Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Tuesday, January 15, 2019

In the wake of the Brussels attacks, political pundits around the world have engaged in yet another round of discussion about the compatibility of Islam and the Western world. One of the new terms out of this latest process is “Reform Muslim,” which, like the term “moderate Muslim,” is an invention, offensive to the vast majority of Muslims who are neither reactionary, conservative, nor incapable of living among others.

“Reform Muslim” emerged in a column by Maajid Nawaz, head of the counter-extremism think tank Quilliam and a self-styled Muslim Liberal who defines Reformists as the opposites of “the ideology of Islamism.”

“Islamism,” or the use of Islam as a means of political mobilization, means many things to many people. Tunisia’s Islamists, who readily share power in a progressive, democratic society, certainly don’t have very much in common with the thugs in ISIS. And to pin Islamism as the root of religiously-inspired terrorism or violence misses the point entirely.

The ideology of Islamism originally emerged as a response to Western imperialism, not as a call to start a holy war or return to literalist interpretations of the Quran. As Nikki Keddie, biographer of Islamism’s founder, Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, wrote:

“First of all, it exalted reason above literalist revelation and had always been used to attack the pretensions of the religious classes to the truest knowledge. Second, it argued for a nonliteral interpretation of those parts of revelation and tradition that seemed least rational. This system of interpretation, used by Muslim philosophers to advocate Aristotelian rationalism, could equally be used to try to show that the Koran and Muslim Traditions actually enjoined modern parliaments, and powerful armies; and Afghani and many of his followers did argue this way.”

Al-Afghani, having spent most of his productive years in Egypt as the British and French consolidated their control over the country, was popular among Egyptian intellectuals. Today, there’s a noted split between mostly-secular intellectuals and religious Islamists in the Middle East.

Like many of the differences between East and West, Islamism does not fit into the typical right-left, conservative-liberal divide that informs Western political ideology. Some elements of classic Islamism could be categorized as liberal, such as its appeals to reason in religious study. In other ways it’s more conservative: it relies on religion as a source of political legitimacy, for example. But as an early anti-colonial political movement, the Islamism of the late 19th century was far more progressive than the mischaracterized “Islamism” of today.

Meanwhile, the violent Quranic fetishization of ISIS and others, who rely upon a literalist interpretation of holy texts to brainwash their followers into committing acts of terrorism, was specifically disavowed by Islamism’s founder.

So when pundits tell Muslims that they “must reject the ideology of Islamism” and that every Muslim who denounces Islamism is necessarily then a “Reform” — or “reformed” — Muslim, our terms have lost all meaning. If Islamism is a millenarian belief that violence and murdering innocents will bring about the end times (it’s not), there are many names for it, courtesy of a burgeoning Islamophobia industry: Islamic fundamentalism, religious extremism, “radical Islamic terrorism.” The list goes on.

Using the word Islamism because it’s a catch all, like the word “terrorism,” is intellectually lazy. As The New Republic’s Nathan Lean wrote in his profile of Nawaz, “He has found in [his readers] an opportunity to expand his platform, and they, in him, a veneer that deflects accusations of Islamophobia and Western triumphalism by fixating not on Islam per se but on the alleged threat posed by its foreign ‘ism’ affix: Islamism.”

Nawaz should know that Islam has been the subject of reform and intense theological debate for centuries. Al-Afghani was just one in a long line of reformers. Nor does Nawaz have the authority to proclaim the existence of a single “Reformist Islam.” First, because there is no centralized Islamic religious authority that could create “Reformists” out of thin air, but also because Islam has changed over time without splintering into stratified sects of reformists, orthodoxes, and conservatives —  labels borrowed from other religions in an attempt to relativize the intellectual and theological debates taking place within the Muslim world.

Again, none of this is new: Theological debates raged in Baghdad during the Islamic Golden Age, when Mu’tazilites and Ash’arites clashed over the same ideas many Muslims wrestle with today. Mu’tazilites believed that the era on new interpretation of the Quran was over, while Ash’arites believed that the Quran needed constant reinterpretation to meet the needs of the current age. And while Mu’tazilites appear to have won that debate, given the increasing prominence of literalist interpretations of Islamic texts, even they valued human reason, which they believed was central to comprehending monotheism and morality in Islam.

Islamism was just one of many reformist movements in the Muslim world. Depicting Islamism, and all of the theological and political diversity found on the Islamist spectrum, as one monolithic, reactionary movement is intellectually dishonest and historically false.

