Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

Allow me to be objective please – all of you, particularly the Muslim readers: Steve is posing some very relevant questions. I personally have no way to answer them because I agree with him! Yes, you read it right, I do agree with him. There are serious issues with the INTERPRETATION of Islam which landed us in this hot water. I suggest that there has always been that problem.

The Hadiths for instance were collected in 9 huge volumes, 100 years after the death of the prophet. While I won’t for a second say that in the collection of the Quran – which also happened after the death of the prophet – errors crept into it, there is nothing stopping even some scholars putting in doubt some of the Hadiths. Now we all know that the Hadiths are part and parcel of Islam, but isn’t it possible that some things attributed to the prophet through the collected works might have never actually happened? Shouldn’t these Hadiths be scrutinised once again and evaluated? I bet if and when that happens a lot of questions are going to be answered, and we will find that Islam is nothing as these terrorists proclaim.

There has also been quite a number of discussions, articles written and seminars going on of late – after 9/11, which examined the applicability or interpretation of the Quran itself. Some scholars go as far as saying that the Quran should actually be split in two. One part containing the Suras which descended in Mecca, while the other should contain the ones which descended in Medinah. There are distinct differences between the two apparently: essentially the Suras of Mecca are the essence of Islam which we should all follow, while the Suras of Medinah are those dealing with events of the time, governance, wars etc. which do not hold as much resonance in this day and age. They are essentially the “sword” Suras which deal with topical events 14 centuries ago and are not as relevant now as they were then.

I don’t have the erudition required to decern a difference or form a theological argument. But my mind tells me that the above is logical. How can something that applied 14 centuries ago apply now? Isn’t the world completely different? Would you apply the same medicines available then to ailments afflicted on human beings now? Can a cure for common cold be applied with the same alacrity to cancer? I think not.

There are far too many questions, and unless we face them logically without the interference of emotion, we can never find answers, and really, never save as well as propagate the greatest religion the world has known.

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252 Comments
  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    15 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I must have lost consciousness there for a second when I read, could it be true, that Mahmood agreed with my screed about Islam. Let me take another sniff of my smelling salts before I, before I press on.

    The documentation of the Koran a century after Mohammed introduces a real problem in ascertaining accuracy. The same problem exists in the Bible, in which many stories passed down through oral tradition for centuries before they were documented. Telling them changes them. Centuries of telling them changes them a lot. After that, translation into other languages introduces errors. The Koran suffers the same problem when translated into other languages. For example, the Wahhabis are rewriting the Koran when they translate it into English.

    Beyond that, I doubt any body of knowledge can remain static and relevant. For example, there were good health reasons, like trichinosis, to avoid eating ham a thousand years ago. Those problems are conquered now and no longer relevant. Religious texts should be changed to reflect those changes in reality or face growing irrelevance to modern life.

    Steve

    PS. I have fixed the link here.

    [Modified by: Steve The American (Steve) on December 18, 2004 09:58 AM]

    PPS. No, I haven’t. The link works in Preview mode but not after it’s published. Here it is:
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/004/653wwewi.asp?pg=1

    [Modified by: Steve The American (Steve) on December 18, 2004 09:59 AM]

  • umhajar
    16 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    I thought some of the suras had verses originating from both places???

  • anonymous
    16 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    I am not a big fan of Friedman, but here is an article of his that shows one of the many ways US policy and it’s actions do not benefit the people of the Middle East.

    Holding Up Arab Reform
    By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

    Published: December 16, 2004
    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

    For years now it’s been clear that the Middle East peace process has left the realm of diplomacy and started to become an industry, with its own G.N.P. of conferences and seminars. But there is a new industry rapidly overtaking it in the Middle East, and that is the “reform industry.” Every month there seems to be a new conference on reform in the Arab world. Indeed, I have been attending one here in Dubai, an amazing city-state on the Persian Gulf that is becoming the Singapore of the Arab East.

    What the reform process and the peace process have in common is that neither advances when we Americans tell the parties in English that they have to change. Progress happens only when the people here tell themselves in Arabic that they must change. So I took heart from the blunt manner in which Dubai’s crown prince, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, opened his conference by saying, in a speech broadcast by Arab satellite TV, “I say to my fellow Arabs [in power]: If you do not change, you will be changed.”

    I didn’t hear talk like that five years ago. Nor did I hear an Egyptian friend remarking to me that she had absolutely no problem with Hosni Mubarak’s son, Gamal, one day succeeding his father. Gamal is a good man. She just had one condition, that Gamal Mubarak succeed his father the same way George W. Bush succeeded his father: in a free election.

    Meanwhile, last Sunday, about 1,000 Egyptians gathered in downtown Cairo, many wearing over their mouths yellow stickers with the Arabic word for “enough” written on them, to protest plans by President Mubarak to run for a fifth term.

    Yes, there is definitely something stirring out here, but it has miles to go before meaningful changes occur. It is something America should be quietly encouraging, so it is inexplicable to me that the Bush administration is holding up publication of the next U.N. Arab Human Development Report. Let me fill you in:

    In 2002, the U.N. Development Program sponsored a group of courageous Arab economists, social scientists and other scholars to do four reports on human development in the Arab world. The first one, in 2002, caused a real stir in this region – showing, among other things, that the Arabs were falling so far behind that Spain’s G.D.P. was greater than that of the entire Arab League combined.

    That first report, published in Arabic and English, was downloaded off the Internet one million times. It was a truly incisive diagnosis of the deficits of freedom, education and women’s empowerment retarding the Arab world.

    In 2003, the same group produced a second Arab Human Development Report, about the Arab knowledge deficit – even tackling the supersensitive issue of how Islam and its current spiritual leaders may be holding back modern education. This was stuff no U.S. diplomat could ever raise, but the Arab authors of these reports could and did.

    So I eagerly awaited the third Arab Human Development Report, due in October. It was going to be pure TNT, because it was going to tackle the issue of governance and misgovernance in the Arab world, and the legal, institutional and religious impediments to political reform. These are the guts of the issue out here. I waited. And I waited. But nothing.

    Then I started to hear disturbing things – that the Bush team saw a draft of the Arab governance report and objected to the prologue, because it was brutally critical of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the Israeli occupation. This prologue constitutes some 10 percent of the report. While heartfelt, it’s there to give political cover to the Arab authors for their clear-eyed critique of Arab governance, which is the other 90 percent of the report.

    But the Bush team is apparently insisting that language critical of America and Israel be changed – as if language 10 times worse can’t be heard on Arab satellite TV every day. And until it’s changed, the Bush folks are apparently ready to see the report delayed or killed altogether. And they have an ally. The government of Egypt, which is criticized in the report, also doesn’t want it out – along with some other Arab regimes.

    So there you have it: a group of serious Arab intellectuals – who are neither sellouts nor bomb throwers – has produced a powerful analysis, in Arabic, of the lagging state of governance in the Arab world. It is just the sort of independent report that could fuel the emerging debate on Arab reform. But Bush officials, along with Arab autocrats, are holding it up until it is modified to their liking – even if that means it won’t appear at all.

    It makes you weep.

  • mahmood
    16 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    It does make you weep.

    We need change and people now more than ever recognise it, but unfortunately a lot of our rulers do not, including the guy who said: “I say to my fellow Arabs [in power]: If you do not change, you will be changed.” where I believe it’s just hot air. There is absolutely no democratic institutions in the Emirates and I doubt very much that as long as money is flowing to their people there will ever be any kind of popular pressure to change.

    The only one example we have in the whole Arab world now as a leader for, and an example of change is Bahrain. Where else do you find popular, grass-root support for leadership? The people of Sitra were not paid to turn out in those large numbers to welcome the king. They were not threatened, they were not cajoled nor were they enticed to do so. There was – at that time – a huge feeling of goodwill with the gestures of the king: freeing all political prisoners, allowing the expelled to return, allowing parliamentary life to return and the various things which have happened at breakneck speed. People recognised a genuine thing that is good for them happening and they not only embraced it, but it’s leader as well. I could have never, ever imagined such a thing to happen.

    How things have changed in such a short time though. The momentum is almost gone, however the goodwill is still around. And with goodwill we can do anything and correct some wrongs. I don’t think this detraction was the fault of the king, but of a few people in power who have gotten used to certain ways of life and of doing things. They have demonstrated on countless occasions that they can trip the reform projects and send the whole country through unneeded loops as a measure of delay, or demonstrations of power, or both. Examples of this abound.

    The Bahraini reforms are not lost, but they needs the same determination, the same atmosphere and the same courage for them to come back and break through the mountain of lethargy and custom to get where it should be. Full democracy, full respect for human rights, and full freedoms of speach.

    With the US holding up the publication of such an important report that could act as a catalyst for change, it’s now doing us any favours.

  • Alireza
    16 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,that’s a pretty evasive answer to the points Steve makes in his original post – real desperate stuff. This guy Steve doesn’t usually make much sense, but in a process of Monkey Shakespeare (ie the rule that if a chimp keeps hitting the keyboard long enough by chance eventually it’ll say something of interest) he’s actually come up with some relevant questions.

    Why not try and answer them rather than throwing insults at the guy or condemning the rest of the Muslim world for not being up to your standards?

  • anonymous
    16 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    This is a response more to Mahood’s initial post, than any subsequent arguments.
    I know perfectly well, that the Quran includes some particularly hostile and violent suras. I also know that Mahmood is succeeding in living his life without any recourse to hostility, violence, or even bad manners. I think a split of the doctrine into two seperate scriptures could help re-inforce the pacific strain of Islam. Especially if one book is restricted to a design for living, while the other is contextualised as a historical narrative. At present, the entire Quran is regarded as a design for living, and the Doctrine of Abrogation gives license to the worst excesses of the jihadist.
    It’s time Mahmood had the whip hand.

    Meggie

  • Steelangel
    16 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Quite true.

    The verses of the Koran are arranged rather willy nilly into the Suras, which are ordered in degree of length rather than any reasonable method. (Good for memorization, bad for interpreation)

    But, if the Koran is supposed to be the -word of God- for all times and all places, then what would be the theological basis for splitting it up? If, as Mahmood says, there are some who wish to do this, it is a tacit understanding that the Koran is not the eternal word of God. And if the Koran is in any way shown to be the work of man, or a temporary understanding of the will of God, the entire religion collapses like a house of cards.

    Christianity and Judaism got around this problem by explaining that the histories were merely works inspired by God. Would the same argument work for Mohammed? Probably not – as the Koran itself claims to be the undaulterated ‘book’. (though there are actually variant Shia and Sunni versions, hadith that attest to a ‘missing verse’ concerning stoning, and a picture of Jesus that belongs with the gnostics, not with the apostles)

    Theologically, Islam does need to fall like Christianity and Judaism did. It is built tenously on the supposition that God spoke Arabic, Jesus did not die, and that Mohammed was the final prophet. (among others) Can Islam be pluralistic enough to accept that it may be wrong about any of that?

  • Steelangel
    16 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]I agree there is a lot to debate about Islam, the difference here is I do not think Islam, at its base is corrupt. The exact opposite, I left the Christian faith after growing up in a semi-religious family because I thought Islam, at its core, is the best and most free way to gain a relationship with God.[/quote]

    –This is an post requesting information, I mean not to offend, but I seek understanding. As before, I’m not here to be converted, or to convert. Only to discuss.–

    Malik,

    I’d actually like to see your reasoning for this. I found that Deism, as esposed by Zoroaster, or even Thomas Jefferson to be far superior to any of the Abrahmic faiths. I am ultimately Apathetic Agnostic – God is too large a concept – too powerful a being or a force to anthropomorphise. And I must ask about this – in Christianity, grace is freely given. Islam demands submission – how can Islam be ‘freer’ except in the salafist interpretation that your life is utterly controlled by theology? (Free from thought)

    1) Jesus as Son of God and redeemer – no. We are cogs in a wheel of creation. Jesus as redeemer is anthrocentric.

    2) Jesus was ‘raised to heaven’ and did not die – no. Again, anthrocentrism. Humans are not important compared to creation. We only think we are.

    3) Moses, Mohammed, anyone as a prophet? A prophet is only a philosopher that claims divine guidance, but in the end they are only a human, and all humans are fallible.

    4) I reject the idea that minor sins could earn eternal punishment. Using the intellect that I was granted by being a Human, choosing not to be a Christian, or Muslim, yet comitting no less ‘sin’ than professed Christians or Muslims, why should I be forsaken?

    5) God is not comprehensible, if indeed it is even a concept that we can term in three simple letters. Why would God demand obedience? We are but mental and physical ants to any God worth worship, and I do not demand supplication from the anthill outside my door.

    6) In short, any God that I can conceive of is larger and more powerful than any God-construct that I have been presented or have read about. God has no need of us, and should not be expected to show us favor, no matter how many infidels we kill, or heathens we convert, or cows we don’t eat.

    Ethan

  • anonymous
    16 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve states that “the Wahabis” are rewriting The Qur’an when they translate it. This is a pretty serious charge. No Muslim in his right mind, and keep in mind many of these Wahabi(better known as Salafi) types are not in their right mind, would change The Qur’an.

    Based on your statement Steve I would think you speak fluent Arabic and are able to figure this out on your own? Please provide some Suras of The Qur’an, in Arabic and their translation into English, by “Wahabi” sources to back this up. You need to realise that Muslims do not even call copies of The Qur’an translations, rather they call them “understandings” as it is well known that it is next to impossible to properly convey some meanings and ideas from one language to another, especially with Arabic and English.

    I would be interested Steve, where you got all of your language skills with Arabic? Did you attend the Georgetown Center for Contemporary Arabic Studies did you? Or, are you simply relying on what other people have said about this subject and have no first hand way to verify this information for yourself. I have never met anyone, who with even four years of university level Arabic that would be able to properly translate The Quran, and to be able to distinguish any small changes that might be made.

    In the years I worked for the DoD I knew many of the military and defense Arabic linguists. What a joke. They take a two year full time (yes 40 hours a week) class to learn how to speak Arabic. How good are these classed? So good that when the military translators got to Iraq they were completely unable to communicate with anyone. Hence the need to hire so many local translators. Besides, Arabic is not like English where if you can learn it in any country and go and use it around the world. Iraqi Arabic is much different than the language they use in Egypt, Palestine, or even other places in the Gulf. I knew some of these military Arabic translators and they are taught “MSA” Modern Standerd Arabic, which is nothing like the language spoken on a day to day basis in the Arab world.

    I think the closest thing to a universally understood dialect would be Egyptian, just because of the media, movies, and music out there. Morrocans, I cant understand 50% of what they say, as their Arabic is so far from the type I am most familiar with, the Hijazi dialect, because that is where my wife’s family comes from.

    I agree there is a lot to debate about Islam, the difference here is I do not think Islam, at its base is corrupt. The exact opposite, I left the Christian faith after growing up in a semi-religious family because I thought Islam, at its core, is the best and most free way to gain a relationship with God. I didnt convert because of Muslims, but rather despite them, but I must say that if I were to have to pick a religion based on the actions of the people from their respective communities, I would be an athiest, as I do not think the community of any religious group today is worth a damn.

    There is a lot to debate, reform does need to take place. Ijtihad, the biggest discussion going on today, and I am all for it. Steve’s mission is not about debate the reform of Islam or anything else, he hates the religion, at its very core, and there is nothing that any Muslim could do to change this in Steve. I know the type, he has a hatred of the religion, and a complete contempt for the cultures of the Muslim “world”. He can say that this doesnt mean he hates Muslims, but when you hate where they come from, their culture, and their religion, it is impossible to not have at least some of this rub off on the people from the area.

    In the way he talks, his rhetoric of hate, it reminds me of bin Laden, just not as lyrical as bin Laden. Bin Laden, no matter what you think of him, has a gift for words, Steve does not.

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    17 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “Only Muslims kill and enslave people for their religion.”

    Christians dont kill people for their religion? Perhaps you havent heard of the numerous Christian groups in Africa doing this? LRA in Uganda has killed over a million people in the last decade or so trying to push its religious agenda on the nation. Eastern Orthodox Serbs murdered over 200,000 Muslims and Catholics in the name of their religion. Where have you been?

    Steve writes “There are no Christians nor any other religion that I know of killing for their religion.”

    Well, seems you are woefully unaware of many things going on around or things that have happened in the last 10-20 years. Catch up, get back to us. Jews are killing for their religion in Israel, other Christian groups around the world are doing it. Get your head out of the sand.

    Steve writes There are no Christians engaged in a slave trade nor any other religion likewise engaged. There are plenty of Muslims doing exactly that in the Sudan. ”

    Yes, they do all sorts of stuff, doesnt mean it is a stain on Islam or says there is anything wrong with Islam. Americans get over a million abortions a year, they murder tens of thousands of their own people every year. Doesnt mean it is a stain on Christianity, or that there is something basically wrong with this “Christian nation” even though some Christian preachers will tell you we deserved 9/11 because of these things.

    Steve writes “You have a point that Christians did indeed kill, enslave, and forceably convert to Christianity people in the New World. Perhaps you’ve heard that all that stopped about a century and a half ago.”

    Really, I thought that the colonial practices of western countries did not end in many countries until the 1960-1970. Maybe I am wrong. You contend that the actions of Christian colonial powers ended around the world 150 years ago? Really? I seem to recall some pretty brutal stuff done since then, ie Belgian Congo. Heck, in the US we were pulling Indians off reservations and forcing them to speak English and convert to Christianity 40 years ago.

    Steve writes “The stimulus toward abolition of these evil practices originated with moral outrage from the Catholic clergy, then the population as a whole. Dominican priest Bartolome de las Casas catalogued the atrocities of the Spanish conquistadors and published them in Europe, followed by a host of Jesuits. ”

    Hum, so it was just the Catholic countries doing this? Really? No protestant countries or churches involved?

    Steve wrties “Malik, where is the Muslim equivalent of de las Casas?”

    The Muslim world does not need a complete historical counterpart to what happened in the west. It is happening slowly in the Muslim world despite the best actions of the US backed governments.

    Steve writes “What Islamic clergy is cataloguing the atrocities of the Sudanese Muslims against the non-Muslim population and demanding it stop?”

    Again, because you are not aware of it does not mean it isnt happened. Muslim clergy around the US have spoken out against what is happening in the Sudan, and local Muslims here even demonstrated at the Sudanese Embassy. The bigger question is, why doesnt the western media cover this? Why do they only cover the extremists and not those trying to counter it?

    Steve writes “Does it bother you that you must compare the current Muslim states against the West of centuries ago to find equivalent barbarism? Even your defense of Islam assumes that it cannot be compared to the West on equal terms. Why? ”

    You are making me laugh here, we are not even 100 years from the Holocaust and you are saying we must go back centuries to find equal barbarism in the west? Get a clue. Hitler and Stalin were responsible for the deaths of tens of millions. Hitler killed 20 million Russians, Stalin killed more than that. There is nothing in the history of the world that matches that, let alone in the history of Islam! A Christian nation plans the methodical genocide of 6 million people. There is nothing in Islam to compare to this.

    Posted “Slavery is wrong, it’s evil. We’ve abolished it long ago. Why haven’t the Muslims? Where is the call within the Muslim world to abolish slavery perpetrated by Muslims? How do you account for that silence? I see it as another moral defect in Islam, which accepts slavery.”

    Name one Islamic country where slavery is enshrined in law?

    Steve writes “And by the way, the slave trade existed in Africa long before the Europeans took part in it. Arab Muslims have taken and bought slaves in Africa for millenia, and still do. The Europeans were latecomers, though enthusiastic ones, to the African slave trade. They came to the slave trade long after the Arabs and Africans and left it long ago. Why don’t the Muslims abandon it? ”

    You are making me laugh again! Muslim traded in African slaves before the Europeans? Really? Here I was thinking the Romans traded in African slaves hundreds of years before the Prophet lived and before Islam was created. You remember them right? The Roman Empire? Rome…Europe right? Do you have a source that says that the European trade in African slaves somehow ended after the fall of the Roman Empire and then only started again after the coming of the Prophet and Islam?

    Steve writes “Malik, your accusations of blind hatred for all Muslims is a smokescreen for you to evade answering these kinds of specific questions about the immoral activities of Muslims. It’s no wonder you make such evasions because these crimes are indefensible. ”

    Most of them do not exist, and the ones that do are not reason to slam all of Islam. I have heard such nonsense from people like you for years, that is why it was so easy to route your arguements as I have above. Why? Because I have been confronted with the same ignorant statements and questions for years.

    Steve writes “When Muslims stop making war on America and the West, when they give up slavery, when they embrace the modern world and individual liberty, then they will receive my respect. It’s that simple. What do you object to about that? ”

    Again nonsense and generalizing. Slavery is not common in the Islamic world. When the US stops supporting evil and brutal dictators in the Muslim world, and the world in general, then I will say no one has a right to resist the US. As long as the US supports and props up brutal dictators around the world, people will resist.

    Malik..heard it all before

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    17 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve states that “the Wahabis” are rewriting The Qur’an when they translate it. This is a pretty serious charge. No Muslim in his right mind, and keep in mind many of these Wahabi(better known as Salafi) types are not in their right mind, would change The Qur’an.

    Based on your statement Steve I would think you speak fluent Arabic and are able to figure this out on your own? Please provide some Suras of The Qur’an, in Arabic and their translation into English, by “Wahabi” sources to back this up. You need to realise that Muslims do not even call copies of The Qur’an translations, rather they call them “understandings” as it is well known that it is next to impossible to properly convey some meanings and ideas from one language to another, especially with Arabic and English. [/quote]

    Malik, you may be new to the Internet but that heavy blue underlining in my post around the sentence about Wahhabis rewriting the Koran indicates a hyperlink, which in this case takes you to the article which explains the situation in detail. You might want to click on that and educate yourself.

    The rest of your post is spent jumping to false conclusions, which appears to be your normal mode of operation, and is quite foolish.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    17 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    I hate to point out the obvious, but is the UN report the only place where this information can be presented? If the US requests a revision of this report because it objects to unfair depictions of itself in Iraq, why would that mean that the remainder of the information ccould not be written about by anybody else? Couldn’t anyone else in the world gather the same info, write their own report, and publish it? What exactly stops that information from flowing into the public domain?

    To me, this seems like a tired new version of the same old Arab game of blaming somebody else for their lack of progress.

    Steve

  • 7alaylia
    17 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    By the way Steve, I have been using the next for over a decade now. Your problem is you provided a link which does not work. I click on it and it takes me nowhere.

    Malik.

  • mahmood
    17 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Not blaming, just needing information. If the report has taken over a year to compile, it would probably take the same time again to re-do it. I think you agree that regardless of what’s in the report, it is an unbinding document, hence its effectiveness would be contained in education and maybe pushing rulers to do something useful.

    As to the criticism of the USA, that’s not something new and it will continue long after both of us have gone. Why should criticism stop a report from being published? After all the report itself is reportedly criticising the whole swathe of Arab regimes and encourages them to change by highlighting their own shortcomings. At least that’s what I hope the report will do.

    The important fact is that this is not a report that is prepared by the US and shoved down our throats, it’s created by respected Arab personalities. Hence it might have more resonance than if it were created by a US department or research facility.

  • Steelangel
    17 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]The Bahraini reforms are not lost, but they needs the same determination, the same atmosphere and the same courage for them to come back and break through the mountain of lethargy and custom to get where it should be. Full democracy, full respect for human rights, and full freedoms of speach.[/quote]

    I think the courage is there. Look at the street protests! The problem is that those seeking change for the better don’t have the threat of violence or the correct color turban to back them up. Those that seek to send people back to the 7th century have both the turbans and the bomb chuckers. I’d like to see a return to the 3rd century BC. I hear Persia under Cyrus was a nice place to live!

    [quote]
    With the US holding up the publication of such an important report that could act as a catalyst for change, it’s now doing us any favours.[/quote]

    This is the height of the current administration’s hypocracy. They cannot brook dissent against their policies, yet they want to forment dissent in other places.

    Problem is – there’s noone in US politics right now who is any better. They are all politically inbred idiots.

    Ethan

  • Steelangel
    17 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Even if that happened, you have to contend with people like this:

    From a website named [url=http://www.playandlearn.org/Books/Moral/index.htm#21]Play and Learn[/url] (of all things)

    [quote] Having even a little bit of love towards the unbelievers would never be a proper attitude for a believer. Believers are seriously warned in the Qur’an as below verse expresses:

    “O ye who believe! Take not my enemies and yours as friends (or protectors),- offering them (your) love, even though they have rejected the Truth that has come to you, and have (on the contrary) driven out the Prophet and yourselves (from your homes), (simply) because ye believe in Allah your Lord! If ye have come out to strive in My Way and to seek My Good Pleasure, (take them not as friends), holding secret converse of love (and friendship) with them: for I know full well all that ye conceal and all that ye reveal. And any of you that does this has strayed from the Straight Path.”
    (AL-MUMTAHINA 1) [/quote]

    Oh, and I like this one:

    [quote]Believers are peaceful, but those who disbelieve are extremely uneasy, restless and aggressive. It is as if their torment of hell has already started on earth. That’s why they cause trouble and they come across with troubles all the time. However, believers do not even talk to those people unless they try to plot against the believers and Islam. Because taking those people as peers, would only mean being at the same levels as them. The believers behave honorable as the above verses describe. When it is needed to interfere, the believers do not behave rude, they interfere with the most civilized and legal way.[/quote]

    [b]Believers are peaceful, but those who disbelieve are extremely uneasy, restless and aggressive.
    However, believers do not even talk to those people
    Because taking those people as peers, would only mean being at the same levels as them.[/b]

    I’m not an unbeliever, but last I checked, I’m not uneasy, restless, or aggressive.
    But apparently, talking to me as if I were a peer is bad.

    Odd ..

    Is this the -real- Islam? Mahmood’s Islam is nothing like this, but I read this version all the time. I know Islam is not designed to be monolithic, but is there that much difference of opinion?

    (AL-MUMTAHINA 1)

    [Modified by: Ethan (Steelangel) on December 16, 2004 07:12 PM]

  • 7alaylia
    17 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve,

    You must recognise that the US thinks its actions in Iraq are being unfairly represented, but that is its opinion. The majority of the rest of the world is not behind US actions in Iraq, so just because the US “thinks” it is being unfair portrayed does not make it so.

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    17 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    There is no need to split The Qur’an into two parts, rather there is a need for people to understand The Qur’an in context, just as we must do so with the Old Testament. Jews in Israel are using portions of the Old Testament to jusify ethnic cleansing and the murder of Palestinians, it doesnt make all Jews bad, or even the state of Israel for that matter.

    I wonder why when there are issues with some parts of Islam large groups of people condemn the whole religion and call for it to be reformed? Why are there not such calls when Christians and Jews run crazy?

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    17 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Because one group of Muslims spouts off nonsense doesnt mean it should condemn all of Islam or other Muslims. Because some major leaders of the Christian community said the US deserved 9/11 does that then mean that all American Christians believe this insanity? Of course not, and no one has even suggested they do, why then, under similiar circumstances, does everyone not give Islam and Muslims the same benefit of the doubt?

    Double standards. One rule for everyone else, another for Muslims and Islam.

    Malik

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    18 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    Wouldn’t you agree that much of the criticism of the US made in the Middle East is simply false? If this UN report should falsely claim that the US invaded Iraq for oil or to forceably convert the population to Christianity or for Bush to revenge his father, then it’s perfectly fair for the US to object. Just because UN bureaucrats think their anti-American criticism is deserved, doesn’t make it fair. America can take fair criticism but there is no reason for it to accept unfair criticism.

    My point about this column is that Friedman frames his argument in a false dilemma, making a bogus claim that this information can only be released by this particular UN report and nowhere else and the US is stopping it. In fact, there are a thousand ways for the heart of the report to be published. Friedman is more smooth and clever than the typical anti-American, but he is still shifting the blame for the state of affairs in the Middle East to America. I can’t help but wonder if he had lunch with some UN bureaucrat who asked him to put a fire under the US to agree to release this report, complete with some slander against the US, and this column is the result.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    18 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    That’s not quite so. When a handful of idiot Christian fundamentalists said the US suffered the Sep 11 as a punishment from God for straying from Christianity, they were immediately condemned for their nonsense by virtually all of America and other Christian leaders in public. They made their rejection known in no uncertain words. There was no ambiguity in their response.

    By contrast, the Muslim world’s response to Sep 11 was a mixed bag. Some Muslim leaders made statements against it. Many Muslim leaders endorsed it as justified. Most Muslim leaders stayed mum, passively endorsing it with silence.

    That is the difference.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    18 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Hmmm. You’re right, Malik. The link works when I click on it in Preview mode but not after I publish it.

    Here it is: http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/004/653wwewi.asp?pg=1

    The Wahhabis have rewritten the Koran in its English versions to include their own prejudices. For example, the first lines of the real Koran read:

    “Guide us to the straight path, / The path of those whom You have favored, / Not of those who have incurred Your wrath, / Nor of those who have gone astray.”

    In the bogus Wahhabi Koran being distributed in the US and through the Internet, the first lines have been changed to:

    “Guide us to the Straight Way. / The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who have earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).”

    In this false Koran that the Wahhabis are distributing, the original correct Arabic text is presented next to the corrupted English text to fool naive Muslims into thinking they say the same thing.

    There is more. Apparently, the Wahhabis felt their opinions were better than Allah’s and have edited passages to reflect them, spinning their translation of the Koran to have Allah denigrating Christians and Jews throughout.

    The irony here is that the Wahhabis claim that the Koran is Allah’s word and should be strictly followed, yet they themselves are changing Allah’s word to suit themselves, cutting and pasting the Koran to reflect their own hatred of non-Muslims. I would think that adulterating the Koran, putting your own words above Allah’s, would be a serious offense to Wahhabis, if they actually believed in the original Koran.

    To me, it’s hypocricy. To the Wahhabis, it should be blasphemy. I would think that some heads should roll somewhere in Saudi Arabia if they really believe that the Koran was a divine revelation. How Muslim can they be if they are fobbing off phony Korans on the world? It appears that the Saudi Wahhabis are merely using the Koran as a delivery vehicle for their hate.

    Why should we American infidels take the Saudi Wahhabi brand of Islam seriously when they themselves do not take their Koran seriously, simply changing it as they see fit to advance their own ethnic prejudices?

    Steve

  • chalk66x
    19 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Typical of the present administrations foreign policy. If you dont agree with them you are a liberal and as a card carrying Christian you probably let your card expire.

  • anonymous
    19 December 2004

    Irrelevant questions need no answers

    The problem with Mahmood is that he thinks he needs to save Islam. Well, it is not your Job. It is God’s. Another problem is that you think Islam needs to satisfy western demands, while western demands are designed to contain the influence of Islam.

    I agree that wrong interpretations of Quran needs to end. But you have to agree that wrong interpretations work only on illiterate, ignorant, and unconscious – who are neither effective nor able to bring about any change. The literate and the knowledgeable are able to identify wrong interpretations. After all it does not require you to be a rocket scientist to make sense out of Quran. You are also free to interpret Quran in today’s context, given that principles of the originating text aren’t changed.

    The idea of splitting Quran doesn’t make any sense. Totally absurd!

    Wamy

  • anonymous
    19 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve, really great stuff! Your concerns are real and I appreciate them. This is what I call constructive criticism. Hopefully, original Arabic text remains intact.

    Wamy

  • anonymous
    19 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    The previous post is only concerned about the post before it, where Steve expressed his concerns over Wahhabi’s changing the meaning of Quran issue. I, however, do not endorse Steve’s other views of Islam.

    Wamy

  • chalk66x
    19 December 2004

    Re: Irrelevant questions need no answers

    Whats scary to me is that when I was young the vast majority of people in America were in the middle. Ive watched intelligent friends from my youth go from having the belief that you support your goverment right or wrong to protesting Vietnam to turning in their Social Security cards and becoming at least in their heads freemen to now saying that the only way to salvation is to follow blindly.

    Being intelligent, educated and informed only works when you are able to put aside your beliefs and judge with honesty which seems to be in short supply world wide as societies become more polarized either left or right. Splitting the Quran or not splitting the Quran isnt going to matter if people arent able to read it on their own and make their own decisions without others forcing their beliefs on them.

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    20 December 2004

    Re(3): Irrelevant questions need no answers

    billT,

    Are you saying that I guessed wrong, that you are not a liberal? I’ve heard your same line of argument from dozens of liberals, that you are holding an intelligent and informed position while conservatives are marching in thoughtless lockstep. The irony is that you are criticizing conservatives for not marching in lockstep with liberal ideology.

    However, you can prove me wrong by telling me you voted for Bush. But you didn’t, did you? And all your argument is a phony pose of impartiality.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    20 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Too late, Wamy. If you agree with anything I say you become a dangerous extremist, just like me.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    20 December 2004

    Re: Irrelevant questions need no answers

    [quote]Wamy: Another problem is that you think Islam needs to satisfy western demands, while western demands are designed to contain the influence of Islam. [/quote]

    Wamy, you just couldn’t be more wrong. We don’t care about the spread of Islam or any other religion. If somebody wants to turn Muslim, let him. We just could care less.

    If we did care, we wouldn’t have mosques all over America, including a rather obvious one in Washington on Wisconsin Avenue. The US government makes no demands on them nor does it interfere with them. Whatever you have heard to the contrary is wrong.

    What we do object to is Islamic violence. When Muslims come to America to do murder against Americans, then we strongly object.

    [quote]I agree that wrong interpretations of Quran needs to end. But you have to agree that wrong interpretations work only on illiterate, ignorant, and unconscious – who are neither effective nor able to bring about any change. The literate and the knowledgeable are able to identify wrong interpretations. After all it does not require you to be a rocket scientist to make sense out of Quran. You are also free to interpret Quran in today’s context, given that principles of the originating text aren’t changed. [/quote]

    You’re basically arguing that it doesn’t matter what is inserted in the Koran because smart people will eventually figure it out. Does that mean it’s OK to insert any kind of propaganda in there? What exactly do you stand for, Wamy? Do you really believe the Koran is the real deal or not?

    It does indeed matter that ignorant and illiterate Muslims are fed a false Koran because those are the gullible dupes who carry suicide bombs to carry out missions against enemies they think have been identified by Allah in the Koran, when really they are just cannon fodder for the duplicitous Saudis who have pencilled in their own enemies in a bogus Koran. These are the ignorant Muslims who are kidnapping people and beheading them, justifying it with shouts of “Allah is Great!” And really, if you look at it from the infidel view, if Muslims are not bothered by dishonest Korans, what exactly can we expect them to be honest about?

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    20 December 2004

    Re(1): Irrelevant questions need no answers

    billT,

    Being intelligent, educated, and informed means not dismissing people with other viewpoints as sheep who are following blindly. The liberals in America are not doing a very good job of that, which is why they are steadily turning people off. I recommend that you set aside your prejudices and actually listen to the other side. We actually have reasons for what we believe and facts to back them up. And its natural to change from liberal to conservative as you get older because with more experience and intelligence you realize that much of that idealistic liberal crap you dreamed about as a kid just doesn’t work in real life and, in fact, does much harm.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    20 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]As to “rewriting” The Qur’an, I dont think this has happened, I think they have mistranslated it. There has been no assertion that they actually changed the Arabic text, the language in which The Qur’an is always recited for prayers and in discussion. So the statement that they have “rewriten” The Qur’an is false, rather they have mistranslated it. So the lines have not been changed, they just have not been accurately translated. [/quote]

    You’re making excuses for the Wahhabis and not very good ones. This is no translation error. It either specifies Jews and Christians in the original text or it doesn’t. There is no way you can get from the general reference of the original text to the specific mention of Jews and Christians in the bogus Wahhabi text.

    And it’s not like this is a single error. It is consistent throughout the Wahhabi Koran. The probability of all those references caused by error is negligible, like flipping a coin and having it land heads up a thousand times.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    20 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “Friedman is more smooth and clever than the typical anti-American, but he is still shifting the blame for the state of affairs in the Middle East to America.”

    Friedman is anti-American? LOL! I guess anyone that doesnt tow the party line or who dares to criticise US policy is anti-American? I differ, I think that anyone who argues, debates and feels free to voice their concerns is the one BEING the real American, not those who try to silence or shut people up by calling them “anti-American”. Sad how those who seem to be the loudest about being American are those who dont realise what makes this country so great, its freedoms, including freedom of speach![/quote]

    Yes, that’s right, Friedman frequently takes an anti-American tack, typical of the New York Times for which he writes. If you read his columns, he castigates America for hurting the Middle East by not signing the Kyoto Treaty, among other foolish charges. And I might add, I have pointed out the fallacious reasoning Friedman uses in this column, posing a false dilemma, to which you make no specific response. Are you supporting Friedman’s absurd claim that this information can only come from this UN report and nowhere else?

    It’s pretty common for liberals to mischaracterize disagreement as censorship. Characterizing a position is not censoring it nor shutting it up nor silencing it. It’s pretty obvious to the casual observer that nothing I write here has any effect on Friedman’s freedom to write what he pleases. You may be surprised to discover that freedom of speech applies not only to the expression of your views but also to people who disagree with you. It’s pretty foolish to squawk that anyone who disagrees with you is against free speech. The irony is that the argument denies free speech to everyone else.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    20 December 2004

    Re(2): Irrelevant questions need no answers

    Steve

    Your statment mirrors what is coming out of washington these days. You even managed to get liberal into it. Instead of seeing if we have a common meeting ground or if Im indeed a liberal you assume Im one and dont listen to other peoples views.

    billT

  • mahmood
    20 December 2004

    Re: Irrelevant questions need no answers

    It’s every Muslim’s duty to save Islam, not just me. It is being attacked from every direction and I’m afraid the greatest threat to it is coming from Muslims themselves. Hence, it is our job, moderates or whatever you want to call us, to try to bring some reason to the table in order to save our religion, culture and traditions. It’s an onorous task. It needs to be done. Leaving it to Allah himself is not enough, He said Himself that He won’t help anyone that doesn’t help himself. That’s what I’m doing.

