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agn's Avatar Comment 1 by agn

Spot on by Ayaan.
It is various forms of irrationality that are plaguing us, and hindering us from forming rational strategies to remove Islam from the minds of people, not reason.

A "cult of reason" is a contradiction in terms.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 08:44:00 UTC | #103455

jeepyjay's Avatar Comment 2 by jeepyjay

I'm not sure that AHA's use of the term "Romanticism" is quite the right one here. Perhaps it should be something like "Sentimentalism".

People like Mozart, Beethoven, Shelley and, Wordsworth were Romantics, but they were also Individualists and part of the Enlightenment.

I'm with Lee Harris as regards the fanaticism inherent in Islam. I call it the "Hum of the Ummah".

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 09:15:00 UTC | #103466

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 3 by al-rawandi

Exceptional article by Ali...

A few comments.

People misidentify early Islam as a unification between church and state. The opposite was the case. The development of Islamic legal thought was independent of the state apparatus. The Caliphate, although endowed with religious titles was not the religious authority, but the political one. Courts were administered by religious authorities, since religion was superior to politics. Recent intellectual advances (if such a word applies) in Islamic thought have sought to unify state and religion.

I don't believe that Muslim cultures are different fundamentally in the way Ali and Harris imply. Tribalism was the ethos in pre-Islamic Arabia, and Islam provided an overarching religion to create a large tribe. The religion became the tribe and all the ethos that applied to individual tribes (warfare etc...) now applied to the overall religion. This tribalism is the same as tribalism in other places (Africa, Central Asia, Papua New Guinea etc...)

I think she is amiss in the accusation of fundamental intolerance. Moorish Spain saw a fairly tolerant Muslim rulership established by the deposed Ummayad dynasty. It also saw the rise of the most literal form of Muslim religious thought (Zahiri school). It seems a contradiction that they should exist together.

She tells us that Harris provides a broad definition of jihad. As a practical matter jihad is known in a militant form because of the assault by western powers that Muslim world has found itself under. The deeper intellectual tradition is one of a multifaceted religious principle. The famous scholar Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (a doyen of the conservative Hanbali school of religious thought) delineated the various levels of jihad, placing the physical at the bottom, and at the bottom of the physical, the warfare. The idiom of today's jihad is one of violence.

The lack of reason and rationalism is what causes the social retardation that occurs in Muslim cultures. They are impervious to advances in science and other fields. Some (Saudis et al.) have been able to purchase the fruits of this enlightenment, but have not been able to produce any of their own.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 09:19:00 UTC | #103467

padster1976's Avatar Comment 5 by padster1976

I noticed a few familiar themes here,

The occurrence of the 'suicide' of the west. This has been peddled by various hate mongers such as Bill O'reilly. As well as the transformation of Europe into 'Eurabia' with all the immigration. I haven't really read much of Ayaan Hirsi Ali however out of principle I do support her and what she symbolizes. Also, is this not further peddling of the so-called culture war. Most of the right wing tabloid rags rant stuff like this.

Although I agree with her about the attitude of americans and the idea of 'exceptionalism' - a concept lucidly argued by Chomsky. His books are always illuminating. However, I get the feeling that this Harris merely wants to fight islamic fundamentalism with christian fundamentalism but Ali seems to skirt around the issue without naming it directly.

Overall, an interesting read.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 09:34:00 UTC | #103475

Nefrubyr's Avatar Comment 4 by Nefrubyr

A bit got chopped off the end of paragraph 10:

"While we in America are drugging our alpha boys with Ritalin," Harris writes, "the Muslims are doing everything in their power to encourage their alpha boys to be tough, aggressive and ruthless."

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 09:34:00 UTC | #103474

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 6 by al-rawandi

padster,


Remember that Ali now works at the American Enterprise Inst. A neo-conservative think tank that is dedicated to promoting a clash of civilizations that is only won with an increase in militarization and a decrease in personal freedoms here in the US.

