Saudi Arabia, Islam and Muslims: The Perceptions

Now that the topic of this post has caught your attention let me get direct to my points and perspective.  I’m going to keep this very simple but I’m sure there will be no misunderstanding of my views.  Ever since Osama bin Laden and those who planned and participated in 9/11, Saudis, Islam and Muslims have had to face repercussions which include discrimination, persecution, suspicion, in some cases false charges or allegations and biases.  I’m not saying that some of this is not deserved yet it is pitiful to look at the state of the world and the direction actions seem to be taking.  Thanks to actions and efforts Al Qaeda operatives and supporters whether in Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and other places, the image of muslims and Islam has become grossly distorted, feared and associated with global acts of terrorism which affect muslims and non-muslims alike.  Instead of prior thoughts and reputation that Islam is a peaceful religion so-called muslims have done a very good job (A+) in persuading too many in the world that Islam is the religion of extremes, jihad, death and terror in spite of these so-called muslims thankfully still being a minority of those who practice islam as their religion.

I also want to stress that it does not take an act of terror to occur either to perpetuate that Islam is a religion of extremism.  Many converts to Islam whether they have settled in Saudi Arabia (it is a dream and common for new devout converts wish to relocate to Saudi to be closer to the heart of Islam) or remain wherever they are undergo a transformation in themselves.  Perhaps they felt that prior to acceptance and conversion they were dissatisfied with their previous actions and way they live their life.  As a result, they want to over-compensate and make up for those “fallen times” and in some ways become as extreme and dedicated to their new faith and believe it must be overtly broadcast strongly to all.  A new and dedicated revert to islam does not want to lose opportunities to share his or her love and knowledge in the new reverted faith but also takes it upon himself or herself to spread their understanding of Islam and the Quran and considers it a daily duty to convert more whom they view as fallen because they either are not muslim or do not follow islam in the manner they believe it should be followed.  Sadly many of these converts will take an aggressive approach trying to find foundations such as blogs, near masjids and others venues to share their views but it is a sharing that typically does not to listen to anyone who may even be expressing a differing view.  The devout and determined convert will usually keep coming back with quotes from the Quran and typically ending each statement with “Allah knows best.”  Such statements and the manner in which they are written are unlikely to convince a non-muslim of the peacefulness of Islam and push them farther away.

Sometimes people just need to remember people are people.  Regardless of what religion followed (and some may not  even have a religion) yet we all wear different titles in spite of religion belief.  Everyone by being born is a daughter or a brother.  That is one major commonality we all share among the world.  And think of the similarities regardless of religions if one is a mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, sibling.  Family units love and protect one another, feed and shelter one another, will make sacrifices for each other.

Just as I have written 100’s of posts by now about the culture of Saudi Arabia and how the culture and tradition have made them different and at times difficult to understand, the same kind apply to anyone practicing and strongly believing in a religion which others do not fully understand and understanding is compounded by how it is explained in media or too forcefully on venues such as blogs. There are already so many books and documentaries and specialists which espouse on this topic with the whys and analysts and assessments.

So keeping it back to simple, I think we all must remember our commonalities and why it is important to have a faith but at the same time taking a religion where it becomes a monologue instead of teachings and lessons by people and continued extreme acts in the name of religion are only going to continue to divide the world and people and steer many away from Muslim and Islams rather than promote positive understandings and dialogue.

The National Dialogue on Global Religions initiated July 2008 by King Abdullah was a step with the goal of linking individuals of all faiths from around the world towards understanding peace, communication and living among each other.  More initiatives are needed and not only among world leaders but starting at the grass roots level by regular people with such dialogues, grassroots and global levels encouraging DIALOGUE rather than DIATRIBE.  Remembering to listen without in the mind already preparing a verbal (or written attack.)

If more positive pro-actions do not come forward soon, the extremist and jihadis are going to continue gaining ground and continue to proselytize that islam and muslims demonstrate their beliefs by planning and encouraging and implementing through acts of terror and severe rhetoric and in the name of Islam and Allah.  It’s time to take a time out and think about all the great holy men and women and the impacts they made which last today with positive thoughts of the individuals and the way they practiced their religion.  Mohammad (PBUH), Jesus, Mother Teresa and others were not alone and looked upon today as continued beautiful role models.

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137 Responses

  1. Great post! As a Muslim I think it is MY duty to speak out and act to keep extremists from hijacking my religion. For far too long others have had to pick up the pieaces of the disasters that Muslims make.

    I know the bast majority of Muslims are moderates, but we dont always hear their voices. It only makes sense that we’d hear a lot from those extremists who are ready at the drop of the hate to give their own lives and take the lives of others to advertise their twisted cause.

    Personally, I dont understand the divisions and think much of it really isnt religious based, rather are things being created and exploited for political ends.

    Specifically, I find the current issues between the Jewish world and the Islamic world to be not only stupid, but completely outside of a rational religious context.

    Jews and Muslims are rightly brothers in monotheism. Insha’Allah the Muslim and Jewish communities grow closer around the world. Ameen.

  2. There is absolutely NO proof that the vast majority of Muslims are moderate. Yes, perhaps you believe they are but just look at the most recent terrorists and how shocked the people that knew them were.

  3. Lynn,

    I agree a better term to use is nonviolent. To be moderate is to have moderate views of others. Muslims cannot be moderate, if they truly believe in that the Quran is the true word of God. With over 100 versus in the Quran that encourage hostility, you can say the majority of Muslims are not violent despite their religion. The Hadith adds an even more violent twist.

    For political correctness, everyone seems to ignore that this violence has roots in the teaching derived from the holy book.

    Note: I do feel that the Christianity is in the same situation. The old testament is full of violent verses. The difference is that most Christian clergy have stopped breaching the message in those verses, thus there are fewer radicals welling to fight in the name of religion.

  4. Assalamu Alaikum.
    Islam is not a new religion, but the same truth that God revealed through all His prophets to every people. For a fifth of the world’s population, Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the majority have nothing to do with the extremely grave events which have come to be associated with their faith.
    Like Christianity, Islam permits fighting in self-defense, in defense of religion, or on the part of those who have been expelled forcibly from their homes. It lays down strict rules of combat which include prohibitions against harming civilians and against destroying crops, trees and livestock. As Muslims see it, injustice would be triumphant in the world if good men were not prepared to risk their lives in a righteous cause. The Quran says:
    Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits. God does not love transgressors. (2:190)
    If they seek peace, then seek you peace. And trust in God for He is the One that heareth and knoweth all things. (8:61)
    War, therefore, is the last resort, and is subject to the rigorous conditions laid down by the sacred law. The term jihad literally means ‘struggle’, and Muslims believe that there are two kinds of jihad. The other ‘jihad’ is the inner struggle which everyone wages against egotistic desires, for the sake of attaining inner peace.

  5. @Lynn,

    Unless one could do a comprehensive survery of over 1 billion Muslims one could not say, with scientific certainty, that the majority of Muslims are moderate.

    However, you could look at the polling numbers in various countries for extremists groups, ie the one I saw recently that said that the Taliban had less than a 5% support base in Afghanistan.

    From my point of view I have been all around the Muslim world and my experience is that most Muslims are moderate. I say that despite major issues I have with most Muslim societies I have come into contact with.

    I have met and known Muslim extremists in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, as well as Christian extremists from Serbia and Croatia. I find that although they shroud their actions and beliefs in religious terms, the base of their issues and ideology is actually more of a purely political/economic/tribal one.

    Wasnt it Bernadette Devlin who once said “no one ever died in Ireland for the Articles of Faith” about a conflict which many people still mistakenly label a “religious” conflict?

    So Serbs committed mass murder against Catholics and Muslims in Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia and Kosova but their agenda wasnt really a religious one, it was political. Like extreme Islam, religion is used to coat what is an otherwise political struggle.

    The Middle East is a great example of this. Pan Arabism lost out to far left movements. When neither of these could provide answers or solutions to the real political issues of the day in comes the Islamic extremists. What allowed these movements to fail is the fact that they all eventually had their day in power and showed they could offer nothing.

    Islamism will have the same genisus and ending. Until recently Islamists have always been in enternal opposition. Once they win power, like they have in Gaza, they will be put into a position to have to provide real answers to real problems. “Islam is the answer” doesnt work when you have to put food on the plate, provide security and other day to day things.

    Islamism is being kept alive by those dictatories and monarchies in the Middle East who refuse to allow representation to them. The quickest way to get rid of the Islamists is to actually let them rule for awhile.


    I could just as easily say there is no proof the majority of Americans are moderate. We are talking about a people who vote for law makers who talk about nuking major religious sites, many of which want to teach out dated non sense religious ideas about creation in school. If you look at the “tea party” movement in the US and the cult following of Sarah Palin, there is A LOT of proof that there is a sizable percentage of the US population that is extremely radical in their religious and political views.

    The difference here is that America has the ability to project these ideas and their power world wide that no other group of extremists does. A quick look at the American religious extremist involvement in Uganda and the death penalty for homosexuality will let you know that American religious extremism is alive and well, exporting their beliefs and that the members of this extremism sit in the very center of power in America.

    Scary stuff indeed.

  6. @MoQ,

    You write “Christian clergy have stopped breaching”

    A typo or definitive proof you are Arab? lol

    “breach” on brother!

  7. @AbuSinan,

    What a genius discovery!! Especially, since I told I read the Quran in Arabic in another blog.

    Now regarding preaching/breaching, don’t you think that definition fits well with your long comments?

    Let me guess the next thing you will tell us is the Quran meant cutting the heads of none believers in the metaphoric sense. Or Islam spreading across Asia and North Africa, by word of mouth and true peaceful conversion. All of this stuff about Islamic invasions was just work of fiction.


  8. Where’s that ‘Like’ feature we always see on Facebook? I want to like this.

    A debate and dialogue in understanding the different religions is important and essential. The efforts made should be continued and strongly encouraged instead of letting it sputter.

    I agree with this article but I also have my concerns about Muslims who harbour a certain air of superiority that Islam trumps everything in life and that everything else is redundant or against Islam. I’m worried that people are using religion to impose their point of view instead of sitting down and talking things out in a peaceful manner.

    For the past few days, there has been an uproar about the term ‘Allah’ in Malaysia and that churches has been fire bombed to protest at a recent court ruling that non-Muslims can use the term ‘Allah’.

    As far as I’m concerned (correct me if I’m wrong), ‘Allah’ is the Arabic term for God and that this term has been in use by many including the Copts, Christians, Jews in the Middle East for centuries so what’s with the recent brouhaha over the term ‘Allah’?

    Is the evidence that it’s something exclusive in Islam? Then what terms do the Arab speaking non-Muslims use for God other than Allah?

  9. I think you are correct about the name Allah….but there are 99 names of God in Islam as I remember.

    I think that Saudi Arabia is trying its best to be moderate. I think they have come a long way since 911 in promoting understanding and peace among its people. It’s not something that can be done overnight.

    Blogs like this one have helped open a channel of communication for so many.

    Moslems with extreme views now have a chance to express themselves online with others and have a ‘dialogue’ online instead of a picking a fight in the streets.

  10. Hi Carol, it’s been along time. I hope you and your family are well.

    One thing: why did you use negative connotations like, “over compensate” and “extreme’ to describe the “transformation” of “many” converts?

    Unfortunately, I’ve probably seen more Muslims be laxed and negligent of the religion than I have seen moderate and/or extreme.

  11. i felt the honest feeling inside your hear when i was reading the topic so i want to be honest for this issue.. Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion and came for this purpose no more no less. but it might in my understanding radical Islam and groups came up in these days because the world of Islamic is still suffering wars and repressive political systems….but in every cases its rejected form all Muslims….

  12. @AB

    Do you really think Islam had a peaceful reputation before the Sept. 11th attacks in the US? Certainly the reputation of Islam in the West has never been peaceful. Just think of old movies like “El Cid”. If you were raised in a religious family as I was (Catholic), you certainly learned about the Battle of Tours and the Siege of Vienna. My mother had a small statue of John Sobieski among her possessions.

    What is different today is that instead of formal battles we see individual Muslims planning attacks on Americans and Jews. Some of those attacks are successful (in Mumbai they attack a Chabad center) and in that case probably planned by Pakistan. Some of those attacks aren’t successful (the one in Detroit). One common element is the hatred of non-Muslims, in particular Americans and Jews that seems to easy to create in young Muslims.

    However ever evil American Christian conservatives are (and I have spent 2 years in Tennessee so I am really tired of them), they aren’t sending young men to blow up Muslims with bombs.

