Is it fair to insinuate about Islam?

Discussion in 'Politics and Society' started by Netti-Netti, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,571
    Likes Received:
    0
    Recently on another message board somebody reposted a story about a woman who had apparently been tried for the "undefined crime of witchcraft" and convicted based on nothing more than "written statements of witnesses who said that she had bewitched them. " Here's the story:
    BBC NEWS | Middle East | Pleas for condemned Saudi 'witch'

    Including this story in a thread that is supposedly dedicated to the religion of Islam (Title= "Religion Of Peace Update" ) would seem to suggest that the way this alleged "witchcraft" case was handled is typical of the Islamic world in general and presumably reflects on Islamic doctrine and ideas about justice.

    The "witchcraft" case may or may not reflect on Saudi Arabia's interpretation of Islamic law. To credibly suggest that it does would require a fairly good knowledge of Islamic law. In order to make the case, wouldn't one need to cite a specific law that deals with the prosecution of witchcraft? The post in question doesn't get into that at all. It is just a repost of the barebones BBC story, with nothing in the way of analysis. It's as though the idea is to leave it open for readers to conclude that the Saudi way of doing things is pretty much the norm in the Muslim world.

    I'd say it's a stretch to suggest that the Saudi legal system in general or that its handling of this case in particular reflects directly on Islamic doctrine and jurisprudence. At face value, isn't it like insinuating that Islam is generally misogynistic and arbitrary as far as convicting people on bogus Nonesuch crimes? In other words, the way the article is presented is suspect from the getgo.

    As far as I know, Muslims countries vary widely with regard to the death penalty. Many have a de facto ban on it. Is fair for someone to insinuate normativeness regarding Islam based on nothing more than a single case of something that came to pass in one of the most extreme fundamentalist Islamic states ? Again, the BBC story is simply reposted without analysis and without any attempt to provide some context or perspective in a thread that's supposedly devoted to Islam.

    The analogy would be for me to start a thread called "Gospel of Jesus" and then start plugging in stories about weird fringe "Christian" groups who burn Harry Potter books by the thousands or run disciplinary "Christian bootcamps" that practice child abuse. Such juxtapositions are obviously misleading as a basis for inferences about the Gospel of forgiveness and salvation or as a basis for generalization about Christianity and Christians in general.

    One might say it's a "smear" of sorts. Basically, it's presenting a news story in a certain context (a thread supposedly about Islam - or so says the title) in order to shape people's conclusions about that story. As such, it would appear to be a kind of devious form of propaganda that uses argument by implication.

    IMHO, the suggestion that Saudi practices are typical for the Islamic world is highly questionable. What do you think?

    Please discuss.
     
  2. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Messages:
    6,862
    Likes Received:
    260
    It was the religious police who did this. What do Islamic scholars have to say about police acting this way in the name of Islam?
    I hope the King pardons her. :(
     
  3. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    9,437
    Likes Received:
    3
    Depends upon which ulama you ask...
     
  4. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,571
    Likes Received:
    0
    And so we should automatically assume they are implementing Islamic law? Mmmm..... You can tell a book from its cover?

    If you would research that for us, so that we can then explicitly link the case to Islamic doctrine. Btw, did the religious police claim to be acting in the name of Islam, as you say? Should we assume that everything they do is done in the name of Islam?

    Btw, what "Islamic" purpose is served that would lead you or anyone else to conclude that the prosecution of an "undefined crime of witchcraft" has any religious significance at all?

    As it stands, plugging the BBC story into a thread that is supposedly about the religion of Islam (title=Religion Of Peace Update) only insinuates a connection to Islam without actually making the case. It is a weak and highly misleading line of argument.
     
  5. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    22,786
    Likes Received:
    2,496
    Namaste Netti-Netti,

    I find it interesting that you bring the topic and discussion here, are the results of the discussion on the other board so unsatisfactory?

    I would think you might be able to imply something about the way Saudi Law treats Islamic Law. But not Islam in general.

    As I understand it there are many Muslims that are not exceedingly pleased with the way the Saudis interpret Islam.

    If Muslims think that this treatment of this woman is in opposition to Islamic law, than they should be standing up and demanding justice rather than non-Islamic folks.

    I'm thinking that this is in some part why the US is in Iraq. We are looking to have bases in the middle east where we are not beholden to Turkey or the Saudis.
     
  6. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,571
    Likes Received:
    0
    Namaste Wil. Good to meet you. (bend at the waist)

    There is no discussion of the subject on the other board. It's basically a cut-and-paste thread where one or two posters dig up stories about countries that are undergoing difficult cultural transformations and present these stories as though they reflect badly on Islam. I would feel out of place there. I'd probably be branded an "Islamofascist wannabe" and tossed out on my keester. ;)

    Given that an "undefined crime" is at issue, it is unclear whether the alleged "witchcraft" case even tells us much about how Saudi Law treats Islamic Law.

