I've seen lots of Muslim MEN drink alcohol in both Malaysia and Indonesia ...how come they don't get whipped?
sayadan, I'm with you.
But, the subject does raise an interesting point of view about Malaysian attitudes towards it's continuing dilemma between the aspirations of Islamic leaders and the (inherited) British tradition of secularism.
An observation in the NY times ( here ) a few years ago reinforces my view that Islamic leadership is being bolstered by the importation of (Muslimist) Afganhi and Bengali labour, and that the country's Imam's are becoming vociferous against secularism.
That this woman undertook her pleasure in Pahang State also says much. Unlike KL, Pahang State is represented by very poor education (away from the coastal strip), significant numbers of imported labour to service the crude oil & palm oil industries, and a reticence by the state to support PutraJayan policies. And, much money has been invested in Mosque building in this State over recent decades.
Those that visit KL, Penang and similar world/Chinese oriented cities in Malaysia appear not to comprehend the increasing inroads of islam into the nations' affairs, and the radicalism of Islamic posture in some states in Malaysia.
True, but I can't help remembering the Mukhtar Mai case.
I don't think the Malaysian govt will actually go ahead with the public whipping ... too much negative publicity internationally ... but who knows.
While I agree that the flogging may not eventuate, the issue itself is a sort of test case. Either:
the backlash is such that a further arrest becomes unlikely, or
this will be used to 'educate' women to their Muslimist place ( which for men is as a commodity for a husband) and so begin a trend that over time increasingly results in women being castigated for anything and everything that (some) men consider necessary to reinforce this insidious religious patriarchy.
Although I think we agree in essence there are a couple of points I'd like to raise with you.
Flogging or caning, call it what you will, was actually part of the old colonial justice system brought by the British and also exists in Singapore which is predominantly Chinese and non-Muslim.Unlike the Islamic version which is more ritualistic this type of beating is very nasty and can open up the flesh to the bone.
Malaysia has handled it's racial tensions pretty well since the race riots of the sixties by it's severe application of the Internal Security Act (again a British invention) and it's relaxed form of Islam.
The importation of foreign Islamic values causing so much nervousness among the Chinese comes from Saudi Arabia which is financing the mosque building.The Wahibis of Saudi Arabia, in my view, are causing most of the tensions in the world between Muslims and non-Muslims that we have today.So, I'm not so sure this Islamist dimension is the product of imported labour as I believe most rural workers are Indians(hindus)
Actually it surprises me that this has happened in Pahang since I would not have classified it as one of the more Islamic states.After all, the capital Kuantan is a predominantly Chinese city.
"Welcome to the world of Islam", reading that makes me think how blind we have become as as a race and indeed a people to the ways of other cultures, people proclaim to travel so that they may gain an understanding of other cultures and other ways of life which do not exist in amongst the our suburbs, our cities and high rise buildings, our congested highways and our 9 till 5 petty lives where we are told what to eat what to watch, when to sleep what to wear what season to wear it and after you've done all that conforming you get robbed walking down the road in day light.
We live in nations infested with crime, social unrest, social disobedience, corruption and where morally and ethical people are frowned upon and not just in developing countries but also our so called developed countries.
Who are we to judge how they live there lives, they have a system, a system governed by there religion and culture, a system that the majority support and want implemented so that they do not go down the same road as we in the western world, for we have lost control, they don't want to see the very back bone that holds there communities crumble as we have seen.
We enter there countries as guests we should leave as guests, we neither live in systems that are perfect or near perfect nor will we ever, we have laws and customs that they find barbaric and impossible to fathom.
Who are we to compare ourselves to them, whats so great about are countries and our laws that it gives us the right to elevate ourselves as benchmarks to theirs. They have laws, they know those laws and they should abide to those laws, if they are changed because the majority want them changed then be it for they will have nothing to fear, but until the majority of that land decide to change those laws, they most abide by them and live by them at all times.