  13. I liked the point you were trying to convey trying to stop the acts of “religious” violence that has come to the forefronts of most peoples minds these days. However, you stated: “It’s time to take a time out and think about all the great holy men and women and the impacts they made which last today with positive thoughts of the individuals and the way they practiced their religion. Mohammad (PBUH), Jesus, Mother Teresa and others were not alone and looked upon today as continued beautiful role models.” It is true that it is time to look at our positive role models, but I’m not sure Mohammad should be listed. Is it not correct that he raided and stole from people travelling to Mecca to do trade? Did he not develop an Islamic nation and continually try to expand it? Did he not behead 800 or more Jews? Did he not say that if offended, attack until the offence is all gone?

  14. hey Carol may i ask you something is out of your topic ?

    have you ever listened to a Turkish music ? i wanna present you this one and i hope to know your opinion about it

    you can find it at this link : here you go

  15. Well, Abu Sinan. I guess that you should not make that statement about the vast majority of Muslims until you do that comprehensive survey then. Eh?

    I’m sorry but your Northern Ireland example does not even come close to fitting in this situation so don’t even go there. Tell me what political oppression that Ft. Hood psychiatrist was under that would make him do what he did?

    When you do conduct that survey I will not be at all surprised that when you realise that those most moderate will be found to be the ones who are the most lax or even non-religious so technically, by many Muslim’s standards, they are not really Muslims are they? So we can’t even count them. When you find the most extreme that are either terrorists or terrorist supporters (or defenders) you will find the ones that have put their religion as #1 in their lives and study it extensively.

    ‘Abdulmutallab, who faces life in federal prison if convicted, has sparked scrutiny of the British higher-education system. He also was president of the student union’s Islamic Society at UCL.
    The Federation of Islamic Student Societies said in a statement that its 90,000 members were “shocked and horrified at the arrest of someone who was considered engaging, friendly and keen to seek common cause with all people.”
    While a student, Abdulmutallab reportedly organized a War on Terror Week in 2007 featuring guest speakers who discussed the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay, allegations of torture and the delineation between jihad and terrorism, the Times of London reported.’

  16. @MoQ,

    You write “What a genius discovery!! Especially, since I told I read the Quran in Arabic in another blog.”

    Wow, since when do you need to be an Arab to read The Qur’an in Arabic? You are aware that there are people besides Arabs that speak Arabic?

    It is a fallacy to assume that being able to speak/read/write Arabic means that the person in question is an Arab. So the fact that you read The Qur’an in Arabic doesnt mean you are an Arab, besides you are making an assumption I read all of your posts, or even most of them.

    Having seen, heard and read the same exact arguments as yours a million times, I have to say they bore me. Time for something original or innovate to keep your audience from sleeping!

    Anyway, considering your own extremists views on religion, having a discussion with you on the subject is a complete waste ot time.

  17. @ Umamdam,

    “Unfortunately, I’ve probably seen more Muslims be laxed and negligent of the religion than I have seen moderate and/or extreme.”

    I agree with you most Muslims have neglected their religion. However I think that is fortunate. When true Muslims where in the majority in the centuries following the prophet death. Islam spread with the sword and forcefully converted every one in its path.

    With the new Sahawah Islamiah, the radicals want to take Muslims to that age, where they follow what they were instructed to do in the name of Allah. Hence, violence of Islam is on the increase.

  18. @Lynn,

    Well, I guess you shouldnt think that Americans are moderate, unless of course you do your own comprehensive study on it right?

    As to the guy at Fort Hood, you might be aware of the concept of “ummah” in Islam. The fact that the US government has had a murderous policy towards the Muslim world for some 50 years most certainly would have played into a set of perceived political issues with the US.

    With this guy in particular, I think it is these political grievances mixed with his own mental illness that lead to this incident.

    Besides, how do you explain the extremism and anti-US feelings in the Middle East that preceded Islamic extremism? Let me guess, the atheist, far left terrorists of the 1960, 1970s and 1980s were really guided by Islam rather than their Marxist, Leninist, Pan Arab ideals that they claimed? Interesting theory.

    I completely reject your assertion that those Muslims who dont support terrorism are lax Muslim. Again, having traveled all over the Middle East and knowing Muslims from every corner of the world I can easily say that most Muslims I know who reject terrorism are practicing Muslims who keep their prayers, fast during Ramadan and give their zakat.

    Again, this is an assertion on your part with no proof and no personal experience to back it up. It is an uneducated, unexperienced opinion that serves only to justify your own position that it’s self is based on no real knowledge or personal experience.

    Interesting you posted the link you did, it seemed to prove my assertion rather than yours. It clearly says everyone was surprised and horrified at his actions.

    “Horrified” isnt usually an adjective used to describe people who support something. You link shows that the members of this Muslim groups certainly did not support his actions.

    @Jerry M,

    What planet are you on? Americans arent sending young men with bombs to blow up Muslims?

    Seriously? Exactly what are young US men in Afghanistan, Iraq and a dozen other Muslim countries around the world doing with their F-16s, tanks, unmanned drones and the like?

    Care to give some numbers as to how many Muslims have beeen killed by Westerners in the last 20 years to rough numbers as to how many Westerners have been killed by Muslims?

    The West, in particular the US, has had a murderous policy in the Muslim world for decads, do you forget the US support for the Shah that lead directly to the Islamic revolution there? Do you not know about US support for Muslim dictators and monarchies from Morroco to Yemen?

    Your statement shows a complete lack of knowledge of the current and historical role of the West and the US in the Muslim world.

    Muslims most certainly DO have a right to have major issues with US policy, the question is just HOW do they go about addressing these issues?

    Ai assert that besides having no justification under Islamic law, attacking civilians and civilian targets is not a valid way of addressing these issues.

  19. @MoQ,

    You write “Islam spread with the sword and forcefully converted every one in its path”

    What Islamic army invaded and conquered Indonesia to make them a majority Muslim country? The FACT is that Islam was mainly spread by commerce. Of course this doesnt play well into your general hatred of religion, but there it is.

    Even when Muslims invaded a country they never forceably converted the population as the Catholics did in Spain. Conversions were usally done for political, practical and economic reasons.

    This is why talking to extremists like yourself ends up being a circular argument. You tend to reject, forget or refuse to accept any fact that doesnt cater to your own hatreds.

    In this manner you are no different than your counter parts in the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, or the clergy in Iran.

    With your hatred you become what you hate, a mirror image.


  20. @Abu Sinan,

    Your arrogance has no limits. You engage people in conversation then act all knowing and dismiss their arguments as ones held by radicals. You have a knack for attacking people rather than engage in valid logical arguments.

    It is easy to call every one that disagrees with a radical to satisfy your ego. At the heart of radicalism is having a perception of being all knowing and dismissing others.

  21. @abu sinan

    “What planet are you on? Americans arent sending young men with bombs to blow up Muslims?”

    Read what I wrote again. I didn’t say Americans, I said Christians. There is a difference.

    Young Christian men aren’t going as Christians and trying to kill stray Muslims for religious reasons.

  22. @AbuSinan,

    ‘The FACT is that Islam was mainly spread by commerce. Of course this doesnt play well into your general hatred of religion, but there it is.”

    Let’s see if that statement works. Some examples:

    1) The invasion of AL Qaherah (Cairo) by Omar’s armies.
    2) The conquest of Syria in the 7th century
    3) The fall of Constantinople and eventual conversion of Churches into mosques
    4) The fall of the Persian Empire at the hands of Muslims
    5) General Tariq conquest of Spain
    6) The conquests of the Indian sub continent
    7) The Ottoman excursions into Europe including the siege of Vienna

    You took the one example of Indonesia and extrapolated all Islamic history based on that and forgot the countless other examples. Could that be because you have a predisposition to think Islam is peaceful and ignoring all the other facts. Read your history if you need more examples.

  23. About Islam and terrorism being not the same thing, I am not so sure. I remember when moderate muslims were interviewed after the London Bus bombing that they were abhorred by the indiscriminate bombing of innocent people on public transport, amongst them muslims btw, but then when they were asked if they would have reported the bombers if they had noticed them as neighbours, or if they were on the run after the crime? And they said no. They would not deliver a ”fellow muslim” up to the law before or after a heinous crime.
    Because he was muslim, one of ”them”.

    That really made clear to me that whatever the crime, muslims consider themselves as a coherent group, which is more important than the life of innocent people who do not belong to the group. That they as muslims are much more important as ”unbelievers”.
    And that the so called ”moderate” muslims, who do not kill indiscriminately themselves, are still the enablers of the terrorists, and therefore asseccories to the crime and therefore guilty.
    As long I do not see muslims stand up and protest and fight terrorrism and blackmail of the free world when it comes to critical thinking, writing and the publishing of cartoons, and the discrimination of women, etc. etc. then they have no right to claim Islam is a religion which propagates peace. Because right now, at the moment, it does not. Islam propagates the killing of others, and the whole ummah supports the killing of innocents actively or passively.

  24. As soon as non muslims (Christian, Jews…Atheists etc) get whole sale blaming for what a few of those in that group do…then things will be on a more level playing field and maybe we can get somewhere with discourse.

    ALL Muslims are not to blame for what SOME Muslims do. Period.

    ALL Muslims are not responsible for what SOME Musims do.

    Having said that…All religions are to blame for what their followers do…because if it wasnt for the religion to begin with…followers wouldnt believe they had Gods sanction for doing the heinious things they do to each other. Twisted words or not.

  25. Abu Sinan,
    Whether or not America or Americans are ‘moderate’ was not a part of this discussion. It was nothing but an example of how some Muslims try to either throw the spotlight off of the subject or justify/rationalize the acts of these violent extremists. So I guess a ‘thanks’ for the example is in order. Thanks!

    My link did prove MY point which was this man was thought of as an honorable Muslim, a good and obedient follower and a positive example and leader of the ummah as president of his school’s Islamic Society. I’m sure that if you had known him you too would have thought that he was ‘someone who was considered engaging, friendly and keen to seek common cause with all people’ and in your survey of the ‘vast majority of muslims’ you would have no doubt checked him off as a ‘good one’. My link shows that the members of that groups SAID that they did not support his actions. What they say and why they truly believe are very very often NOT the same. Wouldn’t you have loved to have been a part of that Presentation on the War on Terror that this guy put on? I wonder what HE had ‘said’ at the time?

  26. Abu Sinan, you left out the number of muslims killed by muslims, quite an important one, because no matter how many muslims are killed by Americans that number is insignificant to the number of muslims killed by muslims.
    It’s not Christians who blow up shia mosques. It’s sunni muslims who blow up shia mosques and vice versa.

    MoQ oh yeah, you have made an very important sbelling mistake there 😉

  27. Coolred, Brilliant comment, I totally agree.

  28. Reading the comments thus far by individuals who enjoy following the blog I think seems to illustrate the greater challenges faced by King Abdullah, King Juan Carlos and all the others involved in moving ahead with the National Dialogue. Is it really possible?

    I forget who it was who asked why was Mohammad PBUH included in the list of those past and remembered and for those who do follow the Muslim faith, Mohammad (PBUH) is a natural to remember as Jesus is for Christians. Mohammad may have led some wars as did others who have their place in religious history. However it was to Mohammad and no one else whom God chose to reveal the verses of the Quran.

  29. @coolred38, I agree great comment. All Muslims are not to blame for the few. Your sentence:

    “All religions are to blame for what their followers do…because if it wasnt for the religion to begin with…followers wouldnt believe they had Gods sanction for doing the heinious things they do to each other. Twisted words or not.”

    Is spot on. The issue with Islam is everyone wants to avoid talking about the religion itself and the influence the violent text has on propagating hate. Until Muslims face up to this fact, we will be in this endless cycle. Same goes for other religions, but to a lesser extent today.

  30. @MoQ, Coolred,

    I agree too!

  31. I absolutely agree with this statement.
    “All religions are to blame for what their followers do…because if it wasnt for the religion to begin with…followers wouldnt believe they had Gods sanction for doing the heinious things they do to each other. Twisted words or not.”

    But is it possible to believe that statement and still remain a proud member of the religion?

  32. Bedu, hee, and me too!

    Lynn, I loved all your comments here!

  33. @Lynn,

    I mentioned the West because you made an illogical statement I just wanted to see if you spread that illogic equally or was adding hypocrisy to your errors. I guess so.

    As for the members of the Muslim group he was a part of, do you then equally hold all Catholics to blame for the priests who abused children in organisations that they were a part of? Do you blame ALL Americans for the mistakes of American leadership?

