March 03, 2006
The "moderate Muslims" strike back ... yeah, right.
Remember when everyone asked "When do the non-extremist Muslims finally say something?" Well, look no further, THEY HAVE!!! And in ENGLISH, TOO!!! Yippieh!!! (Dammit, where IS the "sarcasm key" on my laptop's keyboard???) Over the last week, two pamphlets have been published that will be presented allover the Western media as examples for "enlightened", "moderate", or even "good" Muslim attempts to counter the religious zealots burning down embassies and calling for the beheading of everyone who doesn't want to live under shari'a law.
On 1 March, 2005, Mustafa Akyol and Zeyno Baran published "A Muslim Manifesto - Rejecting the bad" in the National Review Online (we'll have to wait and see if it makes it into the next print edition.) They've prefaced the manifesto by saying:
"Who are the moderate Muslims, and why do they not speak up?" After being asked this question over and over again since 9/11, particularly after the Danish cartoon crisis, we decided to propose the following Muslim Manifesto:
Recently, the disrespectful cartoons about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) published in Jyllands-Posten resulted in an extreme reaction among many Muslims worldwide. While we understand the feelings of our co-religionists, we strongly urge them to refrain from rage and violence."
Key passages of the text are:
A zeal for Allah is rightful only when it is expressed in an enlightened manner, since Allah himself has ordained a restrained response...Therefore all demonstrations against the mockery of Islam should be peaceful. All critiques of Islam should be countered not by threats and violence, but by rational counter-argument.
We also believe that terrorist acts can never be justified or excused. None of the challenges Muslims face, such as oppression or military occupation, can justify attacks against non-combatants...
...Supported by the Koran's affirmation that "there is no compulsion in religion" (2:256), we cherish religious liberty. Every human has the right to believe or not to believe in Islam or in any other religion All Muslims furthermore have the right to reject and change their religion if desired. No state, community or individual has a right to impose Islam on others. People should accept and practice Islam not because they are forced to do so, but because they believe in its teachings.
We support and cherish democracy — not because we reject the sovereignty of the Almighty over people, but because we believe that this sovereignty is manifested in the general will of people in a democratic and pluralistic society...
...We accept the legitimacy of the secular state and the secular law. Islamic law, or sharia, was developed at a time when Muslims were living in homogenous communities. In the modern world, virtually all societies are pluralistic, consisting of different faiths and of different perceptions of each faith, including Islam. In this pluralistic setting, a legal system based on a particular version of a single religion cannot be imposed on all citizens. Thus, a single secular law, open to all religions but based on none, is strongly needed.
We believe that women have the same inalienable rights as men...
...We believe that there is no contradiction between religious and national identities...
...We regard Christianity and Judaism as sister faiths in the common family of Abrahamic monotheism. We strongly denounce anti-Semitism, which has been alien to Islam for many centuries but which unfortunately has gained popularity among some Muslims in recent decades. We accept Israel's right to exist, as well as the justified aspiration of the Palestinian people for a sovereign state and hope that a just two-state solution in Israel/Palestine will bring peace to the Holy Land.
In short, we strongly disagree with and condemn those who promote or practice tyranny and violence in the name of Islam. We hope that their misguided deeds will not blacken our noble religion — which is indeed a path to God and a call for peace.
We encourage Muslim political, social, community and business leaders to contact us at email@example.com to sign onto the Manifesto so that the authentic peaceful and civilized message of Islam will be heard."
The authors buttress their arguments with quotes from the Qur'an (which, as good Turks, they write with a "K"), which in my point of view is the stupidest thing they could've done. So yeah, "there is no compulsion in religion" (2:256). But how about "But those who reject Faith and belie Our Signs, they shall be companions of the Fire; they shall abide therein." (2:39), "If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good)." (3:85), "Verily, those who disbelieved after their Belief and then went on increasing in their disbelief - never will their repentance be accepted (because they repent only by their tongues and not from their hearts). And they are those who are astray. Verily, those who disbelieved, and died while they were disbelievers, the (whole) earth full of gold will not be accepted from anyone of them even if they offered it as a ransom. For them is a painful torment and they will have no helpers." (3:90-91), "They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them" (4:89), or - always a crowd-pleaser - "And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah altogether and everywhere" (8:39). And I haven't even started to bring in Hadith.