    I believe this is also true for Iran.

    Alas, the Iraqi government has stated specifically that they will not allow permanent US bases there. Things have not gone as expected.

    The US gets most of its petro fuel from the Saudis. The US also has major arms deals with the Saudi government.
     
  7. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Messages:
    2,924
    Likes Received:
    10
    Hi. Welcome.

    I think that to use the term "Islamic world" is to begin the caricaturization. We don't refer to Europe and North America as the Christian world. I've heard any number of times that Islam is a religion of peace, and I believe that's true. So that makes me think that all the unrest has little to do with Islam proper. I'm tired of being played, especially with religious overtones. I'm tired of the medieval rhetoric on all sides.

    Chris
     
  8. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Messages:
    6,862
    Likes Received:
    260
    Accusing someone of "witch-hunting" for pointing out a real witch hunt? We humans are notorious for that. I can see how it would get tiresome.
     
  9. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,571
    Likes Received:
    0
    In this case it was an instance of promoting religious prejudice by a not-so-subtle slight of hand - i.e., sliming Islam on the pretext of presenting a story about something that happened in Saudi Arabia.

    To avoid the impression of being politically motivated propaganda, it would have been very easy to present the story in a thread about Saudi Arabia. The thread in question contains numerous stories about that particular country. Instead, the story was plugged into a thread that is supposedly about Islam, as though it reflects on Islam.

    Btw, as yet no one has established the relevance of the witch hunt to Islamic law.
     
  10. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,571
    Likes Received:
    0
    The "witch hunt" I'm referring to is the Saudi prosecution of an "undefined crime of witchcraft."

    I fail to see where propaganda analysis would qualify as a "witch hunt." The suggestion that that's what it is strikes me as a not-so-subtle ad hominem swipe.
     
  11. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,571
    Likes Received:
    0
    Actually, one does not have to look very hard to see the propaganda in action.

    The meaningful juxtapositions are not hard to detect. Right now on the same board there's another story that has been meaningfully positioned in a "Religion of Peace" thread. It's about the recent assassination of Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyeh. What does this story have to do with Islam? Indeed, why would anyone want to suggest that various Middle East conflicts are purely religious in nature?

    Hezbollah is a group that wants to rid Lebanon of Western colonialism. They also seek justice in connection with atrocities committed against Muslims and Christians during Lebanon's civil war. Aren't these secular or political goals that are rooted in historical events?

    It seems the idea is to suggest that anything concerning Hezbollah has religious significance by tinting the news story with "Religion of Peace" overtones. A particularly shabby and devious form of anti-Islamic propaganda that exploits contextual cues to promote religious conflict.

    This planet does not need religious war.
     
  12. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    22,786
    Likes Received:
    2,496
    Hezbollah= Party of G!d, yes?

    Comprised of Shia, yes? Shia are Islamic yes, or do you deny them as sect? Hezbollah secular?? Pardon me if I misunderstand.

    This would be like me trying to say the Pope was secular, why do you keep referring to him as a religious figure. Catholics are a large denomination of the Christian religion as Shia are a portional representation of Islam.
    Those seem to be, they are also the first two of three goals of Hezbollah, the third as I understand it is to create an Islamic state like Iran as they grew out of the Ayatolla in the 80's. Why would you omit this goal in your contemplation?
     
  13. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    Messages:
    5,826
    Likes Received:
    0
    I most stridently agree with that!! But the respective leaders see to it that this is the perception us peons are left with. How much better the world could be if we all woke up from our love affairs with superstition and dogma and stop letting our leaders manipulate us with them to their own gain.

    Back on topic. I applaud the calm, measured way in which you raise your issue and your choice to move it somewhere else rather than have it lost in the biases of that other thread.

    What you are really objecting to is human nature. Not the prettiest aspect of it to be sure but human nature none the less. The west are taught, and in some sense rightly, to fear the rise of Islam. And so we will always find the extreme end of Islamic faith portrayed as mainstream. That western "justice" can be equally as inhumane and barbaric as that found in Islamic nations is not lost on me. But the nature of the case you highlight is in some sense a glorification of western advancement. We, westerners, are all aware of our own brutal flirtation with witchunting and it boosts the collective ego to point out that Islam is savage or backwards in still performing such acts in this modern era. You know the answer to all your questions and are perhaps saddened by the Islamaphobic nature of the post. Likewise I am saddened that there are any Muslims, or Christians, or Jews, or Buddhists.