    The sort of collective guilt idea is exactly the sort of thinking the extremists use to justify their attacks. I have heard it myself before…..Americans voted for those people who cause such havock in our countries, if they didnt agree with their actions they would have elected them, therefor ALL Americans are legitimate targets/.

    That is what your type of think gets!

    As for religions being blamed to what their adherants, I guess using the same sort of thinking all Americans are responsible for what some Americans do. After all, you can choose your nationality almost as easily as you can your religion. All political movements and ideas must be held responsible for the actions of everyone who believes in those concepts right?

    So democrats in Germany are responsible for the actions of democrats in the USA and their actions right?

    @Jerry M,

    I guess you are unaware of the fact that Blackwater, the largest security/mercenary operation it the world is run by someone who is an active Evangelical Christian and openly talks about what he is doing as being a part of that.

    The US forces themselves are filled by members who are very radical in their religion. Having been a part of that scene for years it played a part in my decision to not work around them anymore.

    Historically it isnt true either. The first suicide bomber as we know it today was actually a Christian from Lebanon,

  34. Carol,
    Thanks for this post. I went to your other post on National Inter-Faith Dialogue and read that too. I feel you are right about what you said there that it’s rather contradictory on Saudi Arabia’s part to initiate this dialogue and not open up its own country to non-Muslims.

    It’s true that Saudi Arabia should practise itself what it expects from others. In fact, in countries where these other religions are in majority, there is no ban on Islamic practice. It’s highly unfair that Shariah-ruled countries, especially Saudi Arabia should not even recognise other religions as valid but not only demand that Islam should be recognised by other religions, but also initiate dialogues for inter-faith understanding while remaining closed to other religions.

    It is also necessary here to understand what exactly is meant by inter-faith dialogue and opening Saudi Arabia and other Shariah-ruled countries to religiouns other than Islam. If one goes beyond this nice-sounding, peaceful rhetoric, it becomes apparent that more than being just a rhetoric, this inter-faith dialogue means nothing as far as Islamic countries, especially Saudi Arabia are concerned.

    Consider what it really means to open an Islamic country to other religions – first what is really meant by other religions? Do they mean only the other two Abrahamic religions, or do they also want to recognise religions beyond these three Abrahamic religions? If Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries want to honestly engage in opening up to other religions, it means they have to recognise Indian religions – all of them have image worship or reverence for images ingrained in them. It means they have to allow building of Hindu temples, Buddhist and Jain monasteries, Sikh Gurudwaras in their countries. It means they have to accept witchcraft and animistic religions of the aboriginal tribes of the world as valid and allow them in their own countries. It means they have to allow bringing of books and sacred objects related to other religions – whether monotheistic, polytheistic, animistic or whatever else. It means they have to allow the various pagan rituals in their country. It means they have to allow the practice of music, song and dance which are part of so many religions of the world.

    It means they have to acknowledge there are atheists in the world and respect the ideology of the atheists and allow the books that teach atheism.

    It means they have to stop delivering punishments that are outdated and inhuman such as stoning, lashing and limb amputations and beheadings.

    It means they are not supposed to teach their students in school that Islam is the only true religion and it’s the job of every true Muslim to spread Islam and fight for it in the world – please note that this ideology is also the one that feeds extremism.

    It means they have to teach their students in school that all religions – whether Abrahamic or not – are equally respectable and valid.

    It means that whether someone practices image worship, polytheism, witchcraft, aboriginal dance, animistic rituals, or if someone is including a son or a daughter with god, it’s not the business of Islam to interfere with that and tell them what kind of god or goddess they should worship, and whether they will go to heaven or hell because of their beliefs.

    The point made above by others is very good – not all Muslims are extremists. At least some of them are moderates. That’s true and I know Muslims who accept the kind of religious openness I have outlined above. There are a lot of such Muslims in my country who accept all this.

    The question is – Are the Islamic countries prepared to go for this religious openness? If not then religious extremism is not going from the world and this inter-faith dialogue of Saudi Arabia is nothing but a hypocrisy.

    A small point – you seem to use new “reverts” and “converts” as interchangeable terms, which is not correct.

    “Revert” implies that all people in the world are born Muslims but have strayed from their “true” path to follow religions other than Islam. Hence, when a non-Muslim accepts Islam, s/he is a “revert” ie, coming back to the original “true” path.

    On the other hand, the term “convert” acknowledges the fact that everyone in the world is not a Muslim and a person who follows another religion is therefore, converting to Islam.

    Seen from this perspective, “revert” is a highly offensive term to non-Muslims who do not wish to accept Islam and do not think everyone is a born Muslim and has “fallen from the true path.” “Revert” is also a term that smacks of extremism.

    I am sure you are a very understanding and accpting person and respect everyone’s right to follow whatever religion s/he wants to follow and therefore feel that “revert” has been wrongly used in this post.

  35. In a rare show of agreement, I have to support Daisy’s position. Saudi is quite possibly the most intolerant regime on the face of the earth.

    Talking about reform does not constitute reform.

    Talking about tolerance does not constitute practicing tolerance.

    Interfaith initiatives originating from Saudi leadership are nothing but PR designed to impress simpletons overseas. You have a country where all other forms of worship are legally prohibited, where children are formally taught in school that they have The Truth, with the capital T, where non-Muslims are kept from certain places and legally disadvantaged. Hell, even other Muslims – of the not-quite-right kind – are discriminated against. Saudi Arabia has no business talking about interfaith tolerance. It’s a shame other countries are buying into this sham.

  36. @Daisy,

    Spot on comment, from top to bottom Saudi Arabia is probably one of the most intolerant places in the world, which is why I find it odd they are wanting to engage in anything dealing with religious pluralism, unless of course it is engagement for the purpose of being able to control it.

    As to the term “revert” you’ll find many converts to Islam like myself do not like the term either.

  37. Abu Sinan,
    ”odd they are wanting to engage in anything dealing with religious pluralism, unless of course it is engagement for the purpose of being able to control it.”
    exactely my opinion.

  38. Carol, very well written and so true. I wish we could get along simple as human beings.

    I doubt that this interfaith dialogue etc., will work, atleast i don’t think it will in my lifetime. Yes i’m being a glass half full person today 🙂 but after living 20+ yrs with a caring and loving man & seeing him being judged by other muslims makes me pessimistic.

    So no i don’t hope for universal brotherhood or any such thing, all i hope is to live our lives without interference and pain. yours ( any religion) may be the best faith but you’ll try to change the rest by peaceful means. meaning we all disagree without blowing up each other 🙂

    If we can achieve that i’ll be v v happy. I know a few muslims here ,some of them non-judgemental good friends , whose company we enjoy and likewise and the rest … make me miss my tolerant muslim friends in india a lot 🙂

  39. NN, Abu Sinan, et al,
    Thanks, for agreeing with me. I said this on another blog and there were people out to slaughter me. I am beginning to find confidence in myself again after getting your opinion..

    Radha, yes that too – being able to disgree without being able to blow up each other.

    Abu Sinana and Aafke, that’s very well said – inter-faith dialogue is a strategy to control it.

    Abu Sinan,
    I know you see yourself as not a revert but a convert.

  40. Interesting topic and comments.

  41. Radha:

    “I doubt that this interfaith dialogue etc., will work, atleast i don’t think it will in my lifetime. Yes i’m being a glass half full person today but after living 20+ yrs with a caring and loving man & seeing him being judged by other muslims makes me pessimistic.”

    Please help me understand. I thought that your husband is Saudi. So even as a Saudi he is being judged by other Muslims? May I ask how? If you don’t care to answer that’s fine…It is just that of late I have been blogging elsewhere (well, in truth reading about ) Muslims intolerance to other Muslims and I am trying to get a mental handle on the reasons for that. what is their premise for his?

    For anyone who knows:

    I know my obtuseness shows here but is Islam not made up of many factions of Muslims from majority Sunni right down to very small off shoots?
    Isn’t it that each subsection within the greater classification of Islam makes up the whole “Ummah”? Do not all these subsections believe the same thing about Islam~have they not all said the Shahada?

    I have always viewed it as similar to Christianity in that “Christianity” is the main category and under that come two main branches: Catholic and Protestant and perhaps some other smaller offshoots and then under Catholic there are a few classifications and under Protestant there are many Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist etc.

    Sort of like a tree with the trunk being Christianity and the branches are the subsets of that.

    Isn’t that how it works in Islam?

    @ Daisy…

    I agree with you about your interfaith dialogue. I have always HOPED that it was the King’s way of opening up the kingdom a bit to the outside world and somewhat softening the totalitarian reputation that they have, but I suspect it is a way as others said to control it and really bring Islam forward to others and perhaps raise awareness rather than seriously being interested in allowing any other religion into KSA. Even if they allowed the two other Abrahamic faiths in I would consider that an amazing act of openness. Radha is probably right…

  42. @ Daisy,

    Excellent point. I agree that interfaith dialog coming from Saudi Arabia is hypocritical. Lately there has been even calls to gibe the king a Noble prize for his efforts. I think such ideas are nonsense given the lack of acceptance of other religions in the country.

    Another significant item to note is the concept presented by the King that all faith should unite to combat the expansion of godlessness. The interfaith dialogue in essence starts off by having a position that is hostile to 12% of the world population, which includes people that consider themselves secular, agnostic and or atheist.

    Even with all these issues, I do think the initiative is useful at least in the short term. Muslims in many countries have an uneasy relationship with their co-citizens from other faith. There are militant segregation movements all over Asia and Africa (Ex. Philippines, Thailand, Nigeria, etc.) Whether we like the Saudi government or not, the country does have a leadership role in the Islamic world and taking leadership in interfaith dialogue may ease some of the tension world wide.

    I also, think that the King having his name attached to it may mean that Saudi will have to rationalize some of its support for groups, which has been a problem in the past. Another benefit can be that Saudi will soften its position on other religions and Islamic sects. I think this has started to happen in a small way. As an example the top clerics in Saudi came against a Friday sermon critical of Shi’a delivered by an extremist Imam. I do not think they have changed their position, but saving face for the king is a big motivator in changing behaviors.

    Over all I think the interfaith dialog has some advantages, but it does not live up to the significance that some give it.

  43. Oby,
    Thanks. As for Muslims hating other Muslims, as I have been saying on another blog, the Muslim Umma is really a fragmented community – there are lots of other identities that operate – Arab, African, South Asian, South-East Asian and so on. Muslims from Third world countries such as India are usually looked down upon by the Muslims in West Asia. The practices of these Muslims are also different from each other. But of course, Radha will answer your question better.

  44. Yes I do understand that and I think I am answering my own question, but Christians have some differences in the way they practice their faith, yet they generally consider themselves all Christian. So if I am understanding correctly, even though Muslims all have said the Shahada, share a belief in Abraham as the prophet and “Allah” as God, read the same Qur’an and Hadeeth, they still don’t consider each other true Muslims? Albeit Muslims that might have a slightly different take on things, but don’t they believe the same major tenants such as the ones I mentioned? that doesn’t unite them in faith?

  45. oby,

    Yes, F was from saudi. but he’s married to a hindu who doesn’t seem to have any plans to convert.

    He’s also tolerant of his kids choosing their mothers faith .

    hence he’s not a pious/ fully practicing muslim. even though he’s from saudi ( apparently high in the hierarchy of muslims 🙂 )

  46. My daughter tells me , His clean shaven looks were also an issue among some circles, no beard.. etc.,

  47. Mother Theresa was a horrible woman, She delighted in seeing people suffer. She did nothing to alleviate their suffering. She refused people in her care medical attention which could have made them better. She did not want them to loose the opportunity to ”come closer to Jesus through suffering”.

    Her death-houses were hell-houses. The people lived in utter squalor and deprivation. They were not allowed to ever see their families and friends again.

    She supported dictators and criminals in exchange for their money. she collected millions of dollars.She used none of that mony not to help poor people. She used that money to fund more houses for her order, and attract more nuns. Most of that money has disappeared. It will be i the coffers of the Roman Catholic Church. Not really poor business.

