Radical-izing

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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04 January 2016 20:58
 

So Islamist clerics regularly put out the altar call for Muslims at large to rise up, radicalize, revolt against local authority and so forth. Of course even Radical Islam isn’t a unified faction and these clerics seem to spend as much time fighting each other as they do some generalized specter of The West. Even so, there is a presumption of unity pregnant in the appeal. As if some real soul searching would reveal that some militant sect is the one true faith and had been so all along. Of course I’m not endorsing any such statement but just reporting on the apparent tone.

Also, there seem to be rare but fairly regular occasions when individual Muslims do act out violently (as do non muslims of course) We have evidence of sleeper cells and various schisms and uprisings that suggest, to me that Islam is somewhat less stable than many other faiths. Or, at least more likely in proportion to population to inspire violent behaviors at the vigilante scale. I realize that this is very complicated and I’m happy to admit it if I’m mistaken about this.

My question is about the common concern that peaceful Muslims will become violent in a culture with a relatively low level of general violence (I cannot really blame anyone for defending their family group in a failed state situation)

My intuition is that it isn’t very likely. I know many Muslims personally including doctors, lawyers, scientists and just generally neighborly folk who give me no special cause for alarm. The reason I ask is because I want to base my belief on something more than intuition and personal experience. I want to refute the paranoid voices who endorse wholesale profiling or deportation with real facts and not just an appeal to emotion.

I see television commercials where young, attractive and charming Muslims assert their themselves against the Trumps of this nation and I am immediately sympathetic to their position. However, I’m unsatisfied with the approach of relying on charm. I want the complete, rational argument that says this paranoia is not only vulgar but, in fact irrational and unhelpful toward its own ends.

Any help?

 
sojourner
 
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04 January 2016 22:02
 

I highly doubt such a phenomenon would impact anyone but a few youth, who are vulnerable to doing all sorts of idiotic things at their age. An adult who has been peaceful all their life is unlikely to change that pattern in the absence of extreme circumstances.


What I find interesting about the psychological dynamic here is that Islamic terrorists occupy sort of the prime spot in terms of Bad Guy Threat, when by many measures it’s hard to see why. They certainly aren’t causing the most US deaths, not by any metric. You could say there’s the terrifyingly random element of terrorism but then, we experience that not infrequently these days from pissed off skinny white kids who go marching off with daddy’s gun. People don’t seem to loose sleep over the next skinny white kid who goes postal. Is it the outsider-insider dynamic? Not likely, since spillover and trafficking from the Mexican drug war has killed far more people there. The audacity of a group simply declaring war, not violence as a byproduct of some other problem? In that case we have plenty of gang violence in this country, where people openly declare sectarian violence out of hatred for “the other”, but this tends to happen in poor communities which sadly means it’s often ignored. It’s as if what worries us most is that these groups step outside the categorical lines of violence we have learned, as a society, to more or less ignore, as if some sort of unspoken code of heinous crime conduct has been broken.

[ Edited: 04 January 2016 22:04 by sojourner]
 
 
SkepticX
 
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05 January 2016 04:31
 
Niclynn - 04 January 2016 10:02 PM

What I find interesting about the psychological dynamic here is that Islamic terrorists occupy sort of the prime spot in terms of Bad Guy Threat, when by many measures it’s hard to see why. They certainly aren’t causing the most US deaths, not by any metric.


I’d guess it’s because we have every reason to believe they would if they could. The usual personal restraints on violence (i.e. it’s all about the perpetrator—isolated to the offender’s issues and immediate purview) aren’t there when the goal is to do God’s will by killing as many infidels as possible to bring in Muslim rule of the planet. It’s analogous to considering a bomb targeting your area more of a threat than a gunman. The bomb make make escape problematic at best, but you’re a lot more likely to escape a gunman, generally speaking. Bombs are a much greater potential threat than guns. But then I’m not sure most people have actually considered these kinds of tactical matters, so maybe the analogy won’t work for most.

Anyway, psychology and sociology (human nature) are the best areas to address the OP. Sorry if that’s obvious, but I think the answers are there.

