feel stuck.
    Of, course, it also means you get very picky.. good luck finding a soulmate when you are ready..

    I would like to see polygamy banned not because I don’t believe in it, but because so many women are at men’s mercy because it gives them the upper hand. there are actually women who think they’d better do what he says because he can always take another wife.

    I can’t imagine having to live with that sword hanging over my head. and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else either

  74. mahmood says:

    Mahmood, how would this invite social chaos? I for one do not care for polygamy – I hope to find ONE wife one day when im older. But who am I, to stop 5 consenting adults from having a sexual-emotional relationship as they see fit? We dont care if a man is a player who promiscously goes after 4 women, or vice versa, thats just being “sexually free”. But god forbid if they get married, because then the sky will fall?

    You’re being pedantic Ibn.

    Yes I agree with you that the value of freedom is above all, but with freedom comes responsibility too, it is this that I was alluding to but did not make clear.

    Having said that, and even though I personally believe that a woman should not have more than one husband, polyandry does exist in some societies and I will not be a judge in condemning their practice, it works for them.

    Your contention that while polygamy is frowned upon however the multiple sexual relationships outside of marriage is condoned by society requires another topic altogether! Essentially however I understand what you’re saying and it does hold a measure of simple truth, it doesn’t make the situation “right” though.

  75. johnster says:

    Ibn,

    What is all this banning business? And why are you so anti-homosexuality? Why do you think that polygamy is like homosexuality? I think that is an interesting link that you have formed in your mind.

    The issue is that you are trying to assess issues from a relativist viewpoint by indicating a number of issues are problematic, therefore they are all OK. But the logic employed in suc arguments is faulty, as witnessed by your following paragraph claining that if polygamy is psychologically unhealthy, then haircuts could be too.

    One point you also made is that if people consent, then it is OK. But of course this is a flawed argument as well. Perhaps a 13 year boy and a 70 year old man consent – is that OK, would you allow your brother to be engaged in such a “relationship”.

    No, we don’t nanny adults but what do we do if adults behave as children?

  76. Ibn says:

    CWTN,

    fair and equal does not = free
    fair and equal means everyone’s rights are upheld, basic rights , not absolute freedoms. free means I can do what I want and does not make allowances for other people’s freedoms and rights.free means no laws and regulations. fair means laws are there to ensure rights are not lost.

    Ok, this is now come to hair-splitting. CWTN, the common nomenclature today regarding countries where there is more or less “fair and equal” treatment of its citizenry, are what are referred to as “free countries”. Thats the definition I am using. So agian, like I said, when I said “free countries”, the meaning behind that is the exact same as yours when you say “equal and fair” treatment.

    I think that marriage is a very sacred partnership which requires a lot of hard work and honesty and privacy in order to be wonderful. It’s a promise to share your soul with one person for the rest of your life and put them before yourself. you cant have that with too much traffic.

    So dont polygamize.

    the world is not black and white and marrying four wives is not the righteous alternative to promiscuity, it is the disrespectful alternative to monogamy.

    So dont polygamize.

    I don’t think that a man marrying four women imples anything about women in general, it just implies that his first wife does not fulfill all his needs whatever they are, social, psychological, emotional, sexual, whatever, as well as he would like them to be satisfied. and that is not very nice for any one to be made to feel, whether male or female.

    So dont polygamize.

    … See, CWTN – you give me all those explanations about how and why polygamy is evil incarnate, (which it just might be), how you would hate it, how you think its unfair, and how you think its exploitation of women, and all the rest.

    So my dear, dont do it then! 🙂 You see, no one is forcing you to do it. Just the same as you should not force someone else to not do it.

    CWTN, there are so many examples in life of so many things in life that appear utterly disgusting and unfair to us, things we would never do, yet other people do want to do them, and its their business, so long as they do not violate our rights in the process.

    When the law allows polygamy, however, that means that it acknowledges that the man might have unmet needs and gives him the right to fulfil them, while not acknowledging the woman’s same needs or giving her recourse

    Please do not confuse the motivation behind the law, with the actual law itself CWTN. The motivation behind that law might have been what you mentioned above. Fine. But what is its effect? Its effect is simply to allow polygamous marriages.

    Now here’s the hard part: You mentioned:

    while not acknowledging the woman’s same needs or giving her recourse. that is not fair, and it is not equal.

    Again, the motivation behind it might have been pure chauvinism. (Which we agree is bad). In fact, if this same law doesnt apply to women (doesnt let 1 woman marry 4 men), I would indeed call it unfair too. Is that the case? Can a woman indeed use the same law to marry 4 men? I do not know. You are more familiar with it than I am.

    ————————————————————————–

    CWTN, I think this cuts to the heart of the matter at hand:

    that’s why we have many women stuck in limbo, not married and not divorced, while the husband moves on and makes himself another life with someone else. the courts are full of such cases here.

    ..See….we have to be very, very clear here: If a woman, marries a man, under the impression that they are to be a monogamous couple, only to have the man run off and marry someone else while saying “I can do this because polygamy is legal”, then YES, I agree, that is obviously unfair, and almost tatamount to a breach in contract! (The initial contract being that this is to be a monogamous marriage). So yes, CWTN, if that is the case of those Bahraini women who are in a case of limbo because of such an event, then I wholeheartedly sympathize with their plight, and agree that their husbands ought to be prosecuted!

    But if a couple knowingly enters into a marriage, where it is made abundantly clear that the man intends to marry 2 more women, or the woman intends to marry one more man, then that is an agreement they have between the two of them. And I would imagine that a second wife will have to be informed about the arrangement before hand, for it to be an honest agreement. Who are we to tell them no?

    So thats the difference CWTN. If a contract is made between people and there is a rampant case of breach of contracts, we dont, or should not say “let ban the contents of the contract! Everyone is breaking them!”. Instead, what we must do is enforce the contracts in question, and in the case of those Bahraini women in limbo, it means procesuting the dis-honest men, and annuling their marriages, since it was based on false premises to begin with.

    So I hope you see the point I am making – and I see yours now that you mentioned those women – I can see the resentment such a law might have inadvertently caused. But in fact it is not the actual law. It is the lack of enforcement in contracts made regarding that law that are the real issue. And that lack of enforcement might well be cultural-chauvinism. THAT, is the issue that must be battled CWTN, – not the right of free association all us individuals have.

    -Ibn

  77. mahmood says:

    Ibn, you’re taking all of this in theory I assume?

    Sure, contractually parties who agree to something should be left alone to do whatever they want to do within the letter and spirit of that contract; however the larger contract is the social responsibility too. In our culture, being tribal and male dominated (as is the case with most other cultures), the reason given for not allowing polyandry is that the offsprint cannot be readily attributed to a father. I guess that point is moot now with the availability of DNA testing! But try selling that point, and I can guarantee you that people will be looking for a high enough tree and a rope for you!