  • Share this on Google+0
  • Share this on Linkedin0
  • Share this on Reddit0
  • Print this page
  • 33

104 responses to “Don’t Blame “Islamism” For Horrific Terror Attacks”

  1. Dominick Vila says:

    Blaming a religion and an entire culture for the radicalism and crimes committed by a few thousand religious zealots is not only a simplistic characterization, it is dangerous. An analogy may be to suggest that all Christians share the beliefs and approve of the actions carried out by Timothy McVeigh, by the nut that flew a plane into a government building in Texas a few years ago, for the crimes committed every day by disturbed people throughout the United States.
    Islam, and the Qu’ran does not promote crime, any than the Old and New Testaments do. Individuals commit the crimes we are seeing, for a variety of reasons, ranging from misinterpretations of religious values to personal ambition, to insanity.
    There is no question that, regardless the reason or who is trying to do us harm, we must be vigilant and prepared to defend ourselves. There is also no question that we have the right to bring justice to those who harm us. What is very much in question is the logic or rationale to over simplify a serious threat, to insult and ostracize people upon whose cooperation we must rely to limit the effectiveness of terrorism.
    The irresponsible rhetoric we are hearing from some quarters, including some people who aspire to become President of the United States, is exacerbating a very real problem, and inciting hatred at a time when objective pragmatism is needed.

    • I of John says:

      All religions should remain responsible for the zealots they inspire.

      • Dominick Vila says:

        You are not going to get any arguments on that subject from this agnostic that leans atheist.

        • I of John says:

          Cheers, Usually I get into mischief when I debate religion like this.

          • Dominick Vila says:

            🙂
            The only thing I can say in defense of religious leaders is that there are limits to their influence, and ability to control the most radical members of their flock. In the case of ISIS, I would not bet a dime for the survival of an Islamic cleric that decides to ask for moderation.
            For that matter, I don’t hear an outrage from our own religious leaders in the face of bizarre, offensive, and highly irresponsible statements directed at anyone who does not look like the majority, and those who do not share their beliefs and goals.
            What we see instead of hypocrisy on steroids.

    • Robert Eckert says:

      There are far more than “a few thousand” religious zealots involved. There are 50,000 fighting for ISIL alone, let alone the many armed groups hostile to ISIL but equally hostile to western culture. And as France and Belgium are discovering, the ones who actually take up arms are the tip of the iceberg: each one of those depends on a web of supporters willing to supply financial assistance and concealment. Polls show that support for violence against civilian targets in many Muslim-majority countries is a double-digit percentage: this is a minority, to be sure, but too large a minority to ignore. If we conservatively estimate that 10% of the Islamic world supports this ideology, that is about 150 million.

      • Dominick Vila says:

        Estimates of the physical size of ISIL range from 30,000 to 50,000. As you know, Islam is a religion practiced by 1.6 billion people. Religious radicalism in countries like Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, is almost non-existent. It is true, however, that a sizable minority of Muslims, especially in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, and North Africa, sympathize with the ISIL goal to establish a Caliphate and rule it using Sharia Law.
        Our main goal, in addition to doing whatever it takes to prevent another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and worldwide, is to make an effort to understand the root causes for the hatred and radicalism.
        Pulling our troops out of Islamic countries, respecting their sovereignty and culture, not engaging in more crusades and regime changes, and letting others live their lives the way we wish to live ours, may be a good start.
        It should be obvious to everyone by now that many Muslims are not interested in American style freedom and democracy, that they are not interested in Western influences, and they they don’t want us in their countries. Why do we insist in meddling in their internal affairs?

        • Robert Eckert says:

          I am seriously tired of this blame shifting, that we are supposed to be nicer to them and then they will stop committing atrocities. If they are not interested in freedom and democracy, then they should not be permitted to immigrate or to trade with us– oh no, you wouldn’t go there. What you mean is that the majority of the Muslims, who do actually desire such things as freedom and democracy, should be left under the domination of this violent faction who has them intimidated despite being outnumbered in point of fact.

          • Dominick Vila says:

            No, what I mean is that it should be up to them – the Muslim people – to decide how they want to live their lives, and whether or not they want to preserve their traditions and culture.
            There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, ISIS controls a relatively small piece of land in Iraq and Syria.
            I suspect that most Muslims, worldwide, are aware of the threat of terrorism, since they are often the first victims of radicalism, but claiming that ISIS controls and intimidates the Muslim people worldwide is a bit of an exaggeration. Yes, people in areas controlled by ISIS are being brutalized, which is why carpet bombing is not a solution. The last thing they need is U.S. bombs in addition to ISIS atrocities.
            We don’t have to be nice to them. Don’t forget, we put OBL, and now the ISIS second in command, out of commission; and we have been targeting Al Qaeda and ISIS sites with drone attacks for years. The question is, do we continue to engage in a never ending tit for tat, or should we try to understand the reasons for the hatred and violence, and do something about it. In other words, do we limit the scope of our actions on short term goals, or do we focus on long term solutions?

          • Robert Eckert says:

            The “small piece of land” in Syria and Iraq is far from the only place where the radicals are intimidating and dominating a far larger number of people. Your proposed “solution” is that we allow that domination to continue.

