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Unwitting Propaganda and Islam vs. Human Rights

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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23 March 2019 20:32
 

no pro:

I am talking about trying to understand Islam by understanding what actual Muslims believe, how they practice, what they have believed through history

There is some overlap here. Since I think it’s hard to know what people believe, I think a better path to see how they behave.

no-pro:

I don’t think you are purposely misintepreting me but you seem to be interpreting everything I say through this image you have of the liberal who is out to defend Islam as a “religion of peace” and explain away all the mean stuff.

Fwiw, you’ve misunderstood me. I think that ours has been one of the better conversations / debates I’ve had. You come across as someone who will change their mind if new data presents itself.

no-pro:

The point I am making is that you can’t know whether this is what Muslims believe by reading the Quran alone in your room, deciding what you think it means, and what seems obvious to you, and then claiming that your interpretation represents the “core of Islam.”

I agree - it’s a good think I’m not doing that!

no-pro:

But the effect that reciting a bunch of words has on our brains is determined, at least to a large degree, by the meaning we assign to those words, so you can’t know what effect reciting those prayers have unless you know what the words and phrases mean to practicing Muslims and to know that you need to actually look at the world.

I feel I’m on pretty solid ground reading the translations of Islamic scholars who have devoted their careers to creating accurate translations.

no-pro:

Your interpretation and selection of the evidence is just as distorted as your overall view of Islam. You are essentially just gathering newspaper clippings and isolated pieces of data (which I think you often misinterpret) that support your view of Islam.

You cannot possibly know the extent of my research.

no-pro:

No, I am simply claiming that you don’t get to decide, based on your own interpretation, who Muslims believe God is angry at. Muslims decide that and if you want to form an accurate view of Islam you need to base your view of what Muslims believe on what they actually believe and not what you say they should believe based on your reading of the Quran.

I think the Islamic scholars who spent years on these translations might take some offense here. You seem to be saying that these scholars weren’t tapped in to the culture from which they were translating? I have to say I’m going to take their word over yours. No offense, but you seem to place no value on expertise, at least not in this case.

no-pro:

No, I am simply claiming that you don’t get to decide, based on your own interpretation, who Muslims believe God is angry at.

I’m not, I’m trusting top Islamic scholars. BTW, I haven’t asked you, which translation(s) have you read?

no-pro:

What you consider “common sense” is a result of your own hermeneutic context. What you consider a “common sense” reading or interpretation is not necessarily the same as what an Afghan peasant, who grew up listening to his family sing Sufi poems on the farm, or what an Arab nomad in the 12th century, would consider common sense.

I think the difference between our views might boil down to this: You seem to think it is possible to read a passage from the Quran and just provide a completely literal interpretation that is not effected by your particular context. I do not think that is possible, and from what I understand about cognitive science, I am right.

Again, I think this is a good conversation. That said, I find you mostly repeating yourself here, so must as well.

I am not relying on myself. Although, as a professional editor, I think my reading comprehension skills are up to the task. As I have said several times, I value and respect the expertise of the Islamic scholars who translated the book. You appear not to. You seem to be saying that these scholars knew nothing of the people in the cultures we’re discussing.

no-pro:

What exactly in learning theory or cognitive science makes you think that you can deduce what actual Muslims believe by sitting alone in your room and deciding what you think the passages in their holy book mean?

Come on man. That’s a strawman and I know you well enough to be pretty sure you know it. You’ve asked this question several times earlier in this thread and I’ve answered it.

So let me ask you: Have you considered AND RESPECTED the expertise that’s gone into creating these translations? You appear to either have not thought about it, or you haven’t read these translations, or you’ve grossly underestimated and under-appreciated the hard work and expertise involved.

 
 
burt
 
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burt
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23 March 2019 21:44
 
icehorse - 23 March 2019 08:32 PM

no pro:

I am talking about trying to understand Islam by understanding what actual Muslims believe, how they practice, what they have believed through history

There is some overlap here. Since I think it’s hard to know what people believe, I think a better path to see how they behave.

no-pro:

I don’t think you are purposely misintepreting me but you seem to be interpreting everything I say through this image you have of the liberal who is out to defend Islam as a “religion of peace” and explain away all the mean stuff.

Fwiw, you’ve misunderstood me. I think that ours has been one of the better conversations / debates I’ve had. You come across as someone who will change their mind if new data presents itself.

no-pro:

The point I am making is that you can’t know whether this is what Muslims believe by reading the Quran alone in your room, deciding what you think it means, and what seems obvious to you, and then claiming that your interpretation represents the “core of Islam.”