    So theoretically, yes I agree with you; however, practically it just won’t work. And that’s what I mean by creating chaos.

  78. Aliandra says:

    IBN, I have to agree with you on the freedom for ADULTS to associate as they please. This is a private matter and not the province of government to enforce one type of relationship over another. All issues of inheritance can be dealt with by a written contract between the parties.
    .

    CWTN: You might want to note that in the West a man can live with as many women as he wants and call them all his wives, but the government will only recognize one woman as the legal wife. In the US, there are Mormon splinter groups which engage in these “spiritual marriages”. If everyone involved is a legal adult, the authorities leave them alone. There have also existed (and maybe still do) “free love” communes where everyone is everyone else’s spouse.

    Since the freedom to live in polyamorous or polygamist arrangements already exists in the West, the fact that very few people actually partake shows it’s just not a very appealing lifestyle. I think that pretty much closes the argument on the psychological benefits/liabilities these arrangements may bring, at least for the majority of us.

    As noted in a previous post, we probably really are disposed to monogamy.

    Johnster: Who’s to decide when an adult is behaving like a child? Adults should not be nannied, and the only reason others should make decisions for them is when they have a certifiable mental disorder.

  79. can we talk now says:

    Aliandra,
    part of the reason why it is so unappealing in the west is, in my opinion, the fact that it is considered socially abhorrant and distasteful, and I believe the few biggamists that exist (outside of communes) usually do it in different cities where the two wives don’t know about each other and the law only recognizes the first wife as legal. the difficulties of financially maintaining more than one household of course add to that. and then you have income taxes to report, etc. People in the west don’t have to marry each other to live together and these days do move in with each other for a long time before they decide to tie the knot. Hence, the options for looking for someone else when your partner doesn’t interest you are different than they are in our culture where you have to marry in order to set up house together.

    As for communes, if we are talking about the hippie style communes where there was free love and anybody could go with anybody like in the sixties that was a whole different ballgame, with everyone was stoned and their whole lifestyle was based on make love not war and it was hardly your productive society that could endure long term.

    the communes in Utah where men had multiple wives like Warren Jeff’s. They also had men marrying sisters and daughters and all kinds of mess, and to keep their kids in line with their ideals, they received very limited education and kept within confines. If it was so great, they wouldn’t have needed to keep their people (women and children) in and stop them from discovering the outside world. and actually most of them revolve around one man who is the “saint” who order them and even assigns their wives and takes them away as he wishes.

    We don’t have pre-nuptial agreements (I’m not saying they would solve the problem). And my impression is that the majority of those who take a second wife are not very well off and can’t maintain a household let alone two.

    Ibn,
    I don’t know where you come from, but in Bahrain we have multiple marriages (thankfully not so many) and I have yet to meet a first wife whose spirit didn’t break when her husband decided to take another wife. You know, one of them is married to a religious elected guy who became religious after he finished sowing his wild oats, and she used to go around to the women’s religious groups and tell the women they shouldn’t be upset if their husbands remarry because that is their right and it is islamic and he has needs and the girls would have husbands and and and, …and then her husband got married again. and she was totally shattered. she couldn’t accept it , and she hid from all the women and when they went to see her they reminded her of all the things she used to say but she wouldn’t stop crying.

    You say her pre-approval would be necessary, because otherwise it wouldn’t be right. that makes sense. in theory. but if we say that men have to tell their wives that they intend to take a second wife before they marry the first one. we have to ask why on earth would any woman agree, IF SHE HAD A CHOICE, to marry a guy if he told her he was planning to take a second wife? I don’t know, I don’t see it, unless she is so confident and foolish that she thinks she will be the one to change him even though he has pther plans, or her self esteem is so low that she is not good enough to deserve anything better, in which case I would say she needs some therapy not marriage to someone who doesn’t think she is good enough.

    I understand you to say that if a man doesn’t tell his wife he might take a second wife, he shouldn’t be allowed to. and that it should be in the contract that he intends it before he marries. What a state of mind that would be, walking up the proverbial aisle knowing this is not for good.
    you know what is interesting, though, is that some fathers in Bahrain have started to add to the marriage contract that the groom may not take another wife. Although that is good for her, unless it is part of the standard marriage contract that everyone signs, i think it’s sad, because it assumes the worst in the man and tries to alleviate it.

    I think it would be more honest if the standard marriage contract already included a clause that said that neither partner may take someone else, and then if they wanted to change it they would have to request that part be deleted so that their true intentions would become obvious. I bet that might make a few girls think twice. then if they still agreed, well, it’s their folly.. and have noone to blame but themselves.

    enough of the theory, let me ask you a question,
    as a human being, as a man, how would you feel if you knew that your partner (with whom you share your life, your bed, your hopes, your dreams) actually wants to have another partner (or more) in addition to you? as a human being, remember. yes, maybe you agreed she would see other people, I’m not talking about about what you think n your head should be the correct answer because you knew she would be shopping around. I’m talking about how would you feel?

    If we are trying to creat a fair and just society, Should anyone be allowed to make anyone else feel like that?

  80. mahmood says:

    1. Prenuptial exist in Islam, as you alluded to yourself, the conditions of the marriage or its ultimate divorce are mentioned in the marriage contract and both parties will be held to them. So if a spouse wants to put in a condition for the marriage or its dissolution, they can certainly do so.

    2. Other than the marriage contract, the larger contract is being Muslim and having the country declare itself Muslim in its constitution, so that any marriage automatically falls under that pretext; hence, there is no need nor is it required to declare the intention to be polygamous, as that condition is already present in the larger contract and is fully condoned. If women don’t want to be part of it, they have the choice of lobbying to get the government to declare that it doesn’t have an official religion, or to abscond from Islam themselves. Being a Muslim, one cannot put in a condition in the marriage contract that contradicts Islam, if they did then that is tantamount to declaring themselves apostate.

    3. The alternative of course is marrying under civil rule and submitting to its jurisdiction, then and only then can a condition exist that would disallow polygamy contractually.

  81. johnster says:

    Aliandra – indeed – but I was not talking about nannying

    Ibn, I await with baited brath your response to my question as to why you link homosexuality with polygamy

  82. Ibn says:

    CWTN,

    I don’t know where you come from, but in Bahrain we have multiple marriages (thankfully not so many) and I have yet to meet a first wife whose spirit didn’t break when her husband decided to take another wife. … then her husband got married again. and she was totally shattered. she couldn’t accept it , and she hid from all the women and when they went to see her they reminded her of all the things she used to say but she wouldn’t stop crying.

    In other words, most Bahraini women are culturally brainwashed into thinking that polygamy is good, Islamic, etc, but when they feel the brunt of it, they end up not liking it.

    So whats the problem here CWTN? The brainwashing? Or the contract?

    To use an analogy, you dont ban all candy just because most people are not in the habit of brushing their teeth and end up suffering from it.