 
 
sojourner
 
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05 January 2016 07:25
 
SkepticX - 05 January 2016 04:31 AM
Niclynn - 04 January 2016 10:02 PM

What I find interesting about the psychological dynamic here is that Islamic terrorists occupy sort of the prime spot in terms of Bad Guy Threat, when by many measures it’s hard to see why. They certainly aren’t causing the most US deaths, not by any metric.


I’d guess it’s because we have every reason to believe they would if they could.

Yes, this is what I mean - extracting the “personal” side of a conflict - sort of “Can you believe what they said?!” and prioritizing it above real-world risk. I understand the psychology of this - I grew up reading John Grisham novels where the Mob Never Forgets. It seems analogous to that kind of dread - if you crossed an organized crime network that would be after you for the rest of your life, that would understandably always be The Concern in your mind, even if you were at risk of heart disease or lived in a high crime urban area or drove on roads with lots of fatalities and so on. In the big geopolitical picture, the impact of small militant groups has natural constraints - I think it’s more the “wild card” factor that scares people. These groups go outside the normal boundaries of Bad Things Happening as we know them.

 

The usual personal restraints on violence (i.e. it’s all about the perpetrator—isolated to the offender’s issues and immediate purview) aren’t there when the goal is to do God’s will by killing as many infidels as possible to bring in Muslim rule of the planet.


Maybe this is pedantic, but I’d say the “usual personal restraints” as we in first world countries understand them. I don’t think this type of thinking - whether religious or tribal or based on things like drug trade - would be that big a surprise to people living in many parts of the world. I think the surprise is where it is. I tend to bring up wars in Africa and drug cartels a lot but I do think it distorts global context to consider militant Islamist groups in the absence of this type of violence, as if it is some sort of unique problem. Gloves-off violence in bloody turf battles - often with some kind of “until we completely take over” mentality behind it - is not that unusual in many places.

It’s analogous to considering a bomb targeting your area more of a threat than a gunman. The bomb make make escape problematic at best, but you’re a lot more likely to escape a gunman, generally speaking. Bombs are a much greater potential threat than guns. But then I’m not sure most people have actually considered these kinds of tactical matters, so maybe the analogy won’t work for most.


Well now there I may disagree, because this seems to go back to the biggest likely threat for the biggest number of people. If that were the case we should be petrified of global warming, whereas in reality an abstraction without a human face is not what we are programmed to respond to. I’d say it’s not about risk assessment so much as what triggers our sort of evolutionary-based fears. I go back and forth on whether or not this is something to be criticized, though. Sort of like if someone had a spider phobia, lecturing them, upon seeing a spider “Don’t you know that you’re elebenty kajillion times more likely to die of health-related problems than a spider bite? Have you thought about cancer? Heart disease? Dementia? If you were a reasonable human being, you’d stop screeching about that tarantula on your arm and go apply sunblock before eating vegetables and flossing because gingivitis puts you at a greater risk for stroke. The running around the room thing is good, though, exercise is important.” If you are going to talk risk management, the ultimate reason for doing that is for the well-being of people - if that well-being genuinely is more impacted by lower risk phenomenon, then that becomes a sort of self-evident justification for addressing those factors first.

 
 
icehorse
 
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05 January 2016 10:21
 

My reputation notwithstanding, I see “Islamic violence” as a bit of a strawman. I don’t see violence as the real concern here. (Sure, occasional violence will occur.)

What haunts me is the slow, steady, pernicious erosion of secularism and western values.  For example, we have UN 16/18 which codifies the idea of blasphemy against Islam. Now we have House Resolution 569, specifically defending Muslims against poorly defined “hate speech”, which appears to me could be used to stifle legitimate criticism.

To some degree, all Muslims go through indoctrination at an early age. So what seems very real to me is a large group of people indoctrinated to Islamic values, interacting with masochistic MC PC liberals, willing to go belly up on the values of western secularism. We in the West don’t have anything to learn from 7th century tribal values. There is no expertise there for us to learn from.

