All you need is PR

22 Mar, '07

PR role ‘crucial to end Islamophobia’

The public relations industry in the Gulf has a crucial role to play in preventing the spread of Islamophobia in the world, a top government official said yesterday.

Information Minister Dr Mohammed Abdul Ghaffar says the profession has an increased importance in the new world order and must use its position to help correct misconceptions about Muslims and their faith in the Western world.
GDN :: 22 March, 2007

And of course good PR, according to Dr. Abdul Ghaffar, can correct these situations as well, after all, it’s just that the “West” misrepresenting Islam and all it takes is just a lick of paint judiciously applied by PR and we’re set.

Nick Berg

London Bombing

Iraqi rivers of blood

Jordanian woman suicide bomber

9/11

Baghdad bombing victim

iraqi funeral

Injured Iraqi schoolgirl being rescued

There you go. I’m sure good PR would solve the “Islamophobia” issue. Who knows, the images above themselves could just be manufactured and Muslims never did perpetrate those heinous criminal cowardly acts.

update 22:38: Sorry, this article was pulled inadvertantly into the “private” box for some reason and I only realised its disappearance when Butterfly notified me later on. So thanks Butterfly, it is duly restored.

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  1. BahBlog | 22 Mar, '07
  1. Butterfly says:

    People usually misinterpert the meaning of PR and think its about polishing and hiding facts. PR can be an influential tool if you want to spread the right message about Islam but this will difintely not work with contradicting acts that send contracting messages.

  2. Butterfly says:

    Sorry contradicting messages

  3. docspencer says:

    Dr. Ghaffar is absolutely right in my opinion, and I am very glad that an effort will be made via a PR informational program to explain to the non-Islamic world about what Islam is all about, and what it is not.

    It is the bad news that sells newspapers, and that is the only impression people get about Arabs and Muslims in general.

    It is about time to undertake such program and I am very happy that it was announced.

    I hope also that there will be more frequent meetings of the Islamic Scholars also to “standardize” the interpretation of Qur’an and Hadiths’ interpretation vs the “Muslim” actions that were heavily publicized in the non-Islamic world.

    Best regards,

    Vic

  4. docspencer says:

    Mahmood, I would also like to say that your conclusion is right on. This will not be a simple effort, and I would be surprised if Dr. Ghaffar did not realize that.

    The biggest question we have is why the moderate majority of Islam appears to be silent and inactive when terrorist actions or attacks happen. You must remember here that we get only the bad news (as does Europe and other places). The announced PR program would be of great help in this area.

    However, part of the solution falls on the host country for Muslim immigrants. Some European nations have a big problem with Muslim immigrants. Part of this is due to the fact that they do not have effective immigrant integration programs. We do so and we do not have any significant problems with Muslim immigrants. For example as a volunteer, I take care of 12 Muslims representing 6 families. They are legal immigrants, were FBI (&CIA) cleared before entry, and they are on fast track to US “green card” and citizenship. They are all very nice and hard working people and will make outstanding US citizens. My focus as a volunteer is English language and social customs, and I get jobs for them. They do an excellent job bringing up their children by the way, who make great students. On the job these people excel, and their employers love them. I wish the European nations who have problems with Muslim immigrants had similar government and volunteer programs.

    My point is that creating a better image is not just the Muslim country’s task, but it is also the destination country’s task. Both are vital for success in creating a positive image for these people in order to make them more valuable for their host or newly adopted country.

    Best regards,

    Vic

  5. Ethan says:

    Part of this is due to the fact that they do not have effective immigrant integration programs. We do so and we do not have any significant problems with Muslim immigrants.

    The major problem with Europe is that there is a very vocal segment of the Muslim minority that does not want to integrate. By preening themselves as the ‘authentic voice’ of Islam in Europe (and with not-well-hidden ties to groups that call for the overthrow of European governments and the establishment of Shari’a) these groups overshadow any moderate groups out there.

    It doesn’t help that the arrogant Western elite is so blinded by Political Correctness that they can’t fathom that non-insane Muslims exist. Just look at the (western) coverage of the Secular Islam conference.. wait.. there wasn’t any except for Glenn Beck.

