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What's wrong with the Arab world?

 
 
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 07:53 am
This probably belongs on a Middle East forum, but we don't seem to have one. Since there are 5 or 6 arab countries in Africa, I'm starting it here.

Spurred by Lash's comments in another thread, I thought this would be a place to discuss and educate ourselves about the problems and issues with development in the arab world. To start, I read this very interesting article which summarizes the Arab Human Development Report 2002. I think there is a newer report but I haven't been able to find a summary of it just yet.

http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=1213392

In the report, the authors apparently name three major deficits in the arab world. I'll paste from the article:

Quote:


There is a lot more to the article, though, and I encourage everyone to read it. It's not too terribly long and I found it enlightening, even if it didn't quite live up to the title.
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yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 08:05 am
that's an interesting article. it makes me wonder, however, about conditions in non-Arabic Islamic countries, notably Indonesia & Pakistan, which together account for about 1/3 of the world's Muslim population. do the same 3 conditions hold outside the middle east?
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 08:14 am
I see this as the point at which the contentions about the Muslim world bleed into the inequities embodied in the different rates of economic development in the world. Those who wish to fling blanket slurs at the Muslim world are careful to choose the worst examples. Yitwail's point about Indonesia is very well taken. As the largest Muslim nation in the world, if the contention of the prejudiced were true, it ought to be in constant state of turmoil and poverty. But this is not the case. It certainly does have its lunatic fringe, as does any other nation. But it also has enjoyed a good deal of economic success lately.

I would posit that poverty and ignorance in Muslim countries arises out the ancient and predictable cause of venal men in power attempting to maintain a status quo which benefits them and their cronies, and the peasants be damned.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 08:31 am
yitwail wrote:
that's an interesting article. it makes me wonder, however, about conditions in non-Arabic Islamic countries, notably Indonesia & Pakistan, which together account for about 1/3 of the world's Muslim population. do the same 3 conditions hold outside the middle east?


I'm not sure what's happening there. The article does mention that many countries still prosper, or at least move forward, while having two of the three deficits. To me, there's no clear line between economic and geographic factors and societal and religious ones. Islam tends to be a religion of the poor, kind of like soccer is a sport of the poor, because you don't need much to play it. So it's hard to tell where one leaves off and another begins.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 08:36 am
Setanta wrote:
I see this as the point at which the contentions about the Muslim world bleed into the inequities embodied in the different rates of economic development in the world. Those who wish to fling blanket slurs at the Muslim world are careful to choose the worst examples. Yitwail's point about Indonesia is very well taken. As the largest Muslim nation in the world, if the contention of the prejudiced were true, it ought to be in constant state of turmoil and poverty. But this is not the case. It certainly does have its lunatic fringe, as does any other nation. But it also has enjoyed a good deal of economic success lately.

I would posit that poverty and ignorance in Muslim countries arises out the ancient and predictable cause of venal men in power attempting to maintain a status quo which benefits them and their cronies, and the peasants be damned.


I agree, and the point about Indonesia is well taken.

I know only one Arab and muslim country well enough to make any sort of judgment. The people I know from there know they are not living in a democratic society, and though improvements are coming, they are still resentful of what they consider to be a colonialist role played by us and another power in propping up the government which has oppressed them. They don't spend a lot of time dwelling on it, but it's in the backs of their minds, especially when deciding whether to believe our nation's stated intentions.
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BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 09:31 am
BBB
bm
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 09:48 am
Ok, one thing I'm curious about, and folks please shoot me down if my assumptions are wrong, is how Iraq, before the recent invasion, fit in with all this. They seemed to be doing better than your average arab country in two of three of the deficits defined above. Their women were treated closer to equal than in neighboring countries and their educational system was pretty good. I recall someone telling me that they were the only arab nation to teach science and mathematics in Arabic rather than in French or English. So I'm wondering if, by invading (this assumes our motives were other than I believe them to be) we attempted to close one deficit (freedom) while expanding the other two (women's equality and knowledge -- by causing an Islamic backlash).