Quite a sermon.
As a traveller I enjoy the hospitality of other countries because I want to see different ways of living (e.g. the culture,art, language etc) and I make a point of not involving myself in local politics and/or religion.However, this does not mean I am insensible to good and bad which I think and hope should be a universal concept.Whipping people or any other form of torture I will condemn in the strongest possible terms and the sensibilities of the locals on this issue can go to hell.
"Sensibilities of the locals "? It's our governments that have placed there leaderships there, it's our governments that fund and advise them on basic strategies of maintaining a grip on there impoverished people while assisting them in transfrering billions to Swiss bank accounts, it our governments that encourage rendering of prisoners to these countries for torture of a magnitude greater than whipping, change must come from us the so called civilized developed world before we can go around preaching to others what we only think we udnerstand.
Not sure how this 6 month old thread came back to life, but moved to Culture & Politics for the obvious reasons.
#11 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,707
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This assertion is nonsense. Name ONE, ONE Islamic govenment that any western society "placed there"? You might make a WEAK case for Iraq and Afghanistan, given the occupation, but after that, you're done. We dealt with these screwed up governments that were already in existence. We didn't create them. Long before the west had competent governance, Islamic societies were acting EXACTLY as they are now. ISLAM IS THE PROBLEM, make no mistake.
interesting discussion and I'd like to jump in.
I'm not sure whether "islam is the problem" (if he meant that on a grander scale) but I agree with Madmac that the islamic governments are mostly responsible for what they are and what they do. Almost all (only Turkey comes to my mind as the exception) states and their laws are based on islam and are non secular.
To claim that any whipping or stoning is because of western governments seems completely ridiculous to me. Even if it were true (and some claims are like the whipping) there is the argument of development. Many societies develop and laws, standards and norms develop accordingly. It is my strong opinion that in islamic states this development is far less and where occurs it's supressed by the government involved.
I do get the feeling though that a majority of muslims might not agree with certain punishments/laws but fear of the government is greater than the will to change. I might change and I think Iran might be a good example given the current unrest there but you see how hard it is for them to get organised and mobilize.
In Islamic societies governments have FAR less flexibility in generating laws. The rub, and constant pressure from their own populations, is to ensure that the laws conform to Shari'a. Laws come from God, not men or Parliaments. Secularism is anathema to those who support Shari'a - which is a large portion of the Ummah. So changing laws isn't just a question of governments. Islam has not had a reformation - nor can it really. And there's the rub. The longer I studied Islam, and the more time I spent living in Islamic communities, the more I realized just how deeply flawed Islam is as a socio-political doctrine. I have no room at all for apologists for it. It is a system that wouldn't pass muster with a tribe of barbary apes.
It is interesting to see how differences in personal experiences lead us to different conclusions. The bulk of my own experience with Islam was during the four years I lived in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is a major world city and about as western and cosmopolitan as any in Turkey, so the religion flavored but didn't necessarily dominate life and society there.
I rather liked the obvious ways the religion influenced life there, like the singing of the call to prayer and the general courtesy my muslim hosts extended to me as a guest. I also enjoyed the chance to participate in some of the more meaningful customs associated with the religion, such as the keeping of and breaking of the fast during Ramadan, giving alms to the poor, and stuff like that.
Certainly there were some serious problems in Turkey associated with extreme religious behavior, such as the plague of "honor killings" in the eastern part of the country, but I'm not convinced this kind of garbage is inherently associated with any specific religion only, since I've witnessed intolerance and ignorance of a similar nature pretty much every where I've ever lived.
Glad to hear your point of view Exacto.
I always thought that Turkey was one of the better and finer examples of Islam (and the way it is incorporated in the government. I must admit that I only visited briefly.
Seems to me that they (not only government but people and society in general) are very happy with the separation of religion and state. And it in many ways it is both western and asian and a perfect example of how things can be.
