Many discussions seem to be tinted with Christian concepts, like: free will, hell, evil, virtue, omnipotent God, trinity, soul, etc.  Yet, Islam may be the strongest religion today.  Its adherents' faith is so strong that they blow themselves up to become martyrs of Allah.  Why don't we inform each other on this current issue, and discuss its pros and cons?

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Thank you for writing this. So you agree with my post above?
You're absolutely right, as far as I can see, Guss.

Your Muslim background lends you more credibility in my eyes. You can't be charged with ignorance on this matter. By being utterly xenophobic, Islam is inherently divisive. It truly is "us versus them".

No religion is valid but at least Christianity is significantly reformed. Islam is still a bastion of fundamentalism. This is what makes it so dangerous. Without reforms, Islam will continue to enlist extremists in the cause of Jihad.

The Muslim community needs to stand up and be counted on the side of peace. They need to renounce violence, jihad and shariah law.
Islam will never be a dominant religion in the way Christianity is simply because much of its doctrines are simply abhorrent to the values, customs and culture of Western cultures, and as a result it would not win more than the handful of converts that it currently receives. Add to this the rise of freethinking, atheism (yay) and other religiously sceptic philosophies and Islam is little more than a minor threat.

Much of the rise of Islam comes because Islamic countries and communities have higher birthrates than that of Western groups. Most Western families have 1 or 2 children at most, whilst in the likes of Saudi Arabia, 5 is a norm, especially in more traditional areas.

as for the part about Islamic martyrs, the chances are you could find, especially in the US Bible belt, who would do exactly the same in the name of the Christian Yahweh. There were times when I would have happily done this (eek!).
Islam is already a dominant religion. Turn on CNN and you'll see just how they dominate.

In the same way that Muslim enclaves in non-Muslim regions don't need to hold a majority in order to agitate, militate and terrorize, neither does the Muslim community at large. Saudi Arabia or Iran are quite capable of doing the same from a distance. I shudder to think of Iran becoming a nuclear power. And let's not forget 9/11 -- brought to a television near you, thanks to money and terrorists that came mostly from Saudi Arabia. Increased security measures around the world is all about terrorism . . . and let's not kid ourselves: that means Islamic terrorism.

I don't know how major or minor a threat Islam is. But I know the various ways Islam has spread in the past and they ALL eventually lead to violence. Having read the Quran, I know the source of the Muslim mindset and how it's completely alien to most Westerners.

By the way, you may call them martyrs but I call them suicide bombers. In Christianity, suicide bars you from heaven . . . in Islam, it's a ticket to paradise.

Different mindsets.
Hi - good question.
Is it because we fear some "retribution" - of the kind that soft liberal christians are unlikely to effect if they are subject to similar analysis and criticism? Frankly that made me pause for a moment before replying!
I live in an area with a substantial Islamic population (two Mosques being built...though battling against a skyline that's adorned with some 20+churches in the same area) and buying chips at a fast food outlet sometimes means I have to see posters and info cards extolling pretty far-out attitudes - to a "westerner" at least, Did you know for instance that "indulgences" (let's agree they're medieval) are still offered, like time off in purgatory, for donations to the faith? That a celebration poster for an Islamic battle (being commemorated as a unifying moment for the ummah) literally "dripped" with blood? Quite scary. MInd you I'm only contrasting this with liberal christianity rather than masochistic catholic flagellation that seems to adorn much christian imagery.....
But let's be honest about the debate rather than adopt a "plague on both their houses" approach -and tackle Islam with the same crticial thinking that informs the slow, but inevitable, de-construction of our own culture's faith. Some Islamic concepts are (don't look to me for cultural relativism) as abhorrent as those detailed in the Bible - but the fact is that virtually all educated Christians ignore these as the ramblings of bronze-age pre-historic tribal racism.
Cons to follow
StB
Is genocide, therefore, the only way to peace?
HI Aliqs,

Islam, unlike Christianity, is virtually unreformed. That means that fundamentalism -- adherence to scripture and doctrine -- are still paramount in Islam. Until Islam undergoes reforms, we are at the mercy of xenophobic and neurotic dogma. Rabid dogma.