          • Dominick Vila says:

            The solution I cited is based on personal experience, and the knowledge that justice eventually prevails, and the fact that nobody designated us the savior or policeman of the world.
            My first visit to Spain was in 1945. I returned and lived there from 1958 to 1969. Generalissimo Franco was the “Caudillo” (supreme ruler or dictator). Atrocities were committed, and misery prevailed, especially in 1945.
            I lived in Venezuela from 1946 to 1958, when General Perez Jimenez was the dictator in that country. Abuses of power were the norm, and freedom was not even in the picture.
            After Franco died, freedom and democracy was restored in Spain, without bloodshed or carpet bombings by anyone.
            A somewhat similar circumstance took place in Venezuela, until Hugo Chavez took over the reins of power and the country succumbed once again into chaos and misery.
            Ultimately, the destiny of other countries depend largely on the wishes of the population in those countries, not on the desires or interests of outsiders, who are often not welcomed.
            One thing is to help, like we are doing in Cuba, another thing is to destroy the infrastructure of a country, changes its government, carry out a purge, install a puppet government, and de-stabilize an entire region, like we did in Iraq, and pretend we did it to liberate people from themselves. It is not up to us to decide how other people should live, what form of government they should have, and what they should believe in…as long as they don’t threaten our security, and Iraq didn’t.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            I did not approve of the invasion of Iraq, but we cannot time-travel and undo that now. Simply leaving people to suffer on grounds that it is entirely up to them to change it assumes that the people actually have that power. Spain and even Latin America were more modernized societies, while much of the Muslim world still remains mired in a medievalism in which the common people are quite powerless. Pretending that the western world is responsible for the medieval brutalities is just not faithful to truth: the system of systemic cruelties, sexual repression, xenophobic hatreds, fatalistic resignation etc. is inherited from the internal conditions of centuries ago. There is nothing intrinsic to Muslims that requires them to remain at that level: European Christians certainly had their own system of barbarity in the deep past and took a long time to get past it. The majority of people in the Muslim world do want to move forward, but a violent minority can easily continue impose its will for decades as in Francoist Spain, or perhaps for a century or more if the world turns away, as you recommend.

          • Dominick Vila says:

            I neither condone the medieval barbarism that exists in so many Muslim countries, nor support its indefinite continuance. I simply believe that it is not up to us to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations, or impose our values on others, regardless of whether or not they like what we are offering them.
            Since I never lived in an Islamic country, and my contact with Muslims has been limited, I don’t pretend to know what they would prefer, but I would not be surprised if they would rather live the way they live today than see infidels violate their sovereignty and impose their way of life on them.
            That, by the way, was one of the reasons people rallied around Fidel Castro, when we imposed punitive sanctions on that island, and they were convinced we were going to invade their country.
            I spent 30 years overseas, and one of the lessons I learned is that people prefer to choose what they believe is best for them without foreign interference.
            I do agree on one thing, it is very difficult for a civilian population to rid themselves from military dictatorships. More often than not, that requires external pressures. The key is to do it in a subtle, diplomatic way, rather than slash and burn approaches.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            Rather than “rallying” around Fidel Castro, Cubans fled the island in massive numbers, much as Muslims are voting with their feet, by the millions, against “living the way they live today” under the intimidation of the most medieval and brutal. Leaving this festering sore to get worse is not a realistic option.
            The “subtle, diplomatic way” of dealing with a military dictatorship simply results in leaving the dictator in place until he ages and dies, and sometimes his son or other successor can keep the dictatorial regime going (we hoped that the death of Kim Il-sung was the end for North Korea; then we hoped the same about the death of Kim Jong-il). Franco’s dictatorship in Spain only ended because Juan Carlos was the chosen successor, which required some clever dissembling by Juan Carlos about his intentions as long as Franco was alive: if Franco had chosen a crueler successor, Spain might still be a hellhole; and since Spain wasn’t generating a flood of refugees, intervention was never very likely. I do not agree with your view that non-intervention is the more moral course even in a case like Spain, but when the nastiness of a regime also impinges on everyone else, it is certainly absurd to say that we are morally obligated to suffer ourselves as well as let the others suffer.

          • Dominick Vila says:

            Thousands of Cuban left their country since Fidel’s ascension of power, some because of political persecution, others for the same economic reasons that so many Cubans fled the island and migrated to the USA since the days of Batista, and before him. Most Cubans remained in the island, and most did not fight Fidel. As you know, Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother is now the man in charge.
            As it happened so often, our sanctions punished the common man a lot more than the dictator (s), who continued to enjoy the best that money could buy.
            Another problem with the sanctions is that it allowed other countries to establish an economic foothold, while we looked from the sidelines. Needless to say, there are still a lot of opportunities, and there is no doubt in my mind that our entrepreneurs will make a lot of money as soon as economic and trade relations are restored fully.
            Incidentally, the main benefit of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations is our credibility throughout Latin America.
            King Juan Carlos did play a major role in the peaceful transition to democracy, especially when a coup d’etat was attempted a couple of years after Franco’s death, but the same would have probably happened without him. Even though he is, officially, the Head of State, the President of the Government and the Cortes are the ones that are running the government, the ones that make all relevant decisions, the ones responsible for defending their democracy…and the ones that are allowing the physical disintegration of their country for fear of appearing undemocratic.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            “the same would have probably happened without him” How do you imagine that happening?
            “the President of the Government and the Cortes are the ones that are running the government” How would either a President or a Cortes have come to be if a Franco clone, but younger, took over in the 70’s?