 
 
Celal
 
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05 January 2016 12:32
 
icehorse - 05 January 2016 10:21 AM

What haunts me is the slow, steady, pernicious erosion of secularism and western values.  For example, we have UN 16/18 which codifies the idea of blasphemy against Islam. Now we have House Resolution 569, specifically defending Muslims against poorly defined “hate speech”, which appears to me could be used to stifle legitimate criticism.

This will continue until West wakes up to the fact that Islam is not a religion in the way that is protected by the US Constitution. It is deeply steeped in fetishism and taboo. For example, Qu’ran is not revered for how it moves and uplifts the human soul and morality toward goodness, rather, it is fetishized as an object. So the value or sacredness of Qu’ran is not because of the contents, but because it is said to be from God. Given that pretext, it is impossible to discuss Qu’ran logically with any Muslim. 

That is why most Muslim households have a Quran that they keep, stored at a high place but never read the contents. It will never be reformed as Bible was, until such time when the sacredness of Quran is reduced to a book and only the message itself revered as worthy, provided that message is subject to debate. That is why Muslims can not discuss spiritual morality, but only the absolute morality according to some creed defined in the material World. That is also why any doubt about the veracity of the Qu’ran is considered blasphemous hence a thoughtful debate without the constant danger of blasphemy accusations is impossible.

Often said, terrorists or ISIS have hijacked Islam. Not true. Islam has hijacked humanity and individual freedom of thought. If you asked Muslims participating, observing the punishment of stoning for adultery, which is the greater of the two evils. 1] Adultery 2] Stoning . If the answer is [1] then they have surrendered their individual conscious to their faith and lost all their humanity.

This fetishism is front and center in the Hajj pilgrimage rituals, left over from the pagan periods.

Is fetishism a religion?

[ Edited: 05 January 2016 12:58 by Celal]
 
icehorse
 
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05 January 2016 13:00
 

I agree with you Celal. As I’ve said many times, we’ve already lost a step in the debate when we grant that Islam is a religion at all. (As opposed to a totalitarian ideology.)

On a separate thread (I think?), someone has brought up that we should - constitutionally - tighten up our definition of “religion” in general, as a way to make a more absolute wall between church and state.

 
 
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05 January 2016 17:35
 
icehorse - 05 January 2016 10:21 AM

My reputation notwithstanding, I see “Islamic violence” as a bit of a strawman. I don’t see violence as the real concern here. (Sure, occasional violence will occur.)

What haunts me is the slow, steady, pernicious erosion of secularism and western values.  For example, we have UN 16/18 which codifies the idea of blasphemy against Islam. Now we have House Resolution 569, specifically defending Muslims against poorly defined “hate speech”, which appears to me could be used to stifle legitimate criticism.


I’m not familiar with those, what wording / intent in them codifies blasphemy laws or stifles criticism?

To some degree, all Muslims go through indoctrination at an early age. So what seems very real to me is a large group of people indoctrinated to Islamic values, interacting with masochistic MC PC liberals, willing to go belly up on the values of western secularism. We in the West don’t have anything to learn from 7th century tribal values. There is no expertise there for us to learn from.


I think it’s incredibly unfair to say that ALL Muslims do by any means, not unless what you’re calling “indoctrination” is just the usual enculturation and socializing that happens in families. There are secular and atheist cultural Muslims, Muslim moderates, liberals, etc. I think “masochist PC liberals / regressive left / SJWs” are basically slurs used by the right, with little content, so not sure what to say to that. On this general topic, however, I do think there is an odd and uneasy relationship, with a lot of unspoken content, between the liberal West and Muslims from Muslim majority countries - and that the sort of majority “liberal” stance on this is still being worked out via dialogue. For example - I saw this horrifying story today, and I couldn’t shake the sense that there was something incredibly wonky about it. Like something that didn’t fit. Then I realized - many Westerners - many of them liberals - who state that they support the (peaceful) Muslim community immediately framed it as a display of what happens when we let “them” into our society, a “culture clash” vs. a bunch of criminals. I.e., Maajid Nawaz tweeted about it - don’t know what his intent was in doing that, but he tends to only tweet “about Muslim culture” type things. And the mayor of the town gave a statement saying:

“....Ms. Reker said that city officials would begin working on measures to help young women protect themselves and to explain the city’s attitudes and norms to its many newcomers.