    And to say that the US does not have problems with Muslim immigrants is not true – although the US does not have the widespread and sometimes violent discontent found in Europe, there are problems. As examples, we can look at the reports from Minneapolis-St. Paul where Muslim taxi drivers are refusing fares who carry alcohol or dogs, and Muslim cashiers -refuse- to sell pork products.

    Or take a look at Muslim enclaves in places like Detroit or Dearborn which have self-apartheid-ed from the rest of the city.

  6. Perhaps the Muslim PR campaign can begin with the Verse of the Sword and tear that page out of the Koran. Then tear the other violent passages out of the Koran. Then publicly repudiate the example of Mohammed when he is killing non-Muslims, cutting off their heads, sending assassings to kill his critics, and instructing his followers to fight everyone until the world submits to Islam.

    If you want to reform the image of Islam, you have to reform Islam first, an inherently violent religion which is currently making war on the world from New York to Bali. It doesn’t help your cause to run ads promoting a peaceful image of Islam when the news runs covert videos of imams preaching hate in the mosques. No matter how many glossy photo spreads of Muslims praying peacefully in mosques are distributed by well-funded PR campaigns, nobody in America is going to forget those burning towers on Sep 11. Nobody.

  7. jack says:

    What PR problem? Most muslims I speak too say these acts weren’t done by muslims.

    That’s the problem muslims need to start with. Then move to other things.

  8. A PR campaign is long overdue. The inner struggles within Islam have masked the fact that most Muslims are secular and tolerant.

    The “Muslim” world has been the last to adopt democratic structures. In East Asia, Europe, and the Americas successful democratic nations exist.

    In the “Muslim” world you have Turkey and nothing else until recently. This makes it difficult for non-Muslims to get a perspective on the “Muslim” world. As Muslim societies open up, the perspective in the rest of the world will improve.

  9. jasra jedi says:

    Its not a PR campaign that is neeed.

    What is needed and what is happening if people actually take some time to look beyond the superifical is that there is a beginning of the internal civil war of ideology in Islam that is bubbling beneath the surface and has to play out … where people are quesitoning the role of the state in Islam and which model will work and which ones wont.

    much like it happened in Christianity in Europe.

    And there was ALOT of blood that was shed then. And there is alot of blood that is being shed today. the majority of it within what you guys call ‘Moslem’ states. Iraq being a prime example.

  10. can we talk says:

    or maybe?
    we should stop letting ourselves be presented as moslem countries and become just bahrain, like canada is just canada and france is just france and monaco is just monaco and puerto rico is just puerto rico.
    blasphemous, isn’t it!!

  11. jasra jedi says:

    Right on CWT.

    But, the Question then becomes, is the United States of America just the United States of America or is it a Judeo Christian entity first or foremost?

    And Ethan, dear little Islamophobic Ethan …

    Muslim cashiers -refuse- to sell pork products.

    So do Kosher Jews my friend. Not only that, but the orthodox ones also -refuse- to work (or operate machinery) on the Sabbath. Does that mean that just because some dude doesnt want to drive into town to do the whole Sunday Brunch American thing, that he doesnt want to assimilate with American culture?

    And if you think that me bringing up the Jews is showing my ‘anti semitism’, then what about the Amish people? Or the Mormons?

    Ethan .. you are very well versed and very articulate. The least you could do is aise the bar on the debate. Don’t bring it down to the level of ‘Moslem bad, Anybodyelse good’

  12. docspencer says:

    JJ and CWT, good points.

    The USA is USA first by it’s Constitution and Bill of Rights. Separation of Church (religion) and state is spelled out very specifically.

    I am always amazed when I read these old, more than 200 year old documents, and amazed about how smart the founders were seemingly anticipating with great wisdom what we as a country will be facing in the future.

    If anyone is interested in these documents, you can read them here:
    http://www.house.gov/house/Educate.shtml

    Best regards,

    Vic

  13. docspencer says:

    Ethan, a friend of mine is a manager at General Motors in Detroit. He finds Muslims in his large group to be the best workers, with very high work ethic. He found that most of them carry a small US flag folded up in their pocket. What they say they want most is to become US citizens. He says that they are the best immigrants in the work force. In fact he said, they are the best workers, period. As they live, they tend to live next to each other, and their biggest challenge is the English language because of it. They are good people.

    I have direct experience with them here in Knoxville, TN as well, and my impression is the same.