    But thats exactly what you’re doing. The problem isnt the candy. The problem is the culture of not brushing ones teeth properly.

    Similarly, the problem here isnt polygamy. From what you’ve told me thus far, the problem is:

    1) Most Bahraini women are cultural brainwashed into blindly accepting polygamy.
    2) Those Bahraini women who are left that do not like polygamy and want to get into a monogamous marriage are fooled by some men, as they get more wives after-the-fact in violation of the initial agreement.

    Analysis of 1):

    In the first case, the problem is blind faith, which is a sad fact in most of our Arab countries. Forget about polygamy for a second – suppose one day, that it is culturally and religiously pushed, that all women are expected to have a pet chicken. (Because it is the “Islamic” thing to do).

    Now if this is accepted blindly without question, what do you expect will happen? Women will first say “Oh, well its Islamic and this and that so we must do it without question. To the chicken coup!” Then after a year of running after a flightless bird whose head cocks back and forth in a ridiculous fashion while walking, after dozens and dozens of broken vases and embarresing couch stains, they begin to say: “I hate this! Damn this chicken! Damn them all!”, and an intense vilification of chickens begins by mobs of crying women whose lives are ruined because of this “pakak!” sounding bird. People begin to say that chickens are restricting the freedom of people, that feathers are more deadly than viruses – even the wisdom of having pets in the first place is called into question. Angry mobs begin to gather outside screaming “Freedom for all women!” while holding a pole with a severed chicken head on it.

    Now honestly, who are you going to blame? Even better – what do you ban? Chickens? Pet owners? Pet owners who are weird enough to have chickens? Do you ban chickens, because of “all the psychological damage” its doing to women?

    … Or do you blame the cultural-religious dogma that told them that they must and are expected to live with a chicken for the the rest of their lives, lest they be “un-Islamic”?

    This is the same thing with polygamy CWTN. For women suffering from polygamy because of (1), its their blind acceptance of doctrine or culture or religion that causes their suffering! The key here is not banning whatever “cultural-expectations” that are being forced on them. (polygamy, pet chickens, etc). The key here is educating them to question the wisdom of “cultural-expectations” for themselves. … To THINK!… and not to blindly obey.

    Analysis of 2):

    As far as this goes, like I said in the past post, women who want a monogamous marriage and enter into one based on that assumption, only to be cheated by their husbands because they have taken another wife, can, and should prosecute their husbands, for breach of contract. If they entered it, and both agreed it to be monogamous, then the husband is guilty and at the very least, their marriage must be anulled.

    The corollary of this is that if a woman and man agree that it is going to be possible for the man to take another wife, (or the wife to take another man), then that is their business, and they enter into this contract under their own free will. Who are we to stop them?

    This is freedom. Now, the wisdom of such an act, is a different story, than the right to perform such an act, and this is what ill talk about next:

    —————————–

    You said:

    but if we say that men have to tell their wives that they intend to take a second wife before they marry the first one. we have to ask why on earth would any woman agree, IF SHE HAD A CHOICE, to marry a guy if he told her he was planning to take a second wife?

    This has to do with the wisdom of a woman, entering into a polygamous marriage, CWTN. Now as interesting as this may be, it is irrelavant to the question of whether or not she has a right to enter it. I could ruin the rest of my life by starting a business making nothing but useless lead triangles. Do I have the right to? Yes. Is it wise? No. Does the wisdom have a bearing on my right? No.

    So back to the woman who knows and agrees that her husband is going to take another women in the future. Is she foolish CWTN? I dont know. Maybe. Maybe she’s just kinky. Does she lack confidence? I dont know – maybe she does. Maybe shes confused. Maybe she’s emotionally wack. I dont know CWTN. People are different. Now ill agree, that on average, yes, most women would probably not do it. I said before that we are pre-disposed to monogamy, both biologically and anthropoligically. But that doesnt change anything, on the question of her right to do with her future as she wants to.

    Although that is good for her, unless it is part of the standard marriage contract that everyone signs, i think it’s sad, because it assumes the worst in the man and tries to alleviate it.

    Well, yeah, I guess you could say so. But better to agree before hand about such matters as finance, inheritance, child custodies, etc etc instead of going through neverending litigating court battles! 🙂

    I think it would be more honest if the standard marriage contract already included a clause that said that neither partner may take someone else, and then if they wanted to change it they would have to request that part be deleted so that their true intentions would become obvious. I bet that might make a few girls think twice. then if they still agreed, well, it’s their folly.. and have noone to blame but themselves.

    That sounds like a great idea actually! 🙂 That way, like you said, there would be no ambiguity between the man and the woman.

    as a human being, as a man, how would you feel if you knew that your partner (with whom you share your life, your bed, your hopes, your dreams) actually wants to have another partner (or more) in addition to you?

    Personally, I would feel horrible! I would feel inadequate, I would probably begin to think that I am not pleasing her as I should, and I would subsequently wonder how or what I might be doing wrong – and I would most probably feel shattered inside. I personally cannot fathom how I could ever be involved in any sort of polygamous marriage.

    The hope is that if and when I ever do find a girl and decide to get married, we will both want one another and both agree and want to live with one another for the rest of our lives, through all our ups, and through all our downs. 🙂

    -Ibn

  83. Ibn says:

    Mahmood,

    Ok, I see what you mean about the chaos – although I would suspect it will be an initial condition up until laws get devised for it.

    Johnster,

    The reason I have not commented on your question, is because I dont really understand what you are trying to say, or ask.

    -Ibn

  84. milter says:

    I’m sorry if some of you feel I’m trying to derail this thread. But, I see Mahmood’s initial post about women’s right to pray in the Grande Mosque as an attempt to gather support among men to support their female relatives/friends.

    As far as I can see most comments come from men, supporting the rights of women to be able to decide over their own fate, but, I don’t see many contributions from women saying something like: “This is my view as a women”.

    I’m curious to find out what kind of thoughts are brewing in the minds of women in The Middle East on this kind of topics.

    My own view is based on the similarities I have found when I compare the constitutions of Ireland (article 41, 1937) and Bahrain (article 5, 2002):

    Ireland:

    The State recognizes the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.

    Bahrain:

    The family is the basis of society, deriving its strength from religion, morality and love of the homeland. The law preserves its lawful entity, strengthens its bonds and values, under its aegis extends protection to mothers and children, tends the young and protects them from exploitation and safeguards them against moral, bodily and spiritual neglect.

    A quick look at either of them may make you think: “Yes, I certainly agree with that”, but when you look at the consequences, the story is a different one. In Ireland it meant that women weren’t allowed to work as teachers if they were married, or have any other jobs, if that job was considered a danger to upholding “the moral integrity” of society or family. Another result was the ban on divorce.

    Somehow I have a feeling the Constitution of Bahrain (2002) is just another legalized way (concocted by men) to keep women under the control of men.

