Sunday, May 11, 2014

ISLAM

'If the example of Islam is so great, which of ALL the countries in the Middle East is a true, secular democracy? (Hint: they share with Islam a religious intolerance for pork!)' (Comment on article below)...

~~

In order to justify the magnitude of violence necessary to uphold persistent contradictions - to speak of freedom, liberty and self-determination, but to indulge in paternalism, despotism, force and coercion - it is absolutely necessary first to control and dominate memory. A people in control of their memory cannot be easily dominated, and so the patriarchal project is premised on writing on a clean slate. At the same time, one cannot accomplish the dehumanization and demonization necessary to destroy people in the name of progress without first wiping out their memory as human beings...

Terms such as Islamic fundamentalism (al-usuliyya al-Islamiyya), Jihadi Islam (al-Islam al-Jihadi), Islamic extremism (al-tatarruf al-Islami), Islamic fascism (al-fashiyya al-Islamiyya), or Islamic liberalism (al-libraliyya al-Islamiyya) are invented in West and very often incoherently imported and deployed in Muslim discourses about the Self - very often with polarizing and obfuscating consequences...

Khaled Abou El Fadl is the Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law and Chair of the Islamic Studies Interdepartmental Program at UCLA. He is the author of many books on Islam and Islamic law, including The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists and The Search for Beauty in Islam: A Conference of the Books. His magnum opus, Reasoning with God: Reclaiming Shari'ah in the Modern Age, will be published later this year.


http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2014/05/15/4005394.htm

http://www.melbourneanglican.org.au/NewsAndViews/Pages/Embracing-the-%E2%80%98other%E2%80%99-in-love,-truth-and-grace-000553.aspx

~~

Tony Blair on the Islamist Threat

Tony Blair delivered a major speech on April 23 entitled, “Why the Middle East Matters”. In summary, he argued that the Middle East, far from being a “vast unfathomable mess” is deep in the throes of a multi-faceted struggle between a specific religious ideology on the one hand, and those who want to embrace the modern world on the other.  Furthermore, the West, blinded up until now as to the religious nature of the conflict, must take sides: it should support those who stand on the side of open-minded pluralistic societies, and combat those who wish to create intolerant theocracies.
In his speech Blair makes a whole series of substantial points:
He states that a ‘defining challenge of our time’ is a religious ideology which he calls ‘Islamist’, although he is not comfortable with this label because he prefers to distance himself from any implication that this ideology can be equated with Islam itself. He worries that “you can appear to elide those who support the Islamist ideology with all Muslims.”
He considers Islamism to be a global movement, whose diverse manifestations are produced by common ideological roots.
He rejects Western non-religious explanations for the problems caused by Islamist ideology, including the preference of “Western commentators” to attribute the manifestations of Islamism to “disparate” causes which have nothing to do with religion.  Likewise he implies that the protracted conflict over Israel-Palestine is not the cause of this ideology, but rather the converse is the case: dealing with the wider impact of Islamist ideology could help solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
According to Blair, what distinguishes violent terrorists from seemingly non-violent Islamists – such as the Muslim Brotherhood – is simply “a difference of view as to how to achieve the goals of Islamism”, so attempts to draw a distinction between political Islamist movements and radical terrorist groups are mistaken.  Blair considers that the religious ideology of certain groups like the Brotherhood, which may appear to be law-abiding, “inevitably creates the soil” in which religio-political violence is nurtured.
He considers “Islamism” to be a major threat everywhere in the world, including increasingly within Western nations. The “challenge” of Islamism is “growing” and “spreading across the world” and it is “the biggest threat to global security of the early 21st Century.”
Because of the seriousness of the threat of this religio-political ideology,  Blair argues that the West should vigorously support just about anybody whose interests lie in opposing Islamists, from General Sisi in Egypt to President Putin in Russia. He finds it to be an absurd irony that Western governments form intimate alliances with nations whose educational and civic institutions promote this ideology: an obvious example of this would be the US – Saudi alliance.
In all this, one might be forgiven for thinking that Blair sounds a lot like Geert Wilders, except that, as he takes pains to emphasize, he emphatically rejects equating Islamism with Islam. Tony Blair and Geert Wilders agree that there is a serious religious ideological challenge facing the world, but they disagree on whether that challenge is Islam itself.My Blair’s speech is aimed at people who do not wish to be thought of as anti-Musilm, but who need to be awakened to the religious nature of the Islamist challenge. He is keen to assure his intended audience that if they adopt his thesis they would not be guilty of conflating those who support radical Jihadi violence with all Muslims.Two key assumptions underpin Blair’s dissociation of Islamism the religio-political ideology from Islam the religion.
First, Blair presupposes that Islamism is not “the proper teaching of Islam”. It may, he concedes, be “an interpretation”, but it is a false one, a “perversion” of the religion, which “distorts and warps Islam’s true message.”  He offers two arguments to support this theological insight.One is that there are pious Muslims who agree with him: “Many of those totally opposed to the Islamist ideology are absolutely devout Muslims.”
This is a fallacious argument. It is akin to asserting that Catholic belief in the infallibility of the Pope cannot be Christian merely because there are absolutely devout protestant Christians who totally oppose this dogma.  The fact that there are pious Muslims who reject Islamism is not a credible argument that Islamism is an invalid interpretation of Islam.
Blair’s other argument in support of his belief that Islamism is a perversion of Islam is an allegation that Christians used to hold similarly abhorrent theologies: “There used to be such interpretations of Christianity which took us years to eradicate from our mainstream politics.”  This is a self-deprecating variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy, in which another’s argument is attacked by accusing them of hypocrisy. Here Blair rhetorically directs the ad hominem attack against himself and his culture. In essence, he is saying “It would hypocritical of us to regard Islamist ideology as genuinely Islamic, because (we) Christians used to support similarly pernicious theologies in the past (although we do not do so today).”
This logic is equally fallacious: observations about the history of Christian theology, valid or not, prove nothing about what is or is not a valid form of Islam.
Blair’s second key assumption is a widely-held view about the root cause of “the challenge”. The fundamental issue, he argues, is people of faith who believe they and only they are right and do not accept the validity of other views. Such people believe that “there is one proper religion and one proper view of it, and that this view should, exclusively, determine the nature of society and the political economy.” “It is not about a competing view of how society or politics should be governed within a common space where you accept other views are equally valid. It is exclusivist in nature.”
Hilary Clinton has expressed a very similar understanding of extremist religionists, who “define religion in such a way that if you do not believe what they want you to believe, then what you are doing is not practicing religion, because there is only one definition of religion.”
Such views about religion may reflect the secularist Zeitgeist, but they offer a very weak explanation for the challenge of radical Islam.  The problem is not that Islamists believe they and only they are right.  The problem is all the rest of what they believe.Consider this: Tony Blair himself believes his goal is valid, true and worth fighting for, namely a tolerant, open, democratic society, and the Islamists’ goal of a sharia society is invalid.  He does believe that his view should determine the nature of society.  Likewise many religious groups believe that they follow the one true religion, including the Catholic Church, which Tony Blair formally joined in 2007: Mother Theresa of Calcutta certainly did not consider alternative religious views equally valid to Catholic dogma.  But none of this certainty of belief implies that Tony Blair or Catholics in general are disposed to become terrorists, cut hands off thieves or kill apostates.
Blair’s argument manifests the paradox of tolerance. His vision of a good society is one in which people must respect the views of others as “equally valid”. At the same time he argues that we should disallow and combat Islamism because it is “perverse”. He is asking for Islamism not to be tolerated because it is intolerant.If Blair’s explanation for Islamist nastiness is flawed, what then is the explanation? This takes us back to Islam itself.  Does Blair’s position on Islam hold water?
Blair’s arguments for his positive view of Islam are weak. The validity of Islamism does not rest or fall on whether there are pious Muslims who accept or reject it, nor on whether Christians have advocating equally perverse theologies in the past.  In the end, Islam as a religion – all mainstream Muslim scholars would agree – is based upon the teachings of the Sunna (the example and teaching of Muhammad) and the Koran. Islam’s religious validity in the eyes of its followers stands and falls on how well it can be justified from those authorities.There are at least three respects in which Islamist ideologies claim strong support from Islam – that is, from the Koran and Muhammad.
One is the intolerance and violence in the Islamic canon.  The Koran states “Kill them / the polytheists wherever you can find them (Sura 9:5, 2:191). Muhammad, according to Islamic tradition, said “I have been sent with a sword in my hand to command people to worship Allah and associate no partners with him. I command you to belittle and subjugate those who disobey me …” He also said to his followers in Medina, “Kill any Jew who falls into your power.” Following in Muhammad’s footsteps, one of Muhammad’s most revered companions and successors as leader of the Muslim community, the Caliph Umar, called upon the armies of Islam to fight non-Muslims until they surrender or convert, saying “If they refuse this, it is the sword without leniency.”
It will not do, in the face of many such statements found in the Koran and the traditions of Muhammad, to throw one’s hands up in the air and say there are also bad verses in the Bible.  If Jesus Christ had said such things as Muhammad did, Christianity’s political theology would look very different today and medieval Christian Holy War theology – developed initially in response to the Islamic jihad – would have come into being as part of the birth-pangs of the religion, just as the doctrine of the Islamic jihad did in the history of Islam.
Islamist apologists find it relatively easy to win young Muslims over to their cause precisely because they have strong arguments at their disposal from the Koran and  Muhammad’s example and teaching.  Their threatening ideology is growing in influence because it is so readily supported by substantial religious foundations.  Islamism may not be the only interpretation of Islam, but by any objective measure, it is open for Muslims to hold it, given what what is in their canon.
Blair makes a telling over-generalisation when he states that Islamist ideology is an export from the Middle East.  Another important source has been the Indian sub-continent.  Today Pakistanis today are among the most dynamic apologists for Islamism. Abul A’la Maududi, an Indian (later Pakistani) Islamic teacher and founder of Jamaat-e-Islami was writing powerful texts to radicalise Muslims more than 70 years ago – including his tract Jihad in Islam (first published in 1927). His works remain in widespread use as tools of radicalization by Islamist organisations. Maududi’s theological vision was driven, not by Middle Eastern influences or Saudi petrodollars, but by his life-long study of the Koran and the example of Muhammad.  The spiritual DNA of Maududi’s Islamist theology was derived from the Islamic canon itself.
The second point to understand about Islamist ideologies is that the conflation of politics and religion, which is one of Blair’s main objections to Islamism, has always been accepted as normative by the mainstream of Islamic theology.  It is orthodox Islam.  As Bernard Lewis pointed out, the separation of church and state has been derided by most Muslim thinkers since the origins of Islam:  “Separation of church and state was derided in the past by Muslims when they said this is a Christian remedy for a Christian disease. It doesn’t apply to us or to our world.”
The third point about Islamist ideologies is that their vision of a closed society in which non-Muslims are second-class participants is in lock-step with the conservative mainstream of Islamic thought.  Here again Bernard Lewis:  “It is only very recently that some defenders of Islam began to assert that their society in the past accorded equal status to non-Muslims. No such claim is made by spokesmen for resurgent Islam, and historically there is no doubt that they are right. Traditional Islamic societies neither accorded such equality nor pretended that they were so doing. Indeed, in the old order, this would have been regarded not as a merit but as a dereliction of duty. How could one accord the same treatment to those who follow the true faith and those who willfully reject it? This would be a theological as well as a logical absurdity.” (The Jews of Islam, Princeton University Press, 1987, p.4).
Tony Blair is right to call the world to engage with and reject radical Islamist ideology. This is a defining global challenge of our time.  He is also correct to affirm that this ideology is religious.  But he is profoundly mistaken to characterize it as un-Islamic.  The fallacious arguments he puts forward for distinguishing Islam from Islamism are nothing but flimsy rhetoric.  The hard evidence against separating Islamism from Islam is clear, the sentiments of some pious Muslims non-withstanding.
Islamism is a valid interpretation of Islam, not in the sense that it is the only ‘correct’ or ‘true’ one, but because its core tenets find ready and obvious support in the Islamic canon, and they align with core principles of 1400 years of Islamic theology.  (To make this observation is not the same thing as saying that all pious Muslims are Islamists!)
Blair is right to call for the West to combat “radical Islam”, but the reason why “radical” is a correct term to use for this ideology is that radical means “of the root,” and Islamist ideas are deeply rooted in Islam itself. Islamism is a radical form of Islam. This explains why the radicalization project has been advancing with such force all over the world.
In order to combat radical Islamic views we do need to have a frank and open dialogue about the dynamics of radicalization. Blair is concerned about the damage being caused by denial about Islamism, but he indulges in his own form of blinkered thinking, which is just as unhelpful.  He was right to identify Islamist ideology as the soil in which violent jihadi ideologies “inevitably” take root, but fails to identity mainstream Islam itself as the soil in which Islamism develops. In reality the Islamist movement is but the tip of the iceberg of the Islamic movement, a deeper and broader revival of Islam across the whole Muslim world.
When countering radical Islamic ideologies, Western leaders should refrain from putting themselves forward as experts on theology, who are somehow competent to rule on whether a particular interpretation of Islam is valid or “perverse”. There is something ridiculous about secular politicians ruling on which manifestations of Islam are to be judged theologically correct. As Taliban Cleric Abu Qutada once said, “I am astonished by President Bush when he claims there is nothing in the Quran that justifies jihad violence in the name of Islam. Is he some kind of Islamic scholar? Has he ever actually read the Quran?”
Ritual displays of respect for Islam should not be naively used as sugar to coat the pill of opposition to the objectionable beliefs and behaviour of some Muslims. Leaders need to be absolutely clear about what values they stand for, and insist on these values. They should not need to express a theological opinion about what is or is not valid Islam in order to challenge the anti-semitism of Palestinian school textbooks, the denial of basic religious rights to non-Muslim guest workers in Saudi Arabia, incitement against Christians in Egypt, the promotion of female genital mutilation in the name of Islam in the Maldives, or the UK practice of taking child brides.
In this post-secular world, our leaders need to “do God” with less naivety.  They need to grasp that the inner pressure they feel to manifest respect for Islam whenever they object to some of its manifestations is itself a symptom of the ideology of dominance which powers the Islamist agenda.  They should resist the pressure to mount an apology for Islam.  The mullahs can do that.
Frontpage. 
~~~

Comments by Dr. Mark Durie:

In his speech Blair makes a whole series of substantial points: 
  • He states that a ‘defining challenge of our time’ is a religious ideology which he calls ‘Islamist’, although he is not comfortable with this label because he prefers to distance himself from any implication that this ideology can be equated with Islam itself. He worries that “you can appear to elide those who support the Islamist ideology with all Muslims.”
  • He considers Islamism to be a global movement, whose diverse manifestations are produced by common ideological roots.
  • He rejects Western non-religious explanations for the problems caused by Islamist ideology, including the preference of “Western commentators” to attribute the manifestations of Islamism to “disparate” causes which have nothing to do with religion.  Likewise he implies that the protracted conflict over Israel-Palestine is not the cause of this ideology, but rather the converse is the case: dealing with the wider impact of Islamist ideology could help solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
  • According to  Blair, what distinguishes violent terrorists from seemingly non-violent Islamists – such as the Muslim Brotherhood – is simply “a difference of view as to how to achieve the goals of Islamism”, so attempts to draw a distinction between political Islamist movements and radical terrorist groups are mistaken.  Blair considers that the religious ideology of certain groups like the Brotherhood, which may appear to be law-abiding, “inevitably creates the soil” in which religio-political violence is nurtured.
  • He considers “Islamism” to be a major threat everywhere in the world, including increasingly within Western nations. The "challenge" of Islamism is “growing” and “spreading across the world” and it is “the biggest threat to global security of the early 21st Century.”
Because of the seriousness of the threat of this religio-political ideology,  Blair argues that the West should vigorously support just about anybody whose interests lie in opposing Islamists, from General Sisi in Egypt to President Putin in Russia. He finds it to be an absurd irony that Western governments form intimate alliances with nations whose educational and civic institutions promote this ideology: an obvious example of this would be the US - Saudi alliance.

In all this, one might be forgiven for thinking that Blair sounds a lot like Geert Wilders, except that, as he takes pains to emphasize, he emphatically rejects equating Islamism with Islam. Tony Blair and Geert Wilders agree that there is a serious religious ideological challenge facing the world, but they disagree on whether that challenge is Islam itself.

Mr Blair’s speech is aimed at people who do not wish to be thought of as anti-Musilm, but who need to be awakened to the religious nature of the Islamist challenge. He is keen to assure his intended audience that if they adopt his thesis they would not be guilty of conflating those who support radical Jihadi violence with all Muslims.

Two key assumptions underpin Blair’s dissociation of Islamism the religio-political ideology from Islam the religion.

First, Blair presupposes that Islamism is not “the proper teaching of Islam”. It may, he concedes, be “an interpretation”, but it is a false one, a “perversion” of the religion, which “distorts and warps Islam’s true message.”  He offers two arguments to support this theological insight.

 One is that there are pious Muslims who agree with him: “Many of those totally opposed to the Islamist ideology are absolutely devout Muslims.”

This is a fallacious argument. It is akin to asserting that Catholic belief in the infallibility of the Pope cannot be Christian merely because there are absolutely devout protestant Christians who totally oppose this dogma.  The fact that there are pious Muslims who reject Islamism is not a credible argument that Islamism is an invalid interpretation of Islam.

Blair’s other argument in support of his belief that Islamism is a perversion of Islam is an allegation that Christians used to hold similarly abhorrent theologies: “There used to be such interpretations of Christianity which took us years to eradicate from our mainstream politics.”  This is a self-deprecating variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy, in which another’s argument is attacked by accusing them of hypocrisy. Here Blair rhetorically directs the ad hominem attack against himself and his culture. In essence, he is saying “It would hypocritical of us to regard Islamist ideology as genuinely Islamic, because (we) Christians used to support similarly pernicious theologies in the past (although we do not do so today).”

This logic is equally fallacious: observations about the history of Christian theology, valid or not, prove nothing about what is or is not a valid form of Islam.

Blair’s second key assumption is a widely-held view about the root cause of “the challenge”. The fundamental issue, he argues, is people of faith who believe they and only they are right and do not accept the validity of other views. Such people believe that “there is one proper religion and one proper view of it, and that this view should, exclusively, determine the nature of society and the political economy.” “It is not about a competing view of how society or politics should be governed within a common space where you accept other views are equally valid. It is exclusivist in nature.”

Hilary Clinton has expressed a very similar understanding of extremist religionists, who “define religion in such a way that if you do not believe what they want you to believe, then what you are doing is not practicing religion, because there is only one definition of religion.”

Such views about religion may reflect the secularist Zeitgeist, but they offer a very weak explanation for the challenge of radical Islam.  The problem is not that Islamists believe they and only they are right.  The problem is all the rest of what they believe.

Consider this: Tony Blair himself believes his goal is valid, true and worth fighting for, namely a tolerant, open, democratic society, and the Islamists’ goal of a sharia society is invalid.  He does believe that his view should determine the nature of society.  Likewise many religious groups believe that they follow the one true religion, including the Catholic Church, which Tony Blair formally joined in 2007: Mother Theresa of Calcutta certainly did not consider alternative religious views equally valid to Catholic dogma.  But none of this certainty of belief implies that Tony Blair or Catholics in general are disposed to become terrorists, cut hands off thieves or kill apostates.

Blair’s argument manifests the paradox of tolerance. His vision of a good society is one in which people must respect the views of others as “equally valid”. At the same time he argues that we should disallow and combat Islamism because it is “perverse”. He is asking for Islamism not to be tolerated because it is intolerant.

If Blair’s explanation for Islamist nastiness is flawed, what then is the explanation? This takes us back to Islam itself.  Does Blair’s position on Islam hold water?

Blair’s arguments for his positive view of Islam are weak. The validity of Islamism does not rest or fall on whether there are pious Muslims who accept or reject it, nor on whether Christians have advocating equally perverse theologies in the past.  In the end, Islam as a religion - all mainstream Muslim scholars would agree - is based upon the teachings of the Sunna (the example and teaching of Muhammad) and the Koran. Islam’s religious validity in the eyes of its followers stands and falls on how well it can be justified from those authorities.

There are at least three respects in which Islamist ideologies claim strong support from Islam - that is, from the Koran and Muhammad.

One is the intolerance and violence in the Islamic canon.  The Koran states "Kill them / the polytheists wherever you can find them (Sura 9:5, 2:191). Muhammad, according to Islamic tradition, said “I have been sent with a sword in my hand to command people to worship Allah and associate no partners with him. I command you to belittle and subjugate those who disobey me …” He also said to his followers in Medina, "Kill any Jew who falls into your power." Following in Muhammad’s footsteps, one of Muhammad’s most revered companions and successors as leader of the Muslim community, the Caliph Umar, called upon the armies of Islam to fight non-Muslims until they surrender or convert, saying “If they refuse this, it is the sword without leniency.”

It will not do, in the face of many such statements found in the Koran and the traditions of Muhammad, to throw one’s hands up in the air and say there are also bad verses in the Bible.  If Jesus Christ had said such things as Muhammad did, Christianity’s political theology would look very different today and medieval Christian Holy War theology – developed initially in response to the Islamic jihad – would have come into being as part of the birth-pangs of the religion, just as the doctrine of the Islamic jihad did in the history of Islam.