  48. I don’t know that muslims are moderate. How can you prove that the majority of muslims are moderate?

    Not by the hundred thousands of moderate muslims who go screaming through the streets, burning books, flags, and buildings because a Danish newspaper published a couple of cartoons they did not like.
    Not by the thousands who roamd the streets screaming for the beheading of an innocent schoolteacher because her STUDENTS chose the name ”Mohammed” for a teddybear.
    Not by the saudi religious police who chased 15 girls back into their burning school to die because they did not wear abaya? (I have heard from parents who had girls on that school that it was more than 15)
    Not by the muslim judges who order raped women to get tortured by lashings.
    Not by the many muslims who stand by silent and let men go unpunished merely because they claim saving of HONOUR by killing their female relatives.
    Not by the muslims who burn churches in Malaysia.
    Not by the muslims who support and condone terrorism.
    Not by the muslims who brainwash their babies with hatred towards Jews and Christians.
    I can go on for ever.

    I see no evidence of ”moderation” in the ummah worldwide. Only in some friends and relatives who have no say in Islamic matters, even on neighbourhood level.

  49. @MoQ I agree with you. I am very sorry but together with the eradication of critical thought saudi schools spend a lot of time and effort inciting hatred towards anyone who is not muslim. (and Arab) (and preferably Saudi Arab)

    I think the christian leaders have moderated because they don’t have the power anymore. And the support basis. If they were to incite hatred and killing now they would get a very small band of supporters, while the majority would leave. But if they were in power again, and ruling countries who have given up secularity, they too will get back to hatred and war towards infidels.

    @ Abu Sinan, there is very little peace in muslim countries right now, and it is mostly not America’s fault.

    I notice you have not answered even one of the seven points MoQ put up in his comment. You don’t answer because you cannot defend Islam in these points.

    MoQ has left out the current exploits of Islam. A friend of mine has travelled several times to Sudan over the last decades and he tells me the rivers are red, really red with blood and the swollen dead bodies floating in them.
    Because the muslims, and Arabs, are killing every Sudanese who is not muslim. He has seen these things with his own eyes. This is not history from the far past, this is happening right now.

    In Iraq jews and christians are murdered routinely every day by muslims. Right now.
    In Malaysia women are forced to wear their interpretation of Islamic dress, even if they are Christian or something else. Three churches have been burned.
    No really sorry but Islam is not doing well as far as promoting peace goes.

    I am convinced this ”interfath dialogue” is part of a complot to eradicate atheists and agnostics.
    Before moving on to the other non-abrahamic religions.
    Then eradicate christans (deluded) and Jews (the ones God is angry at)
    And in the end the shiat will be at the butcher’s knife.

  50. Some of these posts REALLY remind me of how much I really dislike extremists, Muslims, anti Muslim, Christian, anti Christian, Jewish, anti Jewish, secular.

    I really cannot stand them at all! However, I refuse to hate them, it would move me too far into their corner.

    Extremists of all stripes and colours are the problem. It is just sad that their hatred, their vitriol, their disdain for the “other” tends to make them heard more often than not.

  51. @Abu Sinan,

    You have an unbalanced judgment of the world. You liken people that challenge with evidence to extreme dictators. You actually told me I am no different than the regime in Iran. Where did I order people to be killed to deserve such a comparison? Where did I even hint at violence for you to say things of that nature?

    I am sorry to be writing this, but you need to get over yourself. Everyone here is presenting their ideas without personal attacks. You are the one that keeps attacking people and showing a dislike for others for presenting a point of view. I have the point of view that Islam and other religions incite violence and are intolerant. I do believe in keeping one’s faith personal and not taking it out to areas that it does not belong (ex. politics, laws, and science) I also think as long as religions continue forcing their ideologies within these areas they deservedly become open for ridicule and challenge.

    I present my views with logical evidence and only argue against the points you present. You have made many claims that I have challenged with direct evidence.

    You really need to think hard, if you yourself had become the radical person you dislike for showing disdain for others just for the simple act of challenging your claims. Think about it, seriously!!

  52. Radha…

    Thanks…I got it.

  53. tolerance is important in todays world.
    its almost like these past 10 years thier was a peak of culture/relgion/region clashes….
    globalization has been increased by the internet….and now i belive that people are becoming aware that terrorists really dont belong to any relgious group. people from different culture can speak the truth about what they belive, instead of letting 1 extreemist be the voice for millions.
    i trully belive that terrorists hate the relgion they claim to be…(why else would they want everyone else to hate them….they know thats will happen).
    we are at a important part in life..where everyone can learn to accept and respect….or else our future isnt so good.

  54. Save the Women,
    I understand your sentiments. But there are truly moderate Muslims in this world – whether they are in majority or in the minority, I don’t know. But I have been saying this on another blog and will say it here – even if these moderate Muslims are in a minority, they are the best hope for Islam. The world has to emphatically assert that we want to engage with Muslims like them and not the extremist ones.

    More often than not, such moderate Muslims live in non-Islamic countries, because there they go through a multi-religious conditioning which makes them very toerant and accepting of Islam.

    On this blog itself, Radha’s husband is a moderate Muslim – he is a Saudi, but raised in India, so he is more like an Indian Muslim. In fact, if you come and live in India for some time, you will find millions of Muslims here who actually accept the all the aspects of religious openness that I outlined in my comment above – that’s how it is possible for India to function. You’ll find Muslims who celebrate Hindu festivals, who actually respect the image worship of Indian religions, who include non-Muslims in their festivals.

    I’m not saying all Indian Muslims are like this – there are orthodox variety as well, but these tolerant variety are more in number here. Somehow the Shariah rule in th Islamic countries makes the Muslims very intolerant, especially because they encounter the people of other religions very little.

  55. Sorry, in the last line of the second para above – …which makes them very tolerant and accepting of others.

  56. Abu Sinan here is a fairly rational Muslim too, though I don’t know if he would have gone as far as to accept a Hindu wife who didn’t want to convert to islam like Radha’s husband did.

  57. MOQ and Save the Women,
    Thanks for pointing it out that the inter-faith dialogue is supposed to oppose atheism and secularism. This dialogue loses all validity if that is one of the objectives.

    Thanks for your comments. There is only one point on which I may differe from you, if you’d kindly allow me. Again, I have said this on another blog and am repeating it here –

    It is a wrong notion that Saudi Arabia and therefore its King should be treated as the leader of the Islamic world. Leader of Arab islam yes, but not of the entire Islamic world. The reason for this is that there are myriad versions of Islam being practised outside the Arab world, which are influenced by the environment in which these non-Arab Muslims are living – often in a democracy, not under Islamic rule. While Saudi Arabia remains important for them primarily for the purpose of Hajj, their refernces for identity are not the Saudi society and Saudi State, but their own countrymen/women, who may not be Muslims and their own governments. In fact, they may not have much to do with Saudi islam in their practices and may not emotionally relate to Saudi Arabia. Hence, it is a mistake to treat Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Islamic world and the king as the representative of all the Muslims in the world. This may work in the Arab world, but not outside it.

    I think a better strategy for the US would be to identify different regions of Islamic cultures and deal with them differently based on their individual characteristics. This will also bring to light the moderate practices of the Muslims in the Islamic world, and the US can engage in a dialogue with these Muslims more than the more extremist ones. Perhaps that would lead to a better inter-faith dialogue, which has to be carried out in different parts of the world on different levels.

  58. Add to this the fact that majority of the world’s Muslim population doesn’t live in the Arab world and you’ll see why I am arguing like this.

    Have a look at this –

  59. I am a practising Indian Muslim and want to tell the people here that it is true that Indian Muslims don’t accept Saudi Arabia and its king as their religious leaders. Even in the colonial period, Sir Sayed Ahmed Khan, who had worked for the social reform of Indian Muslims had made this clear that our issues are different from those of the Arab Islam and we should not be treated as followers of the Arab world.

    We don’t even treat Saudi Arabia as leader of Islamic theology, since Indian Muslim scholars have done a lot of work in the field of Islamic studies and we follow them. At the most we only acknowledge the reformist writings of some major Egyptian scholars.

    It is wrong to treat Saudi Arabia as the leader of the the Islamic world.

  60. @ Sarah who said: ‘Like Christianity, Islam permits fighting in self-defense, in defense of religion, or on the part of those who have been expelled forcibly from their homes.’

    I think that that is a false statement. Where exactly are Christians told to do anything other than ‘turn the other cheek’?

  61. @ Daisy – ‘The reason for this is that there are myriad versions of Islam being practised outside the Arab world, which are influenced by the environment in which these non-Arab Muslims are living – often in a democracy, not under Islamic rule’

    I know that Mohammed said that there would be different sects but did he say that these myriad version of Islam were to be accepted? I can’t recall and I don’t have time to look it up right now.

  62. Lynn,
    It’s not a question of theology, but a question of practice. Just like any other religion of the world, majority of Muslims too practise what they feel to be right and if you don’t accept all of this majority, you don’t have many Muslims left (see the link I provided above to look at the Muslim demography of the world).

    If multiplicity in sects is acceptable in every other religion, then it is only legitimate to accept it in Islam as well. After all, if they want to practise their religion in a particular manner, who are the others – Muslims included – to tell them not to practise their religion in the way they like it? They have every right to decide how they should practise their religion and Muslims in other countries have no right to tell them what they should do.

  63. @Daisy,

    Thanks for pointing that out. “Moderate” in this post seems to be a little bit lacking. All too often people use “moderate” to denote a Muslim who does not follow his faith.

    The correct definition of a moderate is someone who follows Islam, but not to an extreme.

    As for Radha’s husband, she made it very clear herself that he is not a practicing Muslim, so by definition he cannot be a “moderate Muslim”. As a matter of fact, I am not big into “cultural” monikers for religions.

    So I dont really buy “cultural Muslims” or “cultural Catholics”. One either practices their religion, or doesnt. One can be someone who follows cultural practices of various religions, but that doesnt make them an adherant to that religion.

    Islam makes it rather clear that you cannot marry someone who is not a person “of the book”. To do so is so stray outside the bounds of Islam. It is the same in Judaism where Jews should only marry Jews, with the mother being the person from whom the religion is passed on from.

    Sticking to my religion, in this aspect or others, certainly doesnt make not a moderate. I guess I’d be an extremist if I argued that Muslim men cannot marry Christians or Jews, which some extremists do, but that is clearly outside the bounds of Islam.

    I guess an extremist would have words of hate or judgement for Radha and her husband, but I certainly dont. She has never been anything but nice here and as I always think that couples tend to mirror each other, I am sure her husband is a great person as well.

    I admire and have a lot of interest in Indian culture, including Hinduism, as well. As I believe what people do is between them and their makers, I dont like to pass judgement.

    What I do and what others do is their own business as long as it doesnt effect me.

    We must get past the idea that some, including some here, seem to think that a practicing Muslim is by neccessity an extremist. That is not the case. One can completely and fully be a practicing Muslim and be moderate. As a matter of fact, it is the moderate Muslim who is most closely following their religion right.

  64. ‘If multiplicity in sects is acceptable in every other religion, then it is only legitimate to accept it in Islam as well.’

    Unless of course the Quran itself says that it is not.

    This is the reason that I don’t really feel any hope for any kind of reform in Islam. Just the mention of that word brings many Muslims to a rage. Can you say bida? lol

  65. Daisy, see what I mean? Right there one self described Muslim man (radha’s husband) has been checked off the rolls. There really are not as many Muslims in the world as you think! 😉

  66. Lynn,
    Even Bible does not argue for multiplicity, but multiplicity is accepted in both Judaism and Christianity. So the same rule applies for Islam as well. Majority of Muslims of the world have decided to interpret Islam the way they like it and no one should pass judgment on them about whether they are Muslims or not.

    Abu Sinan,
    Of course you have the right to decide for yourself how you want to practise Islam and Radha’s husband or any other Muslim in the world also has the right to decide how s/he wants to practise – as long as it does not harm others. Others have no right to tell them whether theirs is “true” Islam or not. It’s their business, not other people’s. I have no problem with your Islam or with Radha’s husband’s Islam or with so many other forms of Islam that I know. I accept all of them as long as they accept other religions – including non-Abrahamic religions and don’t encroach upon other people’s freedom.

    Whether they mix religion with culture, whether they go purely by the book, whether they want to reinterpret the book is the right of each one of them, not that of other people’s. Just like how you want to practise your religion is your business, not that of other people’s.

    Please also see the link above to know about the Islamic demography of the world. No one has any right to go around telling another how s/he should practise his or her religion as long it’s not an encroachment upon other’s space.

    That’s a highly undemocratic approach.

    My only issue with them is that they should recognise other religiosities as valid and should not encroach upon people’s freedoms and rights.

    And if you are trying to tell Radha and me that you appreciate Hinduism and other Indian religions but don’t recognise our religiosity then that’s not a tolerant attitude. I am sorry I am disagreeing with you.