The article mentions that part of the problem was that the nationalism which served them well in ridding themselves of their colonial occupiers didn't serve them well in independence as they aped the behaviors of those same occupying governments. Did we maybe just restart the spin cycle on Iraq?
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BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 10:25 am
FreeDuck
FreeDuck wrote: "Ok, one thing I'm curious about, and folks please shoot me down if my assumptions are wrong, is how Iraq, before the recent invasion, fit in with all this. They seemed to be doing better than your average arab country in two of three of the deficits defined above. Their women were treated closer to equal than in neighboring countries and their educational system was pretty good. I recall someone telling me that they were the only arab nation to teach science and mathematics in Arabic rather than in French or English. So I'm wondering if, by invading (this assumes our motives were other than I believe them to be) we attempted to close one deficit (freedom) while expanding the other two (women's equality and knowledge -- by causing an Islamic backlash).

The article mentions that part of the problem was that the nationalism which served them well in ridding themselves of their colonial occupiers didn't serve them well in independence as they aped the behaviors of those same occupying governments. Did we maybe just restart the spin cycle on Iraq?"


FreeDuck, I've come to consider seriously that the real reason for Bush et al attacking Iraq might be to allow us to build the 13 or 14 military bases, which we've already nearly completed? Why? Because we had to get our troops out of Saudi Arabia or that dictatorship government would fall to the followers of bin Laden. We couldn't allow the Saudi's oil to fall under the control of terrorists.

We had to get out of Saudi land. So it was Iraq's misfortune to be the country chosen by the Bush administration to provide the land we needed to build bases to protect our oil interests in Saudi Arabia and to save that dictatorship regime, and to protect our other interests in the Middle East.

One must be skeptical about when we finally are able to pull our troops out of Iraq (if ever) that we will give up these bases no matter how much a future Iraqi government might want? We still have bases and troops in the countries we defeated in WWII and in the Korean war.

This example is typical of the nationalistic backlash against the US and it's Western allies for the continued, and now expanding existence of non-Islam troops in Muslim lands.

Add to this the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and you have the perfect storm for extremist Islamists to dominate the thinking and loyalty of significant, but not majority numbers of Muslims throughout the world.

Until Muslim leaders start providing the full range of education potential instead of predominately religious study, their countries will not be able to participate in the global economy for the benefit of their countries and their people---especially their female populations. Concentrating education on religious studies does not equip them for the modern world.

The global economy's world wide media exposure also has treated Muslims to more than they want to see. The cultural differences, especially for female behavior, is offensive to Islam sensibilities. There is a huge gap between behavior that is appropriate between the Muslim world and the Western world. It will take many generations to begin attitude changes, if ever. It would take a Reformation similar to Luther's re the Catholic Church to begin the process. I see no sign of a reformation in Muslim countries yet.

BBB
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 10:43 am
FreeDuck, Good topic. I've always been fascinated by Egypt, a country that seemed to be way ahead of its time some five thousand years ago, but remained stagnant and never progressed beyond that period. Their culture, temples, pyramids, and Valley of the Kings speak of a culture that still remains a mystery to scientists and engineers of today. Christians and Muslims have lived together peacefully for two thousand years. When one visits Cairo, you can visit Mosques and christian churches (and the Coptic District) without fear. I also have two Muslim friends who live in Cairo; both are tour directors. My first visit to Egypt was March of 1998, about five months after the massacre at Hapshetsut's Temple that killed some German and Japanese tourists. During my visit, the security for us was very good; we had police escorts most of the time, and they built barriers at the tourist sites. The people of Egypt are friendly, and have nothing but good memories about their country. I took my sister to Egypt four years later, and felt safe - even on our visit to Jordan where they also provided our group with a police escort.
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 02:34 pm
It is my contention that rather than go for change of Muslims Arabs via religion--which would result in nothing more than constant terrorism et al--There is either democracy or some artiitc/scientific renaissance.