Islamist apologists find it relatively easy to win young Muslims over to their cause precisely because they have strong arguments at their disposal from the Koran and  Muhammad’s example and teaching.  Their threatening ideology is growing in influence because it is so readily supported by substantial religious foundations.  Islamism may not be the only interpretation of Islam, but by any objective measure, it is open for Muslims to hold it, given what what is in their canon.

Blair makes a telling over-generalisation when he states that Islamist ideology is an export from the Middle East.  Another important source has been the Indian sub-continent.  Today Pakistanis today are among the most dynamic apologists for Islamism. Abul A’la Maududi, an Indian (later Pakistani) Islamic teacher and founder of Jamaat-e-Islami was writing powerful texts to radicalise Muslims more than 70 years ago - including his tract Jihad in Islam (first published in 1927). His works remain in widespread use as tools of radicalization by Islamist organisations. Maududi’s theological vision was driven, not by Middle Eastern influences or Saudi petrodollars, but by his life-long study of the Koran and the example of Muhammad.  The spiritual DNA of Maududi’s Islamist theology was derived from the Islamic canon itself.

The second point to understand about Islamist ideologies is that the conflation of politics and religion, which is one of Blair’s main objections to Islamism, has always been accepted as normative by the mainstream of Islamic theology.  It is orthodox Islam.  As Bernard Lewis pointed out, the separation of church and state has been derided by most Muslim thinkers since the origins of Islam:  “Separation of church and state was derided in the past by Muslims when they said this is a Christian remedy for a Christian disease. It doesn’t apply to us or to our world.”
The third point about Islamist ideologies is that their vision of a closed society in which non-Muslims are second-class participants is in lock-step with the conservative mainstream of Islamic thought.  Here again Bernard Lewis:  “It is only very recently that some defenders of Islam began to assert that their society in the past accorded equal status to non-Muslims. No such claim is made by spokesmen for resurgent Islam, and historically there is no doubt that they are right. Traditional Islamic societies neither accorded such equality nor pretended that they were so doing. Indeed, in the old order, this would have been regarded not as a merit but as a dereliction of duty. How could one accord the same treatment to those who follow the true faith and those who wilfully reject it? This would be a theological as well as a logical absurdity.” (The Jews of Islam, Princeton University Press, 1987, p.4).

Tony Blair is right to call the world to engage with and reject radical Islamist ideology. This is a defining global challenge of our time.  He is also correct to affirm that this ideology is religious.  But he is profoundly mistaken to characterise it as un-Islamic.  The fallacious arguments he puts forward for distinguishing Islam from Islamism are nothing but flimsy rhetoric.  The hard evidence against separating Islamism from Islam is clear, the sentiments of some pious Muslims non-withstanding.

Islamism is a valid interpretation of Islam, not in the sense that it is the only ‘correct’ or ‘true’ one, but because its core tenets find ready and obvious support in the Islamic canon, and they align with core principles of 1400 years of Islamic theology.  (To make this observation is not the same thing as saying that all pious Muslims are Islamists!)

Blair is right to call for the West to combat “radical Islam”, but the reason why “radical” is a correct term to use for this ideology is that radical means “of the root,” and Islamist ideas are deeply rooted in Islam itself. Islamism is a radical form of Islam. This explains why the radicalization project has been advancing with such force all over the world.

In order to combat radical Islamic views we do need to have a frank and open dialogue about the dynamics of radicalization. Blair is concerned about the damage being caused by denial about Islamism, but he indulges in his own form of blinkered thinking, which is just as unhelpful.  He was right to identify Islamist ideology as the soil in which violent jihadi ideologies "inevitably" take root, but fails to identity mainstream Islam itself as the soil in which Islamism develops. In reality the Islamist movement is but the tip of the iceberg of the Islamic movement, a deeper and broader revival of Islam across the whole Muslim world.

When countering radical Islamic ideologies, Western leaders should refrain from putting themselves forward as experts on theology, who are somehow competent to rule on whether a particular interpretation of Islam is valid or “perverse”. There is something ridiculous about secular politicians ruling on which manifestations of Islam are to be judged theologically correct. As Taliban Cleric Abu Qutada once said, “I am astonished by President Bush when he claims there is nothing in the Quran that justifies jihad violence in the name of Islam. Is he some kind of Islamic scholar? Has he ever actually read the Quran?”

Ritual displays of respect for Islam should not be naively used as sugar to coat the pill of opposition to the objectionable beliefs and behaviour of some Muslims. Leaders need to be absolutely clear about what values they stand for, and insist on these values. They should not need to express a theological opinion about what is or is not valid Islam in order to challenge the anti-semitism of Palestinian school textbooks, the denial of basic religious rights to non-Muslim guest workers in Saudi Arabia, incitement against Christians in Egypt, the promotion of female genital mutilation in the name of Islam in the Maldives, or the UK practice of taking child brides.

In this post-secular world, our leaders need to “do God” with less naivety.  They need to grasp that the inner pressure they feel to manifest respect for Islam whenever they object to some of its manifestations is itself a symptom of the ideology of dominance which powers the Islamist agenda.  They should resist the pressure to mount an apology for Islam.  The mullahs can do that.
     Mark Durie is a theologian, human rights activist, Anglican pastor, a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and Adjunct Research Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at Melbourne School of Theology.
Mark Durie is an Anglican pastor and Associate Fellow at the Middle Eastern Forum.
Subscribe to markdurie.com blog by email.
This text may be reposted or forwarded so long as it is presented as an integral whole with complete and accurate information provided about its author, date, place of publication, and original URL.

~~

Stephen Durie In Britain, Sheikh Bakri: “We will use your democracy to destroy your democracy.”
4 hrs · Like

Alan Austin Hi again Stephen,

Excellent questions. Thanks.

Australia is in the best position of any nation on earth to resettle refugees: a vast empty continent, 14 times the size of France with barely a third of the people; the best economy the world has ever seen; and a long proud history of resettling refugees in their millions with only relatively minor problems.

Australia could easily accept 100,000 refugees each year, and set an example to other rich countries which, while not as fortunate as Australia, could do better.

Yes, I agree Australia is not a Christian nation, which is why I prefer ‘majority Christian’ or ‘majority Muslim’ or – for India – ‘majority Hindu’.

I also share your concern, Stephen, about the Islamisation issue, particularly in the UK. But am at a different position from yours still, it seems.

This could be due to differences in theology, politics, upbringing or recent life experience. Not sure.

My experiences working in Indonesia (88% Muslim) for several weeks, here in France (10% Muslim) for the last four years and in Australia for most of my first 60 years is that migration to a welcoming community tends to soften defensiveness, separateness, anger and militancy.

Our Muslim friends here in the Gard (Southern region adjoining Provence) drink Pastis (51%) for the aperitif and wine with meals – as do Baptists and the Brethren here also.

So it seems many deep religious convictions might just be cultural, after all.

But we are not far from Marseilles where prejudice against Muslims appears stronger and we see more militancy and tension.

So I am exploring the idea that a welcoming environment for arrivals from a difficult previous life – war in Vietnam, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, militant Islam, poverty in Africa, and a few generations ago sectarian violence in Ireland – dispels previous grudges and encourages integration into the mainstream.

This is an exploration which has been proceeding for some time now, but I’m yet to advance any conclusions with confidence.

It’s nearly 25 years since I produced ABC TV’s first ‘Sunday Worship’ from the North Melbourne mosque. One strong memory was chatting to worshippers after the Friday services (Juma prayers) over a strong black Turkish coffee about their deepest concerns. The women wanted their sons to do better at school, and their daughters to meet a nice boy one day. The men wanted their footy team to win tomorrow.

Blessings all,

~~

  • Stephen Durie Yes Joel, I've paid attention but in turn I wonder if you've paid attention to the fact that violence, misogyny, supremacism etc are hard wired into the core example, teaching and practice of Mohammed and therefore will always win out in Islam, while Christianity must always return to the example and teaching of Christ, which is love and mercy. I also wonder if you're really aware of the relentless and ongoing way in which very very large numbers of Muslims worldwide have always (and still do) follow Mohammed's example of violence, misogyny, racism, terror, etc... As Muslim numbers increase in Oz (current examples show that 5% will do the trick) rape of infidel girls, violence, crime, jihad, non integration, terror, pressure to increasingly accept Sharia, honor killings, forced underage marriages, etc will surge...and the better the immigrants are treated by social services, the easier it will be for them to commit such abuses... This is not what id like to think (I've always been pro Labour and pro social welfare) but it's what has happened and IS happening in the UK, Sweden, Spain, France, etc etc.
  • Don Cameron In answer to Joel's question, I am a fan of systematic theology and my answer remains the same regarding Deuteronomy not introducing any 'new' laws but briefly repeating the old ones in less detail.

    I genuinely apologise if I have been unfair to the views expressed by Alan or yourself but I still think the positions you hold are not biblical. I 'may' be the one who is wrong here. Alan seems to very dogmatically state things on his webpage about a raped woman being forced to marry her attacker according to old testament law. At the very least, he could say that he believes that or that there are other points of view but no, he dogmatically affirms it as fact. I think it is completely untrue.

    You probably won't agree with this link but I'll put it up anyway as it says what I did but this way I don't have to type much
    https://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index...

    And it's on the internet so it must be true right? (joke)

    Regarding Jim Wallace. You'll get me dancing a bit here. I am not against countries going to war to kill the citizens of other countries to free oppressed people or similar things. I remember the 90's when everyone seemed to berate the USA for not going into Afghanistan to stop the mistreatment of women. Ten years later that all changed and many people were against the USA going into Afghanistan, possibly because they were viewed as going in for the wrong reason? I am against invasion if it is to steal their products like oil and gas.

    If anyone said it is good for Australia to go into Iraq to kill their people because their people are evil and we are good, I would certainly be asking how this matched up with Christian faith.

    What did Jim Wallace actually say? I googled for info with no luck. If you have a link I haven't seen can you please send it to me or post it here?
Why does the Bible often condones and even approves of rape? 1) Murder, rape, an...See more
  • Rowland Croucher This is a couple of years old, but relevant to this discussion, I think:

    (The comments in the original are/were interesting. When someone finds it difficult to be irenic in a discussion where protagonists of different views that says a lot I think).

    http://www.jmm.org.au/articles/33368.htm
23 hours ago · Like · 2
  • Alan Austin Hi again Stephen,

    Just a couple of questions for you arising from the links you have posted.

    We all know that truth is the first casualty of war. And we know that all five of the Christian invasions of Muslim nations during the presidency of George W Bush were accompanied by extensive campaigns of misinformation. The weapons of mass destruction concoction was just the most notorious because it was the most blatantly false pretext for an armed attack.

    So some questions are, Stephen:

    What steps do you take to filter out the exaggerated accounts and sheer lies among the myriad reports of Muslim atrocities?

    How do you determine which accounts are accurate, which ones appear plausible but are actually from funded disinformation units and which are just from racist whackos?

    Are you aware that many claims about rape in Sweden are disputed by Amnesty International?

    Are you aware that your post about sex crimes in Britain leads, if you follow the links, to Gavin Boby’s activism analysed on loonwatch.com?

    Are you aware that your link regarding rape in Egypt was prepared by an organisation funded by the Bradley Foundation, which was heavily involved in support for the invasion of Iraq?

    Are you aware Winston Churchill was just as dismissive of Catholicism as he was of Islam?

    Thanks, Stephen,

    AA
22 hours ago · Unlike · 1
  • Don Cameron To be honest, I was convinced the 'weapons of mass destruction' or at least something breaking the UN rules existed. Why else would Hussein stop the UN weapons inspectors from carrying out their job? I know the weapons did not exist or were moved elsewhere (Iran according to some wild theories). I still can't work out what was happening there. I can't remember anyone saying the weapons did not exist in Iran at the time.

    Perhaps Stephen is like me and has heard the first hand accounts of many muslims who have fled Islamic countries? Hard to deny eye witness accounts from your neighbours.
21 hours ago · Unlike · 2
  • Stephen Durie Lol Alan, "Loonwatch" is simply a front for a pro Islamists. It says nothing to undo the courageous and thorough 333 page report by the Law and Freedom Foundation of the Muslim gang rape phenomenon in the UK of the last decade (which i have also been ...See More
20 hours ago · Edited · Unlike · 2
  • Alan Austin Don, the USA must ensure there are ongoing wars continually, in order for their economy to continue. About 25% of the US economy is weapons manufacturing, sales and deployment.
    If wars stopped today, the US economy would virtually collapse.
    That is why...See More
21 hours ago · Unlike · 1
  • Stephen Durie Regarding Amnesty Internationals alleged disputation of claims of rape in Sweden, I've carefully read the Amnesty report on Rape in Nordic countries and it has nothing to say one way or another about the religious persuasion or Nationality of the Perpetrators. It is silent on the subject and says nothing to discount the article posted above.
  • Stephen Durie Alan, your criticism mentioning the Bradley foundation is tenuous to say the least and does nothing to debunk the veracity of that article on events in Egypt, but at any rate, reports of a backlash epidemic of abductions, rapes and abuse of Christian girls and women has also been reported by the Coptic associations worldwide, as well as the burning of over 100 Christian schools and churches reported in the international press following The Muslim Brotherhoods removal from power.
    Were those reports also questionable?

    I think you are in Denial.
  • Stephen Durie Ps Winston Churchill was brilliant! I told you, I'm not Roman Catholic.. Lol.
20 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Don Cameron My workplace has around 60 volunteers from a local Coptic Church which I attended one morning. I have heard some of the stories about what their relatives back in Egypt are facing from 'the religion of peace'. If it was just prejudiced individuals I could understand that but from what I've read in the Koran it seems like pretty standard behaviour from those following the teachings of Islam.

    Re; American economy of war. I've watched a few documentaries and done a bit of research on this. The US economy doesn't have to be involved in war but it benefits from selling weapons of war wherever they can find a market. If wars stopped today the US economy would adapt but I agree there are those in favour of building more weapons than they need (especially tanks which are very slowly becoming obsolete due to their high cost and high chance of being taken out thanks to modern technology).
20 hours ago · Unlike · 2
  • Don Cameron One of the opening paragraphs in the report Stephen posted

    - This is a shocking report. It is written with care, but the evidence...See More
Although this is the beginning of the second quarter of the year 2014, the nation has had its fair share of grief through various incidents most of which were a
  • Stephen Durie Don, there have been many UK newspaper reports of trials in these cases in the last 5 years. Finally they are coming to light and a lot of those guys are being locked up to do their prison dawah for lengthy sentences. May the ideological causes also be acknowledged and the victims find some degree of healing...
20 hours ago · Edited · Like · 2
  • Alan Austin Hi again Stephen,

    These questions still remain:

    What steps do you take to filter out the exaggerated accounts and sheer lies among the myriad reports of Muslim atrocities?

    How do you determine which accounts are accurate, which ones appear plausible but are actually from funded disinformation units and which are just from racist whackos?

    Thanks, Stephen,
    A
  • Stephen Durie Alan, based on your use of Loonwatch as a source, you should ask yourself the same question first. Take the log out!
20 hours ago · Like · 1
20 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Stephen Durie "According to Loonwatch.com – a well known Islamophoiba watchdog site - there is no distinction. Loonwatch unconditionally attacks criticism of Islam but they refuse to criticize the many, many Islamic clerics and terrorists who are hurting people in t...See More
How and Why Loonwatch.com is a Terrorist Spin Control Network
Students who are accustomed to doing research in libraries face new issues when they start doing research on the Internet. Before a book or journal appears in a university library, it has usually gone through a number of checks to make sure the information in it is reliable. For example, if you find…
  • Alan Austin Hi again Don,

    Some brief responses to your questions:

    Re: “You 'seem to' continually affirm that whatever the West does (America, Britain and Australia) is Christian as we have Christian leaders?”

    Yes, this is a tricky one, Don. The leaders referred to – Bush Jr, Blair and Howard – all profess personal faith in Christ, attend Christian services and are accepted as members by their fellowships. So we must accept they are Christians.

    We can say, however, that they have misunderstood and disobeyed clear Christian teaching – with regard to their wilful mass murders of Muslims, as well as on other matters.

    Re: “how long have you been living outside of Australia? Perhaps (just a guess) you are a bit distant to make assumptions about what Christians in Australia did [re Iraq war protests]?”

    Moved here in mid-2010, Don. I worked for the Uniting Church from 2004 until 2010, and was involved in its anti-war protests so, yes, aware that there were objections.

    What I perhaps should have said earlier about Christian responses was that there was little effective protest. The governments in Britain, the USA and Australia simply took no notice.

    So I accept Joel's correction there.

    Re: “Muslims have nothing to fear from genuine Christians. Genuine Christians are a blessing to their neighbours.”

    Correct. But is it also true that Christians have nothing to fear from genuine Muslims; genuine Muslims are a blessing to their neighbours?

    This is my experience working in Indonesia where Muslims are 88% of the population, and here in France – about 10% – and in Australia – below 2.5%.

    I agree with Joel that “In this context ‘true Islam’ and ‘true Christianity’ are almost irrelevant. What matters is Islam as it actually exists and Christianity as it actually exists. And while it still kills huge numbers of Muslims, actually existing Christianity has made significant progress towards being more peaceful, and I believe actually existing Islam can do the same.”

    That is the point I was edging towards with the history of Protestantism versus Catholicism. The parallels are pretty direct.

    The acceptance of Catholics in moderate numbers – now about 25% of the Australian population – has been positive overall, despite the dopey things they have in their doctrinal literature (according to orthodox Protestant theology), and despite criminal activity that their hierarchy has permitted to flourish.

    As mainstream Australians – Protestants, atheists and agnostics – have come to accept Catholic integration, most of the potential threats which were perceived and howled about in the 50s and 60s have not materialised. And to a significant extent Catholicism in Australia is the healthier for the reforms it has been obliged to adopt in the process of integration.

    There is every reason to believe the same will happen with increased acceptance of Muslims in Australia, as your experience in Dandenong seems to confirm, Don.

    Re: “Alan seems to very dogmatically state things on his webpage about a raped woman being forced to marry her attacker according to Old Testament law.”

    I’m happy to have another look at that, Don. It is possible I may have overstated the argument. Not sure. Do you remember where that was?

    More soon ...
    Blessings,
    AA
16 hours ago · Edited · Unlike · 3
  • Wendy Ridge This is all very sad, AND dangerous!!! : (
  • Don Cameron Thanks for the update on a bit of your history Alan.

    John Howard committed murder.

    Ok, so I didn't vote for him but I don't think he signed the death notice to have any particular person killed. I see the point about war but using your definition anyone who leads their country to war is guilty of murder for whoever their troops kill. Opening a can of worms but - is there such a thing as a 'just war'? Did you see my point about everyone demanding world leaders for intervention in Afghanistan in the 1990s?

    Is Kevin Rudd guilty of murder because he instigated the pink batts program? How far do you go with this. I don't think our leaders rejoiced in the death of any Muslims. They even tried to take Osama Bin Laden captive instead of killing him (we're told) Murder? Strong words.

    <AA> But is it also true that Christians have nothing to fear from genuine Muslims; genuine Muslims are a blessing to their neighbours?

    No. I would hate to meet Muslims who acted according to the Koran. I prefer 'love thy neighbour' to the stuff about how to treat infidels and kafirs.

    I see your point agreeing with Joel but that is where we differ. A religion should not be defined by what some of the members of the group do, but what the teachings of the faith actually are. If a group of vegans suddenly declare they will include cheese and eggs in their diet do we change the meaning of the word 'vegan' or acknowledge they are not really being true to the vegan cause? I don't think we can agree on this point but I think I can see your foundational thinking on the issue.

    Perhaps you are hoping that all Muslims become liberal and step away from the hard core teachings contained in the Koran and other books they consider holy? Yes, this has happened in Dandenong where most of my 'Muslim' mates enjoy ham and pineapple pizza saying it's ham and not pork (huh?). I thought within a few generations people with liberal or nominal views on their faith will have their children leave that faith. I'm told that is rarely the case with Muslims though.

    I read the points on your website when we were discussing marriage on Jacob's wall last year (from memory). I also googled your name and saw quotes from you in articles on the internet. It's out there somewhere. Happy to know you are willing to reconsider.
President calls emergency security council meeting over teenagers rounded up at gunpoint despite guard's presence
  • Alan Austin Hi again Don,

    Yes, you have correctly identified where we seem to be at an impasse:

    “A religion should not be defined by what some of the members of the group do, but what the teachings of the faith actually are.”

    Islam appears evil to many of us because there are calls to violence in its foundational text and examples in its history of warfare led by their God.

    Plus there are countless examples of atrocities committed by apparently committed Muslims throughout history and even in the present day.

    So it seems clear that Islam should be rejected.

    But exactly the same is true of Judaism, Christianity and several other faiths. (Not so much Buddhism, though.)

    On the positive side of the ledger for Islam, there are many texts declaring God is a God of love and forgiveness who calls His followers to live in peace with everyone, including their neighbours of other faiths or none.

    And that is true also of Judaism, Christianity and other faiths. (Especially Buddhism.)

    So when we reject Islam, should we reject all other faiths too? (And become Buddhists.)

    How can we resolve this impasse?

    Have you ever pondered this from the spiritual persective, Don?