  85. milter says:

    My use of some of the “Quicktags” don’t seem to have worked as intended in the above.

    I hope it still makes sense 😉

  86. can we talk now says:

    Ibn,
    I feel that we are finally starting to get somewhere in this discussion, perhaps find some middle ground.
    you say

    In other words, most Bahraini women are culturally brainwashed into thinking that polygamy is good, Islamic, etc, but when they feel the brunt of it, they end up not liking it.

    No, that is not what I am saying, I think it is probably a small minority that think polygamy is ok, especially for themselves. There are those religious groups however that definitely do promote it, some as a solution to the rising number of single females because some males marry women from other countries (more than the other way around, anyway)..I wouldn’t at all say that it is acceptable or ever undevastating to a woman in that situation.

    you say

    whats the problem here CWTN? The brainwashing? Or the contract?

    I think that both are a problem in this case, but I do admit that the brainwashing is the greater problem. Sadly, it is so because many people in our society, more females than males but really far too many of both genders, are quite brainwashable.
    I’ll come back to this point later.

    you say

    To use an analogy, you dont ban all candy just because most people are not in the habit of brushing their teeth and end up suffering from it.

    But thats exactly what you’re doing. The problem isnt the candy. The problem is the culture of not brushing ones teeth properly.

    Again, I agree. I don’t think that candy should be banned, but one of two things should be done, if not both:
    1) educate people on the wisdom of brushing teeth and what happens if you don’t, and make sure they understand this, and
    2) put a warning on the packet that warns that when you eat candy you shoud expect cavities if you don’t brush.

    they do it for cigarettes. people are free to choose to smoke, but the packet carries a government health warning. sadly, in our country, aside from selling ciggies for one sixth of its retail price in the UK and even less of the canadian price, the warning on them is miniscule while “smoking kills” shouts at you in the UK and pictures of damaged fetuses and collapsed lungs decorate the packet in Canada. So you are free to smoke there, yes, but everytime you light up you feel you are taking a risk. they do this to protect the rights of individuals. does that mean they are interfering? maybe. I have no problem with allowing something if the dangers are explained and people can make informed choices.

    Alas, our society is not educated properly. it is educated in the sense that people have university degrees but the majority of the population do not think, they repeat.

    The key here is educating them to question the wisdom of “cultural-expectations” for themselves. … To THINK!… and not to blindly obey.

    Thank you. thank you. thank you.
    here is where we are absolutely in agreement. Our society is not a thinking group of people. It is not from lack of intelligence, certainly, it is from years of mis-education. they don’t know how to think, because unless they were educated outside of mainstream education where they might have been been taught differently,they have probably been systematically stripped of the power to analyze and critique by constantly being told how to act, what is the right thing to say, to do, to behave, listen to your elders, listen to your teachers, listen to your parents, listen to your bosses, listen to your religious leadres, etc.they know better.

    Basically, they are told this is the right answer, learn it by heart and you will get a good mark. deviate from this and you will be wrong. Consequently they are continuously trying to check what is the right answer so they can score. they are ripe for brainwashing

    Even if they end up going abroad to live/study/work, although thankfully, some of them learn to think, many don’t and end up rejecting everything they don’t understand and closing in even more.

    the problem with this, in my opinion,is that it cannot be fixed easily. We are all born to think, to question, but in order to encourage this, you have to nurture it from childhood. But who is teaching our future geerations? it is our current generations. Perhaps we can agree that if we don’t have something it is most probable that we cannot teach it or pass it on.
    Unless and until our young are encouraged to think and question, our people will not change.

    I don’t know how we are going to get out of this cycle of non-thinkers teaching non-thinkers, but unless and until we do our people will continue to be brainwashable, especially when faced with the unbeatable sword of religion, which tells non-thinkers that they are not allowed to question because that makes them infidels.

    We are not alone in this, my Chinese and Taiwanese friends tell me it was very difficult for them to learn how to think when they went to study in Europe and they kept getting their homework back and being told to “criticize, don’t summarize”.

    our twenty-somethings, even after they are finally dragged into a debate by their horns, at the end of the debate turn to you because they want to know “but what is the right answer?”

    If our people were free to think as they can, and had access to information to help them decide what to think, instead of spoon-fed the right answer, my wishes for my country would be different. I might believe in democracy then, I might believe in complete freedom, I might believe that we can allow social responsibility to find its own equilibrium in the best place.

    in such a place, girls would understand that they are no less than their brothers, and therefore shouldn’t have to settle for less, and that includes deserving a whole husband all for themselves (for those few that don’t), and having the right and responsibility to do for their country before they ask it for anything, and making their own choices in every aspect of their life, as their brothers should (and I say should, because even though males have more rights, that doesn’t mean that they are thinkers either).

    Our society has so many rules and regulations that take away people’s freedoms, some are written, some are not, most of them demeaning women and putting them in second place. It is difficult to win a fight from a disadvantaged starting point. much harder than for a man,even though that is hard too.

    Ibn,
    I think we agree more than we disagree, even though we come to it from differnt places. For me, although the biggest glaring problem might be unemployment or elections or local demographics or low salaries, the real heart of those problems, the true problem, that we will never advance until it changes is education, education, education. and sadly, I don’t see how it can change, even in the medium term.

  87. jasra jedi says:

    i dont know if its education .. i think its exposure.

  88. can we talk now says:

    JJ
    I don’t think it is exposure, because if you have a closed mind, you will not absorb any of what you are exposed to. Some people when they are exposed , find it very difficult to choose what is useful to incorporate into their lives, what is worth adopting, and what to leave out. sometimes the result is that instead of judging what is right for you, you become judgemental and close off completely, hanging onto what you came with before being exposed. In order to make choices about what you are exposed to, you have to know how to think for yourself and not the way someone else or somthing else tells you to.

    The scariest thing I ever saw was a very large group of people holding their arms out shouting in unison “we agree with you” to a religious leader before he opened his mouth to say anything. it was like being in a nightmare. My friend and I were the only ones looking around in shock

  89. Ibn says:

    CWTN,

    Im sorry its taken a while, ive been really busy. 🙂

    Im glad we are in agreement. At the end of the day, its hollow cultural-religious dogma that is to blame, as well as its passive acceptance by the majority of the populus.

    This is our root problem. Because it doesnt have to be polygamy. Whenever someone brainwashes someone else to do something, it doesnt matter what the “something” is anymore – it could be polygamy, giving money away, or like I said earlier, pet chickens. Those individual topics are and should be free for individuals to take part in if they so choose to under their own volition. But people are brainwashed into doing them – when it becomes cultural taboo not to do them because of religious dogma as in this case, then thats the problem. And thats very different than people doing them freely under their own free will and volition. In the latter, it is a free choice made. In the former, it is actions taken because of hollow dogma.