  67. Last week I was very happy to see that there was FINALLY a group of Muslims that came out and protested against terror, specifically the Nigerian Muslim that tried to take down the airplane on Christmas. Seeing that group out there, however small it was, gave a glimmer of hope. But, alas, this is what I read today. So it’s like one step forward and 6 steps back!

  68. Lynn,
    There are such Muslims who acknowledge Radha’s husband as a valid Muslim. I know many of them in my country. It’s just that the world doesn’t know about them because so much of focus has been given to the other type.

  69. I never said my husband is not a practising muslim, As far as i know he agrees that that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah , Prays 5 daily, if not 5 times then makes up for it .
    Pays Zakat – might i say in my opinion a bit too much than reqd.
    Has never missed a fast . – actually he fasts truly, has a regular brekfast – cereal etc., and eats a regular dinner, no sleeping @day and binging at night ..

    and has performed Hajj more times than i care to count and most important – payed for a lot many people to perform the hajj.

    so no he’s a practising muslim , his practise just doesn’t extent to me 🙂

  70. Daisy,
    And there will be more that will argue that those that accept that just don’t know their religion so they will ‘school’ them and if they still don’t wanna follow then they are NOT ”real’ Muslims. OMG and add to it that those children of theirs are not following the father’s faith!!!?? Just too much! 😉

  71. Daisy…

    That is a good point. If the focus was put on the moderate, good, non violent Muslims I think it could change people’s opinions that “Islam is a religion of violence” and at the same time give the moderates a voice or a platform from which to speak. If there were more moderate voices to help drown out the extremist ones perhaps a movement could be started that Muslims and non Muslims alike could rally around. Extremists have a voice because they are so loud and intimidating.

  72. PS they also have a voice because that is what the media focuses on.

  73. Lynn,
    It’s none of the business of others to “school” anyone else – that’s what intolerance and extremism is all about which we are supposed to fight. Tell me if someone tried to school you about what kind of religiosity or atheism you should follow, will you accept it from them? We should grant the same freedom of choice that we want to have for ourselves.

  74. Just to validate carol’s point of view. I’d rather people help us if reqd because we are family or friends or brothers,sisters or collegues.
    Don’t help us and tell us you are helping us because we are a muslim family. extend a hand because we are humans..

    I might anger a few people . Our religious affiliation , should not even be a passing thought . unfortunately i don’t see that unconditional support here for everyone from the ummah . . i don’t blame them the world is becming less tolerant andthe political scenario influences everyone to protect their religion. it is what it is.

  75. Thanks Oby for your support. At the same we have to understand that we – the people who are against extremism, should not be divided amongst ourselves about what moderation and religiosity mean. I should ackowledge your religiosity and you should acknowledge mine – regardless of whatever our theological texts say or do not say. If we are divided, we can’t fight the extremists who are at least united, if for a wrong cause.

  76. Lynn,
    Radha’s marriage is not all that unique in India. There are a number of marriages here between Hindus and Muslims/Christians where the Hindu partner doesn’t convert, keeps on following his or her own religion and children grow up to learn a part of both kinds of religiosities and are really a mix of both religions or not very religious at all.

    In fact I would have been surprised if Radha had followed Islam and if their children had followed their father’s faith only – that is kind of rare to see here and not really appreciated by anyone.

  77. I don’t want to put my “two pence” into this topic too much but I think this link kind of supports (in a humerous way) what I can’t express clearly without getting people jumping down my throat so please, take a look.


  78. ‘We should grant the same freedom of choice that we want to have for ourselves’

    Daisy, you are preaching to the choir here. But just because you or I believe that does not change the facts and the ‘facts’ are spelled out rather clearly in the Quran and it does not matter how certain people practice their religion when the book clearly states that you are to take a wife from ‘the people of the book’ and that a woman muslim is not to take a husband other than a muslim because the children would have to be raised in HIS religion as children are to follow their father’s religion. Are you saying that a Muslim woman in India can marry a Hindu man and it is not an issue for her family?

  79. @Daisy,

    I do not think Saudi is the absolute leader of the Islamic world. I think teh country had and has a leadership role that is driven from its position geographically and through the money it spent on expansion of its Islamic ideology. So far the country had used its wealth in a way that has radicalized Muslims in many parts of the world. A change in such policy even if it is a side effect of the interfaith dialogue will be beneficial.

    @Abu Sinan,

    “We must get past the idea that some, including some here, seem to think that a practicing Muslim is by neccessity an extremist. That is not the case.”

    Just so there is no misinterpretation of my position. Most Muslims are not extremist by majority. The problem is with the religion itself that has an expansionist mentality, superiority complex and texts that can be interpreted to support any radical position. Until Muslims reform the religion through elimination or marginalization of large portion of the text that support violence, we will continue to see a significant number (enough to incite wars) keep getting radicalized.

    You can blame others for bringing these points up and call them extremists, but you cannot escape the fact that your religion has been used for violent causes. It is Muslims that need to fix this and stop avoiding the responsibility by just raising slogans like “Islam is the religion of peace” The facts and history does not support such claim.

  80. @lynn, inter-religious marriages, are a BIG issue . but some families take it lighter than others. 🙂

    and i hate that “marry only certain women rule ” .. sometimes i wonder if all of a sudden i say light and decided to convert is my spouse absolved of all sins ?? or does he pay for the 2 decades+ he was married when i was hindu 🙂 just a thought..

    no matter i believe in my god but i believe my spouse also prays to the same god – just calls him allah. so we’re ok, if it’s one nad the same god then we’re blessed , if it’s 2 diff then we are doubly blessed, either or we’re all covered thank you.

  81. Radha, but you are speaking for yourself, with your hindu-outlook. The concept (very wise one) that everybody basically worships the same god, only, naturally, given different times and geological position, in different ways.

    But then for your husband that should be a problem (very glad it’s not!) if he were following Islam to the letter. Because Islam is very clear on that. No marriage with infidels who should be slaughtered rather than married. Or taken as warbooty and raped as slaves rather than married.

    I hope we will reach the StarTrek-Universe, and become all happy and botherly/sisterly and get along, and stop making war but instead make fascinating explorations into deep space.

    Until we meet the borg.

    But then the Borg also live together without messing about, all aiming for the same goal.

    Which happens to be the destruction and assimillation of other species and planets…
    Very much like Islam really…

    The Borg btw, àre the bad guys in the StarTrek-Universe….

    I better stop musing now.

  82. @Daisy,

    I dont tell anyone how or what to practice in Islam. I believe there are certain guiding rules and laws which one must accept to be a Muslim. The term Islam and Muslim all comew from the Arabic word to submit. So a “Muslim” is as much of an adjective as it is a none. A Muslim is someone who submits to the laws of Islam that were given to us by God. If you dont submit, you are not a Muslim either as a noun or an adjective.

    As a pracitical issue, I dont really care about what others choose, or dont choose when it comes to religion. I will sit and argue theories and ideas all day, but when it comes down to it all that matters to me is what I do, as I am accountable for it to God. I care about what my family does because I love them. What anyone else does, as long as it doesnt infringe upon me, I dont care.

    As to accepting your “religiosity” I am not sure what that means. Sure, everyone has a right to their own religious views. I accept this, even appreciate it, but it doesnt mean that I have to think that their religious views are correct and they dont have to think that mine are correct. If everyone had to accept the idea that all religions are correct then that would leave no religion. I am a Muslim because I think my religion has the best approach to the subject of God, behavior, this life and the afterlife. If I had a relativist view of religion and felt that all religions were equally correct I wouldnt be a Muslim, nor could I be a Christian or a Jew.

    So I have my beliefs, I think they are correct. I will not push my beliefs on others or force them to think my way. I am not sure what you are getting at with this term so I am not even sure my response is proper. I believe all religions and their followers should have the complete freedom to worship how they want, I just dont have to agree with it.

    I am aware that there are some Indian Muslims who put forward the claim that Hindus are “people of the book” hence Muslims are allowed to take them as spouses. This is a minority view in Islam and personally not one I would agree with. But again, this is where it all comes down to basics. We can agree to disagree. I dont agree with the idea or the practice, but I’d never tell anyone they cannot do it. That is between them and God.

    As to “schooling” anyone, I have no problem with an active and open debate on issues. To me that is what “schooling” is. Using violence and intimidation is another thing, but people do have a right to voice their views and debate subjects. If one doesnt wish to debate, they dont have to. I’d never want to silence anyone’s right to debate or discuss issues. There is nothing wrong with that. Someone’s opinion either rises or falls based on their merit and evidence used in their argument. If people listening or engaging in the debate choose to take the advice or not, that is their choice.


    The arguments you pose are not unique to Islam. It would be hard to find a more expansionist and bloodthirsty text than that of the Old Testament. It’s verses today inspire Jewish extremists in Israel to advocate ethnic and sectarian cleansing in Israel and Palestine.

    Texts from the Old Testament and the New Testament have, and or, used to justify and support any radical position. My hometown in Germany didnt have 75% of it’s population murdered by raiding and war bands of Muslims. They were slaughtered by waring groups of Catholics and Protestants who both used religious texts and traditions and a justification for their murder, rape and destruction.

    Did Christians have to “eliminate” portions of their text to stop religious war? Nope, they didnt even have to marginalise it, they just found out a proper, contextual way to view it. Keeping in mind that the history of violence in the Christian world is completely unmatched in human history.

    Your issue is not with Islam, your issue is with all religion period, hence your Youtube name of “MoQreligion”. So if it wasnt Islam you had an issue with, it would be Christianity, Judaism, whatever, because you completely do not understand and do not respect the right of people to be religious. Anyone that wants to “mock” anyone because of their choice of religion is by nature someone who hates and disdains religion and the people who follow it.

    You could just as easily not agree with organised religion, or people who follow it without choosing to “mock” people who do so. The fact that you choose the name “mock” says a lot about you and the positions you take. Anyone who “mocks” people just because of a private and personal choice they make is an extremist in my book. Sorry.

  83. Abu Sinan, I’d be very interested to know what this ‘hometown’ of yours was so I can do some research on this claim of 75% of it’s population being eradicated by warring Catholics and Protestants and the ‘text’ which justified it.

  84. @lynn, inter-religious marriages, are a BIG issue . but some families take it lighter than others.

    That’s more like what I figured radha.

    How prevalent would you say it would be to see a Muslim bride marry a Hindu?

  85. @Lynn,

    If you knew anything about religious war (or general history) in Europe you’d not even question the idea that certain cities, towns, villages and entire areas were destroyed in many of the various outbursts of religious wars there.

    How is this?:

    “In 1232 Wiesbaden became a reichsstadt, an imperial city, of the Holy Roman Empire. However, in 1242, during the war of Emperor Frederick II against the Pope, the Archbishop of Mainz, Siegfried III, ordered the city’s destruction.

    Wiesbaden returned to the control of the House of Nassau in 1270 under Count Walram II of Nassau-Weilburg. However, Wiesbaden and the castle at Sonnenberg were again destroyed in 1283 in conflict with Eppstein.”

    How about this?:

    “In 1648, at the end of the devastating 30 years war, chronicles tell that Wiesbaden had barely 40 residents left.”

    You know the “30 Years War” right? Between Catholics and Protestants?

    I wonder if you really dont know about this stuff or are puposely trying to be obtuse?

    If 40 people were left I suggest that my 75% of the population being slaughted in this war between Christians sects was woefully conservative.

  86. @Abu Sinan.

    “The arguments you pose are not unique to Islam. It would be hard to find a more expansionist and bloodthirsty text than that of the Old Testament.”

    Exactly. I have stated that position about all religions many times. You seem to ignore those statements. The defense that all other religions have bad text is a cop-out. The reason I am focusing my discussion here on Islam is because the topic is about Islam. Adding such excuses about other religions just divert from the responsibility of Muslims. It is a common excuse of followers of religions to say what is in essence “Everyone is bad so we also can be bad”.

    “So if it wasn’t Islam you had an issue with, it would be Christianity, Judaism, whatever, because you completely do not understand and do not respect the right of people to be religious. Anyone that wants to “mock” anyone because of their choice of religion is by nature someone who hates and disdains religion and the people who follow it.”