In short - you bring me your selective reading of the Qur'an to "prove" your arguments and I'll bring you mine that "proves" the exact opposite. For further reference - please do look under "Mahmoud Mohammed Taha" (executed 1985). Akyol and Baran try to mount a counter-argument to the Islamicist vision but staying within the "Islamic" framework. Well, they're not the first to do so and they really suck at it.
Now, the first question that anyone in the Mideast will ask is: just WHO are those two authors? Mustafa Akyol (websites: Turkish and English) is a self-styled "moderate Muslim". His philosophy is that we live in a post-secular world, and his goal is to arrive at a tolerant and peaceful Islam of the 21st century. He also stresses that he is an IDer (ID = Intelligent Design). Zeyno Baran (bio) is director of International Security and Energy Programs at The Nixon Center, worked before that at CSIS (Director of the Caucasus Project) and writes on Islamicist terrorism, recently on the Hizb ut-Tahrir in Central Asia & Europe.
In shorthand - one is a "westernized Islamic modernist" and the other one works for the Devil himself. I'm not even kidding. This is precisely how those two will be received in the MidEast/Muslim World. Not to speak of all those who will think (and say) "Oh, they're Turks. Immediate disqualification." IF this pamphlet will ever be received in the MidEast/Muslim World AT ALL. Because I do wonder what the point is of publishing a "Muslim Manifesto" in the National Review. Maybe I didn't get that memo, but since when does the NR have a significant Muslim readership? Another copy was published in the German news magazine "Der Spiegel" - not exactly the first choice for most of the Muslim community in the German-speaking world. So, if you don't reach a Muslim audience, then what's the point of this, other than making "Westerners" feel relieved that "oh, thank Universal Truth, there are moderate Muslims out there!"
The 1st of March turned out to have been a good day for moderate Islam, as not only those two "moderate Muslims" in the U.S. published their pamphlet, but also "[a] group of 12 writers have put their names to a statement in French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo warning against Islamic 'totalitarianism'" ("Writers' statement on cartoons", BBC).
This text is more succinct than the "Muslim Manifesto" & so I'll copy/paste it here in full:
After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new global totalitarian threat: Islamism.
We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.
Recent events, prompted by the publication of drawings of Muhammad in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values.
This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field.
It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism between West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.
Like all totalitarian ideologies, Islamism is nurtured by fear and frustration.
Preachers of hatred play on these feelings to build the forces with which they can impose a world where liberty is crushed and inequality reigns.
But we say this, loud and clear: nothing, not even despair, justifies choosing darkness, totalitarianism and hatred.
Islamism is a reactionary ideology that kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present.
Its victory can only lead to a world of injustice and domination: men over women, fundamentalists over others.
On the contrary, we must ensure access to universal rights for the oppressed or those discriminated against.
We reject the "cultural relativism" which implies an acceptance that men and women of Muslim culture are deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secularism in the name of the respect for certain cultures and traditions.
We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", a wretched concept that confuses criticism of Islam as a religion and stigmatisation of those who believe in it.
We defend the universality of the freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit can exist in every continent, towards each and every maltreatment and dogma.
We appeal to democrats and free spirits in every country that our century may be one of light and not dark.
Again, the target group of this text seem not to be Muslims but "Westerners". The statement was published in "Charlie Hebdo", one of the newspapers that re-published the Danish cartoons, and the statement's language is ill-suited to be particularly well-received in the MidEast/Muslim World, even were it to be translated into Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, etc.:
- The terms "Nazism", "Stalinism", or even "fascism" are completely irrelevant to the intra-Islamic discourse. - "promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all" will get you a more-or-less annoyed pointer to recent & contemporary Iraqi history.