    It is probably worth your while to read this comment, I am trying to find more references and when I do I’ll put them up here, but the comment referred to here alone is a good starting point.

    Look I’m not a theoligian, a cleric nor am I deep into Islamic studies, what I use is just simple logic. I might be wrong in some assumptions, but I am quite ready to be advised and if the advice makes sense I’ll take it on.

  • anonymous
    20 December 2004

    Re(1): Irrelevant questions need no answers

    [quote]Steve: We don’t care about the spread of Islam or any other religion … bla bla bla[/quote]

    The problem with Steve is that he thinks he is the spokesperson of the civilisation in the West.

    Wamy

  • mahmood
    20 December 2004

    Re(2): Irrelevant questions need no answers

    Wamy… trawling? can’t work more than once surely. if you want to engage in conversation, engaging your brain first might be a good start!

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    20 December 2004

    Re(2): Irrelevant questions need no answers

    Wamy,

    I’ve lived all over the United States except the Northwest. I have visited about 45 of 50 states. I have served as an officer in the military at home, in Asia, and in Europe. I have been a student in seven different colleges and countless training programs and whatnot. I have taught in college and in business. I have worked in the business world for decades now.

    I have never heard any American anywhere say, “We’ve got to stop Islam from spreading.” Until Sep 11, I rarely heard anyone talk about Islam at all. I could probably count on my fingers how many times any friend of mine has even mentioned Muslims or Islam in my lifetime, outside of my college classes in Arabic and Middle Eastern history. Islam is just not even visible on our cultural radar. It’s not an issue. It’s not a topic. It’s not discussed. There is no interest in it.

    For most Americans, all they know about Islam is that it produces terrorists.

    Religion does not drive our world like it drives yours. Any clergyman who attempts to publicly influence government policy becomes a figure of ridicule. We prefer our clergy in their place in church. Nobody has much respect for them as informed thinkers regarding the practical world. We know religious people tend to screw things up if given real power, kinda like what happens in the Middle East.

    The problem with Islam is that many Islamic clergy portray the outside world, especially the West, as a common enemy to whip up and consolidate support for themselves and their own policies. There appears to be plenty of Muslims dumb enough to think we in the West are staying up late trying to come up with ways to foil Islam. We aren’t. We’re watching Homer Simpson.

    The other problem is that Muslims flee their own countries for the West then try to impose their religion on us. It’s just astonishing that Muslims would come to Western countries and demand to be governed by their own laws. Very often, when a Muslim is caught doing something evil in the West, the dishonest Islamic clergy in the Middle East distort it into a story of innocent Muslims being oppressed by evil infidel governments.

    We couldn’t care less what god you worship as long as you’re peaceful and tolerant of others, but Islam is the most murderously intolerant religion on Earth. That’s where all the trouble begins.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.01191600 1099323613.647
    20 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Boys Boys!

    This is not an appropriate way for the two of you to respond to Mahmoods genuine and generous attempts to edge towards religious reform and the marginalisation of the salafists. At the very least, please try to remain focussed on the topic. The topic covers all ideas for the reformation of doctrine. Steve and Malik, please get back on-message. Give us your own ideas on this matter by all means,but don’t use this thread as a vehicle to kick each-other up the arse.

    Meggie

  • 7alaylia
    20 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Mahmood,

    You are spot on. As a convert to Islam, I am able to see and recognize things that many within the religious community cannot not, or will not see. This idea that we should sit around and wait for Allah to change things is rubbish. God will only help those who help themselves. I think it is this very attitude that is behind the current state of affairs in most Muslim countries in the Islamic “world”.

    It would seem, like you said, that Islam is under attack. I feel it is under attack by forces within and forces outside of the religion. All too often the only people willing to fight for their ideas, with either words or more, tend to be the extremists, the fringe of Islam. It is time for the moderates of the world to stand up and be known.

    I think there is a global war on moderation happening. We have seen alarming rises in religious extremism from all corners, whether it is the BJP in India (recently defeated in the parliment, but by no means dead) or Christian extremists in the USA, secular extremists in France and other European countries, and Islamic extremists. It is time that the moderates of the world unite and give a resounding “NO!” to the agenda of the fanatics.

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    20 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve,

    I have never seen the version of The Qur’an that this talks about nor have I ever heard it discussed. I wonder how widely this is circulated? I know after I converted I got a got set from the “King” of Saudi Arabia, and The Qur’an included in it says nothing of the like.

    As to “rewriting” The Qur’an, I dont think this has happened, I think they have mistranslated it. There has been no assertion that they actually changed the Arabic text, the language in which The Qur’an is always recited for prayers and in discussion. So the statement that they have “rewriten” The Qur’an is false, rather they have mistranslated it. So the lines have not been changed, they just have not been accurately translated.

    Steve writes “To me, it’s hypocricy. To the Wahhabis, it should be blasphemy. I would think that some heads should roll somewhere in Saudi Arabia if they really believe that the Koran was a divine revelation. How Muslim can they be if they are fobbing off phony Korans on the world? It appears that the Saudi Wahhabis are merely using the Koran as a delivery vehicle for their hate. ”

    I agree here. “Wahabism” is nonsense. But again I must argue that it is the translation that has been changed, they have not changed the word of God, ie the Arabic text. Wahabis are hypocrites and their actions do not represent 99% of Islam, that is why I get a kick out of it when people point to Saudi Arabia as some sort of role model or example of what Islam is all about. Saudi is the last place I would point out to show people what Islam is all about. If one looks at the Hadith of The Prophet it will become clear that he adovated the middle of the road. If you stray too far off in either the extremist end or the “liberal” end you will go astray.

    I dont know why the Saudis, some elements of them, push this brand of Islam anyway. It is next to impossible to faithfully keep to this type of life. Most Muslims that I know, born Muslims or converts, who try to live this Wahabi, or better known as “Salafi” type of Islam do not succede. If they are converts they usually just drop the religion altogether or born Muslims just stop practicing. Why? Because it is hard. Give up music, give up TV, radio, in many cases furniture, it is all nonsense.

    Steve writes “Why should we American infidels take the Saudi Wahhabi brand of Islam seriously when they themselves do not take their Koran seriously, simply changing it as they see fit to advance their own ethnic prejudices? ”

    Many of the Saudis I have met, and I will qualify this with the statement that Saudis themselves are a pretty diverse lot but the people from the north of the country, the Bedu, from the Najd, are the worse. This is the area that the al-Saud family comes from. They seem to think their Islam is better than others, although their hypocrisy knows no bounds. Saudi Arabia is a pretty racist society and you see it every day in how they treat their foreign workers, seems they easily forget that in Islam the only difference between people is their peity, race or nationality plays no part.

    Malik.

  • 7alaylia
    20 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “Malik, That’s not quite so. When a handful of idiot Christian fundamentalists said the US suffered the Sep 11 as a punishment from God for straying from Christianity, they were immediately condemned for their nonsense by virtually all of America and other Christian leaders in public. They made their rejection known in no uncertain words. There was no ambiguity in their response. ”

    These people head groups that have millions of members and have the ear of the president. The only response that would have been acceptable was to resign and comeplete public humilation. These people retained their posts, still have the ear of the president, and are still preching their hate. Try watching the “700 Club” here in the USA which is shown on many public and cable channels. The Christian hate coming out of this show is watched regularly by millions of Americans.

    Steve writes “By contrast, the Muslim world’s response to Sep 11 was a mixed bag. Some Muslim leaders made statements against it. Many Muslim leaders endorsed it as justified. Most Muslim leaders stayed mum, passively endorsing it with silence. That is the difference. ”

    Again, because you dont see it covered in the Western media doesnt mean it isnt there. The CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) has a section on their website of articles condemning the acts from the days right after the attacks, from Muslims and Muslim groups from all over the world. There are hundreds listed there. Again the question needs to be asked, by doesnt the media here cover this?

    This lack of coverage leads to untrue statements such as you. Why does the media in the USA allow this to happen?

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    20 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve asks “Wouldn’t you agree that much of the criticism of the US made in the Middle East is simply false?”

    Some yes, most of it no. You will hear the same criticism of the US in Europe, Central and South America. America has a very serious problem with its foreign policy and it must be addressed, plain and simple.

    Steve writes ” If this UN report should falsely claim that the US invaded Iraq for oil or to forceably convert the population to Christianity or for Bush to revenge his father, then it’s perfectly fair for the US to object. Just because UN bureaucrats think their anti-American criticism is deserved, doesn’t make it fair. America can take fair criticism but there is no reason for it to accept unfair criticism. ”

    Are you saying this reports claims any of the above? I think it is pretty much accepted in the region, and in Europe and many other places, that the US invaded for oil and to have a greater military role in the area. The US did not invade to save anyone, 500,000 Iraqis died because of US sanctions, so that is clear. We did not invade to save them, if we did, we would have been in The Congo years ago, over 3 million people in that country have died in the last decade alone. It is clear the invasion had nothing to do with freeing or saving anyone, so one must look for the real reasons, especially since all of the stated issues turned out to be false.

    Steve writes “Friedman is more smooth and clever than the typical anti-American, but he is still shifting the blame for the state of affairs in the Middle East to America.”

    Friedman is anti-American? LOL! I guess anyone that doesnt tow the party line or who dares to criticise US policy is anti-American? I differ, I think that anyone who argues, debates and feels free to voice their concerns is the one BEING the real American, not those who try to silence or shut people up by calling them “anti-American”. Sad how those who seem to be the loudest about being American are those who dont realise what makes this country so great, its freedoms, including freedom of speach!

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    20 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “Being intelligent, educated, and informed means not dismissing people with other viewpoints as sheep who are following blindly. The liberals in America are not doing a very good job of that, which is why they are steadily turning people off. I recommend that you set aside your prejudices and actually listen to the other side. ”

    This is the same Steve who dismissed Friedman by saying he is
    “anti-American” and must have had a meal with a UN representative to possibly come up with his ideas? I dont think you can get more dismissive than that can you? The above quote from Steve, combined with his blanket condemnations others here, is a great example of hypocrisy.

    Malik

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    21 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Thanks, Mahmood. So I understand that Bedu is a lifestyle rather than a tribe. Is that true? You could be a Saudi Hadhar or a Saudi Bedu? So the Hadhar and Bedu would fit into Ibn Khaldoun’s view of history as perpetual cyclic conflict between settled and nomadic people. Expanding on that, the current Wahhabi war on the world could be seen as a classic Khaldounic struggle of nomads versus city folk writ large.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    21 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “Over the last century, Europeans have proven themselves to be accepting of the worst and wrongest ideas. It is a bubbling cauldron of bad ideas acted upon with manic conviction. Their popular opinion is just not credible.”

    Malik: LOL! You are great for a morning laugh! This from a man who comes from a country where the majority of people still think Saddam Hussein had a hand in the 9/11 attacks. Get a clue. You seem to have done precious little traveling. Europeans, on the whole, are far more politically astute than their American counterparts. To deny this is to have never been to Europe.[/quote]

    Ridicule is not an argument, not a rational one anyway. As I have pointed out before, Saddam’s links to the Sep 11 skyjackers in Prague and Indonesia bear further investigation. It’s pretty obvious the skyjacking team had professional help. You don’t hit a home run the first time you come to bat. Al Qaeda just didn’t have native expertise in all the tradecraft needed to pull it off nor the aviation experience to guide these guys to the sufficient training to do the job nor the discipline. You have not presented any credible rebuttal to these connections but chose to avoid the issue by casual dismissal.

    Actually, I have travelled the world from Asia to Europe. I don’t find Europeans any more intelligent than Americans. Many of them are quite disinformed about the world and America. When they visit America on business, they have about the same amount of misconceptions to shed as Americans visiting Europe. If they were more politically astute than Americans they wouldn’t have spent the last century trying to kill each other en masse. The bloody European wars of the twentieth century arose from irreconcilable primitive tribal differences, not from superior political astuteness.

    Steve

  • 7alaylia
    21 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Good response Mahmood, this is exactly what I meant. The area was not “Wahabi” before the Bedu al-Saud clan took over. If you look at Hijazi history, for example, you will see that before the take over by the al-Saud family, they had elected representative councils and the over all tone of the society there, religiously and culturally was much more open. When the al-Saud family took over they actually slaughter a large amount of Hijazis, destroyed many shrines and mosques because they did not meet their strict idea of Islam.

    Incidently, Western forces played a large role in the rise to power of the al-Saud family. My wife does not even like to refer to herself as a Saudi because she says that accepts the rule and ownership of the whole country by the ruling and corrupt al-Saud family. She will often refer to herself as “Hijazia” or even go back to her distant roots and call herself “Yemenia”, although the second she opens her mouth the Hijaz accent gives her away.

    There is a fair amount of, I dont know how you would term it, but friction between the “Bedu” and the others in Saudi. I remember a story told by my sister in law, a principle at a girls school in Jiddah, about a trip she took to Riyadh. She was called “Hijazi vomit” by one citizen of that “fair” city.

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    21 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    It is interesting to note, after reading the information about the “Wahabi” understanding of The Qur’an, to see that evangelical Christians and those who hate Islam view The Qur’an in the same light. They both view it as intolerant and unforgiving. Maybe that is why the evangelical Christians and others who view Islam this way should be viewed the same way we view the “Wahabis”/Salafi.

    The both have a radical misunderstanding of their own faiths, and a radical misunderstanding of the faith of others. Like I have said before, this is not a religious war so much as it is a war against extremism. Moderates of all faiths must join together and fight against the extremists here in DC, in Tel Aviv, Riyadh, Paris or Mumbai!

    Moderates of the world unite!

    Malik

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    21 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “Likewise, loudmouth critics of the left, like Galloway in England were simply bribed by Saddam to support his position. ”

    Dont keep up on the news do you? Galloway won a libel suit against the people who claimed this. But I guess the facts dont mean much in cases like this. You talk about liberal slander tactics, but you have just commited the same crime. [/quote]

    That’s too cute of an argument, Malik. In English law, you can be telling the truth about somebody and still be committing libel. Truth is not a defense against libel in England as it is in America. The suit was won by Galloway not because the bribery charge was false, but rather because the Daily Telegraph had not given him enough time to respond to the charge before it was published. The judge said he didn’t get the chance to read the Iraqi documents naming him as one of the bribe-takers before it went public. The court did not render a verdict on the truth of the charge, as you falsely claim.

    May I point out that to date nobody has successfully proven these Iraqi bribe lists false.

    If I were you, I would take care to actually read the news carefully and understand it before I flung around charges that others don’t. Quite clearly in this case, you are distorting the news to make your rebuttal.

    Steve

    [Modified by: Steve The American (Steve) on December 21, 2004 09:03 AM]

  • 7alaylia
    21 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “As I have pointed out before, Saddam’s links to the Sep 11 skyjackers in Prague and Indonesia bear further investigation. It’s pretty obvious the skyjacking team had professional help. You don’t hit a home run the first time you come to bat”

    Are you saying that Sept 11 was the first attack al-Queda planned? Are you saying that al-Qeuda, comprised of vetern combatants from Afghanistan and other locations, were a new comer to the scene? I dont think so.

    Steve writes “Actually, I have travelled the world from Asia to Europe. I don’t find Europeans any more intelligent than Americans.”

    Not more intelligent, but more knowledgeable, especially on political matters. I was born and lived in Germany for years and lived in Europe of and on for years, both for work and for pleasure. People there, as a rule, are more engaged and knowledgeable about local, national and international politics than Americans are. The youth are far more politicised than the American youth are, by far. I remember being a youth in Germany and your politics, both local and internation, defined you, where you went, what groups you joined, even what football(soccer) team you supported.

    Steve writes “If they were more politically astute than Americans they wouldn’t have spent the last century trying to kill each other en masse. The bloody European wars of the twentieth century arose from irreconcilable primitive tribal differences, not from superior political astuteness. ”

    You miss the point entirely again. I now see why you sound so much like Spncer, Bernard Lewis, and the rest of those lot. You love to use historical facts to try and come to understand modern people and situations. That is why all of you, authors included, are so wrong about the Middle East and the way things are today. Europeans, unlike Americans, have gone a long way to learn from their past. America, as shown after 9/11, would rather hit out violently at anything and everything rather than do any amount of looking in the mirror. As an American I think we should have done after those who did 9/11, this doesnt include Iraq, but I also feel we should have sit down a taken an honest and open look at our policies and evualate whether or not they really are in our best interest.

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    21 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “That’s too cute of an argument, Malik. In English law, you can be telling the truth about somebody and still be committing libel. Truth is not a defense against libel in England as it is in America. The suit was won by Galloway not because the bribery charge was not true, but rather because the Daily Telegraph had not given him enough time to respond to the charge before it was published. The judge said he didn’t get the chance to read the Iraqi documents naming him as one of the bribe-takers before it went public. The court did not render a verdict on the truth of the charge. ”

    So basically you are saying that the paper which libeled Galloway had no way to prove it’s case?

    Steve writes “May I point out that to date nobody has successfully proven these Iraqi bribe lists false. ”

    It isnt up to anyone to prove them false, it is up to the accusers to prove them true. I guess I could call you a Russian spy, is it then your duty to prove me wrong? I dont think so, the burder is always on the accusers, this is why the charges against Galloway are moot. It is sad how you always like to attack others, call them names, “anti-American” he is “on the Iraqi pay roll”. This is a common tactic used by people who do not wish to address the sometimes uncomfortable issues these people bring up. Just like your branding of Friedman as “anti-American”. It is nonsense, but it gives you cover for not having to address the points he raises.

    Malik

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    21 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “As I have pointed out before, Saddam’s links to the Sep 11 skyjackers in Prague and Indonesia bear further investigation. It’s pretty obvious the skyjacking team had professional help. You don’t hit a home run the first time you come to bat”

    Are you saying that Sept 11 was the first attack al-Queda planned? Are you saying that al-Qeuda, comprised of vetern combatants from Afghanistan and other locations, were a new comer to the scene? I dont think so[/quote].

    Sep 11 was the first, last, and only skyjacking that Al Qaeda has done. They were indeed a newcomer to the skyjacking scene. Skyjacking is a peculiar expertise. The successful skyjackings of earlier years came about after the establishment of skyjacking schools in the Middle East where the future skyjackers were intensely drilled in a carefully considered protocol. The national airlines of Arab states lent their jets to them to rehearse. Those skyjackers who had no such training, such as the Libyans, made mistakes from lack of training and discipline which often led to chaotic ends. Al Qaeda has no experience in skyjacking, yet they pulled off a well-prepared, well-disciplined, fairly well-executed multiple skyjacking. It’s unlikely they did it without a lot of help.

    While some rudimentary skyjacking training was done in Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, it wasn’t at a level of sophistication of the Sep 11 operation. Guerrilla experience in Afghanistan and elsewhere does not translate into skyjacking expertise. These are two separate endeavors with only a few overlapping skills. Skyjacking requires peculiar training unrelated to guerrilla infantry and a different kind of personality. It also requires a fair amount of discipline. Most Al Qaeda attacks failed in the preparation stage due to lack of discipline.

    I might also point out that Al Qaeda did not use any of the guerrilla veterans you think carried out the attack. They used freshly recruited people who had no terror ties to that point.

    Al Qaeda did not run a skyjacking school. It’s attacks are simple, unsophisticated affairs: Build a big bomb and drive it to where the infidels are. They did drive by shootings and grenade attacks. They lacked the expertise to do more than that. Saddam did run a skyjacking school at Salman Pak near the Baghdad airport complete with the fuselage of an airliner for practice. An Iraqi brigadier says there was a secret school within that secret school that trained foreign Arabs who prayed a lot.

    And there are the Iraqi connections to the Sep 11 skyjacking team in Prague and Indonesia which you do not address. That is very suspicious.

    Steve

  • 7alaylia
    21 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    I think, at this point in time, it is more cultural vestiges than anything else. There are not many people in Saudi who still keep to the nomadic lifestyle, rather this is their roots. So their ideas and the way they do things, culturally, it is based in that background, rather than still being of a nomadic lifestyle. You can even tell by their accents what their background is. Bedu in Saudi have a very distintive, and I might add personally, unpleasant accent. But that is my opinion.

    This and many other reasons show us why people who do not have a good understanding of the area should not seek to make grand pronouncements about the area, the people, or what is or isnt happening there. These are the same types that write books called “The Arab People” and it contains about 200 pages. These types of people see in generalities that are not valid, then use formulaic pronouncements based on ancient history to tell us “what the Arab really thinks” as if saying someone is “Arab” really means anything.

    Because their ideas are based on history, and often ancient history, they dont have a clue as to what is happening here, now. Lewis, Spencer, Timmerman, they often use texts anbd souces from 500 years ago to try and explain what is happening in the Arab world today. Wonder if any one of them know the word “Ijtihad” and the debate surrounding this issue in the Middle East, and in the wider Islamic world? These sorts of things need to figure in analysis of the modern Middle East, not documents 500 years old.

    I get a laugh out of this, the “Arab thinks” the “Arab world”, what Arab? What Arab world? So what a Maronite Christian in Lebanon thinks or does would be related to what someone thinks and does in Oman? How about a Durzy in Palestine thinking and doing the same exact thing as an Alawite in Syria?

    These people who think there is one easy answer, or one easy way to lump all Arabs into one category are wrong.

    Too many people with too many ideas, all with a complete lack of knowledge outside of absolute basics and generalities.

    For Steve, I would love to know what sources you have gained your information from? Care to give us a short reading list of yours? I would be interested to know what, if any, Arab authors you have read, where do you get your knowledge from about the Middle East, history, and current events?

    For me it is sad to see the Middle Eastern section at any American bookstore. Most of the books are written by people with vested anti Arab and Islamic interests, Spencer, Lewis, Miller, Timmerman, Pipes, to name a few. Never has a people, Arabs, been so silent when it comes to relating their own stories. The same goes for Islam. Look at the books, Western, that come out about Islam and you will find that Muslims, like Arabs, are allowing other people to tell their story, and the majority of the time these people are telling the story slanted in their own vested interest.

    In regards to these Western “experts” never has self proclaimed experts of anything been held to such low standards as are these people. An “expert” on the Middle East and they cannot speak even one language spoken there? An “expert” on Islam who wants to explain the whole Islamic world in 300 pages? The idea of even writing a book on “The Muslim Mind” is nonsense. These experts, trotted out almost daily since 9/11 dont have a clue. The problem is, the average American doesnt have enough education to see right through them.

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    21 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “Sep 11 was the first, last, and only skyjacking that Al Qaeda has done. They were indeed a newcomer to the skyjacking scene. Skyjacking is a peculiar expertise. The successful skyjackings of earlier years came about after the establishment of skyjacking schools in the Middle East where the future skyjackers were intensely drilled in a carefully considered protocol. ”

    Expertise? LOL! Box cutters and learning how to fly. Those are more organisational issues than area specific. Beside, you should certainly be aware that there is a certain amount of knowledge flow between various groups of this sort. Al-Queda as worked with Hizb’Allah and other groups. Your mistake is that you are trying to compare hijacking and kidnapping incidents with the 9/11 attack. To take a hold prisoners for an extended period of time did take training. The 9/11 attackers were not interested in that, they just needed to keep the cockpit door closed and fly the plan, much easier than taking and hold 200-300 for a week or two waiting for demands to be met. Different operation altogether.

    Steve writes “While some rudimentary skyjacking training was done in Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, it wasn’t at a level of sophistication of the Sep 11 operation. Guerrilla experience in Afghanistan and elsewhere does not translate into skyjacking expertise. These are two separate endeavors with only a few overlapping skills. Skyjacking requires peculiar training unrelated to guerrilla infantry and a different kind of personality. It also requires a fair amount of discipline. Most Al Qaeda attacks failed in the preparation stage due to lack of discipline. ”

    Yes, of course, they also failed due to the calibre of men involved. The 9/11 attacks were not like this. Take the ring leader, Atta, he was a highly educated and trained person from a well to due background, as were the other people involved. If you are going to try the most daring attack wouldnt you pick the people most likely to be able to carry it out? You are failing here like you fail elsewhere, you generalise too much! Not everything can be generalised. 9/11 does require different training and skills than a car bombing, hence the people picked to do the attack.

    Steve writes “An Iraqi brigadier says there was a secret school within that secret school that trained foreign Arabs who prayed a lot. ”

    Imagine that, a Muslim who prays a lot. That certainly is an indication of a terrorist. I am a Muslim who prays a lot, five times a day actually, and I am glad my co-workers in my government agency dont think the way that you do!

    Steve writes “And there are the Iraqi connections to the Sep 11 skyjacking team in Prague and Indonesia which you do not address. That is very suspicious. ”

    It would seem the 9/11 Commission didnt think too much was involved here. Face it, you are grasping at straws. The Saudi government is much more to blame for 9/11 than the Iraqi government, lets go after them. Saddam had a long history of mass murder against Islamists, just like Syria and Egpyt. You are going to have to come up with something better.

    You are holding onto stuff that was dropped by all rational people months ago, except for nutter neo-cons and conspiracy theorists. Got anything new on the Kennedy assasination?

    Malik

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    21 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Malik: Steve asks “Wouldn’t you agree that much of the criticism of the US made in the Middle East is simply false?”

    Some yes, most of it no. You will hear the same criticism of the US in Europe, Central and South America. America has a very serious problem with its foreign policy and it must be addressed, plain and simple. [/quote]

    Malik, this is a fallacious argument as well. First, the popularity of an opinion in a population is no measure of its truth. Much of Europe once believed the Earth was flat. Did that make it true. You are making an argument ad populem.

    Europe has its own peculiar reasons to criticize the US, most of which are hollow. For example, France criticized the US for invading Iraq because they had valuable oil contracts with Iraq and Saddam paid them off. Likewise, loudmouth critics of the left, like Galloway in England were simply bribed by Saddam to support his position. Much of Europe put their hopes on socialism and are galled to be outperformed economically by capitalist America. There is a considerable amount of jealousy and envy here, which are base motives for criticism.

    However, the facts are while France and Germany opposed the US invasion, the majority of European nations supported the US.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    21 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes ” If this UN report should falsely claim that the US invaded Iraq for oil or to forceably convert the population to Christianity or for Bush to revenge his father, then it’s perfectly fair for the US to object. Just because UN bureaucrats think their anti-American criticism is deserved, doesn’t make it fair. America can take fair criticism but there is no reason for it to accept unfair criticism. ”

    Are you saying this reports claims any of the above? I think it is pretty much accepted in the region, and in Europe and many other places, that the US invaded for oil and to have a greater military role in the area. The US did not invade to save anyone, 500,000 Iraqis died because of US sanctions, so that is clear. We did not invade to save them, if we did, we would have been in The Congo years ago, over 3 million people in that country have died in the last decade alone. It is clear the invasion had nothing to do with freeing or saving anyone, so one must look for the real reasons, especially since all of the stated issues turned out to be false. [/quote]

    Nope. That’s why I said “if” at the front of the sentence. Since nobody has released what the objectionable material is, I offer some plausible ones.

    As for the Europeans believing that the US invaded Iraq for oil, one third of French and Germans also believe America attacked itself on Sep 11. No matter how stupid the proposition, there is a sizeable portion of Europeans who will believe it. Over the last century, Europeans have proven themselves to be accepting of the worst and wrongest ideas. It is a bubbling cauldron of bad ideas acted upon with manic conviction. Their popular opinion is just not credible.

    If we wanted the Iraqi oil and a greater military role in Iraq, we would have pressed on to capture it in the first Gulf War. There are quite a few Iraqis who have indeed been saved. Iraqis examining the Baathist records estimate that Saddam would have executed 70,000 Iraqis had the US not invaded. Those people are indeed saved from the grave. You might also check with the bloggers on Iraq The Model, who openly say Iraq was liberated. The fact that there are Iraqi bloggers speaking their mind and satellite dishes sprouting from the roofs of Baghdad are proof that we have indeed freed them. And there is more freedom coming, courtesy of the USA.

    Your Congo argument is a bizarre non sequitur. It’s like arguing you didn’t save Joe from drowning because Bill got run over by a truck. Even if there are people in Tibet who are not free, we still freed Iraq.

    The US did not cause half a million Iraqis to die. You might take a look at the papers and read up about the Oil For Food scandal. The oil profits went into the pockets of Saddam, his cronies, and corrupt UN bureaucrats, to include the UN director of the program and Kofi Annan’s son. Not to mention a host of European countries holding useful positions in the UN that could help Sadddam. The food and medicine which came in through the program were diverted to Saddam’s people and the rest was sold on the black market in Jordan, among other places. What medicine did reach Iraqi doctors was heavily diluted or fake. They called it chalk. That’s why so many people died: Saddam’s cruelty and UN corruption.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    21 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “Malik, That’s not quite so. When a handful of idiot Christian fundamentalists said the US suffered the Sep 11 as a punishment from God for straying from Christianity, they were immediately condemned for their nonsense by virtually all of America and other Christian leaders in public. They made their rejection known in no uncertain words. There was no ambiguity in their response. ”

    These people head groups that have millions of members and have the ear of the president. The only response that would have been acceptable was to resign and comeplete public humilation. These people retained their posts, still have the ear of the president, and are still preching their hate. Try watching the “700 Club” here in the USA which is shown on many public and cable channels. The Christian hate coming out of this show is watched regularly by millions of Americans. [/quote]

    Malik,

    You’re exaggerating the significance of these people, who are a cross between preachers and game show hosts. Lots of people watch them but I’m not so sure that their opinions are shaped by everything they say anymore than commercials shape their opinions. Guys like Pat Robertson sound pretty reasonable about 85% of the time until they suddenly take a wild turn away from reality and say something that reminds you they’re madmen. Pat Robertson can give a fairly informative brief on the news but then he will claim he steered a hurricane away from America or wants to declare a jubilee every fifty years where all debts are forgiven. Lots of the rest of them are public jokes, comprimised in sexual scandals. Some of just barking mad, like Robert Tilton, who breaks out into tongues. They may be entertaining (I’m kinda fond of Tilton and Gene Scott, for just pure weirdness), but they’re not going to be leading any million man march anywhere.

    I haven’t watched any of them in a while. You’re going to have to give me some examples of Christian hate from them.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    21 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Malik: Many of the Saudis I have met, and I will qualify this with the statement that Saudis themselves are a pretty diverse lot but the people from the north of the country, the Bedu, from the Najd, are the worse. This is the area that the al-Saud family comes from. [/quote]

    That’s interesting, Malik. Are the Saudis a Bedouin tribe? What exactly is the difference between a Saudi and a Bedouin? Why do you think Bedouin would have a harsher take on religion than the rest of Arabia?

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    21 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Most of my reading about the Middle East comes from the Internet and magazines. I’ve read perhaps four books about it in the last year: Bernard Lewis “What Went Wrong”, another history by an Israeli author, Lippman “Inside The Mirage” (very good), and currently a fourth into “The Two Faces Of Islam.” Since Sep 11, I’ve read perhaps half a dozen books about the hijackers which touches on the circumstances in the Middle East which produced them, though most focused on the specifics of the attacks. Beyond that, my old college text on the Middle East, some general introduction to Arab customs in my Arabic class, and sometime about ten years ago, a general history of the region. I suppose “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” by TE Lawrence in college counts, too.

    It’s a bit disingenuous to blame the West for not knowing the Middle East when the Muslim world has thrown up so many barriers to understanding it. There are a thousand years of fatwas forbidding contact with the West, the “Frankish.” If the threshhold for being an expert is set low, it has a lot to do with the difficulty of acquiring information due to obstacles thrown up by the Arabs themselves. People like the Saudis don’t exactly invite Westerners to get a close look at their interior lives.

    Steve

  • mahmood
    21 December 2004

    Re(5): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    all the more reason for coming and living here for a few years to experience life in the Arab world on your own… let’s face it, once you live here for about oh 4 years you can write a book about your experience and sell it for millions! I’ll gladly be your agent for the customary 25% off the top! 😉

  • mahmood
    21 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    This is a nice topic for a wiki I think! Bedu are the desert travellers, the nomads who are harsh by the nature of thier environment. The opposite, the “Hadhar” are the city dwellers, the “civilised” folk who like their comforts of life.

    It depends on the inflection you use when saying either word in Arabic would impart either scorn and ridicule, or adoration. But that’s the nature of the language and people.

    The “normal” interpretation (from a Hadhari’s point of view) is that the Bedu are harsh and revel in their harshness. It’s a “man’s” world in the desert. Thus their mannerisms and their daily interpretations of laws, customs and religion is austere and monochrome. While the Hadhar recognise that to live, trade and prosper you have to recognise shades of grey.

    That’s what Malik meant (correct me if I’m wrong) when he said that they are Bedu, the Wahabis are indeed benuin for the most part – it’s only when they got to the cities and took power that the hadhar has no choice but to “temporarily convert” in order to continue on with doing business and live.

    Yes this is a vast over-simplification, but you get the gist of it.

    Malik: by recognising the subtle differences in our culture you have proved to me anyway that you have taken a very deep interest in it, something that is very onorous and would not be embarked upon lightly unless the person seeking that knowledge has a deep love and respect for our culture, or complete disdain. I think you belong to the former. Welcome aboard!

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    21 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]So basically you are saying that the paper which libeled Galloway had no way to prove it’s case?[/quote]

    Yes. The trial was considering whether the paper gave Galloway enough time to study the charges to be made against him before it published them. The judge found that the paper did not provide Galloway with the Iraqi papers and did not give him time enough to examine the charges. The truth or falsity of the charge was not at issue.

    It’s worth pointing out that these were not the only papers identifying Galloway as a bribe taker. There is at least one other set of papers that do the same.

    [quote]Steve writes “May I point out that to date nobody has successfully proven these Iraqi bribe lists false. ”

    It isnt up to anyone to prove them false, it is up to the accusers to prove them true.[/quote]

    The papers themselves are their own proof. Three sets of papers identifying Galloway have surfaced. One is a list of 270 people being bribed by Saddam discovered by an Iraqi newspaper. Another was discovered the the Daily Telegraph. Another set was discovered by the Christian Science Monitor. The Iraqi newspaper and Daily Telegraph papers have held up under scrutiny by experts. The Christian Science Monitor papers have been proven to be forgeries, evidently cooked up after the Galloway story broke to cash in on it. That’s how you would prove this evidence false. It stands.

    Here’s a link to learn more:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/04/24/ngall124.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/04/24/ixnewstop.html

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    21 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    I admire your capitalist spirit and it’s not a bad idea.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    21 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    According to the history I’ve read, the Saudi/Wahhabis killed an estimated 400,000 Arabs over two centuries to establish their kingdom in Arabia.

    So Saudi Arabia is split along Bedu and Hadhar, Sunni and Shia, Saudi and Wahhabi, Saudi and non-Wahhabi. Correct? What portion of the population do the privileged Saudis form? A quarter, a third, a half, more?

    Steve

  • 7alaylia
    21 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Mahmood writes “Malik: by recognising the subtle differences in our culture you have proved to me anyway that you have taken a very deep interest in it, something that is very onorous and would not be embarked upon lightly unless the person seeking that knowledge has a deep love and respect for our culture, or complete disdain. I think you belong to the former. Welcome aboard! ”

    Thanks. I do indeed love Arabs, the Middle East, and Islam. This is not to say, however, that I do not recognise the issues with all of the above. Being outside of a Muslim or Arab background I am able to view these issues with an open mind. Arabs I meet are always surprised by a couple of things, my knowledge of the language, culture and countries, and the fact I am married to a Saudi. None of these things are common amoungst Westerners. Although, I think often people, because of the fact that I live in the Washington DC area, mistake me for a CIA or law enforcement office.

    I have a genuine love and respect for the area and the cultures. Everything from the literature, to music. I love Asalah!

    Malik.

  • 7alaylia
    21 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “As for the Europeans believing that the US invaded Iraq for oil, one third of French and Germans also believe America attacked itself on Sep 11.”

    Did you forget just a day or two ago YOU slammed the use of polls, now you are once again trying to use them for your own benefit? So it would seem that polls are relevent only when they support what you want, otherwise they are just objects that are manipulated. Which is it? If you say polls are not reliable, why do you use them so much? You cannot have it both ways.

    Steve writes “Over the last century, Europeans have proven themselves to be accepting of the worst and wrongest ideas. It is a bubbling cauldron of bad ideas acted upon with manic conviction. Their popular opinion is just not credible.”

    LOL! You are great for a morning laugh! This from a man who comes from a country where the majority of people still think Saddam Hussein had a hand in the 9/11 attacks. Get a clue. You seem to have done precious little traveling. Europeans, on the whole, are far more politically astute than their American counterparts. To deny this is to have never been to Europe.

    Steve writes “If we wanted the Iraqi oil and a greater military role in Iraq, we would have pressed on to capture it in the first Gulf War.”

    This is because different people with different ideas were in power at the time. Since the end of the first war elements within the current government have been pressing for war against Iraq to help shore up oil supplies, change Middle Eastern policy, and exert more control in the area. Current members of the US government wrote position papers stating this in the lat 1990s, they just didnt have the power to bring it about. The invasion of Iraq was a “pet project” of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and others for years. It is this same mental giants that said with Hussein out of power there would be peace in Palestine, about as true as their claims that the Arabs in Iraq would greet Americans with rice and rosewater.

    Steve writes “Malik, this is a fallacious argument as well. First, the popularity of an opinion in a population is no measure of its truth. Much of Europe once believed the Earth was flat. Did that make it true. You are making an argument ad populem. ”

    Yes, and these same “flat earthers”(where did Americans come from but Europe anyway?) are the ancestors of the “occupied Iraqis will great us with rose water” types at the Pentagon and those running our country at the moment.

    Steve writes “Your Congo argument is a bizarre non sequitur. It’s like arguing you didn’t save Joe from drowning because Bill got run over by a truck. Even if there are people in Tibet who are not free, we still freed Iraq. ”

    But Iraq was never about freeing anyone that is the point! Why arent they honest with the American people? If this was about freedom and saving people there are places all around the world that need it far more than Iraq, why not go there first? Simple, nop strategic reason to. No Israel to protect, no oil to “guard”. If this was solely about saving people, three million dead in Congo should have been a priority.