I agree - it’s a good think I’m not doing that!

no-pro:

But the effect that reciting a bunch of words has on our brains is determined, at least to a large degree, by the meaning we assign to those words, so you can’t know what effect reciting those prayers have unless you know what the words and phrases mean to practicing Muslims and to know that you need to actually look at the world.

I feel I’m on pretty solid ground reading the translations of Islamic scholars who have devoted their careers to creating accurate translations.

no-pro:

Your interpretation and selection of the evidence is just as distorted as your overall view of Islam. You are essentially just gathering newspaper clippings and isolated pieces of data (which I think you often misinterpret) that support your view of Islam.

You cannot possibly know the extent of my research.

no-pro:

No, I am simply claiming that you don’t get to decide, based on your own interpretation, who Muslims believe God is angry at. Muslims decide that and if you want to form an accurate view of Islam you need to base your view of what Muslims believe on what they actually believe and not what you say they should believe based on your reading of the Quran.

I think the Islamic scholars who spent years on these translations might take some offense here. You seem to be saying that these scholars weren’t tapped in to the culture from which they were translating? I have to say I’m going to take their word over yours. No offense, but you seem to place no value on expertise, at least not in this case.

no-pro:

No, I am simply claiming that you don’t get to decide, based on your own interpretation, who Muslims believe God is angry at.

I’m not, I’m trusting top Islamic scholars. BTW, I haven’t asked you, which translation(s) have you read?

no-pro:

What you consider “common sense” is a result of your own hermeneutic context. What you consider a “common sense” reading or interpretation is not necessarily the same as what an Afghan peasant, who grew up listening to his family sing Sufi poems on the farm, or what an Arab nomad in the 12th century, would consider common sense.

I think the difference between our views might boil down to this: You seem to think it is possible to read a passage from the Quran and just provide a completely literal interpretation that is not effected by your particular context. I do not think that is possible, and from what I understand about cognitive science, I am right.

Again, I think this is a good conversation. That said, I find you mostly repeating yourself here, so must as well.

I am not relying on myself. Although, as a professional editor, I think my reading comprehension skills are up to the task. As I have said several times, I value and respect the expertise of the Islamic scholars who translated the book. You appear not to. You seem to be saying that these scholars knew nothing of the people in the cultures we’re discussing.

no-pro:

What exactly in learning theory or cognitive science makes you think that you can deduce what actual Muslims believe by sitting alone in your room and deciding what you think the passages in their holy book mean?

Come on man. That’s a strawman and I know you well enough to be pretty sure you know it. You’ve asked this question several times earlier in this thread and I’ve answered it.

So let me ask you: Have you considered AND RESPECTED the expertise that’s gone into creating these translations? You appear to either have not thought about it, or you haven’t read these translations, or you’ve grossly underestimated and under-appreciated the hard work and expertise involved.

Ice, reading this over I see a basic lack of connection between you and no-pro. You rely on translations by expert theologians and such, but seem to take the literal words rather than understanding no-pro’s point that the literal text is experienced within a cultural context that provides meanings beyond the words on the page. For example, the bible itself has God angry at the Jews (e.g., the Golden Calf), and the Muslim criticism of Christianity is that it became misdirected by asserting Jesus is God. So, one way of reading that prayer is simply to keep the straight path, avoiding God’s anger and not placing anything in the place of Allah.

 
no_profundia
 
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no_profundia
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23 March 2019 22:41
 

As is often the case, I find that burt has managed to express the points I typed up in response to icehorse’s latest post much more succinctly and just as eloquently. I had already typed up this long-winded post before I read burt’s response so I will post it in case it adds any further illumination:

Fwiw, you’ve misunderstood me. I think that ours has been one of the better conversations / debates I’ve had. You come across as someone who will change their mind if new data presents itself.

Thank you for the compliment. I have been enjoying the discussion. Glad to hear you have enjoyed the discussion as well.

I feel I’m on pretty solid ground reading the translations of Islamic scholars who have devoted their careers to creating accurate translations.

I think the Islamic scholars who spent years on these translations might take some offense here. You seem to be saying that these scholars weren’t tapped in to the culture from which they were translating? I have to say I’m going to take their word over yours. No offense, but you seem to place no value on expertise, at least not in this case.