    Anyway, Im beating a dead horse now. 🙂

    —————————————

    Now the new topic is, like you indicated, the reason behind people being sheep, and I agree with your post assessing this problem. Ill just add what I have to say about it:

    Alas, our society is not educated properly. it is educated in the sense that people have university degrees but the majority of the population do not think, they repeat.

    Very true! I am often astonished, at the lack of passion I see in a number of my Arab friends regarding academics. Its like they just go through classes, without the wonder. I cant count the times when my class mates in school and even now in college have told me “my_name, why do you care?! This is the right answer! Just go with it!”. This after I ask a question like “yes but why does it work that way?” It seems like no one wanted to understand, but just to memorise. No one wanted to figure out, just to copy. I cant understand this. I cannot fathom how one cannot feel a passion for their field, and simply want a good grade! Ive traded in A’s for B’s just because I refused to copy answers and sat their trying to actually figure them out.

    our twenty-somethings, even after they are finally dragged into a debate by their horns, at the end of the debate turn to you because they want to know “but what is the right answer?”

    Absolutely true. And you know what? It boils my blood!

    in such a place, girls would understand that they are no less than their brothers, and therefore shouldn’t have to settle for less, and that includes deserving a whole husband all for themselves (for those few that don’t),

    Absolutely. When dogma is not pervasive in the air, people will choose what they like as they see fit, and they will realise that they need not pick polygamy (or whatever the dogma-of-the-week tells them too). And ill bet my favourite t-shirt that most people wouldn’t pick it, and a small kinky/religious minority would, as they would be free to.

    You know, here is the real deal: We have a culture, where for example, respect must be absolute. Well respect is not absolute. Its earned! You cannot question your elders, because if you do, you are being “dis-respectful”. I have caused many a ruckus in family functions where I just wouldnt let a blatantly racist comment made by an elder at the dinner table slide. The children are raised, not to think, but to fear. You dare NOT question your forefathers! You dare NOT question your teachers! You dare NOT question the dogma in Qur’an class! And when kids like this grow up, who do they give this divinity status to? Whatever ruler happens to have succeeded into power from the last coup. Dare not question him!

    It is this culture CWTN, that must be dismantled. Now I want to also say that does not mean we get rid of our heritage! I think our heritage is spectacularly rich and diverse – but we have this viral infection of this dogmatic and blind obediance that must be removed. At the one end, it slowly decays our heritage. On the other, peoples’ freedoms are eroded and in the extreme case, their lives taken because of this disgusting religious-cultural dogma.

    When women tell us that the are being “forced” into marrying a man who has other wives and they dont want to, we should support them, and hold them by the hand and tell them it need not be so!

    When women tell us that their families are ex-communicating them because they would not marry a cousin in an arranged marriage, we should open our doors, clean the guest room, and become their new family!

    When we hear a family member, or a friend, make blatantly anti shia/sunni remarks we must confront them, and not remain silent for fear of “dis-respecting” them. Respect? What respect does a person who is fueling the fires of ethinc hatred deserve anyway? Let them know this!

    When we hear family members or friends make a statement supporting some tribal or chauvinistic dogma just because “it is our culture”, we should ask them, “Is it part of our culture to use our brains and question to? Or is using our heads against our culture too”?

    The battle must be fought everyday CWTN. We are all activists in this. If we make enough noise, people will hear us. Other adults will agree with this calling. They will not educate their children on what to think, but on how to think. That is the key CWTN. But it starts with activism. Write letters. Write commentaries. Give them out for free. Write a book. Try lobbying on some local TV station to give you air time for your “radical” ideas. Of course, make sure you have activated an email or POBox so that you can receive all your hate mail. 🙂

    That is how I think it must be done CWTN. Talk. Speak. Scream hoarse if you have to!

    This virus of blind-obedience – usually fit for a pet dogs – must be completely and totally obliterated from our culture CWTN, before its too late for all of us.

    -Ibn

  90. jasra jedi says:

    CWTN, Ibn ..

    Food for thought.

    We are getting to the heart of what makes someone complaint with the norms advocated by society (both functional and disfunctional) and what makes someone stand up and say ‘enough’. Whether we are talking about women, or racism or whatever.

    I think, truth be told, is that most people want a comfortable life. And in order to maintain a comfortable life, they do no want to question too much. Ignorance is bliss. And what someone does not know does not hurt them. Our society, (Bahrain and the GCC) thrives on denial of the worst kind. Its not respect we advocate for our elders, its a complicit desire to not rock the status quo.

    Sometimes I feel that it is the sheer depth of the level of insecurity most of the Arabs have in their own lives that makes them take such rigid attitudes about everything. Be it women, or religion. And there seems to be a conspiracy if silence that everyone plays by .. dont ask, dont tell.

    Polygamy is b**shit. I used to say that if more women had their own money, they wouldnt put up with it. However, the older I get, the more I realize that its not the money that is stopping them from taking a position. Its the desire to remain accepted by their community. And thats why women in the Arab world have tremedous double standards. We reinforce the virgin mary/whore dichotomy and reinforc the ‘us’ vs ‘them’ because it makes ‘us’ feel better that we are not’them’ since we are ‘good’ girls or whatever we choose to justify our position. The real truth is that we dont want to face the feelings of inadeqacy that happens when someone we love ditches us for someone else, and so therefore we find a disfunctional way to cope with it. And we ignore the lessons we are invariable teaching our kids by accpeting and condoning the unacceptable.

    Ditto for the double standards imposed by religion. Sometimes I find that the MOST judgemental people I know have a very strong religious stance. I find it horrible and unacceptable. But, I also, for years, chose to say nothing.

    I think to actually take a position on anything that might rock the status quo, one needs to know who they are, and they need to have self confidence. And, that comes from being out there in the real world, where one is forced to make choices about who/what he/she wants to be. In our part of the world, the family dictates everything. From social class to sect to politics. And very few are those who manage to break away from it and discover who they, themselves are.

    Scratch the surface of most people in the Arab world and you will find fear. And insecurity. Very few real men. The women have a tougher ride, but it is also very hard for them to break out unless they are protected or cushioned in some way.

    We need a social revolution. And we need a civil war of ideology and though. And we should stop hiding behind Islam or whatever the latest excuse is to keep people silent (and stupid). Religion was the opium of the massess in Marx ‘ time, and it is true today as it was before Moses parted the river, or before people worshipped the Sun God.

    Thats what we need. And we need people to grow up and take responsability for their lives. And not contiously find other to blame (the Americans, the Saudis, the Al Khalifa, the Wefaq, the Oil, the weather). And we need to adopt heroes like Tutu and Mandela and Gandi and not Bin Laden. And we need to realize that just because we feel unempowered in our lives is no excuse to try and rule the house with an iron fist.