We shouldn't support an atheist simply for being such. I criticize both Hitch and Ali for their Neo-conservative leanings. Ali is a guest at Enterprise because she is used as a tool for a more insidious form of racism and imperialism that the Institute promotes.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 09:40:00 UTC | #103477

Star Spangled Eagle's Avatar Comment 7 by Star Spangled Eagle

al-rawandi:

I'm not sure I understand. Hasn't there already been a "clash of civilizations"? I mean for at least, I don't know, hundreds of years? I know you seemingly don't like the military approach, but I'm just not sure how much diplomacy can be offered while these suicide threats continue.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 10:18:00 UTC | #103486

eXcommunicate's Avatar Comment 8 by eXcommunicate

Well, Western Militarism should not be discounted as a tool against Islam. Having said that it is a merely one tool in an array of tools we have at our disposal - not the primary one. But when we are egregiously attacked, the fanatics must be made aware that we are not above a shockingly overwhelming and decisive military response. I'm with Hitch in that eventually, some of the fanatics will look around at their overwhelming military defeat and wonder if Allah is really on their side. Granted, Iraq seems to muddle this issue, but the Afghanistan War in its first year was a good example of this. The problem in Afghanistan wasn't that we were too ruthless, afterall, it's that we pulled our punches and took our eyes off the prize. This is an error that grieves me to my core. Imagine the message sent around the world if the Taliban had been, for all intents and purposes, utterly obliterated in a matter of a year, and Osama bin Ladin and his top command all captured and killed. Such a shockingly swift lopsided victory would have sent the proper message, but no - we pull our punches, let bin Ladin slip away, give lip service to tyrants like Musharraf, allow the Taliban to regroup, etc., so we can go on wondrous adventure in Iraq. I'm confident George W. Bush and his advisors will go down in history as one of the least competent American administrations in modern times.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 10:24:00 UTC | #103491

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 9 by al-rawandi

Star Spangled Banner,

Good point. There are always clashes of civilization. I would agree our current one is difficult and precarious.

I am glad you challenge me for a solution. Diplomacy in the face of suicide threats is one way of looking at it. If you had a disease where the symptoms were rashes, would you prefer a cream to put on the rashes as they arose or a cure for the disease?

There are numerous causes in suicide terror. Many people here believe it is simply religion. All religioins actively discourage suicide in their texts. So blaming religion is simply wishful thinking.

The following go into creating a suicide terrorist:

1)State
(does he have one)
2)State
(is it oppressive)
3)Imperialism
(is he a victim)
4)Nationalism
(does he seek a state)
5) Solidarity
(do his people suffer, does he feel this pain too)
6) Religion
(can he interpret to make violence acceptable)
7) Economics
(is he poor, is he rich)
8)Mental state
(is he smart, dumb, insane)
9) Despair
(does he view death as a certainty in the conflict)

Those in no particular order, all contribute. How can we help alleviate those?

Religion is the most difficult to fix. If we fixed all those down to religion, and suicide terror persisted, I may inclined to alternate methods. But we haven't even scratched the surface on the others.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 10:28:00 UTC | #103493

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 10 by al-rawandi

eXcommunicate,



I'm with Hitch in that eventually, some of the fanatics will look around at their overwhelming military defeat and wonder if Allah is really on their side.


Years of poverty haven't helped them realize this. Why would extreme violence. They view death as a potential mercy, so floods and tsunamis can be blessings. Military defeat is punishment for lack of piety (in Muslim history).

So if they view military defeat as a call to be more religious, how does this solve the problem?

It doesn't and Hitch is wrong. But I don't want to be scolded for debating Hitch on this site again.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 10:31:00 UTC | #103495

eXcommunicate's Avatar Comment 11 by eXcommunicate

al-rawandi - Here's the problem with your list... There are many other countries and populations with everything in your list, besides religion, being on the negative end of the spectrum (hopelessness, victimization, poverty, etc.), that don't breed suicide bombers and death cult personalities.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 10:51:00 UTC | #103503

Vinelectric's Avatar Comment 12 by Vinelectric

...the way to rescue Western civilization from a path of suicide is to challenge its tradition of reason...



mmmm...NEXTTT !