You make this point a few times so I am just going to respond once here. You are again misunderstanding me. I am not claiming that the translators are mistranslating the Arabic. I am saying that the meaning of the words is ambiguous and underdetermined, even in the original Arabic. I have no doubt that “non-believer” is a relatively accurate translation of whatever the Arabic term (or likely terms) being used are. What I am claiming is, the meaning of the term “non-believer” is ambiguous even if we stick to the original Arabic.

In your last post it seemed to me you interpreted non-believer to mean non-Muslim but the passage I cited refers to Jews and Christians as “those who believe.” So, even if we stick just to the Quran, and ignore all the other interpretations of non-believer that might influence how a practicing Muslim might interpret these passages, I think your interpretation is likely off the mark.

I’m not, I’m trusting top Islamic scholars. BTW, I haven’t asked you, which translation(s) have you read?

The only translation I have read cover to cover is the Oxford Classics A.J. Arberry translation. I have The Study Quran which has multiple translators but I have only read sections of it. The footnotes are quite extensive and illuminating and I bought it for that reason.

Although, as a professional editor, I think my reading comprehension skills are up to the task.

It is not simply about reading comprehension skills. I am running into a bit of a barrier here that is actually relevant to the discussion we are having. This is going to involve a fairly lengthy digression but I am hoping it helps clear up the misunderstandings we are running into. So, let me start by saying a bit about my background. I have a Masters degree in philosophy and I studied Continental philosophy in school. One of the strands of Continental philosophy is a strand that came to be called hermeneutics. The term hermeneutics is used in Biblical studies, and predates the philosophical movement that came to be labeled with the term. In Biblical studies hermeneutics is largely about various interpretive methods for understanding the Bible, and the philosophical movement is largely concerned with the problem of interpretation (which they think is even more universal than the general focus on texts would suggest).

The barrier I am running into is, I am making arguments that I think would be immediately understood by anyone who was fairly familiar with Continental philosophy and hermeneutics. I am guessing you are not super familiar with the movement? I think that is leading to misunderstandings and it actually illustrates one of the fundamental points that the hermeneutic philosophers are trying to make. So, hopefully this quick discussion of hermeneutics will be illuminating.

I will start with Christianity as an example. There have been various interpretive methods throughout the history of Christianity. I am only vaguely familiar with them but some examples would be: early Christian interpreters who interpreted the Bible in terms of Neo-Platonism and Greek metaphysics, Protestant Reformers who tried to purge Christianity of all Hellenistic influences, the historical-critical method which attempts to understand the Bible by placing it within its historical context and analyzing that context by using the tools of modern historical scholarship, and so on.

Hermeneutics in a broader sense is not only concerned with interpreting the Bible but any “foreign” text, and by foreign I am not simply referring to texts that were written in another language, although that might be the case. A text is foreign if it was written in a different time and/or historical context. Interpreting texts that were written in different times and historical contexts raises questions that interpreting a text that was written in our own time and our own context does not usually raise. There are all sorts of shared but unspoken assumptions that go into our everyday understanding of each other.

But how do we interpret a text that was written in a time or place where the shared unspoken assumptions were different than the unspoken assumptions in the time or place that we live? Well, one of the insights of the hermeneutic philosophers is, we can’t ever escape our context. We have to interpret texts based on our own context, which does not necessarily mean we are trapped in our own worldview because some of our unspoken assumptions can be made explicit and can be challenged by texts that were written in a different time, but it does mean that we bring a lot of baggage with us when we read a foreign text. The hermeneutic philosophers argued that was a good thing (Gadamer critiqued what he called the “prejudice against prejudice”) but that is not really relevant so I will leave that aside.

The point I am driving at is, I have no doubt that your reading comprehension skills are fully satisfactory. That does not change the fact that you are bringing a lot of your own baggage to your interpretation of the Quran. That baggage may or may not coincide with the baggage that an Afghan peasant, a cosmopolitan Indonesian Muslim, or an Arab nomad would bring to their interpretation of the Quran, and what is just as important, the baggage that an Afghan peasant and an Arab nomad bring to the text may be quite different from each other.

I think the problem of understanding that you and I are currently running into illustrates this point. As far as I know, you and I share a basic cultural context. We both live in the United States (I think?). We both live in the same time period and we are familiar with current historical events. We speak the same language. We understand the subtle meanings of words that someone from an outside culture (even another culture that speaks English) might not understand. If someone were to write an article about the rise of authoritarian rhetoric in the United States we would both likely associate it to some degree with Trump even if Trump was never mentioned in the article. This is not something that would necessarily be the case if someone were to read the same article 1200 years from now. They might have no idea that the article was making a concealed reference to Trump and that might lead them to interpret the article differently than you or I would.