    All three faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – believe in and pray to the God of Moses, Abraham and Jesus. So who is the God who speaks to, leads and inspires those who genuinely choose to be faithful Jews? Who is the God who speaks to, leads and inspires those who choose to be faithful Muslims? And who is the God who speaks to, leads and inspires those who choose those who choose to be faithful Christians?

    Is it possible the one true God is moving in and through all those who truly and humbly seek to follow Him? And does the evil done in His name always break God’s heart – whether by professing Jews, Muslims or Christians.

    Is that possible, do you think?

    Thanks, Don.

~~

Top of Form
SEARCH RELIGION & ETHICS
Bottom of Form
Christians, Muslims in the double vision of Miroslav Volf
Richard ShumackABC RELIGION AND ETHICS27 MAY 2011
If Christians and Muslims can reject both violence and disengagement and walk this difficult road together, then disagreement can lead, ultimately, to truth
IF CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS CAN REJECT BOTH VIOLENCE AND DISENGAGEMENT AND WALK THIS DIFFICULT ROAD TOGETHER, THEN DISAGREEMENT CAN LEAD, ULTIMATELY, TO TRUTHCREDIT: MATTHEW PERKINS (ABC LOCAL)
SEE ALSO
As a "believer" I am frequently irritated by the selective and simplistic attacks on religion by the likes of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, with their deliberately provocative claims that religion poisons everything in general, and promotes conflict in particular. Their claims are unquestionably overblown. Nonetheless, when I put aside my (most probably self-righteous) indignation, I can actually see their point. Not all conflict is essentially political or tribal.
Take two recent events: a Pakistani government minister of Christian background was assassinated for his outspokenness against his country's blasphemy laws. At the same time the State of Tennessee is seeking to "ban Sharia" in what Muslims are calling a bill that "makes it illegal to be Muslim in the state of Tennessee." There are undeniably some serious conflicts that grow out of disputes over religious beliefs.
Unfortunately the two most common attempts at resolving religious disagreement are patently ineffective, if not repugnant.
On the one hand we witness people using some form of violence - physical, rhetorical, legal or intellectual - to enforce their belief on someone else. The problem, of course, is that violence doesn't prove truth, or necessarily change anyone's mind about what to believe.
On the other hand there is permissiveness: simply accepting that anyone else's personal beliefs are fine, whether or not they agree with your own. This latter option has great appeal for the Western pluralist. But the problem is that private beliefs cannot remain private.
Private beliefs inform one's social ethics and political policies. What are we to de when we clash over personal beliefs on refugee policy or carbon emissions or workplace behaviour? Can we just keep walking away from disagreement? Such a policy leads us down a path towards C.S. Lewis's hellish picture in The Great Divorce, where everyone lives in his or her own suburb of empty houses because no-one can get along.
If this vision is perhaps overly pessimistic in a social sense, it is not in a philosophical sense. Philosophical permissiveness denies any communal search for truth, and thus any real religious discourse. Resolution of disagreement is unlikely without real discourse.
How, then, should we handle disagreement over beliefs?
This question has long troubled renowned Yale theologian Miroslav Volf. His experiences growing up in a multi-faith context in the former Yugoslavia, has motivated his search for how Christians and Muslims might live together given their disagreements over belief.
Since the events of 11 September 2011 no one can deny the weight of this question, and Volf's attempt to provide an answer, Allah: A Christian Response, is worth serious consideration.
His goal in writing this book is clear: to find a stance on Christian and Muslim belief that creates a space to "live together well in a single and endangered world."
His proposal is that both violent and permissive approaches should be rejected, as should approaches that focus on the disagreements. Instead, a method of dialogue that he terms "double vision" should be adopted.
This "double vision" is a recursive method that begins with recognizing your own beliefs, and then stepping outside them into the beliefs of others in order to then reflect on your beliefs from their point of view. You then return to your own, now modified, belief system and repeat the process.
His argument is that if both parties in a disagreement were to adopt this method, they may not reach agreement, but they will exhibit a real love for each other in the process that will limit any disposition to either violent conflict, or passionless disengagement.
As a method, "double vision" is attractive. It suggests working hard to understand how others came to their beliefs and considering how well your own beliefs stack up against those of your interlocutor. Surely this is a good position to hold, and one that like "mother and apple pie" is agreeable to all, at least as an ideal.
Volf, perhaps ironically given that the book is intended to limit conflict, believes his approach to be "hot and spicy," and the book will definitely cause a stir.
As a Christian, Volf's application of a double vision approach to Islam has left him with the following controversial understanding of Muslim and Christian beliefs:
- Muslims and Christians believe in the same creator God, who is a God of love, and loves all equally and without merit.
- Christian and Muslim beliefs concerning the Trinity are not incompatible.
- Both Christians and Muslims believe that they worship primarily by loving God and loving neighbour, including enemies.
- The recognition of the primacy of love by Christians and Muslims will delegitimize motivation to religious violence and also supply a motivation to engage in pursuing common good in the world.
At face value, these results bode well for the "double vision" approach. So why would such a vision create heat? Mainly because the Islam Volf describes is not an Islam that I, or many Muslims I know, would recognize.
The Islam I have encountered in the Muslim communities in which I have lived does not understand God, or his love, in the way Volf describes. For them God is certainly loving and merciful, but Islam is clearly and unambiguously a meritocracy and God's mercy is for the obedient.
Volf suggests that "the primacy of God's love and mercy in the view of many great Muslim teachers makes the need to earn God's love superfluous and, indeed, inappropriate." My experience is that few, if any, Muslims teach such an idea, and it is not at all clear in the Qur'an.
In the same way, most of my Muslim friends understand worship to be centred not in love of neighbour (although it does include that), let alone love of enemy, but rather in the rituals found in the pillars of Islam.
One of the reasons for this disconnect is that, for Christianity, Volf constantly refers to clear examples of Jesus's teaching in the Bible, but in the case of Islam he tends to look for deeper meanings behind the more obvious texts of the Qur'an.
So in arguing for the primacy of love of neighbour in Islam he cannot point to a single verse of the Qur'an for support, and only a few examples in the words of Muhammad (the hadith).
Most tellingly, Volf supports his argument that Muslims are called to love enemies - in the way Jesus spoke about - by appealing neither to the Qur'an nor the hadith, but instead only to an obscure parable told by a Muslim mystic.
In a revealing admission, Volf acknowledges that he is not talking about Islam as it is necessarily practiced, but rather what he sees as normative Islam as taught by some Islamic teachers.
The problem is that Volf seeks support for his key premises from teachers who would be recognized by most traditional Muslims as marginal scholars (such as the perennial philosopher Seyyed Hossein Nasr, popular in the West, but who believes all religions have transcendental unity), or Sufi mystics (like al-Bustami). His selectivity calls into question the normativity of the beliefs he mentions.
None of this is to suggest that Muslims are not called to, or don't, love God or their neighbours. It is just that the prominence Volf gives to these "golden rules" in Islam is unrecognizable to me. Instead, it looks to me like what a Christian would find in Islamic teaching if she went looking for it.
Don't get me wrong; I like very much Volf's idea of "double vision," and the generosity of spirit behind it. It just seems to me that he has been unable to step far enough outside his Christian beliefs to genuinely encounter traditional Islam. In short, he didn't apply his method fully.
But what if I am wrong? What if we agree with Volf that the command to love God and neighbour are common centres of Christianity and Islam? Does this bring us to closer to agreement?
I don't think so. In fact, I suspect it brings us to an even bigger substantive disagreement between Christians and Muslims. Because even if you agree with Volf that there is a common understanding of God in Christianity and Islam, there is still a gulf between the beliefs of the two faiths concerning the nature and capacity of humans to worship God.
Christianity believes us to be powerless to fulfil God's requirements (golden or otherwise) without being renewed as people - we need to be "born again" as Jesus puts it (John 3:3). This is the Christian context for the love of God, and why Jesus speaks of God as a Father running to forgive wayward and broken people before they seek to return to Him (Luke 15:11-32) and then empowering them with His daily personal presence in their lives.
In contrast, Islam is clear that it is within human power to be religiously obedient people. God mercifully provides His commands as guidance to all who want it, but from there you are on your own.
Christians are those for whom God, in Jesus, has carried their sins; Muslims are those who are explicitly expected to answer for their own sins before God. Christians are born again sinners; Muslims are the successfully religious. Christian corporate worship is uniquely marked with joyful salvation songs; Muslim corporate worship is distinctively marked by earnest and austere prayers for guidance. The gulf here is wide.
Where does this leave us in handling religious disagreement between Christians and Muslims? Philosophers considering disagreement all agree that finding the truth in a world of plural beliefs and worldviews is not simple.
There are many factors that contribute to holding and disagreeing over beliefs. These include our culture and backgrounds, our motivations, our intelligence, our training, our access to all the evidence we need to choose, as well as the fact that some truths about God - like the Trinity - are very complicated.
Similarly most agree that peer disagreement should at least cause us to pause and examine the factors that brought us to our beliefs to see if they provide us with good reasons to believe as we do.
Helpfully, some philosophers also suggest that rather than being a bad thing, a disagreement about belief should simply be seen as providing another form of evidence - that is, the different belief of a peer provides another part of the puzzle of faith to seek to understand, wrestle with, and then incorporate, reject or modify into your own beliefs. In essence, this is Volf's "double vision."
But whereas Volf uses his "double vision" with a preference for seeking similarity, it seems to me that "double vision" is most productive when observing difference. If you and I ignore our differences in belief in order to find similarity, then neither of us will be likely to examine our own beliefs carefully enough because we will have no new evidence to consider.
If, however, we use "double vision" to consider our differing beliefs, then we will have real evidence that will push all of us to ask ourselves difficult questions concerning the adequacy of our reasons for belief.
If Christians and Muslims can reject both violence and disengagement and walk this difficult road together, then disagreement can lead, ultimately, to truth. The huge challenge is to do this in the spirit suggested by Volf, and it is modelling this generous spirit of engagement that is this book's greatest contribution.
Richard Shumack is a Senior Fellow of the Centre for Public Christianity, and a doctoral candidate at the National Centre for Excellence in Islamic Studies at Melbourne University. He is also a Research Fellow at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.
Actions
Comments (10)
  • JOHN :
02 Jun 2011 3:13:07pm
This essay by Richard is so full of self-justifying delusions as to be painful.

Richard uses the phrase
"philosophical permissiveness", which in his case necessarily implies that he and his fellow "conservative" Christian true believers possess the Truth.

Never mind that every possible Spiritual, religious and philosophical point of view is now freely available to anyone with an internet connection.

There is no such thing as the "communal search for truth".

Truth is only ever Understood and Realized by individuals one at a time. They then may enter into intentional cooperation with other Realizers and thus represent, by the collective integrity of their Practice of Truth, represent a Living Demonstration of the Truth.

What if, in Truth and Reality, there is no difference?

Why does everything have to turn out to be either Christian or Islamic?

As though these two archaic tribalistic power and control seeking cults with their absolutists belief systems are the only options!

What if mere belief in "God", especially the naive mommy-daddy creator-"God" idea has nothing whatsoever to do with Truth and Reality?

I would suggest that there is no real evidence that right-wing or so called conservative Christians or Islamicists have any interest in rejecting violence.

Why?

Because they both promote the conceit that they alone possess the one-true-way-faith-revelation. And that they thus have a categorical mandate, given by their belief system or their tribalistic cultic "God", to convert all of humankind to their one-true-way-faith. Using whatever means they can in any time or place.

Indeed I would posit that in the case of right-wing or so called conservative Christian-ISM that they are the principal vectors and apologists for Christian religious intolerance and violence.

For instance these relates facts in the context of the illegal imperialist war against the people of Iraq.

General Boykin's boast that his Christian "god" (read penis) is bigger than the Islamic "god".

The fact that George W Bush used the word "crusade" to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq by the Christian coalition of the killing.

The fact that the chaplaincy service of the USA military has largely been taken over by militant evangelical Christians who are openly hostile to all other Faith traditions. And who are to one degree or another motivated in their militant actions by the "end time" armageddon script as promoted by the deeply psychotic Left Behind series of "novels".

Plus the so called search for truth is a delusion. To seek the "Truth" is do deny the intrinsic fact that the Truth is always the context and substance of the now time moment - now, and now, and
    • RICHARD :
05 Jun 2011 4:55:53pm
Hi John,

For what is worth, a few comments.
1. My use of the term "philosophical permissiveness" has no necessary implications concerning any religious dogma. It is a technical term used in secular epistemology. Feel free to look it up.
2. I do not believe the world is necessarily split into only Christian or Muslim understandings of reality. I was however seeking to review a book exploring the Christian Muslim dynamic. Surely that is fair game for comment?
3. For someone who believes there is no search for truth, you seem to believe that you for one have found the truth about Truth. Are others not allowed to have a differing view? In any case, again I use the term truth in my essay in its technical epistemological usage, not dogmatic. Ie. without a capital T.

      • DANDY ANDY :
22 Jun 2011 2:01:01am
Yes, that was the pot calling the kettle black.
  • JOHN :
31 May 2011 10:44:26am
Talk about double-vision or rather in the case of Richard, blinkered double-mindedness.

Anyone who is associated with Ravi Zacharias is signaling to the world that he is fundamentally incapable of any kind of ecumenical or tolerant understanding of ALL other faith traditions.

And that their fundamental motive is to "bring the entire world to 'christ'" - whatever that could possibly mean in 2011.

Remembering that Jesus was not in any sense a Christian - he was essentially a radical Spiritual Teacher who appeared within the tradition of Judaism.

Nor did Jesus found the religion of Christian-ism which is the religion about Jesus, all of which was invented by others.
    • RICHARD :
31 May 2011 3:13:44pm
Hi John,

I'm wondering exactly how what I have written in my article displays "blinkered double-mindedness"? The fallacy of guilt by association aside, surely it is my argument that deserves critique? One response I would make is that as a researcher I am not so much interested in ecumenical or tolerant understandings so much as accurate ones. My hope, whether successful or not, in writing the article was to encourage such a pursuit.
  • AAN :
30 May 2011 9:32:17pm
I think before rejecting violence we need to reject ignorance. I find the author’s selective ignorance about certain aspect of Islam, as shown by his inability to quote anything from the Quran about God’s love for all humanity and about dealing with neighbours, as perpetuating the stereotype of Islam and Muslims in general as beasts that need to be tamed. The author tries to disguise some of his comments as some sort of positive comments, but he fails utterly in his mission. Ignorance breeds hate and hate breeds violence. If anything this article spreads ignorance. From memory this oneverse about dealing your neighbour.
Sura 4 - An-Nisa : Verse 36
“And serve Allah. Ascribe no thing as partner unto Him. (Show) kindness unto parents, and unto near kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and unto the neighbour who is of kin (unto you) and the neighbour who is not of kin, and the fellow-traveller and the wayfarer and (the slaves) whom your right hands possess. Lo! Allah loveth not such as are proud and boastful,”
As saying of the Prophet Mohamed, there are so many but here is one I remember from primary school “It is reported that the Prophet Mohamed said : He who believes in Allah and the Last Day should either utter good words or better keep silence; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should treat his neighbour with kindness and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to his guest. (Book #001, Hadith #0075) “

The saying of the Prophet along with the Quran form the basis of what Muslims believe in. So for the author to say "and only a few examples in the words of Muhammad (the hadith)", seems to me he does not know much of Islam.
Seek the truth and speak the truth you will find the truth. Peace
    • RICHARD :
31 May 2011 3:05:30pm
Hi Aan,

Thanks for your post. I agree with you that ignorance is dangerous. Perhaps I did not make myself clear. I deliberately never said "the Qur'an doesn't say anything about God's love for humanity", or that it doesn't call humans to love. I did say that the Qur'an does not speak of love the way that Jesus did. My point was that Allah loves the righteous, and even the verse you quote makes that point: "Allah loveth not such as are proud and boastful". Also I have yet to see a verse in the Qur'an that makes Volf's point that Islam calls for love of enemy in the way Jesus did. I am more than happy to be corrected on this if you can show me one.
      • AAN :
31 May 2011 11:45:13pm
Richard
I stress my point that your knowledge of Islam is limited and for me to quote you a verse is not going to fill the void within you in respects to Islam. It is far better for you and for that matter anyone who wants to know about Islam to be sincere in your quest and seek the truth without any pre-conceived stereotypes.
However as this is an open forum I can find no better quote from the Quran than the following:
‘O My slaves who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of God. Surely God forgives all sins. Truly, He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Compassionate.’ (al-Zumar, 39.53)
This verse was revealed with respect to a person who had killed the prophet’s uncle who is very much loved and admired by Muslims. It was revealed at the time when the said person was not a Muslim and had engaged in combat against the prophet and killed his uncle.
Furthermore, I think this comparison between Islam and Christianity is not going to get you anywhere simply because your aim is to prove Islam and Christianity are not on the same level. If that is your opinion you are entitled to it whether you are wrong or right, but please do not justify your misguided opinion by spreading ignorance.
I believe Islam, Christianity, Judaism and other religions who worship an Omnipresent God complement each other. Sadly this talk of superiority of one over the other will get us nowhere. Peace.

      • RICHARD :
01 Jun 2011 9:55:14am
Hi Aan,

Thanks for your reply. I am sure that, like anyone, I have an incomplete understanding of Islam, or any other religion. There is always more to learn. However, I do not think you are reading me carefully. Where is the talk of superiority you mention? Nowhere have I argued for the superiority/inferiority of either Christianity or Islam. Just that they are genuinely different in their understanding of God and worship, and that Volf's quotations from the Qur'an and Hadith (not mine) do not support his idea that they are essentially the same theologically. Surely you would agree that there are significant differences theological differences concerning the nature of God and of the worship he requires? So, for example, would you agree that Islam teaches that, after repentance and forgiveness, eternity is a reward for faithful obedience to God's commands? Volf says otherwise.

You seem to be suggesting that my overall aim is somehow to stereotype Muslims, and spread misinformation. To the contrary, my point is philosophical, not polemical. All I am saying is that where difference exists in beliefs we need to treat each other as intellectual equals and dialogue deeply.

~~

  • Alan Austin Hi again Stephen,

    Will come back to some of these issues shortly.

    Just two questions for you for now:

    First one: Imagine you were an intelligent Muslim university student in Iraq in 2005 experiencing the same profound misgivings about the credibility of the Koran you and I have, Stephen.

    Imagine you had read and understood the Christian Gospel and were contemplating conversion. Then you heard this from the President of the most proudly Christian nation on Earth:

    “I am driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, 'George, go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did."

    Then, a while later, all your family and dozens of your friends and fellow students had been killed in a slaughter which took more than 100,000 Iraqi lives.

    How would that affect your decision to convert to Christianity?

    The second question relates to the globally infamous collateral murder video, which every Muslim classroom has seen many times, along with billions of other viewers across the world:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0

    Was there any reason these journalists and their children and those who came to rescue them were executed – by the world’s most proudly Christian nation – other than because they were in a Muslim neighbourhood at the time?

    Who are the real evildoers, Stephen?

    Blessings, AA
Wikileaks has obtained and decrypted this previously unreleased video footage fr...See more
  • Don Cameron Alan.... George Bush was a Universalist who believed anyone who had a genuine faith in a god would end up in heaven. Since I am imagining I am a Muslim university student who had read and understood the Christian gospel then I would understand Jesus words 'Many will come in my name...' and 'watch out that nobody deceives you' plus many other Scriptures which according to your story, I would 'understand'.

    As a non-Christian I loved to ridicule Christian leaders who were caught in sin. I went through a very old high school diary where I stuck in paper clippings of so-called Christians being hypocritical. I loved that as I liked to think it gave me a reason not to believe in the God of the bible. When I read the bible for myself my paper clippings and world events didn't count for much. I'm not suggesting it's a good thing that world leaders claim to be Christians and then sin and I am not in favour of war.

    America is a Christian nation? Muslims I know (and some Christians) think America is one of the least Christian nations on earth with it's addiction to alcohol, abortion, pornography and sexual immorality of all kinds. In America prayer in public schools is banned. If it were a Christian nation this would not be the case. It's not the case in Muslim nations 
  • Stephen Durie Alan I'm not interested in defining which groups are good and which are bad in fact I think it's best to focus on which ideas are good or bad, not which ethnic or national groups. However I do appreciate Dons reply and agree with what he says. I am no great fan of Duubya nor of the Iraq war and aftermath, nor of the American sense of manifest destiny (or whatever drives some of them to behave badly at times).

    My contention here, as I've repeatedly stated, is that there is good reason and a great deal of evidence to be concerned about the impact of Islamist ideology coming to Australia.

    The fact that some 25% of the worlds population carry some allegiance to this ideology is, however, a factor. This is why I say I don't know what the solution is: the ideology is almost impossible to separate from the group except intellectually. Never the less I am committed to loving Muslims of whatever kind, while rejecting the very violent and misogynistic etc example and teaching of Mohammed.

    Having lived in the US for several years I know that precious few Americans would be proud of the Behaviour revealed in that video or consider it a reflection of traditional American values.

    However at least half the population of a number of Islamic countries fully support the ideology of Sharia and Jihad, including it's most misogynist, violent and homophobic elements. This is a concern to me when considering Immigration to Australia and the future of our descendants.

    As an aside, I have a friend from Iraq who almost exactly matches your description above. He is very bright, was an expert in the Koran, became disillusioned with it, fought on the Iraqi side in the first Gulf war, lost comrades in war atrocities committed by the Kurds and attacks by the Americans (killed many if both himself), and converted during to Christ the period you mentioned. He came to Faith in Christ regardless because he encountered Christ in various ways - dreams, scriptures, prayers and testimonies etc.