- "Like all totalitarian ideologies, Islamism is nurtured by fear and frustration" will either not be understood at all, or as an insult.
- "can impose a world where liberty is crushed and inequality reigns" will get you a very irritated response containing the words "Palestine" and "Guantanamo".
- "nothing, not even despair, justifies choosing darkness, totalitarianism and hatred" -> please also see under "movies depicting Arabs/Iranians/Muslims as 'the bad guys' & cartoons portraying Muhammad as terrorist = ok???".
- "we must ensure access to universal rights for the oppressed or those discriminated against" will provoke the question "just in how many demonstrations against torture in U.S. camps have you participated?"
- The "cultural relativism" paragraph is entirely aimed at an intra-European debate.
- "the universality of the freedom of expression" is a concept rather low on the global list of priorities, not just in the so-called "Muslim World". Also see under "what good does it me that I can say what I want if I can't feed my children?"
- "that our century may be one of light and not dark" -- Using a "forces of light vs. forces of darkness" metaphor smacks a bit very much of Bush Jr. and will be understood as such.
The whole statement is - just like the one by Akyol & Baran - absolutely ill-suited to have any meaningful impact in the MidEast/Muslim World. Its language and arguments project the image that its framers have no clue about the current discourse within MENA and the global Muslim community.
But, even IF the text itself was better, the list of signatories alone would've GUARANTEED that it will not only fail to sway any Muslim but that it will actually tarnish some of those lofty ideals it promotes. Below I have copied the list including the BBC's own short descriptions. The comments in italics are my own (as are all the links).
Salman Rushdie - Indian-born British writer with fatwa issued ordering his execution for The Satanic Verses -- Yeah, good one, why don't you remind Muslims of that, just in case anyone's forgotten that he's a blasphemer with a death sentence over his head. Good idea to omit the fact that the fatwa was by Imam Khomeini - that way Sunni Muslims won't feel like it doesn't apply to them.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali - Somali-born Dutch MP -- Muslim who converted to Christianity[Correction: She did not convert to X-ianity. Her own description is "Since the September 11 attacks, I no longer believe in God."], joined the Dutch political party known for an "anti-Muslim stance", and then co-produced a short film that is known as "blasphemous". I'm sure everyone between Casablanca and Jakarta can't wait to hear what she has to say.
Taslima Nasreen - exiled Bangladeshi writer, with fatwa issued ordering her execution -- Outside Bangladesh nobody cares what she thinks. Well, except for ethno-hippie white people, of course. Has anyone of YOU ever heard her name before?
Bernard-Henri Levy - French philosopher -- BHL is an odd choice, but one of his first books was about the independence of Bangladesh and recently wrote a book about the Daniel Pearl murder. Plus, a pamphlet without having a philosopher sign it simply won't be read in France.
Chahla Chafiq - Iranian writer exiled in France -- A sociologist by training and self-described "militant feminist", she wrote "The new Islamist man, the political prison in Iran", just the person to engage the Iranian masses who voted for Ahmadinejad.
Caroline Fourest - French writer -- Recently published a book where she "exposed" Tariq Ramadan.
Irshad Manji - Ugandan refugee and writer living in Canada -- Ah, of course, the "Refusenik" herself. To make it short & sweet: anything only remotely connected to her is like walking around with a "I've been sent from Arik Sharon AND George Bush" t-shirt.
Mehdi Mozaffari - Iranian academic exiled in Denmark -- I don't know much about him, but the link is quite instructive.
Maryam Namazie - Iranian writer living in Britain -- She's a radical secularist, which I personally might applaud, but which won't go over all too well with ... uh ... BELIEVERS.
Antoine Sfeir - director of French review examining Middle East -- He's a Lebanese Christian, and as a vocal secularist (who chose to live in France 'cause he wanted to live in a "real" secular country) not someone with any standing in the Muslim World.
Ibn Warraq - US academic of Indian/Pakistani origin -- Author of the books "Why I Am Not A Muslim" and "Leaving Islam - Apostates Speak Out". 'Nuff said.