If someone were to be even more vague and instead refer to the “whore of Babylon” in terms that you or I would immediately interpret as referring to Trump, those same words might be interpreted in a very different way 1200 years from now. Many religious texts are extremely ambiguous in this way. They are referring to specific people and events in their own time and place in very symbolic terms which then are interpreted with reference to different people and events in a different time and place. The whore of Babylon becomes the Catholic Church in Protestantism, etc.

There is potentially a lot in the Quran that meant one thing to the people writing it and the earliest Islamic community that we miss or interpret differently because we don’t share the same context. When they talked about “non-believers”, or Jews and Christians, they likely had particular people and communities in mind, the way that our authoritarian article had Trump in mind. According to the Wikipedia article there are multiple words for Jews used in the Quran, some referring to the race, some to particular believers, some to the “People of the Book” which likely included Christians, so if we want to understand what a passage about Jews meant to the people writing the Quran, which is not necessarily what it means to a contemporary Muslim, we need to understand these differences, determine who they had in mind, what they objected to, and so on. So, there is a lot of shared background that you and I share that makes it easier for us to understand each other than it is for either of us to understand the Quran.

However, even with all that shared context I feel like you are often misinterpreting what I am saying and I have a feeling it is because we do not share the same intellectual background. If I were to make these same arguments to the people who were studying hermeneutical philosophy with me I would be immediately understood and I would likely understand you better if I had read all the same books and articles on learning and cognitive theory that you have read. So, even though we share the same culture, and we are using the same language, and we are trying to express ourselves as precisely as possible, we still have trouble understanding each other because we are bringing different backgrounds to the words as we are reading (or typing) them. The background we bring to the table whenever we are reading anything written by somebody else influences how we interpret what we are reading. This background is often unconscious but it is present in the least educated person as well as the person with three doctorates.

So, if we are having trouble understanding each other because of our differing backgrounds, how much more must this be the case with a book like the Quran, which was written in a different language, in a different time, and with a whole different set of shared understandings? And how differently will an Afghan peasant interpret the book than you are I? So, I don’t think that the interpretation that you come up with when you read the book, even if you are reading the best translation available, and even if you scored a perfect score in reading comprehension on your SATs, is necessarily going to reflect how Muslims interpret the book, and how Muslims living in Saudi Arabia today interpret the book is not necessarily going to be the same as how Muslims living in India in the 12th century interpreted the book.

And even if you agree on the meaning of a certain passage with the Afghan peasant - perhaps you both agree that non-believers refer to people who reject Mohammed as a prophet - how do you know how important different passages are to actual believing Muslims without anthropological studies? There are lots of passages in the Bible that Christians just totally ignore. This is why, if you want to understand Islam, you have to study Islam as it actually exists, in different contexts, rather than simply “deriving” what Muslims believe from your own interpretation of some passages from the Quran.

I have not answered all the points you made but hopefully this long detour will have shed some light on things?

[ Edited: 23 March 2019 22:47 by no_profundia]
 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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24 March 2019 08:48
 

no-pro, burt,

Very nice conversation, thoughtful, cool.

no-pro, thanks for the primer on your background, I can see how this perspective is a useful one.

I want to try to slice and dice this from a different angle (or two). For the sake of discussion, let’s say that in the world today, the Quran fosters intolerance. (Which is my premise.) If we want to solve this problem, we might start by creating two large steps in the solution:

1 - Figure out how to make the premise gain traction in the world. In other words, get a decent chunk of the population to agree that there is a problem. (We can notice that even on the Sam Harris forum we don’t have that agreement.) I think it was earlier in this thread that I mentioned the Muslim Reform Movement (MRM). This group is one that is tackling this step of the problem. They are Muslims who are explicitly declaring that Islamic intolerance - in today’s world - is an issue.

2 - Once we have enough of a consensus that the problem is real, we can start looking for compassionate ways to fix it or at least soften it. To me no-pro, this is where the type of analysis and research you’re advocating could be extremely useful.