          • Dominick Vila says:

            The answer to the first question is because freedom and democracy had already taken hold, and with the exception of a few die hards, most senior military officers did not support another dictatorship.
            The answer to the second question is that had Franco named a senior military officer, or a senior member of the Falange, as his successor, Spain would still be under a dictatorship.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            “The answer to the first question is because freedom and democracy had already taken hold” Really? I was in Spain shortly after Franco died, and while my Spanish was minimal and thus my understanding limited, it looked very touch and go to me at the time. My impression was that it was entirely up to Juan Carlos whether any freedom or democracy would even START to take hold.
            “The answer to the second question is that had Franco named a senior military officer, or a senior member of the Falange, as his successor, Spain would still be under a dictatorship.” I don’t understand how these two paragraphs go together. You were insisting that if Juan Carlos had never existed, Spain would have developed into a democracy anyway. And now abruptly you concede that this is totally not the case.

          • Dominick Vila says:

            The fact that King Juan Carlos, and now King Felipe, are strong advocates of democratic principles does help. However, what really made a difference was the fact that the Spanish military hierarchy had lost its appetite for military rule over the population, in a continent where freedom and democracy prevailed. Bear in mind that military dictatorships are influenced more by the wishes or ambitions of senior military officers than what the last dictator wanted.
            Had a senior general, or a member of the Falange (Fascist) with the support of the military, wanted to take over the reins of power, neither Juan Carlos nor anyone else would have been able to step him.

          • Sand_Cat says:

            True, we could go to war with multiple nations and 1.6 billion people and hope for the best. I doubt that the result would be what rational people desire.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            Or we could ignore a violent movement with a hundred million followers and hope they don’t cause any problems.
            Or we could understand that there are other options besides two ridiculous extremes.

          • Sand_Cat says:

            Those who emigrate, especially the refugees, are for the most part interested in democracy, or something other than the oppression they suffer at home.
            We have throughout most of modern history traded with our worst enemies, in part in the hope that it would open them to alternatives, and we have been successful in at least cooling the hostility.
            Your simplistic analysis and putting words in the mouth of someone else, are not likely to convince thinking people.
            A great deal of the difficulty we have is a direct result of our own inability to simply leave them alone. As for leaving them under the domination of the violent factions, you might want to take a serious look at our recent attempt to do otherwise in Iraq, which made a major contribution to the current instability and violence in the region.

          • MR AWESOME says:

            Oh my God are you really this dense?

        • tomtype says:

          I doubt if your conclusions are correct. We do know that the Muslim states are, like the rest of the world, are interested in modernizing. The problem is we don’t even know what it takes. Let me relate a favorite story, true story.
          When Japan had been forced to open its borders to foreigners, and foreign cultures by the American Commodore Perry in 1854, there was a section of the Japanese government that had decided they couldn’t remain closed and would need to confront the modern world. And as they gained accendency, they decided to import and build railways. But there was a big discussion. They knew that only America, Britain, France, Germany and Italy had railways. Did that mean they would have to adopt Christianity to make railroads work, and specifically Protestant Christianity, because they knew that they worked better in the Protestant countries than in the Catholic countries. Now that sounds silly and really off-beat to us. But truthfully, we still don’t know why the Protestant countries and generally the Christian countries led the wave of modernization. So many people put it wrong, saying why did the rest of the world fall behind, because the West sprang ahead so fast and so suddenly. The rest of the world wants to catch up, but like that early Japanese council, doesn’t know that is essential to modernize and what what is just fluff.

    • Normaljackson2 says:

      “my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….

      two days ago new Mc.Laren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month .,3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Hereo!660➤➤➤➤➤ http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsJobs/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:❖:❦:::::o!660………

  2. I of John says:

    In the end, however, all religious institutions and their theologians bare a unique responsibility to rein in their respective fanatics. Just as we still hold Cathocism responsible for the inquisition/crusades and the Puritans for the Salem witch trials, so must Islam be held responsible for the abuses of their doctorine.

    • Mr Corrections says:

      yes that is why Catholics and Protestants are under constant surveillance

      • I of John says:

        We certainly watched Irish Catholics and Orange-Protestants.

        • Mr Corrections says:

          Oh so there’s a time limit on guilt.