    We 2 also have a great American friend who fought on the US side and is a thoroughly decent guy. Both men have a great sense of humor and have no problem differentiating between the idiocies of Bush, the failures and sins of "the West", and the evil nature of Islamic ideology (in which my friend was an expert having been trained in a Madrassa as an Imam from childhood and experienced Sharia and Jihad from both sides).
  • Joel Rothman "Joel, I know it is a paradigm shift, but for Muslims, "Scripture= Religious Practice" IS pretty much how things work IN GENERAL in Islam."

    That's not much of a paradigm shift for me. I came to faith in a very conservative (fundamentalist?) evangelical church, and then spent the next ten years of my life deep in Baptistland. As the bumper sticker says, "God said it. I believe it. That settles it." I get the idea. And I've spoken with Muslim workmates who told me something like, "Muslims aren't divided like Christians. We are all the same. We just follow what the Koran says." Yes, I get the idea, but I don't think it is a realistic assessment of what is actually going on.

    And yes, research shows Muslims do vary greatly depending on social and historical context. For example, roughly 50% of Muslims in the Palestinian territories agree with suicide bombing, while less than 10% in Iraq do. In Afghanistan 99% of Muslims want sharia to be official law, while in Lebanon is it only about 30%, and in Turkey about 10%. In some countries most sharia-supporting Muslims think it should only apply to Muslims and only to issues like inheritance, while in other countries they think it should also apply to criminal justice and the whole population. In some countries, e.g. Jordan and Lebanon, Muslims under the age of 35 are significantly less likely than older Muslims to support national sharia. In some countries sharia supporters are more likely to also support the use of violence against outsiders, and in other countries sharia supporters are less likely to support such violence.

    Yes, in reality, historical and social contexts are significant influences on Islamic belief and practice.

    http://www.pewforum.org/.../the-worlds-muslims-religion.../
A new survey report looks at attitudes among Muslims in 39 countries on a wide r...See more
  • Joel Rothman "Alan.... George Bush was a Universalist who believed anyone who had a genuine faith in a god would end up in heaven."

    So he wasn't a true Scotsman then?
  • Stephen Durie Right Joel... Jolly good. Thanks for clarifying that, it is very helpful. (And you said you you'd made your last contribution.... !

    BUT think about it - That's a LOT of Sharia and Jihad supporters yeah?!

    Of course context is a factor but Its not the Primary CAUSE when it comes to Muslims behaving badly. It may influence whether they support Sharia/Jihad etc but it doesn't cause them to "do" Sharia". Their scriptures and the example of Mohammed primarily do that. And those won't change. Because of the Islamic tendency to scriptural fundamentalism which you've outlined. In a debate between a liberal student and an Islamist, the Islamist will always win...
  • Joel Rothman "And you said you you'd made your last contribution.... !"

    Ha...yeah...well...quitting a Facebook debate is like quitting smoking - I can do it several times a day. But my statement did have an "if" and a "probably" in it.
  • Stephen Durie Ha ha! Right! using lots of qualifiers is a wise move 
  • Stephen Durie Gents, I'm bowing out now. My Easter FB lull is over and it's back to work for me with a vengeance. (How do you find time for this stuff?)

    Don thanks for your contributions to the discussion! You kept me afloat! ...See More
  • Stephen Durie As a parting note, and to quote Joel's pewforum survey :
    "Overwhelming percentages of Muslims in many countries want Islamic law (sharia) to be the official law of the land, according to a worldwide survey"
    And THATS my concern, because it's very bad n...See More
  • Stephen Durie Everyone should read this research...
    Here's a snippet:

    "If current trends continue -- a Muslim population boom, combined with an aging Christian demographic and the increasing secularization of British natives -- Islam is set to overtake Christianity in Britain within the next 20 years, according to demographers."

    England as we've known it is fast disappearing. It is rapidly going the way of Asia Minor - where once grew the 7 churches, now there is hardly a Christian to be found.

    http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/.../britain-islamic-future
Islam is on track to become the dominant religion in Britain within the next gen...See more
  • Alan Austin Thanks, Stephen, for your diligent and respectful dialogue here.

    The difficulty with your position – if I have it right – is that almost everything you say about Islam is true of Roman Catholicism....See More
  • Joel Rothman Just to add a bit to your post, Alan, sexual slavery is also taught in the Catholic (and Protestant) holy scriptures.

    And yet, despite a few issues, Catholics make an overall positive contribution to Australia. ...See More
  • Don Cameron Sexual slavery taught in the Scriptures. Joel, Alan and I have covered this topic before.... sigh.... In the whole debate last time Joel raised one very good point (Princess wanting to marry her half brother who raped her) but Alan raised no points wi...See More
  • Alan Austin Hi again Don,

    Just a couple of queries:

    Regarding, “Muslims have nothing to fear from genuine Christians.”

    Are you sure?

    Can you see the situation from a Muslim living in a country invaded by the USA, Britain and Australia? Or from the viewpoint of Muslims anywhere in the world who have observed the 13 recent invasions of Islamic countries by Christian countries?

    They know that Bush, Blair and Howard all profess to be committed Christians. They have heard George W Bush and Tony Blair say that they prayed about the decision to declare war on Iraq.

    They also know that the decision to invade was based on the spurious pretext that President Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Everyone knows now that that was a complete lie, that there was never any evidence for that claim, and the real reason was to secure the oil supplies.

    As a result of that invasion, between 100,000 and one million Muslims are now dead and the US controls the oil pipelines.

    There was very little protest from Christians when the invasion was launched. No mainstream churches today are actively pursuing criminal charges to be brought against Bush, Blair and Howard, as is warranted - although a minuscule number of individual Christians are.

    Most Christians in the USA happily consume the stolen petroleum. Many Christians voted for the re-election of the parties which decided to unleash that slaughter of innocent Muslim people.

    What do you expect reasonably well-informed Muslims around the world watching those events would conclude about Christians, Don?

    Blessings,
    AA
  • Don Cameron Thanks for your reply Alan. I disagree with you on many things but you are polite.

    You 'seem to' continually affirm that whatever the West does (America, Britian and Australia) is Christian as we have Christian leaders?

    When a politician claims anything we should know to be sceptical, especially when it comes to God. I don't know much about Blair but John Howard and GW Bush were certainly not orthodox in their Christianity as I've mentioned before. In Australia the out-and-proud 'Christian' political parties get very few votes but you seem to think we are a Christian nation?

    I remember the protests during the Howard years by Christians and non-Christians alike asking the government to keep out of the Iraq war. On a personal note, how long have you been living outside of Australia? Perhaps (just a guess) you are a bit distant to make assumptions about what Christians in Australia did?

    Regarding charges against John Howard, Kevin Rudd let us down when he said there would be no royal commission into things that the previous government did. I know many Christians who were hoping to get honest answers and keep our politicians accountable but we probably move in different circles. This seems like a bit of a red herring issue as although I know a few (seemingly genuine) Christians who have one political belief or another, it gets down to an argument about what I see verses what you see in your part of the world.

    What do I expect reasonable informed Muslims around the world watching these events would conclude about Christians? The ones who have come to live in my town (going over my ground again) were told in their own countries that everyone in the west was a Christian. One man was very impressed by the Red Cross workers coming to his village to create a well to give them easy access to water. He vowed to find out more about the Christian God because of this and later on he became a Christian. He was a bit shocked when I told him the Red Cross were not a Church but an aid agency. He remained a Christian despite his initial misinformation about who Christians were and what they did.

    Other Muslims in my community tell me they have experienced great freedoms in Australia they never had in their own country. I could tell many more stories if you like but I think I've made my point.

    'Reasonably well-informed Muslims around the world' might think as my friends did. Look at the west. Their armies come in and cause trouble in some areas but they give lollies to our kids, dig wells and generally aren't anywhere near as bad as we have heard. I don't know this as a fact and I haven't been to Muslim dominated countries myself so it's only a guess in answer to your question. My Muslim friends certainly understand corruption by political leaders. Just as the very nominal Muslim Saddam Hussein constantly evoked the name of God to justify his claims, I think they are used to political leaders of all stripes doing the same when it helps their cause. Western leaders do it very rarely compared to political leaders in Islamic countries where it seems to be expected.

    Muslims have nothing to fear from genuine Christians. Genuine Christians are a blessing to their neighbours. If you are ever in Dandenong I can show you the local Churches in action to new arrivals from overseas (many/most are from Islamic countries).
13 hours ago · Like · 2
Regarding the fear that Sharia could become the *official* law of the land, is that even plausible in Australia in, say, the next 100 years? I'm curious to know what the projected timeline is on this, because I don't see how it could go ahead without a change to the Constitution, which isn't going to happen unless more than half of voters are Muslims. How long will it take for us to be in that situation?
11 hrs · Like · 1
  • Don Cameron Good question Nathan. Check out what's been happening in England.
11 hrs · Like · 1
  • Joel Rothman Yes, good question Nathan.
    Muslims are currently about 2.5% of Australia's population. At current rate of increase it will take 50 years for the Muslim population to reach 11 million. That would be nearly half the population if Australia's total population doesn't grow - but of course it will. But even if and when Muslims are more than 50% of population we won't have official sharia, because not all Muslims would vote for that. In fact about half Australia's Muslims come from Lebanon and Turkey, and in those countries only about 20% of Muslims believe in having official sharia. So we'd probably need Australia's Muslim population to reach about 90% before we're in danger of having official sharia imposed on us. At this rate we've got at least a few centuries to go.
10 hrs · Like
  • Joel Rothman A couple of points on sexual slavery and the Bible, Don.

    First, I was referring to more than just the verse that is probably about girls marrying their rapists. I was primarily referring to verses that instruct God’s people to capture foreign girls in...See More
10 hrs · Like
  • Joel Rothman “Muslims have nothing to fear from genuine Christians.”

    Hmm. I’ve made the point before, but it seems I’ll have to make it again. I am inclined to agree with this statement theologically, but I cannot agree sociologically or historically. People who genuinely consider themselves Christians, who read the Bible and pray and go to church, and who are considered to be Christians by their Christian friends and their churches, have often done horrible things to Muslims (and Jews and others) throughout history and up to the present day. Social, political and historical context have always played a big role in this, but they have often expressly given spiritual/theological/biblical explanations of their actions. I also say again that in the US, Christians that you would likely call "genuine" or "orthodox", evangelical Christians who are theologically conservative with a strong commitment to Biblical authority, were more likely to support the Iraq war than the general population. Thus apparently "genuine" and "orthodox" Christianity was a contributing factor in the US invasion of Iraq.

    This is a discussion of the dangers to society posed by Islam and other religions. In this context “true Islam” and “true Christianity” are almost irrelevant. What matters is Islam as it actually exists and Christianity as it actually exists. And while it still kills huge numbers of Muslims, actually existing Christianity has made significant progress towards being more peaceful, and I believe actually existing Islam can do the same.

    “There was very little protest from Christians when the invasion was launched.”

    Actually I disagree with you on this point Alan. From memory large numbers of Christians protested in Australia and in other parts of the world – just not so much in the US. But the rest is true, and I also recall that when some church leaders criticised the war, Jim Wallace (soon to be head of the Australian Christian Lobby) told them to butt out of politics and go back to their spiritual pulpits.

    By the way Don, is it your judgment that Jim Wallace is not a genuine Christian?
10 hrs · Like
A Free Press For A Free People Since 1997
7 hrs · Like · 1 · Remove Preview
  • Stephen Durie And a related trend in Pakistan which is also reported in Egypt
    "Mr.Gill, a Human Rights Defender who is involved in the protection of religious minority rights, strongly condemns the sexual assault of a minor girl of only seven years. He is frightened by the sheer and increasing volume of Christian girls being kidnapped and raped, by Muslim men."

    http://britishpakistanichristian.blogspot.com/.../easter...
britishpakistanichristian.blogspot.com
7 hrs · Like · 1 · Remove Preview
The report on the foreign crime wave in Sweden is translated from Google, so there may be some minor grammatical errors. After publishing this article we have had Muslims and the extreme socialist ...
Two factors lie behind the abuse of Christian girls in Egypt, according to a study: Societal misogyny and Islamist indoctrination.
7 hrs · Like · 1 · Remove Preview
  • Stephen Durie My concern is not just the official implementation of Sharia law as a whole in a country (though as Don indicates, the UK, which is only 5% Muslim, now has officially accepted parts of Sharia law and that situation is already being widely abused by Imams to conduct under aged marriages).

    My concern is the whole of Islamic ideology of Sharia, Jihad and Dhimmitude, which contains much harm and little good news for Kafirs, women, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, etc who are unwilling to convert to Islam, or for Muslims who wish to leave Islam.

    Alan can educate us about the past sins of the Roman Catholic Church till he's blue in the face, but I don't find it very relevant because two wrongs don't make a right for me, and anyway I'm not Catholic. And, more to the point, I don't see Catholicism currently presenting a threat to civilization and to freedoms and lifestyle of the next generation the way the growth of Islam does.
6 hrs · Edited · Like · 1
  • Stephen Durie What I said was people have rational grounds to fear a growth of Islamization and the subsequent introduction of ASPECTS of Sharia law in Australia.

    My concern over Islam has to do with the millions of people worldwide of numerous faiths and backgrounds who suffer abuses when political Islam (based on the Islamic canon) comes into ascendancy and Sharia law (also based on the Islamic canon) BEGINS to be introduced (as it will, gradually, into Australian society as well).

    It has absolutely nothing to do with Muslims behaving badly because they feel afraid, anxious, or threatened" by the wicked western Christian governments.

    I'm talking about things like: large numbers of Sikh girls being groomed and sexually abused by Muslim men in the UK, friends in Malaysia who are not free to express their faith or marry whom they choose because they were born Muslim, an imam friend from Baghdad who's father was told to kill him because he had become a Christian, the huge numbers of Muslim girls and women victimized by Muslim "honor killings" worldwide (90% of all honor killings), the charging of large fees for Halal certification when the fees go to pay for Jihad, the attacks on people out for a beer with friends because alcohol is forbidden, the attacks on women who have been raped for committing "adultery", the dehumanization of infidel women not wearing the veil as "asking for it", the growing numbers of illegal marriages of underage girls following the example of Mohammed, the intentional high-jacking of schools in the UK to become controlled by Islamists for the teaching of Sharia, the violent discrimination against gays and Jews, the bombings and throat slitting, the demolition or damage of non Muslim places of worship, and so on ... and so on....

    All these sorts of abuses are undergirded by obedience to the Islamic Canon: the Koran, Haddiths and the Sira, and especially by the example and teaching of Mohammed in those documents, and to the supremacist world view of Muslims as "winners" and infidels as "losers" which those holy books (sic) espouse.

    The irony is that the Islamists THEMSELVES keep telling us they do these things in obedience to their scriptures but folks keep insisting it's just for sociological reasons or as a reaction to something.

    Bah Humbug! There's nothing new here... Just ask the Copts!
    See
    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com
The politically incorrect truth about Islam, the "Religion of Peace" (and terror).
7 hrs · Edited · Like · 1 · Remove Preview
  • Stephen Durie A Quote from Winston Churchill:

    "How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries!

    Besides the fanatical frenzy, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

    Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step, and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it (Islam) has vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”


6 hrs · Edited · Like · 1
  • Don Cameron G'day Joel (and others)

    Exodus 22: 16“If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife. 17If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride-price for virgins.

    You are definitely misrepresenting my views and I apologise if I am doing the same to you. Read the Scripture above (NIV but I don't have space to quote all of the translations). I accept there is a debate about whether it is 'seduction' or a 'rape' but putting that aside for the moment, verse 17 says it is up to the Father to decide if the marriage goes ahead. AA never mentions this on his webpage and insists on using terms like 'sexual slavery' to define 'marriage' in the old testament just like you (Joel) does. This is not good but viewing things this way supports his arguments that we can disregard large parts (most of?) the bible. I think he should either change his argument or be honest that Scripture does not say a rape victim must always marry her attacker. It's simply not true.

    Re; Sexual slavery in the bible comparable to Islam. I remember the debate well and the points I was trying to get across. Israelite men were only permitted to have sex with their wife. Marriage is a covenant. Check out Joshua 6:23. Regarding the man Salmon - Was Rahab his sex slave or his wife after she was 'taken captive'? If AA was consistent he might have to say the ancestor of Jesus (Rahab) was a sex slave repeatedly raped against her will after she was a captive of war? I see it as a marriage relationship where she was afforded all the dignity and rights of a wife in the Hebrew culture under the protection of the law of Moses

    Please don't compare this with Islam and what 'some' Muslims do to young women in Egypt today.

    Re; Jim Wallace. I have spent a bit of time with Jim and I know he has spent time in many troubled spots of the world and seen some terrible things done by people who live there AND western armies who were there at the time. I'm not sure of the context or the accuracy of the quote you attribute to him and in these debates I've been misquoted before so it's possible you have done the same for Jim. From what I know of Jim, he is passionate about Churches speaking out with an informed view, but not coming from a position of ignorance. I am also against Churches speaking from a position of ignorance. This is why I take offence to AA continuing to solidly affirm Scripture says rape victims must marry their attackers.

    If I see Jim around somewhere I will ask him about his reported comments. Until then I can only google and we all know journalists and the internet are never wrong 
1 hr · Like
  • Joel Rothman "Alan can educate us about the past sins of the Roman Catholic Church till he's blue in the face, but two wrongs don't make a right for me. And I don't see Catholicism currently presenting a threat to civilization and to freedoms and lifestyle of the next generation the way the growth of Islam does."

    Stephen, this statement makes me wonder if you've paid any attention at all to what me and Alan have been arguing from Catholic/Christian history.
1 hr · Like
  • Joel Rothman JOEL WROTE
    " I don’t think you’re remembering that debate properly, and you’re still confused about what those premarital sex/rape verses teach....there is no way to take the verses as saying that the father decides if his raped daughter marries the ra...See More
1 hr · Edited · Like
James John Arundel "Jim" WallaceAM is a retired Australian army officer and a current lobbyist on social issues. Wallace was the managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby from 2000 to 2013.[1][2] He is now the deputy chairman of that organisation.[3]
  • Don Cameron Re; The Deuteronomy quote. There is nothing new in Deuteronomy. It is a brief re-hashing of the law in possibly one long address/sermon from Moses on the last day of his life before he left the Israelite people. That was my point back then and it remains my point today. I think you missed that point?

    We can't cherry pick one verse and create our great theology without considering the bible as a whole. Deuteronomy is part of the teachings of Moses as an overview. For the fine print check out the whole law published by Moses.
1 hr · Like
  • Joel Rothman Yes Don, that was one of your arguments. I recall that well.

    My point is that it is Deut 22 that me and Alan (and most scholars) argue is about rape. We all agree that Ex 22 is NOT about rape*. THEREFOR you cannot be right in saying "even if it is rape the father decides" BECAUSE Deut 22 does not mention the father.

    *I have not come accross a single scholar who argues Ex 22 is about rape. These verses might appear similar in some English translations but they are quite different in Hebrew.

    Don, your criticism of Alan (and me) on this point is confused and unfair.

    I also take your denial of the rape interpretation as evidence of how Bible believers will take a less likely interpretation if it fits with their preferences.
1 hr · Like
  • Joel Rothman Don, let's just say IF Jim Wallace spoke out in support invading Iraq, and IF he criticised church leaders for speaking strongly against the war, THEN would you say he is not a genuine Christian?
~~

  • Stephen Durie Joel check out the Internet, newspapers, YouTube etc. And read the sites I posted above. Islamist terrorists and those applying Sharia law (in both the Middle East and the west) are always and repeatedly at pains to explain that their actions are based on obedience to their scriptures. And occasionally they also mention retribution for western military action.
    It fascinates me how you guys fail to see this and to turn the perpetrators into victims. They are not. The Boston bombers were not victims, the fort hood shooter was not a victim, Osama was not a victim, and the numerous gangs of Muslim family men in the UK who have been convicted in the last decade of sexually grooming and enslaving non Muslim girls were not victims either. They were all following their faith and saw themselves as holy warriors, not victims.,
  • Joel Rothman It's not about fighting over who is the victim. It is about having a realistic understanding of how large numbers of people come to have certain (extreme) views. Religious texts play an important role. Social and historical context also plays an important role, and the wars of recent decades, and the perceptions they created, are a part of that. I've already argued that the "scripture=religious practice" formula is too simplistic and unrealistic, so if you persist in denying the relevance of context and experience there's not much more for me to say.
  • Stephen Durie I haven't denied the relevance of context or experience Joel
  • Alan Austin Hi again Stephen,

    Just a couple of brief responses:

    Are we reading you correctly in claiming that Islam is becoming more virulent, more aggressive and more of a threat to the West?

    You use phrases such as “the growing impact of Sharia and Jihad in Europe”.

    This is not where we disagree.

    The issue we need to explore, however, is why violence is growing at this point in history among fringe groups. It has not always been thus. There have been extended periods where Christian countries were not invading Muslim countries to plunder their resources, and inter-faith harmony was the norm.

    Even today the majority of Muslims still remain peaceable folks who are perfectly content to live in close community with Christians and people of other faiths in most parts of the world.