Extremism there really seems to be true extremism (as per the definition) without any support of broad groups in society. More or less the same as any christian extremists in a western country. Nor have I heard anything about whipping or stoning or so.
Sadly it is the only islamic state that has these views.
Turkey is the only truly secular state with an Islamic majority however, unless you count Tunisia, which is still deeply divided and in conflict.
I have no problem with Islam as an individual faith. I despise any and all religious governance. Religion as part of public life is best when minimized.
Madmac.... While admiting not knowing nearly as much as the rest of you about Islam. I would like to clarify your statement above about Islam being the problem. Non-secular governments are the problem. I am not defending Islam, but if the christian fundamentalists right took control in America, we would have a whole lot of problems. I totally agree with your statement above. Religion as a part of public life is best when minimized.
#18 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
"I am not defending Islam, but if the christian fundamentalists right took control in America, we would have a whole lot of problems."
IF being the operative word here. America is NOT controlled by Christian fundamentalists (and ever if it were, there is no Christian equivelent of Shari'a) and therefore it's a non-issue. IF Europe were controlled by Christian fundamentalists, it would be a problem, but it's not.
hmmm, the overall tendency towards Islam is not that great but I think a little clarification is apropriate.
"Islam does not recognise the idea of a secular state"
That is nonsense. Islam is just a religion. Just like Budism, Christianity. Fundamentalists do not support a secular state and want Sharia law applicated in any and all government. I know the fundamentalists got a lot of attention in the past decade (and it's far bigger than christian fundamentalists) but let's keep the disticntion between them.
"The Koran is, to a Muslim,the complete guide to living in society".
So is the Tora and the Bible. Most of our values and norms are derived from the bible. Even as an atheist I will admit that most of my values are christian. It is the fundamentalism and the extreme interpretation of the Koran that is the problem (as Mac stated). Not Islam itself.
But perhaps we all agree on most things. My question and worry is more about how things can be changed and how the fundamentalism can be stopped...
I am afraid I can not agree with your interpretation for several reasons:
1. Christianity does not have, and has never had, an equivelent of Shari'a. Because the Qur'an comes from a single author in principal, it's legal strictures are far more detailed than any other faith.
2. The Islamic world has not had anything like a reformation nor a movement like the enlightenment movement. In western civilization, religious edict has largely given way to secular society. In Muslim societies it has not.
Islam dominates public and political life in a way that is not comparable to any other society on earth. As a socio-political compact it is crap. Total and utter crap. Not just because of the extremists.
Sharia is not considered mainstream Muslim. Even until ten years ago not many muslim societies had Sharia law. Islam doesn't dictate that Sharia law is administered. It's fundamental politicans that introduce Sharia law. Nor does the Koran make any direct reference to Sharia law.
Indonesia also does not have Sharia law. There are calls from fundamental imams to introduce it but this is not based on Islam itself. Just the extreme interpretation.
And for the west not having had an equivalent: Perhaps the word Inquisition rings a bell? Burning of witches & atheists? The Crusades? The list goes on and on.
The western middle ages were very much like many islamic states now. In these times states were not secular and christianity played a far greater role in socio-political areas. Comparable to Sharia law. Perhaps not written by a single person but the effect was exactly the same with cardinals and bishops having tremendous powers.
Some politicians and other people call the Islam backwards and from the middle ages. And I do agree with this view (as long a it is in socio-political context).
Your second point I have also already mentioned in my first posting and I agree with you there. And my earlier point in previous posting was that it is the fundamental powers that prevent an (much needed) "enlightenment". Even though I feel that any "enlightenment" should/could have happened sooner
Eastwest, you say:'Indonesia also does not have Sharia law'
Yes, it does.In the province of Aceh and also in some of the northern states of Malaysia
'And for the west not having had an equivalent: Perhaps the word Inquisition rings a bell? Burning of witches & atheists? The Crusades? '
Yes, that is precisely the era that Islam lives in now.As the air steward used to say as the plane landed in Riyadh
'Welcome to the 14th century'
Madmac....There is no Christian equivalent of Shari'a. Don't give them a chance.