          Also your justification boils down to “we used to be racist so racism is OK now”.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            What??? We watch those who present dangers in the present time.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            You just said that Catholics and Protestants were still – STILL – collectively guilty. Also, Christians present a far greater danger in the US.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            No, *I* didn’t say that. I do agree with you that to the extent that Christians of any particular stripe, whether Catholics or Protestants in Ireland or Fundamentalists in the US, continue to present danger, they need to be watched.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            That’s exactly what you said.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            Or at least you agreed with the guy saying it.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            No, you were arguing with somebody else.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            As I said, you were agreeing with them on the notion that a group of people can be collectively guilty and need to be watched. That isn’t true.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            No, I was raising a question about what your puzzling reply meant. I expressed no opinion about “collective guilt” but of course surveillance cannot be restricted to a particular individual if you don’t already have that level of intelligence.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            You are saying that all Muslims are a danger and need to be watched because they are Muslim. I don’t know how this is difficult for you. My reply was entirely straightforward.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            I did not say that. It is difficult for me because you are inventing thoughts in other people’s heads (and ball up all people other than yourself into a single entity) and expect everyone to guess telepathically what thoughts you have ascribed to them.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            That, again, is precisely what you said in reply to my post about how we don’t spy on people just for being Catholic or Protestant, yet for some reason it’s OK if you’re Muslim – you replied that OF COURSE we watch people who are “a danger”. Being Muslim does not make you a danger. How goddam hard is this?

          • Robert Eckert says:

            I said that we watch people who are a danger. I did not say that all Muslims are a danger. That is not something I believe, but you decided to make up a position for me to believe in so that you could attack me for it. Not only do you attribute to me something I did not say, you then claim it was “precisely” what I said.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            Right, so you thought you could be uselessly pedantic, but you reply had nothing to do with anything I said so you couldn’t even manage that. Good job.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            What makes you believe that you know what I was thinking? No, being “uselessly pedantic” was the furthest thing from my mind. What is your problem, anyway?

          • Mr Corrections says:

            Gosh I dunno why I think you’re being uselessly pedantic, other than the fact that you’re attempting to feebly argue with me about something I never said, in posts that were not in the slightest bit unambiguous.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            You just said that I *wasn’t* uselessly pedantic, but that I was thinking I should try to be, and failing to do so. It is exceedingly stupid for you to tell me what it is that I think, and I assume (since you are able to type sentences without gross spelling or grammatical errors) that you have enough intelligence to understand the stupidity of that. You will notice that I do not attempt to tell you what it is that you are thinking. I did enter this conversation by *asking* what you were thinking, since your posts were not nearly as clear as you seem to believe that they were.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            Yes, I get that you are subliterate.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            You have not even pointed out a single spelling or grammatical error to justify any claim that I am “subliterate” in any way. If your posts fail to convey your meaning, it is because of failures on the transmission end, not the reception end. I direct you again to your fundamental error in believing that you have supernal knowledge of the mental states of others as the cause for your difficulty in communicating.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            You are subliterate simply because you are relentlessly trying to correct something I never said. I’m sorry you’re like this, but I cannot imagine why you think I care enough to catalogue even the most glaring of your errors.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            The only thing I correct you about is your relentless ascription to me of thoughts I have never had and opinions I have never uttered.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            Yes, that thing I haven’t done either sure is something or other.

            Again, I’m sorry that you’re like this, and that you can take a perfectly straightforward sentiment, unambiguously expressed – that being Muslim neither makes you guilty for 9/11 nor worthy of surveillance – and … do whatever it is you think you are doing.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            Certain Muslims, not all Muslims, are involved with these dangerous radical movements and need to be monitored, much as in the recent past, and to some extent still, some of the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland need watching because of their radical affiliations. I came in when you had made some broad accusatory statement that seemed to be saying that anyone who thinks law enforcement ought do any kind of surveillance must be in favor of spying on every single member of large religious movements, and questioned you whether that was really what you were saying. Instead of any clarification of your own thoughts, what I got from you was wild and totally off-base claims about thoughts that supposedly were in *my* head.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            Yes, as I said – you came blundering in to correct a point that no reasonable reading of my post could be taken as what I said.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            I of John said “We certainly watched Irish Catholics and Orange-Protestants.” Yes, of course during the Troubles it was necessary to watch radicals of both faiths. You replied “Oh so there’s a time limit on guilt.
            Also your justification boils down to “we used to be racist so racism is OK now”. ” There is no reading of this which is reasonable. I replied “What??? We watch those who present dangers in the present time.” You began to make increasingly inaccurate statements about what I had said.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            Yes, I get that you are utterly incapable of admitting error, as well as reading, which is why you are STILL insisting any mistakes here were mine. Baffling.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            The only mistakes here have indeed been yours. You have told me several times what it is that I think: none of your guesses have been correct, or within a light-year of being accurate.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            Yes it is very apparent that you cannot admit that you stuffed up.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            “stuffed up” what, exactly? Try to name something I said that was wrong: but, when telling me what I said you must actually use cut-and-paste to quote me directly, rather than inventing sentences and claiming I said them.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            I’m sorry, I already explained your incredibly bone-headed error; it’s remarkable that you’re still trying to convince anyone that the mistake here wasn’t yours.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            ” I already explained” Liar. You made up things that you claimed that I said, not one of which I actually said.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            Uh huh. Sorry that you have to tell yourself that.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            Good to know that you didn’t see fit to “correct” the notion that all Muslims are guilty of 9/11, though. It really lets me know exactly how seriously to take you. Again, I’m terribly sorry that you are functionally illiterate.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            “you didn’t see fit to “correct” the notion that all Muslims are guilty of 9/11″ Uh, because you never said that to me??? Am I responsible for correcting statements that no-one has made to me? You’re calling me “functionally illiterate” because, unlike you, I don’t read statements that aren’t there?

