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Sunday, September 05, 2004 

Islam.. what i've avoided posting about

I was about to start writing one of my angrier posts but decided this time to take a different approach.
At least I am hoping this way I could clarify why I hate this new wave of criminals that have emerged in the ME. Bear with me till I finish writing before passing judgement (or water, i have to remind you that this is one of the long posts that no one reads). Think of this more as an attempt to get an ethical blank check to vent as much as I want about clerics and religious figures later.

Take a look at last weeks headlines
Twin bus bombs rock Israeli city
12 Nepalese workers executed in Iraq
Beslan school seige

Doesn’t take much to figure out that the common link between all these stories is muslims and horrible methods of death each being worse than the other.
I usually hate discussing beliefs and religion because first what you do or do not believe in is a personal issue and second everything about it is schizophrenic. But the mullahs/clerics showing up on the Arabic news channels and ‘islamic experts/analysts’ showing up on the western ones lecturing me on what they think about islam is really getting to me. I don't understand how two totally different views can be equally wrong.

It’s a pretty nasty situation to be in when you can see both sides, I feel my blood boil when I see ‘ppl’ manipulating the Quran to justify what they do and yet I also feel like I’ve been pinched (quite hard and with long fingernails) when I see Quran manipulated to be used against us

If you read islamic history, on one hand you find a great civilization, religious tolerability with ppl living side by side working together and a group of ppl that improved everything from architecture to medicine to science on the other hand you can find oppression, racial hate, torture chambers(some under mosques) and the mass murder of Mu’tazils (the ppl responsible for all the improvements and research)

I know there can be great muslims, take Fuad Ma’soum for example he is one of the most open minded ppl in Iraq that everyone seems to be complimenting, his children are all western educated and one or 2 of his daughters have phD’s. Not someone you would expect to have studied sharia (theology) at Azhar university (where he did his MSc and phD) and was once a lecturer of theologyin Basra, his fatherwas the biggest cleric in Koysinjak (fyi a city that was reduced to a village in Saddams time) all families from different religions and even class A atheists would turn to him. Actually speaking of Koya there was another cleric before him called Mallay Gawra (big mullah/cleric) in the 1920’s he put his daughter through school just so other ppl would start doing the same. That may not seem like a big deal but think of it the 20s that would have been a big step especially in a secluded town in the ME, also there was theory back then that girls couldn’t go to school because they could learn to write love letters but helped change that. From this view they look like decent ppl who want to improve lives
At the same time I am painfully aware of the other side, the Anfal for example an operation whose name is taken from the Quran (Anfal = spoils of war) where no age range stopped the mass murder of 180,000 ppl and not one cleric in the entire ME spoke out against anything even when ppl were being butchered in Mosques. Or how bodies of the dead were’nt allowed to be returned to their families because kurds were considered dogs and not allowed to be prayed for (an Islamic tradition at funerals), or more recently the suicide bombing on the 1st of February during Eid... again not one mullah spoke out against it, instead many came up supporting them. And in lot of ME countries it was difficult for kurds to post orbituaries in the newspaper regarding that.

Not one cleric spoke out when Saddam tortured and murdered other muslims (in iraq or neighbouring countries). Not even when the shias in the south who were murdered by their 10s of thousands in the Imam Ali shrine.

These actions have hit on a worldwide level from 1998 onwards and the latest tragedy in Beslan is a reminder how sick they can be. I doubt anything can comfort those families who had their children snatched from them so young. Death is a tragedy no matter what but parents burying their children is so wrong.

I also hate the fact that ppl who try to defend Saddam say well at least he had a secular state. Seriously wake up, the only reason for that was that he was scared ppl will start worshipping God instead of him, its only in the 90s that he discovered wahhabism and how it centered around ppl worshipping that he started with the islamic awarenessin schools (thats where all the current clerical farces showed up from)
Once a leader transforms into a religious leader he automatically associates himself with God and acts like God's owner on earth, so anything negative attributed against him will be thought of as blasphemy because my default he is insulting God.

I always thought that if u were going to believe in God you would also have to believe God gave u a brain. Yet that last step is always missing.
Now excuses for these ppl who kill by the thousands in the name of religion always somehow changes to ‘But they are oppressed and want independence’. How about not ever having a country of ure own and being oppressed for as long as u’ve existed like in the our case. Or how about the Armenians, the tibetians the ppl of Darfur, or the afghanis under the taliban and many other nations living under oppression. Are you telling me their cause is less important because they don’t commit mass murder?