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 11:02:00 UTC | #103509

Fanusi Khiyal's Avatar Comment 13 by Fanusi Khiyal

Spot on analysis by Ayaan Hirsi Ali of one of the most intelligent thinkers alive oday.


People misidentify early Islam as a unification between church and state. The opposite was the case. The development of Islamic legal thought was independent of the state apparatus. The Caliphate, although endowed with religious titles was not the religious authority, but the political one. Courts were administered by religious authorities, since religion was superior to politics. Recent intellectual advances (if such a word applies) in Islamic thought have sought to unify state and religion.


Horseshit al-rawandi. I don't know who you are trying to fool, but some of us have actually read the Qur'an as well as books like the Sirat Rasul Allah. You know, the earliest biography of Muhammad, written by a pious Muslim? Was Muhammad not both a political and a religious leader - or was he not? Does the Qur'an not contain numerous laws to be enforced by the state - or does it not?

So please quit trying to snow us with this nonsense. Year one of the Islamic calender is the date when Islam became a political power - the Hijra. Islam is a political system, and there are no two ways about it.

I think she is amiss in the accusation of fundamental intolerance. Moorish Spain saw a fairly tolerant Muslim rulership established by the deposed Ummayad dynasty


More nonsense exploded by Bat Ye'or and Sam Harris.


As a practical matter jihad is known in a militant form because of the assault by western powers that Muslim world has found itself under. The deeper intellectual tradition is one of a multifaceted religious principle.


Yet more nonsense on stilts. Muhammad fought in 78 battels, 77 of those were aggressive war, and Islam expanded through jihad warfare to found a military empire, enslaving, degrading, and exterminating those poor souls caught in its graps. Witness the 60-70 million Hindus massacred by the 'tolerant' Muslim overlords after they swarmed over the subcontinent.

Question al-rawandi: How dumb and uninformed do you think we are?


I do think that AHA and Lee Harris both missed one important possibility: Thanks to the run-around performed by the multiculti horde of Chomskite 'useful idiots', nothing is done about this problem until it is too late. Which is when Islamic lunatics, either in Iran or Pakistan, gain WMDs and use them, either against America or Israel. Either of these retalliates in the only manner possible: turning the Arab Muslim world into so much radioactive ash. You may google "The Samson Option". And this would necessarily be accompanied by what would be at least be expulsion, and more probably be genocide of the Muslims populations within the West.

Yes, this will be hideous, and no, it will not be avoidable once things have gotten that far. The Twentieth Century showed what the West is capable of towards despised religious minorities that have done nothinng to deserve it. What exactly is it capable of against religious minorities that have done everything to deserve it?

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 11:06:00 UTC | #103512

Vinelectric's Avatar Comment 14 by Vinelectric

al-rawandi

Skip over whatever Fanusi writes.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 11:11:00 UTC | #103514

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 15 by al-rawandi

eXcommunicate,


Here is the problem with that explanation. Suicide attacks have occured in secular movements as well (Tamil Tigers, PFLP, PKK).

So no one has convinced me that religion is the SOLE cause. A cause, potentially, granted. An idiom for violence, yes.

Religion makes violence easy because it makes the world simple, and dichotomous (us and them).

However one can find that nationalistic goals are ubiquitous to suicide terror (see Robert Pape "Dying to Win"). Other than wishful thinking religion is not ubiquitous to suicide attacks.

Does xtianity promote suicide and murder? If you took your logic and applied it to the Leonidas squadron of the Luftwaffe you would have to say that xtianity caused their suicide attacks.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 11:11:00 UTC | #103515

Fanusi Khiyal's Avatar Comment 16 by Fanusi Khiyal

I should retract that comment about 'how dumb and uninformed...' Anyone who pays attetion to Vinelectric will get a somewhat skewed impression on that score.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 11:13:00 UTC | #103516

Vinelectric's Avatar Comment 17 by Vinelectric

Including you?