    Re: “The persecution (of Christians by Muslims) is nothing new. It's based on the 3 Muslim scriptures (the example of Mohammed) and has been going on since well before the crusades!”

    Perhaps. But so are invasions of Muslim countries by Christian countries nothing new. These, according to a certain perspective, are based on the many Old Testament passages to which Joel referred earlier, and have been going on since well before the crusades.”

    A sound study of the history of these would almost certainly reveal that these dreadful periods of violence and human rights abuses come in waves. We are now in a period in which some Muslims are responding defensively and offensively to the latest wave of attacks by the Christian West.

    Moderates across the faiths are dismayed at this. But should we be surprised really?

    Re: “Opinion is not divided on how to interpret the ‘death for apostasy’ law. It's only divided on whether whether to APPLY it or not, and the majority of ‘moderate’ Muslims in Islamic countries support killing you if you leave Islam, not to mention the rest of Sharia law.”

    The first part is pretty much what I was intending to express: there are variations of opinion on whether or not injunctions to kill or exclude apply today. Moderates believe they just don’t. Same as most moderate Jewish scholars do not believe that the instructions in Numbers 31 apply today for soldiers in armies faithful to Yahweh to rape young girls.

    Moslem, Jewish and Christian scholars believe these were written in ancient times and only apply in ancient times, even though the plain reading of the text would suggest they are part of God’s immutable, eternal and authoritative word.

    The second part is almost certainly not true – that moderate Muslims support killing you if you leave Islam – although I have only worked for any extended period in one majority Muslim country.

    Finally, just on: “history shows that appeasement simply doesn't work.”

    Perhaps that depends on what sort of appeasement we are examining. History certainly confirms that oppression and violence beget violent responses. And peace and harmony cannot be achieved where the causal oppression and violence continues.

    Blessings,
    AA
16 hours ago · Unlike · 3
  • Don Cameron Yes I know Muslims and respectfully ask them their beliefs. Most of the muslims I know are new Australians who are now nominal muslims after what they have experienced in countries with sharia law. Some still attend the mosque but they are very nominal and don't believe 'all' the teachings in the Koran. As a non-muslim, I am very thankful for that!
16 hours ago · Unlike · 2
  • Stephen Durie No Alan, Islam has always been virulent and aggressive from the time of Mohammed because that is it's nature - to follow the example of their so called prophet. It is making much more impact on the West, not because of a Western invasion, (although as you would say "perhaps" ) but because of large Muslim scale immigration.

    This is Muslim "evangelism" to populate nations and then bring them under Sharia - either by violent Jihad, or by any means possible..peaceful or terrorist. They say so themselves.
    The result is the same, whether by violence, financial means, population pressure, high jacking schools, intimidation, media etc, the aim is to bring the world under submission to the Sharia. This is the very meaning of "Islam" - submission!!

    Sweden is a classic case in point - now beginning to suffer numerous problems due to Sharia and Jihad based "bad Behaviour", while having offered nothing but aid and support of every kind to the very immigrants who now account for the majority of rapes and violent crime.

    The current legion of examples of Islamic violence worldwide are not some new wave in response to Western aggression, it was ever thus.. did you listen to the video above by Bill Warner?
15 hours ago · Edited · Like · 1
  • Stephen Durie For your interest Don, don't be too relieved, there are many historic examples of nominal Muslims turning on their non Muslim neighbors an friends when the time comes. We've seen it recently in Syria (Maaloula), Egypt, and the Kenya Mall massacre. When...See More
15 hours ago · Edited · Like · 1
According to the popular Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta and as relayed on Arabic media, “the civil war in Syria appears to be in need of more victims, so that the jihadis are making use of the social networks to recruit fighters from among the Muslims of Britain.”
  • Stephen Durie The Syrian war is primarily between Islamic factions - is this due to Western Christian aggression also? I know they are slaughtering All sorts there now. I wonder what will happen when those Islamist fighters come home to their mosques in Sydney and Melbourne. ASIO calls this the single biggest threat to Aussie security. Now imagine the size of the problem in countries with much bigger immigrant Muslim populations than ours... My intention is not to sow fear, xenophobia or hate. Just a little politically incorrect realism
14 hours ago · Edited · Like · 1
  • Stephen Durie Anyway, Lest we forget..... my main point here was to say I think the ADL have reason for concern about the long term effects of Muslim immigration on Australian communities, and if using a camera is the worst they do, I'll be very relieved
  • Don Cameron ... and in answer to a previous question from AA, I think many of my nominal muslim friends would agree with much or 'all' of what Stephen has been writing. Many have sad stories to tell about living in muslim countries. That's just the experience of individuals but you did ask the question so I'm answering it. Some who have become Christians are the most vocal in saying that we (Australia) should not welcome the Islamic way of life. None of them are violent towards muslims though as they all have family members who are muslims.
13 hours ago · Unlike · 2
  • Stephen Durie This is also my experience. Ironically some Muslims come to the "west" to escape the Sharia/Jihad ridden environment of violence and decay in Muslim lands, (but bring with them the same Supremacist ideology they are escaping from in the example of Mohammed set out in the Sira, Hadiths and Koran). It is inescapable - often on pain if death/ honor killing.
  • Joel Rothman "I haven't denied the relevance of context or experience Joel"

    Stephen, denying the influence of context and experience is a central pillar in your argument.

    I wrote, "Muslims in Muslim majority countries feel that Islam/Muslims are under attack by Christian majority countries, and this has led to a rise in hatred towards Christians in general"

    And you replied, "Sigh... And the moon is made of cheese... the persecution of non Muslim minorities in majority Muslim countries is squarely based on the example of Mohammed"

    This is nothing more than an assertion that Muslim scriptures are a significant causative factor in Muslim violence, and historical and social contexts are not. The same thread runs through most of your posts, including your recent ones.

    I have acknowledged the role of the Koran in causing violence and domination, but argued that despite unchanging texts religions can and do change over time, being significantly influenced by historical and social context, and interpretive frameworks that evolve in their application. You have argued that Muslims will always pursue violent domination in all times and places, regardless of historical and social context, because religious practice follows straightforwardly from religious text. This denial of a significant role for context and interpretation you call "politically incorrect realism". I would call it "academically inept naivete".

    Stringing together examples of Muslim violence and scary Koran verses in no way counters my argument, so if that is all you have I'll probably make this my last contribution.
10 hrs · Like
  • Josh Matti Hi Steve , thanks for sharing and I agree with what you said in your comments, personally having lived 20 yeas been a Muslim Immam in training and son of Immam I agree with you Islam dose not know God therefor Muslims are not Godly and any one who dose not know God will act ungodly and these people need Jesus.

    Having said that and seen Muslims travel to your country Australia to live there because the countries they come from treated them badly and why is that ? Because the society who they come from who dose not know God treated ungodly. A society who dose not know God will not act ungodly and will start doing the devil work without knowing, for example killing , and they used god name to do their killing , in my opinion the world is history always repeat it self,
    Why would I say that when Jesus came to middle east they world at that time was very bad world . And Jesus changed that with his ministry and teaching , and our middle Eastern grandfather went to all over the world to give Jesus to the world, simply my Grandfathers who are from middle East went to meet your grandfather 2000 years ago and he gave you Jesus, so I think now it is time that the world give back Jesus to us the Muslim world and middle East , just like my grandfathers risk their life and died eaten by lions just so that your grandfathers will be save and be in heaven , so I think it's time the Western world will come back to us and and give us back Jesus .
9 hrs · Like · 2
  • Stephen Durie Joel I have not said that context and experience are NOT ever relevant. neither have I said that Muslims will ALWAYS do x or y regardless of social context. You have a marvelous way of assuming things and putting words into my mouth. I blame Facebook for this. It's hard to communicate by these messages.

    Anyway, It's a matter of degree and primary cause. The Primary cause of Muslim violence is the ideology that inspires and motivates them. This has been the case throughout history in spite of favour able contexts. The "Muslim violence is primarily caused by Social context" argument is not supported by the evidence of history wherein there are many examples of Muslims enforcing the Sharia and Jihad absent any external threat...

    Sharia and violent Jihad are at the heart of Islamic motivation, faith, identity and history. The examples of "Islamist" violence worldwide today, regardless of social context being good or bad, are legion (see the websites I've mentioned above) and the "few scary verses" which deal with the fate of kafirs actually make up 80% of the Sira and 60% of the Koran, Sira and Haddiths combined (the Koran has the least, misleading many good folk about the nature of Mohammed's teaching and example).
    I've never claimed to be "academically ept" Joel, and I've no doubt I'm naive about many things, but not about this I'm sad to say...
8 hrs · Edited · Like
8 hrs · Edited · Like
  • Stephen Durie Joel, I know it is a paradigm shift, but for Muslims, "Scripture= Religious Practice" IS pretty much how things work IN GENERAL in Islam. That is why many pay a teacher to beat their kids for years in Madrassa's for years until they memorize the whole ...See More
8 hrs · Edited · Like · 1
  • Stephen Durie The example below is a super combo of Jihad and Sharia (which permits sexual slavery). Does anyone need Chapter and verse? This has been going on for centuries and is not a response to "recent Western Attacks" or threats, or fear... except perhaps the threat of a decent education, seriously - I'd laugh but it's not at all funny.

    http://www.mamamia.com.au/.../schoolgirls-kidnapped-in...
234 schoolgirls were abducted last week. Stolen from their boarding school by gunmen in the middle of the night. Packed into the back of open lorries.
  • Alan Austin Hi again Stephen,

    Will come back to some of these issues shortly.

    Just two questions for you for now:

    First one: Imagine you were an intelligent Muslim university student in Iraq in 2005 experiencing the same profound misgivings about the credibility of the Koran you and I have, Stephen.

    Imagine you had read and understood the Christian Gospel and were contemplating conversion. Then you heard this from the President of the most proudly Christian nation on Earth:

    “I am driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, 'George, go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did."

    Then, a while later, all your family and dozens of your friends and fellow students had been killed in a slaughter which took more than 100,000 Iraqi lives.

    How would that affect your decision to convert to Christianity?

    The second question relates to the globally infamous collateral murder video, which every Muslim classroom has seen many times, along with billions of other viewers across the world:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0

    Was there any reason these journalists and their children and those who came to rescue them were executed – by the world’s most proudly Christian nation – other than because they were in a Muslim neighbourhood at the time?

    Who are the real evildoers, Stephen?

    Blessings, AA
Wikileaks has obtained and decrypted this previously unreleased video footage from a US Apache helicopter in 2007.
~~
  • Alan Austin Hi again Stephen,

    Your earlier comment evokes the challenge my parents faced when I was too young to participate but old enough to observe.

    You suggest “it is reasonable to fear the impact of Islam as a political ideology of supremacism on the future of the Australian way of life and future generations."

    That’s like the religious conflict in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

    Australia’s way of life was then under dire threat from a foreign religion which began to grow as a political ideology of supremacism.

    This bizarre faith - which claimed faithfulness to Abraham, Moses, Christ and Saint Paul - insisted on changing the laws under which the majority lived – even though they were a minority.

    They not only started their own political party – extremely well-funded by compulsory “offerings” in their religious meetings – but infiltrated other parties as well.

    They did not accept Australia’s legal system or authority structure. They did not recognize, for example, Australian marriages or divorces as valid.

    Their allegiance was not to the Government and the Queen, but to a global dictator who lived in a vast palace in Europe.

    They were instructed by their religious leaders to have large families so that they could become the majority and then take over and control everyone else.

    To this end, they prohibited the use of normal birth control in families under their despotic control.

    They didn’t want their children to have a normal, healthy Australian education. They wanted to indoctrinate their children with their own dogma in their own schools. AND they wanted this to be paid for from our taxes!

    They demanded freedom to engage in evil practices such as gambling and drinking alcohol – which are clearly condemned by the Christian Scriptures – and goodness knows what else.

    They abused and oppressed women, sending thousands of girls off to hidden institutions every year where they lived their entire lives in poverty, never owning anything, never meeting boys, never marrying or having children. These poor girls could never be seen in public without their body and their hair completely covered in black, except for the hands and a circle of the face.

    The religious leaders abused young boys as well with violent punishments and perverted sexual abuse, including anal penetration.

    We were told they committed all manner of other evil deeds, some too dark even to name.

    In other countries at that time they killed people of other faiths because this is what their religion required them to do.

    While they didn’t kill us here in Australia, their children were certainly encouraged to hurl insults and abuse.

    There was no reasoning with them. They were absolutists who would never compromise. They never thought for themselves. They even believed their supreme religious leader was infallible!

    They did everything their religious teachers told them to do, based on their written texts.

    They have always been the same throughout history. They have never changed, and they will never change.

    Obviously, resistence and exclusion, through limiting migration and other means of marginalizing them, was the only way.

    But here’s the thing, Stephen:

    When compromise was eventually sought through dialogue between moderates on all sides – us Protestants, them Catholics and the secular authorities – things soon settled down. It turned out what they were seeking was not so unmanageable after all.

    Accommodations were eventually made – including the once-unthinkable paying for their private religious education from taxes. Then the fundamental human desire to live in peace with our neighbours – those like us and those unlike us – reasserted itself.

    That deprived the militant extremists of oxygen, though they never entirely disappeared.

    And now we all get along pretty well for the most part. This is despite significant differences in belief which will always remain, but which we no longer allow to become destructive.

    One prerequisite, it would seem, is that both sides cease depicting the other as a threat, a source of fear, a very bad set of ideas, or a danger to the lives and freedoms of our grandchildren.

    And for that to happen, both sides must cease actually being a threat.

    Cheers, AA
7 hrs · Edited · Like · 1
  • Stephen Durie Alan I see you're still in the same groove speaking of Christian vs Muslim "sides" and focusing on the failures of Christianity. You're certainly consistent. You also indicate that the real impediment to peace is people like me who depict Sharia/Islam as a very bad set of ideas. This is akin to "blaming the messenger"

    There is really little comparison in scope and impact on lives and civilizations between the impact of Sharia and Jihad on non Muslim people's and communities over the last 1400 years and the most egregious sins of the Church of Rome in our parents' generation.

    The comparison you've made, while it is serious and moving, is frankly not appropriate, and indicates an ignorance of the state of persecution by Islamists of non Muslims (or different Muslims) worldwide, both now and in the past.

    I'm sure you are sincere so I can only put it down to ignorance. I encourage you to focus less on the failures of your own heritage (as you are already expert in those) and genuinely educate yourself about the contents of the Islamic Canon, the nature of Islam as a political system, which is frankly nothing like Christianity as a religion, and the legion of current atrocities and injustices which have been and are being perpetrated worldwide in the name of Sharia and Jihad. The magnitude of said atrocities, injustices, and abuses is huge and widespread and since you continue to bring up comparisons with Christianity, involves large numbers of Christians being martyred, raped, and enslaved.

    At least out of respect for them, and as Rowland suggests above, find out more about the subject..

    And trust me, the deprivation of living as a Protestant under a Roman Catholic administration bears no comparison to the misery of non Muslims living under Dhimmitude in (for example) Nigeria, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, or Egypt today (remembering that much of the Middle East was once non-muslim prior to muslim Immigration and population growth).
5 hrs · Edited · Like
  • Stephen Durie Btw - for your interest, Yesterday was the 99th anniversary of one of the greatest acts of Jihad of the 20th Century.

    On April 24, 1915 the Ottoman Turkish genocide of Assyrian, Greek and Armenian (mostly Christians) began very simply, without pomp and circumstance. “We have made a clean sweep of the Armenians and Assyrians of Azerbaijan.” Those were the words of Djevdet Bey, the governor of Van Province in Ottoman Turkey, who on April 24, 1915 lead 20,000 Turkish soldiers and 10,000 Kurdish irregulars in the opening act of the genocide of Assyrians, Armenians and Pontic Greeks. In three short years, 750,000 Assyrians (75%) would be killed, 1.5 million Armenians and 500,000 Greeks.

    Turkey still denies it happened despite overwhelming historical evidence and documentation by survivors and historians at the time. Australia officially acknowledges this genocide.

    Joseph Zaya (1906-2006) survived the genocide. He was born in a village in the Hakkary mountains (presently South-Eastern Turkey). The Ottoman Empire was something he lived in until the age of nine, when, in the face of genocide, he and his family was forced to flee. He remembered it vividly: long marches, hunger, starvation, butchery, impalement, burning.

    “I lost my brother and his wife and four kids right in front of my eyes. Three Kurds and two Turks dragged my brother out and cut off his arms, right in front of me and his wife and kids. They then proceeded to rape his wife and eleven year old daughter, all the while looking at him and taunting him. After which they shot all of them. But they spared me. I don’t know why.”

    “During our escape through the mountains,” he continued, “I remember the bodies strewn on both sides of the path. Most women and children were crying but would not dare stop to care for the sick and dead because they knew the Turkish and Kurdish armies were behind them. I remember a child on the side of the road suckling on his already dead mother who had died with her arms around him. That image has haunted me all my life. This is something that we Assyrians should never forget, and the world should not forget it, either.”
5 hrs · Edited · Like
  • Stephen Durie While I deplore the ADL encouragement of violence, I still think they have a valid concern about the importation of Islamic ideology/Sharia/Jihad which will come with ongoing immigration of Muslim refugees, and as Eggins says above, I struggle with what approach should be taken..
5 hrs · Like
  • Alan Austin Hi again Stephen,

    Just a few clarifications :

    Re: “Islam is a text-based doctrine, so the nature of these texts must be made clear. A Muslim believes that the Koran is perfect, complete, universal and eternal.”

    Correct. But interpretations of the Koran still vary widely.

    Jews believe the Old Testament is God’s immutable word also. But as my Jewish colleague in the ABC Religion unit once observed, ask six Biblical scholars a question and you will get ten different answers.

    Similarly, interpretations of the Koran have varied widely through the centuries, within the centuries, across national and regional borders and even between mosques within cities.

    You referred yourself to a report showing about 50% of Muslims in 6 countries supported the death penalty for apostasy. Clearly, opinion is divided on how to interpret what the Koran teaches about this.

    Re: “You also indicate that the real impediment to peace is people like me who depict Sharia/Islam as a very bad set of ideas.”

    Not at all, Stephen. The major impediment today is the ongoing mass slaughter of Muslims by Christians who want to steal their resources.

    Depicting Islam negatively doesn’t help, but that is not the real impediment.

    Re: “There is really little comparison in scope and impact on lives and civilizations between the impact of Sharia and Jihad on non Muslim peoples and communities over the last 1400 years and the most egregious sins of the Church of Rome in our parents' generation.”

    Yes and no. In Australia that’s true.

    But the 3,530 people killed and 47,000 injured in the British Isles in our generation in Catholic-Protestant violence are just as dead and maimed as victims of Muslim atrocities.

    If we go back to the age of conquest, tens of millions were killed in genocides in the New World by invading Christian armies. Going back earlier, the invasions we refer to antiseptically as the Crusades also had impact on lives and civilisations on a massive scale.

    The death toll by Christian invasions over the millennia is many times that of whichever ideology comes second.

    What is most vital for the present challenges, however, are the invasions, atrocities and murders against Moslems in our generation.

    Clearly, these are critical factors leading to Imams with a militant interpretation being listened to and believed and obeyed ahead of the moderates.

    The unilateral ceasefires in the Irish troubles didn’t stop hostilities immediately, but did create the atmosphere for further efforts towards reconciliation – which succeeded eventually.

    Hope this helps …

    Happy to discuss.

    Blessings,
    AA
1 hr · Edited · Like
  • Don Cameron Alan - Have you read the Koran? As a non believer I started reading the bible and the Koran and they are poles apart. Claiming that Christians are instructed to kill people in the name of God must be done outside of biblical authority (love your neighbour?) but it's very simple to do with the authority of the Koran. There was a court case about this when two Pastors (both called Danny) were accused of religious vilification when the more experienced Pastor (who had read the koran over 100 times) told the judge that his claims were actual fact and not a biased rant from a prejudiced person. They were (eventually) found not guilty in the Victorian law courts.

    The Pastor of my Church (until recently) was from Northern Island and grew up with the Catholic/Protestant conflict going on around him. In his younger years he was assigned a role of 'looking after any wounded' because 'he was a Christian' and everyone knew that he was not going to get involved in physical altercations.

    We are only Christians if we obey the teachings of Christ and are repentant when we fail to do so. Muslims are only Muslims if they obey the teachings of the Koran/Allah and from what I've read this encourages/demands adherents to act violently towards certain people at certain times. There are liberal Muslims just as there are liberal Christians and they don't take the writings of their sacred document very seriously. I listen but reject the teachings of liberal Christians (Bishop Spong etc) who deny Jesus even existed. I also reject the teachings of liberal Muslims and their take on the Koran but I'm very happy to listen and chat with them.
1 hr · Like
  • Alan Austin Hi Don,
    Yes, have read the Koran and various commentaries, but certainly not an expert.
    I actually do not think it is as influential as many believe, although perhaps the English translations reduce some of its power to impress and persude. Not sure.
    But it is certainly open to being used by those who want to influence impressionable people in certain directions.
    I was closely involved with the North Melbourne Mosque some years ago, and can assure you the believers there would be dismayed at characterisations of Islam frequently aired by Christians today.