Philippe Val - director of Charlie Hebdo -- the French newspaper that re-printed the Danish cartoons of Muhammad. Brilliant choice.
So, what does this leave us with? A number of authors, either non-Muslim or Muslims who are perceived to be apostates wrote a fiery "warning against 'Islamic totalitarianism'". As if the "West" needed one ... after Khomeini, 9/11, and the recent "Danish Cartoon Protests". But now "Westerners" can point at the "courageous moderate Muslims" ... who happen to have no standing AT ALL in the Muslim World. And "over there" ... this pamphlet, just like the one by Akyol & Baran, will have no impact at all. If we're lucky, that is. Because, if we're unlucky, it might just be picked up and used as yet another example of how the "big, bad West" is using apostates and traitors to sow its vile ideology among the "good and true Muslims". And whoever will make that argument ... will be believed.
Posted by raf* at March 3, 2006 09:26 PM
Filed Under: Islam & Politics
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Excellent, very much agree with the target audience being those in the West who will pay their speakers' fees rather than their alleged real targets (sincere Muslims).
OTOH, the Quran sections you quote do not undermine hte no compulsion. Those sections refer to punishments in the after-life or judgment day and not to punishments by poltical authorities or mobs or armies in normal earthly life. They do not essntially contradict, it is possible to believe your neighbor is bound for hell while protecting his right on earth to preach and practice what sends him there.
Of course there are other passages suggestive of compulsion on earth, but they can be interpreted away.
. . . and the doors of ijtihad and all.
Posted by: matthew hogan at March 4, 2006 09:44 AM
"They do not essntially contradict, it is possible to believe your neighbor is bound for hell while protecting his right on earth to preach and practice what sends him there."
SOrry to quote myself. I always think the best Western exemplar, although one is not needed, (and a great guy) for transition from a pious society to a pious (even devoutly so) liberal one is English-American colonial Roger Williams.
Posted by: matthew hogan at March 4, 2006 09:52 AM
This I suppose would be the 17th century Christian equivalent of the statement, but made by someone who was credible and whose ideas reached and were accepted by his audience, or a large part thereof.
Posted by: matthew hogan at March 4, 2006 09:57 AM
Regarding the Koran...this is an enlightening quote...
Sura 3, verse 7:
"He [God] has sent down to you [Mohammad, pbuh] this Book which contains some verses
that are categorical and basic to the Book, [unequivocal or 'muhakkamat'] and others
equivocal. But those who are twisted of mind look for verses equivocal ['mutashabehat'
as opposed to 'muhakkamat'] seeking deviation and giving them interpretations of their own but none knows their meaning except God"
Posted by: showtime at March 4, 2006 11:25 AM
dear mh & st,
i didn't intend to start a tafsiir competition. all i wanted to point out is that if you want to argue along theological lines, you'll have to do MUCH better than akyol&baran. in any case, they do not have the qualifications necessary to be perceived as authorities in theology and thus their interpretation of which qur'anic verses should be emphasized and at the expense of others is completely irrelevant to the inner-muslim discourse. in other words - neither one of them is a nasr hamid abu zeid.
btw, matthew, 8:39 is a verse usually cited by jihadists in order to justify a fight until all people on earth are muslims. and yes, it does seem to contradict 2:256. ask your local imam about this, or you can ask sistani on his website, or send a request to al-azhar. good luck.
Posted by: raf* at March 4, 2006 11:53 AM
Incidentally, this site which arabist.net pointed out a few days ago is kind of interesting - according to Issandr, it's an attempt at moderate - Islamist counterprogramming against the takfiri types. And not at all the kind of "moderate islam" that Irshad Manji would like to represent.
(currently on the front page: an exciting behind-the-scenes visit with Hamas militants! An expose of the Zionist plot behind the Samarra mosque bombing! (Not that there aren't some odd facts that need explaining in that case.)
And, of course, an Islamic agony aunt column, denouncing the fake western image of love & enjoining young muslims to either get married or that failing to repress any improper feelings, helpfully reminding them of "the Prophet Muhammad's words when he advised that God helps those who seek chastity."