    Steve writes “The food and medicine which came in through the program were diverted to Saddam’s people and the rest was sold on the black market in Jordan, among other places. What medicine did reach Iraqi doctors was heavily diluted or fake. They called it chalk. That’s why so many people died: Saddam’s cruelty and UN corruption. ”

    You miss the point, once again, sanctions were always pressed by the USA, even when we KNEW it was doing nothing to Saddam and his cronies. The people in charge are never hurt by sanctions like these, and they never work. 500,000 people dead, women and children, and the US knew it has having zero effect. I think the hope was in US leader’s minds (such that they are) that the people would get fed up and revolt. Well, they did that once after the US promised aid and were mowed down, I dont think they were going to try that again. I think the US had a moral obligation to stop sanctions when it became clear that only the poorest and the most vunerable were suffering from them. They refused, I think it was criminal.

    Steve writes “Saddam would have executed 70,000 Iraqis had the US not invaded. Those people are indeed saved from the grave. ”

    Yes, and they needed them to fill with the 500,000 women and children who died because of US backed sanctions.

    Steve writes “Much of Europe put their hopes on socialism and are galled to be outperformed economically by capitalist America. There is a considerable amount of jealousy and envy here, which are base motives for criticism. ”

    Yes, the standard response of Americans to all criticism, “they must be jealous”. As a person born in Europe, of parents in the US military, and who lived over there for years, I can tell you they are not jealous of us. We should be jealous of them. Their quality of life is far better than ours. Here in America we work 40, 50, 60 hour works in the quest for more, more, more, but Americans are less and less happy? We work so hard but never take a chance to slow down and enjoy life. My impression of European’s thoughts of Americans? Pity, why do we work so much and enjoy it so little, and a bit of contempt because we have so much power but use it so unwisely.

    Steve writes “Likewise, loudmouth critics of the left, like Galloway in England were simply bribed by Saddam to support his position. ”

    Dont keep up on the news do you? Galloway won a libel suit against the people who claimed this. But I guess the facts dont mean much in cases like this. You talk about liberal slander tactics, but you have just commited the same crime.

    Steve writes “However, the facts are while France and Germany opposed the US invasion, the majority of European nations supported the US. ”

    LOL, again a great morning chuckle. Care to pass out some of those polls you seem to so love and so hate at the same time? The vast majority of the PEOPLE of Europe hate the American involvement in Iraq. Many governments support it for their own reasons, but when you see that the biggest demonstrations since WW2 took place in nations that “supported” the US in Iraq. Over a million in places like London, Rome, Madrid. Their governments might support us, but the citizens certainly dont.

    Steve writes “You’re exaggerating the significance of these people, who are a cross between preachers and game show hosts. Lots of people watch them but I’m not so sure that their opinions are shaped by everything they say anymore than commercials shape their opinions. Guys like Pat Robertson sound pretty reasonable about 85% of the time until they suddenly take a wild turn away from reality and say something that reminds you they’re madmen. Pat Robertson can give a fairly informative brief on the news but then he will claim he steered a hurricane away from America ”

    Tens of millions of people watch a these people, so I find that significant. Back to your beloved polls, 43 percent of Americans in a recent poll think Muslims should have to register with the police in their local areas, a similiar amount think Muslims should have certain civil rights removed. The percentage of people supporting this things rose when broke down by religious affliation. Those who claimed to be religious supported the registration and removal of civil rights at a higher level than those unreligious. Where do you think they are getting these views from?

    Steve writes “haven’t watched any of them in a while. You’re going to have to give me some examples of Christian hate from them. ”

    Robertson is always going on about how Islam is “evil” and the Prophet was a child molester, “Islam was spread by the sword” they are a 5th column in the US, Falwell the same. If you leave it up to these religious leaders Muslims in the US will soon be forced to wear a yellow crescent moon and star just like the Jews had to wear a star of david in Nazi Germany. These people have a lot of influence in the White House…..it is scarey!

    Steve writes “You’re making excuses for the Wahhabis and not very good ones. This is no translation error. It either specifies Jews and Christians in the original text or it doesn’t. There is no way you can get from the general reference of the original text to the specific mention of Jews and Christians in the bogus Wahhabi text.”

    Of course it isnt in the Arabic text. You know, I dug out the gift set that I had from the King of Saudi and looked at The Qur’an. It didnt say anything like this. Dont you think if the King of Saudi was the head of the “Wahabis” he would be putting out Qur’ans that matched the one you are talking about? I have been a convert for 8 years, been all over the Middle East, including Saudi, and have never seen anything like you mention.

    Steve writes ” have never heard any American anywhere say, “We’ve got to stop Islam from spreading.”

    You need to get out more. I have heard it all over the place, media, public, you name it. The fact that I am blond haired, blue eyed and 6’2″ tall means people will say things to me because they think I will not be offended. They are often surprised when I tell them I am Muslim. There is a wide current against Islam in the US, and it predates 9/11.

    Steve writes “, but Islam is the most murderously intolerant religion on Earth. That’s where all the trouble begins. ”

    LOL! More of Steve’s American open mindedness! There is no religion in the history of the earth as violent and responsible for so many deaths as Christianity. You can argue the historical nature of this all you want, it is fact. But, as a true and devout Muslim, I will not, unlike yourself, use this fact to justify hatred of a whole people and their religion.

    Intolerance, something YOU know a lot about, as you live it every day.

    Malik-American-Muslim-And Proud!

  • 7alaylia
    22 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    The al-Saud family itself is not a large percentage of the country, but that doesnt matter, some 7,000-10,000 Princes, all recieving a monthly stipend of at least $20,000 and in some cases $100,000 or more, creates a large drain on the society.

    The bigger population are those people who rely, in some form, on the al-Saud family. Their connections (wasta) are what tie them to the royal family. You’ll find support for the royal family falls off sharply when you remove those people that depend on them for their money, lives, and position.

    The term “Wahabi” I do not like. It has become a pajorative term and it isnt one used in the Muslim community really. The more accurate term for these people are “Salafi” (pronounced sell-ah-fee). I would say that probably not even a majority of Saudis would be described in either term, but importantly the religious figuires and those in power would be. Trust me, spend any time with the average Saudi here in the USA and you will see most of them are far from this. If given the choice, the majority of Saudis would not choose these people to lead them.

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    22 December 2004

    Re(5): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    It is as I thought. You are relying on outdated methods and Orientalists for your ideas and thoughts about Islam. Even look at the title of the book you mention “The Two Faces of Islam”. It even promotes a sinister sound with its title. If you are interested in a more balanced view, by people who are true experts in the area, let me know. If not, you can stick with the pseudo “experts” and those with neo-con and religious agendas. It is no wonder you spout the stuff you do when I see what you have been reading.

    Steve writes “It’s a bit disingenuous to blame the West for not knowing the Middle East when the Muslim world has thrown up so many barriers to understanding it. There are a thousand years of fatwas forbidding contact with the West, the “Frankish.”

    Really? Then how did all of the old Orientalists from Europe travel to these lands to make their own flawed accounts? The Middle East has been well traveled by Europeans for several hundred years.

    Steve writes ” If the threshhold for being an expert is set low, it has a lot to do with the difficulty of acquiring information due to obstacles thrown up by the Arabs themselves. People like the Saudis don’t exactly invite Westerners to get a close look at their interior lives. ”

    The threshold is low, but not for the reasons you state. I believe it is low because in the US, being racist against Arabs and promoting sectarianism against Islam are the two last acceptable prejudices. What barrier is set to keep these “experts” from learning Arabic? None, they just dont think they need it to be an “expert” on the area. Heck, here in the DC a Saudi financed school used to teach Arabic to people, at a university level, for about $80 a semester. I took a few classes there, people in my class were Jewish, Christian, Budhist, and came from all over the world. One case where the Saudis were not exclusive.

    You means Saudis letting people look at their lives, once again you, like others, would have us believe that the Saudis are an accurate representation of Islam, or even Arabs for that matter. They are not. You cannot set your eyes on Saudi Arabia exclusively and try to use them as an example to show what is “wrong” with Islam. They are not an accurate representation of anything but themselves.

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    22 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Bernard Lewis is certainly anti-Islamic. His use of texts from 500 years ago to justify wide sweeping generalisations about Islam I think are racist. Why such a lack of depth from him on current Islamic issues? Kind of like trying to explain African-Americans by using materials from the 1600s.

    I am not British, I lived and worked there for years however.

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    22 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Here is the release from Cornell

    Fear factor: 44 percent of Americans queried in Cornell national poll favor curtailing some liberties for Muslim Americans
    EMBARGOED UNTIL FRIDAY, DEC. 17, 2004, AT 11:59 a.m. EST
    Contact: Blaine P. Friedlander Jr.
    Office: 607-254-8093
    E-Mail: [email protected]

    The full reports are available in PDF form:
    Restrictions on Civil Liberties, Views of Islam, & Muslim Americans
    U.S. War on Terror, U.S.Foreign Policy, and Anti-Americanism

    ITHACA, N.Y. — In a study to determine how much the public fears terrorism, almost half of respondents polled nationally said they believe the U.S. government should — in some way — curtail civil liberties for Muslim Americans, according to a new survey released today (Dec. 17) by Cornell University.

    About 27 percent of respondents said that all Muslim Americans should be required to register their location with the federal government, and 26 percent said they think that mosques should be closely monitored by U.S. law enforcement agencies. Twenty-nine percent agreed that undercover law enforcement agents should infiltrate Muslim civic and volunteer organizations, in order to keep tabs on their activities and fund raising. About 22 percent said the federal government should profile citizens as potential threats based on the fact that they are Muslim or have Middle Eastern heritage. In all, about 44 percent said they believe that some curtailment of civil liberties is necessary for Muslim Americans.

    Conversely, 48 percent of respondents nationally said they do not believe that civil liberties for Muslim Americans should be restricted.

    The Media and Society Research Group, in Cornell’s Department of Communication, commissioned the poll, which was supervised by the Survey Research Institute, in Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. The results were based on 715 completed telephone interviews of respondents across the United States, and the poll has a margin of error of 3.6 percent.

    The survey also examined the relation of religiosity to perceptions of Islam and Islamic countries among Christian respondents. Sixty-five percent of self-described highly religious people queried said they view Islam as encouraging violence more than other religions do; in comparison, 42 percent of the respondents who said they were not highly religious saw Islam as encouraging violence. In addition, highly religious respondents also were more likely to describe Islamic countries as violent (64 percent), fanatical (61 percent) and dangerous (64 percent). Fewer of the respondents who said they were not highly religious described Islamic countries as violent (49 percent), fanatical (46 percent) and dangerous (44 percent). But 80 percent of all respondents said they see Islamic countries as being oppressive toward women.

    “Our results highlight the need for continued dialogue about issues of civil liberties in time of war,” says James Shanahan, Cornell associate professor of communication and a principal investigator in the study. Shanahan and Erik Nisbet, senior research associate with the ILR Survey Research Institute, commissioned the study, and Ron Ostman, professor of communication, and his students administered it.

    Shanahan notes: “Most Americans understand that balancing political freedoms with security can sometimes be difficult. Nevertheless, while a majority of Americans support civil liberties even in these difficult times, and while more discussion about civil liberties is always warranted, our findings highlight that personal religiosity as well as exposure to news media are two important correlates of support for restrictions. We need to explore why these two very important channels of discourse may nurture fear rather than understanding.”

    Researchers found that opinions on restricting civil liberties for Muslim Americans vary by political self-identification. About 40 percent of Republican respondents agreed that Muslim Americans should be required to register their whereabouts, compared with 24 percent of Democratic respondents and 17 percent of independents. Forty-one percent of Republican respondents said that Muslim American civic groups should be infiltrated, compared with 21 percent of Democrats and 27 percent of independents.

    On whether mosques should be monitored, about 34 percent of the Republicans polled agreed they should be, compared with 22 percent of Democrats. Thirty-four percent of Republicans said that profiling of Muslim Americans is necessary, compared with 17 percent of Democrats.

    The survey also showed a correlation between television news-viewing habits, a respondent’s fear level and attitudes toward restrictions on civil liberties for all Americans. Respondents who paid a lot of attention to television news were more likely to favor restrictions on civil liberties, such as greater power for the government to monitor the Internet. Respondents who paid less attention to television news were less likely to support such measures. “The more attention paid to television news, the more you fear terrorism, and you are more likely to favor restrictions on civil liberties,” says Nisbet.

    -30-

  • anonymous
    22 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]43 percent of Americans in a recent poll think Muslims should have to register with the police in their local areas, a similiar amount think Muslims should have certain civil rights removed.[/quote]

    Actually, the [url=http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2004_12_21.shtml#1103641416]true percentage was 29%.[/url] I only point out this somewhat insignifigant error because your arguments are riddled with them. Many small errors add up in the end.

    Bernard Lewis is ‘anti’ Islamic? Do tell! With examples, please.

  • 7alaylia
    22 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    A good article that deconstructs the so called experts like Bernard Lewis.

    Bernard Lewis and the New Orientalism
    Scholarship or Sophistry?
    by M. Shahid Alam
    It would appear from the fulsome praise heaped by mainstream reviewers on Bernard Lewis’s most recent and well-timed book, What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response (Oxford University Press, 2002), that the demand for Orientalism has reached a new peak. America’s search for new enemies that began soon after the end of the Cold War very quickly resurrected the ghost of an old, though now decrepit, enemy, Islam. Slowly but surely, this revived the sagging fortunes of Orientalism, so that it speaks again with the treble voice of authority.

    The mainstream reviewers describe Bernard Lewis as “the doyen of Middle Eastern studies,” the “father” of Islamic studies, “[a]rguably the West’s most distinguished scholar on the Middle East,” and “[a] Sage for the Age.” It would appear that Lewis is still the reigning monarch of Orientalism, as he was some twenty-five years back when Edward Said, in his Orientalism , dissected and exposed the intentions, modalities, deceptions, and imperialist connections of this ideological enterprise. This Orientalist tiger has not changed his stripes over the fifty-odd years that he has been honing his skills. Now at the end of his long career-only coincidentally, also the peak-he presents the summation, the quintessence of his scholarship and wisdom on Islam and the Middle East, gathered, compressed in the pages of this slim book that sets out to explain what went wrong with Islamic history, and that has so mesmerized reviewers on the right.

    Who Is Bernard Lewis?

    We will return to the book in a moment, but before that, we need to step back some twenty-five years and examine how Edward Said, in Orientalism , has described this Orientalist tiger’s stripes and his cunning ploys at concealment. Edward Said gets to the nub of Lewis’s Orientalist project when he writes that his “work purports to be liberal objective scholarship but is in reality very close to being propaganda against his subject material.” Lewis’s work is “aggressively ideological.” He has dedicated his entire career, spanning more than five decades, to a “project to debunk, to whittle down, and to discredit the Arabs and Islam.” Said writes:

    The core of Lewis’s ideology about Islam is that it never changes, and his whole mission is to inform conservative segments of the Jewish reading public, and anyone else who cares to listen, that any political, historical, and scholarly account of Muslims must begin and end with the fact that Muslims are Muslims.

    Although Lewis’s objectives are ominous, his methods are quite subtle; he prefers to work “by suggestion and insinuation.” In order to disarm his readers and win their trust and admiration, he delivers frequent “sermons on the objectivity, the fairness, the impartiality of a real historian.” This is only a cover, a camouflage, for his political propaganda. Once he is seated on his high Orientalist perch, he goes about cleverly insinuating how Islam is deficient in and opposed to universal values, which, of course, always originate in the West. It is because of this deficiency in values that Arabs have trouble accepting a democratic Israel-it is always “democratic” Israel. Lewis can write “objectively” about the Arab’s “ingrained” opposition to Israel without ever telling his readers that Israel is an imperialist creation, and an expansionist, colonial-settler state that was founded on terror, wars, and ethnic cleansing. Lewis’s work on Islam represents the “culmination of Orientalism as a dogma that not only degrades its subject matter but also blinds its practitioners.”

    Lewis’s scholarly mask slips off rather abruptly when he appears on television, a feat that he accomplishes with predictable regularity. Once he is on the air, his polemical self, the Orientalist crouching tiger, takes over, all his sermons about objectivity forgotten, and then he does not shrink from displaying his sneering contempt for the Arabs and Muslims more generally, his blind partisanship for Israel, or his bristling hostility toward Iran. One recent example will suffice here. In a PBS interview broadcast on 16 April 2002, hosted by Charlie Rose, he offered this gem: “Asking Arafat to give up terrorism would be like asking Tiger to give up golf.” That is a statement whose malicious intent and vindictive meanness might have been excusable if it came from an official Israeli spokesman.

    After this background check, do we really want to hear from this “sage” about “what went wrong” with Islamic societies; why, after nearly a thousand years of expansive power and world leadership i many branches of the arts and sciences, they began to lose their Žlan, their military advantage, and their creativity and, starting in the nineteenth century, capitulated to their historical adversary, the West? And, though Islamic societies have regained their political independence, why has their economic and cultural decline proved so difficult to reverse? Yet, although our stomachs turn at the prospect, we must sample the gruel Lewis offers, taste it, and analyze it, if only to identify the toxins that it contains and that have poisoned far too many Western minds for more than fifty years.

    Where is the Context?

    What went wrong with the Islamic societies ?When this question is asked by our “doyen of Middle Eastern studies,” especially when it is asked right after the attacks of 11 September, it is hard not to notice that this manner of framing the problem of the eclipse of Islamic societies by the West is loaded with biases, value judgments, and preconceptions, and even contains its own answer. There are two sets of “wrongs” in What Went Wrong ? The first consists of “wrongs,” deviations from what is just and good, that we confront in contemporary Islamic societies. Lewis undoubtedly has in mind a whole slew of problems, including the political, economic, and cultural failings of the Islamic world. In addition, this question seeks to discover deeper “wrongs,” deviations from what is just and good that are prior to and at the root of the present “wrongs.” Lewis is concerned primarily with this second set of “wrongs.”

    The first problem one encounters in Lewis’s narrative of Middle Eastern decline is the absence of any context. He seeks to create the impression that the failure of Islam to catch up with the accelerating pace of changes in Western Europe is a problem specific to this region; there is no attempt to locate this problem in a global context. This exclusive Middle Eastern focus reveals to all but the blinkered the mala fides of What Went Wrong? Lewis cannot hide behind pious claims that a historian’s “loyalties may well influence his choice of subject of research; they should not influence his treatment of it.” His exclusive focus on the decline of the Middle East is not legitimate precisely because it is designed to-and it unavoidably must-“influence his treatment of it.”

    Once Western Europe began to make the transition from a feudal-agrarian to a capitalist-industrial society, starting in the sixteenth century, the millennial balance of power among the world’s major civilizations shifted inexorably in favor of Western Europe. A society that was shifting to a capitalist-industrial base, capable of cumulative growth, commanded greater social power than slow-growing societies still operating on feudal-agrarian foundations. Under the circumstances, it was unlikely that non-Western societies could simultaneously alter the foundations of their societies while also fending off attacks from Western states whose social power was expanding at an ever-increasing rate. Even as these feudal-agrarian societies sought to reorganize their economies and institutions, Western onslaughts against them deepened, and this made their reorganization increasingly difficult. It is scarcely surprising that the growing asymmetry between the two sides eventually led to the eclipse, decline, or subjugation of nearly all non-Western societies.

    While Lewis studiously avoids any reference to this disequalizing dynamic, another Western historian of Islam not driven by a compulsion “to debunk, to whittle down, and to discredit the Arabs and Islam” understood this tendency quite well. I am referring here to Marshall Hodgson, whose The Venture of Islam shows a deep and, for its time, rare understanding of the interconnectedness, across space and time, amongst all societies in the Eastern hemisphere. He understood very clearly that the epochal changes under way in parts of Western Europe between 1600 and 1800 were creating an altogether new order based on markets, capital accumulation, and technological changes, which acted upon each other to produce cumulative growth. Moreover, this endowed the most powerful Western states with a degree of social power that no one could resist. In his Venture of Islam , Marshall Hodgson writes,

    Hence, the Western Transmutation, once it got well under way, could neither be paralleled independently nor be borrowed wholesale. Yet it could not, in most cases, be escaped. The millennial parity of social power broke down, with results that were disastrous everywhere.

    Clearly, Lewis’s presentation of his narrative of Middle Eastern decline without any context is a ploy. His objective is to whittle down world history, to reduce it to a primordial contest between two historical adversaries, the West and Islam. This is historiography in the crusading mode, one that purports to resume the Crusades-interrupted in the thirteenth century-and carry them to their unfinished conclusion, the triumph of the West or, conversely, the humiliation and defeat of Middle Eastern Islam. Once this framework has been established, with its exclusive focus on a failing Islamic civilization, it is quite easy to cast the narrative of this decay as a uniquely Islamic phenomenon, which must then be explained in terms of specifically Islamic failures. Thus Lewis’s agenda in What Went Wrong? is to discover all that was and is “wrong” with Islamic societies and to explain their decline and present troubles in terms of these “wrongs.”

    If Lewis had an interest in exploring the decline of the Middle East, he would be asking why the new, more dynamic historical system that lay behind the rise of the West had not emerged in the Middle East, India, China, Italy, or Africa. If he had asked this question, it may have directed him to the source and origins of Western hegemony. But Lewis ducks this issue altogether. Instead, he takes the growing power of the West-its advances in science and technology-as the starting point of his narrative and concentrates on demonstrating why the efforts of Islamic societies to catch up with the West were both too little and too late. In other words, he seeks to explain a generic phenomenon-the overthrow of agrarian societies before the rise of a new historical system, based on capital, markets, and technological change-as one that is specific to Islam and is due to specifically Islamic “wrongs.”

    If one focuses only on the Middle Eastern response to the Western challenge, it does appear to be too little and too late. The Ottoman Empire, once the most powerful in the Islamic world, had lost nearly all its European territories by the end of the nineteenth century, and the remnants of its Arab territories were lost after its defeat in the First World War. At this point, the Ottoman Empire had been reduced to a rump state in northern Anatolia, with the British and French occupying Istanbul, the Greeks pushing to occupy central Anatolia, the Armenians extending their boundaries in eastern Anatolia, and the French pushing north in Silesia. Yet, after defeating the Greeks, the French, and the Armenians, the victorious Turks managed to establish in 1922 a new and modern Turkish nation-state over Istanbul, Thrace, and all of Anatolia. The Iranians were more successful in preserving their territories, though, like the Ottomans, they too had lost control over their economic policies in the first decades of the nineteenth century. However, if one compares these outcomes with the fate suffered by other regions-barring Japan, China, and Thailand, nearly all of Asia and Africa was directly colonized by the Europeans-one has to conclude that the results for the Middle East could have been worse.

    Uncurious Ottomans

    There is even less substance to Lewis’s claims about Middle Eastern inertia in the face of Western threats, especially when we compare their responses to these threats with the record of East Asian societies.

    First, consider Lewis’s charge that the Muslims showed little curiosity about the West. He attributes this failing to Muslim bigotry that frowned upon contacts with the infidels. This is a curious charge against “a world civilization” that Lewis admits was “polyethnic, multiracial, international, one might even say intercontinental.” It also seems strange that the Ottomans, and other Middle Eastern states before them, were quite happy to employ their Christian and Jewish subjects-as high officials, diplomats, physicians, and bankers-traded with the Europeans themselves, bought arms and borrowed money from them, and yet, somehow, loathed learning anything from the same infidels. In addition, Muslim philosophers, historians and travelers have left several very valuable accounts of non-Islamic societies. One of these, Al-Biruni’s monumental study of India, still remains without a rival for its encyclopedic coverage, objectivity, and sympathy for its subject. Clearly, Lewis has fallen prey to the Orientalist temptation: when something demands a carefully researched explanation, an understanding of material and social conditions, better pin it on some cultural propensity.

    Lewis is little aware how his book is littered with contradictions. If the Muslims were not a little curious about developments in the West, it is odd that the oldest map of the Americas-which dates from 1513 and is the most accurate map from the sixteenth century-was prepared by Piri Reis, a Turkish admiral and cartographer. It would also appear that the number of Muslims who had left accounts of their observations on Europe were not such a rarity either. Lewis himself mentions no fewer than ten names, nearly all of them Ottomans, spanning the period from 1665 to 1840; and this is far an from exhaustive list. One of them, Ratib Effendi, who was in Vienna from 1791 to 1792, left a report that “ran to 245 manuscript folios, ten times or more than ten times those of his predecessors, and it goes into immense detail, primarily on military matters, but also, to quite a considerable extent, on civil affairs.” Diplomatic contacts provide another indicator of the early growth of Ottoman interest and involvement in the affairs of European states. Between 1703 and 1774, the Ottomans signed sixty-eight treaties or agreements with sovereign, mostly European states. Since each treaty must have involved at least one diplomatic exchange, the Ottomans could hardly be accused of neglecting diplomatic contacts with Europe.

    According to Lewis, the Ottoman decision not to challenge the Portuguese hegemony in the Indian Ocean in the sixteenth century was a failure of vision. Despite some early warnings from elder statesmen, the Ottomans did not anticipate that the Portuguese incursion would translate some 250 years later into a broader and more serious European challenge to their power. As a result, they chose to concentrate their war efforts on acquiring territory in Europe, which, Lewis claims, they saw as “the principal battleground between Islam and Europe, the rival faiths competing for enlightenment-and mastery-of the world.” It is of no interest to Lewis that the Ottomans, departing from their own tradition of land warfare, had built a powerful navy starting in the fifteenth century and created a seaborne empire in the eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and the Red Sea. If the Ottomans chose to concentrate their resources on land wars in Central Europe rather than challenge Portuguese hegemony in the Indian Ocean, this was not the result of religious zealotry. It reflected the balance of class interests in the Ottoman political structure. In an empire that had traditionally been land-based, the interests of the landowning classes prevailed against commercial interests that looked to the Indian Ocean for their livelihood. Although the decision not to contest the Portuguese presence in the Indian Ocean in the sixteenth century was fateful, that policy was rational for the Ottomans.

    A Military Decline?

    Several Orientalists-Lewis amongst them-have argued that the military decline of the Ottoman Empire became irreversible after its second failed siege of Vienna in 1683, or perhaps earlier, after its naval defeat at Lepanto in 1571. In an earlier work, The Muslim Discovery of Europe , Lewis declared that “[t]he Ottomans found it more and more difficult to keep up with the rapidly advancing Western technological innovations, and in the course of the eighteenth century the Ottoman Empire, itself far ahead of the Islamic world, fell decisively behind Europe in virtually all arts of war.”

    This thesis of an early and inexorable decline has now been convincingly questioned. Jonathan Grant has shown that the Ottomans occupied the third tier in the hierarchy of military technology, behind innovators and exporters, at the beginning of the fifteenth century; they could reproduce the latest military technology with the help of foreign expertise but they never graduated into export or introduced any significant innovations. The Ottomans succeeded in maintaining this relative position, through two waves of technology diffusion, until the early nineteenth century. However, they failed to keep up with the third wave of technology diffusion, based upon the technology of the industrial revolution, that began in the mid-nineteenth century. The Ottomans fell below their third-tier status only toward the end of the nineteenth century, when they became totally dependent on imported weaponry.

    If we put together the evidence made available by Lewis, it becomes clear that the Ottomans were not slow in recognizing the institutional superiority enjoyed by Europe’s military. A debate about the causes of Ottoman weakness began after the Treaty of Carlowitz in 1699, growing more intense over time. A document from the early seventeenth century recognized that “it was no longer sufficient, as in the past, to adopt Western weapons. It was also necessary to adopt Western training, structures, and tactics for their effective use.” The Ottomans began to dispatch special envoys to European capitals “with instructions to observe and to learn and, more particularly, to report on anything that might be useful to the Muslim state in coping with its difficulties and confronting its enemies.” Several of these envoys wrote reports, occasionally quite extensive and detailed, on their European visits, and these reports had an important impact on thinking in Ottoman circles. The first mathematical school for the military was founded in 1734, and a second one followed in the 1770s.

    While Ottoman military technology generally kept pace with the advances in Europe, at least into the first decades of the nineteenth century, it took the Ottomans longer to introduce organizational changes in the military since they ran into powerful social obstacles. As a result, the first serious attempts at modernizing the army did not begin until the late eighteenth century, during the reign of Selim III, who sought to bypass the problems of reforming the existing military corps by recruiting and training a new European-style army. Although, by 1806, he had raised a modern army of nearly twenty-five thousand, he had to abandon his efforts in the face of resistance from the ulama and a Janissary rebellion. The task of modernizing the Ottoman army was taken up again in 1826 after the Janissary corps was disbanded, and in two years, the new Ottoman army included seventy-five thousand regular troops. Simultaneously, the Ottomans introduced reforms in the bureaucracy and also reformed land-tenure policies with the objective of raising revenues.

    And yet these efforts at modernizing the Ottoman military-quite early by most standards-failed to avert the progressive fragmentation and eventual demise of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I. One might join Hodgson in thinking that this was inevitable, that agrarian societies in Asia and Africa could not modernize fast enough in the face of the ever increasing economic and military power of the modern Western nation-states. But, perhaps, this assessment is too fatalistic; and it is contradicted by the case of-among others-Russia, which was spared colonization or subjection to open-door treaties. A comparison of the two quickly reveals that the Ottomans’ efforts at modernization were undermined by several extraneous factors. The Ottoman Empire, which straddled three continents, lacked the compactness that might have made its territories more defensible. What proved more fatal to the Ottoman Empire was the fact that the Ottoman Turks, though they constituted its ethnic core, made up less than a third of its population and occupied an even smaller part of its territories. Once nationalism reared its head in the nineteenth century, the fragmentation of the Ottoman Empire was well-nigh unavoidable. The Ottomans faced one insurrection after another in the Balkans, each backed by some European power, until the last of these territories had broken free in the early decades of the twentieth century. Not only did these insurrections reduce the revenues of the empire, but by diverting its attention and resources to war, they delayed the modernization of the military and economy. Eventually, during World War I, the Arab territories of the empire were wrested away by the British and French, with support from Arab nationalists.

    The Egyptian program to modernize its military, started in 1815 under the leadership of Muhammad Ali, was more ambitious and more successful. It was part of an integrated program of modernization and industrial development financed through state ownership of lands, development of new export crops, and state-owned monopolies over the marketing of the major agricultural products. In 1831, Egypt’s Europeanized army consisted of one hundred thousand officers and men, and in 1833, having conquered Syria, it was penetrating deep into Anatolia when its march was halted by Russian naval intervention. When the Ottomans resumed the Syrian war in 1839, the Egyptians routed the Ottoman forces and were rapidly marching westward, poised to capture Istanbul for Muhammad Ali. At this point, all the great European powers, except France, intervened, forcing the Egyptians to withdraw, give up their acquisitions in Syria and Arabia, reduce their military force to eighteen thousand, and enforce the Anglo-Ottoman Commercial Convention, which required the lowering of tariffs to 3 percent and the dismantling of all state monopolies. By depriving Egypt of its revenues and dramatically reducing the military’s demand for its manufactures, these measures abruptly terminated the career of the earliest and most ambitious program to build a modern, industrial society in the Periphery.

    Lewis faults the Ottomans and Egyptians of the nineteenth century for seeking to build an effective military response on the foundations of a modern industrial economy. He thinks it odd that these countries “tried to catch up with Europe by building factories, principally to equip and clothe their armies.” Apparently, Lewis is unaware that the Ottomans-and especially Egypt-were breaking new ground in their efforts to modernize their manufactures, a road that would soon be taken by most European countries. Nearly every country that lagged behind in the nineteenth century and was forced to catch up with Britain, built its strategy around industrialization, and the military in many of these countries formed an important initial market for their nascent industries. Of course, Lewis had no choice but to demean the military and industrial responses to the Western threat. As we will see, he believes that the Ottomans should have been working harder to remedy their cultural deficiencies, such as their less-than-enthusiastic appreciation for European harmonies.

    Industrial Failure-But Why?

    Lewis declares that the industrialization programs launched by the Ottomans and Egypt “failed, and most of the early factories became derelict.” These programs were doomed from the outset because their promoters lacked a proper regard for time, measurement, harmonies, secularism, and women’s rights-values upon which Western industrial success was founded.

    We must correct these jaundiced observations. Far from being a failure, the Egyptian “program of industrialization and military expansion,” according to Immanuel Wallerstein ( Unthinking Social Science ), “seriously undermined the Ottoman Empire and almost established a powerful state in the Middle East capable eventually of playing a major role in the interstate system.” Muhammad Ali’s fiscal and economic reforms, between 1805 and 1847, brought about a more than ninefold increase in government revenues. At their height in the 1830s, Egypt’s state monopolies had made investments worth $12 million and employed thirty thousand workers in a broad range of industries that included foundries, textiles, paper, chemicals, shipyards, glassware, and arsenals. By the early 1830s, Egyptian arsenals and naval yards had acquired the ability to “produce appreciable amounts of warships, guns and munitions,” elevating Egypt “to a major regional power.” Naturally, these developments in Egypt were raising concerns in British government circles. A report submitted to the British foreign office in 1837 sounded the right note: “A manufacturing country Egypt never can become-or at least for ages.” Three years later, when Istanbul was within the grasp of Muhammad Ali’s forces, a coalition of European powers intervened to roll back his gains, downsize his military, and dismantle his state monopolies. These measures successfully reversed the Periphery’s first industrial revolution.

    The Ottomans launched an ambitious program of industrialization in the early 1840s, but it had little chance of success and was abandoned within a few years of its inauguration. Since the early nineteenth century, the unequal treaties limited the Ottomans to import tariffs under 3 percent, severely limiting their ability to protect their manufactures or raise revenues for investments in development projects. In 1838, the Anglo-Turkish Commercial Convention forced them to dismantle all state monopolies, dealing another blow to their fiscal autonomy. It speaks to the determination of the Ottomans that they sought to launch an industrial revolution despite their adverse fiscal circumstances. In the decade starting in 1841, the Ottomans had set up, to the west of Istanbul, a complex of state-owned industries that included spinning and weaving mills, a foundry, steam-operated machine works, and a boatyard for the construction of small steamships. In the words of Edward Clark ( International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies , 1974): “In variety as well as in number, in planning, in investment, and in attention given to internal sources of raw materials these manufacturing enterprises far surpassed the scope of all previous efforts and mark this period as unique in Ottoman history.” Several foreign observers saw in the Istanbul industrial complex the potential to evolve into “a Turkish Manchester and Leeds, a Turkish Birmingham and Sheffield,” all wrapped in one. In addition, other modern industrial, mining, and agricultural projects were initiated during the same period in several other parts of the Ottoman Empire. But these grand projects could not be sustained for long. Once the Crimean War started, the Ottomans were forced to borrow heavily from foreign banks, and, strapped for funds, they abandoned most of these industrial projects. Thus ended another bold experiment in industrialization, early even by European standards, but whose failure was linked to the loss of Ottoman fiscal sovereignty.

    It’s in Their Culture

    The real culprit behind the political, economic, and military failures of the Middle East over the past half a millennium was their culture. Lewis identifies a whole slew of problematic cultural traits, but two are singled out for special attention: the mixing of religion and politics and the unequal treatment of women, unbelievers, and slaves. Both, according to Lewis, are Islamic flaws.

    Lewis argues that secularism constitutes a great divide between Islam and the West: the West always had it and Islamic societies never did. Secularism, as the separation of church and state, “is, in a profound sense, Christian.” Its origins go back to Jesus-his injunction to give God and Caesar, each, their due-and to the early history of the Christians when, as a minority persecuted by the Roman state, they developed the institutions of the Church with its “own laws and courts, its own hierarchy and chain of authority.” This was quite unique, setting Europe apart from anything that went before and from its competitors. In particular, the Muslims never created an “institution corresponding to, or even remotely resembling, the Church in Christendom.”

    These claims about a secular Christendom-an oxymoron in itself-and a theocratic Islam are problematic. Lewis rests his case upon two propositions. First, he contrasts the presence of the Church in Christendom against its absence in Islamic societies. Second, he works on the presumption that the existence of a Church, a hierarchical religious organization different from the state, necessarily implies a separation between religion and political authority. For the most part, these claims are contestable.

    The existence of a Church in Christendom is not in dispute, but the contention that there existed nothing like it in Islamic societies is contradicted by history. The Prophet and the first four Caliphs combined religious and mundane authority in their persons. In addition, most Islamic thinkers have maintained that the ideal Islamic state, modeled after the state in Medina, must be guided by the Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah. The Islamic practice in the centuries following the pious Caliphs, however, departed quite sharply from the canonical model as well as the theory.

    In one of his numerous attempts at distortion, Lewis asserts that the “pietists” retreated into “radical opposition or quietist withdrawal” when they failed to impose “ecclesiastical constraints on political and military authority.” This is only part of the picture. In the bigger picture, we find that the pietists turned vigorously to scholarship. Starting from a scratch, and independently of state authority and without state funding, the early pietists developed the Islamic sciences, which included the Traditions of the Prophet, biographies of the Prophet and his companions, Arabic grammar, and theology. Most significantly, these pious scholars elaborated several competing systems of Islamic laws-regulating every aspect of individual, social, and business life-on the premise that legislative authority was vested in the consensus of the pious scholars-or, in the case of Shi’ites, in the rulings of the imams. The state had executive powers but it possessed no legislative authority. In effect, Islam had evolved not only separate political and religious institutions, but separate executive and legislative powers as well. It was the pious scholars-with their competing schools of jurisprudence-who constituted the informal legislatures of Islam, long before these institutions had evolved in Europe.