    The “problems” we have with Muslim immigrants is absolutely nothing compared to what some European countries are having. They are not problems in the USA, they are cultural adjustment issues. I gave my ideas above in msg 4 about the difference between us and European countries.

    That does not mean that any of us will ever forget what happened on 9/11. THAT we will never forget. But we are a country of immigrants from way back. And most of us, based on our experience to date know very well that the great majority of Muslims are not bad, they are good people. And it is the good immigrants from practically every country and every religion on earth that made us great, and will continue to make us great.

    Vic

  14. Redbelt says:

    ok people, lets organize our thoughts
    a PR campaign is not whats needed. Its one of the things that are needed.
    Saying that I agree with the minister.
    This however will not cure idiocy and stupidity. but a step in the right direction should not be stoned.

  15. Troy Z says:

    …Steve’s back? I thought he said he left for good.

  16. Jasra: “But, the Question then becomes, is the United States of America just the United States of America or is it a Judeo Christian entity first or foremost?”

    The United States of America stands for the principles stated in the Declaration of Independence and fleshed out in the Constitution. While Christianity heavily flavors America, America’s first start as a Christian colony was a disaster. The pilgrims were idiots and bigots, who were just as intolerant as the bigots they fled in England and incompetent to organize themselves successfully. It wasn’t until secular colonies were organized as joint stock companies (ie corporations), that America took off. Even then, the Anglican Church ruled the coastal areas with a heavy hand. That religiously-oriented government had to be left behind by migration west before secular America could come to be.

    Jasra: “And Ethan, dear little Islamophobic Ethan …

    ‘Muslim cashiers -refuse- to sell pork products.’

    So do Kosher Jews my friend. Not only that, but the orthodox ones also -refuse- to work (or operate machinery) on the Sabbath. Does that mean that just because some dude doesnt want to drive into town to do the whole Sunday Brunch American thing, that he doesnt want to assimilate with American culture?”

    Jasra, Ethan is referring to a situation in Minneapolis where the Somali refugees, who were welcomed to America when they had nowhere else to go, are now demanding that Americans abide by Sharia law. They have acquired a near monopoly on the taxi trade at the airport and refuse to carry people carrying liquor or blind people with guide dogs. Now, Somali cashiers refuse to ring up bacon.

    There is a difference between refusing to do something that violates your personal beliefs and forcing other people to stop doing something that violates your personal belief. It’s another example of arrogant supremacist Muslims forcing their vile Islam down their neighbors throats.

    Jasra: “And if you think that me bringing up the Jews is showing my ‘anti semitism’, then what about the Amish people? Or the Mormons?”

    The difference is that Amish don’t force anyone to live their lifestyle. The Amish don’t cut people’s heads off if they don’t grow a beard, wear black, and drive a buggy. Muslims do. The Amish can thrive in America because we are tolerant of other religions. The Muslims, by contrast, are intolerant and do violence where ever they go. How long do you think the Amish would last in any Muslim country?

    Jasra: “Ethan .. you are very well versed and very articulate. The least you could do is aise the bar on the debate. Don’t bring it down to the level of ‘Moslem bad, Anybodyelse good’ “

    This is good advice for Muslims who call Christians and Jews apes and pigs, who see the world in dar al harb/dar as salaam terms. The world is catching on to how Muslims think.

  17. Vic: But we are a country of immigrants from way back. And most of us, based on our experience to date know very well that the great majority of Muslims are not bad, they are good people. And it is the good immigrants from practically every country and every religion on earth that made us great, and will continue to make us great.”

    True enough, Vic. America is a nation of immigrants. My grandpa was an immigrant from Yugoslavia as were a great portion of my great-grandparents.

    However, my immigrant relatives had no plans to conquer America for their religion, did not celebrate acts of violence by their co-religionists, and did not want demand that other Americans conform to their way of life or threaten them with lawsuit or violence.

    I would be more persuaded that the majority of Muslims in America were good if they thought of themselves as Americans first instead of Muslims, if they forcefully spoke out against Islamic terror in great numbers, if they took to the streets by the thousands to reject Islamic terror, if I heard just once from any Muslim American anywhere “Allah bless America.”

    So far all I have heard are excuses and denials about terror. Far more Muslims will march for Hezbollah than against terror, by a margin of a hundred to one. And the mosques are full of preachers and hate literature that name America as their enemy. I don’t see how Muslims can be loyal to America when they profess a religion that proclaims America to be Satan.