    But of all the worlds major religions Islam is the most perceivably threatening to me. A religion that cannot separate itself from politics and social inclusion is to my mind a fascist entity. Coming from Scotland, with a long history of liberal, secular philosophy I see the rise of Islam as a return to the dark ages. Its leaders enjoy too much power within the body and its message is too totalitarian for my sense of freedom to countenance. I applaud that the extreme cases are highlighted, for as history has so often demonstrated, extremes all to easily become norms.

    A more important question all westerners should be asking is why we do business at all with nations that are so guilty of flouting basic human rights.

    Tao
     
  14. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,571
    Likes Received:
    0
    Greetings,Wil. Yes, Shia Islam is an Islamic school. It arose long after the death of the Prophet Mohammad. Their religious texts are not thought of as being divine revelation the way the Koran is. But yes, they are "Islamic" -- at least for general classification purposes. Are they representative of all Muslims and all of Islam? I don't know enough about it, so I wouldn't venture an assumption in this regard any more than I would be prepared to suggest that the Saudi witch hunt is typically "Islamic" legal conduct.


    I didn't say that. I said the organization had secular goals. It seems to me that you are superimposing on the situation the very kind of polarizing/divisive religious imagery that the Western propagandists want people to see, you know, "Islam versus everybody else, and don't give an inch because all Muslims want to take over the world," or something like that.

    I have no doubt that the Hezbollah has at least some quasi-religious elements. I would also think that the organization has enough PR savvy to position itself as a "party of the people" by connecting to Islamic culture. The "religious" significance of that is unclear, however. Their stated goals don't strike me as particularly "religious."

    As you know, the Catholic Church at one time had a lot of real estate in South America. Jesuit priests and other religious order controlled the land holdings and agricultural workshops.that were essentially slave labor camps. Would you argue that the Church's conquests in South America were "religious" just because the organization involved was the Church????... Was enslaving the native Indians of South America supposed to bring them closer to G-d?


    No, I don't think you misunderstand. However, it does seem that you want to ignore what I wrote. I believe it wouild be fair to say that you devoted a goodly part of your post to promoting polarization on the basis of religious affiliation. Of course this is exactly what Western propagandists would have us do.

    Please reread my post and note the intent of my writing, which relates to propaganda analysis. Did you have reason to believe that the assassination of one of Hezbollah's leaders has to the best of my knowledge nothing to with religion. ... More than likely, it was a political assassination. Maybe you have reason to believe otherwise.

    I might mention here that the individual person who engaged in the cut-and-paste propaganda at issue totally ignored the fact that this assassination was a loss to Hezbollah. This kind of one-sidedness -- which in this instance borders on insensitive as well as uncouth -- would seem like an obvious indicator of propagandistic intent.


    It is an aspect of the first goal I mentioned, which is to rid Lebanon of Western colonialism. Most of the Republican presidential candidates in the US presented with very obvious religious affinities. But I don't think any of them would agree with you if you were to portray them as being committed to a purely "religious" platform. In fact, they have political and socioeconomic goals that have little to do with religion.
     
  15. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    Messages:
    5,826
    Likes Received:
    0
    The schism that created the the Sunni and Shia sects happened immediately following the death of Muhammad in 632. Not long after. The collection, re-writing, and destruction of inconvenient texts the succeeding warlords of both groups undertook at this time. Propaganda abounds. But there is no reasonable way to refute the assertion that the Q'uran was a political tool devised and engineered very deliberately by powerful warlords.


    Tao
     
  16. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,571
    Likes Received:
    0
    Greetings Tao....
    It seems the Shia were already on the scene when the Prophet Mohammad was still alive. They were known as "the party of Ali." The schism you refer to was a singular flare-up about Muhammad's successor. According to the Shia, imam Ali was a direct descendent of Muhammad. Not everyone agreed.

    I'd describe the schism as a discrete political/historical event. The codification of various theological and legal aspects (Imamah) that served to define Shiism was an ongoing thing that went on long thereafter. In fact, some new Shia doctrine was added 200 years after the Prophet's death.

    What happend with Islamic doctrine is not unusual for world religions in general, which often involve the development of totally new "traditions" long after core doctrines have been revealed. In the case of Islam, the ongoing evolution of the Imamah actually resulted in additional splits ....within the Shia school itself. I'm not trying to needlessly add ambiguity here. I'm just pointing out the need to guard against simplistic pigeonholing.

    A lack of acceptance for Shia beliefs and principles is fairly prominent in discussions of Islam. Suffice it to say that the fact that Shia is not normative (it's definitely a minority as compared to much more pervasive Sunni Islam) should raise questions as to whether Shiism is representative of Islam. Yet many westerners are perfectly willing to assume that whatever Shiites do or don't do reflects on Islam as a whole.