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 11:18:00 UTC | #103521

brian thomson's Avatar Comment 18 by brian thomson

I'm totally in agreement regarding the Romantic urge to Tribalism I see in the West - the urge to subsume oneself in a greater "mass" of humanity. It's visible (to me, an old fart) in apparently innocuous situations: mass culture, the explicitly Tribal nature of rave music (take E and Love Everybody), even "social networking" in the form of MySpace and Facebook. (No, I have not joined this site's "social network" either.)

As for accusations that Hirsi has aligned herself with Neo-Conservatives, I have to admit there's something to it. Some of what she said in the article had me thinking Ayn Rand, who's going to be re-exposed to public view when the film of Atlas Shrugged gets made by Brad and Angelina. I was reminded of the following quote from The Fountainhead:

Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 11:19:00 UTC | #103522

Gymnopedie's Avatar Comment 19 by Gymnopedie

I must admit that it was writers like Sam Harris, Hitchens, and AHA that made me stop using meaningless blanket terms like Neo-Con, and Neo-Liberal. I feel we should all be mature enough to address arguments rather than build and burn straw-men. (I hope.)

I must say I'm utterly shocked that people (especially here) are still blaming the West in some sort of masochistic fashion for terrorist threats and terrorist attacks. Have you not ever listened to the terrorists? Have you never read the texts they claim to abide by? It's the equivalent of the "Stalin was an atheist..." but to the issue of terrorism/Islamic radicalism.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 11:23:00 UTC | #103523

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 20 by al-rawandi

Horseshit al-rawandi. I don't know who you are trying to fool, but some of us have actually read the Qur'an as well as books like the Sirat Rasul Allah. You know, the earliest biography of Muhammad, written by a pious Muslim? Was Muhammad not both a political and a religious leader - or was he not? Does the Qur'an not contain numerous laws to be enforced by the state - or does it not?


Muhammad combined both the poltiical and the religious. He was 'special' for Muslims, in that he received divine revelation, not other person after attained that. The Qur'an does speak of state and the actions required by state. It is a confusing document for a number of reasons, not least of which that it is contradictory. Still doesn't prove your point.

More nonsense exploded by Bat Ye'or and Sam Harris.


I was speaking in reference to the time. Since there were no atheist kingdoms we don't have an accurate comparison. By relative standards (at the time) there was tolerance, although not to a perfect degree, but then I never said there was a perfect degree. When the dust settles from your explosion can you elucidate on the point.


More nonsense on stilts. Muhammad fought in 78 battels, 77 of those were aggressive war, and Islam expanded through jihad warfare to found a military empire, enslaving, degrading, and exterminating those poor souls caught in its graps. Witness the 60-70 million Hindus massacred by the 'tolerant' Muslim overlords after they swarmed over the subcontinent


Agreed. Islam grew in a violent, bloody and offensive manner. I never tried to contradict the point. However when people think of Jihad they don't think of it in 7th century sense.

It is interesting you mention Hindus. The Moghul dynasty saw the participation of Hindus in the highest levels of government, an interesting thought to compare with the violence of the coming of Islam.


Simply because an insurgent in Iraq calls it jihad does not make it the same as a 7th century offensive. That is your wishful thinking. You are heaping things together to simplify your world. Violence is exhibited in a number of ways and in a number of idioms. Naming the manner "jihad" has no meaning, the person is motivated for a number of reasons, the word jihad makes them fell good. For me jihad is highly existentialist (if that makes sense), it is very relative to the person.

I can see you have some emotion wound up in this. I am not in any way trying to get Islam off the hook. I think Ms. Ali has an agenda, one that conveniently coincides with the neo-con agenda, hence her employment at Enterprise.

I agree totally with your last paragraph, well put.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 11:26:00 UTC | #103525

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 21 by al-rawandi

Gymnopedie,


I have read the statements, literature, and listened to the words. It is interesting that the terrorists don't target Sweden, or Norway, or New Zealand, or others. Why the US? I don't have a preconceived answer, I am truly curious what people think.