Islam needs to drop its legal (Shariah) and political (Jihad) doctrines BEFORE it can be considered benign. When a religion extends into legal and/or political spheres, it is a danger to us all.

Islamists are Muslims that advocate legal/political Islam. They extend Islam beyond the realm of religion into every facet of our lives. We should NEVER accommodate them in any form or fashion. Period. Clear enough?

But this is tantamount to neutering Islam. Right? I mean, Jihad and Shariah are integral to Islam. Aren't they?

Yes.

I think you might be getting my point here. Without rejecting the Quran as the verbatim word of Allah, you CAN'T reject Jihad . . . because Allah demands it in the Quran! In fact, the Quran makes it very clear that if you stay at home instead of waging Jihad for Allah, then you're dead meat in Allah's eyes.

So Islam needs reform . . . but it's source scripture is so unrelentingly fundamentalist that you have to deny Allah in order to reform Islam.

That's why Islam is NOT reformed. Reformed Islam is NO Islam at all. It's a major fly in the ointment of world peace.
P.S.

It's a crime against Islam to change a single word of the Quran.

The whole point about the supremacy of the Quran is that prior scripture (Jewish and Christian bibles) were corrupted and no longer represent Allah's original words. The Quran CAN'T be reformed, so thus, neither can Islam.
Is genocide, therefore, the only way to peace?
Where the clash between Islam and the rest of the world is concerned, the only way to peace is through the reform of Islam.

You got a better idea?
As impossible as it seems, Islam needs to be reformed. There's not much chance of that happening but it certainly wouldn't hurt to try.

Here's a plea for common sense and decency.

The St. Petersburg Declaration
April 5, 2007

We are secular Muslims, and secular persons of Muslim societies. We are believers, doubters, and unbelievers, brought together by a great struggle, not between the West and Islam, but between the free and the unfree.

We affirm the inviolable freedom of the individual conscience. We believe in the equality of all human persons.

We insist upon the separation of religion from state and the observance of universal human rights.

We find traditions of liberty, rationality, and tolerance in the rich histories of pre-Islamic and Islamic societies. These values do not belong to the West or the East; they are the common moral heritage of humankind.

We see no colonialism, racism, or so-called "Islamaphobia" in submitting Islamic practices to criticism or condemnation when they violate human reason or rights.

We call on the governments of the world to

* reject Sharia law, fatwa courts, clerical rule, and state-sanctioned religion in all their forms; oppose all penalties for blasphemy and apostasy, in accordance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights;

* eliminate practices, such as female circumcision, honor killing, forced veiling, and forced marriage, that further the oppression of women;

* protect sexual and gender minorities from persecution and violence;

* reform sectarian education that teaches intolerance and bigotry towards non-Muslims;

* and foster an open public sphere in which all matters may be discussed without coercion or intimidation.

We demand the release of Islam from its captivity to the totalitarian ambitions of power-hungry men and the rigid strictures of orthodoxy.

We enjoin academics and thinkers everywhere to embark on a fearless examination of the origins and sources of Islam, and to promulgate the ideals of free scientific and spiritual inquiry through cross-cultural translation, publishing, and the mass media.

We say to Muslim believers: there is a noble future for Islam as a personal faith, not a political doctrine;

to Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Baha'is, and all members of non-Muslim faith communities: we stand with you as free and equal citizens;

and to nonbelievers: we defend your unqualified liberty to question and dissent.

Before any of us is a member of the Umma, the Body of Christ, or the Chosen People, we are all members of the community of conscience, the people who must choose for themselves.

Endorsed by:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Magdi Allam
Mithal Al-Alusi
Shaker Al-Nabulsi
Nonie Darwish
Afshin Ellian
Tawfik Hamid
Shahriar Kabir
Hasan Mahmud
Wafa Sultan
Amir Taheri
Ibn Warraq
Manda Zand Ervin
Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi
How does the Principle of Taqiyya relate to your claims of tolerance?

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