    Lewis’s second proposition-that separation between religion and political authority flows from the presence of a Church-is equally dubious. There can be no separation between religion and political authority if religion is organized into a Church with power over the lives of people. If the Church itself commands power, ipso facto, it becomes a rival of the state. It follows that the Church can and will exercise its power directly to regulate the religious, economic, and social affairs of the community, and indirectly by using the state for its own ends. Once Christianity became the official religion of the Roman state, the Church progressively increased its power: it used the power of the state to eliminate or marginalize all competing religions; it gained the exclusive right to define all religious dogma and rituals; it acquired properties, privileges, and exclusive control over education; it expanded its legislative control over different spheres of society. In time, since the Church and state recruited their higher personnel from the same classes, they also developed an identity of class interests. In other words, although they remained organizationally distinct, the Church and the state mixed religion and politics.

    One expects that a separation of religion and political authority would produce a measure of tolerance. Yet, the adoption of Christianity as its official creed led the Roman state, hitherto tolerant of all religious communities, to inaugurate a regime of growing intolerance toward other religions, and even toward any dissent within Christianity. As Daniel Schowalter ( Oxford History of the Biblical World ) says, “By the end of the fourth century, both anti-pagan and anti-Jewish legislation would serve as licenses for the increasing number of acts of vandalism and violent destruction directed against pagan and Jewish places of worship carried out by Christian mobs, often at the instigation of the local clergy.” Although the practice of Judaism was not banned, by the end of the fourth century C.E., a variety of decrees prohibited conversion to Judaism, Jewish ownership of non-Jewish slaves, and marriage between Jews and Christians, and Jews were excluded from most imperial offices. In dogma, theology, legislation, and practice, the Church and state crafted a regime that suppressed paganism and marginalized all other non-Christian forms of worship.

    According to Lewis, modernization in Islamic societies was set back by a second set of cultural barriers-namely, the inferior status of unbelievers, slaves, and, especially, women. It is not that these groups labored under stricter restraints than their counterparts in Europe, but that their unequal status was “sacrosanct” in that they “were seen as part of the structure of Islam, buttressed by revelation, by the precept and practice of the Prophet, and by the classical and scriptural history of the Islamic community.” As a result, these three inequalities have endured; they were not challenged even by the radical Islamic movements that arose from time to time to protest social and economic inequalities.

    Lewis’s claims are problematic for several reasons. The first problem is their lack of historicity. Implicitly, Lewis bases his case on a reading of European history that inverts causation between economic development and social equality. He would have us believe that Europeans developed because their flexible legal systems moved faster to create a more egalitarian society, a necessary basis for rapid progress. This shows a curious indifference to chronology. While Europe was establishing its global capitalist empire it was conducting the Inquisition, expelling the Moors and Jews from Spain, waging unending religious wars, burning witches at the stake, and granted few legal rights to women. In addition, they were creating in the Americas economic systems based on slavery that would be abolished only after the 1860s. In Russia, serfdom remained the basis of the economy at least until the 1860s. The equality Lewis speaks of began to arrive in slow increments at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and it was a byproduct of economic development, not its precursor.

    Lewis’s claims about inequalities in Muslim societies lack historicity on another score. It is a bit surprising that “the doyen of Middle Eastern studies,” who has spent more than fifty years studying the history of the region, is unaware of at least a few challenges to the alleged inferior status of women or unbelievers. In the early centuries of Islam, there were at least three groups-the Kharijis, the Qarmatians and the Sufis-that did not accept the legal interpretations of the four traditional schools of Islamic law as sacrosanct. Instead, they looked for inspiration to the Qur’anic precepts on the moral and spiritual equality of men and women, claiming that the early applications of these precepts were time-bound. The Kharijis and Qarmatians rejected concubinage and child marriage, and the Qarmatians went further in rejecting polygamy and the veil. In a similar spirit, the Sufis welcomed women travelers on the spiritual path, permitting women “to give a central place in their lives to their spiritual vocation.” In sixteenth-century India, the Mughal emperor Akbar abolished the jizyah (the poll tax imposed by Islamic law on all non-Muslims), banned child marriage, and repealed a law that forced Islam on prisoners of war.

    The “most profound single difference” between Islam and the West, however, concerns the status of women. In particular, Lewis argues that Islam permits polygamy and concubinage and that the Christian Churches prohibit it. Once again, Lewis is exaggerating the differences. In nearly all societies, not excluding the Western, men of wealth and power have always had access to multiple sexual partners, although within different legal frameworks. Islam gave equal rights to all the free sexual partners of men as well as to their children. The West, driven by a concern for primogeniture, adopted an opposite solution by vesting all the rights in a man’s primary sexual partner and her offspring. All the other sexual partners-a man’s mistresses-and their children had no legal rights. Arguably, Europe’s mistresses might think that the Islamic practice favored women.

    It would appear from Lewis’s emphasis on polygamy and concubinage that they were very common in Islamic societies. In fact, both were quite rare outside the ruling class. Among others, this is attested by European visitors to eighteenth-century Aleppo and nineteenth-century Cairo. A study of documents relating to two thousands estates in seventeenth-century Turkey could identify only twenty cases of polygamy. Keeping concubines was most likely even rarer.

    Lewis quotes from the reports of Muslim visitors who were startled to see European men curtsying to women in public places; this is supposed to validate the “striking contrasts” in women’s status in Europe and Islam. Once the bowing and curtsying are done, we need to compare the property rights enjoyed by women in Europe and Islam, a quite reliable index of the social power of women inside the household and outside. In this matter, too, it is the Muslim women who had the advantage until quite recently. Unlike her European counterpart, a married Muslim woman could own property, and she enjoyed exclusive rights to income from her property as well as the wages she earned. In Britain, the most advanced country in Europe, married women did not acquire the right to own property until 1882.

    The ownership of property gave Muslim women a measure of social power that was not available to women in Europe. A Muslim woman of independent means had a stronger hand in marriage: she could initiate a divorce or craft a marriage contract that prevented her husband from taking another wife. Muslim women often engaged in trading activities, buying and selling property, lending money, or renting out stores. They created waqfs , charitable foundations financed by earnings from property, which they also administered. A small number of women distinguished themselves as scholars of the religious sciences. According to one report from the early nineteenth century, women attended al-Azhar, the leading university in the Islamic world. Ahmed concludes, on the basis of such evidence, that Muslim “women were not, after all, the passive creatures, wholly without material resources or legal rights, that the Western world once imagined them to be.”

    What Went Wrong?

    In an earlier era, before the Zionists developed a proprietary interest in Palestine, the least bigoted voices in the field of Oriental studies were often those of European Jews. Ironically, Lewis himself has written that these pro-Islamic Jews “were among the first who attempted to present Islam to European readers as Muslims themselves see it and to stress, to recognize, and indeed sometimes to romanticize the merits and achievements of Muslim civilization in its great days.” At a time when most Orientalists took Muhammad for a scheming imposter, equated Islam with fanaticism, thought that the Qur’an was a crude and incoherent text, and believed that the Arabs were incapable of abstract thought, a growing number of Jewish scholars often took opposite positions. They accepted the sincerity of Muhammad’s mission, described Arabs as “Jews on horseback” and Islam as an evolving faith that was more democratic than other religions, and debunked Orientalist claims about a static Islam and a dynamic West. It would appear that these Jews were anti-Orientalists long before Edward Said.

    These contrarian positions had a variety of motives behind them. Even as the Jews began to enter the European mainstream, starting in the nineteenth century, they were still outsiders, having only recently emerged from the confinement of ghettos, and it would be scarcely surprising if they were seeking to maintain their distinctiveness by emphasizing and identifying with the achievements of another Semitic people, the Arabs. In celebrating Arab civilization, these Jewish scholars were perhaps sending a non-too-subtle message to the Europeans that their civilization was not unique, that Arab achievements often excelled theirs, and that Europeans were building upon Islamic achievements in science and philosophy. In addition, Jewish scholars’ discussions of religious and racial tolerance in Islamic societies, toward Jews in particular, may have offered hope that such tolerance was attainable in Europe too. The discussions may also have been an invitation to Europeans to incorporate religious and racial tolerance in their standards of civilization.

    Yet the vigor of this early anti-Orientalism of Jewish scholars would not last; it would not survive the logic of the Zionist movement as it sought to create a Jewish state in Palestine. Such a state could only emerge as a child of Western imperialist powers, and it could only come into existence by displacing the greater part of the Palestinian population, by incorporating them into an apartheid state, or through some combination of the two. In addition, once created, Israel could only survive as a military, expansionist, and hegemonic state, constantly at war with its neighbors. In other words, as the Zionist project gathered momentum it was inevitable that the European Jews’ attraction for Islam was not going to endure. In fact, it would be replaced by a bitter contest, one in which the Jews, as junior partners of the imperialist powers, would seek to deepen the Orientalist project in the service of Western power. Bernard Lewis played a leading part in this Jewish reorientation. In the words of Martin Kramer, Bernard Lewis “came to personify the post-war shift from a sympathetic to a critical posture.”

    Ironically, this shift occurred when many Orientalists had begun to shed their Christian prejudice against Islam, even making amends for the excesses of their forebears. Another factor aiding this shift toward a less polemical Orientalism was the entry of a growing number of Arabs, both Muslim and Christian, into the field of Middle Eastern studies. The most visible upshot of these divergent trends was a polarization of the field of Middle Eastern studies into two opposing camps. One camp, consisting mostly of Christians and Muslims, has sought to bring greater objectivity to their study of Islam and Islamic societies. They make an effort to locate Islamic societies in their historical context, arguing that Islamic responses to Western challenges have been diverse and evolving over time, and they do not derive from an innate hostility to the West or some unchanging Islamic mindset. The second camp, now led mostly by Jews, has reverted to Orientalism’s original mission of subordinating knowledge to Western power, now filtered through the prism of Zionist interests. This Zionist Orientalism has assiduously sought to paint Islam and Islamic societies as innately hostile to the West, modernism, democracy, tolerance, scientific advance, and women’s rights.

    This Zionist camp has been led for more than fifty years by Bernard Lewis, who has enjoyed an intimate relationship with power that would be the envy of the most distinguished Orientalists of an earlier generation. He has been strongly supported by a contingent of able lieutenants, whose ranks have included the likes of Elie Kedourie, David Pryce-Jones, Raphael Patai, Daniel Pipes, and Martin Kramer. There are many foot soldiers, too, who have provided distinguished service to this new Orientalism. And no compendium of these foot soldiers would be complete without the names of Thomas Friedman, Martin Peretz, Norman Podhoretz, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, and Judith Miller.

    In my mind’s eye, I try to visualize an encounter between this distinguished crowd and some of their eminent predecessors, like Hienrich Heine, Abraham Geiger, Gustav Weil, Franz Rosenthal, and the great Ignaz Goldziher. What would these pro-Islamic Jews have to say to their descendants, whose scholarship demeans and denigrates the societies they study? Would Geiger and Goldziher embrace Lewis and Kedourie, or would they be repelled by the latter’s new brand of Zionist Orientalism?

  • anonymous
    22 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    One more question Malik, are you British?

    Cornelius

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    22 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    For those read this report closer and consider it carefully, you will discover that the responses don’t call for curtailing civil liberties for Muslims at all. There was no question on this report that asked if Muslim-American civil liberties should be restricted but rather the report interpreted that from the answers to four questions. That is a wrong-headed misinterpretation. Let’s walk through the points, shall we?

    Almost all Americans have registered their location with the federal government with the IRS, with the state government through driver’s licenses and state tax returns. Asking Muslim Americans to register their locations is like asking them to pay taxes on their salaries or apply for a license when they drive like everyone else. The fact that the federal government knows where you live does not curtail your civil liberties in any way.

    Mosques are where Muslim radicals organize, plan, and store their weapons. It’s a common sense proposition that if you are looking to head off terror plots by Muslims you would keep track of them at the mosque just like you would keep track of Mafioso in their private clubs or Klansmen at their meeting house. If radical Muslims met at bowling alleys instead of mosques, the government should keep track of bowling alleys. Federal agents keeping track of subversive groups which meet at mosques does not curtail your civil liberties in any way.

    Yes, the government should infiltrate selected Muslim civic and volunteer organizations if they suspect the members are plotting violence. One group of Detroit Muslims who belonged to a soccer team decided to go to Afghanistan to train with Al Qaeda. I want to catch guys like that when they go to board the jet for bad guy land. Federal agents joining Muslim groups to see what’s going on does not curtail your civil liberties in any way.

    Yes, absolutely yes, Muslim and Middle Eastern heritage should be part of the profile of potential threats. That fits every single one of the terrorists or would be terrorists who have come to America to do it harm. We are not under assault from Eskimoes or Buddhists or Norwegians. It’s crazy violent Muslims who are doing the terror in the hopes of taking over the world by violence. It’s just absolutely crazy not to recognize that reality and include it in the profile of people to watch out for. Again, noting that terrorists tend to be Muslim and/or Middle Eastern does not curtail your civil liberties.

    To go on, yes of course Islam encourages violence against non-Muslims (Sep 11, headcutting), Islamic countries tend to fanaticism in their beliefs (Saudi Arabia, Talibanic Afghanistan), and are oppressive to women. How can anyone argue against these?

    Steve

  • anonymous
    22 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Robertson is always going on about how Islam is “evil” and the Prophet was a child molester, “Islam was spread by the sword” they are a 5th column in the US, Falwell the same. [/quote]

    Malik,

    Think of it this way – in the Hadith Bukhari, Aisha narrated that she was married to Mohamed at 6, and consummated that relationship at 9 years old.

    There are Koranic verses that talk about killing infidels.

    There is a verse about how the rocks and the trees will cry about “there is a Jew behind me, kill him” on the last day.

    How Jesus did not die on the cross.

    On the last day, Jesus will break the cross.

    The Koran misinterprets the Trinity so badly as to indicate that the author had literally no idea what he was talking about.

    Robertson’s religion is -directly insulted- by Islam itself. If I were a devout Christian or Jew, and I spent more than 5 minutes reading the Koranic passages that mention Christianity or Judaism, Jesus, Jews and the like, I’d want to bring up all Muslims on blasphemy charges 😛

    Why the double standard? If someone says that Islam is a wicked religion, why do Muslims usually go into a spitting rage, when their own books insults Christians?

  • anonymous
    22 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    “As a person born in Europe, of parents in the US military, and who lived over there for years, I can tell you they are not jealous of us. We should be jealous of them. Their quality of life is far better than ours. ”

    If their quality of life is so mich better, why are their birthrates so low? Why have they decided to go the voluntary extinction route?

  • anonymous
    22 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    Islam is not a race, so how can one be racist with regards to Islam?

    I read Bernard Lewis, on a whim, long before 9/11 or before most American’s became aware of Islam. In that regard my perception of him wasn’t tainted by reactionaries who cry ‘orientalist’ whenever they don’t agree with an opinion, as in Shahid Alam. btw, Alam is a professor of Economics, so I don’t really consider him credible. So now when people claim he is anti Islamic I have to laugh, because my perception of him is that he is anything but. He is a great admirer of Islamic civilization. Furthermore, his body of work and scholarly knowlege of Islam is vast. I don’t see how anyone can question his credentials. Have you read any of his scholarly works? Not the recent works written for the layman, but his older books such as [url=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0226476936/qid=1103733494/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/002-2945239-3244867?v=glance&s=books]The Political Language of Islam[/url]?

    As for Daniel Pipes, there is an interesting write up on him at [url=http://www.harvardmagazine.com/on-line/010540.html]Harvard Magazine[/url]. He has a Ph.D in early Islamic history. So again, he’s credible. I think most Muslims or reactionaries who dislike these people or who claim they are hacks haven’t actually read any of their work or simply disagree with their opinions, which is essentially anything that doesn’t praise Islam.

    Cornelius, USA

  • anonymous
    22 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    “Europeans, unlike Americans, have gone a long way to learn from their past. ”

    Malik,

    What have they learned exactly? They still look away from genocidal dictators. They did nothing while Milosevic slaughtered thousands of people, just like they did with Hitler. It was the US that had to provide the impetus. The Europeans are a consituency which prefers stability. If that means ignoring the atrocities of tyrants, then so be it.

  • 7alaylia
    22 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “Asking Muslim Americans to register their locations is like asking them to pay taxes on their salaries or apply for a license when they drive like everyone else. The fact that the federal government knows where you live does not curtail your civil liberties in any way. ”

    That is not what is meant and you know it. What is meant is that there would be a special registation for all Muslims and their names would be recorded and kept on a special role, for God only knows what purpose. Stop playing games. When you get a drivers license do they only require it for, lets say, Jews? Do they even ask you your religion? What we are talking about here is a special process that ONLY Muslims would be required to go through. Exactly how would they keep track of which Muslims have and have not registered? Maybe a crescent moon and star sown onto our clothes? Special papers, that only we as Muslims, are required to carry?

    Steve writes “Yes, the government should infiltrate selected Muslim civic and volunteer organizations if they suspect the members are plotting violence.”

    Yes, and they should also infiltrate groups like AIPAC (American Israeli Political Action Committee) because their members have been spying on the US and passing sensitive information to foreign governments. This wont happen however, why not you ask? AIPAC hands out far too much money to lawmakers, thats why.

    Steve writes “Yes, absolutely yes, Muslim and Middle Eastern heritage should be part of the profile of potential threats.”

    Funny, as I sit here in a government building, being a Muslim with blond hair and blue eyes. There are thousands of us out here, and word is al-Queda is recruiting. Profile at your own risk!

    Steve writes “We are not under assault from Eskimoes or Buddhists or Norwegians. It’s crazy violent Muslims who are doing the terror in the hopes of taking over the world by violence. ”

    Ah Steve, once again at it with the generalisations. Havent I told you that you will always go wrong when you do this? Muslims are not a race of people, they are a religion, hence, we come from all over the place. I suggest you take a trip to a local mosque sometimes to see the wealth of Muslims from every country in the world. I also suggest you take a trip to the Middle East, you’ll be surprised how many Arabs you see with blond hair, blue eyes, red hair, green eyes. Caught out again by your generalising and basic lack of knowledge about the area and the people. When I speak Arabic, I am often mistaken for a Palestinian by people, unlike yourself, that are aware that there are people just like me that come from Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Kurdistan, you name it.

    Steve makes wrong assumptions and generalises again and writes “To go on, yes of course Islam encourages violence against non-Muslims (Sep 11, headcutting), Islamic countries tend to fanaticism in their beliefs (Saudi Arabia, Talibanic Afghanistan), and are oppressive to women. How can anyone argue against these? ”

    Once again Steve has it all wrong. He confuses the actions of a small amounbt of Muslims with the religon itself and the wider community. There are over 1 billion Muslims in the world. If even 10%, over 100 Million Muslims, supported these fanatics, the situation around the world would be much more grave than the current situation. You mention Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan to try and prove a point about Islam, how much is the total population of both of these countries? What percentage do they take up in the over 1 billion Muslims world wide? My point made.

    Steve, it is clear you have a white hot anger and hatred of Islam, even though it is rather clear you do not have the first clue about Islamic history or the diverse people that make up the Muslim world. Your hatred is fueled by your selective reading, reading only those titles and authors that agree with you. Try stepping out of your little world for awhile, it might dim your hatred.

    Go on and talk about how you “only hate those trying to kill us” but when you slam over 1 billion Muslims and their religion, this is quickly shown to be the lie that it is.

    Malik-Muslim and unblinded by the hate of people like Steve and bin Laden-two peas in a pod.

  • 7alaylia
    22 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Of course Islam isnt a race, I meant he is racist against Arabs. Anyone reading his works will get this very quickly. LOL! You give me a laugh, Alam isnt credible because his degree isnt in Middle Eastern history? So you dismiss Edward Said because his degree wasnt in Middle Eastern politics as well? Really?

    If having degrees in a particular subject gives you rights to knowledge, then I would think since you are commenting on this subject you have a degree in Middle Eastern studies?

    You write “As for Daniel Pipes, there is an interesting write up on him at Harvard Magazine. He has a Ph.D in early Islamic history. So again, he’s credible.”

    He is so biased as to be unmentionable. If he is so credible, what do you make of his statement that America is being threatened by “brown people eating strange food?” Yes, he has a degree in Islamic history, and Goebels spoke Hebrew.

    You wrote “I think most Muslims or reactionaries who dislike these people or who claim they are hacks haven’t actually read any of their work or simply disagree with their opinions, which is essentially anything that doesn’t praise Islam. ”

    I have read many of Pipes works, as well as Timmerman, Spencer, Waraq, Lewis, and others of their ilk. I disagree with the way they conduct their research, their analysis, and the way they allow their own personal agendas to influence everything they do. They seem to be the opposite of what you are accusing here. They refuse to write anything that has anything positive to say about Islam.

    As a convert to Islam I am very clear about the faults in my own adopted community, and I am not quiet about them. Read Edward Said’s “Covering Islam” if you want to know how hacks like the above get it all wrong. Said was a Christian, and in the book he is very critical of Islamists, “Islamic” governments and Muslim nations, yet he sets it straight when it comes to showing just how Pipes, Lewis and their kind get it all wrong.

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    22 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    I guess ignoring tyrants would be a step of ahead of US policy which advocates supporting them, in some situations even putting them into office. The US cannot have it both ways, for years they fostered a Europe that could do nothing without US lead and approval. Then when the US fails to lead, the US asks “what is wrong with Europe?” Answer is, nothing, you have the Europe you have always wanted.

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    22 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    So you are equating low birth rate with a low quality of life? Really? Wow, I guess the places in the world with the highest birth rates must then be a paradise right? Sub-Saharan Africa is a great example. I love your logic.

    Having lived in Europe for years I can tell you that their way of life is better than ours. Full stop.

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    22 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    You wrote “Think of it this way – in the Hadith Bukhari, Aisha narrated that she was married to Mohamed at 6, and consummated that relationship at 9 years old. ”

    Again, you take things out of context to try and prove a point. The marriage between Aisha and the prophet was consumated when she became a woman. In practice at that time amount Christians, Jews and Muslims, a girl became a woman when she had her first period. You cannot look at what happened in those times and compare them with currrent standards. The virgin Mary was in her early teens when she had Jesus, of course by today’s standards, this is shameful.

    You right “There are Koranic verses that talk about killing infidels. ”

    Yes, of course there is, but keep it in context. The situation being talked about was one where Islam and Muslim were fighting for their very lives against the pagans and others in the area trying to destroy them. Later revelations handed down made it very clear how non Muslims were to be treated, and for the next 1,200 years non Muslims were very well treated in Muslim lands, so much so that many Jews fled pogroms in Europe and saught sanctuary in Islamic lands.

    Also keep in mind that many such verse, even worse verses, are found in the Jews and Christian Bible. Jews are ordered by God to destroy whole races of people, to kill every living thing, men, women and children, even animals, in the towns that they take from these people. Why are not these versus held against Jews and Christians in the same manner that similiar, less violent verses, are held against Muslims?

    You write “How Jesus did not die on the cross. ”

    See, it is clear your issue, at its base, is a religious one. Arguing about if or how Jesus died is hardly a pressing point, but it seems to be one for you.

    You write “On the last day, Jesus will break the cross. ”

    Again, difference in religious issues. Christians think on the Last Day Jesus will send everyone to hell who doesnt convert to Christianity, Jews and Muslims included. Confront your own intolerance before you try to lecture others.

    You write “Robertson’s religion is -directly insulted- by Islam itself. If I were a devout Christian or Jew, and I spent more than 5 minutes reading the Koranic passages that mention Christianity or Judaism, Jesus, Jews and the like, I’d want to bring up all Muslims on blasphemy charges ”

    Yes, you are a prefect example of what the true conflict is all about. It is about the moderates fighting against the extremists like yourself who would put other people on trial for violating someone else’s religious views. You are part of the problem.

    Malik

  • anonymous
    22 December 2004

    birthrates

    Malik,

    Poor people have numerous children because very few survive to adulthood. That is why birthrates in Africa are so high. I never said low birthrates implied a lower quality of life. However, it is incongrous that those who can best provide for children, do not have them.

    There are aspects in Europe that are better and aspects that are worse. My mother is European and I have family there. I have been there numerous times and I know what is going on there, warts and all. As far as low birthrates in the particular countries in which they live, they state it is just too expensive to propagate themselves. Socialist welfare states are extremely costly to maintain. This “way of life” that you insist so much better will ultimately lead to their extinction.

    Why do you not live in Europe now?

  • anonymous
    22 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Of course Islam isnt a race, I meant he is racist against Arabs. Anyone reading his works will get this very quickly. LOL![/quote]
    Well, if that’s what you meant then you should say it. You throw the words Islam and racist around, the assumption is that if you criticize Islam, your a racist. He certainly isn’t racist. A culturalist maybe, but that isn’t racism.

    I point out Lewis’s and Pipes’s pedigrees simply for the reason that you can’t say they aren’t knowledgable. Of course you can disagree with their conclusions, but then you would need to back it up. Simply claiming your a Muslim won’t cut it. Speaking a language is not the same thing as devoting years of your life to the study of a culture. All of academia is tainted by personal prejudices. So what you say applies to Pipes and Lewis applies to everyone. [i]And[/i] since you claim they never write anything positive about Islam, it’s clear you haven’t read all their works, only the ones that validate your prejudices.

    Furthermore, the question of my academic background on Islam isn’t relevant. I haven’t commented on the subject at all, which is Islam. Nor am I not the one critizicing or claiming that people don’t know what they’re talking about. I merely said I don’t find Alam credible because he’s a economics professor criticizing the scholarly work of a historian. It’s not his field of expertise. The question is, what are [i]your[/i] qualifications, other than a convert? For you are the one making the claims of bias, incompetence, and ‘orientalism’.

    Why, pray tell, did you post the actual Cornell report?. Was there a point? And since you don’t supply links to any of your claims how about one for the “”brown people eating strange food?”

    Cornelius

  • anonymous
    22 December 2004

    Europe

    Malik,

    You said, “The US cannot have it both ways, for years they fostered a Europe that could do nothing without US lead and approval. Then when the US fails to lead, the US asks “what is wrong with Europe?” Answer is, nothing, you have the Europe you have always wanted. ”

    Fostered how? Europe speaks and does for itself. They are 300 million strong. If they do not want to do something without US approval, then that is their choice. Conspiracy theories about US control are as far-flung here as they are when applied to the mid-east.

  • anonymous
    22 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik: “I guess ignoring tyrants would be a step of ahead of US policy which advocates supporting them,”

    And Arab policy is even a step ahead of that, along with the viewpoints of large sections of the middle-eastern population. Middle-easterners never protested when Saddam filled his mass graves, nor when the government of Syria killed 20,000 people in the town of Hama, nor when the Arab janjaweed kill 30,000 black Muslims and Christians in the Sudan with government approval, nor when … well, I could go on but you get the idea. Of course, when a Jew or infidel does the killing, the outrage is there for all to see.

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    22 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    What a tedentious pseudo-intellectual screed. For somebody supposedly against sophistry, Alam seems to use a lot of it. Basically, the gist of this piece is: 1) The West is responsible for the decline of the Middle East; 2) Anyone who criticizes the culture of the Middle East does so from base motives; 3) They’re all a pack of Zionists.

    The Middle East is responsible for the decline of the Middle East. The Muslims spent the last thousand years writing fatwas forbidding contact with the West. Closing the Muslim world to outside ideas and contacts was just flatly stupid and self-defeating. Muslims cut themselves off from lessons learned elsewhere and therefore could not build and expand on the accomplishments of others outside their world. The result is that their civilization now lags in the rear of the parade of progress. You must have an open society receptive to outside ideas, even bad ideas, to flourish intellectually and materially.

    The characterization of critics of the Middle East as ignorant and prejudiced demonstrates that this particular author has not learned to accept and learn from informed criticism.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    22 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    If Europe could do nothing without US approval, why did France kick us out in the 1960s and we simply accepted their decision? When Poland or Hungary tried that with the Soviet Union, Russian tanks showed up in their capitals.

    And really, it’s the height of hypocricy for for somebody sympathetic to the Middle East to criticize the US for supporting tyrants. Tyrants are the only kind of leadership that the Middle East supports.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    22 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Having lived in Europe for years I can tell you that their way of life is better than ours. Full stop.[/quote]

    Yet you live in America.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    22 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Again, you take things out of context to try and prove a point. The marriage between Aisha and the prophet was consumated when she became a woman. In practice at that time amount Christians, Jews and Muslims, a girl became a woman when she had her first period. You cannot look at what happened in those times and compare them with currrent standards. The virgin Mary was in her early teens when she had Jesus, of course by today’s standards, this is shameful. [/quote]

    The out of contest argument is a non-starter, Malik. We do not know the ages of Joseph and Mary – though they were most likely the same age, or close to. Mohammed was pushing 60, and already had multiple wives. In fact, he had more wives than the four that God allowed to Muslims.

    [quote]Yes, of course there is, but keep it in context. The situation being talked about was one where Islam and Muslim were fighting for their very lives against the pagans and others in the area trying to destroy them. Later revelations handed down made it very clear how non Muslims were to be treated, and for the next 1,200 years non Muslims were very well treated in Muslim lands, so much so that many Jews fled pogroms in Europe and saught sanctuary in Islamic lands.
    [/quote]

    The Koran has no contest, Malik. It is the direct word of God applicable for all time and in all situations. If there was a better verse, the old verses would have been caused to have been forgotten, but these verses are still existant.

    Theologically, putting these quotes into a historical context nullifies the belief the Koran is eternal, and the direct word of God. God is unchanging. God cannot change his mind to reflect human realities on the ground. If you think any God would do this, then you have chosen a pretty poor God.

    I mean, hell, the Koran has been promoted as the true ‘Book’ that even Jesus had and Moses had. The Bible and the Injil (whatever ahistorical book that was!) were merely corruptions of the true Koran. There can be NO historical context on an eternal book.

    [quote]
    Also keep in mind that many such verse, even worse verses, are found in the Jews and Christian Bible. [/quote]

    Point one out. Remember, the Bible, Old and New testament are equivalent to the Hadith, not the Koran. They are Histories, not commandments.

    [quote]Yes, you are a prefect example of what the true conflict is all about. It is about the moderates fighting against the extremists like yourself who would put other people on trial for violating someone else’s religious views. You are part of the problem. [/quote]

    I doubt that you know exactly who posted this, as you seem to be knee-jerking as if I were Steve.
    I’m pointing out that it is quite clear that a reading of the Koran would insult a Christian. Muslims deny that Christ died to redeem mankind. That is a blasphemy. If I say “Mohammed was a false prophet who created Islam as a political tool” would you not be offended?

    As an ex-christian (right?), I think you of all people should understand that.

  • anonymous
    22 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]The Koran has no contest*, Malik.[/quote]

    *context, my bad 🙂

  • mahmood
    22 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    You know something, there is no way that Americans can understand the Middle East and its people. Statements like yours completely support the argument. You guage peoples by your own standards which you think should apply unilaterally throughout the world.

    The Arabs didn’t rise against their “leaders” or tyrants because they can’t.

    Imagine this:

    You are labelled a criminal and sentenced to death. You get shot. Your father gets the bill for the bullets and gets the body of his innocent son thrown at his doorstep where he is forbidden from removing it for several days “as an example”. If you dare to move the body, then the whole family is wiped out and the neighbours get the bullet cost bills. And the cycle continues.

    Tell me. What and how do you expect these people to rise against their oppressors?

    Ok, let’s go a little closer to home, have a read of FreeAhmed, does that constitute justice? Of course not, the HUGE difference is that now WE are STARTING to talk about situations like these and sound our objections in various ways. A site like FreeAhmed would have landed the whole neighbourhood in jail, let alone his immediate family.

    So please. Whoever you are. Step back and put yourself in our own shoes BEFORE you judge us.

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    22 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    That is a good thing to remember, Mahmood. That’s why we have you to remind us. It’s easy to forget that we are in different frames of reference.

    Steve

  • mahmood
    22 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    so that absolves the US and Europe? where is the human rights and “power to the people” bits in the rhetoric? oh, hang on a minute… damn, it was just rhetoric all along! Silly me.

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    22 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    I am none too impressed that the critics of people like Pipes make ad hominem attacks on his supposed bias while not responding to the substance of what he says. Pipes has a lot of negative stuff to say about Middle Eastern affairs, but I haven’t read any of his critics rebut his facts. The criticism I have read has been transparently partisan, which is what you would expect if wrongdoing was exposed for which there is no defense. I’d be more persuaded if Pipes critics made rational objections rather than rhetorical ones.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    22 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “Yes, the government should infiltrate selected Muslim civic and volunteer organizations if they suspect the members are plotting violence.”

    Yes, and they should also infiltrate groups like AIPAC (American Israeli Political Action Committee) because their members have been spying on the US and passing sensitive information to foreign governments. This wont happen however, why not you ask? AIPAC hands out far too much money to lawmakers, thats why.[/quote]

    I agree. Any organization in the US that is acting against the interests of America bears close, covert examination.

    I disagree that the US tolerates Israeli spies. We catch a steady dribble of them and imprison them.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    22 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “Yes, absolutely yes, Muslim and Middle Eastern heritage should be part of the profile of potential threats.”

    Funny, as I sit here in a government building, being a Muslim with blond hair and blue eyes. There are thousands of us out here, and word is al-Queda is recruiting. Profile at your own risk! [/quote]

    You would fit the Muslim portion of the profile. A fervid belief in Islam is the common theme among the terror attacks on America. It’s crazy to ignore it out of foolish political correctness. If you do, you end up sitting next to a Muslim shoe bomber an an airliner. However, I don’t know how a security agent at an airport gate would know you are a Muslim, so the point is moot.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    22 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “We are not under assault from Eskimoes or Buddhists or Norwegians. It’s crazy violent Muslims who are doing the terror in the hopes of taking over the world by violence. ”

    Malik: Ah Steve, once again at it with the generalisations. Havent I told you that you will always go wrong when you do this? Muslims are not a race of people, they are a religion, …[/quote]

    Actually, Malik, you are the one making the racist assumptions, not I. If Muslims make terror attacks on America, being Muslim should be part of the profile of potential threats broadcast to the police and security agents. It’s that simple. If men in green hats were behind the terror, then green hats should be part of the threat profile. If girls from Peru were terrorist, then Peruvian female should be in the threat profile. Whatever characteristics the threats have, they should be in the threat profile.

    It is simply acknowledging reality, rather than dodging it for political reasons.

    Steve

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    22 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes ” have never heard any American anywhere say, “We’ve got to stop Islam from spreading.”

    You need to get out more. I have heard it all over the place, media, public, you name it. The fact that I am blond haired, blue eyed and 6’2″ tall means people will say things to me because they think I will not be offended. They are often surprised when I tell them I am Muslim. There is a wide current against Islam in the US, and it predates 9/11. [/quote]

    Baloney. You wanna cite some of those thousands of instances in the media where you have seen somebody say, “We’ve got to stop Islam from spreading.”

    There is indeed a current against Muslims now that they have butchered thousands of Americans for their religion but nobody was paying attention before Sep 11.

    Steve

  • mahmood
    22 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    If I hadn’t known you as well as I do (or at least I feel that I do after reading tens of comments you have posted) I would say that you’re being racist here Steve. By implying that Malik is white and Muslims are normally brownish or Middle Eastern in appearance!

  • anonymous
    22 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Mahmood,

    You say Arabs cannot rise against their leaders because of the repercussions, yet when the US steps in and removes an evil tyrant for them, there is widespread outrage throughout the middle-east. This is what is so perplexing to us. If the Arabs are unable to remove their tyrants and do not want outside help, then what do you see as an acceptable solution? Tyrants do not go quietly into the night. Most die confortably in their beds. My mother grew up in a dictatorship and also had a relative “disappear”. To this day she laments that no other country came to help them.

    You are quite correct on your first point – Americans do have difficulty understanding the middle-eastern viewpoint, as much as it has difficulty understanding ours.

  • [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392
    22 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes ” If the threshhold for being an expert is set low, it has a lot to do with the difficulty of acquiring information due to obstacles thrown up by the Arabs themselves. People like the Saudis don’t exactly invite Westerners to get a close look at their interior lives. ”

    The threshold is low, but not for the reasons you state. I believe it is low because in the US, being racist against Arabs and promoting sectarianism against Islam are the two last acceptable prejudices. What barrier is set to keep these “experts” from learning Arabic? None, they just dont think they need it to be an “expert” on the area. Heck, here in the DC a Saudi financed school used to teach Arabic to people, at a university level, for about $80 a semester. I took a few classes there, people in my class were Jewish, Christian, Budhist, and came from all over the world. One case where the Saudis were not exclusive. [/quote]

    Malik, in most of the US there aren’t identifiable Arab communities. I usually don’t know that a person I’m dealing with is Arabic until long after I meet them and then only by accident. Before Sep 11, I just never detected much animosity towards Arabs. As a practical matter, most Arabs look like Eastern Europeans, of whom there are many here. I think that most people just assume they’re European. I’ve heard people call Arabs “camel jockeys” but in about the same way they make fun of Polish people as “Pollacks.” It’s difficult to be prejudiced against somebody if you can’t pick them out.

    Likewise, there isn’t a sizeable presence of Muslims to really be noticed. They are invisible to most of America. The idea that Americans were up in arms about Muslims before Sep 11 is just baloney. Most Americans did not know what Muslims believe other than Allah and the Koran.

    I don’t know that these scholars of the Middle East do not know Arabic. I would think that Lewis does, considering the obscure Ottoman references he cites.

    Steve

  • kategirl
    22 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    I get a laugh out of this, the “Arab thinks” the “Arab world”, what Arab? What Arab world? So what a Maronite Christian in Lebanon thinks or does would be related to what someone thinks and does in Oman? How about a Durzy in Palestine thinking and doing the same exact thing as an Alawite in Syria?

    That reminds of a line from Lawrence of Arabia (which I [url=http://chanadbahraini.blogspot.com/2004/10/lessons-from-lawrence.html]wrote about[/url] earlier) in which Auda tells Lawrence:

    The Arabs? The Howeitat, Ajili, Rala, Beni Saha; these I know. I have even heard of the Harith,.. but the Arabs?! What tribe is that?