I would think a Renaissance in imposible when so much art, music, secular writings are punishable by death and lesser atrocities.

Democracy is the only bait to drag people out of that repressive religion and into a life worth living. Islam has been intertwined with "government" for them since the beginning of their civilization. They don't know anything but the religious charismatic leader. Some basic aspects of democracy are without comparison in their society.

References to impotency aptly dscribe the feelings of the average Arab Muslim, who has to reach back incredibly far to find any worthwhile contributioons to civilization. He has been zoomed past by the West and the East. Because of nothing more than his religion, which forbids progress.

Bush and his advisors know this, and have acted on it.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 02:39 pm
Lash wrote:

Bush and his advisors know this, and have acted on it.


Let's assume that what you say is true -- and it's quite a broad brush you paint with -- what are the benefits that have/will come about from Bush's (and his advisors') actions? How are those actions the answer to the problem?
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 02:58 pm
(I see you are trying to separate Muslims from Arabs--and I'm not sure I can do his adequately--because the items being addressed are planned to change Islam from the inside. If I make generalizations, understand that I am primarily speaking of Arab Muslims.)

(Anyone know the percentage break-down between Arab Muslims and Arab non-Muslims?)

Anyway, thanks for asking, Freeduck.

Islam is quite late for a religious Reformation and a cultural Renaissance. Recently, instead of becoming more liberal, Islam has had an opposite move-- backward to a Taliban styled environment of religious police, public execution, female genital mutilation... This harsh form of Islam rules the streets of a few Muslim countries--and likely the shadows of the rest.

The Muslim Arabs have been ruled by charismatic leaders, rather than elected representatives. The few in power keep the people down by exploiting the repressive religion. When the people break out of that oppressive form of government, they will experience a Renaissance that the world will be in awe of. Art, secular writing, creativity--can get you killed or maimed. Check out Rushdie. Don't you know the spirits of those people have been caged for so long....can you imagine what will happen when they are free?

I think their art is limited to patterns, because other art is forbidden.

And, most Muslims--yes, those in Britain, and all over Arabia--can show you in the Koran where it is acceptable to kill those who besmirch Mohammad and that book and Islam. Check out Theo Van Gogh. Poet and writer is not a long-term career, let's say, in Arab Muslim areas.

They have been pinned down artistically, creatively, economically, ---personally. Once they begin to choose their leaders and see other news choices, and read other opinions, it will destroy terrorism. Education, tolerance, FREEDOM replaces ignorance, blaming others for your problems and murderous hatred. When their Reformation and Renaissance begins, they won't want to kill us.

They may want to kill their oppressors, though.

Luckily, there will be enough of them who already know how to make bombs.
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 03:05 pm
Do you know in Saudi, and many Arab countries, they have only JUST STARTED adding subjects besides religion in their "schools"?

That's why the illiteracy rate is astronomical. Islam forbids other subjects--if you are on the right side of Wahhabism and the Taliban.

If Islam were separate from life, there would be no problem with Islam. But, it forbids education, art, critical thinking, gender equality, work in certain sectors of employment, tolerance, ...Islam practiced faithfully calls for murder of certain people. The problem to me isn't an Arab problem. It's an Islam problem. Because the two are enmeshed, it has BECOME an Arab problem.
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 03:14 pm
I think people should read this. Women/children mutilation.

Bad things happen in all societies.

Look at the percentages that suffer this evil.
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 03:30 pm
I'm sort of posing too much here--so I'll try to give you a more tangible answer.

Consider Europe during the Middle Ages. Books have been written about the phases civilization went through to modernize and industrialize.

There are reliable indicators that precede and/or are simultaneous with modernization.

The Arab states haven't decisively met these goals. Some aren't close.

Islam prevents many of these indicators from being reached.

Bush is trying to force these indicators into reality, and force a modernization, which will have the Arab Muslims so thrilled with their blossoming ociety, we will be learning from one another, rather than killing one another.