#25 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386
"Sharia is not considered mainstream Muslim. Even until ten years ago not many muslim societies had Sharia law. Islam doesn't dictate that Sharia law is administered. It's fundamental politicans that introduce Sharia law. Nor does the Koran make any direct reference to Sharia law. "
This is, quite simply, not true. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, UAE, Oman, Egypt, Libya... I could keep going... they all have legal systems based around Shari'a. Furthermore, the Qur'an is quite specific about the application of Shari'a in Islamic societies.
"Indonesia also does not have Sharia law. There are calls from fundamental imams to introduce it but this is not based on Islam itself. Just the extreme interpretation."
Aceh does apply Shari'a. Indonesia and Malasia are probably the most melted down versions, but even there, Islams presence is strongly felt.
"And for the west not having had an equivalent: Perhaps the word Inquisition rings a bell? Burning of witches & atheists? The Crusades? The list goes on and on. "
You know, the crusades and the inquisition - not recent history. If some groups tried to bring those movements back to western civilization, I'd be happy to kill them too. Like my tolerance for the Nazi movement, the communist movement... it has limits.
"The western middle ages were very much like many islamic states now."
Kind of my point.
It seems that you've made up your mind and I don't see the need nor value in continuing this discussion.
First you clearly state "Christianity does not have, and has never had, an equivelent of Shari'a".
Then I point out that it has and then it suddenly becomes "recent history" and you use my point of the middles ages as if it was your point. A bit hard to argue in this way.
I may concede other points but like I said in previous posting I'm more interested in what the way forward should be regarding the growing of fundamentalism but that seems to fall on deaf ears. I don't have any desire in senseless simplified Islam bashing for the simple reason that it leads nowhere.
Enjoy the rest of the discussion.
"First you clearly state "Christianity does not have, and has never had, an equivelent of Shari'a".
Then I point out that it has and then it suddenly becomes "recent history" and you use my point of the middles ages as if it was your point. A bit hard to argue in this way"
Christianity has been used as a tool for ruling, for perpetrating injustice and for justifying legislation - but it does not have Shari'a. It can not have it either. For example, the Qur'an codifies who gets what in a divorce settlement. Christianity does not. The Qur'an specifies what punishments are appropriate for what crimes, Christianity does not. And so forth and so on. They just don't compare.
Now Christianity went through some bitter times, with horrible acts committed in its name. But as a political force it's dead as fried chicken. It is truly on the periphery now, with the occassional politician pandering to some religious block about the size of it. Neither US nor Western troops go to war screaming anything about God. They don't blow things up while involking God either. Even in the slow burning conflict in Northern Ireland, that war was not about religion at all. It was framed as Catholics vice protestants, but it was really about nationalism.
Islam is a fiath that is extremely confining precisely because it has been codified. If you spent time in Arabia or East Africa you would know what I mean. In many places (like Saudi Arabia and Yemen) you can't even talk to a woman if you're a man. Life there basically blows.
Funny, I have lived in East Africa for 5 years (Zanzibar, Sudan).
But I guess you assume that you are the only one with experience and therefore you feel you have more authority on this subject.
That is why I do not participate anymore here. I have had a different experience and speak from that. I've made some great Muslim friends there, who work in very difficult conditions, for whom I have great respect and your simplified vision and throwing all of Islam/muslims on one heap does bother me.
