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Why can’t Muslims criticize Islam

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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16 September 2018 08:21
 

The author of the article grew up in Muslim majority societies and moved to “the West”, where he thought he could work to reform Islam. Instead he found many strong forces in “the West” - while open to criticizing other religions - are not open to having Islam criticized. Nicely written…

criticize Islam?

 
 
hannahtoo
 
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hannahtoo
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16 September 2018 13:19
 

It is hard to tell from this article whether Rafizadeh deserves disapproval or not.  I would counter that there has certainly been criticism of Islam by Muslims.  Think of the popularity of the book and movie Kite Runner, written by Khaled Hosseini.  I’ve also read other best-selling books by Muslim women who decry the abuses of their upbringings, such as Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia.

Could it be the nature of his criticism that is the problem for Rafizadeh?

Also, I don’t think it is true that Jews can criticize Jews without objection.  Certainly discussion of Israeli/Palestinian relations are a source of tension within synagogue congregations.  And criticism of Christians by Christians also can make sparks fly.  See the Catholic Church.

What specifically has Rafizadeh said that has drawn criticism?

 
hannahtoo
 
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hannahtoo
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16 September 2018 14:08
 

I thought of two more examples of people rooted in Islamic culture, but who are critical of the abuses and are celebrated in the West.  Neither of these people, however, considers him/herself to be a Muslim now.

Salman Rushdie, who wrote Satanic Verses, was born in India and revered his Kashmiri grandfather who was a devout Muslim.  Rushdie describes him as a model of tolerance.  Azar Nafisi was born in Iran, educated in the West, and taught for many years in universities in Tehran after the revolution.  She wrote Reading Lolita in Tehran, which was a NY Times Bestseller. 

My point, again, is that I don’t see an overall rejection of Muslims or others in the West who criticize human rights violations by Muslims.  I see the criticism of people who make statements disparaging Islam en toto and sow fear of its adherents.

 
icehorse
 
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17 September 2018 08:27
 
hannahtoo - 16 September 2018 02:08 PM

I thought of two more examples of people rooted in Islamic culture, but who are critical of the abuses and are celebrated in the West.  Neither of these people, however, considers him/herself to be a Muslim now.

Salman Rushdie, who wrote Satanic Verses, was born in India and revered his Kashmiri grandfather who was a devout Muslim.  Rushdie describes him as a model of tolerance.  Azar Nafisi was born in Iran, educated in the West, and taught for many years in universities in Tehran after the revolution.  She wrote Reading Lolita in Tehran, which was a NY Times Bestseller. 

My point, again, is that I don’t see an overall rejection of Muslims or others in the West who criticize human rights violations by Muslims.  I see the criticism of people who make statements disparaging Islam en toto and sow fear of its adherents.

In case you forgot, the West’s handling of the Satanic Verses controversy was perhaps one of our worst hours. Rushdie was attacked by the church and by Western media. The issuers of death fatwas and the Muslim rioters were given a pass. (This BTW was very similar to the Danish cartoon incident - another of the West’s weakest hours - in which virtually the entire Western media refused to publish cartoons. Out of fear?)

As for the writer of the article in the OP, I guess I’m missing your point? Are you saying that because you don’t see him being shut down, he’s not being shut down? That’s how I’m reading your response, so I must be missing something?

 
 
Celal
 
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Celal
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17 September 2018 10:38
 

I found Salman Rushdie’s subject book tedious and boring. Perhaps others did as well. But they went further ...

-Feminist author Germaine Greer, who refused to sign a petition supporting The Satanic Verses because she said it was “about his [Rushdie’s] own troubles”. She added that Rushdie was “a megalomaniac, an Englishman with a dark skin”

-Former US President Jimmy Carter wrote in an op-ed provided to him by the paper of record, New York Times, entitled “Rushdie’s Book is an Insult,”

- British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper wrote “I would not shed a tear if some British Muslims, deploring his manners, should waylay him in a dark street and seek to improve them”

and so on ...

Ironically the fatwa made Salman Rushdie an international mega-celebrity, giving his work attention that would not perhaps get deservedly otherwise. At the same time, it exposed the hypocrisy in the west, essentially supporting ICE’s point.

 
icehorse
 
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17 September 2018 11:41
 
Celal - 17 September 2018 10:38 AM

I found Salman Rushdie’s subject book tedious and boring. Perhaps others did as well. But they went further ...