I don't have the answer to all of these things. But I will say, blaming all our problems on religion is foolish.

Religion occurs in the same part of the brain as a lot of other things. It coexists and militates in the brain in the same way other things do. Sam Harris is in the midst of proving this with fMRI research. Belief is belief, it is nothing special when you call it religion.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 11:30:00 UTC | #103527

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 23 by al-rawandi

Fanusi,


Did you seriously list Bat Ye'or? How about just pick an extremist Israeli settler and call them an expert on Islam. Almost every major scholar of Islam has criticized her use of evidence (very selective).

Sam Harris? A little better. Neither of these two have academic training in the field.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 11:48:00 UTC | #103546

jeepyjay's Avatar Comment 24 by jeepyjay

In response to Comment #108604 by al-rawandi, who says: "There are numerous causes in suicide terror. Many people here believe it is simply religion. All religions actively discourage suicide in their texts. So blaming religion is simply wishful thinking."

No it's not wishful thinking. The 9/11 terrorists had a state (they were Saudi Arabians), it was not oppressive to them, they were not victims of imperialism, they were not nationalists, their people were not suffering, they were not poor, they were well educated, they were not in despair.

Much the same can be said of the 7/7 bombers in London. They were comfortably off young men.

Only religion is left in your list.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 12:11:00 UTC | #103563

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 25 by al-rawandi

jeepyjay,


Some were Saudi. The state does persecute people, including the outwardly religious. They were acting in solidarity with their "Muslim brothers" in Palestine and Chechneya among others. They seek the creation of a state (albeit one with religious goevrnance).

So they missed the injunction AGAINST suicide? Either they adhered to religion or they didn't. Cannot have it both ways.

The 7/7 bombers are a much better case for purely religious motivations. But I would say they were brainwashed by people with other potential motives.


More people die of starvation and treateable diseases in Africa every day than were killed in those two attacks. I assume you are on an anti-poverty website being equally strident because you are consistent in your hatred of needless death.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 12:17:00 UTC | #103568

Fanusi Khiyal's Avatar Comment 26 by Fanusi Khiyal

al-rawandi either disprove what Sam Harris or Bat Ye'or have said, or keep quiet. Ad hominem means nothing.



Muhammad combined both the poltiical and the religious. He was 'special' for Muslims, in that he received divine revelation, not other person after attained that.


Certainly. They only pledged themselves to imitate Muhammad, uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil, and thus to eforce Allah's law on earth. Which they did. Hence the 'rightly guided Calips' and so on.


By relative standards (at the time) there was tolerance, although not to a perfect degree, but then I never said there was a perfect degree.


Sam Harris says it best "Islam was tolerant only by comparison with the nightmare of theocratic Christianity". Great. In other words, Islam, at its absolute best was a bit better than Christianity at its absolute, godawful worst. Wonderful endorsement.

And it was only relatively tolerant when the new territory was largely non-Muslim in its population, and enforcing the full horror of Islam was simply not possible. Then Muslim populations increased and everything went to hell.

Even leaving that aside, let's scroll forward to modern times shall we? By any standard, the more Muslim a nation, the more of a basketcase it is. Only three of the nations with 20% or more Muslim population count as free. In fact, we can safely say that the more Islamic a country, the more godforsaken it is, which just tells you everything you need to know about the religion.



The Qur'an does speak of state and the actions required by state. It is a confusing document for a number of reasons, not least of which that it is contradictory.


All the contradictions of the Qur'an have long since been hammered out by teh doctrince of naskh, or abrogation, whereby a chronologically later verse cancels out an earlier conflicting one. This is sanctioned by Qur'an 2:107.

What makes this even more unfortunate is that the later verses are the nastier ones. Take the seventh sura, the Verse of the Sword. According to one jurist, it cancels out 128 'tolerant' verses.



The Moghul dynasty saw the participation of Hindus in the highest levels of government, an interesting thought to compare with the violence of the coming of Islam.