So, returning to step 1, it strikes me that we have to focus on how the Quran is influencing Muslims around the world today. An idea I haven’t mentioned yet is that the messages in the Quran go through all manner of transformation by the time they reach Muslims around the world. We know that a tiny percentage of Muslims can understand the original language, so for all practical purposes, today’s Muslims are relying on some combination of verbal transmission, interpretation through Imams, and translations by scholars. And it’s quite likely that by the time a Muslim is exposed to the book, several such transformations have occurred. So we have a massive version of “the telephone game” going on. As you probably know, whenever information is relayed or transformed, some errors are introduced. (Despite the Muslim claim that the Quran is un-corruptible.) In other words, the signal to noise ratio (S/N) is adversely affected. One aspect of a worsening S/N is that messages that are repeated more frequently, tend to survive transformations better than those messages that aren’t reinforced. This is why I think in this case, a parsimonious interpretation of the book has a lot of validity. If we read the book imagining that most of the nuance has been lost in route, some simple messages jump out:

- Non-Muslims are to be despised
- Women’s mental capacities are inferior to men’s
- Muslims are superior to all other tribes
- Gaining knowledge from sources other than the Quran is discouraged
- Intolerance towards Jews and homosexuals is encouraged.

While I understand that correlation is not causation, a lot of evidence in today’s world is consistent with the messages listed above:

- It’s been said that the country of Spain translates more books into Spanish, than the entire Muslim world has translated in the last 1000 years.
- Apart from those Muslim majority countries that won the oil lottery, almost all Muslim majority countries are not flourishing in the world.
- The recent mass migration of Muslims in to Europe has produced:
  - extremely high rates of unemployment
  - increasing misogyny (in many forms)
  - unusually low assimilation into host cultures
  - a continued, pernicious quest to introduce Sharia
- More broadly, we see that migration trends are almost exclusively away from Muslim majority countries
- Throughout the Muslim majority world we see rampant misogyny and human rights violations. (Notice that the MRM explicitly supports the UDHR, whereas the Muslim majority world explicitly rejected it and created in its stead the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, a Sharia-friendly take on human rights (ugh))
- Around the world, most calls for blasphemy laws originate with Muslims.
- Through much of the Muslim world, across many regions and cultures we see similar patterns:
  - FGM (regardless of where it might have originated, it clearly resonates with Muslim men.)
  - Apostasy viewed as a crime, sometimes a capital crime
  - High incidence of rape and low conviction rates for rape
  - Honor killings (again, not unique to Islam, but clearly a popular idea among Muslim men)
  - The death penalty for homosexuality
- Throughout the ME and northern Africa we see minority religions being put upon in many ways, often violently.

I’ll summarize by saying that the main, repeated messages in the Quran, survive reduced S/N and end up in the brains of Muslims throughout the world.

Once we accept that rough idea, then I think that the disciplines that no-pro has been explaining could help us create compassionate, respectful solutions.

 
 
no_profundia
 
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24 March 2019 10:04
 

I want to try to slice and dice this from a different angle (or two). For the sake of discussion, let’s say that in the world today, the Quran fosters intolerance. (Which is my premise.) If we want to solve this problem, we might start by creating two large steps in the solution:

1 - Figure out how to make the premise gain traction in the world. In other words, get a decent chunk of the population to agree that there is a problem. (We can notice that even on the Sam Harris forum we don’t have that agreement.)

While I have been enjoying the discussion I really intended to take a break from the forums for a while until I decided to respond to your post and I am feeling a need for a break so I am just going to offer one short final thought (not surprisingly it did not turn out to be as short as I hoped). I don’t think there is as much disagreement on the above as you think. I said many posts ago, and you agreed, that having a more complex view of Islam does not make you an Islamic apologist, and by extension, it does not mean that you deny that there are problems in the Muslim world that need solving.

I honestly doubt there is a single poster on these forums who is not concerned about radical Islamic terrorism, the human rights abuses in Muslim countries, and the other things you mention, or thinks that there is absolutely no connection between those things and Islam.

When people on these forums take issue with your comments on Islam I think you interpret them as disagreeing with you on this point but I don’t think that is accurate. The reason I decided to respond to your original post is, it seemed to me you were saying that anyone who does not accept that Islam is purely a totalitarian ideology, and that we should have no tolerance for Muslims in our country, we should not try to assimilate them, but instead try to make them feel ostracized and embarrased about their faith, is being dishonest and is partially culpable for crimes being committed by Muslims in Muslim countries.