    Steve

  18. mahmood says:

    Steve. Please don’t use this site as a crusading tool. Again. We don’t want to go down that path again. As Jasra said before, the discussion here since you left was tempered and most definitely NOT America centered.

    Change the tune. Please. Find another interest.

  19. It’s been said before but PR is only one of the things that’s needed.

    The problem with immigration is not a religious but cultural one. The east and west abide by different social and cultural laws to a degree. I’m not saying that one is good and the other is bad, they are just different, based on things such as the east being predominantly shame culture orientated where the collective adds up to form the individual’s honour, and the west being predominantly guilt culture orientated where the emphasis tends to be on the individual as opposed to the collective.

    This makes it hard for immigrants to integrate into the social fabric as they perceive the west through their own culture and find it lacking in what they consider to be the proper way to act and interact, while it also makes it hard for the west to accept the immigrants as they too find the eastern culture lacking in what they consider to be the proper way to act and interact.

    There also appears to be a problem with monitoring the activities of “hate preachers” in the west, the law allows them to practice this on naïve and new converts to Islam. I have been witness to this myself in one of London’s biggest mosques and was disgusted at the blatant misinterpretation of Qura’an and held it to be blasphemous. However, when I called the preacher on this I was reprimanded and ignored fore the rest of the lecture, mainly because they had no logical explanation for the utter garbage they were spouting.

  20. milter says:

    The public relations industry in the Gulf has a crucial role to play in preventing the spread of Islamophobia in the world

    Maybe he should have rephrased that, maybe something like this would have been more appropriate:

    The public relations industry in the Gulf has a crucial role to play in the area of exposing those forces in Islam that use it to spread fear and death

    Maybe he should have called for an open debate, involving all and not just scholars, about why Islam has come to be portrayed as a religion of hate and unrest.

    That would bring some dirty linen out in the open and would probably by many be considered very “unislamic” so I don’t have much hope in it happening in the foreseeable future.

  21. Sandrine Phellps says:

    Steve the american….haha wat an idiotic bigotted jerk

  22. docspencer says:

    Steve, I had the positive experience in America with Muslims as you are describing it. However, I think that asking a religious person to chose between his religion and the USA is unreasonable and unconstitutional in the USA. We have a separation of church and state, and one would be mixing apples and oranges.

    I also served as CO with Muslim American soldiers, in American special ops in Muslim territory some 40 yrs ago. They were absolutely American and outstanding soldiers. I have seen plenty of examples that showed that you can be a loyal American and a devout enough Muslim at the same time. None of us Christian Americans had any concerns about these team mates of ours. What was very obvious was that their Muslim parents did an excellent job bringing them up.

    Despite all the ugly news we get, I hear similar stories from many American soldiers, mostly special ops who work closely with locals, and many return to Iraq help friends. There was one during the past 8 months or so who lost a leg, got fitted with a high tech artificial one, wanted to go back to his unit and Iraqi friends AND passed the tests to requalify to go. That’s really something.

    So I believe my own experience.

    Best regards,

    Vic

  23. Ethan says:

    Right on CWT.

    But, the Question then becomes, is the United States of America just the United States of America or is it a Judeo Christian entity first or foremost?

    And Ethan, dear little Islamophobic Ethan …

    Muslim cashiers -refuse- to sell pork products.

    So do Kosher Jews my friend. Not only that, but the orthodox ones also -refuse- to work (or operate machinery) on the Sabbath.

    Jasra, please, stereotyping my argument to what you actually think it is is not helpful! I’m talking about the specific case of the Minneapolis cashiers and taxi drivers who refuse service because of their beliefs. I have the same argument against pharmacists who refuse to sell birth control. Leave your beliefs at the door when you get to work, especially at a service sector job. That’s what they aren’t assimilating with – it’s not a taxi driver’s job to refuse service to someone based on the taxi driver’s own prejudices. Allah only banned the eating of pork, not banned the scanning of bacon across a barcode reader.