    Lawrence of Arabia is the ONLY Hollywood production I have yet seen that recognizes subtleties of “the Arabs”.

    Okay, I know that added nothing to the current debate, but I felt like adding it. Anyhows, this is a great discussion you’re got going on this thread. Hope to see it continue a bit longer.

  • anonymous
    23 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Mahmood,

    The US has no economic motives in the Iraq war. It’s costing us billions and it’s costing us lives. The 1991 war with Iraq never ended. The US was maintaining the no-fly zones at a cost of billions as well. Saddam was indeed responsible for 9/11, but not directly. Al-Qaeda’s primary reason for 9-11 was anger at the presence of US military in the holy land of Saudi Arabia. Osama has re-iterated this repeatedly in his discourses. Had the US gone against UN wishes in 1991 and removed Saddam, there would have been no reason for us to remain in the Gulf and no 9/11, Cole bombing, African embassy attack, and Khobar (sp?) Tower bombing. After 9/11, the US decided it was long past time to get out of the middle-east and the only way to do that was to remove the reason we were there – Saddam. There was also the matter of WMD, which the international intelligence community believed he possessed and which we feared he would give to terrorists. There were also less urgent reasons, the primary being that a democratic Iraq would spark reform in the mid-east and give angry young men alternative careers besides terrorism.

    Unfortunately, the world can’t wait for slow an studied reform in the middle-east. The longer it takes, the longer jihadists will wreak havoc on the rest of us and patience is sure to run out somewhere. Applying pressure on middle-eastern governments is not solely the responsibility of the US, but of all the democratic powers. The US is constantly being criticized for being too casual with bad governments, but the EU and other countries do likewise. When I said “protests� in my earlier post, I wasn’t referring to people rising up and demonstrating, although it shows progress that you can do this now to some extent. Rather I was trying to point out that middle-eastern governments have killed thousands upon thousands more people than Israelis have killed Palestinians and yet most of the outrage is directed at Israel. This applies to middle-easterners living in the US too. Atrocities are atrocities no matter who commits them. If I am misinterpreting, please clarify.

    Was not Bahrain the first to try reform in 2003?

  • mahmood
    23 December 2004

    Re(5): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    I have always maintained that what the States is doing in Iraq is correct. I never for one second thought that monsters like Saddam could be removed from power by his own people. It just cannot happen as his support system is so widespread and the rule of terror was the only way for them.

    The motives of the States I am not very sure of. It would be naive to think of the intervention as just “for the betterment of man”, there must be some other economic benefit for the States to make it work. Again, I am NOT against that either, my interpretation of this is that Saddam and his lot took 100% of the country’s wealth, and “gifted” probably 1% or so “back” to the people. If the States even steals 50% of Iraq’s wealth in broad daylight that’s fine with me. At least the people for the time being get the other 50% which is much much more than they could hope to get in Saddam’s days.

    So back to the question of how to change this area of the world. Peacefully. With appropriate pressure from the US. Recognise and support legitimate institutions within these countries (human rights etc.) With all of these things applied, rulers will have no choice – if they want to lengthen their families hold on power or at least its benefits – but to succumb to the will of the people and share power with them.

    The model that Bahrain has started doing is constitutional monarcy, and the powers that be always compare this approach to the UK. Now think with me, what does the Queen have in ways of power now? What did that position hold 200 years ago? Could it be that what the King of Bahrain is saying that this is really what he wants for the future of Bahrain, that the King (or even a Queen in the future) will just be a figurehead? A symbol of unity of the country?

    Problem is, most people don’t want to wait those 200 years to effect that change. In this fast-paced day and age we want these changes yesterday! It just cannot happen. If the king just decided today to “give in” it would only breed chaos here, and we are a minute country compared to any of our neighbours. The devolution of power must be done in a studied, slow manner.

    What I want now, like the majority of Bahraini people are just 3 things: (1) Transparency, (2) Democracy and (3) Freedom of Speech. Everything else can wait for as long as it takes.

    As for not “rising and be heard”, have a look at these pictures showing one of the many demonstrations we have had in Bahrain in the past 4 years. This one was on Dec 17th commemorating “Martyrs Day” and demanding that torturers be brought to justice.

    Bahrain in this respect is the only viable model for peaceful change in the whole middle east. There’s hope.

  • mahmood
    23 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    small observation:

    Arabic: is a language spoken by Arabs
    Arabs: the people of the Middle East and North Africa
    Arabians: people of the Arabian Peninsula: Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen

  • kategirl
    24 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    The Serbs are orthodox Christian, so your contention makes some sense in as far as they were slaughtering Bosnian Muslims but it doesn’t make sense in as far as they were also killing Catholic Croatians. It seems like the source of their hatred was mostly tribal rather than religious.

    Steve, also recall that the Taliban had a hatred for the non-Pashtun ethnicities, and were famous for their slaughter of the Shias in Hazara. The Wahhabis hate all things non-Wahhabi, like Shias, Sufis, etc.

    It makes no difference if one is killing for the sake of religion or for tribalism. In the end its the same. Is there any real difference between “religionism” and nationalism anyways?

  • anonymous
    24 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    None.

    Yugoslavia, and the modern consituent states of it are of no economic boon to the US. The US stepped in via the UN and NATO to stop genocide.

    And sadly, even though there is (or was) a picture of President Clinton, the hero who saved the Bosnians on the side of more than a few buildings, the Saudi mosques that popped up soon after the war’s end began preaching hate toward the US and the ‘infidels’.

    Bosnian Muslims do not account for a large percentage on terrorists in the world today, but they are not negligible. This represents a drastic social shift, influenced by Saudi riyals and an imported hate.

    Look it up if you doubt me.

    And then people wonder why the US doesn’t step in to stop Darfur..

    Ethan

  • mahmood
    24 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Probably nothing Steve. But I still find it odd, or suspicious as to the States motives for their intervention in Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan. No, I am not trolling nor am I being facetious. It is just my make-up to attach a “return” on an action, especially by a major power.

    Am I thankful however? Of course I am. The end result is that the States led the way, sometimes alone, in ensuring the removal of tyrants and trying to establish democracy to its own detriment by losing so many of its own precious souls.

    But I keep asking myself why? Is it a genuine desire and realisation that in order to protect itself from attack it has to model the whole world in its image? Or at least remove causes of discontent? Or does it as a byproduct of establishing democracies it ensures its continued discounted supplies of oil? Maybe it’s the Middle Easterners distrust of “good deeds” as we have learnt through eons that one does philanthropic work only to be rewarded in other ways, or one would accept a public office only to enrich oneself ultimately. Or maybe more correctly the practical realization that in order to do a good job, you would ensure that you get paid appropriately.

    These examples given are all from a personal perspective. The scale multiplies a thousand-fold if undertaken by a country, as there are far too many fingers in multiple pies, you cannot in your right mind deduce that all of those fingers have honourable intentions. The vast majority might be, but it only takes one to skew the formula and the method to reach a shared outcome.

    The problem magnifies itself even further when the people this is applied to – Iraq as an example – is such a complex plethora of interests only a little minority of which demand democracy while the majority is baying for blood in order to further their own mafioso-type grab for power and riches.

    Steve I am not belittling the efforts of your country. Nor the brave who laid their lives for democratic change on both sides. I am simply questioning: isn’t it simplistic to assume that nations take actions like these “just” to ensure harmony and safety?

  • chalk66x
    24 December 2004

    Re(4): Irrelevant questions need no answers

    [quote]However, you can prove me wrong by telling me you voted for Bush. But you didn’t, did you? And all your argument is a phony pose of impartiality. [/quote]
    Steve I voted for him the first time and against him the second. Whats with the phony pose remark? Do you have to constantly ruin the chance of having any sort of meaningful conversation by insulting people? Its just that sort of attitude in the Bush administration that made me vote against him the second time.

    Anyway merry christmas steve and merry christmas to those of you who follow the christmas tradition and to the rest of you best wishes

  • anonymous
    24 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Malik: Europeans, unlike Americans, have gone a long way to learn from their past.[/quote]

    When death camps were set up in the Balkans, the Europeans back yard, the Europeans did nothing until America led them to oppose them. When people were being loaded onto buses in Srbrenica to be taken to their deaths, the Dutch armed forces HELPED THEM ON THE BUSES KNOWING THAT THEY WERE BEING DRIVEN TO THEIR DEATHS. The Dutch said that the best they could do was keep an orderly process.

    The Europeans have learned nothing from the past. Nothing. They still are setting up death camps now without European opposition just like Hitler did in the 1940s. They have not learned the moral lessons of WWII. They are certainly no model for America, only a warning of what not to do.

    [quote] America, as shown after 9/11, would rather hit out violently at anything and everything rather than do any amount of looking in the mirror. As an American I think we should have done after those who did 9/11, this doesnt include Iraq, but I also feel we should have sit down a taken an honest and open look at our policies and evualate whether or not they really are in our best interest. [/quote]

    Malik, we struck back at those who did Sep 11 in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has been reduced down to nothing as a functioning organization. Now Afghanistan is well on it’s way to being a functioning democracy despite numerous cries of quagmire from panicky and dimwitted liberal. This last week, a portion of Taliban cut a deal to lay down their arms and join the democratic process in Afghanistan. That’s just about as good as it gets.

    The chances are pretty good that had we not invaded Iraq, Saddam would have made good on his plans, as described in captured documents, to ship ricin and other poisons to America and Europe in perfume bottles for use by who knows whom. He undoubtedly would have killed tens of thousands of Iraqis, tortured and imprisoned a hundred thousand. That state-organized terror is finished.

    Since we invaded Iraq, the worldwide Islamic fundamentalist movement seems to have lost momentum. They are not advancing as they were before Sep 11, though they are not retreating. They seem to be neither accelerating nor decelerating. It appears that Wahhabi Terror has shamed some Muslims enough to reconsider their support for its message. It also appears that more Muslims have lost their conviction that the Islamists have the answers. They are losing elections in Indonesia and are not being forwarded as candidates for reform in other countries. We may be at the tipping point where we rock the Wahhabis back on their heels and over on their asses. The election in Iraq in January may be the fulcrum where the Middle East finally breaks free into the future. The fundamentalist crazies will have a hard time recovering.

    There remains significant evidence that Iraq played a part in Sep 11. At the very least, a member of Saddam’s government facilitated a planning meeting by the Sep 11 skyjackers in Indonesia. That is beyond dispute. The Prague meeting remains as evidence, disputed by partisans by not successfully refuted by anyone. There is more to this story yet to be told.

    The reason that the Islamists hate us is that we are a democracy which they consider blasphemy, we vote on our laws when they insist Koranic laws should trump man-made laws, we consider freedom a virtue while they do not, we believe women should have all the freedoms of men while they believe women should be chattel subjugated by men, and we believe in tolerance for all religions while they believe all the world should submit to Islam and be ruled by an Islamic empire, a Second Caliphate, to be accomplished through mass murder.

    Our polices are right. Theirs are wrong. Our policies are good. Theirs are evil. Our policies are not only in our best interests but in the best interests of the world. Their policies are in the worst interests of the world. We will win. They will be crushed.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    24 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Malik: It is as I thought. You are relying on outdated methods and Orientalists for your ideas and thoughts about Islam. Even look at the title of the book you mention “The Two Faces of Islam”. It even promotes a sinister sound with its title. If you are interested in a more balanced view, by people who are true experts in the area, let me know. If not, you can stick with the pseudo “experts” and those with neo-con and religious agendas. It is no wonder you spout the stuff you do when I see what you have been reading. [/quote]

    That’s quite impressive, Malik. You have decided that a book is sinister through interpretation of its title and decided that it is a bad book full of bad information. And any book not on your “balanced” reading list promoting your particular agenda have no value, being unbalanced accounts.

    Malik, you’re a typical liberal with issues about free speech, who doesn’t like people reading stuff that leads them to dissenting views, who wants to control what people read. You are one step away from being a book-burner. I’d be more impressed with your arguments about these books if you actually cited specifics, facts, and reasons rather than made sweeping denunciations of other schools of thought.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    24 December 2004

    Re(8): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Thanks, Mahmood. I do like to keep all my categories neat when I can.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    24 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]I think, at this point in time, it is more cultural vestiges than anything else. There are not many people in Saudi who still keep to the nomadic lifestyle, rather this is their roots. [/quote]

    Yes, I read that some Saudis keep a tent pitched in their backyard or make a point to go camping in the dessert to keep a connection with their heritage.

    It reminds me of Italians who come to America and keep a garden in their backyard, just like the big garden they had in Italy to provide food for the table.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    24 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “Only Muslims kill and enslave people for their religion.”

    Christians dont kill people for their religion? Perhaps you havent heard of the numerous Christian groups in Africa doing this? LRA in Uganda has killed over a million people in the last decade or so trying to push its religious agenda on the nation. Eastern Orthodox Serbs murdered over 200,000 Muslims and Catholics in the name of their religion. Where have you been? [/quote]

    Congratulations, Malik. You have finally done your homework and presented a real fact that rebuts my assertion, which I now concede was false. Looking back, I should know better than to make such an absolute statement. I did not know about the LRA in Uganda, which certainly sounds like a sinister crew.

    However, it does not advance your case for Islam when your defense of it places it on a par with murdering African savages practicing their own peculiar brand of bloody voodoo Christianity.

    As for the Serbs, I’m not convinced they were killing people for Christianity, though that was part of their ethnic identity which seems to have been the source of conflict. Radovan Karadžić doesn’t seem to be a very religious guy. He’s trained as a psychiatrist, which is a particularly unreligious field. Freud and Christ don’t mix well.

    The Serbs are orthodox Christian, so your contention makes some sense in as far as they were slaughtering Bosnian Muslims but it doesn’t make sense in as far as they were also killing Catholic Croatians. It seems like the source of their hatred was mostly tribal rather than religious.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    24 December 2004

    Re(5): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    I am aware of the difference between Salafi and Wahhabi and their preference for the former. I prefer the latter because it is perjorative. They have earned my contempt.

    Do I understand you correctly to say that stateside Saudis do not support either the Saudi rulers nor the Wahhabi clerics? If so, does that mirror native Saudi opinion?

    Steve

  • chalk66x
    24 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Mahmood your 100% right about chaos. With the amount of hate in the world almost every country is not far from it. Picture China if their government suddenly collapsed. Even here in America just one or two incidents could lead to racial riots nation wide.

    I can only hope that the moderates in our country can convince our government that walking softly rather than outright force is the way to apply pressure.

    Saw a bumper sticker the other day that said “I love my country but fear my goverment” you print them and I’ll just take 25% off the top.

  • anonymous
    24 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “The stimulus toward abolition of these evil practices originated with moral outrage from the Catholic clergy, then the population as a whole. Dominican priest Bartolome de las Casas catalogued the atrocities of the Spanish conquistadors and published them in Europe, followed by a host of Jesuits. ”

    Hum, so it was just the Catholic countries doing this? Really? No protestant countries or churches involved? [/quote]

    That’s right, Malik, no Protestant churches nor countries protested cruelty to the Indians. There was a good reason for that.

    Dominican priest Bartolome de las Casas presented the case for the Indians of the New World before Spanish King Ferdinand in 1515. Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517, two years after de las Casas made his pitch for the Indians. Luthers theses led to the establishment of Protestant sects and then Protestant countries.

    The reason no Protestant churches nor countries protested Spanish cruelty to the New World Indians was because there were no Protestant churches nor countries existing yet. Not only did those non-existent Protestants make no protest against 16th century cruelty to Indians at the time, neither did a single astronaut, computer programmer, truck driver, Starbucks customer, nor nuclear phsycist.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    24 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “Does it bother you that you must compare the current Muslim states against the West of centuries ago to find equivalent barbarism? Even your defense of Islam assumes that it cannot be compared to the West on equal terms. Why? ”

    You are making me laugh here, we are not even 100 years from the Holocaust and you are saying we must go back centuries to find equal barbarism in the west? Get a clue. Hitler and Stalin were responsible for the deaths of tens of millions. Hitler killed 20 million Russians, Stalin killed more than that. There is nothing in the history of the world that matches that, let alone in the history of Islam! A Christian nation plans the methodical genocide of 6 million people. There is nothing in Islam to compare to this. [/quote]

    You have made a good point here. The Holocaust is unique and unequaled in barbarism. You’re off base somewhat in ascribing it to a Christian nation. While Germany was Christian, the Nazi ruling elite were pagans. The closest thing to a religion Hitler had were the Norse gods and Wagner. Much of the Nazis were caught up in a weird pagan mysticism. The Catholic Church was not directing events here but rather laid low to avoid unwanted attention from the Nazis, to its shame.

    However, your claim that Islam was morally superior to this falls flat. The Arab Muslims did not accomplish their own Holocaust only because they lacked the means and competence to do so, not because they considered it an immoral or wrong thing to do. They saw the Holocaust as a good thing. When the Israelis finally caught Eichman, the operations officer of the Final Solution, a Saudi newspaper described him in a headline as having the honor to have killed six million Jews.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    24 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    That’s OK with us Americans if you turn Muslim and love the Saudis. Would you please get back to us with the Saudi response if you decided to reject Islam and return to Christianity?

    Have you considered that the religion and culture with which you are so smitten would little tolerate you switching faiths as America would?

    Steve

  • anonymous
    24 December 2004

    Re(5): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    You’re misinterpreting my comment, Mahmood. There have been a number of American Muslim converts who have joined the terrorists who were not of Middle Eastern heritage. For example, John Walker Lindh, the infamous “Johnny Jihad” of Marin County, CA. There is also Jose Padilla, an American of Mexican descent who was trying to plant a radiological weapon in the US. There is another California dope who joined Al Qaeda and was spouting off its nonsense on one of its videos. If you are creating a profile of terrorist threats, these kind of people would need to be included. The only consistent thread for them is that they are all zealous Muslims.

    May I point out that a threat profile is about more than being a Muslim. If that were the extent of the profile, it would be useless because there are a zillion Muslims, most of whom are just living their lives. You would combine everything to give police something to narrow down and focus their investigations. For example, is the guy carrying a lot of cash around but has no job? Do his clothes reek of chemicals or stains? Has he been hanging around possible targets taking pictures and notes? Does he use aliases? Does he have an arrest record for violent crimes?

    There could be other things. For example, when the Florida police were trying to stop the drug trade they developed a profile of Jamaicans smuggling dope out of Florida. Most were black Jamaicans wearing dreadlocks. They drove well below the speed limit. They drove certain types of cars. When stopped they were very nervous. This and other stuff helped the police dramatically raise their arrests of marijuana smugglers.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    24 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]You wrote “Think of it this way – in the Hadith Bukhari, Aisha narrated that she was married to Mohamed at 6, and consummated that relationship at 9 years old. ”

    Again, you take things out of context to try and prove a point. The marriage between Aisha and the prophet was consumated when she became a woman. In practice at that time amount Christians, Jews and Muslims, a girl became a woman when she had her first period. You cannot look at what happened in those times and compare them with currrent standards.[/quote]

    Yet, you seem to be doing exactly that. Modern females are reaching menarche earlier because of better nutrition and health care. You seem to be arguing the reverse. I doubt girls living a hard scrabble life in the Arabian peninsula of 1300 years ago were well fed nor well cared for medically. I doubt those girls reached menarche at age 9.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    24 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]The motives of the States I am not very sure of. It would be naive to think of the intervention as just “for the betterment of man”, there must be some other economic benefit for the States to make it work.[/quote]

    What economic benefit did we receive for saving the Bosnian Muslims?

    Steve

  • anonymous
    24 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Mahmood,

    Our rhetoricians have just installed a democracy in Afghanistan. Their election, courtesy of the US, established the power of the people who will now proceed to establish laws confirming their human rights. Why did the Middle East need US troops to get this done, to get a democracy set up?

    Now we are setting up Iraq as a democracy. When is the Arab Muslim world going to set up one, or is all this talk about wanting democracy just rhetoric?

    Steve

  • anonymous
    24 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]M. Shahid Alam: It would appear from the fulsome praise heaped by mainstream reviewers on Bernard Lewis’s most recent and well-timed book, What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response (Oxford University Press, 2002), that the demand for Orientalism has reached a new peak. America’s search for new enemies that began soon after the end of the Cold War very quickly resurrected the ghost of an old, though now decrepit, enemy, Islam. [/quote]

    Well, now I know what all those people sitting in the World Trade Center on the morning of Sep 11 were doing: Searching for new enemies. Those stock traders from Aon Consulting were probably looking out the window going, “Damn, I miss those commies. Maybe we should resurrect the Muslims as our enemies.” And all those passengers on the doomed flights weren’t really flying to business meetings or Disneyworld or home. They were scouring the skies of America, searching for Muslim enemies.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    25 December 2004

    Re(6): Irrelevant questions need no answers

    Glad your not letting me get away with it although Im really not sure what I was trying to get away with. If expecting those in power be it in the US or Egypt or Panama to respect the customs and beliefs of others is rhetoric then Im definately guilty and you shouldnt let me get away with it. I can tell your are educated, fairly well informed in a bookish sort of way and extremly tolerant so I guess I cant be following party lines very well.

  • anonymous
    25 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    This is the same Steve who points out that Friedman is weeping over a false dilemma of his own making. If Friedman can not offer a rational argument to make his case, then why has he taken this position? Perhaps there are irrational reasons for him to make the case.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    25 December 2004

    Re(8): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Probably nothing Steve. But I still find it odd, or suspicious as to the States motives for their intervention in Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan. No, I am not trolling nor am I being facetious. It is just my make-up to attach a “return” on an action, especially by a major power.[/quote]

    We went into Bosnia because Bill Clinton loved humanitarian action. We had no geopolitical interests at stake and the Europeans should have cleaned up this mess in their own back yard, but of course they would not and did not. For this, we received praise from those Bosnian Muslims who knew who saved their ass and who didn’t. Their scorn was reserved for the Islamic fundamentalists who did nothing for them but tear up their graveyards for religious reasons and used them as a recruiting tool to promote their agenda elsewhere. We received no acknowledgement, let alone praise, from the general Muslim world for saving Muslim lives. In my view, this is because the Muslim world has a deep emotional investment in hating America and the West and will not acknowledge anything that supports a contrary view.

    Saving Kuwait was preempting an invasion of Saudi Arabia and warning other evil governments around the world that they would not benefit from wars of conquest. For putting our lives on the line for Saudi Arabia, they repaid us with mass murder on our own soil. Saudi gratitude.

    What’s to figure out in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda was using it as a base to launch attacks on America and elsewhere. It was a rat’s nest that badly needed cleaning out. May I note that we did not impose any religion on the Afghans nor make them into a slave nation. It’s likely they will make more progress toward becoming a free, independent, democracy in the next five years than they made in the last five hundred years, courtesy of the United States.

    Iraq was a bad actor which would have done more evil in the world. While they did not have the massive stockpiles of WMDs we all thought, they did have them in the small batches coming out of a network of covert labs with documented plans to use them in Europe and America. I think when the interrogations are complete, we’ll find they were up to a lot of bad stuff.

    The Big Picture is that the problems of the Middle East were spilling out into America and it was not getting any better. Remaining on the defensive, waiting for the next round of terrorists to strike, would not ever resolve the problem. Going on the defensive in Afghanistan and Iraq puts the terrorists on their heels and will eventually lead to their destruction. The Big Answer to the problems of the Middle East is to bring it kicking and screaming into the 20th century where all these religious madmen can not flourish. The Europeans don’t think it’s possible, largely for racist reasons. By itself, the Middle East will never get it done. It can only get done if America gets it done.

    The return on this investment is a more peaceful world that can do business and interact freely. The US can regain its entire financial investment in the war if Iraq’s oil industry starts pumping enough oil to bring its price down ten bucks per barrel. The Iraqis would win, the US would win, the world would win.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    25 December 2004

    Re(5): Irrelevant questions need no answers

    BillT,

    The phony pose remark refers to the current liberal fashion of castigating anyone who disagrees with them as intolerant, uninformed, and uneducated. The irony is that the left can not tolerate disagreement with their agenda, indoctrinates rather than informs their followers, and mischaracterizes that indoctrination for education. Your rhetoric is merely a repetition of that party line. I’m not letting you get away with it, no matter how much you complain.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve, once again, your ignorance of the situation astounds me. If these men who did the 9/11 were so “fervent in their belief of Islam” why did they go out for drinks and attend a nude dancing bar the night before the attacks? Certainly not the actions of a devout Muslim you would agree? Credit card slips from the night before the attacks show this is just what happened!

    The point is that Islam has many different colours and ethnicities, that is one of the many beauties of Islam! Blond haired, blue eyed PALESTINIAN Muslims, blond haired, blue eyed BOSNIAN Muslims! Racial profile at your own risk. It is stupidity, and these stupid actions only play into the hands of the extremists.

    Like I have said before, it is a clear conflict between the extremists and us moderates. Time for you to join the moderate team Steve. The extremists on all sides will be the loosers! Open your mind to new ideas and to different ideas, it will surprise you what is out there! God is Great!

    Malik

    Malil.

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    I guess we must also ask ourselves exactly what a “Muslim extremist” is. I consider myself a Muslim fundamentalist, in that I believe in the “fundamentals” of Islam. I keep my five daily prayers, I fast during Ramadan, I give charity, I intend to go on Hajj in the future, Insha’Allah. I believe there is only one God and that Mohammad(SAW) was His messenger. So yes, I am a “fundamentalist” in this aspect, like the vast majority of Muslims out there.

    I believe that killing innocents is wrong, as layed out in The Qur’an and Hadith. I believe suicide is wrong, as layed out in The Qur’an and Hadith. I, however, believe it is my duty as a Muslim to enjoin the good and forbid what is evil, and that this starts first and formost in my own life. I recognise, as Hadith prove, that the greatest Jihad is the stuggle to live a good and clean life and that this is much harder than the “lesser Jihad” that most people know of.

    I believe that Muslims around the world have the right to practice their religion and live free under their own rule, free from foreign oppression. I believe that Palestinians, Christians and Muslims, have a right to a true independent state based on the 1948 borders, free from Israeli occupation. I believe that Chechans have a right to their own ethnic homeland, free from Russian oppression and occupation, free to practice their religion. I believe that the residents of Kashmir have the right to decide which country they choose to live under. I believe the minority Muslims in China have a right to live free from Chinese ethnic cleansing and genocide, have a right to practice their own religion and choose their own form of government. I believe the peoples of the Middle East have a right to choose their own governments in free and open elections without the fear of arrest, imprisonment, torture and murder from US backed dictators.

    I guess the difference between the vast majority of us moderate Muslims and the small amount of fanatics out there is how we would go about gaining these most basic of human rights. Extremists like bin Laden, Bush, Sharon and others would impose their will by force of arms, by violence, and in the case of Bush and Sharon, by overwhelming military might. Moderates, like myself, realise that such a solution is no solution at all and only a receipe for further conflict. Change must be brought about by peaceful dialogue, civil actions and discourse. The is what sets the vast majority of the world against the fanatics like bin Laden and Bush.

    Malik

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    The US most certainly has economic interests in Iraq. Historically, the US has gotten very little of its total oil from Iraq, but this is not the case for America’s economic rivals. China and the EU, the US’ two major economic rivals, get a rather large amount of their oil from Iraq. China is set to become America’s major rival in all areas, economic and military, what better way to control the situation than to control a major portion of your rival’s power?

    I dont think the US went into Iraqi to free the Iraqis or save them from anything. The issue was and always has been about oil and Israel. The idea that the US wants democracy in the Middle East is a joke, their continued support for dictators shows that to be the lie that it is, not to mention that the US would not want to work with the governments that would be elected by the people, most certainly to be less pro Israel and pro US than the currrent client dictators the US supports.

    Another misunderstanding here. Protesting against Israeli actions is much safer when you know your own government, backed by the US, will arrest you, imprison you, torture you, or even murder you, if you dare to complain about their policies. If the US wanted to show it really wanted democracy in the Middle East they would link US aid to a policy to promote human rights and reform. Put some teeth into initiatives.

    Malik

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(8): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    You said “Protesting against Israeli actions is much safer when you know your own government, backed by the US, will arrest you, imprison you, torture you, or even murder you, if you dare to complain about their policies. ”

    This does not explain why Muslims in the US and Europe, who have every freedom to protest, are angrier at Israel, then they are at Middle-Eastern governments who have killed far more people.

    “The issue was and always has been about oil and Israel.”

    Had the US been after oil, we could have had it in 1991. Or we could have taken over Kuwait. Or we could have invaded Venezeula, which also has a bad guy in need of removal. Take your pick. The Iraq-Israel theory is growing a beard. Give it a rest or substantiate your claim with valid proof.

    “China is set to become America’s major rival in all areas, economic and military, what better way to control the situation than to control a major portion of your rival’s power? ”

    You’re drinking too deeply of conspiracy theories if you think the US government has the intelligence to actually think of this scenario.

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “When death camps were set up in the Balkans, the Europeans back yard, the Europeans did nothing until America led them to oppose them. ”

    Of course, and this is what our policy towards Europe was intended to do. US policy for 50 years with Europe was meant to make Europe spineless, helpless without US leadership, this is why the US still stands against the growth of European military options, like the Rapid Reaction Force.

    Steve writes “Malik, we struck back at those who did Sep 11 in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has been reduced down to nothing as a functioning organization. ”

    LOL! Seems you know more than the CIA does! The truth is the US does not really know what effect we have had against al-Queda because we dont know what they had in the first place. We had no “order of battle” to work from, hence, if we take out 2,000 members, we dont know what impact that has had on them. Besides, this type of thinking doesnt even work with a group like al-Queda, they are not a nation state, thus standard modes of thinking does not work. I think the real threat, long term, is a slimmed down al-Queda built to achieve major “one offs” like 9/11 and a future WMD attack in the US, and small cell structured non aligened groups.

    Steve writes “The chances are pretty good that had we not invaded Iraq, Saddam would have made good on his plans, as described in captured documents, to ship ricin and other poisons to America and Europe in perfume bottles for use by who knows whom. He undoubtedly would have killed tens of thousands of Iraqis, tortured and imprisoned a hundred thousand.”

    LOL! Yes, and he could have formed an alliance with the UN to invade the US. You right wing conspiracy types are really good for the laughs however.

    Posted “Since we invaded Iraq, the worldwide Islamic fundamentalist movement seems to have lost momentum.”

    LOL! Again, uninformed. I guess you had the old report the Bush team released showing terror attacks went down in 2004. News, it was wrong, they released the true figures showing attacks have gone up, not down. Besides, what does the invasion of the anti-Islamist, secular Iraq have to do with non state back Islamist groups such as al-Queda, you are mixing apples and oranges.

    Steve writes “They are not advancing as they were before Sep 11, though they are not retreating. They seem to be neither accelerating nor decelerating. It appears that Wahhabi Terror has shamed some Muslims enough to reconsider their support for its message.”

    Thanks for the laughs on a Monday morning after the holidays, I need it. Your pajorative name calling “Wahabi Terror” is funny. In using such terms you make it clear that you do not have a handle on the situation, terms used, and how things work. The term “Wahabi”, if it has an appropriate use, is not used to talk about groups or ideology outside Saudi Arabia. The proper term is “Salafi” when used outside of Saudi Arabia. Are you aware of the history of the term “Salafi”, it’s followers or beliefs and how they fit into the “Islamic world”? I dont think so. You have a very basic knowledge of the situation, which is clear, what is less clear is how you think you can then issue all encompassing pronouncements. Fact is, support wordwide for the US has fallen, support for al-Queda, and their likes has risen.

    Steve writes “It also appears that more Muslims have lost their conviction that the Islamists have the answers. They are losing elections in Indonesia and are not being forwarded as candidates for reform in other countries.”

    Once again, apples and oranges. Your above statement actually proves my point. The overwhelming amount of moderate Muslims world-wide, like myself, reject extremists of all brands, like yourself. Muslims have rejected the idea of extremist politics. The difference here is that we are not talking politics, rather al-Queda and what is clearly a global insurgency. It does not take large amounts of support to continue such a movement, and what little support these groups have gotten has grown. If you knew more about the situation you would be aware that many people would support al-Queda, but not support extremist governments. Since you are such a fan of polls, you forget the poll that showed major support for al-Queda in Saudi Arabia, but the same poll showed very minimal support for a government in Saudi led by bin Laden or al-Queda. You do not have a detailed understanding of the situation.

    Steve writes “The election in Iraq in January may be the fulcrum where the Middle East finally breaks free into the future. The fundamentalist crazies will have a hard time recovering”

    LOL! Which “fundamentalist crazies” are you talking about? Certainly not the Sunni, as most of them are not going to be able to participate. Certainly not the Shi’a, as it is clear that center-right Shi’a religious parties are going to gain a majority of the vote, maybe you are talking about the crazies in the Bush administration? You might be onto something there. In January Shi’ite parties will take control in Iraq and form a pretty close relationship with Iran. The question remains is how hard will they push for a theocratic type government like Iran, and will this push draw Kurdish and Sunni groups into open civil war agains the new Shi’a government.

    Steve writes ”
    There remains significant evidence that Iraq played a part in Sep 11. At the very least, a member of Saddam’s government facilitated a planning meeting by the Sep 11 skyjackers in Indonesia.”

    LOL! More conspiracy theories. The CIA and American intelligence has dropped this nonsense, why dont you? The invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. If it did, dont you think we would have gone after the master mind of 9/11 first? Bin Laden is still walking around, troops have been pulled from the search for him, and well over a thousand troops have died in Iraq, a conflict which has become the new training ground for extremists. Russia in Afghanistan bred al-Queda, what is the US in Iraq going to breed?

    Steve writes “The reason that the Islamists hate us is that we are a democracy which they consider blasphemy”

    More nonsense, I can see Daniel Pipes in your writing more and more. I hope you give him due credits if you are cutting and pasting. Islamists do not hate us for our freedoms. No one is going to do a suicide bombing because of mini skirts, beer drinking or the right to vote on funding issues. They hate us for a set of clearly defined political reasons. To say they “hate us for democracy” is just a way to refuse to address the real and substantial issues they have. Support for Israel, support for despots, ect. By the way, I am sure you are aware that The Qur’an and Hadith allow for representative government right? I am sure you are aware that portions of “Saudi” Arabia were ruled by such representative councils at one point right?

    Steve writes “we believe women should have all the freedoms of men while they believe women should be chattel subjugated by men”

    LOL! Again, lack of knowledge will do you in everytime. The idea that women should be “chattel” is not an Islamic concept, when found in Islamic society it will be properly seen as local cultural tradition dressed up as Islamic even though it has no basis in Islam. This is another clear example of your lack of knowledge and hatred of Islam coming through. Nothing in Islam requires a woman to cover her face, nothing frobids women to drive, nothing forbids women from going out without male relatives. That all goes back to custom, not religion. Islam, in its true form, is very empowering for women. The right to support for children, and themselves, in case of divorce, there are many such examples. Muslim women do not take the name of the man when they marry! Why should they? Are they some peiece of property to be transfered to the husband’s family? Dont they retain their own history and family? I would say, in many ways, women in the west are far more oppressed than women in many Islamic countries. If you dont believe me you have never talked to a woman as she is going to a job interview in the USA, worried about wearing the right clothes, loosing the job to a younger, better looking female! Freedom? Hardly!

    Steve writes “and we believe in tolerance for all religions while they believe all the world should submit to Islam and be ruled by an Islamic empire, a Second Caliphate, to be accomplished through mass murder. ”

    Islam teaches tolerace for all religions. As a matter of fact, The Qur’an requires, that in a time of war, churches and synagogues be protect before mosques. Once again you generalise and your hatred of Islam comes out. You do not know about Islam, but you know you hate it, so anything you can do to discredit it, even if it is not valid, you will do. Your hatred of Islam and your ignorance of its basics means you can never be taken serious on this issue. You cannot generalise about all Muslims and all of Islam like this. When you do so your hatred comes shining through!

    Steve writes “Our polices are right. Theirs are wrong. Our policies are good. Theirs are evil. Our policies are not only in our best interests but in the best interests of the world. Their policies are in the worst interests of the world. We will win. They will be crushed. ”

    An extremist if I have ever heard one. Wait, I think you failed to credit bin Laden for the above quote! Birds of a feather. Your ideas and bin Ladens ideas are so similiar. Once again, the true war is against extremists Steve, and once again you have choosen the side of the extremists. The “us or them” idea, will in the end, be the real looser.

    Malik.

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(5): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve, you make me laugh. Just a bit of a hint here, Afghanistan is not in the Middle East. LOL.

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(8): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    The US did not step into Bosnia to stop genocide. I was working with the US DoD in the area at the time. The US stepped in after the worst of the genocide was over. As a matter of fact, the US stepped in just as the victims of the genocide were actually making major gains on the battlefield. We stepped in because we felt that a victory by the victims of the genocide might actually ignite a wider Balkan war drawing in Turkey and Greece on opposing sides. If the US was interested in stopping genocide they would have stepped in several years earlier. If the US was interested in stopping genocide they would have gone into Rwanda, 1.5 millions dead, or the continuing hell of the Congo, over 3 million dead, and there isnt the smallest peep in DC about intervention.

    As to Darfur, I am surprised about how many people with so little knowledge can have such a loud voice. All of this talk about “Arab militias” and “black villages”. Anyone here even known any Sudanese or been there? Hint, all Sudanese are black. Hint, most Sudanese, apart from the Christian South, speak Arabic and are thus “Arabic”.

    Some background here. The conflict in the Western area of Sudan known as “Darfur” started as a tribal grazing rights issue. The people now fleeing their lands formed a militia to stop certain tribes from grazing animals and using water supplies. This illegal militia killed many people and started attacking regular Sudanese forces. The Sudanese government responded, like any government, with force to put down the militia. This is not a “Arab against black” thing as many have painted it out to be. Both sides are black, both sides speak Arabic. It is a tribal issue that got out of hand, now the side that started the issue is being branded as “victims” of genocide. Must be the first time in history a people have committed genocide against themselves.