“We will explain our Carnival much better to people who come from other cultures,” she said, “so there won’t be any confusion about what constitutes celebratory behavior in Cologne, which has nothing to do with a sexual frankness.””


Like on the one hand, trying to be forgiving, but on the other, assuming that this was just a case of foreign people “acting out their cultural norms” or something. Like they immediately came to Germany and went “Oh look, women! Everyone knows white Western women are for groping and pillaging!”, and that Germany should gently explain to them that this is not the case (very Borat, now that I think of it). In the comments below that article as well - what is largely missing from this narrative is the immediate assumption that this might be crime ring, not a cultural conflict. I mean, even if these were the world’s sleaziest men who were like “Woo hoo, can’t wait to exploit your wild Western culture!”, why would they do it in a way that would cause the most attention possible? If they are not, like, the dumbest sleaze bags in the world, the first thing that would have occurred to them would have been to keep a low profile. If it was a terrorist-like act, why did no one claim credit? Who knows what the story will be when the facts are all in, but to my mind, from a common sense perspective, one’s first intuition would be that this was a gang, organized crime. And yet people who say that they support peaceful Muslims seemed to instantly jump to the conclusion that this was them being “confused” about “our culture” and acting on their own cultural mores? That is a very weird mixed message with a lot implicitly embedded, I think.


While I disagree with Nawaz doing the instant-retweet on this, I do think his general approach of delineating groups so that all “Muslims” aren’t lumped in together is important. I do not agree with illiberalism, but neither do I think Islam should be instantly equated with illiberalism. For specific people who hold illiberal ideas, however, yes, that’s a problem. It seems like many people here - the mayor included - acted like they were being sensitive to “Muslims” (or, at the very least “foreigners”, although I think the idea that they were Muslim was pretty implied) in acting as if this must be some sort of cultural behavior, which is beyond horrifying and insulting to peaceful Muslims.

 
 
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05 January 2016 18:15
 

Hey Niclynn,

I said “some degree” of indoctrination, remember? So, even reciting the 5x / day prayer counts as indoctrination, correct? And as we recall from earlier discussions, around the world about 1/2 of all Muslims say their 5x / day, anti-semitic prayer - seems like indoctrination to me.

As for slurs, it’s not a slur. If it fits, it’s a description. Any westerner who advocates for multi-culturalism simply hasn’t studied Islamic culture, and is exhibiting some form of masochism. How much “content” do you need? Any westerner who advocates for MC is - by default - advocating for misogyny, homophobia, anti-semitism, and theocratic rule. If that’s how you want to live, you should move to a Muslim majority country.

So Niclynn, what’s your conclusion about the story from Berlin? 1000 co-perpetrators.. Well we can rule out Islam, it couldn’t be that misogynistic doctrines could lead to this.. jeez, give me a friggin’ break.

As for why they would do it? Hmmm, there’s another stumper! Perhaps it’s because they’re sexually repressed young men, and have been taught that Muslims are superior to all others, and men are superior to women? No, that couldn’t be it, better keep looking..

 
 
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05 January 2016 19:54
 
icehorse - 05 January 2016 06:15 PM

Hey Niclynn,

I said “some degree” of indoctrination, remember? So, even reciting the 5x / day prayer counts as indoctrination, correct? And as we recall from earlier discussions, around the world about 1/2 of all Muslims say their 5x / day, anti-semitic prayer - seems like indoctrination to me.

As for slurs, it’s not a slur. If it fits, it’s a description. Any westerner who advocates for multi-culturalism simply hasn’t studied Islamic culture, and is exhibiting some form of masochism. How much “content” do you need? Any westerner who advocates for MC is - by default - advocating for misogyny, homophobia, anti-semitism, and theocratic rule. If that’s how you want to live, you should move to a Muslim majority country.

So Niclynn, what’s your conclusion about the story from Berlin? 1000 co-perpetrators.. Well we can rule out Islam, it couldn’t be that misogynistic doctrines could lead to this.. jeez, give me a friggin’ break.