    Are you close to any worshipping Moslems yourself, Don? How would they respond to this thread, do you think?
    Happy to discuss.
    Cheers,
    AA

~~

  • Stephen Durie Alan: one small example of what is "mainstream" among "moderate" Muslims:
    "In a 2013 report based on international survey of religious attitudes, more than 50% of Muslim population in 6 Islamic countries supported death penalty for any Muslim who leaves Islam (apostasy)."
6 hrs · Edited · Unlike · 1
  • Stephen Durie Here's another classic example of sexual jihad, sanctioned by Mohammed's teaching and example, and perpetrated by Islamic communities against their non Muslim neighbors. This is not a defensive strategy by an abused minority - no country has been more generous or welcoming to Muslim immigrants than Sweden. And sadly it is not unusual - "rape jihad" against infidel women is a huge problem in Nigeria, Sudan, Egypt, etc. Even the UK in the last decade has seen a flood of court cases of gangs of Muslim family men sexually grooming and abusing non Muslim girls.

    "1 in 4 Swedish Women Will Be Raped as Sexual Assaults Increase 500%
    January 29, 2013 by Daniel Greenfield

    Sweden has imported huge numbers of Muslim immigrants with catastrophic effect.
    Sweden’s population grew from 9 million to 9.5 million in the years 2004-2012, mainly due to immigration from “countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia”. 16 percent of all newborns have mothers born in non-Western countries.
    Sweden now has the second highest number of rapes in the world, after South Africa, which at 53.2 per 100,000 is six times higher than the United States. Statistics now suggest that 1 out of every 4 Swedish women will be raped.
    In 2003, Sweden’s rape statistics were higher than average at 9.24, but in 2005 they shot up to 36.8 and by 2008 were up to 53.2. Now they are almost certainly even higher as Muslim immigrants continue forming a larger percentage of the population.
    With Muslims represented in as many as 77 percent of the rape cases and a major increase in rape cases paralleling a major increase in Muslim immigration, THE WAGES OF MUSLIM IMMIGRATION ARE PROVING TO BE A SEXUAL ASSAULT EPIDEMIC FUELED BY A MISOGYNISTIC IDEOLOGY.
    In Stockholm this summer there was an average of 5 rapes a day. Stockholm has gone from a Swedish city to a city that is one-third immigrant and is between a fifth and a quarter Muslim.

    Sweden, like the rest of the West, will have to come to terms with the fact that it can either have female equality or Muslim immigration. It cannot have both.
6 hrs · Edited · Unlike · 2
  • Joel Rothman Stephen, it may not have been your original intention, but in the course of this discussion you DID compare the genuine scriptural beliefs (my words) of Islam with the genuine scriptural beliefs of Christianity. Some of my points were in response to this.

    Also, even if you hadn't done this, it would still be relevant. If we are singling out Islam for discussion of its dangers to outsiders, it is worth putting those dangers in perspective by comparison with our own religion's dangers to outsiders.

    And because most of us here are knowledgeable Christians, it is reasonable to remind ourselves how outsiders can over-represent the dangers of our religion (e.g. by quoting our scriptures or Christian practices in history), and ask ourselves if we are doing the same to Islam.

    I think I have made some relevant and potentially valid points. Having said that I respect your greatly superior knowledge of Islam, and I deliberately refrain from declaring "genuine Islam" to be a "religion of peace".
5 hrs · Unlike · 1
  • Stephen Durie Joel, you wrote: "Stephen, it may not have been your original intention, but in the course of this discussion you DID compare the genuine scriptural beliefs (my words) of Islam with the genuine scriptural beliefs of Christianity. Some of my points were in response to this."
    No I didn't Joel. Read the string again. The only thing I said which could possibly be construed that way was in response to a direct question from Alan that asserted that "Christianity is a political doctrine of supremacism and social control" to which I simply said "No - Jesus said 'my kingdom is not of this world'".

    You apparently turned that into this: "The argument has been made that we should fear Islam because it is inextricably tied to militarism and domination, while Christianity is essentially about peace and love."

    I have never made such a comparison in this discussion although Alan has repeatedly couched his comments as if I had.

    My concerns about the implementation of Sharia in Australia have nothing to do with Christianity or Christian society. The concerns I have apply equally as well in a Buddhist country (eg the current Jihad in Thailand), a Hindu country like India, a Communist country (are you aware of the recent Jihad atrocities in China?), an Animist society, or a for that matter, a Sunni Country with a Shia minority (Indonesia).

    I claim no great expertise in Islam, other than what general knowledge one can gain from reading books, news reports, and the Internet. But some Christians are so busy self flagellating because of the sins of "Western Christian countries" that they can't see the clear danger to the lives and freedoms of their grandchildren which large scale Muslim immigration will bring.

    As I said above, I don't know the solution but the problem needs to be acknowledged before solutions can be sought.

    As for over-representing the dangers of Islam to non Muslims, there have been approx 23,000 documented deadly terrorist attacks by Muslims *specifically claiming to be acting in accordance with the Koran and Sunnah* since 9/11. These attacks have been worldwide and span all kinds of countries, cultures, and religious groups. I wonder - how many deadly terrorist attacks have there been during the same time by people of other faiths with a claim to be acting in the name of the core beliefs of their religion? Not too many I guess, although I'm sure Alan can dig up a couple.

    We need to wake up and see what is happening. Here's a good place to start:
    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com
The politically incorrect truth about Islam, the "Religion of Peace" (and terror).
5 hrs · Edited · Unlike · 1 · Remove Preview
Our mission is to educate the world about political Islam, its founder Mohammed, his political doctrine and his god, Allah.
5 hrs · Unlike · 1 · Remove Preview
When will people learn that a world built upon fear and focused upon difference is a world inevitably characterised by hatred and conflict?
4 hrs · Like
  • Joel Rothman Yes, as I said Stephen, it may not have been your intention in setting out your argument, but in the course of the conversation you have suggested that Islam is about "supremacism and social control" because of its scriptures, and also that Christianity is not about "supremacism and social control" because of its scriptures.

    You also said that the term "Christian country" is oxymoronic, which seems to be a comment what counts as "true Christianity", based on Christian scriptures such as the one you had just quoted.

    My comments were on the relationship between the Bible and (true) Christianity and between the Koran and (true) Islam, and thus my comments followed from yours.
4 hrs · Unlike · 1
  • Stephen Durie Joel your comments did not follow from the main point Ive been making but from my responses while seeking to avoid Alan's red herrings and keep the conversation on topic. You have also read a huge amount into very little, crediting me with defining "true Christianity" with a quip and half a Bible verse.

    To summaries your 5 points above, you say that you are not entitled ("it is not my place as a Christian", "I do not feel entitled" etc) to have opinions about what the Islamic scriptures teach because you have an "interpretive framework" and aren't a Muslim, and anyway some so called Christians have done bad things too in the past. Is that correct?

    So does that mean Christians also shouldn't have opinions about Nazi or Communist writings or any other ideology because they aren't Nazis or Communist etc?

    Bad ideas are bad ideas regardless of where they come from, and we are absolutely entitled to question and challenge their original sources, especially when they threaten our freedoms and way of life.
3 hrs · Unlike · 2
  • Graeme Eggins Thank you, good people, for your most interesting and informative discussion on this subject. I struggle with what approach to take with regard to Muslims being welcome in Australia, I really do.
3 hrs · Unlike · 2
  • Stephen Durie I once said to my pacifist, gentle, loving, fearless father "Dad why did you fly Halifax bombers over Germany in WWII?" Without hesitation he replied "We knew what Hitler was doing, and what he stood for, and we knew he had to be stopped".
    However, I'm not saying anyone take up arms against Muslims because I think the problem is not Muslims, but Islam, which victimizes many Muslims too.
    But the gradual imposition of Sharia and Jihad must be opposed by all peaceful means possible, with determination, or else our grand kids, freedom, and human rights will suffer!
2 hrs · Edited · Unlike · 3
Lest We Forget
2 hrs · Like · 1
  • Stephen Durie Islam claims that all who do not submit are kafirs (unbelievers). A kafir is hated by Allah and Allah plots against the kafir. Over 60% of the Koran is devoted to the kafir. A kafir may be killed, robbed, raped, enslaved, tortured and mocked. Every mention of the kafir is negative, demeaning, insulting and hurtful. Unbeliever is a neutral word. Kafir is the worst word in any language.

    Everything in Islam is based upon the Koran (what Mohammed said that his god, Allah, said) AND the words and deeds of Mohammed (contained in the Sunna - the Sira and Hadiths). A Muslim repeats endlessly, “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.” The Koran repeats again and again that Mohammed is the model or pattern for the ideal Muslim. A Muslim is not someone who worships Allah. A Muslim is someone who worships Allah exactly like Mohammed worshipped Allah. So every Muslim is a Mohammedan. There are absolutely no exceptions.

    In the Hadith of Bukhari 5,59,369 Mohammed asked, “Who will kill Ka’b (a Jewish poet), the enemy of Allah and Mohammed?”
    Bin Maslama rose and responded, “O Mohammed! Would it please you if I killed him?”
    Mohammed answered, “Yes.”
    Bin Maslama then said, “Give me permission to deceive him with lies so that my plot will succeed.”

    Mohammed replied, “You may speak falsely to him.”

    For Islam some ethical statements are:
    Do not kill another Muslim
    Do not steal from another Muslim
    Do not deceive another Muslim

    But Islam states that a kafir can be killed, robbed, raped and deceived if it will advance Islam. A Muslim does not have to lie, cheat or kill a kafir, but it IS an ethical option.

    Islam divides the entire world into Islam and kafirs and has two sets of ethics, one for Muslims and another for the rest.

    The "Golden Rule" has the equality of all humanity as its basis. It is not: Do unto some people, as you would have them do unto you, but "do unto all people as you would have them do unto you."

    Islam denies the universality of the Golden Rule because Islam starts with the division of the entire world, all humanity, into two different groups—Islamic and non-Islamic.

    Every aspect of Islamic ethics is based upon this separation. Having two distinct groups leads to two different ethical codes.

    Deceit, violence and force are optional actions against the kafirs.

    Islam’s ethics are based upon:

    Good is whatever advances Islam.
    Evil is whatever resists Islam.

    But Don't take my word for it! Look it up for yourself.
2 hrs · Unlike · 1
  • Stephen Durie In 1998 the Constitutional Court of Turkey banned and dissolved Turkey's 'Refah' Party on the grounds that "Democracy is the antithesis of Sharia".

    On appeal by 'Refah' the European Court of Human Rights determined that "sharia is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy". Refah's sharia-based notion of a "plurality of legal systems, grounded on religion" was ruled to contravene the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It was determined that it would "do away with the State's role as the guarantor of individual rights and freedoms" and "infringe the principle of NON-DISCRIMINATION between individuals as regards their enjoyment of public freedoms, which is one of the fundamental principles of democracy".
2 hrs · Like
  • Stephen Durie Many secular human rights organizations have criticized Islam's stance on human rights.

    In 2009, the journal "Free Inquiry" summarized this criticism in an editorial:

    "We are deeply concerned with the changes to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by a coalition of Islamic states within the United Nations that wishes to prohibit any criticism of religion and would thus protect Islam's limited view of human rights.

    In view of the conditions inside the Islamic Republic of Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria, Bangdalesh, Iraq, and Afghanistan, we should expect that at the top of their human rights agenda would be to rectify the legal inequality of women, the suppression of political dissent, the curtailment of free expression, the persecution of ethnic minorities and religious dissenters — in short, protecting their citizens from EGREGIOUS human rights violations.

    Instead, they are worrying about protecting Islam."

    Nuff said......
2 hrs · Edited · Unlike · 1
  • Joel Rothman "Joel your comments did not follow from the main point I've been making"

    OK Stephen. I acknowledge the comparison with Christianity was not your main point.

    I do think your argument linking the Koran to Islam in a certain way was one of your main points, which I responded to partly by comparing the issue with the relationship between the Bible and Christianity.

    "To summaries your 5 points above, you say that you are not entitled to have opinions about what the Islamic scriptures teach because you have an "interpretive framework" and aren't a Muslim, and anyway some so called Christians have done bad things too in the past. Is that correct?"

    No. You missed all my main arguments. It is more something like this:

    - Holy books stay the same (mostly) but religions change. For example, practices that were for many centuries a standard part of Christianity are now rejected as immoral and unchristian. Islam may make a similar transition.
    - Holy books (e.g. the Bible, Koran) have scary verses in them. Religions might not apply those verses in a straightforward way. Religions are communities with holy books AND communally accepted interpretive frameworks (that over time change in their application).
    - Some Muslims are peaceful and some are militaristic. I might be able to judge which apply certain Koran verses in the most straightforward way, but I am not entitled to judge which, if any, are more true to their religion - because I don't participate in the community and its interpretive frameworks.
1 hr · Unlike · 1
  • Stephen Durie Joel I don't believe in religions which are based on Canonical scriptures evolving. It's a fantasy which runs contrary to 1400+ years of experience and a VERY bad bet for the future of the grand kids in my family.

    It's true that religions re-form and return to their roots regularly as they reexamine their scriptures and roots, but they don't seem to "evolve" much.

    What ever bad practices Christianity has rejected (?) it has certainly "reformed" repeatedly as it went back to its roots - the teaching and example of Jesus.

    When Islam reforms, it goes back to the teaching and example of Mohammed - and heads roll, women lose their rights and freedom dies.
    I'm afraid that if I had a choice I wouldn't gamble my country's future on the vain hope of Islamic evolution.
1 hr · Edited · Unlike · 1
  • Stephen Durie Joel, "Islam is a text-based doctrine, so the nature of these texts must be made clear. A Muslim believes that the Koran is perfect, complete, universal and eternal. It does not contain the slightest error and it is the exact words of the only god of the universe. Mohammed is the perfect example of how to live the sacred life. This idea of complete, final, universal, and perfect textual truth is very hard for non-Muslims to comprehend. Most people read the Koran with the attitude of: “Oh, they don’t really believe this or they may only accept the bits they like.” But when Muslims read the Koran, their attitude is: “These are the perfect words of Allah.” Muslims call themselves the “believers” and by that they mean that they believe the Koran is perfect and Mohammed is the perfect pattern of life. So - can we evaluate what the media commentators, politicians, imams and other “experts” say about the true nature of Islam? Yes, we can know the true nature of Islam—it is found in the Islamic Trilogy (Canon). If what the expert has to say can be supported by the doctrine found in the Trilogy, then it is valid, since the Trilogy is the final arbiter of all opinions and statements about Islam."
    (Warner)

    In applying a Christian understanding of the openness of scripture to interpretation, you are ironically making the very mistake which you are warning about.
28 mins · Edited · Like
30 mins · Edited · Like
https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gif
 ~~



Police and Australia's domestic spy agency investigate a fringe anti-Islamic group waging a hate campaign against Muslims.
ABC
Top of Form
Like ·  · Share
  • Alan Austin "We decide who comes to this country ..."
    For six years the nation was relieved of this dog whistling to a significant extent, though perhaps not entirely.
    But the racists are certainly back in charge again now and giving the bigots full rein ...
  • Kevin Close I saw this on ABC last night. The young men of Muslim faith offered a measured but pointed response aimed only at the offending hate stirrers.
    Whereas the anti Muslim activists were talking & acting like thugs targeting isolated young women.
    It was good to see the police weighing up how they can respond.
  • Shannon Murphy I am slightly bemused by the bias of the article. The ADL are quite rightly condemned for their hate campaign, but to present calls for violence as worse than opening fire on a house in a residential area seems odd.
  • John Swanston It is written: You shall love your neighbour ..... except for ..... (However, I have checked and there is no "Except for" in the original text.) This may be a later addition. I am puzzled because the original seems very clear that there are NO EXCEPTS.
  • John Swanston I say the above in the light of a letter from a pastor friend in Nigeria who has had to deal with massacres of fellow Christians. He writes "it is becoming increasingly difficult to love those who massacre people. I know this is was I am committed to do."
22 April at 13:14 · Edited · Like · 3
  • Stephen Durie - It was only a matter of time until this conflict arrived in Oz. It will continue to grow as the Muslim population grows, and with it, the pressure for elements of Sharia to be accepted into Australian society, and the crys of "convert or die"!

    - Islam is not a race. It is a political ideology. I see no conflict in hating/disapproving of the teaching and example of Mohammed but seeking to love Muslims.

    - Islam is not simply a religion, it is a political doctrine of supremacism and social control couched in a set of religious beliefs. People have reasonable grounds to fear it's impact on their way of life and their future generations.

    - I agree with Shannon. The Islamists who teach "convert or die by the sword" and fire bullets into homes are equally or more worthy of being excoriated by the media than the idiots who talk smack and shoot with a camera. Unfortunately there is often a bias in the mainstream media in this area.

    - The crys of "hate speech" are ironic - the Muslim Canon is rife with hate speech directed at infidels, Jews and Kafirs, and there are plenty who practice it worldwide.
  • Eileen Ray @John Swanston, you are required simply to love, not to like what they do. There is a distinction. We love our children but we don't always like what they do.
  • David Snell ISLAM TRAINS ITS SIGHTS ON SCHOOLS
    All three of the UK’s major Parties have expressed alarm at a letter circulating among 25 of Birmingham’s schools: "We have an obligation to our children to fulfil our roles and ensure these schools are run on Islamic principles. We are on our way to getting rid of even more head teachers and taking over their schools."
    The letter continued: "You must remember this is a 'jihad', and as such, all means possible to win the war is acceptable."
    Birmingham has a large Islamic population, 22 percent of the city's residents identified themselves as “Islamic” in the 2011 census.
    AFP reported, “Since the letter emerged, whistleblowers including former staff have come forward making claims that boys and girls have been separated in classrooms and assemblies.
    "Sex education has been banned and non-Muslim staff are being vilified”.
    Al-Queda operative and firebrand cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki (pictured) was killed by a US drone strike in Yemen in 2011. His teachings are now highly praised in school assemblies.
    Concerns about how some 430 schools in the Birmingham were being run first emerged last year in a leaked anonymous letter which outlined how to implement what it called “Operation Trojan Horse”.
    The schools are State-funded but self-governing and independent of local control.
    "We have no idea who is running these schools”, an observer said.
    The Birmingham Council is due to publish its findings on the matter by mid-June.
    Education Secretary Michael Gove has sent inspectors to a further 15 Birmingham schools in recent weeks.
    Prime Minister David Cameron spoke about the issue on a visit to Birmingham earlier this month, saying: "We will not accept any school being run by extremists or promoting extremist views."
    Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Monday that schools should not be allowed to become "silos of segregation".
    He continued, "...I am very concerned whenever I hear allegations that schools, funded by the taxpayer, have become vehicles for the propagation of particular ideologies which divide young children and pupils from other people", he said.
    It is indeed ominous that neither Clegg nor Cameron uttered the words, “Muslim” or “Islam” when announcing their concerns.
    We in Australia are also forbidden from identifying the source of a clear and present danger by “virtue” of our Section 18C.
    It appears we must wait until an obvious threat from within (and supported from without) becomes incurable cancer.
    Vigilante groups like the Australian Defence League are already mushrooming in Australia while the Government continues to sit on its hands.
    Perhaps Canberra doesn’t have a 22 percent Muslim population... well, not yet
  • Cameron Fenton Love your enemies...but only once you've disarmed them.
  • John Swanston Eileen. What I was talking about in Nigeria was also brought home to me with another friend who is Sudanese. He also is confronted by massacres. Both friends are confronted by this call of God to Love our neighbour which demands a confronting and serious engaging love. It has involved sending money to enable some people to escape from being massacred and as he is a minister of the Gospel called to proclaim the Gospei to Them!!! He confesses it is not easy. I pray for him and my other friend from Sudan. I have rarely been confronted by this demanding Love. He in Nigeria is confronted daily.
  • John Swanston And when I was asked last night to pray about the formation of a new political party here in Australia that is Anti-them. I objected and said we must not encourage such a party here in Australia. Anti-them is not a starter for Christians.
  • Alan Austin Stephen Durie, just on this:

    "Islam is not simply a religion, it is a political doctrine of supremacism and social control couched in a set of religious beliefs. People have reasonable grounds to fear it's impact on their way of life and their future generations."

    Would you agree that it is just as true to say "Chistianity is not simply a religion, it is a political doctrine of supremacism and social control couched in a set of religious beliefs. People have reasonable grounds to fear it's impact on their way of life and their future generations"?

    The one difference being that Christians have been far more effective in imposing their political doctrine of supremacism and social control on other nations down through history than Islam.

    No?
  • Stephen Durie No. Jesus said: "My kingdom is not of this world"
  • Alan Austin Correct, Stephen,

    The Koran says much the same:

    "All that is in heaven and earth gives glory to Allah. He is the Mighty, the Wise One. His is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth."
In The Wall Street Journal, Ron Prosor writes that Muslim-majority nations are doing to followers of Jesus what they did to the Jews.
  • Stephen Durie And the ineffectiveness of Christian communities in past centuries in living under Islamic ideology is well demonstrated in this video by Bill Warner. It's an eye opener..

    http://youtu.be/t_Qpy0mXg8Y
  • Alan Austin So, Stephen, just since World War II, how many Islamic countries have been invaded by Christian countries - with either aerial bombing or ground troops or both?
    And how many Christian countries have been invaded by Islamic countries?
    Any idea?