Posted by: Tom Scudder at March 5, 2006 04:39 AM
the site is concerned that muslim disunity weakens the ummah in the face of external threat by the "west" & the jooos. as you yourself pointed out on issandr's blog - they are hardly "moderate" or "objective".
the article on "who killed arafat?"
is a classic example ...
other posts from the site include such gems like:
"Recent developments in Iraq foretell, according to some observers, that a perilous conspiracy plotted tightly and precisely by Zionist hands is being carried out in Iraq by U.S. tools." (by no less than the site's very own "Investigation Unit"!!!)
"TEHRAN – A number of leading independent historians and scholars from different parts of the world have backed Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad who called the holocaust a myth earlier this month." (Source: Mehr News Agency, Iran)
"No Israelis Among London Victims - Jews had advance knowledge of imminent London attacks -- Army Radio quoting unconfirmed reliable sources reported a short time ago that Scotland Yard had intelligence warnings of the attacks a short time before they occurred. The Israeli Embassy in London was notified in advance, resulting in Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu* remaining in his hotel room rather than make his way to the hotel adjacent to the site of the first explosion, a Liverpool Street train station, where he was to address an economic summit."
ps: if you want a good example for muslim counterprogramming, there's a yemeni theologian who is meeting with jihadists in yemeni prisons and explains to them where their interpretation of qur'an & sunna is faulty. i think stacey (al-hiwar.blogspot.com) has an article on him somewhere but can't find it right now.
Posted by: raf* at March 5, 2006 05:57 AM
I dont care what the *true* interpretation is as I am not Muslim. I just want it to get it there in a way that Muslims find credible. Any ammunition may help.
Societal/economic developments or opportunities will make the more liberal interpretations work (sorry to sound Marxist, which I ain't); the important thing is that the sources for change in broader acceptance, as you noted, must be credible. And not, as you noted by persons who at minimum, "do not have the qualifications necessary to be perceived as authorities in theology".
Also Islamic societies are not going to have "secular" governments in a foreseeable future, unless forcibly imposed; but the fallacy, mainly felt on the contintental Euro-left, is that secular and liberal are identical or mutually necessary concepts.
Posted by: matthew hogan at March 5, 2006 09:52 AM
Raf* & TS --
The Yemeni judge is here.
Posted by: matthew hogan at March 5, 2006 09:59 AM
Good information Raf Bey, but I confess your intro paragraph was a bit hard to follow.
Can I convince you to do a follow-on analytical arty?
Posted by: The Lounsbury at March 5, 2006 11:40 AM
Matthew: Wow. Quite astonishing.
Posted by: Tom Scudder at March 5, 2006 11:55 AM
On the other hand, there's this:
Yet by the summer of 2005, as the war in Iraq continued to drag on, the RDC ran into problems. On June 1, 2005, al-Hitar told the Khaleej Times: "Resistance in Iraq is legitimate, but we cannot differentiate between terrorism and resistance in Iraq's situation because things are not clear in this case." Within a few months, however, his views had shifted slightly and he would only say: "Iraq is not a subject of the dialogue" (AP, October 11, 2005). This shift in thinking, or at least public descriptions of the dialogue sessions, seems to have been brought about by an incident in July 2005 when two former detainees, which al-Hitar had recommended for release, carried out a suicide bombing on U.S. forces in Baghdad. Al-Hitar initially denied this claim, which was originally reported by "anonymous Yemeni security sources" in the armed forces weekly paper 26th of September (October 13, 2005). Yet Jamal al-Amir, the editor of the weekly independent newspaper al-Wasat, has argued that the story is true, and that at least eight men from al-Hitar's program have found their way to Iraq to fight U.S. forces there.