-Feminist author Germaine Greer, who refused to sign a petition supporting The Satanic Verses because she said it was “about his [Rushdie’s] own troubles”. She added that Rushdie was “a megalomaniac, an Englishman with a dark skin”

-Former US President Jimmy Carter wrote in an op-ed provided to him by the paper of record, New York Times, entitled “Rushdie’s Book is an Insult,”

- British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper wrote “I would not shed a tear if some British Muslims, deploring his manners, should waylay him in a dark street and seek to improve them”

and so on ...

Ironically the fatwa made Salman Rushdie an international mega-celebrity, giving his work attention that would not perhaps get deservedly otherwise. At the same time, it exposed the hypocrisy in the west, essentially supporting ICE’s point.

FWIW, I found the book to be erratic. There were sections I liked and sections that didn’t impress me. But the quality of the book isn’t really the point. The point is the alraming degree to which “the West” allowed religious fundamentalists to act as censors and purveyors of charges of blasphemy. The very idea of something being blasphemous ought to be laughed out of the room.

 
 
hannahtoo
 
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hannahtoo
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17 September 2018 16:09
 
icehorse - 17 September 2018 08:27 AM
hannahtoo - 16 September 2018 02:08 PM

I thought of two more examples of people rooted in Islamic culture, but who are critical of the abuses and are celebrated in the West.  Neither of these people, however, considers him/herself to be a Muslim now.

Salman Rushdie, who wrote Satanic Verses, was born in India and revered his Kashmiri grandfather who was a devout Muslim.  Rushdie describes him as a model of tolerance.  Azar Nafisi was born in Iran, educated in the West, and taught for many years in universities in Tehran after the revolution.  She wrote Reading Lolita in Tehran, which was a NY Times Bestseller. 

My point, again, is that I don’t see an overall rejection of Muslims or others in the West who criticize human rights violations by Muslims.  I see the criticism of people who make statements disparaging Islam en toto and sow fear of its adherents.

In case you forgot, the West’s handling of the Satanic Verses controversy was perhaps one of our worst hours. Rushdie was attacked by the church and by Western media. The issuers of death fatwas and the Muslim rioters were given a pass. (This BTW was very similar to the Danish cartoon incident - another of the West’s weakest hours - in which virtually the entire Western media refused to publish cartoons. Out of fear?)

As for the writer of the article in the OP, I guess I’m missing your point? Are you saying that because you don’t see him being shut down, he’s not being shut down? That’s how I’m reading your response, so I must be missing something?

I gave three other examples of people who were brought up in Muslim cultures and wrote critically, even scathingly about it, and were popular with audiences in the West.  Malala Yousafzai was given a Nobel Peace Prize for speaking out against the Taliban.

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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17 September 2018 16:14
 

hannah:

I gave three other examples of people who were brought up in Muslim cultures and wrote critically, even scathingly about it, and were popular with audiences in the West.  Malala Yousafzai was given a Nobel Peace Prize for speaking out against the Taliban.

Hmmm. Zooming out, wouldn’t you agree that a thing can be a problem even if it’s not a problem 100% of the time? E.g. not every handgun ever made ends up being used to murder a person, but we can still say handguns are a problem.

From that perspective, it doesn’t matter if “sometimes” Muslims can criticize Islam. The OP is about those times when they cannot.

 
 
hannahtoo
 
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17 September 2018 18:59
 
icehorse - 17 September 2018 04:14 PM

hannah:

I gave three other examples of people who were brought up in Muslim cultures and wrote critically, even scathingly about it, and were popular with audiences in the West.  Malala Yousafzai was given a Nobel Peace Prize for speaking out against the Taliban.

Hmmm. Zooming out, wouldn’t you agree that a thing can be a problem even if it’s not a problem 100% of the time? E.g. not every handgun ever made ends up being used to murder a person, but we can still say handguns are a problem.

From that perspective, it doesn’t matter if “sometimes” Muslims can criticize Islam. The OP is about those times when they cannot.

So my question remains, why?  Is there something about the nature of his criticism versus that of the other authors and speakers I listed?  I don’t have the time nor inclination to look into the particulars of this writer.  I did find a list of his essays here:  https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/author/Majid+Rafizadeh

Looking at a recent one, he claimed that Muslims are on track to become the 2nd largest religious group in the US (currently about 1%).  He then jumps to a warning that this means Shariah Law could become the law of the land.  He is assuming that most of these Muslims are of radical bent or sympathizers.  This could be seen as painting Muslims with a broad brush, and sowing fear.  His motive may be a sincere fear based on his own experiences in Iran.  But I disagree that American Muslims, as a whole, seek the downfall of US culture.