    Ethan .. you are very well versed and very articulate. The least you could do is aise the bar on the debate. Don’t bring it down to the level of ‘Moslem bad, Anybodyelse good’

    Jasra, you didn’t even hit the crux of my argument! Western elites are content to consider Islam like a monolithic block of psychotic morons who do the work of their unknowable God by listening to human clerics like sheep. Muslims are like rough children – to be coddled and loved and never expected to actually change. And double-win, those Muslims hate
    the jooz and the US. Viva la Revolution Socialiste!

    And because of that, champions of sane Islam or secular Islam or even ex-Muslims are rejected out of hand. They don’t follow ‘what is expected by Muslims’, so they are inauthentic, tools of the capitalist bushitler machine.

    All of the Western groups that SHOULD support Islamic reformation don’t. Human Rights groups should be all over Saudi and Iran before they even tough Guantanamo, they should condemn Indonesian revenge killings and Thai murderers, Sudanese gang-rapes and Iraqi ‘resistance by murdering children’

    BUT.. The same people that support those evils are against Bush and the US, so the one-issue progressives will jump in bed with blood-bathed Jihadis and ignore sanity.

  24. Grace says:

    Mahmood, the Minister’s speech was actually about the process of “Acculturation” that came up after the end of the cold war, he later discussed the role of PR since then and what it will change to in the “new world order”. Islamophobia was a mere example that was highlighted by the press.

    It was actually an informative speech, to those who attended ofcourse.

  25. mahmood says:

    Grace, it wasn’t a “mere example” – it was faux pax that is symptomatic of the way he thinks.

  26. Grace says:

    Whether we like it or not, Islamophobia exists, the more we discuss it, the sooner we can try to find solutions to overcome it.

    PR plays a crucial role in the image we project to those that do not know us, and I find it to be a very valid point to make when talking at such a conference. For your information, the theme of that specific panel was “PRs role in fostering cross-cultural understanding”.

    Honestly, Mahmood, just because you have a tiff with the Minister, doesn’t mean you have to put his efforts down every chance you get…
    Someone with your “Mufakir” abilities should focus on more positive criticism 🙂

  27. mahmood says:

    I am sorry if I projected that image Grace, I have absolutely NO problem with the good minister personally and never have. I don’t have a problem with any minister for that matter. I was criticising a public figure in that capacity alone.

    My “problem” with using PR to “correct the West’s impression about Islam” is that I believe that our problem is much deeper than can be repaired with PR because I believe that our problems are vast and have never been attacked head-on because of the fear of whoever dares to do so be labeled as an unbeliever and get a literal death sentence passed on his head.

    The problems we have with Islam include theological differences within Islam, the regard of the Quran and the Sunna as inviolate and rigid, the absence of Ijtihad on the major sects, the absence of rigid rules in which to issue fatwas and that practically anyone with little education can issue such fatwas that affect a whole nation, the animosity present between sects, the belief of only having one acceptable and thus “correct” sect holding the keys to Heaven, the subjugation of women, the inequitous laws and status of non-muslims in Muslim lands and a hundred other problems that need to be addressed.

    These, Grace, are at the heart of Islam. They are not peripheral issues that could be glossed over and the use of excellent PR is not going to fix intrinsic issues with our religion.

    That, my friend, is the criticism I have. The good minister, in his position, should have recognised these facts that cannot be fixed with simple nor complex PR. What he should have called for – and I would have supported him fully had he done so – is the inculcation of tolerance within our own communities starting with his own religious programs on his own television and radio channels.

  28. Ash says:

    If you want the uncomfortable reality from a European perspective, nothing whatsoever can be done to redeem Islam in most eyes. Every time things seem to be settling down, there comes some new outrage. Muslims have simply racked up too many: Madrid, London, the butchering of Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh, the cartoon riots, the innumerable terror plots uncovered by police, the loony preachers who spew hatred and stupidity while living on welfare in European countries. Then there are the images of Muslims outside Europe that we see on the news every day: the enraged mobs taking to the streets somewhere or other, the daily Muslim-on-Muslim carnage in Iraq, the regular terrorist atrocities in Pakistan.

    No amount of “PR”, however clever, is going to override these things to give the West a good impression of Islam.

    The reason I visit Mahmood’s Den regularly is to remind myself that we are all human beings, but most people don’t even make that much effort. Ask the Average Joe in Britain what he thinks of Muslims and Islam and you’ll most likely get a tirade on a “they should go back to where they came from” theme.