          • Mr Corrections says:

            Sorry you can’t read, or accept that you made a mistake. Get better soon!

          • Robert Eckert says:

            I read fine. I don’t read imaginary sentences that no-one has written, like you do. I read the sentences that are actually there.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            Get better soon!

          • Robert Eckert says:

            I’m fine, wish you were.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            You’re obviously not fine; you’ve been shouting at someone for four or five days in an effort to pretend that you didn’t completely misunderstand an unambiguous post. Sorry that you’re like this!

          • Robert Eckert says:

            You have still not given any kind of explanation of what your supposedly “unambiguous” post could have meant. If you think it conveyed any kind of point, you are mistaken.
            I continue to engage with you because batting around trolls is moderately amusing, somewhat in the way that cats bat around half-dead mice.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            I have, in fact, explained it. Quite clearly. You have issues.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            It’s also hilarious that you’re accusing me of exactly what you’re doing – expecting people to magically know what they mean.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            Uh no, I did not express any expectation that you know what I mean. This is again something that you are inventing and attributing to me.

          • iamproteus says:

            Uh, Robert, this guy is leading you down the rabbit hole and the more sense you make, the further down he takes you. Cut him loose or end him, please!

          • Mr Corrections says:

            You reek of fake academic.

          • Robert Eckert says:

            I have made no pretensions to be anything other than I am.

          • I of John says:

            Yes, they are.

          • I of John says:

            Did I write that? no. ALL religions should be held responsible period. Doesn’t the Pope still ask forgiveness for the church’s past? No, we don’t forget and did I ever elude that past sins are ok?

          • Mr Corrections says:

            Yeah you did write that. Being Muslim does not make you magically guilty of things other Muslims do, no matter how bad you want an excuse to discriminate.

            I hope that helps!

          • I of John says:

            Its about religion, not race. And its not discrimination to hold religion accountable.

          • Mr Corrections says:

            I’m sorry, but yes it is discrimination.

            I hope that helps!

  3. charleo1 says:

    I really don’t see this Islamophobia, as any different, or any more complicated to understand than the Right’s other broad brushing, blame game political claptrap they’ve been pursuing against those with whom they disagree, or get in their way, for years. The Muslim is just the latest convenient, if not entirely innocent target of a conspiracy laden ignorance that lays the blame of their own failings on the other guy. A bourgeoning welfare state is the fault of the lazy Blacks, and their co-conspiring Liberal/Commie Politicians, purchasing their votes with taxpayer money. Ignoring the realities of the results of 50 years worth of policies written of, by and for the Corporatocacy. That has bought out, and corrupted our system of government. It’s all the same kind of mile wide, core deep, fear driven diversion repeated to ad nauseam, that, “they,” whoever they are, are at fault, and taking over! Until racial, and cultural dog whistles ring with the clarity of bugles. And the wrath of the corporate lead-RW economic disaster, that’s continuing to cause untold harm, and neglectful death to millions right here in the good old US of A. carries on mostly without comment or interruption.

    • Dominick Vila says:

      Islam filled the void left by the disintegration of the Soviet Union. We need somebody to be afraid of to justify the huge expenditures we make on defense and national security. 9/11 served as the catalyst to create a new threat to our survival. Not surprisingly, instead of focusing on the gang of thugs responsible for that tragedy, and for the attacks in Madrid, London, Paris, and Brussels, plus too many in Islamic countries to enumerate, we conveniently expanded the threat to include an entire culture. Let’s face it, a threat posed by 30,000 or 50,000 fighters without a Navy or Air Force, that use nails and home made explosives to kill and terrorize people would not have been enough to justify the huge amounts of money we spend on defense and security. We needed something a lot more threatening. That paved the way for labeling the entire Islamic culture, all 1.6 billion of them, camels and all, as a threat to our security.

      • charleo1 says:

        You know what Dom? As true as that is, as corrupt as that makes our foreign
        policy. And to the extent we visit our own inabilities to fix the corruption in our own house on the houses of the World. It is an outrage for which I fear we will one day pay a very heavy price if we fail to change our ways. Something akin to Lincoln’s assessment, and uncertainty of the final price in blood God would ultimately demand for our insistence on clinging to the institution of slavery for so long after the rest of the civilized World had banned it as an evil. I don’t believe at the end of the day, we’ll decide to go along that path. Although as the Trump phenomenon, along with a radicalized Right Wing demonstrates, the forces for doing so are not to be taken lightly. And who can say what will happen between now, and decision day? I too ask for God’s blessings on our troubled Nation.