That might be a really unfair reading of your intentions but that is the sense I got from reading your post and I don’t agree with that at all. I don’t think we need to adhere to a simplified and I think largely inaccurate view of Islam in order to address the problems you are raising. In fact, I think we have a responsibility, given those problems, to be very careful in our understanding of Islam, and to understand very clearly what is truly causing those problems. I think genuine understanding, rather than righteous indignation, is one of the only forces in the world that moves things in a positive direction. Lots of people are righteously angry about lots of things. Very few people take the time to patiently understand problems like this.

Islam may play a part, it may play a large part, in producing those problems, but we won’t know that unless we have a solid understanding of Islam, the role it plays in people’s daily lives, how beliefs interact with other factors to produce behavior, as well as the role that other factors might play (economic, social, political, etc.). The problems you are pointing to are very complex problems and they require very careful and responsible analysis. I think you have good intentions but I do sometimes wish you were a little more careful about calling people propagandists just because they don’t agree with everything you have to say about Islam (and you may not have meant propagandist in a pejorative sense but that is how I took it).

Even if everything I have written on this thread about Islam were false, even if it really was just a totalitarian ideology, the reason I believe the things I do about Islam is not because I am a propagandist for Islam, but because I believe my view of Islam - as limited and imperfect as it surely is - is true and I don’t think we should compromise on saying what is true.

This post is already longer than I intended but one more thought. Not only do I think that many people on this forum would agree the problems you raise are genuine problems but I think tons of people in the world agree. There are tons of scholars studying the root causes of terrorism, religious anthropology and the role religion plays in people’s daily lives, economics and the institutional problems that create poorly performing economies, and there are tons of activists and other people trying to promote reformed versions of Islam and promote women’s rights around the world. I don’t think the problem is necessarily that there are not enough people that agree these are problems so much as, these are really hard problems to solve.

To take just one example, there are serious collective action problems that make it incredibly difficult to replace authoritarian governments with democratic ones. This is not a problem that is unique to Islamic countries. We see it in Russia, China, Africa, Latin America and all over the world. The number of countries that have successfully managed to create fully functioning democracies, with free and fair elections, protection of minority rights, low levels of corruption, and so on is a small percentage of all the countries in the world. We know a lot about the kinds of institutions that create economic prosperity and yet, even with that knowledge, it is really difficult to create those institutions in the face of vested interests, an absence of democratic norms, and other collective action problems.

If Islam were to disappear overnight, I am not convinced that most of those problems would be solved. A reformed Islam would be a step in the right direction for sure but I think most of the problems you are pointing to require more than that. So, that is my final thought. Take care.

 
 
burt
 
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burt
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24 March 2019 13:40
 

I’ll go with no-pro here and retire from the conversation. Just one point though, regarding your statement that Spain has translated more books into Spanish than the entire Muslim world in the past 1000 years. And yet, 1000 years ago the largest library in Europe was owned by a bishop in Paris and contained some 200+ books. At the same time, there were streets of book sellers in the Muslim cities of Spain. 1000 years ago, the “House of Wisdom” in Baghdad was a flourishing center of philosophy, European scholars were just starting to make their way into the Muslim world to translate books of science and philosophy and take them back to Europe. Muslim rulers were lavish in their support of the arts, sciences, and philosophy. Islamic thinkers not only translated and commented on Greek thought, they made many new contributions in philosophy, science, mathematics. A scientific revolution almost happened. Jews and Christians were taxed, but not persecuted (contra Christian Spain 500 years later).

So the question to ask, it seems to me, is What Happened?

 
icehorse
 
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25 March 2019 10:56
 

no-pro and burt,

We made a lot of good progress - there are still some misunderstandings. if you want to pick it up later, cool.

What i will clarify here is that I continue to use the word “compassionate” so if you ascribe draconian policies to me, that’s probably a misunderstanding. That said, it’s often hard to know how to truly be kind. So - for example - I don’t think it’s a kindness to go easy on Islamic schools. They are often setting their children up to fail in the world.

 
 
burt
 
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25 March 2019 14:07
 
icehorse - 25 March 2019 10:56 AM

no-pro and burt,

We made a lot of good progress - there are still some misunderstandings. if you want to pick it up later, cool.

What i will clarify here is that I continue to use the word “compassionate” so if you ascribe draconian policies to me, that’s probably a misunderstanding. That said, it’s often hard to know how to truly be kind. So - for example - I don’t think it’s a kindness to go easy on Islamic schools. They are often setting their children up to fail in the world.