    That said, I think Western foreign policies have played a huge role too in the deterioration of relations. Everyone has become radicalised and it will take decades to end the hatred and mistrust, and we may never succeed.

    Right now the dominant public sentiment seems to be “we should nuke Iran unless our sailors are returned”.

    Welcome to the madhouse.

  29. Grace: “Whether we like it or not, Islamophobia exists, the more we discuss it, the sooner we can try to find solutions to overcome it.”

    Islamophobia is an unreasonable fear of Islam. When Muslims are crashing jumbo jets into skyscrapers, blowing up trains and discos, and beheading non-Muslims in snuff video, a sober recognition of the threat that savage Islam poses to the civilized world is hardly unreasonable.

    Grace: “PR plays a crucial role in the image we project to those that do not know us, and I find it to be a very valid point to make when talking at such a conference. For your information, the theme of that specific panel was ‘PRs role in fostering cross-cultural understanding’.”

    You will only dig Islam’s hole deeper by papering over the problem with PR. Should you embark on a massive sunshine and roses ad campaign that depicts Islam as a religion of peace and plenty while simultaneously Muslims plot new bloody atrocities, the inevitable result will be a public perception of Muslims as liars. And really, the Arab Muslim governments are ham-handed when it comes to marketing perceptions, especially to a sophisticated Western audience with a practiced nose for BS.

    If you want to foster cross-cultural understanding, begin with yourselves. You might toss out that page of the Koran that says Muslims can not be friends with non-Muslims. Tell the imams to stop calling other religions apes and pigs. Gather up all that hate literature you’ve distributed in the West and make a bonfire of it. Build universities instead of terror cells, hospitals instead of bombs when you travel to the West. That will take you further than a phony ad campaign.

  30. Vic: “Steve, I had the positive experience in America with Muslims as you are describing it. However, I think that asking a religious person to chose between his religion and the USA is unreasonable and unconstitutional in the USA. We have a separation of church and state, and one would be mixing apples and oranges.”

    Unfortunately, Islam recognizes no boundary between religion and politics, as we do. It is two thirds politics, one third religion. 80% of the mosques in America have been radicalized by Wahhabis and all of them contain Wahhabi hate literature. There is plenty of room to accommodate religions which live and let live, but no room to tolerate a religion with an object to destroy the US and replace it with a Sharia state. Our religious tolerance was not meant to be a suicide pact. It does not mean that we must tolerate a radical and hostile political program disguised as a religion that means to do us evil.

    Vic: “I also served as CO with Muslim American soldiers, in American special ops in Muslim territory some 40 yrs ago. They were absolutely American and outstanding soldiers. I have seen plenty of examples that showed that you can be a loyal American and a devout enough Muslim at the same time. None of us Christian Americans had any concerns about these team mates of ours. What was very obvious was that their Muslim parents did an excellent job bringing them up.”

    That is an interesting observation which I will place on the positive side of the scales.

    Steve the American

  31. Mahmood: “My “problem” with using PR to “correct the West’s impression about Islam” is that I believe that our problem is much deeper than can be repaired with PR because I believe that our problems are vast and have never been attacked head-on because of the fear of whoever dares to do so be labeled as an unbeliever and get a literal death sentence passed on his head. …”

    A reasonable and accurate assessment of the situation, though you omitted the most troubling aspect of Islam: it’s violence. Muslims kill non-Muslims as if they were space aliens with no regard for human life.

    Unfortunately for you, Mahmood, if you agree with me that makes you “an idiotic bigotted jerk” in the eyes of crazed Frenchwomen like Sandrine Phellps. However, there is a loophole. Since you’re Muslim, your criticism can be classified as thoughtful and courageous. Of course, if I make the same criticism, it’s crude crusader bigotry. You see, in the politically correct world, arguments are not evaluated with regard to their essential truth, but by their messengers.

  32. Ethan says:

    *facepalm*

    Steve – there’s no need to respond directly to everything in three separate posts. It’s only going to look like you’re on your crusade again, as Mahmod warned.

    To Mahmood:

    These, Grace, are at the heart of Islam. They are not peripheral issues that could be glossed over and the use of excellent PR is not going to fix intrinsic issues with our religion.