So keep on going, this topic is all yours. "I'd be happy to kill them too" & "The planet ain't big enough for us both" and so on. It's not really my style of debating.
glad to hear that you had such positive experiences in east Africa and made friends and such. it sounds like your experience tracked closely to my time in Turkey. like you, i'm also sensitive to what appear to be blanket negative statments about Muslims and Islam, and i'm concerned that much of what i hear here in the states is just thinly masked racism.
having said that, i also feel the need to defend MADMAC a bit from your characterization above (not that he needs me to defend him...). MADMAC definitely has strong opinions, but like ours, his opinions are based on his experiences. what i've admired is that MADMAC is fair-minded and has always been willing to concede other's points while making his own.
anyway, my point is that when discussing a topic with anyone on this board, don't think of it as a debate that you are trying to win. that's a dead end. think of it as a chat with friends (emphasis on friends) while sitting around a campfire or a game of cards or, in this case, a tea house playing backgammon. it's a great chance to not only share your own thoughts and opinions and help others see a side of an issue they may not have seen before, but also to learn and understand how others think and feel and how their experiences might be different from ours.
so, with that little bit of polly anna, i'm off to Las Vegas for an evening of fun. wish me luck! cheers.
Like you I have a favorable opinion of Mac. Just not on this topic where he hasn't shown that much fair-mindedness. I think that he has come close to that thinly masked racism that you refer to with some of his comments.
Surely you do not consider "I'd be happy to kill them all" a fair-minded comment.
I definitely saw/see a different Mac on this topic than anywhere else on this forum.
Perhaps I got carrried away a bit too much but to imply that I was trying to win a debate (I just used the word debate for lack of better word (I'm not a native-english speaker)) or being singled out for bad remarks here is beyond me. I just felt the need to counter-balance some of his insensitive remarks.
Enjoy Las Vegas. Perhaps Mac and I should join you there considering "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas"
"Funny, I have lived in East Africa for 5 years (Zanzibar, Sudan).
But I guess you assume that you are the only one with experience and therefore you feel you have more authority on this subject.
That is why I do not participate anymore here. I have had a different experience and speak from that. I've made some great Muslim friends there, who work in very difficult conditions, for whom I have great respect and your simplified vision and throwing all of Islam/muslims on one heap does bother me."
My experience was Somalia and the Ogaden of Ethiopia. Perhaps they are less tolerant than their southern neighbors.
Having said that, I too have a lot of Muslim friends. Indeed I used to live with a Muslim woman (much to her parents chagrin). I have no problem with Muslims as people at all. They are completely entitled to their faith just like everyone else. But I have a huge problem with it as a socio-political compact, precisely because in that context it is brutally intolerant. And it is that context that I speak.
Hi I just have to add my two cents.Islam is not the problem, it's just a religion. People are the problem. Who can deny the many attrocities commited in the name of Christianity? what is the problem is people are as a race pretty horrible. We will try and force our ideals upon others by whatever means neccesary, will kill, rape,torture and otherwise commit evil deeds upon each other with little or no remorse. But just as there are horrible people everywhere , there are free thinking, kind and good people everywhere too. I have several Islamic friends, but I my self am not religious but come from an Anglican background, In fact our family is good friends with a lovely Saudi family, both of whom are highly educated and generally wonderfull to know. They are warm welcoming and generous. After many discussions on the subject with them and other friends, I feel I understand a bit more of the motivating forces behind there relationship. The husbands role is to provide and care for the family, while the wifes role is to care for the home and family and manages the finances and pretty much has first say over anything that happens in the family home. (She ,btw has a masters degree and lectures at our local uni.) How different is this from the traditional western nuclear family?
For supposedly wordly wise people, you would think you would take sometime to actually get to know the people and culture , before condemming it utterly! And In a socio political context may I also exhibit hardline fundamentalist Christians. Come on how are these people any less scary? And before any one mentions terrorism. Do you guys remember the IRA?
#34 allykat has been a member since 23/11/2009. Posts: 24
"Islam is not the problem, it's just a religion. People are the problem. Who can deny the many attrocities commited in the name of Christianity?"