Same could be said about evangelical Christian schools, except that the evangelical community is large enough in the US to absorb lots of ignorant and misinformed individuals.

 
icehorse
 
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25 March 2019 14:12
 
burt - 25 March 2019 02:07 PM
icehorse - 25 March 2019 10:56 AM

no-pro and burt,

We made a lot of good progress - there are still some misunderstandings. if you want to pick it up later, cool.

What i will clarify here is that I continue to use the word “compassionate” so if you ascribe draconian policies to me, that’s probably a misunderstanding. That said, it’s often hard to know how to truly be kind. So - for example - I don’t think it’s a kindness to go easy on Islamic schools. They are often setting their children up to fail in the world.

Same could be said about evangelical Christian schools, except that the evangelical community is large enough in the US to absorb lots of ignorant and misinformed individuals.

agreed, but can’t we on this forum get past whataboutism arguments?

 
 
burt
 
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burt
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25 March 2019 17:13
 
icehorse - 25 March 2019 02:12 PM
burt - 25 March 2019 02:07 PM
icehorse - 25 March 2019 10:56 AM

no-pro and burt,

We made a lot of good progress - there are still some misunderstandings. if you want to pick it up later, cool.

What i will clarify here is that I continue to use the word “compassionate” so if you ascribe draconian policies to me, that’s probably a misunderstanding. That said, it’s often hard to know how to truly be kind. So - for example - I don’t think it’s a kindness to go easy on Islamic schools. They are often setting their children up to fail in the world.

Same could be said about evangelical Christian schools, except that the evangelical community is large enough in the US to absorb lots of ignorant and misinformed individuals.

agreed, but can’t we on this forum get past whataboutism arguments?

This isn’t whataboutism, as far as I know, Islamic schools in North America (certainly in Canada) have to follow the same curriculum as other schools in terms of subjects like English, math, science, etc., the issue would be schools in places like rural Pakistan. I think in North America the evangelicals get away with far more that any Islamic schools.

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
Total Posts:  7335
Joined  22-02-2014
 
 
 
25 March 2019 17:22
 
burt - 25 March 2019 05:13 PM
icehorse - 25 March 2019 02:12 PM
burt - 25 March 2019 02:07 PM
icehorse - 25 March 2019 10:56 AM

no-pro and burt,

We made a lot of good progress - there are still some misunderstandings. if you want to pick it up later, cool.

What i will clarify here is that I continue to use the word “compassionate” so if you ascribe draconian policies to me, that’s probably a misunderstanding. That said, it’s often hard to know how to truly be kind. So - for example - I don’t think it’s a kindness to go easy on Islamic schools. They are often setting their children up to fail in the world.

Same could be said about evangelical Christian schools, except that the evangelical community is large enough in the US to absorb lots of ignorant and misinformed individuals.

agreed, but can’t we on this forum get past whataboutism arguments?

This isn’t whataboutism, as far as I know, Islamic schools in North America (certainly in Canada) have to follow the same curriculum as other schools in terms of subjects like English, math, science, etc., the issue would be schools in places like rural Pakistan. I think in North America the evangelicals get away with far more that any Islamic schools.

Ah, I was thinking more on a world-wise basis than on a regional basis.

 
 
burt
 
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burt
Total Posts:  15614
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
25 March 2019 21:40
 
icehorse - 25 March 2019 05:22 PM
burt - 25 March 2019 05:13 PM
icehorse - 25 March 2019 02:12 PM
burt - 25 March 2019 02:07 PM
icehorse - 25 March 2019 10:56 AM

no-pro and burt,

We made a lot of good progress - there are still some misunderstandings. if you want to pick it up later, cool.

What i will clarify here is that I continue to use the word “compassionate” so if you ascribe draconian policies to me, that’s probably a misunderstanding. That said, it’s often hard to know how to truly be kind. So - for example - I don’t think it’s a kindness to go easy on Islamic schools. They are often setting their children up to fail in the world.

Same could be said about evangelical Christian schools, except that the evangelical community is large enough in the US to absorb lots of ignorant and misinformed individuals.

agreed, but can’t we on this forum get past whataboutism arguments?

This isn’t whataboutism, as far as I know, Islamic schools in North America (certainly in Canada) have to follow the same curriculum as other schools in terms of subjects like English, math, science, etc., the issue would be schools in places like rural Pakistan. I think in North America the evangelicals get away with far more that any Islamic schools.

Ah, I was thinking more on a world-wise basis than on a regional basis.