As for why they would do it? Hmmm, there’s another stumper! Perhaps it’s because they’re sexually repressed young men, and have been taught that Muslims are superior to all others, and men are superior to women? No, that couldn’t be it, better keep looking..


Dude whatever. I’m not interested in having the same conversation again. In no particular order:


- “That’s not a criticism, it’s an observation” is the rallying cry of passive aggressive liberals everywhere. Stop the madness. People on the left yell “Racist, -phobia, etc.”, sometimes with good cause, often without it, in debate. People on the right yell “Regressive left, SJW” in equal measure. In the absence of a specific claim, it’s meaningless.


- 50% is not 100%. It is half of 100%.


- South and Central America lead the world in violence against women. I guess by your criteria they are all Islamic! I assume this will come as a shock to them, as they think they are Catholic (it will not come as a shock to Protestants, who still give Catholics the side-eye and suspect they worship pagan gods or something.) Or, alternately - when over a million people from third world, destabilized, crime ridden and war torn countries suddenly flood a country, odds are good you’ve let in some criminals as well (that is probably terribly un-PC - the same would be true of any country, but I think it’s safe to say you have more bad behavior in environments where things have already gone to hell in a hand basket.)


Anyways, I am utterly exhausted with the “arguing in slogans” and “Amen! Preach it!’ arguments. If debating online has taught me anything, it’s that in the absence of data that is specific to answering certain questions, everything else is an intuition-off. I still think (well, lean towards, although I strive for agnosticism), that despite all it’s problems, that religion is not evil. Religion is a product of people, and as such, sometimes it is transcendent and sometimes it is horrible. You disagree. If I see data that is specific to this question, I’ll reconsider, but “Look, people doing people things!” is not data.

 
 
icehorse
 
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05 January 2016 20:16
 
Niclynn - 05 January 2016 07:54 PM
icehorse - 05 January 2016 06:15 PM

Hey Niclynn,

I said “some degree” of indoctrination, remember? So, even reciting the 5x / day prayer counts as indoctrination, correct? And as we recall from earlier discussions, around the world about 1/2 of all Muslims say their 5x / day, anti-semitic prayer - seems like indoctrination to me.

As for slurs, it’s not a slur. If it fits, it’s a description. Any westerner who advocates for multi-culturalism simply hasn’t studied Islamic culture, and is exhibiting some form of masochism. How much “content” do you need? Any westerner who advocates for MC is - by default - advocating for misogyny, homophobia, anti-semitism, and theocratic rule. If that’s how you want to live, you should move to a Muslim majority country.

So Niclynn, what’s your conclusion about the story from Berlin? 1000 co-perpetrators.. Well we can rule out Islam, it couldn’t be that misogynistic doctrines could lead to this.. jeez, give me a friggin’ break.

As for why they would do it? Hmmm, there’s another stumper! Perhaps it’s because they’re sexually repressed young men, and have been taught that Muslims are superior to all others, and men are superior to women? No, that couldn’t be it, better keep looking..


Dude whatever. I’m not interested in having the same conversation again. In no particular order:


- “That’s not a criticism, it’s an observation” is the rallying cry of passive aggressive liberals everywhere. Stop the madness. People on the left yell “Racist, -phobia, etc.”, sometimes with good cause, often without it, in debate. People on the right yell “Regressive left, SJW” in equal measure. In the absence of a specific claim, it’s meaningless.[\quote]

>>> Say what? I don’t even know how to parse this?

Niclynn - 05 January 2016 07:54 PM

- 50% is not 100%. It is half of 100%.

>>> agreed.

Niclynn - 05 January 2016 07:54 PM

- South and Central America lead the world in violence against women. I guess by your criteria they are all Islamic! I assume this will come as a shock to them, as they think they are Catholic (it will not come as a shock to Protestants, who still give Catholics the side-eye and suspect they worship pagan gods or something.) Or, alternately - when over a million people from third world, destabilized, crime ridden and war torn countries suddenly flood a country, odds are good you’ve let in some criminals as well (that is probably terribly un-PC - the same would be true of any country, but I think it’s safe to say you have more bad behavior in environments where things have already gone to hell in a hand basket.)