I'm sorry Allykat, I can not agree with this. We are talking about the here and now. Back in the bad old days, Christianity as a political movement was barbarous in the extreme, ranking up there with the Nazi movement. Intollerant, brutal, sociopathic. But we went through a reformation and an enlightenment movement, and fortunately Christianity did not have a "Shari'a" problem to deal with, which made these movements easier (but not easy) to develop. Your very thought processes are a product of these movements, which emphasize tolerance. Islam has had no such movement. It is in conflict right now, and that conflict has put us in the gun sights.
If you go to your lovely Saudi neighbors and ask them if they believe that Islamic governance must eventually rule the world - that that is a prescribed outcome - see what they tell you. I don't doubt there shall be a bit of obfuscation, but press to the point. Now, the Islamic camp is currently split, with most Muslims saying that pursuasion, not violence, should be used to achieve that purpose, but that purpose remains valid.
Then ask you neighbors if Shari'a, or at least elements of it, is not an obsolete and even somewhat barbaric form of law and should be set aside, and watch the answer you will get. Ask your neighbors if Islam can not be criticized, or even declared publicly as wrong headed. Watch the response. Yet this is a core principal - to be able to criticize any and all - in our ethos.
Do you remember the "work of art" called Pisschrist? Imagine for just one moment that someone created a like work called "PissMohammed" and wanted to display it in, say, Cairo - watch the fireworks.
Islam has a very violent strain that has been bursting at the seams. The current problems started with the Mahdi in the Sudan over 100 years ago, and the conflict you are seeing is really an ongoing expression of that revolt. The Islamic world saw itself as ascendent, and the humiliation of the colonial experience left them in a quandry. If Islam is God's system of governance, and is perfect, then how can they be dominated by non-Muslims? The answer wasn't "Cause Islam isn't a perfect system of governance" I assure you. The answer was "We are not Muslim enough." And that's an endless, deep pitted cycle. Since Islam is an inferior system of governance, they can never arrive at their destination, and thus are constantly digging a deeper and deeper pit. And the frustration within the community at all of this often expresses itself violently, both within and without the community.
"Do you guys remember the IRA?
The IRA was not a religious based movement, it was a nationalist based movement. Nobody in the IRA was fighting for the Catholic church. There is no equivelency here.
"For supposedly wordly wise people, you would think you would take sometime to actually get to know the people and culture , before condemming it utterly!"
Since I spent three years living in it, and studying it, and living with Muslims in the same house, I think I qualify. Do not confuse tolerance in general with tolerance with everything. All cultures are not equal, and not all are worthy of tolerance. Should we have tolerated the Nazis and their culture? How about the Maoists? The Stalinists? And by not tolerating them (to the extent that was possible) does that mean we hate all Germans or Russians or Chinese or Cambodians?. Think it through.
As I said, I have no problem with Muslims as people. I have many a dear Muslim friend. I dare say far more than you do. I have spent much time in the Islamic world. What faith people wish to adhere to in private is fine. But the deeper religion intreudes into the public space the more dangerous it is. And Islam is the worst, because it's intrusion is so complete and quite oppressive. Go live in Saudi Arabia for a while - oh you can't - because they don't allow tourists. It is not indiviedual Muslims I have a problem with, it is the faith as an expression of politics that is our enemy. There is no avoiding that. No amount of tolerance will make that go away. And you are whistling past the graveyard if you think so.
Ok Madmac, No Shar'i'a like elements in Christianity? Ummm how about the Witch trials, the inquisition and more recently things like ! The right wing christians basically try to destroy any one that dares have an opion which doesn't match theirs. In China they regularly execute people over praticing Qi Gong, another religion. But this attrocity is perpertrated by the chinese government and not another religon.And how can you presume to judge all people from one country based on a few jerks! Fundamentalist beleif is scary no matter what the beleive in! And I have had long and in depth discussion about all kinds of things with my friends. They are some of the most open minded people I have met!
Also how can you say people are not the problem? Who made up the religions in the first place? Who started the holocaust? Who perpertrated the jonestown massacre? Who burnt thousands of innocents in the name of christ? Who commited genocide in Rwanda? Thats right! Human beings. Now I am not saying all people are evil, or bad or anything automatically. But we are the only species on earth that perpetrates these kind of attrocities on each other for any other reason than sheer survival.