Gender equality, democracy, education---these are some of the hallmarks of modernization, which Islam forbids.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 04:17 pm
Lash wrote:
(I see you are trying to separate Muslims from Arabs--and I'm not sure I can do his adequately--because the items being addressed are planned to change Islam from the inside. If I make generalizations, understand that I am primarily speaking of Arab Muslims.)


Well, the report I cited covers only the Arab world which is primarily muslim. I know where you stand on this, but to me, it would be a bit like talking about the problems in the West in terms of problems in Christianity, because Western countries are primarily Christian.

Quote:
Islam is quite late for a religious Reformation and a cultural Renaissance. Recently, instead of becoming more liberal, Islam has had an opposite move-- backward to a Taliban styled environment of religious police, public execution, female genital mutilation... This harsh form of Islam rules the streets of a few Muslim countries--and likely the shadows of the rest.


Mark the day, Lash is prescribing liberalism to save Arabia. :wink:

Quote:
The Muslim Arabs have been ruled by charismatic leaders, rather than elected representatives. The few in power keep the people down by exploiting the repressive religion. When the people break out of that oppressive form of government, they will experience a Renaissance that the world will be in awe of. Art, secular writing, creativity--can get you killed or maimed. Check out Rushdie. Don't you know the spirits of those people have been caged for so long....can you imagine what will happen when they are free?


I'm curious if you read the report I linked to. now

Quote:
I think their art is limited to patterns, because other art is forbidden.
A reference would be handy here, so that we both understand what this means.

Quote:
And, most Muslims--yes, those in Britain, and all over Arabia--can show you in the Koran where it is acceptable to kill those who besmirch Mohammad and that book and Islam.


I must know the handful who can't find that verse.

Quote:
They have been pinned down artistically, creatively, economically, ---personally. Once they begin to choose their leaders and see other news choices, and read other opinions, it will destroy terrorism. Education, tolerance, FREEDOM replaces ignorance, blaming others for your problems and murderous hatred. When their Reformation and Renaissance begins, they won't want to kill us.

As long as they have us as the perceived enemy they will be too busy resisting us to look inward and make the necessary changes. And I dare say we can't make them for them.

Quote:
They may want to kill their oppressors, though.


Maybe they already do. Maybe they believe that their oppressors have an overwhelmingly powerful ally that they are not strong enough to resist.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 04:37 pm
Lash wrote:
Do you know in Saudi, and many Arab countries, they have only JUST STARTED adding subjects besides religion in their "schools"?
I certainly did not know that. Is it true?

Quote:
That's why the illiteracy rate is astronomical. Islam forbids other subjects--if you are on the right side of Wahhabism and the Taliban.
How many of the Arab countries are ruled by governments on the right side of Wahhabism and the Taliban?

Quote:
If Islam were separate from life, there would be no problem with Islam. But, it forbids education, art, critical thinking, gender equality, work in certain sectors of employment, tolerance, ...Islam practiced faithfully calls for murder of certain people.


Islam does not forbid education, art, critcal thinking, gender equality and most especially tolerance. I can't begin to understand where you got such an idea. As for work in certain sectors of employment, I suppose it would forbid working in a brothel or as a loan shark, so you've got them there.
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 05:03 pm
Quote:
Mark the day, Lash is prescribing liberalism to save Arabia.

From the vantagepoint of the Taliban and Wahhabism, liberal is a good direction. From the vantagepoint of Howard Dean, one should have taken a right turn MILES ago. :wink:

Quote:
I'm curious if you read the report I linked to. now


Not yet. Did you read the Bernard Lewis link I took to the other thread? But, this has been forwarded by so many people--from Wolfowitz to Zakaria to Lewis to the lessons of history's previous transformations.

Repressed art under Islamic law.

There are clickable links to other explanations of the rules about art under Islam.