>>> Once again, strawman.

Niclynn - 05 January 2016 07:54 PM

Anyways, I am utterly exhausted with the “arguing in slogans” and “Amen! Preach it!’ arguments. If debating online has taught me anything, it’s that in the absence of data that is specific to answering certain questions, everything else is an intuition-off. I still think (well, lean towards, although I strive for agnosticism), that despite all it’s problems, that religion is not evil. Religion is a product of people, and as such, sometimes it is transcendent and sometimes it is horrible. You disagree. If I see data that is specific to this question, I’ll reconsider, but “Look, people doing people things!” is not data.

>>> Such sloppy mis-characterizations, tch, tch.

[ Edited: 05 January 2016 20:19 by icehorse]
 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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05 January 2016 23:29
 

Excellent point about cultural erosion. This is probably the real thrust of my worry. Whether violent or peaceful, there are always religious factions that want to dominate society and institute theocracy. We don’t have to guess about ISIS intentions. I’m willing to take them at their word in regards to their goals.

Of course I don’t want to die in a plane hijacking but I especially don’t want hijackings to be manipulated into a fearful concession of liberty. I don’t want our fear of Islam to co-opt into an alliance with Dominionism or Zionism or some other toxic counterpart.

I feel like liberal Muslims in plural societies are as or more plural-minded as anyone. This is my experience anyway. But I wonder… how reliable is this tendency when they achieve a majority. Even they represent unilateral opposition to Islamism and Sharia would they endorse some variety of Muslim theocracy?

What I really need to do is ask some actual Muslims.

 
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06 January 2016 00:23
 
Brick Bungalow - 05 January 2016 11:29 PM

I feel like liberal Muslims in plural societies are as or more plural-minded as anyone. This is my experience anyway. But I wonder… how reliable is this tendency when they achieve a majority. Even they represent unilateral opposition to Islamism and Sharia would they endorse some variety of Muslim theocracy?

What I really need to do is ask some actual Muslims.

You can answer your question by looking at some 50+ Muslim majority countries and see if you can locate a single one that has a secular system. Nothing like the actual data both [1400 years] past and present.

 
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06 January 2016 13:15
 
Celal - 06 January 2016 12:23 AM
Brick Bungalow - 05 January 2016 11:29 PM

I feel like liberal Muslims in plural societies are as or more plural-minded as anyone. This is my experience anyway. But I wonder… how reliable is this tendency when they achieve a majority. Even they represent unilateral opposition to Islamism and Sharia would they endorse some variety of Muslim theocracy?

What I really need to do is ask some actual Muslims.

You can answer your question by looking at some 50+ Muslim majority countries and see if you can locate a single one that has a secular system. Nothing like the actual data both [1400 years] past and present.

But, but, “culture”.. no, no “economics”, wait “western imperialism”...

It’s gotta be any reason other than simply “inferior ideology”. (Brick, this rant was not directed at you.)

 
 
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06 January 2016 14:20
 
icehorse - 06 January 2016 01:15 PM

But, but, “culture”.. no, no “economics”, wait “western imperialism”...

It’s gotta be any reason other than simply “inferior ideology”.

Muslims in the West and the secularists,  even if they learn the truth about Islam’s bloody doctrine and history, it would follow that they have to make a moral decision, AND it is this decision they try to avoid at all costs. Instead, they either choose to attack people such as Sam Harris, Hitchens for they are the bearers of this moral choice or hide behind the “we are the World” sentimentality.

Neither changes Islam’s true nature. That it exists for its own sake. It seeks to impose itself on its adherents, and no one is allowed to suffer the natural consequences of their own “sins” when they face their creator; adulterers, blasphemers, etc are eliminated in this material World and the group is purified. Individual freedoms are sacrificed for the continuation of the “whole” called Islam.  This can only go on as a “totalitarian” ideology, not as a peaceful, warm fuzzy, and feel good untruths. That is the reason why there has never been or can not ever be a true secular Islam.