And I was also attacking the generalisation on this thread. Just because some Muslims are fundamentalist nutjobs doesn't mean all of them are. Just as not all Christians are right wing fundamentalists. Nor are all travellers open minded....
And if you have a problem of faith as an expression of politics, why aren't you this angry at Roman Catholics, Fundamentalist christians and Israeli Jews?
#36 allykat has been a member since 23/11/2009. Posts: 24
Any way it's clear that Madmac is pretty prejudiced against Islam.I am sorry if your experiences have been bad. But really it seems you have a problem with the politics of the thing and not the actual religion. And I promise not to judge all travelfish readers on one fundamentalist nutjob lol
#37 allykat has been a member since 23/11/2009. Posts: 24
"No Shar'i'a like elements in Christianity? Ummm how about the Witch trials, the inquisition and more recently things like !"
Allykat, what is the Christian word for Shari'a? Where is Christian Shari'a being practiced? Because I'm missing it. As I said, there is no eqvuivelent. I've have studied this in great detail. I have lived with muslims in their societies in Saudi Arabia, The Ogaden Desert of Ethiopia and Somalia. I have read the Qur'an and the Hadith. And I have had MANY discussions with Muslims on this topic. This isn't something I'm pulling out of my ass or some misshapen, redneck prejudice.
Yes, as I have mentioned (apparently you missed) horrible acts were committed in the name of Christianity. And yes the Bible was most certainly used to justify the actions. All true - but not the equivelent of Shari'a. Shari'a is a very complete form of law, addressing property rights, marriage, divorce, crime and punishment in detail. Christianity just doesn't do this. What's the punishment in Chrsitianity for theft? What is the punishment for murder? These crimes, and many others, are spelled out in Shari'a, including proscribed pinushments.
"The right wing christians basically try to destroy any one that dares have an opion which doesn't match theirs."
When was the last time a right wing Christian wearing a suicide vest blew himself up in a crowded market yelling "Jesus is Great"? When was the last time that Christians were killing in the name of Chrstianity? Yes, within our communities we have fringe loonies that are waiting for the anti-Christ and such nonsense, but they are considered fringe loonies and they are not conducting acts of violence to facilitate his return or to see God's law implemented across the globe. You are trying to make an equivelency where there simply isn't one. There is a tremendous amount of violence being done by Islamic militants across the globe - from Mindanao to Indonesia to Thailand to India to Pakistan to Afghanistan to the stans of the former Soviet Republic, to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad, Egypt, all the way to the Sahel... Violence by groups motivated by Islam is common place. There are intellectual reasons for this. But at it's core, as many a muslim has said to me (and I quote): "Islam is not just a religion, it's a way of life".
"And how can you presume to judge all people from one country based on a few jerks! Fundamentalist beleif is scary no matter what the beleive in! And I have had long and in depth discussion about all kinds of things with my friends. They are some of the most open minded people I have met!"
Western Society (and much of eastern too now) is secular. Until recently Arabic didn't even have a word for secular. Once again, it appears you failed to read what I wrote above. I am not judging people - something I avoid doing. I am judging a system of governance. Islam is a system of governance. As a system of governance, as well as a socio-political compact, the range of Islam's tolerance is very narrow. As I stated previously (but again, you don't appear to have read it) Islam is in deep conflict right now, between those trying to accomodate the modern world around it, and those rebelling against this same modernism violently. We are caught in this violence for a myriad of reasons, but principally as we stand as an example of alternative governance that seems to be outpacing any such Islamic contemporary. That is a lure to friends such as yours, and that causes deep consternation to militant Muslims.