    For your info, I Mock religions not the people. I explained my position earlier on this. If religions continue to direct its followers with ideologies in areas of politics, law and science then they open themselves for ridicule. I state my positions clearly with very precise language, quit trying to change them to suit your argument. I have no problem with people of faith. I have problems with ideologies in specific areas. Ridiculing an ideology is far more peaceful and valid way to make an argument than raising arms and blowing people up. Yes it is a method aimed at shocking to get a point across as I am believe politically correct methods weaken arguments and debates. But shocking with words is a far much better approach than shocking with bombs.I actually showed you far much respect here than you do to me with all your name calling. So I have proven that I do not focus on the followers of the religion.

    Please quit with all your strawman arguments. You constantly define my positions. It is a weak method of debate. I take the opposite point of view that you constantly state. I am paraphrasing here “Islam is great if it was not for the Muslims”. I actually think Muslims will be far better without their religion. So I am not in the business of blaming the people, I am blaming the ideology that radicalizes them.

    I have stated the same position in 5 different formats in an attempt to make you understand it correctly. Please get it this time and do not restate it in terms that does not fit my intent.

  87. Abu Sinan,

    I forgot 1 more thing. You stated in an earlier argument that Islam spread by peaceful means. I gave you 7 specific examples where Islam didn’t and I am prepared to provide 20 if needed. I will ask a fair question, Can you tell me how you came to your conclusion, given such strong evidence to the contrary?

  88. @MoQ,

    I provide the references to other religions because I think some in the Judeo-Christian West forget their own history and texts when it comes to these issues and want to lecture as if they didnt and still dont face similar issues. It is clear that they do. I never said “everyone is bad so we can be bad”. It never hurts to remind people of the context of a situation, or how others face the same situation. Looking to others and how they dealt with and solved, or didnt solve their situations is a great idea.

    When you mock religions you mock the people who follow them. If you cannot see that then it is really pointless in talking to you. I guess I could say I hate Judaism, just not Jews right? It doesnt work. If you mock/hate a religion then those same feelings go for the followers of the religion. Use some common sense please. You cannot have complete disdain for religion yet think that people who devoutly follow one religion or another are okay.

    You cannot mock religion and have complete respect for the people who follow these religions, who often dedicate their lives to them. You are like the anti-Semite who hates Judaism but would have us believe he has no issue with Jews. It just doesnt work that way.

    You claim to want to keep it real, not to like political correctness, yet whine everytime I keep it real. You hate and despise religion, so lets keep it real and admit that such hatred of religion must CERTAINLY pass off onto the people who follow these religions.

    You have stated your argument in 5 different formats yet you seem incapable of understanding the implications of your own positions.

    I cannot stand anyone who would mock a religion, who would mock those who dont follow their religion. That is why you are an extremist. I know you cannot see it, but it is this very fact that confirms your extremism.

    “Mocking” is not a good personality trait to have. Yet it seems it is an important part of how you define yourself as you use “MoQ” in your name.

    Anyway, I never stated that Islam was completely spread by peaceful means. What I did state is that many of the largest Muslim nations in the world never had a Muslim army set foot in them. Indonesia is a great example. Islam happened to be the religion of some empires and countries that conquered others. Outside of the early days of Islam these wars were not about specifically spreading Islam, rather they had to do with politics, territory and economics, just like any other such conflicts at their time.

    If these wars were about spreading Islam you’d expect to see large scale massacres of people’s not wanting to convert. A good example of what forced conversion looks like is the Muslim areas of Spain taken by Catholics at the end of the 1400s. Jews were told to convert to die……….Muslims faced the same options. It is no wonder that Jews fled this oppression and settled in Muslim countries that were more tolerant.

    Like anything else during these periods of time, religion and politics walked hand in hand, so of course there was some “Islamic tint” to the wars that took place, just like it was in Europe. But they were not done with the sole intent of forcing people to Islam.

  89. @AbuSinan,

    “You claim to want to keep it real, not to like political correctness, yet whine every time I keep it real. You hate and despise religion,”

    Where did I ever state hate. Again you make my positions for me. Making fun, ridiculing, mocking etc are far milder than hate. It is you that cannot separate hate from other expressions of dissatisfaction. Languages provide us with richness of vocabulary to be able to state our ideas precisely. If I want to say I hate religion, I am fully capable of doing so on my own. Again a strawman argument, let’s try to avoid these in the future?

    “You cannot mock religion and have complete respect for the people who follow these religions, who often dedicate their lives to them.”

    Yes I can. I never said I have complete respect for anyone. I can have respect for people without respecting parts of their thinking/ideology. Very short answer to your long argument on this side topic, which again is not moving the discussion on the main topic forward.

    Back to the real topic. Here is your original argument:
    “The FACT is that Islam was mainly spread by commerce.”
    This far different from the latest position of:
    “What I did state is that many of the largest Muslim nations in the world never had a Muslim army set foot in them.”

    You still have not answered the Question about the 7 examples and how you came up to the conclusion that Islam spread mainly by peaceful means?
    Saying Isalm just happens to be the religion of countries that were invading others does not explain the fact that Islam at its onset created armies that invaded Syria and Egypt. These events happened shortly after the death of the prophet and it defined the history of the Islamic empires. The blood shed did not stop all the way through the period of 4 Kahlefa’s and continued beyond that to the Mores and other early Islamic empires. Even before that, when the prophet and his army conquered Makkah, the inhabitants of the city had only one option, convert or die. This is not the mild peaceful conversion position you want us to believe. Conversion was part of the conditions to end the siege of the city. Similarly in the first 2 years following death of the prophet, Abu Baker assembled armies to fight any tribe that wanted to revert back to their original religions. These are called the Redah wars and is the basis for .why most Muslims believe converts out of the religion deserve the death penalty Conversion by force is part of the religion from the start. The facts are there you choose to avoid them (I am assuming that you are aware of all these historic events)

    “If these wars were about spreading Islam you’d expect to see large scale massacres of people’s not wanting to convert.”

    Did the inhabitants of Mekkah, who were staunch enemies of Mohammad suddenly see the light to coincide with the siege or were they forced to surrender and convert due to superior military power? Did Syria have many Muslims before it was invaded by Muslims? That conversion happened almost instantly. Do you actually believe these people just saw the bright light of Islam with perfect timing as Islamic armies were barreling down on them? Same for Egypt, today’s region of Turki, Northern Indian subcontinent, etc. This is evidence of forced conversion. Check your history again.

  90. Abu Sinan said: ‘ They were slaughtered by waring groups of Catholics and Protestants who both used religious texts and traditions and a justification for their murder, rape and destruction.’

    Which articles of faith were at stake there? Seems to me to be that it was no less a political and power struggle than the wars in Ireland, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia and Kosova actually. Can you quote me the actual text that they used? Does it sound anything at all like the texts that the Muslim extremist suicide bomber might quote in his/her videotaped Last Will and Testament?

  91. Yeah, the Dutch had an eighty year long war with Spain who were catholics. But it really was about taxes. The Spanish put heavy taxes on the Dutch…
    And if you really want to piss off the Dutch…..

  92. @Lynn,

    Certainly you are aware of the issues concerning the pope, church leadership, ect? I suggest these wars were just as “religious” as anything happening today with the exception that the religious wars in Europe involved the complete leaderships of the sects involved, unlike modern day Islamic extremism which is much more of a grassroots movement.


    You write “Making fun, ridiculing, mocking etc are far milder than hate.”

    They are often the biproducts of hate. It is such bad manners it is one of the basic things we teach children NOT to do. I have a 3 year old and a 4 year old and such behavior would be out of line for them, let alone an adult.

    The fact that you choose to define yourself by bad behavior speaks loads about you, your priorities and who you are as a person. You could have picked any name? Why one that has such negative, rude and hateful connotations?

    Funny, but you are guilty of doing what you have accused me doing. Please scroll up. I said:

    “Outside of the early days of Islam these wars were not about specifically spreading Islam, rather they had to do with politics, territory and economics, just like any other such conflicts at their time.”

    Then you ask me to explain the early days of Islam. Strawman argument if there ever was one!

    It is clear that your hate, your obsession with mocking others, in your words, making “fun” of people is how you define yourself, how you see yourself, your purpose.

    What a sad, negative existance.

  93. Lyn,
    I didn’t say inter-religious marriages were not an issue. Once the couple get past the opposition from the society and do get married, usually both of them continue to follow their own religion, rather than making it necessary for the Hindu parner to convert to the Abrahamic religion.

    I am not preaching, just forwarding an idea that is in line with democracy. If there are Muslims who think these Muslims are not Muslims, they can go take a long walk. Because these “not so true” Muslims form the majority of the world’s population and they are not going to fall in line with the directions of the “true” Muslims. This has’t happened in any other religion and it shouldn’t happen in Islam.


  94. Lynn,

    BTW, you mention the video tapes of suicide bombers. The wars by the Orthodox Serbs against Catholics and Muslims was EXACTLY like those of the suicide bombers.

    I saw one video of an Eastern Orthodox priest blessing Serb paramilitary fighers as they headed off to Srebrenica. They were giving the three finger salute for the trinity. In this town they killed 10,000 + Muslim men, women and children.

    Honestly, do you have your head in the sand or are just blind to anything which doesnt feed into your anti Muslim obsession?

  95. Abu Sinan,
    No, Indian Muslims don’t think Hindus are people of the Book, they simply think all form of religious practices – Abrahamic or non-Abrahamic are valid and respectable. And that is the essence of co-existing together with others.

  96. @Daisy,

    Sorry, but I have heard this argument made by Indian Muslims, you just might not be aware of it. It is amazing how much history of people’s own nation they do not know. India has a long and interesting history, so it isnt surprising.

    Just because you are not permitted to marry people who are not of the Abrahamic faith doesnt mean they are not valid and respectable.

    I guess you have a major issue with Jewish law which clearly states that someone is NOT a Jew unless they have a Jewish mother?

    Sorry, but sometimes religious laws dont fit nice and neat into everyone’s thinking. That doesnt mean anything negative against others and certainly doesnt mean that people should tailor their religioos beliefs to suit everyone.

    This is kind of like the Islamic extremists who demand that liquor stopped being served or pork not eaten.

    I hope the link below helps you learn a bit more about Hindus being considered by some Muslim scholars as “People of the Book”.

    “Many of the Muslim clergy of India considered Hindus as people of the book,[6] and from Muhhammad-bin-Kasim to Aurangzib, Muslim rules were willing to consider Hindus as people of the book.[5] ”

  97. @AbuSInan,

    Enough with the name argument. I am choosing the name I like. You can teach your children what you like. Regarding manners, that is really too much to say from a person that makes name calling a habit in a debate. I will not engage in such name calling exchanges, it is the method of the intellectually weak. I will continue presenting my arguments simply with logic and civility.

    Regarding early Muslims:

    Well we finally reached a conclusion that Islam spread in its early days by force. Regardless if we agree on the other points. A key part of my issue with Islam is that its prophet and early followers have set an example of violence to spread their ideology. This is presented in the Quran and the acts of this early group of founders (Mohammad included). Many Muslims think these people are noble and worthy of emulating. Hence, there is you violent religion from its onset to its link to today’s time.

  98. @MoQ,

    Well, I will await for you to present an argument with logic and civility, you have yet to do so.

    The name issue is import. You hate, despise religion and their adherants so much you have to bost about your poor behavior online. It really does speak volumes.

    Besides, I have to wonder what your motivation is. Clearly you arent going to change anyone’s minds, the fact that you choose to “mock” something they hold dear means everyone is going to shut you out from the begining.

    I think, honestly, it is your intention. I dont see how “mocking” anyone goes hand in hand with your claim to civility.

    As to early Islam being spread by force, I think you’ll find most religions were spread by force in the begining. In the case of Islam there was a justifiable fear based on their own experiences that those around them would wipe them out.

    It is very similar to that of Judaism, just not nearly as blood thirsy and brutal, no commandments to slaughter entire cities, even the animals and children.

    I think you’ll find early Christian history much the same. When they werent slaughtering each other over ideas about the trinity or the divinity of Jesus, they were exterminating whole tribes of pagans everywhere they went in Europe.

    I am glad to you admit that the verses in The Qur’an about violence were indeed meant for the early Muslims and not a general call to violence for all times.

    And I dont think the vast majority of Muslims look to the circumstances of their early leaders in regards to violence anymore than modern Catholics look to the popes in the 1500 century burning witches and Jews alive or mass murdering popes in the early centuries of Christianity.

    You know, despite your immaturity at picking such a juvenile name as “MoQ” we can agree on something!

  99. As Salaam Alaykom Abu Sinan:

    And, the same um “logic” was used in America to exterminate the American Indian when the European settlers arrived. And that in spite of the fact that Africans (Muslims) beat them to it hundreds of years before.