    I’ve been saying this for years; Islam has more than a bad PR problem. Theologically, it has ossified into something so rigid, especially amongst the major Sunni schools (I’m not sure if Shi’ism has precisely the same problem, but the Iranian revolution wasn’t exactly ‘mentally-liberating’).

    There’s been a slow mummification of Islam since the 10th century when the ‘doors to Itjihad’ were closed. Today we see the fruits of it – centuries of neglect and dogma have left the heirs to the Caliphate with nothing, and Islam itself seems no more than a checklist of things to do and not do for the afterlife.

    Hajj? check
    Zakat? check
    Beat my wife ‘lightly’? check
    Wipe my ass with the right hand except on Tuesdays during Ramadan? check
    Jihad against the nonbeliever? check

    Seriously. If God cared that much about meaningless repetition of ritual, he’d have stopped allowing humans to be born after ‘perfect’ Mohammed.

    So what to do? No idea. And no one else has one either.

  33. wondering why says:

    why didnt you put pictures of israeli aggression against
    palestinians and lebanese?

    why didnt you put pictures of guantamino bay and abu ghraib?

    why didnt you put pictures of american aggresion against iraqis?

    why didnt you put pictures of russian aggression against chechens?

    Heck your pictures are SO old that i’m wondering why you didnt put pictures of serbian aggression against bosnians?

    Or is it because an Arabs blood is not as worthy as yours?

  34. mahmood says:

    Because that wasn’t the crux of the problem being discussed in this topic. If you had spent some time reading my entries in this blog rather than just wondering, you might have saved yourself the trouble and found answers before posing alluding questions.

  35. Aliandra says:

    It doesn’t help when the media shows the worse of everything, just because it’s assured of an audience. Reporters will go digging through the toilets of a society and then present what they find there as typical. Some morbid need in human nature to see the wierd and the radical, I guess.

  36. John says:

    I agree with the Minister to a certain degree. A good PR campaign would do wonders for the Islamic community. Not in the sense of glossing over the violence and disruption of parts of this region, but in terms of promoting the parts that are working. Coming from a ‘western’ country to live in Bahrain I have had a whole world of rediscovery, in a really wholesome way. My paranoia about Islam: essentially a belief that discussion of any part of the religion would result in base, non rational response, has been trumped by the realisation that acts that occur under the banner of Islam are not agreed upon by Muslims as a group, just individual’s with a point to prove and an avenue to prove it by.

    A good PR campaign would hopefully dispel the belief that every person in the region is a fundamentalist addict of religion without a single rational bone in their body. A good campaign would help normlise the Arabic laganguage in common settings. Remove it from the context of ‘wailing and sorrow’ that is seen in ‘western’ media and place it back in the realm of a language used for common communication. Actually that last point is something to dwell on. It wasnt until I happily settled here that I realised that I never ever heard the Arabic language used in day to day scenarios, it was always war and ‘terror’, now I hear it amongst laughing friends in coffee shops, children in the street and realise that even the basic sounds of the language had been distorted and re-contextualised by the pain of Iraq/Palestine/Lebanon.

    My simply joy in these last nine months has been talking with my baker, my friends and people in the streets in a language that I never believed I could ever break into… because I forgot it was a language and thought of it as ‘part of the greater problem’.

    A good PR campaign would do wonders to change this, to place the language, the culture and the people back on the level of respect and recognition they deserve.

  37. Barry says:

    “I make the same criticism, it’s crude crusader bigotry. You see, in the politically correct world, arguments are not evaluated with regard to their essential truth, but by their messengers.”

    No steve, it’s not what you say, but how you shoot your mouth off when you say it.

    It reminds me of a line from a favorite song:

    “You better screw down that run around loose tongue of yours, babe. Because it’s gonna get you in a whole lot of trouble, the things you say.”

    You talk just like every cloned neo-con there is. I’m waiting for sensible conservatism to blot out the ugliness that neo-conservatism has become (and please, enough with the victim mentality. You sound like a whiny spoiled brat).

    I’ll give your ideology credit though, it allows social progress to occur (you know, liberalism). I suppose it’s hard to see what you realy are when you’re one end of the same frayed rope on which Al Qaeda, the Taleban, Chinese and North Korean communism, and other right wing movements exist. Say hi to the other end Steve. It must be nice being exactly like them. LOL

    😆 :biggrin: :cheerful: :heart:

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