And look at the poll numbers. We are not talking about a few fringe fundamentalist jerks here. In some places like Yemen, these "fringe fundamentalists" enjoy an enormous depth of support. Islam is so deeply entrenched in the psyche of these places, that anything perceived as a threat to it (and we are a threat to it - whether we wish to be or not) is regarding at best with loathing. You need to spend some time in these places to appreciate this. Islam in the Middle East governs almost all affairs and strongly influences those it does not govern. Christianity pales in comparison to how it governs our lives. Look at the deeply emotional and violent response we saw when a few cartoons mocking Mohammed were published.
"And I was also attacking the generalisation on this thread. Just because some Muslims are fundamentalist nutjobs doesn't mean all of them are. Just as not all Christians are right wing fundamentalists. Nor are all travellers open minded...."
Have you read a work I have written previously? Have I not explained already my deep existing friendship with Muslims? Have I not mentioned my deep romance with a Muslim woman? Did I not specify it is not Muslims I have a problem with but Islam as a socio-political compact? Are you being willfully obtuse here?
"And if you have a problem of faith as an expression of politics, why aren't you this angry at Roman Catholics, Fundamentalist christians and Israeli Jews?"
Because none of these groups are trying to blow me up or cut off my head. Christianity as a political force is dead - thank the **** Christ. Fundamentalist Christians are annoying, and have more political sway in my country than I would desire, but again, they aren't violent and they do work within the political process. Israeli's have their own issues of which we are all aware, but they too are neither trying to blow me up or cut my head off. You will also note that this thread was about SHARI'A application in Malaysia and Indonesia. The other issues are separate, and would be a separate thread.
"But really it seems you have a problem with the politics of the thing and not the actual religion"
They are no separable - a fact which you have sadly missed. You got to do your homework kid. Cause you haven't.
During the last century and the little part of this one we have had movements in the Western world to bring about equality in issues such as womens rights, rights for black people and gay rights.All of these movements have been hugely successful grassroot movements against iniquities.
I hear they execute kids for acts of homosexuality in Iran, that women are routinely stoned to death for so much as looking at a man in countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan.If these are the acts of Muslim minorities where are the mass demonstrations by the Muslim majority against these appalling acts?I must be missing them because I can't think of one.
Madmac you say
'I have lived with muslims in their societies in Saudi Arabia,.......... And I have had MANY discussions with Muslims on this topic.'
In SAUDI ARABIA!!! and you're alive to tell the tale!!!!
Well, not in Saudi Arabia. That place just isn't rational. But in Somalia, yeah. We talked about it fairly often. Needless to say most conversations ending with me being declared a lousy kufr.
Take it a step further. Suicide bombings between Shi'ites and Sunni's are common. Mosques are favorite targets. They're in the news all the time. Yet there are no mass protests when these occur. Why? Allykat, why not? Don't you ask yourself that?
There are numerous Islamic movements that are armed fighting for all sorts of different Islamic sects. This is a normal background of the Islamic world throughout the middle and near east. They kill often. Yet no protests against these movements or their actions. Why?
They protest vigorously and and all insults, real and perveiced, coming from the west, yet when they literally saw the heads off of men like Daniel Pearl there isn't a peep. Why? Is insulting the Prophet, dead for 1,400 years a greater offense than taking a man who has committed no crime and sawing his head off (and filming it)? In their world - it is. Do you begin to understand.
Your nice Saudi neighbors are not about to come out and tell you what they really think. That would be offensive and stupid on their part. But you are a "kufr" - literally that means ingrate. And that's what you are. Ungrateful to not have accepted Gods word. This isn't an extremist term. This is a normal term used to refer to all non-muslims.
Like I said, you need to go live there (well, without good reason you can't live in Saudi Arabia. They don't grant tourist visas and you are not a muslim so you can not receive a Hajj visa), someplace like Yemen - say for six months. And you'll begin to understand. Islam is a way of life, it's a political doctrine. It dictates how to clean your ass, when to get up, when to go to bed, and most routine in between. It is not "just a religion".