    Ma Salaama


  100. Abu Sinan,
    Yes, they regarded Indian religions as valid, but there are so many “Books” in India that this aspect doesn’t really get highlighted. But if there are Indian Muslims who want to include Indians as People of the Books, that’s good. Thanks for that information. If they are from the Book, then marriage between a Hindu and an Indian Muslim should also be valid – in the eye of Indian Muslims. Perhaps that’s why the Hindu partner doesn’t convert after marriage to a Muslim, but this is true also of Hindu’s marriage with a Christian.

  101. @AbuSinan,

    Regarding if I said the Quran violence was meant for early Muslims. I never said such a thing. I believe the majority of Muslims are of the mind set that the Quran is meant for all times and all places.

    I also maintained that most Muslims are not violent very early on, so we agree on that point. My argument has always been that Islam at its core has a violent ideology and I am very happy that most Muslims have strayed from the teaching (i.e. they do not act on it even though they believe in the teachings).

    I do not think we will agree on many points no matter how much we try.

    So let’s try a new topic. how about a new thread regarding the Muslims discovering America 100’s of years before Columbus? 🙂

  102. that image of the king shaking the monks hand just blows my mind. i respect the king, but the hypocrisy of that considering the atmosphere and laws of this country is mind boggling. I wish he’d grow a pair and really make sweeping changes here. The world would really respect this.

  103. @lynn,

    I’m not sure of the stats /number perse but in our aquaintance, i know of more Muslim women marrying hindu men than vice versa. Again i qualify that by saying, in my opinion and between our friends.

    I think it differs from diff areas, In my college i knew of 3 muslim girls who married hindu men, and i was the only Hindu who married a muslim . for a long long time.

    Could be because there were not many muslim men in that area? who chose that profession. i don’t know why. I know in the medical field there are a lot of mixed marriages and mostly are muslim or christian women marrying hindu men. and now that i think about it i don’t know of 1 single muslim/christian wedding back home 🙂

  104. Abu Sinan,
    It really would be nice if you could just answer a question with an answer rather than just trying to show that others in history were worse or just as bad as if that justifies anything. It just seems so very immature.

    Seriously how can you have a debate with someone when all you want to do is try to prove that they are not worthy of debate because CLEARLY they do not agree with you (because they do not respect Islam)? huh? WTH? Do you only enjoy debates with people who agree with you? Must be pretty darn boring. If you want to change the minds of people who ‘clearly’ have no respect for Muslims and/or Islam you are going about it the wrong way.

    You said: ‘The wars by the Orthodox Serbs against Catholics and Muslims was EXACTLY like those of the suicide bombers’

    How exactly? Certainly you are not trying to say that a priest blessing troops heading off to war is that same as saying that they are doing it for their religion or as mandated by their religion are you? And please, make up your mind. Were these religious wars or political wars? Most any war that appears to be a religious war is nothing but a political power struggle. I do mean that even with Islam right from its very beginning. I believe that the creation of Islam, more than any other religion, was a blatant struggle for power and control of resources and since that was written into the texts that are for all times and for all people to follow we have what we have today, religious schools that churn out suicide bombers. Personally, I respect the ‘ignorant’ Indian Muslim who just strives to love God and live an honorable life but clearly (by your standards) is not following the laws of his religion more than I do one that has been Islamically educated. Seriously have you ever heard of a graduate from a Jesuit School with a burning desire to become a martyr for the sake of God?

    you also said: ‘that the religious wars in Europe involved the complete leaderships of the sects involved, unlike modern day Islamic extremism which is much more of a grassroots movement’

    Could that be because Muslims do not really have a leader? But that is not really a factual statement is it? They DO have Sheikhs that they look to for leadership and they do get their guidance don’t they?

    Now, Abu Sinan, why don’t you quit wasting your time trying to defend the indefensible and devote your time to studying up on how to best take care of your children. Then if you have some spare time after that why don’t you organize that Million Muslim March to show the country the peacful nature of Muslims? Perhaps you can infiltrate some of these extremist groups and change THEIR thinking. Just try to something productive because you are not doing anything on here to make anyone respect Islam. As a matter of fact I have to say that I had more respect for Islam and Muslims before I ‘met’ you.

  105. No religion is for Peace. At present the Holy book of Quoran as interpreted by Wahab is the final arbiter with Saudi arabia being ruled by Wahabies.
    “””Central to Muhamed Ibn al Wahab’s message was the essential oneness of TAWHID(GOD). They follow the cause which is known as AHL AT TAWHID or MUWAHHIDUN( Unitarians). Wahab’s instructions in the matter of extending Islamic teachings by force were strict. All unbelievers ( Christians,Hindus,Jews as well as those who did not accept Wahab’s interpretation of Islam and Holy Quoran is more supportive of him) were to be put to death. He viewed votive offerings, praying at saints tombs and at graves, any prayer ritual in which suppliant appeals to a third party for intercession with TAWHID as objectionable.Even celebration of prophet’s birthday,Shia mourning ceremonies, Sufi Mysticism of Indian Muslims are particularly abhorring for his followers.””Indian Islam was eliminated by this brand of wahabies who took control when Aurangazeb ruled and destroyed Indian Islam and their Mughal empire. Did you see the nonchalent way in which BAMIYAN BUDHAS WERE ROCKETTED BY THE tALIBAN SOLDIER. He just didnot have any feeling. Will a Muslim in Egypt do this to Pyramid? Or an Indonesian Muslim to his temples in bali?
    But is there a single HINDU TEMPLE, CHURCH in Saudi arabia?
    Can a Hindu carry the snap of his god ‘s photo in his wallet in Saudi arabia?
    Why there is Blashphemy law only in Pakistan or Saudi arabia?
    Please ask this question to a Thai, Philipino or Indian and soon in USA why Muslims cannot live in Peace as MINORITY.?

  106. Radha is right. Most marriages here take place between Hindu and non-Hindu people. I have never seen a Muslim-Christian marriage either. Will have to do some anthropological research in the causes for this.

  107. @Lynn,

    “Seriously how can you have a debate with someone when all you want to do is try to prove that they are not worthy of debate because CLEARLY they do not agree with you (because they do not respect Islam)?”

    Spot on. There is no debate here. It is all name calling and denial of evidence. I gave up, because every instance, where Islam is violent is explained away as Muslims defending themselves from others, it was political use of Islam, the text was meant for a specific situation, people are not following the true religion, the text was meant in metaphoric sense, others are bad so Muslims should be too. In all that feel good rhetoric the fact that Islam had and continue to have a bloody history is lost. It is all explained away.

    Good luck trying to get anywhere with him. He will continue introducing new topics, just so the specific undefinable argument is diluted. If you disagree with him, you are worthy of attack. Not a mature debater here. It is someone that has not got beyond high school level debating skills.

  108. Radha and Daisy,
    That IS very interesting. Also, I am curious how the Pakistani Muslims compare to the Indian Muslims considering that the Pakistani Muslims WERE Indian Muslims before the creation of Pakistan. Somehow I just don’t see the Pakistani Muslims (the ones I know anyway) the way you are describing these Indian Muslims. Did the moderate ones stay in India rather than move to Pakistan or were the original Pakistanis like them but then changed after living in an Islamic State?

  109. MoQ,
    I have long given up trying to get anywhere with him and I usually ignore him. I just like to make sure that I don’t leave any of his blanket statements regarding the ‘VAST majority of Muslims’ uncontested. However he IS allowed his opinion just as we are allowed ours.

  110. @MoQ,

    How, exactly, does one have a valid debate with someone who shows up with a name insulting the people who you are debating? I guess someone could show up calling themsellves “Atheists/Agnostics Suck” or something like that, but then you cannot expect to have a fair, honest and open discussion.

    Your name shows from the outset that you are not interested in debate, like you said, you are interested in mocking and making fun of religion. So that means from the outset of any discussion it is not going to be a friendly one.

    How do you have a friendly discussion with someone who from the very begining says they want to make fun of something that you find so important?

    It is a non starter.


    You hate Islam, therefor you hate a large portion of what most Muslims feels defines part of them. Like “MoQ” from the begining any conversation with you will not be friendly because your agenda is not to find a solution, it is not to find a common ground, it is to discredit Islam.

    From such a vantage and begining neither of you will get anywhere with 99% of Muslims.

  111. Abu Sinan,
    LOL there you go again. Deciding for yourself what other’s ‘agendas’ and feelings are based on their religious beliefs.

    Abu Sinan, you are Muslim. I am not. Muslims are supposed to hate those that do not accept Islam especially after being given the ‘good news’ therefore, from such a vantage and begining you will not get anywhere with 99% of Non-Muslims. M’kay?

    Ridiculous, eh?

  112. @lynn,
    Pakistani muslims are asian too , are no different, there is ofcourse the diff of living in an islamic state so i don’t know how the past 60 yrs have influenced them.
    I doubt there are that many people of other religions for them to intermarry, and again i’m no expert.

    After 20+ yrs negotiating the mixed marriage waters we know what to keep away from. Yes F doesn’t follow islam to the letter , especially the marry part, 🙂 . it’s between him and his god. As long as he finds peace in that is fine. I don’t know how many people follow the Koran to the letter, every one tries.

    There are pieces in the koran that offends me , Just like i’m sure there are pieces of the bhagavat that offends F. we realize that we didn’t come up with it, so it’s not us against one another.

    In the end it doesn’t matter. I do NOT believe god gives someone brownie points for destroying life which he created irrespective of which holy book says that. to destroy is never the purpose of life.

  113. @AbuSinan,

    I have made it clear from the beginning that I do not respect your religion, neither any religion. Since when do I have to respect your ideology to debate it. Isn’t that a given that a debate includes opposing views.

    I do believe that religions need to be ridiculed for installing myths and illogical thinking into the believers. I think free thinkers should make fun of religions whether they teach the universe is 6000 years old or that their prophet ascended to heaven on a magic mule for a conference with Allah. These myths should be ridicules and challenged, so believers understand how ridiculous these ideologies are.

    The fact is I challenge the ideology, period. You chose to take it personally. That is really your problem not mine.

    You also chose to engage me, look back. If your intent was to just call me names and not debate then that explains things!!! Repeating the same argument over and over about my name does not make your argument any better, does not forward your way of thinking and does not offer any logical explanation of all the violence committed in the name of your religion.

    Should I now look forward for another rant about how undeserving we all are to debate with the great name calling technique that you pass as legit debate?

  114. @Lynn,

    There you go telling what us Muslims are supposed to do, even though you are not a Muslim and have a VERY limited, mostly flawed, understanind of the religion.

    I dont hate anyone, for any reason, let alone on religious grounds.


    To me your name is a middle finger towards anyone who values religion. I think it is deliberate. Kind of like giving one a middle finger before even bother to engage on any level.

    I dont understand atheists or agnostics, but I’d never go out of my way to be insulting or offensive. It is all about manners. When you come to me with something you know is going to be taken as offensive then you loose your right to expect civility.

    In person that might get you smacked up side the head. In this venue it will just get you no respect from me, nor civility, sorry.

    If you want civility the best way to assure it is not to go out of your way to disrespect people. You know your name is offensive………..that’s why you chose it.

    If you start out, before even one word is said, with something that is intentionally offensive to people, you are asking too much for civility.

  115. Abu Sinan, I have to agree with Lynn and MoQ, what has happened to you? It really is true you don’t argue any point, just keep on about what’s wrong with MoQ, and how bad all other people on the planet are, and what other people do wrong… etc.

    and it’s almost as if two different discussion were going on with you answering a different discussion and we are having another discussion.

    Get to the point. And if you don’t want to, or cannot comment on the points made, MoQ’s list for example, then keep away.
    You can otherwise hold good arguments. I really don’t see what’s gotten into you.

    If it goes on like this nothing will happen; this can go on for years without anything new or worthwhile added.

  116. @AbuSinan, Nothing new, you are predictable. Your explanation of why you are insulted sounds similar to the one given by all the people that pretested the cartoons. This is going no where, Enjoy life.

    @Aafke, thanks for a wise comment. I do not know how Abu translates direct words into personal hostility he imagines in his head. The middle finger comment is a classic. if I intend to give someone a middle finger it will be easy enough for me to bend 4 fingers and do that. Actually I am talented enough to do it with 2 hands if needed 🙂

  117. @Aafke and MoQ,

    I really have a dislike for people who are deliberately insulting. I find the choice of his online name to be a provocation. Why would someone knowingly pick an insulting name then wonder why people take offense?