    I realise that these people are suffering, but so did the Germans after WW2. It is hard to have too much sympathy for a people who start a conflict with murder and violence, then end up being victims of it themselves

    Malik

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Good points Mahmood. I just have the smallest amounts of knowledge because of my education, travel and work in the area, and marriage to a citizen from the area. Americans dont have a clue. Normally this wouldnt matter, but as Americans we like to think we can help, but help without knowing how to help often makes things worse.

    Some people here like to read a few books, watch CNN and FOX News and think they have a clue. I am just lucky enough( or unlucky as the case may be) to know a bit about how the governments in the area work, especially in my dealings with the Saudi government.

    There is not a quick, fix it all solution to the issues in the Middle East. Americans love these “get rich quick” schemes, but they dont work here. This is an area of the world that will take a lot of time. If things are rushed it will end up worse than when it started.

    Malik.

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve,

    You make my point for me! It is precisely BECAUSE I am sympathetic to the PEOPLE of the Middle East that I get down on my own government for supporting the tyrants that treat them the way they do.

    Your problem is Steve is that you cannot see the forest for the trees. You generalise too much. Because some Muslims do bad things all Muslims are bad…….because the Middle East has dictators, their people should not get sympathy.

    Your biggest issue Steve is, and remains, that you do not have enough knowledge about the people, the history, culture and the governments to do anything BUT generalise. You do not have the knowledge to get specific and that is why you are doomed to get it wrong until you do.

    Malik

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve,

    Your assumption is that the excesses against the Indians stopped before there were Protestant churches in the USA, which is far from true. Like I have said, until about 30 years ago Indian children were being pulled from reservations, put into PROTESTANT religious homes where they were forced to convert to Christianity and abandon their culture and language. Some of the worse excess against the Indians in America were at the hands of the British and their agents. Certainly you will agree that the British presence in North America was of a Protestant nature?

    The early excess were Catholic, then after the 1600’s the Protestants and Catholics seem to have a contest as to who could treat the native peoples to worse.

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Mahmood,

    I am certainly going to take the time to sit down a write my story some day. I think it would be a pretty interesting one and have pretty good sales. American, born in military family, converts to Islam and marries a Saudi woman, with all of the issues and insights gained with that experience. Battling the cultural and religious ignorance of both Americans, Arabs and Muslims.

    We have been thinking about moving to Dubai, we’d have to meet up with you Mahmood and talk about the book!

    Malik

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve,

    Never read “Mein Kampf” have you? In Hitler’s own book he makes it clear that his mission is one to do God’s works and is very clear about his devotion to Christianity. How come, however, when a Christian or Christian people do awful things you have to explain it away and not ascribe it to a defect in Christianity, yet when the same, or in this case, lesser things happen with Muslims, instantly it is the fault of the religion, not an aberation or basic fault?

    The Catholic Church was very complict with the Holocaust and Nazi Germany, on a local, national and international level, hence the recent apology from the Pope about this very same issue. Your talk about “pagan mysticism” only extends to certain elements of the Nazi elite, not to the rank and file party member, especially the Germans as a whole. I was born in Germany, my family is German, and I still have the dozen or so mass cards sent out by family members when their sons were slain fighting for Hitler. Hardly the actions of a people of a “pagan” nature. Hitler felt he was fighting to protect Christianity from the “Jewish hordes” and “Russian Bolshevism.”

    Steve writes “However, your claim that Islam was morally superior to this falls flat. ”

    This is not my assertion, but one you have made for me. I simply noted that nowhere in Islam do they have the history of brutality that there is in Christianity. Fact, sorry if you dont like it. Draw any conclusions you want.

    Steve posts “The Arab Muslims did not accomplish their own Holocaust only because they lacked the means and competence to do so, not because they considered it an immoral or wrong thing to do.”

    History lesson for Steve. The closest thing that Muslims have to the Holocaust is the genocide of the Armenians by the Turks. Turks are not Arabs, but the way, but they did slaughter over a million people. As to lacking the means, give me a break. Christians killed millions of American Indians with nothing more than flintlock and percussion rifle. If Arabs had wanted, like you said, to kill all Jews, they could have. The Saudis did send a single man to fight in 1948. Doesnt seem like they wanted to kill the Jews too bad does it?

    Steve writes “They saw the Holocaust as a good thing. When the Israelis finally caught Eichman, the operations officer of the Final Solution, a Saudi newspaper described him in a headline as having the honor to have killed six million Jews. ”

    There you go with your generalisations again! Who is “they”? All Arabs thought the Holocaust was a good thing? This seems to be what you are implying here. Once again your generalisations show us more about the hatred you have for Arabs than they show us anything about fact. No one who knows Arabs would make such a claim.

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    The Christian governments of Europe put an end to Hitler’s murderous antics. Middle-eastern Islamic governments gave 1001 reasons why Saddam should continue his.

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Selective history! Some European countries put an end to it, with American help, others worked hand in hand with Hitler, Germany, and his genocide machine.

    Malik

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Never read “Mein Kampf” have you? In Hitler’s own book he makes it clear that his mission is one to do God’s works and is very clear about his devotion to Christianity. How come, however, when a Christian or Christian people do awful things you have to explain it away and not ascribe it to a defect in Christianity, yet when the same, or in this case, lesser things happen with Muslims, instantly it is the fault of the religion, not an aberation or basic fault?

    The Catholic Church was very complict with the Holocaust and Nazi Germany, on a local, national and international level, hence the recent apology from the Pope about this very same issue. Your talk about “pagan mysticism” only extends to certain elements of the Nazi elite, not to the rank and file party member, especially the Germans as a whole. I was born in Germany, my family is German, and I still have the dozen or so mass cards sent out by family members when their sons were slain fighting for Hitler. Hardly the actions of a people of a “pagan” nature. Hitler felt he was fighting to protect Christianity from the “Jewish hordes” and “Russian Bolshevism.” [/quote]

    Nope, I’ve never read “Mein Kampf”, only excerpts and analysis. Even the Nazis did not read it, only buying it as a prop to lay on their coffee tables to demonstrate their sympathies. Are you claiming to have read it? I have a copy somewhere. Could you cite those places where Hitler claims to be devoted to Christianity?

    In practice, Hitler never demonstrated much support for Christianity. You don’t see references to Christianity in his speeches but rather a devotion to Germany and its destiny. You don’t see photos of him hobnobbing with priests and bishops nor going to Mass. His references are mostly to pagan Norse gods.

    I agree with you that Hitler certainly conjured up the Jews and Russians as enemies, but I’m not convinced he was defending Christianity against them but rather the German race. I would say that the rank and file of the German Army were Catholic, but not the Nazi politicians who made policy.

    The case is ambiguous as to whether the Catholic Church was complicit with the Nazis. There was a book published a few years back that made the case that the Pope was in cahoots with Hitler and his anti-Semitic policies. Now the historical argument has swung back the other way a bit. I would say that the Holocaust was made possible in part by a moral defect in Catholicism, which is that the leaders of the Church did not actively expose and oppose Hitler’s program.

    The Catholic Church had parish priests all over the German domain. That constitutes a comprehensive intelligence network. They undoubtedly reported what was happenning back up their chain of command. Certainly, the Pope must have had a comprehensive and detailed knowledge of the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes. The right thing to do would be to have published it all and overtly oppose it, dying if need be to oppose such evil, just like the Christian martyrs of old.

    It appears that the timid Catholic clergy decided to turn a blind eye to the evil afoot in their own parishes and chose survival rather than opposition. There are a few priests who actively opposed the Nazi regime and ended up in death camps, a few who helped smuggle Jews out or hide them, but they are the exception rather than the rule. The Catholic priests joined their flocks of “good Germans” who posed as ignorant of all the Nazi crimes, even those that occurred on their own doorstep. In doing so, the Catholic Church surrendered its moral authority.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “2) Anyone who criticizes the culture of the Middle East does so from base motives; 3) They’re all a pack of Zionists.”

    Do you deny that many of the most zealot anti Arab/anti Muslim writers out there are not doing so to support their own personal political ideas and agenda? Why is it that so many of these writers also happen to be very active in pro-Israeli activities and groups? Coincidence? Many of them are open and avowed Zionists, so why is it therefor wrong to call them such?

    Malik

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “You must have an open society receptive to outside ideas, even bad ideas, to flourish intellectually and materially. ”

    This from Steve who readily admits that he reads only material that conforms to his own views. I thought you said you graduate university? Is this how things work there? You only read material which confirms and conforms to your beliefs? Again, I would suggest you read some material that doesnt fit so neatly into your preconcieved notions.

    If you would like me to come up with a reading list of materials that might challenge your limited viewpoint on Muslims, Islam, the Middle East and Arabs, let me know, I would have no problem doing so.

    Malik

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    You are changing the argument to fit your rebuttal. I pointed out that the Catholic clergy were the first to oppose the Spanish treatment of the Indians. Malik inferred that the Protestants had opposed them, too. Yet no Protestant religion existed yet.

    You’re advancing the situation two centuries into the future to make your rebuttal work.

    However, to address your non sequitur of an argument, yes the British Protestants did some awful things to the Indians in North America. The Indians, however, were not exactly peaceful basket-weaving neighbors. They were fond of casual murder of settlers, kidnap, torture, and cannibalism. It would be difficult to sort out who did worse to each other. My impression is that the European settlers did great violence all at once in periodic pitched battles, but that the Indians probably did a greater volume of violence in penny packets, continually killing small bands of travellers and raiding isolated farmhouses, in episodes too small to be noted in history books.

    The treatment of the Indians by European religious people is a mixed bag. Catholic clergy tended to sympathize with the Indians in a heavy-handed way, forming missions where the Indians ruled themselves. Protestant clergy tried something of the same, though keeping the Indians at an arm’s length. The issue of forceable conversions has arguments on both sides. In general, I’d say let people alone to practice their own religion. However, some of those Indian religions involved some rather nasty bloodletting rituals. In some eastern tribes, they would ritually slaughter a young woman every year. There are tumuli in the Midwest that contain the bones of Indians ritually slaughtered en masse, fifty young women in one example. In such cases, I’d say forceable conversion to any other peaceful, civilized religion is the much lesser of two evils.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    And Arab countries like Egypt were firm supporters of the Nazis.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(5): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve, once again, your ignorance of the situation astounds me. If these men who did the 9/11 were so “fervent in their belief of Islam” why did they go out for drinks and attend a nude dancing bar the night before the attacks? Certainly not the actions of a devout Muslim you would agree? Credit card slips from the night before the attacks show this is just what happened! [/quote]

    Your dishonesty astounds me in arguing that the Sep 11 skyjackers did not perpetrate that crime for Islam. Their own documents and lives demonstrate otherwise. You might try reading Atta’s will and the protocol for the hijacking found associated with at least two, maybe three, of the jets.

    And of course, these pious Muslims did drinks and strip clubs before they did murder for Islam because they were hypocrites.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Malik: This from Steve who readily admits that he reads only material that conforms to his own views.[/quote]

    You’re lying, Malik. However, you can prove your point by citing the reference where I have said any such thing. It doesn’t exist. You are clumsily and transparently trying to attribute your opinion to me.

    If your case was true, you would need not resort to dishonesty to make it. Quite frankly, you are doing a better job at discrediting yourself than I could ever do.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “Asking Muslim Americans to register their locations is like asking them to pay taxes on their salaries or apply for a license when they drive like everyone else. The fact that the federal government knows where you live does not curtail your civil liberties in any way. ”

    That is not what is meant and you know it. What is meant is that there would be a special registation for all Muslims and their names would be recorded and kept on a special role, for God only knows what purpose. Stop playing games. When you get a drivers license do they only require it for, lets say, Jews? Do they even ask you your religion? What we are talking about here is a special process that ONLY Muslims would be required to go through. Exactly how would they keep track of which Muslims have and have not registered? Maybe a crescent moon and star sown onto our clothes? Special papers, that only we as Muslims, are required to carry? [/quote]

    OK, Malik, I was being too reflexively defensive. It does look like a minority of the population quizzed did favor registering Muslims. I’m against it. It’s never going to happen. It’s wrong not just for moral reasons but for practical reasons as well. It just doesn’t advance the identification of criminals by having a list of Muslims. You’ll be sorting through hundreds of thousands of Joe Muslims who are just living their lives. It would be a waste of resources that could be more profitably focused on following up leads that would lead to terrorists.

    About the most I’d support is for the police to make lists of people associated with radical mosques which preach violence, the ones that are basically terrorist factories.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(9): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Malik: The US did not step into Bosnia to stop genocide. I was working with the US DoD in the area at the time. [/quote]

    Working for the DoD makes you an expert on Bosnia? There are millions of people working for the DoD. Is each one an expert on Bosnia? Does that mean that Joe Bagadonuts, DoD employee, handling accounts receivable for tank fuel filters in Waco, Texas is an expert on Bosnia? This appears to be a bogus claim of expertise.

    However, you can prove me wrong by presenting the details of your assignment with respect to Bosnia.

    [quote]The US stepped in after the worst of the genocide was over. As a matter of fact, the US stepped in just as the victims of the genocide were actually making major gains on the battlefield. We stepped in because we felt that a victory by the victims of the genocide might actually ignite a wider Balkan war drawing in Turkey and Greece on opposing sides. If the US was interested in stopping genocide they would have stepped in several years earlier. If the US was interested in stopping genocide they would have gone into Rwanda, 1.5 millions dead, or the continuing hell of the Congo, over 3 million dead, and there isnt the smallest peep in DC about intervention. [/quote]

    This is a weak argument, Malik. If the United States does not intervene at the very start of a genocide it is therefore not intervening at all? If we only stop a hundred thousand out of two hundred thousand Muslims from being slaughtered by Serbs, we haven’t done any good at all? And if we do save people, America only does it for the worst reasons? What a desperately anti-American argument.

    Your argument that we are not interested in stopping any genocides because some genocides occurred is pathetic. It’s like arguing that a heart surgeon isn’t interested in saving people with bad hearts because there are lots of people who died of heart disease that he never helped.

    You seem to be ferociously determined to attribute every evil in the world to the US. If the Rwandans kill each other, it is the Rwandans fault, not the US. If the Congolese kill each other, it is the fault of the Congolese, not the US. I am little impressed by your desire to fight these wars to the last drop of somebody else’s blood, troops of an America you despise. I am also little impressed that you, who critizes everything America does, now criticizes the things it didn’t do. It is disingenuous for you to criticize America not intervening in every crisis in the world when you would be the first to castigate for intervening in any crisis.

    However, I do congratulate you for so handsomely demonstrating the shrill dishonesty of the anti-American position.

    Steve

  • 7alaylia
    27 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve,

    You are again parroting nonsense you have read! Mosques that are terrorist breeding grounds? Factories? Give me a break. The mosque I regularly attend was where most of the “Virginia Paintball Jihad” members went. Hardly a terrorist factory. For that matter I think these kids got railroaded. They were misguided, but to get the amount of time they got was insane. I knew one of the people involved. Basically it was a bunch of young men who were worried that the general populice in the US might turn like the Serb citizens in Bosnia did and they wanted to prepare to protect them. A couple of them did go to Pakistan and participated in some activities against the Indian government in support of the majority in Kashmir.

    Even these people were the VAST minority at this mosque, should all of us have to register now? How many “radicals” have to attend a mosque for it to be included? What is the threshold? How do you even define a radical? Mosques often are very cliquish, with the Palis hanging out with the Palis, Somalis with Somalis, Pakistanis with other Pakstanis. Because a small group might secretly meet and talk subversive politics doesnt mean the rest should be targeted. Besides, this is all getting so “1984ish” with Big Brother watching over all, keeping tabs on all. The only way to achieve what you suggest is to violate all of their civil rights, to watch a small few.

    Even places, and I have been to a few, that seem to have a lot of what we would call “the men with the beards and the short pants”, they are in the extreme minority and do not comprise a large segment of the community. Outwardly you would never know it. The one place I know of offered free Arabic classes and religion classes to people of all ages, at university level, for very cheap. Lots of government workers attended these classes.

    Your suggestions are not rational and would end up where we began, watching the whole Muslim community. You are way out of touch with how things really are Steve.

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    27 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve,
    I asked you what you read and you cited Pipes and Lewis. If I am wrong please tell me so! Tell me what you read that challenges your strongly held opinions? I would love to see what books are in your library!

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    27 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve,

    I am sure that Islam played a role in the 9/11 attacks, no doubt. But I do not think the men who did the attacks, most of them anyway, were Islamic extremists. Islamic extremists dont go drinking and go to a nudie bar the night before a “martyrdom operation”. They would spend the night in prayer. I believe these men had a poltical agenda that was wrapped in an Islamic flag. Nothing more. You dont need religion to be a suicide bomber to promote political causes. The most prolific suicide bombers in the world are the Tamil Tigers. In case you dont know they are not a majority Muslim people, they are not a religious organisation, and they have done more suicide bombings than any Muslim group. The first suicide bomber in the Middle East was a Lebanese Christian. Doesnt fit so easy into your neat picture of the world and the area does it? Radical leftist groups, avowed atheists, have done suicide bombings in the Middle East, ect PFLP.

    As usual you are way out of context and woefully underinformed.

    Malik

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Well, it looks like Pipes was fairly prescient in this fourteen year old prediction. Western Europe hasn’t responded well to the mass immigration of brown-skinned Muslims, being a fairly racist culture. For the most part, European countries have chosen to isolate Muslim immigrants from Turkey and Africa in their own housing projects and those immigrants have been happy to be so isolated. As an American, I’m a bit amused at Europeans condemning anybody’s lack of hygiene, considering the casual attitude toward bathing there. I may have my complaints about Arab Muslims, but I can’t say I’ve ever met one who was not washed.

    Muslim customs are indeed more troublesome than most. Sweden has had a fair amount of controversy about honor killings among Muslim immigrants. It is indeed troublesome for westerners in general when a father stabs his daughter to death because she is dating. Also, there seem to be a fair number of Muslim immigrants who believe that differences of opinion can only be solved through murder, as demonstrated with Van Gogh’s murder in the Netherlands. And of course, there is the Muslim predeliction for bombing to advance their religion. That is a troublesome custom.

    I’d say that this quote is a fairly accurate description of the European attitude and what has actually happenned.

    Steve

  • 7alaylia
    27 December 2004

    Re(10): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “Working for the DoD makes you an expert on Bosnia? There are millions of people working for the DoD. Is each one an expert on Bosnia? Does that mean that Joe Bagadonuts, DoD employee, handling accounts receivable for tank fuel filters in Waco, Texas is an expert on Bosnia? This appears to be a bogus claim of expertise. ”

    Stop with the silly games Steve. I was in Bosnia, I saw what was going on. I volunteered to go. I never claimed to be an expert but I have done a lot of reading about the war and what happened there as well as contextual materials. I guess my personal experience along with the other stuff makes me more knowledgeable than the average Joe. You do not know what I did for the DoD, and I am not about to tell you, but I had a good idea of what was going on concerning US forces in the region and why they did what they did and when. This is why I resigned the DoD and wrote a scathing letter to the European Stars and Stripes that was printed on the occasion.

    Steve writes “This is a weak argument, Malik. If the United States does not intervene at the very start of a genocide it is therefore not intervening at all? If we only stop a hundred thousand out of two hundred thousand Muslims from being slaughtered by Serbs, we haven’t done any good at all? And if we do save people, America only does it for the worst reasons? What a desperately anti-American argument. ”

    There you go calling names again. One cannot be critical of American policy without you labeling them “anti-American”. We, the US, waited until 200,000 Muslims had been killed. We only entered the fray to prevent a wider war that might have involved NATO allies. We didnt enter to save anyone, if we had done so it would have been years earlier.

    Steve writes “You seem to be ferociously determined to attribute every evil in the world to the US. If the Rwandans kill each other, it is the Rwandans fault, not the US. If the Congolese kill each other, it is the fault of the Congolese, not the US.”

    But then why does the US still try to fool people with the old “we went there to save people” nonsense? It is clear that when the US goes into a country it is for nothing more than national interests, not to “save people” so why pass off this lie? If you can come up with a good reason for the US going into Bosnia to “save people” when 200,000 were killed but not even suggesting it when 3 million people are killed in the Congo I will admit you are right, but you cant.

    Steve writes ” I am little impressed by your desire to fight these wars to the last drop of somebody else’s blood, troops of an America you despise. ”

    There you go calling names and coming to what are, frankly, insane conclusions. Both my parents served in the US military, as did my grandfather. My sister is in the US military. I worked side by side with the US military for years in my job with the US Department of Defense. Our men and women in the military are great people who are poorly served by their leadership. Your statements are meant to try to make people cower, to stifle debate. Shame on you, the one who claims to believe in freedom. Why do you try to silence people?

    Steve writes ”
    However, I do congratulate you for so handsomely demonstrating the shrill dishonesty of the anti-American position. ”

    Once again calling names! This is how the right wing in the USA try to silence debate. They try with the names, the shaming, trying to say if you question US policy you are unAmerican. Far from it, to blindly follow US policy is unAmerican, it is unpatriotic and it is stupid!

    Steve, if you want countries where everyone blindly follows their leaders……….head to Saudi, you seem to be just like them!

    Malik-American, proud, and not afraid to voice the discontent that makes this country so great!

  • 7alaylia
    27 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “I’d say forceable conversion to any other peaceful, civilized religion is the much lesser of two evils. ”

    Is this you bin Laden? Is this me? When did we let al-Queda start posting here?

    Malik

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “The food and medicine which came in through the program were diverted to Saddam’s people and the rest was sold on the black market in Jordan, among other places. What medicine did reach Iraqi doctors was heavily diluted or fake. They called it chalk. That’s why so many people died: Saddam’s cruelty and UN corruption. ”

    Malik: You miss the point, once again, sanctions were always pressed by the USA, even when we KNEW it was doing nothing to Saddam and his cronies. The people in charge are never hurt by sanctions like these, and they never work. 500,000 people dead, women and children, and the US knew it has having zero effect. I think the hope was in US leader’s minds (such that they are) that the people would get fed up and revolt. Well, they did that once after the US promised aid and were mowed down, I dont think they were going to try that again. I think the US had a moral obligation to stop sanctions when it became clear that only the poorest and the most vunerable were suffering from them. They refused, I think it was criminal. [/quote]

    Yes, I get your point: It’s always America’s fault. No matter how evil Saddam was, no matter how much food and medicine Saddam withheld from his people, no matter how many people died from Saddam’s crimes, no matter how many people Saddam killed outright, it’s always America’s fault. Only America has moral obligations, not Saddam. Only America has responsibilities, not Saddam. All evil everywhere is America’s fault.

    Steve

  • 7alaylia
    27 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve,

    You surprise me at every turn with how your thinking can be so bland and generalising!

    You write “Well, it looks like Pipes was fairly prescient in this fourteen year old prediction. Western Europe hasn’t responded well to the mass immigration of brown-skinned Muslims, being a fairly racist culture. For the most part, European countries have chosen to isolate Muslim immigrants from Turkey and Africa in their own housing projects and those immigrants have been happy to be so isolated.”

    Muslim immigrants to Europe do what any other immigrant community the world round does for the first several generations, they huddle together. In Europe where Muslim have been for longer you see this starting to fade away, like the Pakistani communities in the UK.

    Steve writes “Muslim customs are indeed more troublesome than most. Sweden has had a fair amount of controversy about honor killings among Muslim immigrants. It is indeed troublesome for westerners in general when a father stabs his daughter to death because she is dating.”

    Hum, and this only happens in Muslim communities? Honour killings are far more common in Hindu India than they are in any Muslim country, they have even done some honour killings here in the USA. It is also fairly common in Central and South America. 60 Minutes did a long expose on the issue once, Brazilian men killing their wives and daughters, facing no punishment. Let me guess, you will come up with a way to blame Islam for that as well?

    Steve writes “Also, there seem to be a fair number of Muslim immigrants who believe that differences of opinion can only be solved through murder, as demonstrated with Van Gogh’s murder in the Netherlands.”

    As opposed to people in the US like Tim McVeigh. He was a Christian, your point is? Eric Rudolpher? Christian bomber of the olympics and abortion clinics? Point? Odd that an American, citizen of the murder capital of the world, can talk to anyone else about violence!

    Steve writes “And of course, there is the Muslim predeliction for bombing to advance their religion. That is a troublesome custom.”

    As opposed to the 1.5 million dead people in Uganda killed by Christian extremists right? But of course you will claim they do not speak for all of Christianity, whereas the extremists MUST ALWAYS speak for Islam right? Double standard!

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    27 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve,

    The US gave Saddam weapons and cash before, during, and after he used chemical weapons on his own people! Why didnt the US care about Iraqis then? Why the sudden interest?

    Your crying about “poor America” is another tactic to try and refuse to address the issues. Of course Hussein had responsibilities to his own people and he failed miserably. The problem with this is that I am not Iraqi, I am an American, therefor what the US does it does in my name, that is why I am so concerned with US actions. When the US gave arms and cash to Saddam Hussein before and after his use of chemical weapons, I find that insane, and the people who approved this should be held accountable.

    It is a sad day when to try and justify American actions you must point to a man as evil as Saddam Hussein. As an American who loves my country I reject this! we must hold the people accountable who provided aid and comfort to Saddam Hussein when he was killing thousands of his own people. They meant SO little to the American government then, why the suddent interest? Is it okay for Saddam to kill his people when he does it with American support, just not okay when he doesnt have our support?

    Answer me that Steve, why did Iraqis mean so little when we were supporting Hussein, and why are they so important now?

    Malik-An American who thinks the Iraqis were always important.

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]The US cannot have it both ways, for years they fostered a Europe that could do nothing without US lead and approval. Then when the US fails to lead, the US asks “what is wrong with Europe?” Answer is, nothing, you have the Europe you have always wanted. [/quote]

    If Europe could do nothing without our approval, why did France kick our troops out? That did not meet with our approval. Europe has continually done obnoxious things that met with our disapproval. France and Germany particularly delight in doing so.

    You are consistent in always holding America to blame for everything. This is particularly cute: When Europe doesn’t muster the troops to put down death camps in Europe, America is to blame. You are consistently anti-American in every opinion. I can predict your position on any topic involving America: America is wrong.

    It’s pretty clear that you are not arguing a thoughtful position but rather an ideological position that holds America as the devil.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Malik: You write “Well, it looks like Pipes was fairly prescient in this fourteen year old prediction. Western Europe hasn’t responded well to the mass immigration of brown-skinned Muslims, being a fairly racist culture. For the most part, European countries have chosen to isolate Muslim immigrants from Turkey and Africa in their own housing projects and those immigrants have been happy to be so isolated.”

    Muslim immigrants to Europe do what any other immigrant community the world round does for the first several generations, they huddle together. In Europe where Muslim have been for longer you see this starting to fade away, like the Pakistani communities in the UK. [/quote]

    So you are arguing that Europe has reacted well to Muslim immigration? That the Europeans are responding well to them? You seem to be arguing that Pipes was correct but that there are good and understable reasons that he was correct.

    And really, Malik, the European problem is not with Muslim immigrants who become gradually Europeanized but with Europeanized Muslim immigrants who become Muslimized. The Muslim immigrants arrive in Europe clean-shaven and accepting of the West and leave with beards rejecting the West.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “Malik, we struck back at those who did Sep 11 in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has been reduced down to nothing as a functioning organization. ”

    LOL! Seems you know more than the CIA does! The truth is the US does not really know what effect we have had against al-Queda because we dont know what they had in the first place. We had no “order of battle” to work from, hence, if we take out 2,000 members, we dont know what impact that has had on them. Besides, this type of thinking doesnt even work with a group like al-Queda, they are not a nation state, thus standard modes of thinking does not work. I think the real threat, long term, is a slimmed down al-Queda built to achieve major “one offs” like 9/11 and a future WMD attack in the US, and small cell structured non aligened groups.[/quote]

    Actually, I know what anybody who can read a paper or watch a TV knows, which evidently excludes you. We know that we have cleaned out Al Qaeda’s training camps in Afghanistan. How is it that you do not know that? Perhaps you were busy laughing out loud when that was announced.

    We have also killed or captured two thirds of Al Qaeda’s leadership. You don’t need to be in the CIA to know that. And almost all the captured leaders are talking. That tells us quite a bit.

    Yes, we do have an order of battle. Just about every Saudi who left for Afghanistan did so on a subsidized fare on the Saudi state airline. The Saudis have a complete list of them. Al Qaeda also began keeping lists of its recruits after the first year or two, mostly to confirm to Saudi families that their missing sons had passed through their barracks. It looks like about 60,000 or so Saudis and others passed through Al Qaeda facilities en route to Afghanistan. Of those, perhaps only two to three thousand are hard core permanent Al Qaeda. Many of them are dead, the others scattered to the winds.

    We know that our assault on Al Qaeda has reduced them down to minimal effectiveness. They have not been able to mount assaults outside of Saudi Arabia, their home ground. To maintain their presence, they have in effect franchised their name to other fundamentalist groups. The Madrid bombers got no help from Al Qaeda, merely permission to use their name. The Al Qaeda leader told them they just didn’t have the means to support them. Likewise, Zarqawi has his own group in Iraq independent of the original Al Qaeda, which is a franchise operation operating under the Al Qaeda name.

    Malik, I know it’s hard for you to believe, but taking away the bases of operation of an organization, interdicting its funds, killing and capturing its leaders, killing its members all have a bad effect on an organization, not a positive one. However, if you think this is not true, I recommend an experiment to you: Burn your organization’s building to the ground, shoot dead two thirds of your management, kill a third or so of its members, and cut its budget to a fraction. Let me know if that improves the quantity and quality of your product.

    And by the way, the LOL thing is getting old. You always seem to use it on topics where you know the least or are making a self-evidently absurd point, like this one.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik

    you said. ” If you dont believe me you have never talked to a woman as she is going to a job interview in the USA, worried about wearing the right clothes, loosing the job to a younger, better looking female! Freedom? Hardly!”

    As a woman who has been on plenty of job interviews in the USA, this has never crossed my mind. Maybe you need to talk to more women, you know, get out a little more.

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    My world is just as real as your world, Malik. I’m out there working in it every day. I’ve lived in a lot of places across the USA and had experiences far beyond the norm. You act like I’m posting from a closet somewhere. You just might be more credible if you actually stuck to reasons and facts instead of boasting that your experience is more authentic than anybody else’s. Your arguments are largely ad hominem.

    The second of your ad hominem arguments is that my antipathy to Islam springs from bigotry when in fact my antipathy springs entirely from the Sep 11 butchery perpetrated by Muslims for Islam, the celebration of that butchery by much of the Muslim world, and revelation of how deep the hatred for America goes, indoctrinated by malicious Muslim mullahs. Why is that hard to understand? I don’t like people trying to kill me. This kind of moral obtuseness is exasperating: The Muslims butcher Americans by the thousands and then the Muslims claim Americans take a dim view of their religion because we’re bigoted. It’s All About The Mass Murder. If you kill thousands of Americans and threaten to kill millions more, that makes you unpopulare hereabouts. What part of this is impossible to understand?

    I haven’t run into a lot of Muslim converts here in the US. It’s not exactly a popular religion. From what stats I read, most of the converts to Islam are women marrying Muslim men. There just aren’t that many people walking off the street into the mosque looking to be converted in America. Perhaps there are in your circles, but in mainstreet America, I’m not seeing any.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(1): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Pipes has been rebutted time and time again. Once again, I guess if you do not choose to read it, then you can certainly claim to have never seen it right? Pipes is a racist, anyone who bangs on about “brown people with strange food” cannot be described as anything else.

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    I posted a link to the Cornell report, if you cannot or will not access it, it is hardly my issue. What are my credentials concerning Islam and the Middle East? I have taken years of university level Arabic, both at Western universities and Arabic universities. I have taken several graduate level classes on Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. I am married to a Saudi Arabian citizen and have widely traveled in the Middle East and I have worked for the US Department of Defense and private government contractors dealing with various projects in the area and other places.

    Any other questions?

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    It gets really old providing proof for what is well known by anyone knowledgeable in the subject. If you do not know enough to debate the subject, I suggest you do not.

    “Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene…All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.” (National Review, 11/19/90)

    Pipes is clearly a racist and a xenophobe. Funny when one considers his comments about “different standards of hygiene”. Talk to anyone who has spent any time around Arabs and they will all tell you that Arabs personal hygiene is, on average, superior to Americans, but I am sure a racist such as Pipes would never admit it. I suppose he would have no problem with Arabic Jews coming to the US, even though to most Americans, they would be indistinguishable to Arab Muslims or Christians for that matter.

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    I guess basic civil rights dont count for Muslims do they Steve? You talk about Jose Padilla as if he has ever been convicted or even charged with anything. He has not been charged, has not been convicted, and is being held in violation of the US Constitution. He is an American, arrested on American soil, but has been denied his rights of due process, amoungst others.

    So, I guess one is “innocent until proven guilty” unless you are Muslim, right Steve?

    Steve needs to get a clue, based on the “things to look for” that he wrote they would not have captured or arrested one 9/11 hijacker. Out of the thousands of Muslims arrested in the US since 9/11 only a handful have been convicted of anything and the average sentence has been about a month, so it tells you what those convictions consisted of.

  • anonymous
    27 December 2004

    Re(5): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Mahmood,

    The problem here is that Steve doesnt have the first clue as to what is really going on out here in the real world. He relies on people such a Daniel Pipes, an open racist, for his ideas. His whole mind seet comes from what he reads in books, the problem is, he isnt very open as to what he reads. Like many other anti-Muslim bigots he reads what fits nicely with his own ideas. He never challenges himself. I suggest reading some Edward Said, Rashid Khalidi, Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, or Tariq Ali. He needs to open himself. I read people like Pipes, Lewis, Spencer, Timmerling because I want to challenge myself, because I want to hear an opposing view point.

    If Steve knew anything about modern Islam, especially in the USA, he would understand that there are people who convert to Islam of all colors, and the percentage of converts from the white community in the USA is growing very rapidly. My wife and I took the kids and had dinner with the family of a Palestinian couple we know here. The Palestinian lady is married to an American convert, he has been a convert for 25 years. I have been a convert for 8 years, the lady’s brother, recently here from Jordan, is engaged to another white convert lady who has been Muslim for three years now. Another family we know from Saudi recently had a daughter marry an American convert here in the DC area. It is a lot more common than you might think Steve, time to get out more!

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    28 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “Malik, in most of the US there aren’t identifiable Arab communities ”

    I have lived all over the US and in any US city of note there is an Arabic community. I guess you would have to not be immune to what is around you to notice it.

    Steve writes “I usually don’t know that a person I’m dealing with is Arabic until long after I meet them and then only by accident. ”

    Do you generally not know people’s names who you interact with? How many “regular Americans” out there have Arabic names? Even Christian Arabs, who make up a majority of American Arabs, have easily identifiable names, I know a Christian Arab guy with a western first name, last name is “Abu Khair.” Certainly not hard to identify Arabs by name.

    Steve writes “Before Sep 11, I just never detected much animosity towards Arabs. As a practical matter, most Arabs look like Eastern Europeans, of whom there are many here. I think that most people just assume they’re European”

    There was animosity before 9/11, but I am sure you wouldnt have known this. As to what Arabs look like, you are off with your generalisations again. Arabs looks span the spectrum. You have blonad haired blue eyed Palestinians and Syrians, red haired Kurds(although they are not Arab), you have black Yemenis and Saudis. Which “most Arabs” are you talking about? Steve, Steve, Steve! Generalisations make you look like you are an idiot! There is no such thing as a “typical Arab look”. If think most Arabs look like Eastern Europeans? I dont think so, I dont think Mahmood looks Eastern European. Having spent some time in Eastern Europe I do not see what you are talking about.

    Steve writes “Likewise, there isn’t a sizeable presence of Muslims to really be noticed.”

    Over 7 million Muslims in the USA and they are in any major US city in sizable numbers. You claim to live in the Washington DC area. You cannot go a day here without seeing or interacting with a Muslim, impossible.

    Steve writes “Most Americans did not know what Muslims believe other than Allah and the Koran. ”

    The sad fact is most Americans still dont.

    Steve writes “I don’t know that these scholars of the Middle East do not know Arabic. I would think that Lewis does, considering the obscure Ottoman references he cites. ”

    Some do, the vast majority do not. It is very easy to tell in their works if you know Arabic yourself. Example off the top of my head, Judith Miller in her “great” book on the subject talks about “thobes”. This is a clear example that she doesnt speak the language. Everyone with even a passing knowledge of Arabic knows that in Arabic one does not make a plural by adding an “s” to a word, rather Arabic plurals involve internal structure change to the root word, hence the singular “thob” becomes “thiab”(sorry for any transliteration issues).

    I believe Lewis reads Arabic, not sure if he speaks it, two different things for a scholar, especially of these types of languages. As to obscure Ottoman references, these are often found in the old Orientalist works in German and French that he so loves to use.

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    28 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “That’s quite impressive, Malik. You have decided that a book is sinister through interpretation of its title and decided that it is a bad book full of bad information.”

    No, I said the title sounded sinister, I found it to be full of false information by reading it.

    Steve writes “And any book not on your “balanced” reading list promoting your particular agenda have no value, being unbalanced accounts.”

    What part dont you get? I said it rather clearly that I make a specific point to read material that do NOT promote my thoughts and what I believe. I tend to read more material that argues against my point of view than material that supports it. That is why I know your tired argument before you even make it. I have read dozens of books by people who you would support as gospel.

    Steve writes “Malik, you’re a typical liberal with issues about free speech, who doesn’t like people reading stuff that leads them to dissenting views, who wants to control what people read. You are one step away from being a book-burner”

    You are being hysterial Steve! Take a breath! I am anything but a book burner, I own dozens of books by your heros, Lewis, Timmerman, Spencer, Pipes, Miller ect. To truly have knowledge about a subject you must be fully aware of the arguements put forward by all sides. This is where you fail. You do not have even a good grasp of your own sides arguements let alone the opposition. You are the one with free speech issues who wants and does brand any person critical, in the slightest way, of US policy as “anti-American”. This accusation of yours is used to try and deafen debate. As to being a liberal, I am far from it. I am a social and fiscal conservative, as are most American Muslims.