Here are some excerpts and lines from the Koran-- You can tell your friends where to find it now:

Quran tells us to: "not to make friends with Jews and Christians" (5:51), fight them "until they pay the Jizya (a penalty tax for the non-Muslims living under Islamic rules) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued" ( 9:29). "kill the disbelievers wherever we find them" (2:191), "murder them and treat them harshly" (9:123), "fight and slay the Pagans, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem" ( 9:5).

Quran says that all those who disbelieve in Islam go to hell (5:10), they are najis (filthy, untouchable, impure) (9:28), and orders us to fight the unbelievers until no other religion except Islam is left (2:193). It prohibits a Muslim to befriend a non-believer even if that non-believer is the father or the brother of that Muslim (9:23), (3:28).

It says that the "non-believers will go to hell and will drink boiling water" (14:17). It asks the Muslims to "slay or crucify or cut off the hands and feet of the unbelievers, that they be expelled from the land with disgrace and that they shall have great punishment in the world hereafter" (5:34). And tells us that "for them (the unbelievers) garments of fire shall be cut and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatever is in their bowels and skin shall be dissolved and they will be punished with hooked iron rods" (22:19-22) and that they not only will have "disgrace in this life, on the Day of Judgment He shall make them taste the Penalty of burning (Fire)" (22:9).

Quran says that "those who invoke a god other than Allah not only should meet punishment in this world but the Penalty on the Day of Judgment will be doubled to them, and they will dwell therein in ignominy" (25:68). For those who "believe not in Allah and His Messenger, He has prepared, for those who reject Allah, a Blazing Fire!" (48:13).

As for him who does not believe in Islam the Prophet says that after he dies it will be announced with a "stern command": "Seize ye him, and bind ye him, And burn ye him in the Blazing Fire. Further, make him march in a chain, whereof the length is seventy cubits! This was he that would not believe in Allah Most High. And would not encourage the feeding of the indigent! So no friend hath he here this Day. Nor hath he any food except the corruption from the washing of wounds, Which none do eat but those in sin." (69:30-37)

The holy Prophet prescribes fighting for us and tells us that "it is good for us even if we dislike it" (2:216). Then he advises us to "strike off the heads of the disbelievers"; and after making a "wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives" (47:4).

Our God has promised to "instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers" and has ordered us to "smite above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them" (8:12). and "to strike terror into (the hearts of the enemies" (8:60).

He has made the Jihad mandatory and warns us that "Unless we go forth, (for Jihad) He will punish us with a grievous penalty, and put others in our place" (9:39). Allah speaks to our Holy Prophet and says "O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be stern against hem. Their abode is Hell,- an evil refuge indeed" (9:73).

He promises us that in the fight for His cause whether we slay or are slain we return to the garden of Paradise (9:111). In Paradise he will "wed us with Houris (celestial virgins) pure beautiful ones" (56:54), and unite us with large-eyed beautiful ones while we recline on our thrones set in lines (56:20). There we are promised to eat and drink pleasantly for what we did (56:19). And have sex with "boys like hidden pearls" (56:24) and "youth never altering in age like scattered pearls" (76:19)

As for women, the book of Allah says that they are inferior to men and their husbands have the right to scourge them if they are found disobedient (4:34). It advises men to take a green branch and beat their wives, because a green branch is more flexible and hurts more. (38:44). It teaches that women will go to hell if they are disobedient to their husbands (66:10). It maintains that men have an advantage over the women (2:228). It not only denies the women's equal rights, it decrees that their witness is not admissible in the courts of law (2:282). This means that a woman who is raped cannot accuse her rapist unless she can produce a male witness. Our Holy Prophet allows us to marry up to four wives and he licensed us to sleep with our slave maids and as many 'captive' women as we may have (4:3) even if those women are already married. He himself did just that.

----------
Let's be real. I didn't say--nor do I believe that all Muslims want to practice this--nor that all would.... But, plenty ARE and plenty more APPROVE.

I would be happy if some Grand Poobah of Muslims showed up and said absolutely and unequivocably that this is wrong, bad, and the Church (mosque) will excommunicate (or they can make up their own word) anyone who does this OR approves it.