    Did you have some support for this view?
     
  17. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    22,786
    Likes Received:
    2,496
    The world doesn't see the Islamic community separating these beliefs as non Muslim. If this is the case time should be spent to make it more clear.

    You call it westernized propaganda, yet if you don't stand up and say that those who strap bombs to themselves are not Muslim, we will continue to believe that you believe they are.

    I personally would love to see the line drawn so the world could know that Islam is a religion of peace.
     
  18. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,571
    Likes Received:
    0
    Clarification is almost always helpful.

    Not sure if you're referring to *me.* Regardless, such a statement indicates that the propaganda is working. The world has been divided into perpetrators and silent collaborators. While it makes sense in some ways, it's really a remarkable departure from the basic attitude of giving people the benefit of the doubt. It's kind of like assuming the worst in the absence of proof to the contrary, isn't it?

    For the record, I was baptized a Roman Catholic. I am not a Muslim and therefore it is not really for me to defend Islam, to demonstrate that it's a religion of peace and that those who preach or perpetrate violence are lost to the path. However, you can expect me to take a stand on my belief that people who truly know G-d would not wish harm to anyone and wish forgiveness for all who need it. To the best of my understanding, love of Allah is no different in this regard.



     
  19. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Messages:
    6,862
    Likes Received:
    260
    Netti-Netti, I can see your point about how all of Islam shouldn't be associated with the evil acts committed by some who do so from behind a mask of Islam. Christianity went through the same thing with the Spanish Inquisition. (I don't think any Christians today would call what happened there and then very Christian, and would agree that the evil acts associated with it operated behind a mask of Christianity.)

    While we in the West may call the evil acts committed in the name of Islam acts ungodly, can we really call these acts Unislamic? Christianity had to have its own reformation in order to unmask the ungodliness associated with the Spanish Inquisition. Is it our place to unmask the ungodliness masquerading as Islam? Wouldn't that be hijacking a different religion?
     
  20. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,571
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is an interesting way to turn what I said upside down while giving the impression of addressing the issue. The issue I raised is: can we Westerners, who by our own admission know almost nothing about Islam, assume these acts to be Islamic?

    Quite simply, the issue is burden of proof, which rests with the poster who is taking a position. For example, it's not my job to prove that the Saudi "witch hunt" follows from Islamic law. For starters, the poster who would suggest that it does follow would need to cite the Saudi law that prohibits witchcraft and then show that it derives from Islamic scripture.

    My question was: Is it anyone's place to impute ungodliness to a certain religion? I doubt I'd be more inclined to accept the propagandist's message to the effect that Islam is ungodly if the propagandist showed some intellectual curiosity about the subject. But it would at least help their credibility. But in this instance there was no evidence of intellectual curiosity that at all.

    Like I said, the article on the Saudi witch trial was presented in the context of the thread on Islam without any analysis. Accordingly, I would surmise the posting was not intended to have any educational value at all. It was merely a cheap shot smear that is reducible to "Hey y'all, look at them fruitcakes! They're at it again. It must be the religion because the religious police were involved."

    Maybe it is the religion. I don't know. If that's the position the poster wants to take, they would need to defend it. That is, they'd need to prove it's the religion rather than merely insinuate it. Not really very complicated, is it?

    More recently a story about Hammas was added to that same thread. As usual with this kind of shabby, second rate insinuation politics, the impression the reader is left with is that Hamas is typically "Islamic" if for no other reason than that the story appears in the context of a thread called "Religion of Peace." ... Again, this new article was posted with no analysis and no attempt whatsoever to explore the authenticity of Hamas' positions. Again. Are you seeing a pattern here?

    Anyone who is genuinely interested in the subject could have taken 10 seconds to find some online articles written by devout Muslims who love Allah and love Islam and invite all to the way of the Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching (Qur’an 16:125) who actively condemn Hamas violence as unIslamic. Did the individual who reposted the article take 10 seconds? Did they take 5 seconds?

    Without trying to present the information in a fair and balanced way, how can this individual avoid the impression of misrepresentation by the omission of relevant facts? Indeed, how can that person avoid the impression of being an obscurantist bigot who has no interest in the truth ?



    I see. Thanks to the Reformation, Christian peoples all over the world are now sinless, is that right? They never lie or cheat and if they do they are instantly forgiven, especially if it was for a "worthwhile" cause that pays a few dollars.

    Btw, do you have some international crime statistics handy? I think I know where you might find some. IMHO, many Christians' cultural hubris is woefully unsubstantiated and highly dependent on remaining blind to what's happening in their own backyard. Even when you confront them with the crime statistics they still won't accept the fact theirs is a world of sin.
     

Share This Page