 

An aside, as you drive from the border crossing at Peace Arch up to Vancouver you will pass a plot of land with three buildings on it: A mosque and attached school, a Sikh temple, and a Chinese pagoda. all very neighborly.

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
Total Posts:  7335
Joined  22-02-2014
 
 
 
26 March 2019 08:36
 
burt - 25 March 2019 09:40 PM
icehorse - 25 March 2019 05:22 PM
burt - 25 March 2019 05:13 PM
icehorse - 25 March 2019 02:12 PM
burt - 25 March 2019 02:07 PM
icehorse - 25 March 2019 10:56 AM

no-pro and burt,

We made a lot of good progress - there are still some misunderstandings. if you want to pick it up later, cool.

What i will clarify here is that I continue to use the word “compassionate” so if you ascribe draconian policies to me, that’s probably a misunderstanding. That said, it’s often hard to know how to truly be kind. So - for example - I don’t think it’s a kindness to go easy on Islamic schools. They are often setting their children up to fail in the world.

Same could be said about evangelical Christian schools, except that the evangelical community is large enough in the US to absorb lots of ignorant and misinformed individuals.

agreed, but can’t we on this forum get past whataboutism arguments?

This isn’t whataboutism, as far as I know, Islamic schools in North America (certainly in Canada) have to follow the same curriculum as other schools in terms of subjects like English, math, science, etc., the issue would be schools in places like rural Pakistan. I think in North America the evangelicals get away with far more that any Islamic schools.

Ah, I was thinking more on a world-wise basis than on a regional basis.

 

An aside, as you drive from the border crossing at Peace Arch up to Vancouver you will pass a plot of land with three buildings on it: A mosque and attached school, a Sikh temple, and a Chinese pagoda. all very neighborly.

I’m going to ask you a question and I intend no sarcasm: How is the Peace Arch relevant to this thread?

 
 
burt
 
Avatar
 
 
burt
Total Posts:  15614
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
26 March 2019 09:11
 
icehorse - 26 March 2019 08:36 AM
burt - 25 March 2019 09:40 PM
icehorse - 25 March 2019 05:22 PM
burt - 25 March 2019 05:13 PM
icehorse - 25 March 2019 02:12 PM
burt - 25 March 2019 02:07 PM
icehorse - 25 March 2019 10:56 AM

no-pro and burt,

We made a lot of good progress - there are still some misunderstandings. if you want to pick it up later, cool.

What i will clarify here is that I continue to use the word “compassionate” so if you ascribe draconian policies to me, that’s probably a misunderstanding. That said, it’s often hard to know how to truly be kind. So - for example - I don’t think it’s a kindness to go easy on Islamic schools. They are often setting their children up to fail in the world.

Same could be said about evangelical Christian schools, except that the evangelical community is large enough in the US to absorb lots of ignorant and misinformed individuals.

agreed, but can’t we on this forum get past whataboutism arguments?

This isn’t whataboutism, as far as I know, Islamic schools in North America (certainly in Canada) have to follow the same curriculum as other schools in terms of subjects like English, math, science, etc., the issue would be schools in places like rural Pakistan. I think in North America the evangelicals get away with far more that any Islamic schools.

Ah, I was thinking more on a world-wise basis than on a regional basis.

 

An aside, as you drive from the border crossing at Peace Arch up to Vancouver you will pass a plot of land with three buildings on it: A mosque and attached school, a Sikh temple, and a Chinese pagoda. all very neighborly.

I’m going to ask you a question and I intend no sarcasm: How is the Peace Arch relevant to this thread?

That’s just the name of the major crossing on I-5 into Canada. I named it because there are other crossings as well. So in terms of thread content, zilch.

 
Hesperado
 
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Hesperado
Total Posts:  112
Joined  19-05-2015
 
 
 
23 April 2019 13:46
 

Re: all those nice Sandwich Muslims answering polls by saying they feel Islam and democracy are compatible, one wonders whether they mean temporarily, in the Erdoganite sense:

When current Prime Minister of Turkey, Erdogan, was Mayor of Istanbul about 20 years ago (give or take a beheading or two), he had one of his many slips of the mask by saying:

“Democracy is merely a train that we ride until we reach our destination. Mosques are our military
barracks. Minarets are our spears.”

For a Muslim to answer “Yes” to the question, “Do you think Islam and democracy are compatible?”—while still maintaining the Erdogan view—would be a classic example of Islamic “kitman” (a form of taqiyya in which the Muslim tells part of the truth, but not all of the truth).

 
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