Until then, I'm extraordinarily bent out of shape about it.

What do YOU think of it?

(Looking forward to your responses. I see you have more questions. I don't mind linking at all--but I do expect an acknowledgement of what is written and your honest opinion of it.)
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 06:13 pm
Clash of Civilizations.

Fabulous explanation.

An excerpt--

It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in the new world will be between radical Islam or Islamism and greater part of the rest of humanity. Radical Islam is at war with every other religion and cultural group. Militant Islamic anger is directed against Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Slavs and animists. Examine below the list of groups against whom radical Islam wages war:

Roman Catholics in Mindanao in the Philippines
Roman Catholics in Timor in Indonesia
Confucians and Buddhists in Singapore and Malaysia
Hindus in Bangladesh
Hindus in Kashmir and within India itself
Russian Orthodox Catholics in Chechnya
Armenian Christians in Nagorno‑Karabakh
Maronite Christians in Lebanon
Jews in Israel and in all other parts of the world
Animists and Christians in Sudan
Ethiopian Orthodox Christians in Eritrea
Greek Orthodox Catholics in Cyprus
Slavs in Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania
Coptic Christians in Egypt
Ibos in Nigeria
Christians and Jews in the United States
Moderate Islamic Regimes in Egypt, Jordan and Turkey


Militant Islam is in ferment everywhere. The Islamic world appropriately is said to have "bloody borders."

Why is this so? The explanation may lie in Islamic theology, Islamic history, and the economics of oil.

Islamic militancy arises out of its monotheistic theology. There is no other God but Allah. Islamic God Allah is jealous. He brooks no rivals. He claims sole sovereignty. He proclaims Jihad or Holy War on unbelievers, kafirs. Prophet Mohammad is regarded as the final and the seal of prophets. Lesser prophets such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, Moses and Jesus are recognized as precursors but Mohammad is the most perfect. Like Christians, Muslims also believe in a single life, a single judgment and eternal life either in heaven or hell.

It is obvious that this theology of a single God, a single prophet, a single revelation, a single church or ummah, a single life and a single judgment leads to intolerance.

Not all Muslims however read the Quran the same way. There are passages in the Quran which preach religious tolerance. For example, one of the verses says: "There is no compulsion in religion." And, another, "To you your religion and to me mine." Moderate Muslims emphasize the tolerant nature of their religion. It is evident from recent happenings that extremists have outflanked the moderates and now dominate the religious dialogue.
(compares medieval Christianity...)

Christianity however was reformed and its hold on European nations was seriously eroded during the Age of Rationalism. Secularism arose and gradually the Church and the state were separated. Tolerance of religious diversity gradually grew. There is religious fundamentalism in the West, but the West has come a long way in accepting pluralism in matters of religious belief...

(...)
In contrast to medieval Christianity and radical Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are tolerant of religious diversity. The list of tolerant religious traditions includes not only Hindus and Buddhists but also many ancient religions such as Taoists, Shintoists, European Celts, the Egyptians, Platonists, and Pythagoreans....


The history of China and Japan is similar to that of India in matters of religious tolerance....

...Mohammad became the leader of Medina and within a few years felt emboldened to raid Mecca. ...Muslim conquest did not stop with the death of Mohammad. Within two years, the holy warriors attacked and conquered Byzantium and Persia, the two powerful empires of the period. The warriors were filled with religious zeal and hopes for war booty. It seemed that, armed with faith in Allah, nothing could stop the soldiers of Islam...

Islam's rapid rise from obscurity to a world power had a touch of the miraculous for Muslims; how could they have attained all this without God's favor and support? The fabulous military victories demonstrated to the faithful God's pleasure with those who believed.
(...)
Islam's explosive beginning has implications for modern politics. ...Roughly from 1,000 AD to 1,700 A.D., Islam was the strongest civilization on earth. The Muslims enjoyed the greatest wealth; they wielded the most power. And then, suddenly in the 17th century, the empire collapsed.