Here is the beginning of a response to one of Rafizadeh’s articles, which I found on the internet:

The editorial I address here was written by Harvard scholar Dr. Majid Rafizadeh. In his writing, he accuses “most” liberals as being “apologetic for all types of fundamentalist Islamist laws” and that they “turn a blind eye to Islamist governments such as Iran that…execute people for expressing their opinion”.

Insisting that liberals defend Iran and countries like it would require M. Rafizadeh to ignore liberal groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty Internation, both of which have clearly critciized Iran for its wrongdoings. Saying that most liberals support Iran and other Islamist government is an awfully strong claim to make without sufficient proof.

[ Edited: 17 September 2018 19:28 by hannahtoo]
 
icehorse
 
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17 September 2018 19:52
 

hannah:

So my question remains, why?  Is there something about the nature of his criticism versus that of the other authors and speakers I listed?

That’s a hard question to answer, but I would say this, it’s really hard to see what caused such an outrage in the Rushdie novel. My understanding is that most of the critics of the Rushdie novel were just jumping on the bandwagon of criticism, and probably hadn’t actually read the novel. I bring this up because I suspect that frequently it isn’t so much the contents of the writing being criticized, but some other politically motivated reasons.

hannah:

Looking at a recent one, he claimed that Muslims are on track to become the 2nd largest religious group in the US (currently about 1%).  He then jumps to a warning that this means Shariah Law could become the law of the land.  He is assuming that most of these Muslims are of radical bent or sympathizers.  This could be seen as painting Muslims with a broad brush, and sowing fear.  His motive may be a sincere fear based on his own experiences in Iran.  But I disagree that American Muslims, as a whole, seek the downfall of US culture.

I’m not sure how you made the assumption you made about the author’s assumption? It doesn’t take most of a large group to shake things up, it just takes a extremist minority.

 
 
hannahtoo
 
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18 September 2018 05:45
 
icehorse - 17 September 2018 07:52 PM

hannah:

So my question remains, why?  Is there something about the nature of his criticism versus that of the other authors and speakers I listed?

That’s a hard question to answer, but I would say this, it’s really hard to see what caused such an outrage in the Rushdie novel. My understanding is that most of the critics of the Rushdie novel were just jumping on the bandwagon of criticism, and probably hadn’t actually read the novel. I bring this up because I suspect that frequently it isn’t so much the contents of the writing being criticized, but some other politically motivated reasons.

hannah:

Looking at a recent one, he claimed that Muslims are on track to become the 2nd largest religious group in the US (currently about 1%).  He then jumps to a warning that this means Shariah Law could become the law of the land.  He is assuming that most of these Muslims are of radical bent or sympathizers.  This could be seen as painting Muslims with a broad brush, and sowing fear.  His motive may be a sincere fear based on his own experiences in Iran.  But I disagree that American Muslims, as a whole, seek the downfall of US culture.

I’m not sure how you made the assumption you made about the author’s assumption? It doesn’t take most of a large group to shake things up, it just takes a extremist minority.

What if someone said that Antifa represented Democrats?  Or Westboro Baptist Church represented Christians?  Would you still agree that “it just takes an extremist minority”?

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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18 September 2018 07:21
 
hannahtoo - 18 September 2018 05:45 AM
icehorse - 17 September 2018 07:52 PM

hannah:

So my question remains, why?  Is there something about the nature of his criticism versus that of the other authors and speakers I listed?

That’s a hard question to answer, but I would say this, it’s really hard to see what caused such an outrage in the Rushdie novel. My understanding is that most of the critics of the Rushdie novel were just jumping on the bandwagon of criticism, and probably hadn’t actually read the novel. I bring this up because I suspect that frequently it isn’t so much the contents of the writing being criticized, but some other politically motivated reasons.

hannah:

Looking at a recent one, he claimed that Muslims are on track to become the 2nd largest religious group in the US (currently about 1%).  He then jumps to a warning that this means Shariah Law could become the law of the land.  He is assuming that most of these Muslims are of radical bent or sympathizers.  This could be seen as painting Muslims with a broad brush, and sowing fear.  His motive may be a sincere fear based on his own experiences in Iran.  But I disagree that American Muslims, as a whole, seek the downfall of US culture.