    And, we need our men to look at themselves squarely in the mirror and answer honestly why neither the elite private sector nor the elite religious clergy nor the elite opposition nor the elite ruling family have any real powerful women in their midst.

    We need all of that. Plus a chocolate sundae with sprinkles.

  91. can we talk now says:

    Ibn,

    I cant count the times when my class mates in school and even now in college have told me “my_name, why do you care?! This is the right answer! Just go with it!”. This after I ask a question like “yes but why does it work that way?” It seems like no one wanted to understand, but just to memorise. No one wanted to figure out, just to copy. I cant understand this. I cannot fathom how one cannot feel a passion for their field, and simply want a good grade! Ive traded in A’s for B’s just because I refused to copy answers and sat their trying to actually figure them out.

    that’s brilliant. you know that in 5 years, nobody will remember what anybody’s grades are, and they won’t have learnt anything.

  92. can we talk now says:

    JJ

    We need a social revolution. And we need a civil war of ideology and though. And we should stop hiding behind Islam or whatever the latest excuse is to keep people silent (and stupid).

    ok. but can you see that happening? You posit that people are aware and don’t want to rock the boat, and care about appearances too much. Where does change come from in that case? If people are so pre-occupied with their image in front of others and not giving the impression of being anti-religious because that would be blasphemous, how do they move forward?

    I have to say, that in my opinion, you give us more credit than we deserve. I don’t believe that there are all these people with character who are simply hesitant to speak out with their opinions and lack the resolve and the courage to stand for their contraversial views.
    I think, sadly, that in many cases, there are no views. there may be frustration with how hard it is to find a job and the way “other people” do things, but not that the whole value system of society needs to change. And many of the activists want change to their way, not to the freedom for people to be who whoever they want to be, and the freedom of people to think what they want to think.
    I don’t want to see a society full of people who think, talk and dress like me, I want a society where everyone can feel free to think, talk and dress as they wish, where diversity is encouraged and conformity is discouraged.
    given our rich history, our wonderful geographical position in the middle of the world, our open-door attitude and the way we welcome foreigners, the fact that most people have travelled abroad and most speak at least another language besides Arabic, we should have been there years ago.
    Instead, we have idiots who want to segragate the malls and make univesity students wear uniforms. The problem is that people voted for them. and that a large part of the student body welcome a uniform.
    Now, if the same types still get voted in, assuming that elections are fair and transparent and we have answers to our current fiasco, then to me that says that their supporters don’t want to be helped and they don’t care about my country. It might even mean that it is time to reevaluate the situation and have a real strategy before this land is gone forever.

    so here is we go back full circle

    We need a social revolution. And we need a civil war of ideology and though. And we should stop hiding behind Islam or whatever the latest excuse is to keep people silent (and stupid).

    the question is how?

    Ibn said

    The battle must be fought everyday CWTN. We are all activists in this. If we make enough noise, people will hear us. Other adults will agree with this calling. They will not educate their children on what to think, but on how to think. That is the key CWTN. But it starts with activism. Write letters. Write commentaries. Give them out for free. Write a book. Try lobbying on some local TV station to give you air time for your “radical” ideas. Of course, make sure you have activated an email or POBox so that you can receive all your hate mail.

    I think he is right. I’m not sure how one starts to do this, but we do need a very loud wake-up before we can even begin to smell the coffee. Ibn’s way is right, easier said than done, difficult to envisage from an individual point of view.. maybe through our jobs and the societies we belong to we can make a difference, small steps.. but there is still this thing that if you belong to a society, you lose your identity and are supposed to take on the lowest common denominator values of the group, which I don’t like (a camel was a horse designed by a committee), and your values get diluted.
    so, it has to be done individually, or through an organized group of people who agree to be diverse, respect each other’s opinions and is willing to fight for the other’s right to express it. Can such a thing happen? I don’t know..
    It is also difficult to stand up for your contraversial beliefs when you come from a claustrophobically small society. not impossible, just harder.. noone accepts you at face value because they all know your personal and family history already. difficult but not impossible.
    I’m not being defeatist, just realistically assessing the situation so as to be able to come up with a feasible solution..
    what do you think? given that there is strength in numbers,
    Is it possible to form such a group, that respects all the other and agrees to be encourage diversity and open-mindedness, finds solutions to problems without labelling or judging people for their their very differences. tries to encourage this country to move forward. While, in the mentime be labelled as anti-religious, because you would be going against the essence of their base of power of control.
    Is it feasible?

    This is not really about women praying in mosques, I’m afraid, sorry Mahmood

  93. Ibn says:

    Jasra Jedi,

    That was very well put indeed.

    CWTN,

    We know what must be done – talking and speaking out. But what needs figuring out is the tactical method of achieving this. You ask how exactly, and thats a good and hard question.

    So I was thinking about this the last couple days after our discussions with each other and JJ – we are essentially asking how are we to bring about a cultural change? How are we to bring about free thought onto other people?

    Then it occured to me, well, how did we get it?
    Why did we become proponents of liberalism?
    Why did we embrace free thought over dogma?
    Why did we manage to break from the mould?

    (I dont want to put anyone on the spot here, so feel free not to answer) – but if you can look for clues into your past, and perhaps see how you became a free thinker, then I think this will lend us clues as to how to proceed. Because then in that case, it would be a matter of focusing and nuturing those same qualities that brought us about in other people.

    With some people for example, its simply a matter of personality – they naturally do not like to subscribe to authority and conformity. With some others, it could have been after years and years of accumulation of experience and BS that finally led them to believe that religious dogma is wrong. Maybe some others yet were on the fence to begin with, and perhaps read an inspiring article somewhere, or had an inspirational friend, etc.

    This is what I think the first step should be.

    The second step, is reaching your target audience. This must be chosen carefully. For example, it does us no good to convince 70 year old uncle Abdul about liberalism. Most likely he’ll throw his dentures in your general direction, or hit your chin with his walking cane.

    The target audience at the end of the day, is going to be children, and young adults. The children are – like we all know – the future, and the young adults are future parents of more children. This is whom we must get to.

    As far as the adults go, you’re going to need speech. Sometimes, humour is the best way to get to people – in fact in the face of total lunacy, sometimes the only thing left to do is ridicule. Like a drawing of a Saudi fireman complete with his oxygen mask, water hose – and a backpack full of hijabs – so that he may properly evacuate women from fiery infernos. (To protest the Makkah school yard tragedy, which Im sure youve heard about).

    I think you suggessted getting the “Not Sunni, Not Shia, Just Bahraini” in bumper-sticker form – well go for it! Slap on a “La sunni, wa la shia, bas bahraini!” on your car, so that when you drive around, others see this, and maybe someone, somewhere, while stuck at a red light behind you thinks to himself.. “you know… thats right – we are all bahraini…”. Sure you might get pulled over and hassled over it, but think of all those people you have reached just driving from one end to the other? And think if was not just you who did it, but a hundred others… Maybe a thousand?