...Memories of uninterrupted conquests are alive in the minds of militant Muslims. Osama bin-Laden and his compatriots draw inspiration from the 700-year long history of an Islamic empire. They also believe that they were cheated of world dominion, when Islam lost its hold both in India and Europe in the 17th century.

...Islamic radicalism is three decades old and goes back to the period of the oil boom. The huge wealth derived from petroleum in the Arab Sheikhdoms has given rise to the belief that Muslims are favored by God. The extraordinary oil wealth, much like Muslim military victory in an earlier period, is taken as a sign of God's happiness with Muslims and the justness of the Islamic cause.

...Petro-dollars have been used to spread Islamic radicalism around the globe. The Saudi Government and its charities continue to fund thousands of religious schools or Madrassas. These schools have been called factories for Jihad. Some 40,000 to 50,000 of these clerical schools exist within Pakistan alone. The oil rich Saudi Arabia preaches Wahabism, a puritanical branch of Islam. According to Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek, the Saudi Kingdom has made the biggest Devil's bargain. It deflects attention from its misrule by funding religious extremism abroad.

The war in Afghanistan against the former Soviet Union has also led to extremism and militancy. A rag-tag army of the Holy Warriors defeated a super power, which promoted the belief that religious zeal and the way of Allah could defeat the mightiest of armies.

The militants are most likely to be found in the oil rich Middle Eastern countries and in Pakistan. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers who crashed into World Trade Center Towers were Saudi nationals. The entire Taliban leadership was nurtured in Pakistani madrassas.

...Fareed Zakaria, an Indian Moslem with the Newsweek calls radical Islam Aan armed doctrine," a term that he borrowed from Edmund Burke. Like other armed doctrines before it-- fascism for example. It can be discredited only by first being defeated[email protected] When Hitler scored military victories, he was much admired. Many children in Europe and Latin America were named after him. When Nazism suffered defeat, the children were given new names. Bin Laden understands the aura of victory: "When people see a weak horse and a strong horse, by nature they prefer the strong horse." Bin Laden claims to be the stronger horse (Newsweek, December 24, 2001, 23-28).

Even though Iraq might have been a wrong target to fight radical Islamism, America's war against militants in Iraq must not fail for this reason. A failure in Iraq will have global repercussions. It would embolden extremist elements around the globe. It will negatively impact India's war against terrorism. A success in Iraq on the other hand will pave the way for moderation in the rest of the world.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2005 06:55 pm
Re: art. The link you posted is very informative and explains a lot about Islamic art and it's lack of idols. I recall that Christianity also forbids idols. So it's true that traditional islamic art is very geometrical -- and beautiful. What isn't clear is that any other kind of art is forbidden in the Islamic world.

iraqi art
moroccan art
kuwait
algeria
lebanon


As to the Koran, there was no link so I don't know where you got your info. I looked here and did not find the verses you mention. That's not to say they aren't there, but if the people who practice the religion are as illiterate as you say, they can't read them anyway so doesn't really matter. The people I know who are islamic say, unequivocally, that the three religions Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are believers and they must respect one another. Here is what I found searching the Koran.

On Jews:
women

But again, I have no interest in defending Islam. If it were a great religion, it would be my religion. The point is that if Islam were the only thing stopping progress, why are there such varying degrees of progress? Why does it appear that the poorer countries embrace the most extremist ideologies? If Islam is the only thing holding Arabia back, how would democracy help? The people would still be Islamic as it's not likely they would all convert.

Religious fundamentalism is dangerous and repressive, you'll get no argument from me. But if you want me to believe that a religion is singularly capable of holding back 18 countries (I'm restricting to the ones included in the report) you're going to have to do a lot of very good demonstrating.

You asked if I'd read a link from another thread, the answer is no, maybe you could repost it here. I don't remember seeing one. I did look at the link you posted earlier in this thread that is from a pro-Israeli site that clearly has an agenda. A bit like linking to a site developed by the French to find out about America.
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