    Steve writes “I’d be more impressed with your arguments about these books if you actually cited specifics, facts, and reasons rather than made sweeping denunciations of other schools of thought. ”

    I sit here at work during free time doing this, I am not going to spend hours at home puring through old books to disprove your poorly argued nonsense. Since you seem to think you have a grasp of Islamic fundamentalism, how about we discuss the life and works of Sayyid Qutb? He was one of the formost writers and thinkers of the modern Islamic movement who is well known to anyone with even basic knowledge of the subject. I am sure you have read several of his books, care to discuss one, or discuss his life? It would be an interesting exchange for everyone here to watch. Since Qutb is one of the main inspirations for al-Queda and Islamists, I am sure you have a wealth of knowledge concerning him! Cant wait to talk about it!

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    28 December 2004

    Re: birthrates

    It is asked of me “Why do you not live in Europe now? ”

    Because I resigned from the DoD and got another job here in the states. I was born there, loved living there, life, work and family took me elsewhere.

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    28 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “Yet you live in America. ”

    This is where my job is. I lived in Europe by choice, I live here by choice. We are actually considering Dubai or London in the next few years.

    Malik

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(8): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    You sady “Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and the USA, get used to it. Because you “havent run into a lot of Muslim converts” doesnt mean it isnt so! ”

    Islam spreads mainly by high birthrates. The Middle East has one of the highest birthrates in the world. So does Indonesia. I haven’t run into any Muslim converts in the USA either and I live very close to New York City, a dense cosmopolitan center. The only time I hear of American converts is when they are featured on TV. If Islam is growing in the USA, that’s mainly due to the high number of immigrants coming in from other countries. That about a third of my last department was comprised of Muslim immigrants is a case in point(mostly Indians, Bangladeshis, and Pakistanis)

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(8): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    You say “As to what Arabs look like, you are off with your generalisations again. Arabs looks span the spectrum. You have blonad haired blue eyed ”

    Blond and blue eyed is not a common look among middle-easterners just like it’s uncommon among Mexicans. The generalization still applies.

    “Over 7 million Muslims in the USA ”

    Out of a population of 300 million Americans. That’s about 2%, hardly sizable. It’s understandable that most Americans who don’t live in a big city haven’t met any Muslims.

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Mailk,

    You say “Odd that an American, citizen of the murder capital of the world,”

    DC may be the murder capital of the USA, but of the world? Your reality check must have bounced.

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    “whereas the extremists MUST ALWAYS speak for Islam right? Double standard! ”

    Because the extremists always shout allahu akbar before sawing off the head of some hapless infidel or blowing themselves up in a supermarket.

  • chalk66x
    28 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Was looking thru the links here and came across one with links to kids sites at http://www.xanga.com/groups/group.aspx?id=497285 I have to tell you that reading a teenage girl from Bahrain pages and my daughter from Hawaii pages I cant tell the difference at all. I guess if we profiled them we wouldnt find much to look for besides bad taste in music.

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    It is asked “You say “Odd that an American, citizen of the murder capital of the world,”

    DC may be the murder capital of the USA, but of the world? Your reality check must have bounced. ”

    You need to take a look back at what I wrote. Americans slaughter each other at rates no other country in the world can match. Fact.

    Malik

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    You write “Malik,

    “whereas the extremists MUST ALWAYS speak for Islam right? Double standard! ”

    Because the extremists always shout allahu akbar before sawing off the head of some hapless infidel or blowing themselves up in a supermarket. ”

    Islamic extremists have killed far less people the last decade than Christian extremists. Over 1 million killed by Christian extremists in Uganda alone. Again I ask, why do people let the worst of the lot define Islam, but do not do the same with other religions? Double standard! Did people condemn Judaism and its core values and beliefs when Baruch Goldstein walked into the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron and mowed down over 30 worshippers? Double Standard!

    Malik

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(9): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Written “Blond and blue eyed is not a common look among middle-easterners just like it’s uncommon among Mexicans. The generalization still applies. ”

    It does not and anyone who knows Arabs knows it doesnt. Arabs come in as many colours, shapes and hues as anyone else. A mate of mine, Alam, is a Palestinian with red hair and freckles, as has his brothers and sisters. A friend of my wife, Syrian, has golden blond hair and blue eyes, as does other members of her family. My wife is light complected and has dark eyes, her grandfather was basically black from Yemen.

    Anyone who follows the Hollywood stereotype of the “average Arab” doesnt have a clue!

    Written “Out of a population of 300 million Americans. That’s about 2%, hardly sizable. It’s understandable that most Americans who don’t live in a big city haven’t met any Muslims. ”

    I never said all Americans would know Muslims, just that any American in a mid size city would deal with Muslims at least on semi-regular basis. What is your point here besides trying to prop up old tired misconceptions?

    Malik

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(5): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    You say “Americans slaughter each other at rates no other country in the world can match. Fact.”

    Where did you find this “fact”? Have you taken a look at Africa lately? How about Sudan in particular? How about the Europeans 50 years ago? How about Iraqi terrorists throwing bombs at their own people? How about Pol Pot? What world are you living in?

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(5): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “So you are arguing that Europe has reacted well to Muslim immigration? ”

    You are the one given to generalisations, not me, unlike yourself I would never make the above statement. I think, on the whole, when one looks at the history of other massive influxes of immigrants to other countries, I think Europe is well on track in regards to its Muslim immigrants. [/quote]

    That looks not only like one of those generalizations you profess to dislike, but an evasion as well. Western Europe is producing a plethora of anti-immigrant political parties specifically opposed to Muslim immigrants from Turkey and North Africa. That tends to support Pipes original prediction that Europe would not respond well to them. Your response evades that reality.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(5): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    Read a little closer into the Uganda massacre and you’ll see that the causes are tribal conflicts between the north and the south. None of those “Christian extremists” flew 4000 miles to another country to knock down skyscrapers because their owners were infidels.

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(5): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Again I ask, why do people let the worst of the lot define Islam, but do not do the same with other religions? Double standard! Did people condemn Judaism and its core values and beliefs when Baruch Goldstein walked into the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron and mowed down over 30 worshippers? Double Standard! [/quote]

    It is the Muslims who let terrorists define Islam, not the non-Muslims. The Muslim terrorists have no fear of making their threats public against the non-Muslim world while that tiny sliver of Muslim moderates lack the courage of their convictions to oppose them publicly. Many Muslims, very likely the majority, think terrorism against the infidels is good. It’s even enshrined in their religion to make war against the House of War where the infidels live. You could read articles in the Arab press praising and celebrating the attack.

    The difference between Goldstein’s crime and Sep 11, for example, is that Israel did not celebrate this mass murder as the Muslim world celebrate the Sep 11 mass murder. Israel prosecuted it, even determining Goldstein may have had two accomplices. By contrast, the Saudis resisted the investigation of the Sep 11 murderers. There was no public investigation by the Muslim world into Sep 11 where the facts were found and laid bare.

    Throughout the Muslim world, many Muslim clergy preached exactly the kind of violence against Muslims that led to Sep 11, many of them supported by the foremost Islamic nation, Saudi Arabia. Goldstein was not acting at the behest of the state of Israel, which condemned his crime, unlike Saudi Arabia, which claimed that its citizens who had murdered three thousand Americans were innocent victims of misidentification due to American bigotry. They maintained that lie for six months.

    Malik, even you, a supposedly moderate Muslim, have written justifying the Sep 11 massacres. Your position is that of the majority of Muslims whose argument consists of lip service acknowledging Sep 11 was a bad act BUT deserved. It is a morally inferior position.

    You can’t have it both ways, morally posturing against such crimes while at the same time justifying them. It is exactly such rather transparent support of the worst evil Muslims do that defines Islam as a religion of murderous immorality.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(5): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Another preposterous anti-American accusation by Malik. As you can easily check on the Internet, such as the link I have provided below, the US is 24th on the list of homicides per capita at 0.04 homicides per 1000 people, or about four per hundred thousand people, trailing far behind Columbia, at 0.63 per 1000 people, or 63 per hundred thousand people. That’s fifteen times the US homicide rate.

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/cri_mur_cap

    As always, you are reliably anti-American, even when you have to invent charges out of thin air to slander your own country.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(8): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “Malik, in most of the US there aren’t identifiable Arab communities ”

    I have lived all over the US and in any US city of note there is an Arabic community. I guess you would have to not be immune to what is around you to notice it. [/quote]

    In many American cities there is a Korea town and a Vietnam town, often sporting street signs in their native language. In Houston, the Korea town is all in Korean, street signs, churches, restaurants, everything. I have seen no such equivalent Arab town in any American city. It’s tough to even find a good Middle Eastern restaurant. In most towns, there is only one at most. It’s much easier to find an Indian restaurant.

    Whatever Arab sides of town there are in America, they are unknown and invisible to the average American.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(5): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “You seem to be arguing that Pipes was correct but that there are good and understable reasons that he was correct.”

    If you think that you havent a clue as to what I was saying. YOU are the one that was arguing that Pipe’s racist assertion was correct, not me. [/quote]

    I’m reading this one snippet of what you allege to be Pipe’s work, but it reads to me like Pipe’s is correctly describing the European view to Muslim integration, not necessarily his own. The Europeans describe the immigrants in considerably less charitable terms, which tends to support Pipe’s depiction of their reaction. It appears that you are attributing Pipe’s description of European racism to him.

    [quote]Steve writes “And really, Malik, the European problem is not with Muslim immigrants who become gradually Europeanized but with Europeanized Muslim immigrants who become Muslimized.”

    Ah, so Muslim immigrants are okay as long as they leave their religion at the door eh? [/quote]

    You are dodging the issue here. The problem is Muslim immigrants to Europe who become radicalized in fundamentalist mosques, as was the case in the Hamburg cell, among others. Yes, Muslim immigrants should leave their religion behind with respect to its demands to kill infidels and slaughter their offspring who do not abide by it. It’s dishonest of you to argue in favor of murderous radical Islam on grounds of religious freedom. Radical Muslims don’t want religious freedom.

    [quote]Steve writes “The Muslim immigrants arrive in Europe clean-shaven and accepting of the West and leave with beards rejecting the West. ”

    Another one of your gross generalisations that has very little to do with reality! See, tis what you get when then only thing you have to base your ideas on are books, and the wrong books at that.

    I will state this to you for the 100th time, when you generalise you will always be wrong Steve, always. See, this is where you and bin Laden are much the same, you are both radical extremists who see the world in black and white. Both of you are dead wrong. [/quote]

    I stand by my statement. I note that Mohammed Atta went to Germany clean shaven and left with a beard. That is a common change among Muslims who become radicalized. I leave it to the readers to decide whether to accept your desperate opinion to the contrary.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    Would you say then that it was better for the Indians to practice a religion that included cannibalism rather than be forceably converted from these practices? Are you arguing that the Protestant clergy who forced the Indians to give up cannibalism were taking Bin Laden’s approach to religion? You seem to be arguing in favor of Indian cannibalism here.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve generalises and mischaracterises again and says “Yes, Muslim immigrants should leave their religion behind with respect to its demands to kill infidels and slaughter their offspring who do not abide by it. It’s dishonest of you to argue in favor of murderous radical Islam on grounds of religious freedom. Radical Muslims don’t want religious freedom. ”

    But see, 99.99% of Muslims do not think that their religion advocates any of the above. You, in your view of Islam, seem to agree once again with bin Laden and those of his ilk. Nice company. Islam does not demand the slaughter or conversion of anyone. There are many groups in the world that do not want religious freedoms. Israel makes it very hard for religious groups, other than Jewish, to work in their country. The BJP, when it was in power in India, made it next to impossible for missionaries to work in the country, and even passed laws in some Indian states banning religious conversion. Why do you so conveniently forget about these cases? I think it is because these cases dont fit into your pet hatred for Islam, Muslims and Arabs.

    Steve writes “I’m reading this one snippet of what you allege to be Pipe’s work, but it reads to me like Pipe’s is correctly describing the European view to Muslim integration, not necessarily his own. The Europeans describe the immigrants in considerably less charitable terms, which tends to support Pipe’s depiction of their reaction. It appears that you are attributing Pipe’s description of European racism to him. ”

    Amazing that Steve spreads his gross generalisations to Europe. To say that the situation of the Muslim community in the UK is the same as it is in France is to not have a clue. You cannot talk about a “European attitude” towards Muslim immigration anymore than you can talk about the “voice” of the Islamic world. Nonsense, generalisations, and untrue not to mention misleading.

    Steve writes “I stand by my statement. I note that Mohammed Atta went to Germany clean shaven and left with a beard. That is a common change among Muslims who become radicalized. I leave it to the readers to decide whether to accept your desperate opinion to the contrary. ”

    So your definition of a Muslim radical is a beard? Really? Your generalisations and ignorance on the subject knows NO bounds. Some of the most radical Muslims I have known have been clean shaven. Having a beard is not a requirement, rather it is “Sunnah” so one does not have to have a beard to be a radical Muslim. The only thing desperate in this discussion of ours is your inability to address specifics and your inability to do anything but generalise.

    Malik

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(5): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “Would you say then that it was better for the Indians to practice a religion that included cannibalism rather than be forceably converted from these practices? Are you arguing that the Protestant clergy who forced the Indians to give up cannibalism were taking Bin Laden’s approach to religion? You seem to be arguing in favor of Indian cannibalism here. ”

    Once again Steve cannot see the forest for the trees. Do I agree with cannibalism? Of course not, but you miss the point. The Christians who came to the US to convert or murder the Indians did not see any difference between one religious practice and the next, they were not Christian, so they converted or died! I dispute your idea that bin Laden wants to convert anyone. I, along with senior members of the CIA, think that bin Laden’s goal are more political based than religious and can be clearly outlined as such. If you read his speaches you will see they are very political in nature the idea that you are pushing here that he wants to rule the world and convert everyone to Islam is no where to be found!

    I reject the idea of anyone pushing their religion on anyone by force. I dont care what the situation. If the Christian crusaders in the Americas at the time wanted to prosecute the people for murder, so be it, but to forceably convert people with threats of mass murder indeed is not the right way to go.

    Your problem Steve is you feel, as you have stated here before, that your way is absolutely right and that your way can and will crush everyone else. I stand against all absolutists, yourself and bin Laden alike.

    Malik

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Congratulations, Malik. You have successfully used facts and logic to rebut one of my points. That’s twice now. I’m hoping you’ll make this a trend.

    You have convinced me that Hitler did reference Christianity to promote his program. You have not convinced me that his program was meant to promote Christianity. Even Stalin brought back the religion he suppressed when it advanced his agenda. The Nazis created and ran their own programs without consulting the clergy. By contrast, the Muslim program is created and promoted from the clergy, not the politicians.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    “Islam does not demand the slaughter or conversion of anyone.”

    WHat is the traditional Islamic teaching regarding Muslims who leave Islam for another faith? Aren’t they supposed to be killed for being apostates (not implying here that this is actually being carried out)?

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(9): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “In many American cities there is a Korea town and a Vietnam town, often sporting street signs in their native language. In Houston, the Korea town is all in Korean, street signs, churches, restaurants, everything. I have seen no such equivalent Arab town in any American city. It’s tough to even find a good Middle Eastern restaurant. In most towns, there is only one at most. It’s much easier to find an Indian restaurant.

    Whatever Arab sides of town there are in America, they are unknown and invisible to the average American. ”

    Nice of you to feel free to speak for the American people. I guess you feel as free to generalise about the US as you have done about Europe, Islam and the Middle East. There does not need to be an “Arab town” in most major US cities, as their presence is spread far and wide. Since you live in the DC area, lets look at here. You have a very well known Lebanese butcher in Falls Church, right around the corner from a huge Pakistani Halal butcher. There is a Iranian food shop right up the street next to an Afghani place. A few miles away is Mount of Olives another huge Halal grocery, with a restaurant next to it. There are a couple of Sudanese places next to it. A mile up the road in Skyline there is a whole strip mall comprised of Arab shops and stores. This goes on and on. Why would one need to be confined to a certain area when the Arab presence in the USA has become so vast it doesnt need to be contained in a small spot.

    Your problem is Steve is that you think if you are not aware of it it most certainly cannot exist. There is a whole world out there Steve that you are not aware of, it is painfully clear from your posts here, too bad you refuse to wake up to it!

    Malik

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(7): Irrelevant questions need no answers

    You were trying to get away with labelling everyone who does not follow the liberal party line as intolerant, ignorant, mindless followers, and so on. Now you’re changing the subject.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “It is the Muslims who let terrorists define Islam, not the non-Muslims. The Muslim terrorists have no fear of making their threats public against the non-Muslim world while that tiny sliver of Muslim moderates lack the courage of their convictions to oppose them publicly.”

    Nonsense, but with your limited knowledge, I would not expect you to know better. Moderate Muslims can and do oppose the small amount of fanatics all around the world. You need to ask yourself why the western media refuses to cover it. If you spoke Arabic you would know there is a lot of debate going on about these issues and no lack of moderates to speak out. Western media loves sensationalism, that is wht they refuse to cover the moderates. Nothing sensational about moderate Muslims condemning terrorists, they do it all of the time, but the latest bin Laden video sure gets people talking. Again, Steve thinks because he is unware of something that this negates its existance.

    Steve writes “The difference between Goldstein’s crime and Sep 11, for example, is that Israel did not celebrate this mass murder as the Muslim world celebrate the Sep 11 mass murder.”

    Oh, but I beg to differ. What did Israel do after the mass slaughter of Muslims by a Jew at a mosque? They shut the mosque down and allow Jews to visit! Rewarding mass murder. There have also been shrines built all over Israel and the settlements that honour Goldstein. Like I always say to you, because you are unware does not negate the existance of these things!

    Steve writes “Throughout the Muslim world, many Muslim clergy preached exactly the kind of violence against Muslims that led to Sep 11, many of them supported by the foremost Islamic nation, Saudi Arabia. ”

    There you go generalising again! Which “Muslim world” are you talking about? Egypt? Indonesia? Oman? Tunisia? You cannot honestly talk in any real terms about a “Muslim world” because there are no generalisations that you can make that will correctly encompass it. Once again you point to Saudi Arabia as if the few million people there can speak for over one billion Muslims! Saudi Arabia is an abberation not a role model.

    Steve writes “Malik, even you, a supposedly moderate Muslim, have written justifying the Sep 11 massacres. Your position is that of the majority of Muslims whose argument consists of lip service acknowledging Sep 11 was a bad act BUT deserved. It is a morally inferior position. ”

    I have never justified 9/11, you are just too thick, it would seem, to be able to understand anything beyond generalities. What is morally inferior is your hatred of over one billion Muslims and hundreds of millions of people in the Middle East. Hatred, like yours and bin Laden, will always be immoral.

    Malik

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Commented “Read a little closer into the Uganda massacre and you’ll see that the causes are tribal conflicts between the north and the south. None of those “Christian extremists” flew 4000 miles to another country to knock down skyscrapers because their owners were infidels. ”

    Hum, changing the goal posts, here I thought we were talking about religious extremism and the claim that only Islam has a history of such. Christian extremists sailed for months to come to the US to forceably convert or murder millions of American Indians. Christian extremists killed millions in hundreds of years of religious wars in Europe. Christian extremists gave us the inquisition which forced Jews and Muslims to convert or die.

    All religions have extremists, I think you are bothered by the fact that Christian extremists, have historically killed far more people than Muslim extremists ever thought about.

    Malik

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “As always, you are reliably anti-American, even when you have to invent charges out of thin air to slander your own country. ”

    For a person who supposedly loves the USA you sure despise the freedoms we have here! Why do you always want to silence those who have the freedom to be critical of their own country? Why the names? If you were truly American and proud of the freedoms we have here you would disagree with what I say, but not call me names or question my patriotism.

    One of the major problems in this country at the moment is people like Steve. They have fostered a climate of fear and hate where no one feels free to speak their mind, as is our right, for fear of being branded “anti-American” or “unpatriotic”. I feel that I am much more proud of my country than Steve because I openly advocate and encourage the very rights that make this country great, not try to shut them up!

    Malik…..Proud American…..Proud to have freedom of speech!

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Written “Malik,

    You say “Americans slaughter each other at rates no other country in the world can match. Fact.”

    Where did you find this “fact”? Have you taken a look at Africa lately? How about Sudan in particular? How about the Europeans 50 years ago? How about Iraqi terrorists throwing bombs at their own people? How about Pol Pot? What world are you living in? ”

    Mixing apples and oranges. I am not talking about insurgencies or civil war, I am just talk about plain crime. Get a clue.

    Malik.

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(8): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Written “Malik,

    “Islam does not demand the slaughter or conversion of anyone.”

    What is the traditional Islamic teaching regarding Muslims who leave Islam for another faith? Aren’t they supposed to be killed for being apostates (not implying here that this is actually being carried out)? ”

    Depends on which Muslim school of thought you are talking about. Have any specific school you wish to know about? I am sure you think there is a standard line of “Muslim thinking” on subject and issues, there is not. On this subject I like the story from the Christian and Jewish Bible where the Jewish man brought home an outsider woman, pregnant, they feared this would upset God so they ran her and the baby through with a spear and the Bible then recounts how this awful murder saved Israel from God’s wrath! Fix your own house before you worry about others!

    Malik

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve generalises and mischaracterises again and says “Yes, Muslim immigrants should leave their religion behind with respect to its demands to kill infidels and slaughter their offspring who do not abide by it. It’s dishonest of you to argue in favor of murderous radical Islam on grounds of religious freedom. Radical Muslims don’t want religious freedom. ”

    But see, 99.99% of Muslims do not think that their religion advocates any of the above. You, in your view of Islam, seem to agree once again with bin Laden and those of his ilk. Nice company. Islam does not demand the slaughter or conversion of anyone. There are many groups in the world that do not want religious freedoms. Israel makes it very hard for religious groups, other than Jewish, to work in their country. The BJP, when it was in power in India, made it next to impossible for missionaries to work in the country, and even passed laws in some Indian states banning religious conversion. Why do you so conveniently forget about these cases? I think it is because these cases dont fit into your pet hatred for Islam, Muslims and Arabs.[/quote]

    The prayers in many Saudi mosques close with an invocation to slaughter Jews and other ambiguously specified non-Muslims, which sounds suspiciously like the West. Being such an admirer of Saudi culture, how is it that you do not know this? Or do you know it and are misdirecting us? Which is it, Malik?

    In Saudi Arabia, it is a capital offense to reject Islam for another religion. If a Saudi turns Shinto, the Saudis cut off his head. That is the Sharia in Saudi Arabia. How is it possible that you do not know this and claim it is not true?

    Your argument that Muslims should not be condemned for their intolerance of other religions because there are others just as intolerant is pathetic. It’s like a defense lawyer trying to spring a murderer by arguing that there are other murderers who don’t get caught.

    Islam deserves more condemnation from us than those other intolerant religions because they have not flown jet liners into American skyscrapers and slaughtered Americans by the thousands then danced in the streets to celebrate. Those other religions are not embarked on a world-wide war of terror to establish a religious empire as the Muslims are. How much more freaking obvious can it get than that?

    Steve

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “That looks not only like one of those generalizations you profess to dislike, but an evasion as well. Western Europe is producing a plethora of anti-immigrant political parties specifically opposed to Muslim immigrants from Turkey and North Africa. That tends to support Pipes original prediction that Europe would not respond well to them. Your response evades that reality. ”

    This from the king of generalisation! I suggest you look at your own US history to look at how the US dealt with a large influx of immigrants. Anti-immigrant political parties, murder gangs, you name it. Any large influx of immigrants, whether Irish in the USA, or Algerian in France, is going to cause issues. Europe, as a whole, is dealing with it much better than the US did. The problem in Europe is a small amount of Muslim extremists, and secular extremists in places like France.

    Once again, I repeat, the real conflict is against extremists, Islamic, Jewish, Muslim and secular. Time to round them all up!

    Malik

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    “I am not talking about insurgencies or civil war, I am just talk about plain crime.”

    Massacres, ethnic cleansings, terrorism and genocide don’t count as crime? Dude, you need to get the clue.

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(8): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “Likewise, there isn’t a sizeable presence of Muslims to really be noticed.”

    Over 7 million Muslims in the USA and they are in any major US city in sizable numbers. You claim to live in the Washington DC area. You cannot go a day here without seeing or interacting with a Muslim, impossible. [/quote]

    I see Muslim women every day in my office. That is different from seeing a Muslim community. It is very possible to go a day with interacting with a Muslim in DC. You’re exaggerating about that.

    [quote]Steve writes “I don’t know that these scholars of the Middle East do not know Arabic. I would think that Lewis does, considering the obscure Ottoman references he cites. ”

    Some do, the vast majority do not. It is very easy to tell in their works if you know Arabic yourself. Example off the top of my head, Judith Miller in her “great” book on the subject talks about “thobes”. This is a clear example that she doesnt speak the language. Everyone with even a passing knowledge of Arabic knows that in Arabic one does not make a plural by adding an “s” to a word, rather Arabic plurals involve internal structure change to the root word, hence the singular “thob” becomes “thiab”(sorry for any transliteration issues).[/quote]

    That’s not a particularly convincing argument, Malik. There wasn’t any standard scheme of transliteration when I studied Arabic thirty years ago. Arabic words could spill out into English in several different forms. Your argument that Miller should use Arabic forms of pluralization in a work of English seems more a matter of judgement to me, lacking a standard. Spelling it “thobes” would be less confusing to an English reader while you would need a footnote to explain “thob”. It’s not clear to me which is the better form. It’s absolutely unpersuasive that this issue demonstrates a lack of scholarship. You seem to be nitpicking to make your case.

    Steve

    I believe Lewis reads Arabic, not sure if he speaks it, two different things for a scholar, especially of these types of languages. As to obscure Ottoman references, these are often found in the old Orientalist works in German and French that he so loves to use.

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “So you are arguing that Europe has reacted well to Muslim immigration? That the Europeans are responding well to them? You seem to be arguing that Pipes was correct but that there are good and understable reasons that he was correct.”

    I would never argue that “Europe” is, as a unit, reacting any way to any thing. Trying to talk about Europe as a single unit it about as thick as you trying to talk about the Middle East as a single unit or Islam as a single unit. You cannot do it no matter how hard you try Steve.

    Muslim communities are faring differenty in different countries for different reasons. You cannot lump them altogether and make things black and white Steve, that is what you extremists can never grasp, life is not black and white, there are no absolutes.

    The experience of the Muslim community in European states varies by state, often region of state or even depending on which nationality of Muslim you are talking about. Whole books have been written in the subject and it is too long and complext to be handled in a small forum like this.

    The situation with Muslims immigrants is much better in places like the UK than it is in places like France, for a whole variety of reasons that would take hundreds of pages to even begin to skim the surface.

    You, like Pipes, wants everything to boil down into a simple black and white statement, that is why you will always get it wrong.

    Steve writes “And really, Malik, the European problem is not with Muslim immigrants who become gradually Europeanized but with Europeanized Muslim immigrants who become Muslimized. The Muslim immigrants arrive in Europe clean-shaven and accepting of the West and leave with beards rejecting the West. ”

    Muslimized? Is this a new word you have coined? What does this mean exactly? I would argue that the amount of Muslims that become radicalized in Europe is a very small amount of the total population and often is nothing more than an expression of youthful angst and inability to fit in. When a German kid has these issues they may turn to the far right, beat up immigrants, commit crimes. Many of them went and fought with the Croation forces during the war there. Sometimes kids from Muslim backgrounds turn to radical religion, and an even small percentage actually act on this.

    One thing you might know, if you werent so closed off and unable to open to different peoples, is that to hold onto this extreme version of Islam is very very hard, so most of the people who do drop out very quickly. This is the reason why the Prophet (SAW) said that Islam is a middle of the road religion, and that the stray too far in either direction is disbelief.

    Once again you have taken a very small minority of people and have used them to tar an entire people.

    Malik

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    I never claimed only Muslims committed atrocities. Everything you said about Christians is correct but you have to go back 150 years or more for examples of religious atrocites. Islamic extremists are the problem because they are committing atrocities NOW, in the modern age.

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “It is the Muslims who let terrorists define Islam, not the non-Muslims. The Muslim terrorists have no fear of making their threats public against the non-Muslim world while that tiny sliver of Muslim moderates lack the courage of their convictions to oppose them publicly.”

    Nonsense, but with your limited knowledge, I would not expect you to know better. Moderate Muslims can and do oppose the small amount of fanatics all around the world. You need to ask yourself why the western media refuses to cover it. If you spoke Arabic you would know there is a lot of debate going on about these issues and no lack of moderates to speak out. Western media loves sensationalism, that is wht they refuse to cover the moderates. Nothing sensational about moderate Muslims condemning terrorists, they do it all of the time, but the latest bin Laden video sure gets people talking. Again, Steve thinks because he is unware of something that this negates its existance. [/quote]

    The Muslim terrorists have no problem making their threats known in English. Why do these invisible Muslim moderates have so much trouble? Why don’t these Invisible Muslim Moderates make their own tapes condemning terrorism in the name of Islam? Why don’t the Muslim leaders make public their clear and unambiguous condemnation of Islamic terror?

    I guarantee you that should the Invisible Muslim Moderates make a million man march in Washington condemning terrorism, it would get front page coverage in the Washington Post and be broadcast around the world. How do you explain the fact that these seven million Muslim Americans you claim to be settled in Middle Eastern enclaves all over the US can not make their position against terrorism known? We have protest marches here constantly for every cause under the sun. Where are the Invisible Muslim Moderates marching against terror?

    They are nowhere to be found because they just don’t oppose it. They aren’t too fond of violence for their religion but they think that it’s ultimately deserved violence and justify it as such, just as you did.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(9): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Written “Islam spreads mainly by high birthrates. The Middle East has one of the highest birthrates in the world. So does Indonesia.”

    Sure, of course. It hardly explains the explosive growth of Islam in non Muslim countries however. Rwanda is a good example. Conversions to Islam there are so strong they cannot build the mosques quick enough! Why? Mainly because members of all Christian sects were involved in the genocide there. Several Nuns and Priests have been convicted of genocide. Often the only place for refuge were the mosques and areas with a large Muslim population where the Muslims sheltered people, regardless of clan affiliation!

    You write “I haven’t run into any Muslim converts in the USA either and I live very close to New York City, a dense cosmopolitan center.”

    Hum, so because you havent run into any means it isnt happening? Really? Ever been in a tornado? I guess they dont exist do they? Never been raped? Cant say it is all that bad then can you? This idea that if you havent seen it means it isnt happening is nonsense.

    You write “The only time I hear of American converts is when they are featured on TV.”

    I run into converts all of the time and at the most unlikely places. I ran into a whole family of converts at a Borders bookstore recently. The men were both doctors, worked in Saudi Arabia. The eldest was here for a book release. Again, because you dont see it doesnt mean it doesnt exist. Often you have to know what to look for! How would you be aware if you met a Muslim convert or not? Do they have signs saying “I converted to Islam”. If you met me you would never know. The only reason I met this family was because one of the men had a beard and was wearing his pants short in “Sunnah” fashion so I had to ask.

    I am tall, blond haired, blue eyed, clean shaven. If you met me you would never have a clue I was a Muslim, doesnt mean I am not, and it doesnt mean you havent met dozens of Muslim converts and just dont know it. You need to get out of your preconcieved notions of what a convert might look like. We dont all have beards, wear kuffiya and a thob.

    Malik

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    US Latinas seek answers in Islam
    It surprises many of their friends and family, but some young US Latinas say Islam offers women more respect.
    By Christine Armario | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor

    UNION CITY, N.J. – Jasmine Pinet sits on the steps outside a mosque here, tucking in strands of her burgundy hair beneath a white head scarf, and explaining why she, a young Latina, feels that she has found greater respect as a woman by converting to Islam.

    “They’re not gonna say, ‘Hey mami, how are you?’ ” Ms. Pinet says of Muslim men. “Usually they say, ‘Hello, sister.’ And they don’t look at you like a sex object.”

    While some Latinas her age try to emulate the tight clothes and wiggling hips of stars like Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera, Ms. Pinet and others are adopting a more conservative lifestyle and converting to Islam. At this Union City, N.J., mosque, women account for more than half of the Latino Muslims who attend services here. Nationwide, there are about 40,000 Latino Muslims in the United States, according to the Islamic Society of North America.

    Many of the Latina converts say that their belief that women are treated better in Islam was a significant factor in converting. Critics may protest that wearing the veil marks a woman as property, but some Latina converts say they welcome the fact that they are no longer whistled at walking down a street. “People have an innate response that I’m a religious person, and they give [me] more respect,” says Jenny Yanez, another Latina Muslim. “You’re not judged if you’re in fashion or out of fashion.”

    Other Latina Muslims say they also like the religion’s emphasis on fidelity to one’s spouse and family.

    But for many family members and friends, these conversions come as a surprise – often an unwelcome one. They may know little of Islam other than what they have heard of the Taliban and other extremist groups.

    That creates an inaccurate image, insists Leila Ahmed, a professor of women’s studies and religion at Harvard University. “It astounds me, the extent to which people think Afghanistan and the Taliban represent women and Islam.” What’s really going on, she says, is a reshaping of the relationship between women and Islam. “We’re in the early stages of a major rethinking of Islam that will open Islam for women. [Muslim scholars] are rereading the core texts of Islam – from the Koran to legal texts – in every possible way.”

    New views of women and Islam may be more prevalent in countries like the US, where women read the Koran themselves and rely less on patriarchal interpretations.

    “I think the women here are asserting more their rights and their privileges,” says Zahid Bukhari, director of the American-Muslim Studies Program at George- town University. ”

    Some Latina Muslims say they harbored stereotypes about Muslim women before deciding to convert, but changed their minds once becoming close friends with a Muslim.

    “I always thought, geez, I feel sorry for women who have to wear those veils,” says Pinet. Then she met her Muslim boyfriend and began studying the Koran with a group of Muslim women. She says she was impressed with the respect they received.

    “A women is respected because she is the mother, she takes care of the children, and she’s the one that enforces the rules,” Pinet says. “They’re the ones who are sacred.”

    Critics of the decisions of Latinas to convert to Islam say they are adopting a religion just as patriarchical as the Roman Catholic faith that many are leaving behind.

    “While it’s true the Latino culture tends to be more male-dominated, and there’s a tendency toward more machismo, I would venture to say it exists [in Islam] as well,” says Edwin Hernandez, director of the Center for the Study of Latino Religion at the University of Notre Dame.

    Latinos account for six percent of the 20,000 Muslim conversions in the United States each year, according to a report published by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Anecdotal evidence suggests this number may be rising. But that doesn’t mean it’s getting any easier for the women who make this choice.

    “At first it was anger and then more like sadness,” Nylka Vargas says of her parents’ reaction when she told them she was converting to Islam and began dressing more conservatively. “They would sometimes feel strange being around me.”

    Pinet’s family has been more accepting, but she too has encountered some resistance in her community. It’s as if you’ve betrayed your own kind,” she says.

    For some, the cultural differences are the most trying.

    “I can’t eat pork, I can’t wear [form- fitting] clothing, I can’t dance in the clubs, I’m not gonna attend church,” says Ms. Yanez, who is of Cuban and Spanish descent. “But I keep my language, and there’s still things that we do as Latinos that they don’t have to change.”

    Within the Islamic community, Latina Muslims report being warmly received, although language barriers sometimes exist for Latinas who only speak Spanish. There are few Spanish services at mosques and a limited number of Islamic texts in Spanish.

    Grassroots organizations specifically for Latino Muslims have been created in recent years. They function in part as an informational resource for new converts and but also as a support group for those who encounter difficulties at home.

    Ultimately, Latina Muslims say that time heals the divisions and angst their conversion sometimes causes among friends and family.

    “What I had to learn was patience,” says Vargas, whose family came to accept her religious beliefs after several years. “Sometimes things are not as we want them.”

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(8): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “My world is just as real as your world, Malik. I’m out there working in it every day. I’ve lived in a lot of places across the USA and had experiences far beyond the norm”

    Of course, but this hardly means that you know anything about Middle Eastern politics, the history of Islam, or the current politics of the area. [/quote]

    You are changing your argument to justify your position. You are consistently arguing that your experience in America is more authentic than anybody else’s and that your opinion is consequently more authoritative. You are now changing your positin and switching the topic to the Middle East, retreating from your argument because it is indefensible.

    [quote]Steve writes “The second of your ad hominem arguments is that my antipathy to Islam springs from bigotry when in fact my antipathy springs entirely from the Sep 11 butchery perpetrated by Muslims for Islam, the celebration of that butchery by much of the Muslim world, and revelation of how deep the hatred for America goes, indoctrinated by malicious Muslim mullahs.”

    No, your above statement shows what I mean exactly. You have a hatred and a loating of Islam and Arabs based on generalities, bigotries, and outright falsehoods. Your above statement does the best job proving it. [/quote]

    Was the Sep 11 attacks the product of my alleged bigotry? What a dishonest inversion of reality it is to make a supreme act of religious bigotry by murdering thousands of Americans and then seeking to shift the blame for that bigotry to its objects. You wouldn’t have to make these pretzel logic arguments if your religion was not so maniacally and murderously intolerant.

    [quote]Steve writes “The Muslims butcher Americans by the thousands and then the Muslims claim Americans take a dim view of their religion because we’re bigoted. It’s All About The Mass Murder.”

    If it is all about mass murder, I am sure you hate Germans right? I mean they were responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people. I am sure you hate people from the Congo right? 3 million plus murdered there. If you do not hate these groups then I guess your hatred of Islam has a lot more to it than “mass murder”. [/quote]

    The Germans were before my time. The Nazis were certainly a contemptible lot. I cettainly have contempt for the way they treated my great uncle, an aircrew downed in Germany.