    I think its the little acts like this that can really make a difference. They are force multipliers in a sense – all you do is slap a sticker onto your car, and suddenly you have reached the masses.

    Could you guys pool in and rent out a page of your local newspaper and place that entire message there? Then in fine print you can have an email address or signatures, and this way you get to start a group of sorts with other like minded individuals.

    Ooo…maybe you guys could get this great big big big white cloth, and put like a 100 head-holes in it. Then you gather shias, sunnis, this, that, etc, and every one pops their head in, and everyone just marches around on the corniche one nice day, under this “thobe of Bahrain” type theme, the message obviously meaning to convey that you have all this diversity, under one thobe, one flag, one nation. All you would see is peoples’ heads, and this big white (or Bahriani colored) mass, moving slowly down the corniche. Pick a nice day, bring your kids if you have em, and plenty of ice cream!

    This is what I think step two must be. Things of this type.

    I am not saying quit your day job – but I would imagine that one could afford to moonlight a couple of hours – maybe even one hour, for the sake of free thinking and freedom, in order to save our culture, countries, and at the end of the day, people.

    -Ibn

  94. milter says:

    Ibn, (and anybody else who can be bothered to read this),

    So I was thinking about this the last couple days after our discussions with each other and JJ – we are essentially asking how are we to bring about a cultural change? How are we to bring about free thought onto other people?

    I apologize for interfering, I just couldn’t help.

    Like you’ve said a couple of times before, that doesn’t happen overnight. Old, blind people usually know their way around in their own place, if you leave the furniture in the same place. If you put new furniture in the house or move it around, they will object.

    If you want to convince people like that you must have very strong arguments to convince them that a change is needed.

    If you try to enforce the changes on them, they will be against them. That’s only human nature. But, if you can convince them that it will make the rest of their lives more pleasant, then you may succeed.

    If you decide to go for a revolution, well, then you’ve better make sure you have a lot of supporters behind you. Otherwise you might end up in the same position as the instigators of the Irish Easter Rising.

    They were lucky the Brits responded as violently as they did, if not, the result might have been just more dead people and no changes in Ireland.

    You seem to want to bring about changes in a peaceful way. I agree with you that that is the way.

    I used to support the American way by introducing liberal democracy in The Middle East by introducing it in one country (Iraq), but I don’t think that’s the way forward anymore. They forgot the blind, old man.

  95. jasra jedi says:

    Milter, CWTN, Ibn ..

    Its taken me some time to respond to this post. It made me think, not because I havent thought through some of these issues before, but because I really dont know how to go forward on this.

    Milter, I am not sure that it is the blind old man that we are fighting in the Middle East. I think it is the scared, angry young man that is creating problems. I know many more old reasonable people in the Middle East who had much tougher & braver decisions to make than most of the youth today. And those older men took real risks. They were more entrpreneurial, liberal and couragous (relative to their times) than most of the lot that are around today.

    CWTN, I agree. It is a daily battle. Havig to fight and stand for what you beleive in day in and day out is a daily ‘jihad’ .. its also exhausting ..

    Ibn ..I dont know. I really dont know. I actually think that the die has been cast, and we are just waiting for events to unfold. I think that for any wholesale change to happen, there must be a willing critical mass in an society who will enable it. Today, this mass defines itself by Islam – and as such, the Islamic renaissance has started. Yes, it is mired in blood, but at some point it will become mainstream and start yeilding positive results. Maybe not under the banner of Islam. But, under the new banner. However what is becoming obviously clear is that history is never kind to those that try and change it, and that for a movement, ideology, philosophy to happen – it must get traction that will outlast the ‘leaders’ of the movement.

    What to do in such an environment? I dont know. For me, as a woman, I am torn. There are days where just dressing as I please and showing some leg is a triumph against the evil religious sheiks. There are some days where I am not feeling as strong and I dont want to attract attention, and I wear long pants and long sleeve shirts. There are some days where I go head to head with some of my peers on issues of religion, or where I will have a glass of wine during Ramadan – and there are others where I will furitively drink from my secret stash of bottled water hidden in the car. It all depends on how strong I feel.

    The opposition in our part of the world are more organized, stronger, and comitted to their cause than I am. In most cases, I favor a civlized sharing of powers and consensus system. I wouldnt kill nor would I die for my beleifs. However, there are others who would do both. And those are the ones with critical mass.

    They are growing in number. They are mostly Islamo fascists whose leadership are very very shrewed and organized. And when in power, they will fare no much better than the current regimes. Just look at Iran after the Shah. Or Iraq after King Faisal (?). Or Egypt after King Farouk. Republics dont necessarily make their people better off.

    So, I dont know. I think it is impossible to go from political youth and immaturity to political adulthood and maturity without going through the teenage existential islamo fascist angst. Europe couldnt do the shortcut. Our time is nigh.

    So, what do people like us do? We fight in our own individual way .. one issue at a time one step at a time, but the time for our ideas and thoughts are not now. We come into play way down the line. We can just see what is going to happen, and if we are smart, we will try and go into damage control mode by trying to limit the pain … but we cant change the tide.

    I am getting depressed even writing this ..

  96. M says:

    JJ,

    “I am getting depressed even writing this ..”

    I’m not feeling much better reading it; I feel for ya =(

  97. mahmood says:

    but we cant change the tide

    I’m fairly sure we could. I firmly believe that there are far too many people who share the middle ground, but are possibly afraid of perceived reprisals by the extremists. When you demonstrate to them that the extremists actually are limited in number, but with exaggerated bark, the modernists will come out and let their voices be heard.

    It requires a few martyrs though.. and as you said, not many people are willing to stand full in harm’s way to prove that they are against extremism, so they just let it pass.

    I think there is another way… chipping at it bit by bit and demonstrating to the modernists that there really is not unmanageable danger.

  98. Ibn says:

    JJ,

    Dont despair!

    You know, the fact that all you must do is show some thigh to get stupid religious sheikhs into a hissyfit just makes our job all that much easier! 🙂

    Those people do not even understand reason to begin with, so no one really has to worry about convincing them about anything. All one has to worry about is living by example – you are the smallest atom of a culture – one individual. Lead by example, as I am sure you already do.

    But I do not think this fight is ever over. I do not think the die is cast. The very fact that you and I, two fellow Arabs, are even having this conversation on a liberal Bahraini’s weblog from Bahrain, is startling in and of itself! I agree it might seem hopeless times – but think of this from the dogmatic’s point of view – all around him he is seeing liberated women, talk and buzz, modernity, liberalism, and more recently seeing people “embracing the evil shia” with anti-sectarian bagdes. etc etc. He is more worried (and should be) than us.