    Thanks, AA
  • Stephen Durie Alan I'm not aware that there are any "Christian countries" or even that there is any sense in which that term is not oxymoronic. There are bad ideas and good ideas and the Sharia and the ideology and example of Mohammed seems to me to be a very bad set of ideas which have meant little but misery for "infidels".
22 April at 23:34 · Edited · Like · 2
  • Alan Austin Stephen, can you try and see this issue from the perspective of residents in majority Islamic nations - millions of whom have had family members and friends slaughtered in invasions by the USA, the UK, Australia and other nations which are seen as predominantly Christian in their history and current constitution?

    Okay, to clarify the question:
    Just since World War II, how many Islamic countries have been invaded by the USA and its allies - with either aerial bombing or ground troops or both?

    Thanks, Stephen.
  • Stephen Durie Which issue Alan? What is your point? and what makes you assume I don't also have sympathy with the perspective of those communities as well?
    I realise that many Muslim communities have been on the receiving end of European aggression during the 20th century - mostly a relatively short historical aberration due to the relatively recent western technological superiority in armaments, but anyway, how does that all affect my point above (the one you applied the Tu Quoque argument to)
    - that it is reasonable to fear the impact of Islam as a political ideology of supremacism on the future of the Australian way of life and future generations.
    I for one don't want my family's descendants living under principles of Sharia or under the shadow of Dhimmitude, or the threat of religious persecution, or the conflict between Sunni and Shia etc. But these issues are already arriving on our shores and will do so increasingly. I don't know what the solution is, especially from a Christian perspective, but I understand the fear that motivates the ADL and I suspect some of their concerns are reasonable...
  • Stephen Durie See the video below the article. The speaker says "whether you like it or not, the Shariah will come to the UK".... They are demonstrating for the downfall of democracy and the establishment of a Shariah based Muslim state in Britain. This will mean mi...See More
Radical Islamists from the terrorist-linked 'Need4Khilafah' group took to London's streets today in a protest held outside London's Regent's Park Mosque. Activists including notorious hate preacher Anjem Choudary and others linked to other extremists organisations around the UK arrived at the Regent…
  • Stephen Durie My point in the paragraph Alan took issue with, was simply that even the bigots n idiots with cameras may have a valid concern for the future implications of Muslim immigration upon the freedoms we take for granted. Ask the Copts - they were once the o...See More
  • John Swanston following Alan and Stephen. The three amigos - Bush, Blair and Howard - were certainly seen as Christian. During the first Gulf war - Kuwait - I was living in a small Muslim country and in the staff room the locals saw that as Christians invading. Even dismissing Kuwait leaders as descendants of children from the Christian Crusades and therefore second class compared to Islamic Iraq. The removal of Muhammed Mossadegh from Iran was also seen as Christian interference in Islam
  • Stephen Durie Uh... Yeah.. Didn't Iraq/Saddam invade Kuwait?

    Anyway, What I said was: "Islam is not simply a religion, it is a political doctrine of supremacism and social control couched in a set of religious beliefs. People have reasonable grounds to fear it's impact on their way of life and their future generations."

    The statement stands.

    Whatever various western leaders have done in Muslim countries, for whatever reasons, and how people perceive them is beside the point I'm making.

    The deprivations of Sharia law and political Islam upon societies worldwide are legion. Many Australians are concerned about those abuses and loss of freedoms coming to Australia. I can relate to that concern and I think it's well grounded.

    Alan taking us off down the rabbit hole of allegedly christian or western governments doing bad things too is a red herring and is irrelevant to my main point. Two wrongs don't make a right.

    I'm not saying I have a solution but I think a lot of Australians recognize that when the Muslim population reaches a certain mass and influence, the pressures on Australian society to submit to Sharia law will escalate as will a loss of precious freedoms and human rights. Immigration will fuel that transformation as it has done already down through the ages.
  • Lynda Stuart Muslim refugees are converting to Christianity. Praise the Lord. Welcome into the family if God.
  • Alan Austin Hi again Stephen,

    Just a few brief responses :

    There is little difference in the central messages of the Koran and the Old Testament.

    Some believers stress the love and forgiveness passages and some stress the wrath and judgment texts – in both faiths.

    There are ancient roots to the enmity between Islam and Christendom. But the contemporary manifestations derive from the invasions of Muslim nations since World War II by Western Christian nations, primarily to steal their oil.

    Imagine if the poor, oil-rich nations were Christian and the greedy, militaristic countries were Muslim, would it be Christians practicing dhimmitude and asserting a Christian version of Sharia in self-defence?

    Or, imagine a world where no country armed itself to attack other non-threatening nations to plunder their resources. Perhaps there would then be the same harmony between Christendom and Islam that there is between Judaism and Buddhism, or The Baha’i and Hindus.

    Perhaps an appropriate response in Australia to expressions of fear, anxiety and hostility from Muslim citizens might be to reverse current official policies of harm towards them.

    What percentage of border incursions – from students overstaying, tourists not returning, from boat arrivals, from expired work visas, etc – are from Muslim countries? How many are from New Zealand, Canada, the UK, the USA, Germany and Scandinavia?

    What percentage of those locked up indefinitely in detention centres are Muslim? How many are from New Zealand, Canada, the UK, the USA, Germany and Scandinavia?

    Why does the most committed Charismatic Christian in your government still employ the murderer of Reza Berati and those who blinded and mutilated other Muslims, nine weeks after the murder? Would you tolerate this if the victims were white Christians from Canada or the UK?

    Thanks, Stephen,
    AA
23 hours ago · Edited · Unlike · 1
  • John Swanston There has been a xenophobia instinct in Australia since the 1840's> The attitude towards Chinese involved serious anti-THEM sentiment. It is not a new phenomenon.
22 hours ago · Unlike · 2
'Trojan Horse' thats all Ive got to say to the bleeding hearts. And, to the others I say God made good and bad in every race, religion and colour, so 'dont throw the baby out with the bath water' (i.e. dont throw all the Muslims out with their leaders...See More
  • Stephen Durie Alan I'm fascinated by the way you continue to misrepresent what I've said by attributing a perspective to me that I haven't expressed and then taking issue with it while repeatedly ignoring my main point.

    You couch your "responses" to my comments in a rhetoric which characterizes my views as being about a conflict or conflicts between Christianity and Islam - an issue I did not raise. You then proceed to knock down the straw man you have set up with arguments about the faults of "western Christian nations" all of which is barely irrelevant to the point I am making.

    What I said was people have rational grounds to fear a growth of Islamization and the subsequent introduction of aspects of Sharia law in Australia.

    I don't know who Reza Berati is and the current Australian government is certainly not "my" government. As an expat I'm not allowed to vote, and I wouldn't have voted for Abbot if I was given back the vote.

    My concern over the impact of Sharia and Islamisation has nothing to do with "western Christian governments" vs "Muslim countries".

    It has to do with the millions of people worldwide of numerous faiths and backgrounds who suffer abuses when political Islam (based on the Islamic canon) comes into ascendancy and Sharia law (also based on the Islamic canon) begins to be introduced (as it will, gradually, into Australian society as well).

    It has absolutely nothing to do with Muslims behaving badly because they feel afraid, anxious, or threatened" by the wicked western Christian governments, as you assert.

    I'm talking about things like: large numbers of Sikh girls being groomed and sexually abused by Muslim men in the UK, friends in Malaysia who are not free to express their faith or marry whom they choose because they were born Muslim, an imam friend from Baghdad who's father was told to kill him because he had become a Christian, the huge numbers of Muslim girls and women victimized by Muslim "honor killings" worldwide (90% of all honor killings), the charging of large fees for Halal certification when the fees go to pay for Jihad, the attacks on people out for a beer with friends because alcohol is forbidden, the attacks on women who have been raped for committing "adultery", the dehumanization of infidel women not wearing the veil as "asking for it", the growing numbers of illegal marriages of underage girls following the example of Mohammed, the intentional high-jacking of schools in the UK to become controlled by Islamists for the teaching of Sharia, the violent discrimination against gays and Jews, the bombings and throat slitting, the demolition or damage of non Muslim places of worship, and so on ... and so on....

    All these sorts of abuses are not exclusive to Muslim/Christian relations (just ask the Buddhists in Burma, the Hindus in India, the Sikhs, even the Shia and Ahmadiyya in Indonesia etc) and all are undergirded, not by Muslim victimization, but by obedience to the Islamic Canon: the Koran, Haddiths and the Sunnah, and especially by the example and teaching of Mohammed in those documents, and to the supremacist world view of Muslims as "winners" and infidels as "losers" which those holy books (sic) espouse.

    The irony is that the Islamists THEMSELVES keep telling us they do these things in obedience to their scriptures but folks keep insisting it's because they've been abused by Bush n co.

    Bah Humbug! There's nothing new here... Just ask the Copts!
    See
    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com
The politically incorrect truth about Islam, the "Religion of Peace" (and terror).
  • Stephen Durie John Swanston I'm not sure if your comment about xenophobia above was partly intended for me, but once again, I'll reiterate, Islam is not a race. It's a very bad set of ideas...

    And as for me, my wife is Thai, my nephew n niece are Japanese, my friends are from many nations, I've studied and lived in numerous countries and I've lived and worked with the Asian church for 23 years..

    Concern about Islamization and the rise of Sharia in non Islamized countries is a reasonable concern. It's not necessarily xenophobic.
13 hours ago · Edited · Unlike · 3
  • Alan Austin Hi again Stephen,

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Re: “people have rational grounds to fear a growth of Islamization and the subsequent introduction of aspects of Sharia law in Australia.”

    Perhaps. But only because Muslims experience prejudice and persecution in Australia. And they see Australia killing Muslims abroad. When these stop, the defensive and offensive strategies will no longer be needed.

    Re: “I don't know who Reza Berati is …”

    Reza was an Iranian refugee incarcerated in an Australian detention centre and murdered 9 weeks ago by an employee of the Immigration minister whose identity is known. There are speculative suggestions as to why the murderer has not been arrested, one being that the minister – who worships at the Shirelive Pentecostal Church – wants to signal to Muslims they are not welcome in Australia.

    Re: “… millions of people worldwide of numerous faiths and backgrounds … suffer abuses when political Islam comes into ascendancy and Sharia law begins to be introduced …”

    Yes. But what is fuelling these current aberrant expressions of Islam, Stephen? Why in some countries more than others?

    What is the connection with abuses and attacks experienced by Muslims at the hands of the militant USA, UK, Australia and other Christian nations in the past few decades?

    Re: “It has absolutely nothing to do with Muslims behaving badly because they feel afraid, anxious, or threatened" by the wicked western Christian governments …”

    How can you be sure of this, Stephen? What do moderate Muslims who are just as appalled as you are at the behavior of their extremist brothers have to say?

    Re: “All these sorts of abuses are not exclusive to Muslim/Christian relations (just ask the Buddhists in Burma, the Hindus in India, the Sikhs) …”

    Yes. That is the point. This is not a Muslim issue. It’s an issue of persecuted minorities responding defensively with offensive behavior. If the root cause is unprovoked attacks, then the beginning of the solution is for those attacks to cease.

    Re: “… all are undergirded, not by Muslim victimization, but by obedience to the Islamic Canon …”

    No. That is a misreading of the Canon. Just like the American Christian officers and soldiers who quoted Numbers 31 to justify raping young girls in Iraq after killing their male relatives, the older women and the babies.

    Re: “The irony is that the Islamists THEMSELVES keep telling us they do these things in obedience to their scriptures but folks keep insisting it's because they've been abused by Bush n co.”

    Some Islamists may say this, Stephen, and it may have canonical foundation, but it is not mainstream. Just as Christians raping children after killing the adults has canonical foundation, but is not mainstream.

    Happy to discuss, Stephen.

    Cheers, AA
7 hrs · Edited · Like
Mark Durie's books and articles on Islam, dhimmitude, jihad and other subjects.
6 hrs · Like · 1 · Remove Preview
  • Jan Syme Gail, to say that doctors are threatening to kill anyone over the 65 in hospital is taking the whole issue to a ridiculous conclusion.
    There does need to be community debate about how best to treat very sick and old people in hospital, who have no prospects of being well enough to leave the hospital, and their life is just being prolonged, and indeed their suffering.
    I, for one, would not like to be intubated, tube fed, and hooked up to all sorts of other interventions, when that could mean my life is prolonged by days or weeks, when instead I could be cared for palliatively, and allowed to die a 'natural' death.
4 hrs · Like
  • Joel Rothman The argument has been made that we should fear Islam because it is inextricably tied to militarism and domination, while Christianity is essentially about peace and love. The Koran and the Bible have been quoted as part of this argument, and it has also been argued that militarist Christians or militarist "Christian countries" are not really Christian because the Bible says that...dadada.

    I have a few problems with that. First, a religion is not the same thing as a holy book. To maintain the oversimplification somewhat, a religion is actually a holy book as understood and lived by a community with accepted communal norms of interpretation. If one Muslim group understands their religion as militaristic dominance, and another Muslim group understands their religion as peaceful harmony, it is not my place as a Christian to adjudicate between them and declare the peaceful group un-Muslim, even by quoting the Koran.

    Second, if you want to argue that a religion is based on militarism and domination based on quoting holy books, Christianity and Judaism are quite vulnerable to that as well. If you have read the Jewish and Christian holy books then it shouldn’t be too hard for you to think of a few verses. As a Christian I am a borderline pacificist, but that is because of my interpretive framework, and not because the Bible lacks scary verses.

    Third, while I as a Christian do feel entitled to argue that militarism is not consistent with Christian faith, it has to be acknowledged that militarist Christians don't agree with me. And there are a lot of them. In the United States, evangelical Christians were more likely to support the Iraq war than the general population, and President Bush said that God told him to get Saddam. Other US evangelicals have supported the Uganda gay laws, and many have tried time and again to get evangelical doctrines taught in US public schools. This means that there is a form of Christianity that actually exists and is followed by millions of people, that is tied to militarism and dominance and wielding political power. Arguments about whether American evangelicals are “true Christians” don’t mean much in practice.

    Fourth, while many Muslims may be trying to force Islamic ideas onto Australia, it has to be noted that this is not much different from the Christians who are trying to force certain Christian ideas onto Australia. The main difference is the Christians are having a great deal more success. On a related note I will point out that in the last federal election there were four evangelical Christian parties trying to gain a position of power in our law-making bodies, and zero Muslim ones.

    Fifth, most of the bad things that happen to e.g. women, homosexuals or religious minorities in Muslim dominated countries are actually not much worse (or any worse?) than what happened to these groups in Christian dominated countries throughout most of Christian history, even into the 20th century. If the majority of Christians no longer support these sorts of atrocities, and countries in which the majority religion is Christianity are no longer committing these sorts of atrocities, then I must remain open to the possibility that Muslims and Muslim dominated countries may make the same transition. In fact it looks to me like that process has already begun.
4 hrs · Unlike · 1
  • Stephen Durie Alan, the examples of abuses I listed above are common throughout Islamic history, and are the result of the implementation of Jihad and the Sharia according to the Muslim Canon.

    - They are not "offensive or defensive strategies" of Muslims who are f...See More
3 hrs · Edited · Unlike · 2
  • Stephen Durie Alan: one small example of what is "mainstream" among "moderate" Muslims:
    "In a 2013 report based on international survey of religious attitudes, more than 50% of Muslim population in 6 Islamic countries supported death penalty for any Muslim who leaves Islam (apostasy)."
2 hrs · Edited · Unlike · 1
  • Stephen Durie Here's another classic example of sexual jihad, sanctioned by Mohammed's teaching and example, and perpetrated by Islamic communities against their non Muslim neighbors. This is not a defensive strategy by an abused minority - no country has been more generous or welcoming to Muslim immigrants than Sweden. And sadly it is not unusual - "rape jihad" against infidel women is a huge problem in Nigeria, Sudan, Egypt, etc. Even the UK in the last decade has seen a flood of court cases of gangs of Muslim family men sexually grooming and abusing non Muslim girls.

    "1 in 4 Swedish Women Will Be Raped as Sexual Assaults Increase 500%
    January 29, 2013 by Daniel Greenfield

    Sweden has imported huge numbers of Muslim immigrants with catastrophic effect.
    Sweden’s population grew from 9 million to 9.5 million in the years 2004-2012, mainly due to immigration from “countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia”. 16 percent of all newborns have mothers born in non-Western countries.
    Sweden now has the second highest number of rapes in the world, after South Africa, which at 53.2 per 100,000 is six times higher than the United States. Statistics now suggest that 1 out of every 4 Swedish women will be raped.
    In 2003, Sweden’s rape statistics were higher than average at 9.24, but in 2005 they shot up to 36.8 and by 2008 were up to 53.2. Now they are almost certainly even higher as Muslim immigrants continue forming a larger percentage of the population.
    With Muslims represented in as many as 77 percent of the rape cases and a major increase in rape cases paralleling a major increase in Muslim immigration, THE WAGES OF MUSLIM IMMIGRATION ARE PROVING TO BE A SEXUAL ASSAULT EPIDEMIC FUELED BY A MISOGYNISTIC IDEOLOGY.
    In Stockholm this summer there was an average of 5 rapes a day. Stockholm has gone from a Swedish city to a city that is one-third immigrant and is between a fifth and a quarter Muslim.

    Sweden, like the rest of the West, will have to come to terms with the fact that it can either have female equality or Muslim immigration. It cannot have both.
2 hrs · Edited · Unlike · 1
  • Joel Rothman Stephen, it may not have been your original intention, but in the course of this discussion you DID compare the genuine scriptural beliefs (my words) of Islam with the genuine scriptural beliefs of Christianity. Some of my points were in response to this.

    Also, even if you hadn't done this, it would still be relevant. If we are singling out Islam for discussion of its dangers to outsiders, it is worth putting those dangers in perspective by comparison with our own religion's dangers to outsiders.

    And because most of us here are knowledgeable Christians, it is reasonable to remind ourselves how outsiders can over-represent the dangers of our religion (e.g. by quoting our scriptures or Christian practices in history), and ask ourselves if we are doing the same to Islam.

    I think I have made some relevant and potentially valid points. Having said that I respect your greatly superior knowledge of Islam, and I deliberately refrain from declaring "genuine Islam" to be a "religion of peace".
1 hr · Unlike · 1
  • Stephen Durie Joel, you wrote: "Stephen, it may not have been your original intention, but in the course of this discussion you DID compare the genuine scriptural beliefs (my words) of Islam with the genuine scriptural beliefs of Christianity. Some of my points were in response to this."
    No I didn't Joel. Read the string again. The only thing I said which could possibly be construed that way was in response to a direct question from Alan that asserted that "Christianity is a political doctrine of supremacism and social control" to which I simply said "No - Jesus said 'my kingdom is not of this world'".

    You apparently turned that into this: "The argument has been made that we should fear Islam because it is inextricably tied to militarism and domination, while Christianity is essentially about peace and love."

    I have never made such a comparison in this discussion although Alan has repeatedly couched his comments as if I had.

    My concerns about the implementation of Sharia in Australia have nothing to do with Christianity or Christian society. The concerns I have apply equally as well in a Buddhist country (eg the current Jihad in Thailand), a Hindu country like India, a Communist country (are you aware of the recent Jihad atrocities in China?), an Animist society, or a for that matter, a Sunni Country with a Shia minority (Indonesia).

    I claim no great expertise in Islam, other than what general knowledge one can gain from reading books, news reports, and the Internet. But some Christians are so busy self flagellating because of the sins of "Western Christian countries" that they can't see the clear danger to the lives and freedoms of their grandchildren which large scale Muslim immigration will bring.

    As I said above, I don't know the solution but the problem needs to be acknowledged before solutions can be sought.

    As for over-representing the dangers of Islam to non Muslims, there have been approx 23,000 documented deadly terrorist attacks by Muslims *specifically claiming to be acting in accordance with the Koran and Sunnah* since 9/11. These attacks have been worldwide and span all kinds of countries, cultures, and religious groups. I wonder - how many deadly terrorist attacks have there been during the same time by people of other faiths with a claim to be acting in the name of the core beliefs of their religion? Not too many I guess, although I'm sure Alan can dig up a couple.

    We need to wake up and see what is happening. Here's a good place to start:
    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com
The politically incorrect truth about Islam, the "Religion of Peace" (and terror).
1 hr · Edited · Like · Remove Preview
Our mission is to educate the world about political Islam, its founder Mohammed, his political doctrine and his god, Allah.
When will people learn that a world built upon fear and focused upon difference is a world inevitably characterised by hatred and conflict?
  • Joel Rothman Yes, as I said Stephen, it may not have been your intention in setting out your argument, but in the course of the conversation you have suggested that Islam is about "supremacism and social control" because of its scriptures, and also that Christianity is not about "supremacism and social control" because of its scriptures.

    You also said that the term "Christian country" is oxymoronic, which seems to be a comment what counts as "true Christianity", based on Christian scriptures such as the one you had just quoted.

    My comments were on the relationship between the Bible and (true) Christianity and between the Koran and (true) Islam, and thus my comments followed from yours.