        • Dominick Vila says:

          I find the indifference – and support – that Trump enjoys after endorsing water boarding disconcerting and worrisome. Torture is unconstitutional, against the values we purportedly hold, and violates the Geneva Convention. How can so many fellow Americans endorse such a thing? I can’t even imagine what would have happened if our parents had proposed such a thing during WWII, or in the days of the Soviet Union, when mutual annihilation was a distinct probability.

      • tomtype says:

        Both Russia and the Ottoman Empire, as the representative of Islam, were the first two non-Western states admitted to the European circle of states and diplomacy. But both were just enough different and strange to remain suspicious.

  4. Robert Eckert says:

    The author is trying to hijack the 21st century term “Islamism” used for a political movement of recent times, and insist that it should actually be used for an ancestral 19th century movement which is not what any of us, except for historians specializing in the earlier period, are talking about, and which nobody back then referred to as “Islamism” either.

    • Sand_Cat says:

      I think he’s mainly trying to defend Islam as a tradition against the charge that it is Satanic and irrational. Ironically, many of those uttering the charge themselves qualify as Satanic and irrational, in my opinion.

      • Robert Eckert says:

        He’s refusing to distinguish Islam from Islamism.

        • tomtype says:

          I suspect you are refusing to distinguish Islam from Islamism or Jadidism. The late 19th and early 20th century movement was known as both. Jadidism, incidentally, comes from Jadid, “New.”

          • Robert Eckert says:

            No, in the 19th century “Islamism” was occasionally used as a synonym for “Islam”. It was not used for any specific political or ideological movement within Islam at that time. The article is just throwing a red herring out there to deflect from the topic of the movement recently called “Islamism”.

      • MR AWESOME says:

        Here’s the thing about islam.

        mohammad himself ordered thousands of people beheaded.
        mohammad himself enslaved women and children and kept them as slaves.
        mohammad himself raped a nine year old girl.
        mohammad himself started the idea that islam was about “obedience” rather than logic, or kindness, or questioning authority, or any of the good things.
        mohammad himself only wrote the “kind” parts of the quran before being forced out of medina, after that he was a brutal warlord.

  5. BrownDog says:

    Much like the fanatical evangelists do not represent the majority Christian population, the Islamic terrorists do not represent the Muslim majority. But Muslim terrorists are much more violent and destructive than the American evangelicals. And the terrorist are always invoking Islam to justify their criminality. Worse, is that the family and friends of the terrorists know who is a terrorist and by non-action condone and effectively approve of their bad behavior. It’s time for true believers to choose right over family loyalty. Muslims need to show the world they are willing and aggressively weeding out the bad seeds. If it means dying for their faith, so be it.

    • JPHALL says:

      They are proving they can choose right from family. Muslims are fighting Muslims in Syria and Iraq.

    • tomtype says:

      Look at the Klan in is periods of strength, and then tell me there wasn’t religion invoked in the cause of evil. Or tell me how those family members never supported or approved of the actions. You are looking at only one outbreak of a fever that occasionally breaks out and rages its destructive course in a part of mankind, and then returns to hide again. And excusing it among our own is just another example of condoning it. But in this case is worse because we have the advantage of perspective.

      • BrownDog says:

        Those invoking religion have been a if not the major cause of death and mayhem in the world. KKK activities pale compared to the current “Muslim” terrorists but can be no less vile. I care not what false god evil invokes to rationalize its behavior: It is all equally repulsive.

  6. Sand_Cat says:

    The correct term is “religious fanaticism.” Islam may be the most prominent victim in the current time, but one need not look far to see the same impulses growing among our own “fundamentalists.” Just as one major organization defined “religious freedom” as the “right” to follow orders from church leaders and be disciplined for failing to do so without government interference, our current crop of fanatics defines “religious freedom” as the right to control and abuse unbelievers or unorthodox believers WITH government help.

    • MR AWESOME says:

      Here’s the thing about islam.

      mohammad himself ordered thousands of people beheaded.

      mohammad himself enslaved women and children and kept them as slaves.

      mohammad himself raped a nine year old girl.

      mohammad himself started the idea that islam was about “obedience” rather than logic, or kindness, or questioning authority, or any of the good things.

      mohammad himself only wrote the “kind” parts of the quran before being forced out of medina, after that he was a brutal warlord..

      • Sand_Cat says:

        Well, I see our little boy is throwing a tantrum and “answering” all my posts because he made a fool of himself on one.

        I’m laughing, little boy.

        • MR AWESOME says:

          Wow, really brought out the big guns there. How will I ever recover from being called a “little boy” from a cat lady liberal on the internet.

          • Sand_Cat says:

            I’m sure you’ll adjust in an awesome manner.

          • MR AWESOME says:

            You’re cats are going to eat you when you die all alone.