And this somehow excuses a genocide over ten times that of the Nazis?



However when people think of Jihad they don't think of it in 7th century sense.


What people? How about the Ayatollah Khomeni, the spiritual leader of 10% of the world's Muslims, and his successor, both of whom are very clear that the idea that jihad doesn't mean Holy War is so much moonshine? Or the Al-Azhar University, the Vatican of Sunni Islam, which has echoed those sentiments? Or how about the number that support that kind of jihad according to the Pew poll cited by Sam Harris? Or what about those in the al-Jazeera poll that found a 50% support level of bin Laden? Or how about that al-Arabiya poll, surveying over one hundred thousand Arab muslims throughout the muslim world that found seventy-five percent of them were in support of HAMAS?

Or perhaps you are thinking of the British Muslims? You know, where forty percent support the introduction of Shariah law, twenty percent sympathize with the 7/7 terrorists? Or the leaders of the Mosques, 50% of which are Deobandi?

And so on.

You say:


For me jihad is highly existentialist (if that makes sense)


That's very sweet, even if it makes no sense. But hundreds of millions of Muslims see this very differently. And your 'existentialist' view of jihad means nothing in the face of that.

I'll finish by answering your comments about my person:


I can see you have some emotion wound up in this


Well, yes. When I see that there are 100 million people - at least , at the most optimistic estimate - who have declared that their purpose is to kill or enslave those I love, and destroy everything that I love and hold dear in this world, well, you may gather that I get somewhat irritated by that.


That is your wishful thinking.


Bzzzt, sorry, wrong. I have no desire whatsoever to know what I do, or to think like this. I would vastly rather concentrate on my studies and let the Muslim world go rot. I would far rather ignore the whole wretched thing. But the conflagration that Islam intends threatens everything that makes life worth living.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 12:26:00 UTC | #103576

Arcturus's Avatar Comment 27 by Arcturus

What a mess ...

There are always easy solutions, but they are never the best.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 12:27:00 UTC | #103577

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 28 by al-rawandi

Fanusi,

Verse of the sword... 9th chapter not 7th.

Naskh, many Muslims do not even know what that is, or that it applies. That would mean the early verses (Meccan) would mean nothing religious, and are totally superfluous, yet they still receive mention in religious literature.

It is people like you who push people to make it look like they defend the idea of religion. Not the case.

I indeed said that by comparison to Christianity. That was the historical model.

Your statistics are old. Support for Al-Qaeda is dropping in the Peninsula. That is a positive sign. I hope the trend continues. (Support for Bin Laden had dropped to the teens I believe)

Jihad as an idea, seems to me, very existentialist (if that makes any more sense). I have no personal attachment to 'jihad', it is altogether meaningless to myself since I am not a Muslim. It is highly relative to the person. Surveys suffer in their methodology when I ask "Do you support the use of violence, yes or no?" What does that show?

It gets messy.

You are right, the more religious the less free, the less successful. Who is arguing that? You are debating yourself at this point.

But your tone is rather abrasive. Your tone sounds as hateful as any of the fundamentalists you so rightly detest.

I don't understand why if the religion forbids suicide, and people are devout, and they committ suicide, they are following religion to the letter.

That is an open question. I truly don't know.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 12:44:00 UTC | #103584

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 29 by al-rawandi

Fanusi,


How many people die of disease and hunger? Are you as angry at the complacency of the west in the face of those epidemics? I would hope people are equally outraged.

Religion is a disease like any other. A plague. I would hope all plagues disappear and/or cured.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 12:46:00 UTC | #103585

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 30 by al-rawandi

Fanusi,

As for critique or keep quiet. Harris said Muslims believe that Muhammad ascended to heaven on a winged horse. That is false, Harris made it up or wasn't sharp enough to catch the mistake.

If he is speaking of the Mi'araj it was not on a horse. The Isra' was on Buraq a white steed. Event then wings are not mentioned.

If you make things up, your book is suspect.

Mon, 07 Jan 2008 12:49:00 UTC | #103589