Bottom of Form
~~

'From dawn to after sunset the clock in the mosque punctuates the life of Islam with the consciousness of God.' First published in 1956, The Call of the Minaret remains one of the most acclaimed works in the field of Muslim-Christian relations. Now Kenneth Cragg brings the discussion into the twenty-first century in this third edition of his seminal work, complete with new material including an updated bibliography. Taking the Muslim call to prayer as his starting point, the author unravels the significance of the muezzin's haunting cry, considering prophethood, prayer, politics and community to present a more complete understanding of Islam. It becomes clear that the Islamic call to prayer transcends the boundaries of religion, containing a summons for Christians and Muslims alike. Drawing upon both scholarship and his own abiding spirituality, Kenneth Cragg's study of the two faiths pays homage to both, drawing them out of the shadows of enmity and into the light of mutual understanding.

~~
The Call of the Minaret
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
Rate this book
The Call of the Minaret
3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·   rating details  ·  12 ratings  ·  2reviews
'From dawn to after sunset the clock in the mosque punctuates the life of Islam with the consciousness of God.' First published in 1956, The Call of the Minaret remains one of the most acclaimed works in the field of Muslim-Christian relations. Now Kenneth Cragg brings the discussion into the twenty-first century in this third edition of his seminal work, complete with new material including an updated bibliography. Taking the Muslim call to prayer as his starting point, the author unravels the significance of the muezzin's haunting cry, considering prophethood, prayer, politics and community to present a more complete understanding of Islam. It becomes clear that the Islamic call to prayer transcends the boundaries of religion, containing a summons for Christians and Muslims alike. Drawing upon both scholarship and his own abiding spirituality, Kenneth Cragg's study of the two faiths pays homage to both, drawing them out of the shadows of enmity and into the light of mutual understanding


http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/206229.The_Call_of_the_Minaret

~~
Review: The Call of the Minaret
User Review - Goodreads
The Call of the Minaret is, perhaps, the best single book to introduce the educated Christian to the Muslim world, and to questions of how Christian witness fits into that rather tense and difficult ...

This book looks at Islamic history, the present state of the Islamic world (the book was originally written in the 1950s), and trends in Muslim-Christian relations. The author engaged in Christian work in the Islamic world for much of his life, and he makes a strong case for Christian witness to Muslims while also arguing for respect for Muslims and their societies.

The main problem with the book is its somewhat confused organization. It reads like two separate books in one. However, the author makes a solid case that both respects Muslims and upholds Christian witness. The fact that the book was written in the 50s is helpful as well. The author identifies some of the trends that are just now coming to the fore, but he is able to avoid the hysteria of much contemporary Western writing on Islam and Muslim societies. Highly recommended.

~~
Kenneth Cragg
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Rt Rev (Albert) Kenneth Cragg DD (8 March 1913 – 13 November 2012) was an Anglican priest and scholar[1]who commented widely[2] on religious topics for more than fifty years, most notably Muslim-Christian relations.[3]
Born on 8 March 1913 and educated at Blackpool Grammar School and Jesus College, Oxford he was awarded the Grafton Scholarship[4] in 1934 [5] and ordained in 1937.
He began his career with a Curacy at Higher Tranmere Parish Church, Birkenhead after which he was Chaplain of All Saints', BeirutRector of Longworth,[6] Professor of Arabic and Islamics, Hartford Seminary, Connecticut andWarden of St Augustine's College, Canterbury before his elevation to the Episcopate as Assistant Bishop ofJerusalem in 1970.[7]
There was at that time no Bishop of Egypt, and Cragg was given responsibility for the oversight of the Anglican communities in that country, until, in 1974, as a result of the reorganisation of the Anglican Church in the Middle East, a new Bishop was appointed.[8]
He was then appointed Reader in Religious Studies, atSussex University,[9] following which he was Vicar of Helme(and an Assistant Bishop within the Wakefield Diocese).
A prolific author,[10] in 1982 he retired to Oxford.
He married, in 1940, Melita Arnold. She died in 1989.[11]
Publications
  • The Call of the Minaret (1956) Oxford University Press. Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number 56-8005 (1964 edition, Galaxy Books).
  • Sandals at the Mosque - Christian Presence Amid ISLAM (1959) SCM Press.
  • Alive to God - Muslim and Christian Prayer compiled with an Introductory Essay by Kenneth Cragg (1970) Oxford University Press, SBN 19 213220 2.
  • The Event of the Qur'an - Islam in its Scripture(1971) George Allen & Unwin, ISBN 0-04-297024-5.
  • The Mind of the Qur'an - Chapters in Reflection(1973) George Allen & Unwin, ISBN 0-04-297030-X.
  • This Year in Jerusalem - Israel in Experience(1982) Darton, Longman & Todd, ISBN 0-232-51534-4.
  • Muhammad and the Christian (1984) Darton, Longman & Todd.
  • The Pen and The Faith - Eight modern Muslim writers and the Qur'an (1985) George Allen & Unwin,ISBN 0-04-297044-X.
  • The Christ and the Faiths (1986) SPCK.
  • Readings in the Qur'an - Selected and Translated by Kenneth Cragg (1988) Collins Liturgical Publications, ISBN 0-00-599087-4 (pbk.).
  • Troubled by Truth - Life-Studies in Inter-Faith Concern (1992) Pentland Press, ISBN 1-872795-71-4.
  • Returning to Mount Hira' (1992) Bellew.
  • The Arab Christian - A History in the Middle East(1992) Mowbray, ISBN 0-264-67257-7.
  • The Lively Credentials of God (1995) Darton, Longman & Todd.
  • Palestine - The Prize and Price of Zion (1997) Cassel, ISBN 0-304-70075-4.
  • Muhammad in the Qur'an - The Task and the Text(2001) Melisende, ISBN 1-901764-13-3.
  • Am I not Your Lord - Human Meaning in Divine Question (2002) Melisende, ISBN 1-901764-21-4.
  • The Iron in the Soul - Joseph and the Undoing of Violence (2009) Melisende, ISBN 978-1-901764-55-0.
Translations
  • Hussein, Muhammad Kamel City of Wrong - A Friday in Jerusalem (1954) Cairo. Translation from Arabic published 1959 by Djambatan, Amsterdam.
References
  1. Jump up ^ The Times, Monday, 12 Aug 1963; pg. 7; Issue 55777; col B Anglican Mission To The World (Toronto Congress) “The political frontier"-The Rt Dr Kenneth Craggs
  2. Jump up ^ The Times (61142): p. 10, col. E. 27 January 1982. "It would be odd to imagine that Palestinians would forget in three decades what Jews remembered for 18 centuries"
  3. Jump up ^ Interview with Bishop Cragg
  4. Jump up ^ The Times, Monday, 1 October 1934; pg. 7; Issue 46873; col C Ecclesiastical News Grafton Scholarship
  5. Jump up ^ Wound up 1996/7
  6. Jump up ^ Crockford's Clerical Directory2008/2009 Lambeth, Church House Publishing ISBN 978-0-7151-1030-0
  7. Jump up ^ The Times, Thursday, 18 December 1969; pg. 10; Issue 57746; col E Church News Canon Appointed Bishop
  8. Jump up ^ "Bishops of the Diocese of Egypt". Official website of the Episcopal Anglican Diocese of Egypt. Retrieved 2011-04-08. "The Rt Rev Kenneth Cragg"The Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-11-27.
  9. Jump up ^ During which time he also served as anAssistant Bishop within the Diocese of Chichester >Who's Who 2008: London, A & C Black, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7136-8555-8
  10. Jump up ^ Amongst others he has written "The Call of the Minaret", 1956;"Counsels in Contemporary Islam", 1965; "The Event of the Qur'ān", 1971; " Palestine: the prize and price of Zion", 1997; "Muhammad in the Qur'ān", 2002; "The Qur'an and the West", 2006 British Library catalogue accessed Thursday 28 August 2008 20:12
  11. Jump up ^ "The Rt Rev Kenneth Cragg"The Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-11-27.
~~
Call of the Minaret by Kenneth Cragg
https://ci3.googleusercontent.com/proxy/UBYjNfUJJu20uVB-TmBiqc6gm9UCExCaM1cLdi6idYxrp2PqyB2qOmTI3HhdbhXkNVdbfBAlDaTNZe-yQNBGYcf5xFumhm6QZvmGK69Vvp8foAw=s0-d-e1-ft#http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/413KR6ENT8L._AA240_.jpg
I thought I'd post a few book recommendations. Cragg is a former Anglican bishop of Jerusalem and is one of the great scholars of Islam of the previous century. His prose is dense and challenging, and he may seem to treat Islam with kid gloves, but if you learn how to read his subdued style he offers some poignant and crucial criticisms of Islam. Also, his focus on approaching Islam from a Christian point of view is helpful. FInally, this book was written before 9/11 which means it still has a sort of innocence to it, and can thus avoid being an apologetic for Islam or a screed of denunciation.


~~
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Kenneth Cragg
Kenneth Cragg has written extensively on the subject of Muslim-Christian relations, and his books have become classics in their field.  Bishop Cragg has held academic and ecclesiastical posts in the UK, Jerusalem, Beirut, Cairo, Nigeria and the USA; in retirement he serves as Honorary Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Oxford.  He is an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford.
Books and Features by Kenneth Cragg
£15.39
Taking the Muslim call to prayer as his starting point, the author unravels the significance of the muezzin's haunting cry, considering prophethood, prayer, politics and community to present a more complete understanding of Islam.  It becomes clear that the Islamic call to prayer transcends the boundaries of religion, containing a summons for Christians and Muslims alike.  Bringing new perspective to interfaith relations, this revealing book with appeal to the faithful throughout the world.
A Question of Response
£11.89
Few historical figures are more central to the affairs of the present than Muhammad, and few religions have sought acknowledgement of their prophet more avidly than Islam from Christians.
Bringing a careful Christian reckoning to an issue rarely directly addressed in contemporary scholarship, Bishop Kenneth Cragg, one of the world's leading Islamicists, explore such areas as the Christian response to the Qur'an, loyalty to the figure of Christ, the Qur'an's own plea to Christians
An Exploration
£18.19
Written by one of the forerunner in interfaith dialogue, this is a highly acclaimed introduction to the figure of Jesus from a Muslim perspective. Combining the contemporary world of interfaith living with an exploration of long-standing prejudices, Bishop Cragg illuminates what unites and divides the Islamic and Christian faiths, with Jesus as the focus. He investigates the significance of Jesus in the New Testament, The Qur'an, Muslim poetry and devotion.
Islam in its Scripture
£17.49
The separate events of Islamic scripture are not difficult to chronicle, but what kind of event does the whole of the Qur'an represent? How should we understand the coming together of a charismatic personality, poetic eloquence, developing Arab consciousness, and a vibrant longing for God, into the single phenomenon of the Qur'an? What is the inner story of the prophethood that Islam regards as God's final revelation for humanity? How did geographical setting, culture and traditions enter into the Qur'an's metaphors and shape its message?
A Muslim-Christian Spiritual Anthology
£24.49
Compiled by a pioneer in interfaith dialogue, this is an unprecedented anthology of Christian and Muslim devotional writings
Bringing together prayers written in some twenty original languages and from thirty different countries, Bishop Cragg's inspirational anthology underlines the spiritual compatibility of the Muslim and Christian faiths.
Beautifully designed and simple to use, this is an accessible, diverse and unique compilation for communal life or personal reflection.
~~

Sunnis in Iraq - 'overwhelmed by hopelessness and looking with envy at the thrilling revolts that had taken place in other parts of the Arab world, Sunnis mobilized in Anbar, Baghdad and the northern provinces. Their demands focussed on the status of tens of thousands of Sunni detainees, held in prisons for years, many without charge...'

Time Jan 20, 2014, p. 14

Arab world needs some leaders like Mandela or Gandhi...

~~


~~

Two scholars point to the mindless way children are forced to learn either parts of or the entire Koran (some 6200 odd verses) by heart at the expense of teaching children critical thought. The children accomplish this prodigious feat at the expense of their reasoning faculty. Often their minds are so stretched by the effort that they are little good for serious thought.

~~

Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali - world's most famous Muslim dissident since Salman Rushdie

~~

Targeting and killing terrorist leaders is a counter-productive 'solution' to the problem of terrorism. When will Western nations realise that each time a Taliban/al-Qaeda leader is killed by a drone, more such leaders will emerge, nursing more rage and a desire for vengeance?

~~

Middle East? 'Behind much of the instability is the bitter rivalry of two great oil powers, Iran and Saudi Arabia... whose rulers claim to represent Shiite and Sunni Islam respectively...'

'I think we are witnessing a turning point, and it could be the worst in all our history,' said Elias Khoury, a Lebanese novelist who lived through his own country's 15-year civil war. 'We are in the hands of two regional powers, the Saudis and the Iranians, each of which is fanatical in its own way. I don't see how they can reach any entente, any rational solution'.

-Cited in Ben Hubbard: 'Saudis, Iranians drive bloody regional face-off', Melbourne: The Age, 8/1/2014, p. 8.

~~

http://www.jmm.org.au/articles/16308.htm

Archb of Canterbury at the Islamic University, Islamabad

~~

Most important: our agenda must not be to divide people/s from each
other, but to befriend/unite

~~


'There is no safety - human safety, worldly safety - apart from the true safety I found with the Lord Jesus Christ'

- Nagla Al-Imam, Egyptian lawyer and human rights' activist, who was interrogated and beaten in 2010 by security personnel because of her Christian faith. 


Patrick Sookhdeo, Heroes of Our Faith, 2012, p. 191

~~

course Miroslav Volf  teaches at Yale on thr topic 'A Life Worth Living' asks students to compare the conceptions of the good life promoted by the Buddha, Moses, Mohammed, Jesus, John Stewart Mill and Nietzsche.


~~

Miroslav Volf: 'Perpetrators' memories are famously short, while victims' are long. We have to remember justly, for we cannot forgive well or apologize well without being truthful...

We see forgiveness as beautiful because we are created in the image of God, which is unconditional love.'

(Recently on his speaking tour in Melbourne).


~~


UK Parliament is told Christianity is ‘most persecuted religion’
Published: December 04, 2013
MPs also hear that one Christian is killed every 11 minutes
The Bishop Moussa Coptic Church in Minya was destroyted by pro-Morsi supporters in Egypt, many of whom blamed Christians for his overthrow.
David Degner, Getty Images
The plight of Christians around the world was discussed in a three-hour debate at the Houses of Parliament in London yesterday.
Members of the House of Commons were told that the persecution of Christians is increasing, that one Christian is killed around every 11 minutes around the world, and that Christianity is the “most persecuted religion globally”.
A long list of countries in which life as a Christian is most difficult was discussed, including Syria, North Korea, Eritrea, Nigeria, Iraq and Egypt.
MP Jim Shannon said the persecution of Christians is “the biggest story in the world that has never been told”.
He said that although the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there are many countries in which these rights are not given.
Shannon alleged that 200 million Christians will be persecuted for their faith this year, while he said that 500 million live in “dangerous neighbourhoods”.
He added that in Syria Christians are “caught between opposing sides in the conflict”, and mentioned the “specific targeting” of Christian-dominated locations, such as Sadad and Maaloula.
MP Sammy Wilson said that in Syria, “50,000 Christians have been cleared from the city of Homs”, while in Sudan two million Christians were killed by the regime over a 30-year period.
He added: “Within the last month, hundreds of people, from Nigeria to Eritrea to Kazakhstan to China, have been arrested and put in prison simply because of their faith, and when they go into prison they are denied due process. They are denied access to lawyers. They are sometimes even denied knowledge of the charges facing them. They can languish in prison for a long time and in horrible conditions… This is not only happening in Muslim countries. From Morocco to Pakistan, Christians in Muslim countries are under threat, but it happens elsewhere too.”
The recent comments of Baroness Warsi at a lecture in Washington were echoed, including her assertion that “the parts of the world where Christianity first spread is now seeing large sections of the Christian community leaving, and those that are remaining feeling persecuted”.
MP Nigel Dodds said that the “persecution of Christians is not new”, but that it is “staggering” how many Christians are killed today.
In Iraq, he noted the words of Canon Andrew White, who had said that Christians are “frightened even to walk to church because they might come under attack. All the churches are targets… We used to have 1.5 million Christians, now we have probably only 200,000 left… There are more Iraqi Christians in Chicago than there are here”.
Sir Edward Leigh said the remaining number of Christians in Iraq was likely to be closer to 600,000, but that this was still a shocking figure and that “things have become much worse since the invasion”.
“Within the last month, hundreds of people, from Nigeria to Eritrea to Kazakhstan to China, have been arrested and put in prison simply because of their faith.”


--MP Sammy Wilson 

MP Rehman Chishti said: “I come from a Muslim background, and my father was an imam… I know it is absolutely right and proper to have a debate on the subject”. He called the persecution  “completely and utterly unacceptable” and “a very sad state of affairs”.
He also quoted his “good friend” the former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali: “He told me that the persecution of Christians was taking place in more than 130 of the 190 countries in the world at the moment”.
During the debate, the oppression experienced by Christians in China and Malaysia were also highlighted and outlined. As the British Prime Minister is currently in China, MP David Rutley raised the issue of the sizeable Christian community in China, and asked about the potential establishment of a deeper inter-faith dialogue to engage the Chinese authorities with Christian groups.
Meanwhile, a UK-based organisation has claimed that the number of countries posing an extreme risk to the human rights of their populations has risen by 70 per cent in the past five years.
Risk analysis company Maplecroft (which researched 197 countries for its annual Human Rights Risk Atlas 2014) says that since 2008 the number has risen steeply from 20 to 34, predominantly comprised of countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Syria tops the list, followed by Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

~~


What caused the Arab uprisings?

May 14, 2014 12:13 AM
The Daily Star
The dizzying pace of events across the Arab world during this fourth year of continuous citizen protests for a better life reveals a wide variety of developments in different countries.

It is easy to become confused by the very erratic pattern of events and even to write off the last three and a half years as a noble but failed attempt to end the long Arab nightmare of security-ruled, family-run states. One symptom of this is the mass popular embrace of former armed forces commander Field Marshall Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to become the new president of Egypt– seemingly a move back to military rule.

We will see in the year ahead whether this kind of popular reaction allows Arab countries to resume their gradual transitions to more democratic and participatory systems of rule or condemns them to several more generations of security regimes. In such situations across the Arab world that experiences flux and uncertainty, I find it useful always go back to the beginning of the uprisings and recall what promoted the simultaneous historic rebellions in so many countries.

Many books and articles have been written about the causes of the Arab uprisings, and most of the ones I have read tend to be very good. In my humble view, one recent short text best captures the heart of the uprisings’ drivers. In so doing, it also provides a handy checklist we can use to gauge current developments, to know if genuine change is underway or assorted Arabs are simply rearranging old actors and forces without truly transforming the underlying abuse of power.

The text I have in mind was published in 2013 by Melani Cammett and Ishac Diwan. Titled “The Political Economy of the Arab Uprisings,” it is the extracted concluding chapter from the 2013 Updated Edition of the classic “A Political Economy of the Middle East,” by Alan Richards, John Waterbury, Melani Cammett and Ishac Diwan. [ATTACHED] It is available fromWestview Press as a 46-page book that offers the most succinct, comprehensive and accurate analysis I have read about the causes of the uprisings, correctly anchored in a political economic analysis weaving together strands of modern Arab public and private life.

It analyzes the interaction of economic development processes, state systems and social actors and how these have reinforced authoritarian governance in the region. These authoritarian leaderships slowly lost their capacity to rule due to economic and political excesses and were finally challenged by the uprisings.

From the mid-1980s, the authors note, “[T]he rollback of the state began without a concomitant democratic opening ... an elite, capitalistic class benefited from personal connections to acquire disproportionate access to lucrative opportunities. The elite allied with state security apparatuses, which enforced their dominance through repression (sticks) and economic co-optation (carrots) to maintain the support of the middle class. Tight state-business relations within a supposedly “liberal” economic environment and political repression did not translate into a successful industrial policy. Instead, a system of gift exchange between the state and key constituents developed; the moderate performance of this system inhibited growth and thus did not foster the creation of good jobs.”

Across the Arab world, most countries ended up with variants of the same “crony capitalist systems” that used a combination of subsidies, repression and fear-mongering about political Islam leading to increasingly fragile governing coalitions. After several decades, this authoritarianism started to crumble, and the state’s retreat from some quarters of society alongside worsening levels of social services delivery further hurt poor and marginalized regions. This led populations to identify increasingly with the poor rather than with the middle classes.

As middle-class elements defected from authoritarian coalitions, they evolved into champions of change, driven by the lack of opportunities for socio-economic advancement and anger about rising perceived inequalities, the authors note. The mix of economic discontent and broader sociopolitical stresses ignited the uprisings. Ordinary citizens no longer accepted stagnation alongside the perceived rise in inequalities and lack of “social justice” that resulted from the rollback of the state and economic liberalization characterized by cronyism.

Cammett and Diwan conclude, “The inability of government to provide for citizens and a growing sense of economic insecurity were particularly egregious. This combination of factors created a dam of accumulated grievances and rising aspirations, ready to burst. The interlinkages between economic and political grievances point to the value of a political economy perspective in understanding the Arab uprisings.”

If any or many of these factors are indeed changing, we can applaud the outcomes of the Arab uprisings. Anyone interested should keep a copy of this fine little volume and read it regularly, to recall what ailed us and what needs to change radically.

Rami G. Khouri is published twice weekly by THE DAILY STAR. He can be followed on Twitter @RamiKhouri.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 14, 2014, on page 7.

~~






No comments:

Post a Comment