    The Congolese did not fly airliners into American skyscrapers to promote their religion. They do not send videotapes threatening America with death every other week. They do not make snuff videos showing them proudly beheading innocent Americans. That is a profound difference which you dishonestly ignore.

    Quite frankly, you are the very embodiment of everything objectionable about Islam. You despise America. You seek to justify the deaths of Americans on Sep 11. You are dishonest in your defense of Islam and your criticism of America. Islam could use a better representative than you.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Christian extremists sailed for months to come to the US to forceably convert or murder millions of American Indians. [/quote]

    More exaggeration. There were two million Indians when Columbus discovered America. There are about two million Indians now. Europeans did not kill millions of Indians, as you falsely claim. If so, there would be none alive today.

    The fact is that Indians probably gave as good as they got. In most of America, the nomadic Indians had the advantage in war, picking the time and place of attack, and escaping long before the settlers could follow their trail. The typical story of an Indian raid in Texas goes like this: Commanches raided a cabin and killed all the people. Their neighbors followed their trail for three days and lost it.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “Actually, I know what anybody who can read a paper or watch a TV knows, which evidently excludes you. We know that we have cleaned out Al Qaeda’s training camps in Afghanistan. How is it that you do not know that? Perhaps you were busy laughing out loud when that was announced. ”

    Why doesnt it surprise me that you use the TV as a basis for your knowledge? [/quote]

    Malik, are you claiming that the TV was lying to us when it depicted the conquest of Afghanistan? Are the newspapers and every other media lying when they say the same thing? Are you claiming that Al Qaeda still operates its bases in Afghanistan?

    Malik, the conquest of Afghanistan and the extirpation of the Al Qaeda bases there are common knowledge published and broadcast everywhere in the world. Why are trying to ineptly refute this fact?

    Steve

  • 7alaylia
    28 December 2004

    Re(8): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “More exaggeration. There were two million Indians when Columbus discovered America. There are about two million Indians now. Europeans did not kill millions of Indians, as you falsely claim. If so, there would be none alive today. ”

    So you are claiming that in all of Central, Southern, Northern America, including the islands, there were only two million Indians? Really? So I guess these experts dont know what they are talking about and you do?

    “Some experts believe that perhaps 10 million people lived above the Rio Grande in 1492–twice as many as may have inhabited the British Isles at that time. The population of the Western Hemisphere may have exceeded 15th-century Europe’s 70 million.”
    http://www.usna.edu/Users/history/kolp/HH345/PRE1492.HTM

    Steve writes “The fact is that Indians probably gave as good as they got. In most of America, the nomadic Indians had the advantage in war, picking the time and place of attack, and escaping long before the settlers could follow their trail. ”

    Pure insanity! Spears and bows weilding warriors had the advantage over muskets, rifles and cannons? How was Cortez, amoungst others, able to control large amounst of Indians with very few men? How did his few men defeat armies numerous times his own size? Give as good as they got? How did they give anything to the Europeans that matched Small Pox, which killed millions of Indians? The British were even recorded as purposely giving out small pox infected blankets to Indians to help decimate the local population.

    You are lost in fantasy land using Wild West scripts in leu of history. Completely amazing. If Indians “gave as good as they got” how come so many Indians died? Why didnt an equal amount of settlers die? You are really venturing into whacko land here.

    Malik

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Yes, Malik, I do feel free to generalize about America and Americans because I have seen quite a bit of America and Americans, far more than the average fellow.

    Your very rebuttal rebuts itself in that it describes Middle Eastern shops that are scattered all over the Washington area, not concentrated in a neighborhood. You know where they are because they cater to your preferences. If I ask ten people on the street where the nearest halal butcher is, I’d get blank stares followed by what’s a halal. Now that’s in Washington, which naturally has more diverse cultures than most, if not all, American cities.

    I stand by my statement that the Muslim Arab presence in America is virtually invisible.

    Steve

  • 7alaylia
    28 December 2004

    Re(8): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “I never claimed only Muslims committed atrocities. Everything you said about Christians is correct but you have to go back 150 years or more for examples of religious atrocites. Islamic extremists are the problem because they are committing atrocities NOW, in the modern age”

    I have already proven to you that Christian extremists have murdered well over a million people in the last twenty years in Africa and Europe. Remember, you even admitted that I had you on the Uganda issue?

    The attocities commited by Islamic radicals, on a historical scale, are dwarfed by those in Christian history. In the town in Germany were I was born in a space of a few years 50% of the population was slaughtered in the name of Christ. Typical.

    Malik.

  • 7alaylia
    28 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writesYes, Malik, I do feel free to generalize about America and Americans because I have seen quite a bit of America and Americans, far more than the average fellow.”

    So that makes you an expert eh? So what makes you feel free to generalise about Arabs, Islam, and the Middle East? Is it the amount of time you have been there and the amount of the area you have seen? Schooling? Large amounts of personal interactions with Muslims and Arabs? I would think that the basis you claim gives you the right to generalise about America you cannot claim for the Middle East and Islam, so please let me know!

    Steve writes “Your very rebuttal rebuts itself in that it describes Middle Eastern shops that are scattered all over the Washington area, not concentrated in a neighborhood. You know where they are because they cater to your preferences.”

    You have a problem with comprehension dont you? The point, is, was, and remains that Arabs in large American cities do not need to isolate themselves in ethnic ghettos. Their population is so large and so accepted they do not need to congregate in just one area. This has nothing to do with my preferences, I talk to white co-workers, black co-workers and the like and they all know the same shops I talk about. If you dont, once again I think it goes to the fact that, like your reading, you surround youself with people just like you and do not open yourself to the possibility of differences.

    Malik.

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    As usual, dodging the issue. The fact is you told a whopper to slander America and I called you on it. Now you’re claiming I’m infringing on your freedom of speech to tell lies about America.

    You lied about America being the most murderous country in the world and I proved it. Now you’re throwing up a cloud of dirt to disquise it all. And now you’re claiming that debunking such lies is some sort of assault on American values. In your case, patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.

    Slandering America with phony facts does not make you a patriot. Castigating America at every turn does indeed expose the treason in your heart for your own country.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(9): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    You said ” How was Cortez, amoungst others, able to control large amounst of Indians with very few men? How did his few men defeat armies numerous times his own size?”

    Cortez got the willing alliance of hundreds of Indian tribes in the Mexica valley, which had tired of seeing thousands of their kinsmen being taken as prisoners for sacrifices to Aztec gods. The Aztecs were defeated by a combined army of Spaniards and native americans. That the Aztecs thought Cortez a god certainly helped his side as well.

    Read up on the Mayas too. it will disavow you of the idea that the native people of this continent were all a bunch of saints.

    “How did they give anything to the Europeans that matched Small Pox, which killed millions of Indians? ”

    For the vast majority of Indians the infection with smallpox was unintentional. The blanket incident is true, as was the case of Indians (Iroquois, I think) of digging up European dead and eating them to desecrate their bodies, without realizing they had died of smallpox.

  • 7alaylia
    28 December 2004

    Re(9): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “You are changing your argument to justify your position. You are consistently arguing that your experience in America is more authentic than anybody else’s and that your opinion is consequently more authoritative. You are now changing your positin and switching the topic to the Middle East, retreating from your argument because it is indefensible.”

    I have never argued that my position is “more authentic”. Unliek youself, I do not claim to be in a position to speak for all America as you have done today, it would seem based on nothing more than your trips to various states. I have changed nothing, our whole topic here is about the Middle East, your hatred, and American’s role in the region. Hardly my fault if you cannot keep up.

    Steve writes “Was the Sep 11 attacks the product of my alleged bigotry?”

    No, I would think your bigotry pre-dates 9/11.

    Steve writes “What a dishonest inversion of reality it is to make a supreme act of religious bigotry by murdering thousands of Americans and then seeking to shift the blame for that bigotry to its objects”

    Once again you cannot see the forest for the trees. I do not view the 9/11 attacks as a religious attack because the goals of the attackers were not specifically religious in nature. Their goals were, and are, a clearly defined set of political goals, no matter how much you try to claim they want to conquer the world for Islam, it just isnt so!

    Steve writes “You wouldn’t have to make these pretzel logic arguments if your religion was not so maniacally and murderously intolerant. ”

    You claim not to hate Islam and Muslim yet it is clear that you do! How can you state the above and then try to claim you dont hate Muslims? Kind of like a Nazi claiming not to hate Jews, but to hate the religion. But either way, the only way to get rid of the religion is to exterminate the people, your end result is the same.

    Steve writes “The Congolese did not fly airliners into American skyscrapers to promote their religion. ”

    I never claimed they did. You are getting the various threads in this discussion confused. The Congo was brought up to prove the lie that the US went into Iraqi out of nothing more than good will to save the innocent people and free them. If this were the case for intervention, then the far worse case in Congo would have come first. The fact that it is not even being talked about shows the lie for what it was!

    Steve writes “They do not send videotapes threatening America with death every other week. They do not make snuff videos showing them proudly beheading innocent Americans. That is a profound difference which you dishonestly ignore. ”

    What you seem to ignore is that none of these things happened in Iraq before the US invaded either!

    Steve writes “Quite frankly, you are the very embodiment of everything objectionable about Islam. You despise America. You seek to justify the deaths of Americans on Sep 11. You are dishonest in your defense of Islam and your criticism of America. Islam could use a better representative than you.”

    I do not despise America. You are what the world hates about America, a person who refuses to take responsibility in the world, a person who cannot accept that his nation does not always have the best interests at heart, and a person who must belittle their fellow citizens to try and silence them! I have never justified the deaths of anyone, simply outlined the political causes the attackers were fighting for. I do not need to defend Islam to you. Jesus (SAW) himself could come down and defend Islam and you would still hate the religion and the people. Your hatred is overwhelming, it is blinding, and I thank God that the majority of people in America, and for that matter, the world, do not follow your hatred!

    The time of the fanatics is over, yours will be the rubbish bin of history, along with other fanatics like Hitler, bin Laden and Stalin. You will never open your mind to ANYTHING which challenges your precious ideals.

    You Steve, and people like you around the world, are the enemies of all man kind no matter what religion. It is time that moderates of all religions rise up and smash people like yourself you revel in intolerace, bigotry and hatred.

    For all of your disdain for bin Laden and the extremists you fail to realise that you are just like them!

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    28 December 2004

    Re(8): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve wAs usual, dodging the issue. The fact is you told a whopper to slander America and I called you on it. Now you’re claiming I’m infringing on your freedom of speech to tell lies about America.

    You lied about America being the most murderous country in the world and I proved it. Now you’re throwing up a cloud of dirt to disquise it all. And now you’re claiming that debunking such lies is some sort of assault on American values. In your case, patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.

    Slandering America with phony facts does not make you a patriot. Castigating America at every turn does indeed expose the treason in your heart for your own country.
    rites ”

    Yes, yes, “love it or leave it” I guess I am not “regular American” enough for you! But I am the true American, who practices and values my freedoms, not like yourself who would seek to silence people!

    Malik

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(9): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    No, you missed what I said. While historically, Christians have done more killing in the name of religion, the Uganda issue is tribal (so subtract a million). Ugandans are not wailing out God is Great while lobbing bombs. In this day and age, it is the Muslim radicals who are doing the most killing in the name of religion. Sudan, Indonesia, East Timor, assorted terrorist acts in Madrid, Bali, NY and so on … And it is the current time that matters, not the past.

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Re(9): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    You said “How was Cortez, amoungst others, able to control large amounst of Indians with very few men? How did his few men defeat armies numerous times his own size? Give as good as they got?”

    Cortez got the willing alliance of hundreds of tribes in the Mexica valley, tribes who had tired of seeing thousands of their kinsmen sacrificed to Aztec gods. The Aztecs were defeated by a combined force of Indians and Spaniards. That Montezuma thought Cortez a god certainly helped his cause. The Aztecs did “get as good as they got”.

    Read up on the ritual practices of the Maya too. The civil wars of the Incas were no picnics either. You will be disavowed by the idea that the native inhabitants of America were all a bunch of peaceful villagers destroyed by rapacious Europeans.

    “How did they give anything to the Europeans that matched Small Pox, which killed millions of Indians? The British were even recorded as purposely giving out small pox infected blankets to Indians to help decimate the local population.”

    For the vast majority of Indians, the infection with smallpox was unintentional. The blanket incident is true, however there were also cases of Indians (Iroquois, I think) digging up dead Europeans to eat them in order to desecrate their enemies’ bodies, without realizing they had died of smallpox.

  • 7alaylia
    28 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “My world is just as real as your world, Malik. I’m out there working in it every day. I’ve lived in a lot of places across the USA and had experiences far beyond the norm”

    Of course, but this hardly means that you know anything about Middle Eastern politics, the history of Islam, or the current politics of the area.

    Steve writes “The second of your ad hominem arguments is that my antipathy to Islam springs from bigotry when in fact my antipathy springs entirely from the Sep 11 butchery perpetrated by Muslims for Islam, the celebration of that butchery by much of the Muslim world, and revelation of how deep the hatred for America goes, indoctrinated by malicious Muslim mullahs.”

    No, your above statement shows what I mean exactly. You have a hatred and a loating of Islam and Arabs based on generalities, bigotries, and outright falsehoods. Your above statement does the best job proving it.

    Steve writes “The Muslims butcher Americans by the thousands and then the Muslims claim Americans take a dim view of their religion because we’re bigoted. It’s All About The Mass Murder.”

    If it is all about mass murder, I am sure you hate Germans right? I mean they were responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people. I am sure you hate people from the Congo right? 3 million plus murdered there. If you do not hate these groups then I guess your hatred of Islam has a lot more to it than “mass murder”.

    Steve writes “I haven’t run into a lot of Muslim converts here in the US. It’s not exactly a popular religion. From what stats I read, most of the converts to Islam are women marrying Muslim men.”

    There you go generalising again! Steve, get a clue! Get a life! You cannot make generalisations like this and have anyone think you know what you are talking about! Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and the USA, get used to it. Because you “havent run into a lot of Muslim converts” doesnt mean it isnt so! This goes back to my statements to you that you need to get out more, you must expose yourself to things that are outside your normal scope of activity if you are ever going to have a clue about Islam, Muslims, or Arabs.

    Steve writes “There just aren’t that many people walking off the street into the mosque looking to be converted in America. Perhaps there are in your circles, but in mainstreet America, I’m not seeing any. ”

    What “mainstreet America”? There is no such thing anymore. How old are you? These sentiments I have only heard expressed by Americans over the age of 60! The amount of people converting to Islam in the US has grown 400% since 9/11 in the USA. In my main mosque alone 20 Americans converted during the fasting month of Ramadan. Your statement “I am not seeing any” speaks wonders. Besides, how would you see any? Because you dont see it means it cannot be happening? You seem to live a very closed life. And more to the point, do you think when someone converts to Islam they suddenly put on flowing thiab(robes) or Hijab? It is entirely likely there are converts around you, you just are unware of it. Unless, or course, you demand a statement of “non-Islam” from everyone you meet?

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    28 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “So you are arguing that Europe has reacted well to Muslim immigration? ”

    You are the one given to generalisations, not me, unlike yourself I would never make the above statement. I think, on the whole, when one looks at the history of other massive influxes of immigrants to other countries, I think Europe is well on track in regards to its Muslim immigrants.

    Steve writes “You seem to be arguing that Pipes was correct but that there are good and understable reasons that he was correct.”

    If you think that you havent a clue as to what I was saying. YOU are the one that was arguing that Pipe’s racist assertion was correct, not me.

    Steve writes “And really, Malik, the European problem is not with Muslim immigrants who become gradually Europeanized but with Europeanized Muslim immigrants who become Muslimized.”

    Ah, so Muslim immigrants are okay as long as they leave their religion at the door eh?

    Steve writes “The Muslim immigrants arrive in Europe clean-shaven and accepting of the West and leave with beards rejecting the West. ”

    Another one of your gross generalisations that has very little to do with reality! See, tis what you get when then only thing you have to base your ideas on are books, and the wrong books at that.

    I will state this to you for the 100th time, when you generalise you will always be wrong Steve, always. See, this is where you and bin Laden are much the same, you are both radical extremists who see the world in black and white. Both of you are dead wrong.

    Malik

  • anonymous
    28 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Its going to be interesting to see how things progress in Iraq after the elections. In America politicians listen to the special interest groups like labor, industry and sometimes even the people who voted for them. Who are these newly elected politicians going to listen to in Iraq. Forget the Kurdish and Sunni groups that only leaves the Shi’a and Iran. A thriving democracy next door is just what Iran wants.

    I sure hope this works but I have strong doubts about anything other than civil war which isnt going to do much to promote democracy in the region.

  • 7alaylia
    28 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “Actually, I know what anybody who can read a paper or watch a TV knows, which evidently excludes you. We know that we have cleaned out Al Qaeda’s training camps in Afghanistan. How is it that you do not know that? Perhaps you were busy laughing out loud when that was announced. ”

    Why doesnt it surprise me that you use the TV as a basis for your knowledge?

    Steve writes “We have also killed or captured two thirds of Al Qaeda’s leadership. You don’t need to be in the CIA to know that. And almost all the captured leaders are talking. That tells us quite a bit. ”

    The CIA does not know this! How can they know if they have captured 2/3s of the leadership if they dont know what number they started with? This has been the problem all along. Some people think the numbers of al-Queda were at about 5,000, others put it at 10,000 plus. The issue as well is that al-Queda is not like a nation state where capturing their low or mid level leaders is going to make any sort of a difference. They people stopped playing a role years ago and were quickly replaced when they were killed or taken. The key to the whole issue is to dry up their recruiting pool, which has not happened, it has grown.

    Steve writes “Yes, we do have an order of battle. Just about every Saudi who left for Afghanistan did so on a subsidized fare on the Saudi state airline. The Saudis have a complete list of them. Al Qaeda also began keeping lists of its recruits after the first year or two, mostly to confirm to Saudi families that their missing sons had passed through their barracks. ”

    Here you go again, generalising! So all al-Queda are Saudi eh? Care to tell us where the number two man from al-Queda comes from? The man whom most think is the real driving force behind al-Queda? Hate to point this out to you but the back bone of al-Queda is largely made up of Egyptian, however, al-Queda is a truly golobal enterprise with cells in every Muslim country. Your hatred of Saudis blinds you to the facts!

    Steve writes “We know that our assault on Al Qaeda has reduced them down to minimal effectiveness. They have not been able to mount assaults outside of Saudi Arabia, their home ground. ”

    Again, uninformed. Al-Queda and their allied groups have struck everywhere from Iraq to Indonesia and Spain. Where have you been?

    Steve writes “Malik, I know it’s hard for you to believe, but taking away the bases of operation of an organization, interdicting its funds, killing and capturing its leaders, killing its members all have a bad effect on an organization, not a positive one. ”

    Of course these have had a negative effect, I never argued otherwise, but it hasnt had the effect that you claim it has.

    Steve writes “However, if you think this is not true, I recommend an experiment to you: Burn your organization’s building to the ground, shoot dead two thirds of your management, kill a third or so of its members, and cut its budget to a fraction. Let me know if that improves the quantity and quality of your product. ”

    See Steve, this is where you go wrong. You cannot compare al-Queda to a government agency or to a nation state, they are not. If you do this will will regret it in the end, and the CIA, thank God, isnt doing what you suggest!

    Steve writes “And by the way, the LOL thing is getting old. You always seem to use it on topics where you know the least or are making a self-evidently absurd point, like this one. ”

    Just the opposite Steve, I write LOL when I am indeed sitting here in my office laugh at your gross and inept generalisations! Steve, you do not have a good grasp of Middle Eastern politics, the religion of Islam, or the people of the Middle East. Your generalisations prove this time and time again. Often when I “LOL” it is because I am actually feeling embarrassed for you that you would make some of the statements that you do.

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    28 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “What economic benefit did we receive for saving the Bosnian Muslims?”

    The US didnt save the Bosnian Muslims. When the US finally decided to intervine, some 200,000 Muslims had been slaughtered. The worst of the slaughter was over and the Bosnia Muslims were gaining ground on battlefields all over the area. The US entered the fray before the Bosnian army was in a position to actually march into the home of the purpetrators itself.

    The US entered the fray to try and stop a wider Balkan war involving two of its NATO allies, Turkey and Greece. Never was the issue of saving Muslims an issue except in the empty rhetoric of the time.

    Malik

  • 7alaylia
    28 December 2004

    Re(3): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Steve writes “Nope, I’ve never read “Mein Kampf”, only excerpts and analysis. Even the Nazis did not read it, only buying it as a prop to lay on their coffee tables to demonstrate their sympathies. Are you claiming to have read it? I have a copy somewhere. Could you cite those places where Hitler claims to be devoted to Christianity? ”

    So you sit here trying to tell us the motivation for Hitler and his Nazi Germany yet you have never read his book? See, this is where you go wrong Steve, more generalisations without any specifics. So typical of your arguements.

    I hope the following sorts you out, again:

    “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance
    with the will of the Almighty Creator.”
    [Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp. 46]

    “What we have to fight for…is the freedom and independence
    of the fatherland, so that our people may be enabled to fulfill
    the mission assigned to it by the Creator.”
    [Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp. 125]

    “And the founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of his
    estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary,
    He drove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God.”
    [Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp.174]

    “The greatness of Christianity did not lie in attempted negotiations for
    compromise with any similar philosophical opinions in the ancient world, but
    in its inexorable fanaticism in preaching and fighting for its own doctrine.”
    [Adolph Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 1 Chapter 12]

    “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.â€?

    ( Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Ralph Mannheim, ed., New York: Mariner Books, 1999, p. 65. )

    “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice. And as a man I have the duty to see to it that human society does not suffer the same catastrophic collapse as did the civilization of the ancient world some two thousand years ago — a civilization which was driven to its ruin through this same Jewish people.”

    ( Adolf Hitler, in a speech delivered at Munich, April 12, 1922; from Norman H. Baynes, ed., The Speeches of Adolf Hitler: April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1, New York: Oxford University Press, 1942, pp. 19-20. )

    Steve, once again your “general” knowledge has failed you!

    Here is another example when you write ” I would say that the rank and file of the German Army were Catholic, but not the Nazi politicians who made policy. ”

    Really? So you think the rank and file German Army were Catholic? Do you know the percentage of how the population of Germany breaks down on religious lines? It is about the same now as it was during WW2, with the exception of the current Muslim community. Germany is about equally split between Protestants and Catholics and the German Army of WW2 was split in the same fashion. Hardly a “Catholic Army” as you claim. As to the Nazi politicians who made policy, the power base of the Nazi party always came from the Catholic areas of Germany and its strongest resistance always came from the Protestant areas. Next?

    Malik

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Malik: Do I agree with cannibalism? Of course not, but you miss the point. The Christians who came to the US to convert or murder the Indians did not see any difference between one religious practice and the next, they were not Christian, so they converted or died! [/quote]

    Actually, you are dodging the point that cannibalism was part of the Indian religion and want to fuzz the issue with malarkey about Christian bigotry. The point is that the world is better off without cannibals. While there were Christians who set out to convert the Indians, I don’t know of any Christians who came to the US for the explicit purpose of killing Indians. Could you name those for us?

    I might also point out that one of the disagreeable practices of the Indians was to kidnap settler’s children and forceably convert them into members of their tribe. Do you object to that as well, Malik?

    Steve

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]So you sit here trying to tell us the motivation for Hitler and his Nazi Germany yet you have never read his book? See, this is where you go wrong Steve, more generalisations without any specifics. So typical of your arguements. [/quote]

    Malik, this is a foolish argument even from you. Yes, you can know an awful lot about Hitler without reading Mein Kampf. I note that you seem to be implying that you have read it when it’s far more likely you googled it and did a text search.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    It’s where you chose to work. Jobs are everywhere, though they are harder to come by in Europe.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re(2): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Malik: The US gave Saddam weapons and cash before, during, and after he used chemical weapons on his own people! Why didnt the US care about Iraqis then? Why the sudden interest? [/quote]

    False. The Iraqis got virtually all their weapons from the Soviet Union up until the time Saddam took over. His reform was to scale back the Soviet weapon purchases to 60% with the remainder bought from Europe. Iraqis fought in Soviet T-72s, not American M-1 tanks. They carried AK-47s, not M-16s. They flew MiGs, not F-16s. I challenge you to name one American weapon system the Iraqis carried into battle.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “We know that our assault on Al Qaeda has reduced them down to minimal effectiveness. They have not been able to mount assaults outside of Saudi Arabia, their home ground. ”

    Again, uninformed. Al-Queda and their allied groups have struck everywhere from Iraq to Indonesia and Spain. Where have you been? [/quote]

    Actually, you are uninformed in your rebuttal. The Spanish group was an independent franchise. They sought support from Al Qaeda, which was declined, but directed themselves independently. The Indonesian group likewise is independent from Al Qaeda.

    You seem to resort to ridicule when you are the least informed on a topic. Perhaps its out of desperation to move your argument forward. It’s quite a juvenile approach.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re(8): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Malik: The US most certainly has economic interests in Iraq. Historically, the US has gotten very little of its total oil from Iraq, but this is not the case for America’s economic rivals. China and the EU, the US’ two major economic rivals, get a rather large amount of their oil from Iraq. China is set to become America’s major rival in all areas, economic and military, what better way to control the situation than to control a major portion of your rival’s power?[/quote]

    This is an economically illiterate argument. Oil is a commodity. The US can no more control who buys it than it can control the tides. If we were to control Iraq’s oil, China can buy from a dozen other vendors directly or hundreds indirectly.

    This is a foolish conspiracy theory.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re(8): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    How very predictable. Malik denies we saved Bosnian Muslims and attributes our motives to something nefarious.

    Tell me, Malik, do you ever tire of taking the anti-American line on everything? Do you ever consider letting your mind out of that anti-American strait-jacket? Or is it just too comfortable?

    Steve

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Malik: Steve generalises and mischaracterises again and says “Yes, Muslim immigrants should leave their religion behind with respect to its demands to kill infidels and slaughter their offspring who do not abide by it. It’s dishonest of you to argue in favor of murderous radical Islam on grounds of religious freedom. Radical Muslims don’t want religious freedom. ”

    But see, 99.99% of Muslims do not think that their religion advocates any of the above.[/quote]

    Even by your generously low estimate, that means one out of ten thousand Muslims wants to kill infidels and practice honor killings. If there are a million Muslim immigrants in the US, that means that there are one hundred killer Muslims loose. That’s about the size of two or three large terror cells or a half dozen smaller ones, about the size of the Sep 11 mass murder team, or a couple dozen terror cells the size of the one that bombed the WTC in 1993.

    I’m willing to accept your estimate of Muslims willing to murder for their faith, Malik. May I point out that the civilized religions in America, by which I mean all the others, have no contingent of madmen lusting to kill people of other religions. How do you account for this murderous cancer of intolerance hidden in Muslim populations?

    Steve

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Or then again maybe you’re just an arrogant guy who poses as an expert and resorts to ridicule as a crutch to promote an ideological position rather than reason and facts.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re(6): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Perhaps you need to give up laughing out loud and try to follow the conversation rather than make non sequitur jibes that are irrelevant to the point.

    STeve

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    How I savor the irony of arguments like yours which claim that capturing and preventing murderous scum like Padilla who wanted to detonate a dirty bomb in America is actually an affront to the Constitution.

    Al Qaeda lieutenant Abu Zabaydah gave up Padilla in interrogations and his eagerness to nuke America. Zabaydah identified Padilla from his passport photo. He’s guilty as hell.

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0%2C8599%2C262917%2C00.html

    The Constitution is not a suicide pact that says we must free terrorists to do their worse in our society. It would not be the first time the intelligence services provided hard evidence to the President of guilt which could not be made public but required that person to be kept in custody. And in the end, the Supreme Court will be the judge of whether it was constitutional.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re(7): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    I thought they stopped selling those when Clinton left office.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re(4): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “Yes, we do have an order of battle. Just about every Saudi who left for Afghanistan did so on a subsidized fare on the Saudi state airline. The Saudis have a complete list of them. Al Qaeda also began keeping lists of its recruits after the first year or two, mostly to confirm to Saudi families that their missing sons had passed through their barracks. ”

    Here you go again, generalising! So all al-Queda are Saudi eh? Care to tell us where the number two man from al-Queda comes from? The man whom most think is the real driving force behind al-Queda? Hate to point this out to you but the back bone of al-Queda is largely made up of Egyptian, however, al-Queda is a truly golobal enterprise with cells in every Muslim country. Your hatred of Saudis blinds you to the facts! [/quote]

    According to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in his interrogations, the overwhelming majority of the core of Al Qaeda is indeed Saudi. KSM says that is why the musclemen for Sep 11 were Saudis, because it was easiest to come up with Saudis in Al Qaeda. The Egyptians are the brains of Al Qaeda, but the Saudis are body.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “An Iraqi brigadier says there was a secret school within that secret school that trained foreign Arabs who prayed a lot. ”

    Imagine that, a Muslim who prays a lot. That certainly is an indication of a terrorist. I am a Muslim who prays a lot, five times a day actually, and I am glad my co-workers in my government agency dont think the way that you do! [/quote]

    Aren’t you making one of those gross generalizations you profess to hate when you say all Muslim pray a lot? There are plenty of secular Muslims who don’t pray at all.

    The Iraqi brigadier was ridiculing the fundamentalists for praying all the time instead of doing something serious, like training. He was a secular Muslim making fun of overly pious Muslim fundamentalists. The key point here is that Iraq was training radical Muslims at its skyjacking school. That’s a rather suspicious thing in light of Sep 11 and its well-drilled skyjacking teams.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re(8): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “I haven’t run into a lot of Muslim converts here in the US. It’s not exactly a popular religion. From what stats I read, most of the converts to Islam are women marrying Muslim men.”

    There you go generalising again! Steve, get a clue! Get a life! You cannot make generalisations like this and have anyone think you know what you are talking about! Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and the USA, get used to it. Because you “havent run into a lot of Muslim converts” doesnt mean it isnt so! This goes back to my statements to you that you need to get out more, you must expose yourself to things that are outside your normal scope of activity if you are ever going to have a clue about Islam, Muslims, or Arabs. [/quote]

    Pure nonsense. I can indeed make generalizations based on facts and statistics. There just isn’t a rush to the mosque door by mainstreet America. There is a clamor for exotic coffee. There is a popular passion for trashy novels. There are yearnings for K-tel pocket fishermen. But there is no popular attraction to Islam, a rather dour and introverted religion by American standards.

    It’s really rather tiresome to hear you repeat endlessly that your small clique represents America and that anyone who is not part of it is not authentic. It’s the stuff of playground snobbery.

    [quote]Steve writes “There just aren’t that many people walking off the street into the mosque looking to be converted in America. Perhaps there are in your circles, but in mainstreet America, I’m not seeing any. ”

    What “mainstreet America”? There is no such thing anymore. How old are you? These sentiments I have only heard expressed by Americans over the age of 60! The amount of people converting to Islam in the US has grown 400% since 9/11 in the USA. In my main mosque alone 20 Americans converted during the fasting month of Ramadan. Your statement “I am not seeing any” speaks wonders. Besides, how would you see any? Because you dont see it means it cannot be happening? You seem to live a very closed life. And more to the point, do you think when someone converts to Islam they suddenly put on flowing thiab(robes) or Hijab? It is entirely likely there are converts around you, you just are unware of it. Unless, or course, you demand a statement of “non-Islam” from everyone you meet? [/quote]

    What a particularly stupid rebuttal this is. You make a foolish attack on a turn of phrase and then eliminate anyone over 60 from having an authentic opinion. You are becoming more and more desperate in your rebuttals.

    Have you considered that you may be living a closed life if you think everyone in the US is turning Muslim because so many of your little circle are Muslim. It reminds me something of the liberal lady in Manhattan who was shocked to learn Nixon won when she didn’t know anyone who voted for him. It seems to me that you are overgeneralizing from your tiny Muslim niche.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re(5): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Malik,

    You’re lying. You are the one who claims my reading list is following an agenda, not I. You are quite the son of a bitch for aggressively maintaining that lie and trying to stuff your words into my mouth.

    Furthermore, why should I reveal anything about myself when you do not treat it honestly and fairly. You asked me what I read. I honestly gave the list. Now you are using it to attack me dishonestly. You even lie about what I said when everyone reading this can see who said what.

    Why don’t you grow up and act like a man instead of a little punk who lacks the manhood to tell the truth?

    Steve

  • mahmood
    29 December 2004

    Closed: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Unfortunately this thread is descending into a fist-fight and it looks like we can’t get further information from it as it is getting personalised.

    Could we please close this thread for now and move on?

    Both Steve and Malik have added quite good information for all of us to ponder for a long time, which I hope will bring all of us closer in views rather than further apart.

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re(9): Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    [quote]Steve writes “More exaggeration. There were two million Indians when Columbus discovered America. There are about two million Indians now. Europeans did not kill millions of Indians, as you falsely claim. If so, there would be none alive today. ”

    So you are claiming that in all of Central, Southern, Northern America, including the islands, there were only two million Indians? Really? So I guess these experts dont know what they are talking about and you do?[/quote]

    No, I did not make any such claim. You are. In your typical dishonest fashion you are inventing a bogus claim and attributing it to me falsely.

    We were talking about North America, you twit. Not South America. Not Central America. Not Oceania. Not the moon.

    There were two million American indians when Columbus arrived. There are two million now. The Europeans did not kill millions of Indians. If so, there would be none alive, let alone two milion.

    [quote]”Some experts believe that perhaps 10 million people lived above the Rio Grande in 1492–twice as many as may have inhabited the British Isles at that time. The population of the Western Hemisphere may have exceeded 15th-century Europe’s 70 million.”
    http://www.usna.edu/Users/history/kolp/HH345/PRE1492.HTM [/quote]

    That is the high end of the estimates. It would imply something like a population of 30 million in North America, about the population at the turn of the century sustained by the steam engine harvesting fields and pushing locomotives and making clothes. Nomadic Indians needed vast swaths of territory to support their hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

    [quote]Steve writes “The fact is that Indians probably gave as good as they got. In most of America, the nomadic Indians had the advantage in war, picking the time and place of attack, and escaping long before the settlers could follow their trail. ”

    Pure insanity! Spears and bows weilding warriors had the advantage over muskets, rifles and cannons? [/quote]

    You are ignorant of history. First, most fights with Indians were between them and settlers, not soldiers carrying cannon. Second, soldiers could not bring cannon to bear on Indians over rough ground. That’s why Custer had no cannon with him nor even Gatling guns. Third, the Indians picked their fights, not the settlers, and thus picked them to their advantage, usually from ambush. Fourth, settlers did not carry their muskets and rifles around with them everywhere they went. They were usually back in the cabin unless there was a need for them. Even cowboys on the trail did not carry guns. Fifth, all too often, even those settlers who were armed did not have ammo ready. Very often, settlers under attack in their cabins had to melt down lead objects into bullet molds to load their guns. Sixth, an awful lot of immigrants travelled unarmed and easy prey for Indians. Many European immigrants fresh off the boat in Houston hitched up their wagon and drove their families unarmed straight into the lances and arrows of pitiless Commanches.

    [quote]How was Cortez, amoungst others, able to control large amounst of Indians with very few men? How did his few men defeat armies numerous times his own size? Give as good as they got?[/quote]

    More ignorance of history. The bulk of Cortez’ force were Indians who were fed up with Aztec rule. The Aztecs demanded tribute from them in many forms, including human. The Aztecs demanded captives for slaughter in their bloodletting rituals, whom they would kill and eat. One chief, forced to give up his daughter to the Aztecs, was horrified when visiting their capital to encounter a priest wearing her skin. It was the Indian allies in great numbers who wreaked their vengeance on the Aztecs for just such atrocities, with the few Spaniards providing the shock troops.

    [quote]How did they give anything to the Europeans that matched Small Pox, which killed millions of Indians? The British were even recorded as purposely giving out small pox infected blankets to Indians to help decimate the local population. [/quote]

    The small pox and other epidemics were an inadvertent result of contact between Indian and European populations, not a purposeful design by the Europeans who did not even clearly understand how diseases were transmitted until Louis Pasteur confirmed germ theory in the late 1800s.

    [quote]You are lost in fantasy land using Wild West scripts in leu of history. Completely amazing. If Indians “gave as good as they got” how come so many Indians died? Why didnt an equal amount of settlers die? You are really venturing into whacko land here. [/quote]

    Again, you are ignorant of history. What’s especially exasperating is that you have not done any homework on this topic yet you pose as informed, when you merely repeat liberal myth. The Indians killed perhaps hundreds of thousands of settlers in penny packets. It was pretty common for travellers to come across an American casually murdered by the Indians. It was also pretty common for people in towns to be killed by Indians stealing their horses and whatnot. For example, the documented killings of some 100+ settlers in Kansas by Indians prompted one of Custer’s military expeditions against their villages. However, the murder of single settlers here and there doesn’t make it into the history books, not the general history books anyway.

    Steve

  • anonymous
    29 December 2004

    Re: Closed: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    I agree. Please close the thread. Let’s start again on another topic and strive to argue honestly and fairly. I’m willing to make the effort.

    Steve

  • mahmood
    29 December 2004

    Re(1): Closed: Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Thank you Steve. Unfortunately there is no mechanism for me to physically close the thread and prevent further comments, hence a gentlemen’s agreement please. No more on this thread.

  • 7alaylia
    29 December 2004

    Relevant Questions which need Relevant Answers

    Agreed from me! There are just some fights that cannot be won!

    Malik

    HADITH OF THE DAY: SHOW MERCY

    The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: The Compassionate One [God] has
    mercy on those who are merciful. If you show mercy to those who are on earth,
    He Who is in heaven will show mercy on you.

    Sunan of Abu-Dawood, Hadith 2322

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