I only began being really interested in religion the last few years of school, mainly due to having this really good Islamic teacher who students could discuss anything with. The years before that involved huge amounts of guilt that could make catholics think they have it easy.

One particular saying that struck me was when the Prophet told his people that one day muslims will become a weak state where other nations will join together against it so his ppl asked whether it was because muslims were fewer and he replied 'No, you will be large in number, but you will be like the froth scum (ghutha'a) on the surface of a body of water'.
Actually that saying is usually used to justify jihad but it definitely looks the other way around because now due to 'jihad' muslims are large in number and like froth scum on water.
That’s one of the reasons why a few yrs after school I started reading more into it,like reading books about islam, other religions and re-reading the Quran except this time reading the Quran explanation by mainly non-arab writers because the Arabic ones evolve and change meaning depending on who is ruling at the time. A good English one I discovered was Yusuf ali, he’s an Indian scholar who studied islam along with history of other other cultures. This book is one of the best explanations i read as it was written in the early 20th century, pre-israel so all those anti-jew explanations for certain texts were non-existant also i like the way he refers certain texts to certain periods of history, like the case of the greeks and the pharaohs.

I am very aware of the amount of Islamic hate literature that is out there but u have to bear in mind tha not all of it is true, the same can be said about the books defending islam. You have to select your books carefully. A really good author I've been referred to recently (thanx again Barrosam) regarding islam and fundamentalism is Bassam tibi. Now this guy looks what a muslim role model should be, he’s highly educated a harvard guest lecturer and not a preacher. I've checked his background nothing on him (and wow no S&M history as well, isn't that relief to find at least one scholar without that). In this book he goes into great detail explaining the history behind all the elements that have led up to the terorrst at this stage.

See my problem is, where do the rest of the normal muslims (even the term sounds like a joke now) stand on this issue. There are lots of ppl here who are just as disgusted by the way these animals have prostituted religion but can't do anyhting about it.

Alot of muslims would like religion staying personal and out of politics (the ones who do want it involved obviously have something to benefit). At the same time it is difficult to say you renounce your religion, there are things about Islam i like, like the way you are meant to believe that 'don't do to other what u don't like done to yourself' (all religions and beliefs have this) or how to treat your parents or charity and how every single good and bad thing you do is recorded so u become careful and more conscious of ure actions i also like the feeling of ramadan when u sit with ure family waiting for the Athan, the family visits involved. Also the shallow things like how everyone is out late at night and it still feels like day, i even in strange way like the below par tv shows that show up at the time (except the stuff with Daud Hussein in it , they're usually good especially the older ones). Eids i'm not fond of almost the same way i don't like picnics

I also like it when I hear good muslim stories, like Indians muslims who raise orphans based on the religion they were born with (whether hindu,christian or sikh) instead of forcing their own upon them. Or the stories about the muslims in uganda who offered protection and security to the tutsis in their mosques when they were being murdureed by the hutus.

The reason why I'm saying all this is because this is the Islam I believed in, I knew there were people who hated it but the first time i discovered why was when I went abroad and saw why other ppl resented muslims and how many muslims living in the west were tarnishing that image, i am not generalizing but there are many many muslims out there generating hate in the name of free speech. For some reason the rest of us in the ME are shielded from this. Yes I know the media loves focusing on the negative side of stories instead of the positive ones but I think muslims aren't helping change the image either

And I know how easy for everyone on the other side to refute the religion say why do ppl believe in this joke, but it won't work because there about 800 million to 1.2 billion muslims out there (depending on which source you believe) Making them all renounce religion wouldn't work.
Change should happen from the inside, the teaching structure should be changed, keeping it as belief system (as it was meant to be) not a hate-fueled political tool. A cleric's job is simply to tell the truth and guide ppl, if they can't do that basic act then their religious rights should be taken from them. Its that simple, if they can't denounce ppl 'misusing' their religion then whats their point. Other ppl are more needy of the money anyway.
At least if the structure is changed, they won't harm anyone, ppl who don't believe in it and think of it as a backward religion wouldn't care as muslim actions wouldn't affect them because through teaching islam minus the politics, terrorism would be officially a crime and banned by law (no loopholes) and more ppl would be able to stand up against it.

Of course that doesn't seem likely to happen very soon. On my part since I can't do anything, I'm happy just sitting here bashing and bantering nonstop , i know it doesn't change anything but just makes me feel better, especially when i find out that there are other ppl who feel the same way.
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