    I am optimistic JJ. Ill tell you what I think is important at this point in time though – to create some sort of liberal infrastructure in Bahrain and elsewhere. It could be anything from a political organization, to a recipe-for-biryani sharing club. I dont care. The point is that like minded individuals must coalease together in some way or another, so that IF the fit hits the shan with some ridiculous eddict one day, there will be a coherent voice of resistance.

    You know, this reminds me of a joke – just showing how hypocritical religious sheikhs can be:

    There were once 3 sheikhs sitting on a bench in a park, when this absolutely stunning and beautiful woman happens to be walk past them…

    The first Shiekh, upon seeing this unveiled, mini-skirt totting, high heeled woman who is the definition of haram, says: “Istagh-farallah! Istagh-farallah!”, as he continues to play with his prayer beads.

    The second Sheikh, seeing the utter beauty of the woman as she walks by, and knowing a masterpiece of god’s creation when he sees one, exclaims: “Mashallah….Mashallah…”

    The third Sheikh, also playing with his prayer beads, catches a wiff of her seductive perfime, looks up, sees her angelic face, and while his head slowly turns to catch the last of her as she walks away whispers:..
    “….inshallah….inshallah…”

    hahaha! 😆

    (Sorry for non-Arabic native speakers, who might not get this!)

    -Ibn

  99. milter says:

    jasra jedi,

    When I used the term “a blind, old man” it was actually meant metaphorically, including anybody who is unwilling to accept changes. In most cases, though, the opponents of changes are old men and their visions generally are so narrow minded that it comes close to blindness.

    You wrote:

    They are growing in number. They are mostly Islamo fascists whose leadership are very very shrewed and organized. And when in power, they will fare no much better than the current regimes.

    I agree. But, you must continue to expose them, reveal their hidden agendas and, most importantly, show other people alternatives to their ideology.

    Even here in Denmark the aggressive, radical mullahs have taken power of the minds of the Islamic society. They tell the Muslims not to give in to “western ideas”, to wear the hijab, not to use lipstick, etc, etc.

    And they keep talking about the importance of the unity of the Ummah. They see the submission to a religious conformity (lead by them) as more important than the rights of individuals. Individuals have no place in their world because one single person can threaten their authority.

    From my part of the world it looks like Islamic societies have an unhealthy respect of any kind of authority, be it fathers, husbands, teachers, scholars, rulers, sheikhs etc. Even here, where exposure to liberal thoughts should have created a few opponents to those mullahs, even here the liberals are afraid to speak up.

    But that doesn’t mean you should give up. Use peaceful ways like Mahmood’s “Just Bahraini” and be prepared to have some very good arguments.

    You also wrote:

    Europe couldn’t do the shortcut

    That’s true. But we didnt really have any good examples to learn from. You have, so try to learn from them (and from our mistakes). That doesn’t mean our ways are perfect, but, they are definitely better than what you have right now.

  100. jasra jedi says:

    Milter ..

    Human nature is very arrogant. We dont learn from hisotry. Nazi Germany happened 50 odd years agi. In Europe.

    Ibn ..

    When the day comes where a joke is made about 3 women sitting on a bench checking out a good lookin Arab dude (oxymoron in itself ..;), and people still laugh, then we’re in business … 😉

    And, no, although I say I despair, I am a fighter through and through. Its not whether you win or lose in the end, its whether you stood up and did what needed to be done .. personal integrity has not sex nor religion ..

    No Sunni, No Shia, Just Bahraini. You rock Mahmood!

  101. can we talk now says:

    Milter,

    And they keep talking about the importance of the unity of the Ummah. They see the submission to a religious conformity (lead by them) as more important than the rights of individuals. Individuals have no place in their world because one single person can threaten their authority.

    yes, you are right, they do this, but this is not exclusive to the religious in our committee. There is a common mindset of “our way is the right way, and you must buy our entire package and turn yourself over to us and live by our rules”. that’s why I think it is not only religious extremists that we should be against, but also as you mentiond before in a previous post others who have their own agenda.

    When the anti-government socialist/communist groups were active amongst students studying abroad in the seventies, they chanted nationalistic songs but they wanted all the students to be part of their group, and that meant that you had to wear jeans and the ghutra around your neck, you had to not go to nightclubs and you had to not to talk to people who they didn’t approve of. and if you had a brain and decided to use it to make your own choices, you were shunned, your reputation was in tatters and they would make up stories about you to alienate others from you. and these were people who claimed to be modern and free. ther freedom was for them to decide how others should live and not for eveyone to determine their own choices.
    We have all kinds of people in our society but the Bush us and them mentality exists among some non-religious people as well.

    Ibn,

    “Istagh-farallah! Istagh-farallah!”,

    I havn’t responded to your previous post but that is because I am still mulling it over. JJ too

    Meanwhile, I was waiting for a lift next to a beardie once a long time ago. it came and he stepped in and tried to shut the door. I pulled the door open and got inside (i was there first!) and stood waiting. He was very upset and I could feel him checking me up and down and I heard him say Istagh-farallah! Istagh-farallah. so I just looked him straight in the eye and said “ghud albasar!!astaghfur allah!!” which made him turn red and look away instantly. that was really fun!!
    have a lovely day!!

  102. Ibn says:

    JJ, yes, I know that when the going gets tough, JJ gets going.

    ..a good lookin Arab dude (oxymoron in itself ..;)

    … HEY! 🙂

    -Ibn

  103. milter says:

    can we talk now,

    That link needs no comments!

    But it triggered off some disrespectful and blasphemous “what if’s” in my head.

    What if women had been given more muscular tissue than men?

    What if G.. , well, you know, he who sits up there on his throne, had decided to reveal his final words to a woman?

    What if he/she? had whispered in her ear how easy it is to make sure a man doesn’t molest a woman a second time (chop-chop).

    The mere thought of it makes me (as a man) shudder. Luckily that didn’t happen.

  104. miss jackson says:

    A question to all the faithful Muslims here…do you know any marriages that are successful between a faithful Muslim and Catholic???? Is it possible?

  105. Salman says:

    miss jackson,

    Your personal beliefs are owned by you, and you alone, and both partners should respect the others right to practice his/her beliefs in the way she/he sees’ fittest. Tolerance, and acceptance are what Islam preaches and teaches. Islam teaches us to co-exist with whatever race, and love everyone, regardless of belief, background, etc. and love even those who hate you and consider you their enemies. Even if you were both of the same faith, you might have different beliefs or opinions, and they are personal and individual, and so should religion as well be.

    Nothing is impossible, if acceptance and understanding exists 🙂

  106. Loki says:

    Miss Jackson – The academic answer is yes. A mulsim man can marry a muslim woman, a jewess, or a christian (denomination is not specified!). A muslim woman is allowed to mary a muslim man.

    In terms of examples there are tons of them. I personally know loads of marraiges between Muslims and Christians (some Catholic some Lutheran) . Most of the children of those marriages are muslims but there are some exceptions. In one case some the son became a christian and the daughter a muslim.

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