These revelations have essentially spelled the end of al-Hitar's program. In December 2005, while al-Hitar was in Washington participating in a State Department sponsored conference on religious dialogue, Khalid al-Hammadi of al-Quds al-Arabi reported that sources within Yemen's security forces were convinced that al-Hitar's program had failed, and that it should be stopped (al-Quds al-Arabi, December 10, 2005). The sources pointed to the fact that al-Hitar had not been able to persuade the released militants to renounce violence, as a number of the former detainees were still in Iraq fighting. Yemen, of course, has worked extremely hard to keep its young men from traveling to Iraq, turning away suspicious passengers at the airport. Yet the borders are simply too porous to keep everyone in the country and out of Iraq.
Posted by: Tom Scudder at March 5, 2006 12:21 PM
re: intro - that's my way to weed out the imbeciles.
re: follow-up - i'm already working on an article about that turkish movie, "valley of the wolves - iraq". do you have anything particular in mind re "analysis"?
Posted by: raf* at March 5, 2006 12:32 PM
Weeding out imbeciles, you almost weeded me out as I found it too visually confusing.
Now while I can be a bit dim, a modicum of initial faux reader friendliness is not so bad (and you know what I think about kow towing to readers).
Re analysis, I am far too concerned about my emerging disaster to be profound, but my generic point, which is like yours, is "moderates" are the pious sorts people actually listen to, not fringy secular radicals that frankly largely would be cutting edge Left even in the West (e.g. Manji).
Something developing this a little better (presuming we agree) I am thinking off.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at March 5, 2006 04:53 PM
Wasn't Daniel Pipes, that renowned Muslim reformer, supposed to be fronting some kind of "Institute" to create moderate Muslims?
Posted by: Snatch Adams at March 5, 2006 06:07 PM
Interesting on the follow up, but I always wondered why they let them go. My original understanding was that if the terrorists won the "debate", they were let go. Otherwise punished, though there was some case of letting go in reward for information.
Releasing them after a "dialogue" seems mindlessly gullible.
Too bad, I had been working on suggesting something similar as a method to combat honor killings, but its failure means a second or third look.
Posted by: matthew hogan at March 6, 2006 07:40 AM
I think you have that just about backwards - the people who were released were those who had given up on the idea of jihad. I suspect what happened (at least in the case of the backsliders) was that although they had given up on the idea of jihad at home, the idea of going off to Iraq to fight against the imperial oppressor in person was a bit too much to miss out on.
Posted by: Tom Scudder at March 6, 2006 09:22 AM
"I think you have that just about backwards - the people who were released were those who had given up on the idea of jihad."
Yes, but I had thought that the way it was originally designed was that they would be let go if they beat the judge in spiritual text battle, which would never happen as the judge made the call. Therefore all got jailed (maybe with some miktigation for the repentant) except a few who I thought were let go actually in return for informing. It looks like there was a lot of mitigation for the allegedly repentant.
As a practical matter, maybe they got them to agree to get out of town (to Iraq) in exchange for freedom.
Posted by: matthew hogan at March 6, 2006 07:09 PM
From the original article:
The way to attract their interest was through the proposal of an all or nothing deal. The clerics who approached the detainees insisted that the dialogue would center on the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. If the detainees could persuade the clerics of the legitimacy of their Jihad they would join them. If not, the detainees would have to give up the idea of armed struggle.
So "we'll let you go" was never on the table - just "we'll join you if you can convince us". And those al-Hitar felt were sincere about giving up the struggle were then picked to be released.
Posted by: Tom Scudder at March 7, 2006 06:44 AM
A small pointer upstream for newcomers: http://www.aqoul.com/archives/2006/03/how_to_be_a_mus.php
Posted by: The Lounsbury at March 13, 2006 10:57 PM
Do you have a comment on this moderate Muslim manifesto?
...Osama bin Laden never forced anyone to go to Iraq, kill its people and destroy its infrastructure. He has forced no one to kill innocent people in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, America and Europe. Bin Laden didn’t tell European Muslims hate the countries that have given them refuge and made them rich after their poverty, fed them after their hunger, provided them with freedom after being enslaved in their own Muslim counties, and finally educated them after they were ignorant. You, the Muslims of the West, made all of these catastrophic choices out of your own free will. You willfully sought evil and failed to return the West’s goodwill with goodwill. What do you expect from the Westerner, when he sees his own citizens killed in the name of religion? Sees hate in the name of religion? Sees terrorism harm him in the name of religion?...