I’m not sure how you made the assumption you made about the author’s assumption? It doesn’t take most of a large group to shake things up, it just takes a extremist minority.

What if someone said that Antifa represented Democrats?  Or Westboro Baptist Church represented Christians?  Would you still agree that “it just takes an extremist minority”?

Sadly - to some degree - I would. It’s often the extremist tail that wags the dog. Those Westboro folks end up making a lot of noise and having more pull than they ought to.

In the case of Muslims though, it’s not such a small minority, in fact it’s arguably not a minority at all. It seems that around half the world’s Muslims want to live in a theocracy.

 
 
hannahtoo
 
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hannahtoo
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18 September 2018 13:08
 

Hannah:
What if someone said that Antifa represented Democrats?  Or Westboro Baptist Church represented Christians?  Would you still agree that “it just takes an extremist minority”?

Icehorse:
Sadly - to some degree - I would. It’s often the extremist tail that wags the dog. Those Westboro folks end up making a lot of noise and having more pull than they ought to.

That sort of sentiment is why our nation is so polarized.  Yes, Westboro makes a lot of noise.  So much that other citizens are appalled and use them as an example of harmful extremism.  They are the fringe that the vast majority of Christians wish to dissociate from.  It would be dishonest and purposefully inflammatory to say they represent the views of the US Christian population.

Icehorse:
In the case of Muslims though, it’s not such a small minority, in fact it’s arguably not a minority at all. It seems that around half the world’s Muslims want to live in a theocracy.

 

How does this jive with the number who fleeing are from their homelands?  I understand Muslim immigrants want the right to wear the hijab if they please.  They want shops where they can buy halal food.  They may want the right to pray during the work day.  But do they really want or expect to overthrow the US government to create a theocracy?  The majority, really?

[ Edited: 18 September 2018 13:12 by hannahtoo]
 
icehorse
 
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18 September 2018 13:43
 

hannah:

That sort of sentiment is why our nation is so polarized.  Yes, Westboro makes a lot of noise.  So much that other citizens are appalled and use them as an example of harmful extremism.  They are the fringe that the vast majority of Christians wish to dissociate from.  It would be dishonest and purposefully inflammatory to say they represent the views of the US Christian population.

Agreed. So we have to distinguish between common views and views that impact society. For example, I would guess that as a percentage, very few “christians” believe in intelligent design, but those who do, have had a huge detrimental impact on the teaching of biology in this country.

hannah:

How does this jive with the number who fleeing are from their homelands?  I understand Muslim immigrants want the right to wear the hijab if they please.  They want shops where they can buy halal food.  They may want the right to pray during the work day.  But do they really want or expect to overthrow the US government to create a theocracy?  The majority, really?

Well first off it would be good to know how many Muslims in the West were “fleeing” as opposed to just seeking better economic opportunities? But even leaving that aside for the moment, in the UK, about half of the Muslims think sharia should be the law of the land. I don’t know why we’d imagine that US Muslims would think significantly differently than UK Muslims?

 
 
hannahtoo
 
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hannahtoo
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18 September 2018 15:44
 

Currently 38% of Americans believe in Creationist view (not just Christians).  That is at an all-time low, yet it is a whole lot of people!  And the same percentage believe that humans evolved, but God guided the process.  (Stats according to Gallup.)  So it’s not just “a few” that have been influencing education, etc.

Can you provide a reference for the claim that half the Muslims in UK want to change the government to Sharia law?

 
icehorse
 
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19 September 2018 08:36
 
hannahtoo - 18 September 2018 03:44 PM

Currently 38% of Americans believe in Creationist view (not just Christians).  That is at an all-time low, yet it is a whole lot of people!  And the same percentage believe that humans evolved, but God guided the process.  (Stats according to Gallup.)  So it’s not just “a few” that have been influencing education, etc.

Can you provide a reference for the claim that half the Muslims in UK want to change the government to Sharia law?

On your first point, I would say that relatively few IDers are the noisemakers that have made 1/3 of our high school biology teachers stop teaching evolution. And they stop teaching evolution because it’s just not worth the hassle to deal with this small group of ID extremists.

On the second point, I googled: “uk muslims support for sharia” and got a bunch of hits, here are the first few:

secularism.org

guardian

nytimes

 
 
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