          • Sand_Cat says:

            Just can’t give it up, can you?
            Your previous posts show facts are of no interest to you, but the following is ranking of Foreign aid by national income, which is what you started your ranting and raving about. 2013 figures, but 2014 is similar, and rankings per capita and other measures are similar. In absolute dollar amounts, the European Union beats the US, but otherwise it is first. Still not much of an amount to apply against the F-35 program.

            Norway – 1.07%
            Sweden – 1.02%
            Luxembourg –1.00%
            Denmark – 0.85%
            United Kingdom –0.72%
            Netherlands –0.67%
            Finland – 0.55%
            Switzerland – 0.47%
            Belgium – 0.45%
            Ireland – 0.45%
            France – 0.41%
            Germany – 0.38%
            Australia – 0.34%
            Austria – 0.28%
            Canada – 0.27%
            New Zealand –0.26%
            Iceland – 0.26%
            Japan – 0.23%
            Portugal – 0.23%
            United States – 0.19%

  7. Richard M says:

    Some of these people need to read the Koran to understand what Islam does believe, including the author of this article.

    • tomtype says:

      And maybe you need to explore other religions just a bit farther than polemics against that religion.
      I am just reading about the first American missionaries to the Middle East. And surprisingly the average American back then had a better and more correct view of what was part of Islam and what was later accretions than you seem to have.
      Of course back then there was a lot of popular literature that was not particularly inclined to the polemic, but just struggling to give an accurate picture. And as I observed from my earlier readings in Harper’s Monthly, the attitude of the US was more like: oh look, a new and strange culture, isn’t that interesting. While later, by the 1880’s the attitude became more like: Oh, look something different, which obviously means it must be inferior and we can laugh at it.

  8. We should not blame “Islam” for the actions of a few. Otherwise, we would have to blame “Christianity” in its Essence for the actions of Hitler and other Christians during Nazi Germany; or blame all whites for the “festival of lynchings” of black people in the 20th Century at the hands of Christians in the South, in Indiana and elsewhere.

    The history of Christianity as practiced and expressed in everyday life, from the early centuries of its inception up to the present, is replete with incidents of terror, murder, rape, enslavement of most of a continent under extremely harsh conditions, etc.
    But “Christianity” was not the motivator; rather the motivation and willing ness to use it as a weapon stem from misinterpretation and the desire to use it as a tool to gain an advantage.

    All the Religions emanate from the same source and are free of defects; it’s the deviation, first of the clergy, who in turn infect the lay-people with the disease of fanaticism which then lead to inhuman behavior.

    This can be related to the argument raging now in America re: guns; many rightfully say that the gun itself is not the killer, and that death is due to the confluence of ease of purchasing, a dysfunctional infatuation with having it, and an immature attitude on how to resolve differences of opinion or the urge to take what doesn’t belong to a person.

    The jihadists are just the latest iteration of what goes wrong when the clergy inspires the more ignorant in the churches, synagogues, ashrams, and mosques to adopt a hostile and bellicose stance regarding what they worship,thereby “corrupting” and “staining” the Religion’s outer expression.

    To put this in better perspective, consider the following as written in a Tablet by Baha’u’llah and which forms a part of the body of Revelation in what is called “The Baha’i Faith” (www.bahai.org):

    “O YE children of men! The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men. Suffer it not to become a source of dissension and discord, of hate and enmity. This is the straight Path, the fixed and immovable foundation. Whatsoever is raised on this foundation, the changes and chances of the world can never impair its strength, nor will the revolution of countless centuries undermine its structure. Our hope is that the world’s religious leaders and the rulers thereof will unitedly arise for the reformation of this age and the rehabilitation of its fortunes. Let them, after meditating on its needs, take counsel together and, through anxious and full deliberation, administer to a diseased and sorely-afflicted world the remedy it requires…. It is incumbent upon them who are in authority to exercise moderation in all things. Whatsoever passeth beyond the limits of moderation will cease to exert a beneficial influence. Consider for instance such things as liberty, civilization and the like. However much men of understanding may favourably regard them, they will, if carried to excess, exercise a pernicious influence upon men…. Please God, the peoples of the world may be led, as the result of the high endeavours exerted by their rulers and the wise and learned amongst men, to recognize their best interests. How long will humanity persist in its waywardness? How long will injustice continue? How long is chaos and confusion to reign amongst men? How long will discord agitate the face of society? The winds of despair are, alas, blowing from every direction, and the strife that divideth and afflicteth the human race is daily increasing. The signs of impending convulsions and chaos can now be discerned, inasmuch as the prevailing order appeareth to be lamentably defective. I beseech God, exalted be His glory, that He may graciously awaken the peoples of the earth, may grant that the end of their conduct may be profitable unto them, and aid them to accomplish that which beseemeth their station.”

    (The above is a translation from the original Arabic by Shoghi Effendi who attended school at Oxford University in the early part of the 20th Century. His original languages are Persian and Arabic, but his mastery of English should be evident in the style he employs, coupled with an unusual ability to understand the subtleties and nuances of a complex language such as Arabic. Arabic is a language that is difficult to master even for native-speakers who have a college-level education).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.