Posted by: Joshua Scholar at March 17, 2006 07:44 AM
Oops, I see that I should have read your article more clearly (I just followed the link from elsewhere and noticed the similarity to the article I was reading)... But it turned out to be exactly the same article.
In short I would say that Mustafa Akyol & Zeyno Bar are perfectly logical and reasonable... And that's where they get into trouble with your sort. Your own theology and attitudes reject both reason and the reasonable.
It's time for you to grow up and accept a modern sense of reason and responsibility, even when that means rejecting irrational theology.
At some point you have to accept that even God can't make one plus one equal three.
Posted by: Joshua Scholar at March 17, 2006 07:50 AM
i also think that mustafa akyol and zeyno baran are, in your words "perfectly logical and reasonable". and i didn't claim otherwise.
as for "my sort" - i don't know what kind of sort do you think i am. since i am an agnostic, i don't have anything like "my own theology". and as for my attitudes - i've been educated and trained in some of the finest scholarly institutions that "the west" has to offer. one simply doesn't survive european and/or u.s. grad school if one rejects "both reason and the reasonable".
since i've already established that i have no theology to begin with, i will not bother responding to the last 2 paragraphs of your 2nd comment.
but i WILL explain what my post was about, since you don't seem to have the mental capacity to do so on your own: i argued that akyol/baran (a) have no standing in the muslim community whatsoever & (b) do not have the kind of theological training to successfully use passages from the qur'an to bolster their arguments. i proved that by showing that anyone could simply pull some other quotes from the same qur'an that would "prove" the exact opposite of what akyol/baran argue for.
i did not take issue with their general attitude - which i happen to share - but with their stupidity of chosing medium (the national review???) and method.
btw - the moment you say that "even God can't make one plus one equal three" it shows that you have a rather limited understanding what the concept of "god/s" is all about.
so you're not just unable to read, you're also a dimwit.
Posted by: raf* at March 17, 2006 08:24 AM
A little note on Hirsi Ali: she did not convert to Christianity. She presents herself sometimes as an atheist, sometimes as an ex-Muslim, sometimes as a liberal Muslim.
Posted by: Martijn at August 14, 2006 05:36 PM
thank you for your note. you don't happen to have, by any chance, some references? quite frankly, i don't remember where i got the "conversion to x-ianity" thing from.
in any case - since you have a dutch name i will just take your word for it. i guess, "atheist" & "ex-Muslim" could be interchangable?
Posted by: raf* at August 14, 2006 05:42 PM
If it's the Martijn who runs this blog (on the Aggregator sidebar), he knows what he's talking about.
Thinking back, I've only seen references to Hirsi Ali leaving Islam and/or being an atheist. It's in the linked Wiki article as well.
Posted by: eerie at August 14, 2006 06:08 PM
yes that is my site, i will look for an interview in english for you to refer to
Posted by: martijn at August 14, 2006 09:23 PM
Well, as promised, here they are then:
Je suis devenue apostate: je ne crois plus en Dieu depuis les attentats du 11 septembre 2001.
And the English translation:
Since the September 11 attacks, I no longer believe in God.
(read the whole thing, it is also about her break up with the political left in the Netherlands
Very informative (although some minor mistakes are in it) is this:
Although she now describes herself as an atheist (''I do not believe in God, angels and the hereafter''), she had not at that point wholly lost her faith.
Posted by: Martijn at August 15, 2006 11:24 AM
11 Sep caused her to lose her faith?
Not much of a bloody faith then, now was it?
Bloody whanking posturing is what that is.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at August 15, 2006 12:13 PM
Hah, that's not even subtle pandering.
Posted by: eerie at August 15, 2006 12:30 PM
thank you very much for your diligent work! i have put a correction into the article.
again, thanks for the info.
Posted by: raf* at August 15, 2006 12:50 PM