    Why would I want to be civil and polite to someone who thinks so little of themselves and others that they are looking to insult people? I dont buy his protests, he picked the name KNOWING that it would insult people.

    Such people do not deserve respect. I respect MoQ no more than I’d respect anyone who finds it neccessary to demean peoples, their life styles or their ideals.

    Debating is one thing, looking to insult is another.

    You two might not have an issue with such poor behavior and manners, but I sure do.

    Anyone who is looking to be insulting, demeaning and mocking isnt going to get a good reception from me.

    I’d say I am sorry, but I am not. I am all for Darwin’s theory and survival of the fittest. Online has really put a kink in this because it reverses the rule. People say and act in a manner here they’d never do in real life.

    I have reacted to the deliberate insulting nature of MoQ in the same manner that I responded to the Islamic nut jobs that have come here.

    It was never an issue before and I dont care if it is now.

    Aafke, if “MoQ” was an Islamist you’d be all over him for his name and his ideas. Because his ideas tend to match yours you allow it. That isnt right. What is good for the goose should be good for the gander.

    Imagine if his name was “MoQ Christians” or “Mock Jews” would you treat him in the way that you are now? No way.

    I am eqaully opportunity in the way I demand respect. If MoQ doesnt give it, he wont get it. Full stop.

  118. Too much anger. Take a pill please…..

  119. @MoQ,

    Everyone has some anger, as long as it is directed towards the right people it is okay.

    It you deliberately seek to insult or mock people in real life I am sure you are used to having people mad at you. My experience is that people like you who act this way online are rather timid in real life and would never act the way you do here. You do it here specifically because you cannot do it in real life.

    You are not surprised, you picked your name because you want to ourage people. I am not outraged, not mad, I find it rather amusing actually. It is always interesting when people use their online activities to do things they’d never do in life.

  120. Anyone that comes to this blog and debates you on any article of your religion makes you angry and you attack him/her relentlessly. In your mind everyone with a different point of view is a radical or an extremist. You are becoming a person with no grounding in reality. You will find a way to explode, whether it is their name, a hateful idea that you attach to them, or,…..

    You are a mad man. Nothing will get through that anger. Even when I explained many times the difference between respecting an ideology verses respecting a person.

    I really do not blame you. I blame your religion that makes you a person that submits fully to an ideology. Your teaching tells you you should stop being a complex person that has an independent way to structure your ideas. Everything about your existence becomes attached to the religion. So any one that makes fun of it means they are making fun of you personally. In the process, you have exposed yourself as a hateful angry person.

    You chose this destiny when you let an ideology take over your thinking so fully. I hope for your sake that you do not stew in your anger too long.

  121. Abu Sinan, yes if was called MoqJudaism or mockChristianity, or MoqIslam, or moqBuddhism, or mockWicca, I would find his name more reprihensible.
    At least he doesn’t discriminate, as MoqReligion.

    I find it extremely worrying if people start identifying themselves completely with any given religion, it is the root of extremism, like killing people because they made a drawing you find ”insulting” to your religion.
    How can a drawing equal murder???
    And you are always very capable of critical independant thought. Also at your own chosen religion. So I don’t understand what you’re going on about right now.

    I also think it’s a pity; I always enjoy your comments because they are interesting and make one think.

    There is a difference between not liking all religions and attacking not only the doctrine but also the followers of a specific religion.
    I don’t find not liking all religions particularly offensive.
    And I really don’t understand why you not only find it so offensive, but also so personally offensive. Religion is not you, you are not religion. I can understand if you find MoQreligion a stupid, or silly, or whatever, name, but I do not see where the personal aspect comes in.

    As you know, having read my religious blasphemy and…. series. He only calls himself Moq religion, I actually do so on my clouddragon blog. As an empirical study to see if God will strike me down, and as a protest to the insane Anti-blasphemy resolution the Islamic countries want to push through the UN.

    Richard Dawkins also thinks all religions should be mocked. It’s a viewpoint I suppose, you may or may not agree with that, but I can’t find it particularly, personally, insulting.

  122. I’m sure that converts are probably a lot more sensitive to their choices being mocked than someone who was born into the religion. That’s unfortunate. Especially for someone who holds himself in such high esteem as Abu Sinan does.

    Wouldn’t it be much more fitting for a devout follower of such a peaceful and tolerant religion to just make dua for us lost souls?

    Abu Sinan, I am sure that I have told you before that I do not hate people. ANY people. And hold your hat!, there are even a couple Muslims that I love with every fiber of my being (shhh! don’t tell anyone that’s just between us m’kay?).

  123. I am very fond of Abu Sinan.

  124. Um, in an effort to lighten the subject here, I just wanted to say that I didn’t even realize MoQ was supposed to be “mock” until Abu Sinan mentioned it the other day. I always read it as Moe Cue. *ahem*

    Perhaps it’s because Aafke always referred to her man friend as Q or “the Q.” *embarrassed by my lacking observation skills*


    I try not to let mocking people bother me too much. Likely I do it myself on occasion. 🙂 We each are entitled to our own opinions about spiritual and humanist things. I reckon one day we will all know the truth.

  125. @MoQ,

    Actually, I am not a mad man. I am a rather patient person generally. Even Aafke, with whom I spoken to personally before, can tell you that I have no issue with the way she approaches the situation. I have never felt any antipathy for her because of the way she carries herself. You can tell by her ways and demeanor she is a decent person.

    The only people I have had run ins with on this blog are the extremists and the nut cases. I will willingly admit I have gone tooth and nail against the Islamic extremists here. Aafke will vouch for this as often we almost “tag teamed” the Islamo-nutters.

    But I pull no punches and make no allowances of any kind for extremists no matter their stripes. You are an extremist. Your choice of names shows it is your raison d’être. Opposition to anything so intense that it becomes a sole focus of your life, to the point where you’d name yourself after your opposition, makes one an extremist. Of course you dont see it, extremists never think they are extreme. I think that is actually one of the pillars of extremism.

    You are an extremist, hence I will hold you in the same regard I hold any other extremist, whether it is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood holding a Qur’an in Cairo yelling “Islam is the solution” to everything, or a Serbian marching off to war for his faith holding his three fingers high to show his dedication to the trinity.

    You say I am not an independent person with a complex structure to my thoughts, yet on Aafke’s blog you stated that my beliefs were original and if all Muslims had my beliefs then Islam wouldnt be that bad of a religion. Sounds like you had one opinion there, another opinion here. There I am an independent thinker whose ideas are radical and make Islam a better religion, here I am someone who lets ideology take over their thinking. You cannot have it both ways my dear Mock!

    You say I am a mad man and that nothing will get through that anger. Sorry to disappoint you, but at this point pity has! I feel sorry for you. I have known people who live their lives to be in “eternal opposition”. It is a VERY sad life where someone is always against something, but never really for anything.

    Anyways, extremism is most always terminal to the life of the person afflicted with it. I pray that one day you learn to moderate your beliefs, respect the rights of others to worship, or not to worship, without having to face the mockery or insults from people like yourself. Ameen.


    Yes, you have stated that you dont hate anyone, yet you rail time and time again against Islam. One cannot so completely hate something and not have at least some hatred for those devoted to it. Sorry, it sounds like to me those Muslims who proclaim “I hate you/love you for the sake of Islam”.


    I am very fond of you as well. Aside from the religion issue, we have a lot in common and I am a HUGE fan of your art.

    You carry your dissent in a very kind and polite manner; a true lady from top to bottom. It is a pleasure to call you my friend.

    As for this whole thread, as far as I am concerned it is over. I recognise futility when I see it. Extremists only change when they have a life altering experience that rattles the cob webs from the cages of their minds.

  126. @AbuSinan,

    You say you only get angry at extremist. I think it happens the other way I think you argue with people that have an opposing view. Followed by calling them them an extremist because they disagree with you. Then the anger starts. Of course you only get mad at extremist with that type of thinking 🙂

    Just for the record, you twisted what I said in Aafke’s blog, but there is no need to start a discussion about that here.

    In any event I hope you get over your anger and relax. One day you will see the light, that all religion does is limit the potential of your free thoughts.

    Regarding having to be for something. I do not have to be for a religion to have something that I stand for. I stand for knowledge through evidence (i.e. no myths through religion). I do not have to hang my hat on a religion to feel that I have a purpose. You feel you need that and that is fine. But I do not have to respect the religion itself.

    Next time you engage me in a discussion, please do not do it if it will make you angry because I am not here to anger you. I am here to have serious discussion with an alternative view.. It is a petty that you had to get angry over a point of view.

  127. Oh. I ‘rail time and time again against Islam’? Wow. Never noticed that. I have admitted that I am not a fan. I’m not a fan of any religion but that’s a far cry from railing time and time again against it. I don’t think I EVER have said that I ‘hate’ it and even so it is a stretch to accuse me of hating people, fellow human beings, because I am not a fan of their chosen (or born) religion. Get a hold of yourself man!

  128. Why are you people going after each other like this? If he calls himself MoQ, take it as a sense of humour and don’t be mocked – that nullifies the effect. If someone wants to be against all religions s/he is entitled to it and if another person wants to be passionate about his religion, s/he too is entitled to it. Let each one have his/her stand, what’s there to argue about it?

  129. Daisy,

    I agree with you.But AbuSinan dedicated 7 comments to calling me hateful, extremist and a radical. He also changes any position I state to what suits him. He did a similar thing to Lynn. From the onset I said I do not mind faith as long as it does not force itself into Laws, politics and science. Islam and some other religions do not do that and deserve to be ridiculed until they do so. That is a freedom I have, which is something AbuSinan does not understand.

    He even claimed that I do not like people worshiping. To me faith is personal and worship is a personal thing. I do not mind it and will never interfere with that. Actually Islam prayer is beautiful to see, because of all the synchronized movement.

    After the relentless personal attacks,I had to respond with 1 comment that treated him in kind. I do believe that when reason does not prevail, some people have to be checked for their bullying debate tactics. Through all of this I did not get angry and tried to stay on topic I hope he can do the same in the future .

  130. Come, I have the pleasant feeling we are getting a bit more relaxed here. Abu Sinan and MoQ, I suggest you chill and start a =new at the next discussion, which, given Bedu”s prolific output. I am sure will be only a few posts away :mrgreen:

    Susanne, not every Q is my Q! There is a ”Q” commenting on Saudi Jeans who is defenitely not my Q!!!!
    The Q is my dreamrabbit!

  131. I think that all the comments illustrated that even for us at the grassroots level is it difficult to have a discussion on perceptions and practices of religions without getting emotional. If we have this problem, how can we expect forward movement at the higher levels?

  132. MOQ,
    Point taken and I agree with your basic standpoints. But I think rather than mocking, reasoning with people who want to mix religion with science, politics etc will be more productive. Please consider this.

    Good point made. But the people higher up are supposed to be wiser. 8)

  133. @Daisy,

    I actually did take into consideration. That is why I focus on the religions not the followers. Islam as an example has Sharii’a laws, has been politicized throughout its history and rejects any science that contradicts the stories of creation.

    My position is the total opposite of “Islam is great if it was not for the Muslims”. That position in my opinion is prejudicial against the followers of Islam.

    I think Muslims have basic goodness like everyone else. If it was not for the religious intrusions on their lives, they will prosper and their nations will be better and more peaceful.

  134. “I think that all the comments illustrated that even for us at the grassroots level is it difficult to have a discussion on perceptions and practices of religions without getting emotional. If we have this problem, how can we expect forward movement at the higher levels?”

    Exactly what I was just thinking Carol 😛

  135. ‘But the people higher up are supposed to be wiser’

    But are they really Daisy? What if the people that voted them into power voted them in based on their religiousity because they equate that with the wisdom necessary to lead when the fact is that perhaps their religiousity made them LESS suitable to lead? And what about the ones that come to power based on their blood line? Where does the need for wisdom come from then?

    MoQ : ‘My position is the total opposite of “Islam is great if it was not for the Muslims”. That position in my opinion is prejudicial against the followers of Islam.’

    I agree completely and I find it funny that the very one that constantly accuses US of hate is the one that is saying that very thing all the time.

  136. Lynn,
    You are quite right – they are not wiser, that’s why thre is all this mess. Your argument of how people come to power and how it makes them suitable is very right too – unfortunately that’s how things stand, which should not be.

    The manner in which you say it now, it sounds quite reasonable.

  137. […] Finding common ground between the U.S. and Saudi. […]

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