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← Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: If only I could explain where this violence comes from

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: If only I could explain where this violence comes from - Comments

pipsy's Avatar Comment 1 by pipsy

"Divine mysteries"?

Sun, 22 Nov 2009 22:43:00 UTC | #415578

alessamendes's Avatar Comment 2 by alessamendes

Why is she speaking so ill of those who voice their concerns against Muslim extremism? She should agree, shouldn't she?

If an Atheist group conducted in, what I considered, immoral acts, I would side with those opposing such acts.

I know that not all Muslims are violent, but I reject the ones that are, and gentle Muslims should direct their energy on them as well, not people like me.

I don't know if that made any sense...

Sun, 22 Nov 2009 22:57:00 UTC | #415581

Sally Luxmoore's Avatar Comment 3 by Sally Luxmoore

She sounds to me like a very confused woman.
I am inclined to agree with whoever it was who emailed her.
It seems to me that any organisation called 'Muslims for Secular Democracy' has no chance of succeeding at all. She acknowledges herself that prominent muslims will have nothing to do with her.
She says,"Supporters of this organisation came out in central London last week to protest against sharia law and anti-democratic, anti-women Muslim groups." -- So that would be all muslim groups, then?
She doesn't belong with this religion.

Sun, 22 Nov 2009 23:07:00 UTC | #415584

Paula Kirby's Avatar Comment 4 by Paula Kirby

Yasmin rather makes our point for us. She acknowledges that Islam poses a threat: that the biggest threat to our society comes from Islam.

As I once heard a politician say in a radio interview, of course not all Muslims are terrorists; but over the last 10 years or so all terrorists in the UK have been Muslim. (OK, it was a soundbite: you'll be able to think of exceptions, but it is still true enough to make a valid point.)

And if more of the innocent Muslims Yasmin talks about were to stand up and be counted, and actually denounce what’s being done in the name of their religion, their claims of innocence might carry more weight. It would help, too, if they would publicly reject the dogma that every syllable of the Koran is literally true, since it is impossible to recognise in the Koran the peaceful, loving, innocent philosophy that Yasmin wishes to portray. But they won’t do this. They won't disassociate themselves publicly from the fanatics - yet they still expect the rest of us to do so.

Yasmin’s article reminds me of the Catholic apologists who wave away the child abuse scandals with ‘Yes, yes, isn’t it terrible’ but then talk about Catholic charities instead, as though that made everything alright again.

‘If only I could explain where this violence comes from’, she writes – but has she never actually read the Koran? That’s like a Christian claiming they wished they could explain where homophobia comes from.

It's no good: inasmuch as religious people are generally kind, decent and good citizens, this is purely because they have evolved the same generally moral impulses as the rest of us. Of course Muslims can be gentle and compassionate: they are human, after all, and these are classic human traits. But where religion takes over, that's when the real horrors begin. It is precisely because Yasmin would appear to be a gentle and kind person that we can legitimately ask her why she does not find her religion disgusting.

Sun, 22 Nov 2009 23:15:00 UTC | #415587

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 5 by Bonzai

I wonder who was the well known atheist that emailed her.

Sun, 22 Nov 2009 23:22:00 UTC | #415589

Sandra S's Avatar Comment 6 by Sandra S

I thank him for his genuine concern and pity his inability to understand those elements of human nature - like love, tenderness and jealousy too

That's nice, assume he's incapable of understanding emotions because he's an atheist.

Northeast Intelligence Network in the US writes: "The latest murderous rampage should be enough to illustrate that Islam is totally incompatible with freedom, democracy and the western culture."

No, islam is no less incompatible with western culture and democracy than christianity. However, this doesn't mean that christianity is fully compatible. It wouldn't work if it wasn't at least somewhat secularized.

I've known plenty of muslims in my own country who are far better compatible with democracy than many your average voter. However, they don't wear any kind veil, though, so clearly they're not fundamentalists of any kind. This doesn't mean that islam is good for democracy. Infact, a fundamentalism of islam, as well as fundamentalism christianity, I firmly believe would use the very rights democracy has given them to get rid of those rights.
But why do educated, high-achieving Muslims fall into nihilism? Hassan and the Algerian scientist had everything going for them. Their adopted countries delivered all they could have wished for. We do not know the answers to those questions.

I'm sorry, but we do know; the love of martyrdom, which comes from the Koran. That is in any case what I've heard those "failed martyrs" talk about.
Brave academics are linking up western politics with the explosive anger all across the Muslim world.

Come on. Yes, it's despicable and terrible in many ways and I'm sure it angers many, but where are the tibetan monks blowing themselves up in crowds of chinese civilians?
Those who then blow up themselves and the innocent who happen to be nearby. It is unfair that when Muslims commit horrific acts we are all held responsible.

No, of course all muslims shouldn't be held responsible, it would be easier, though, if some of them were to stand up and condemn the bombings. "Innocents that happend to be nearby"? Happend to be nearby? No, the suicide bombers didn't exactly just decide to commit suicide via a bomb strapped to their body and then people just happend to walk by when he did it. No, they didn't happen to be nearby, the very point of those suicide bombings were to kill as many as possible.

I do however agree with what I think Yasmin Alibhai-Brown alludes to. That is to stop trying to freeze out muslims and treat them like they had the plague. Isolation breeds extremism. From what I understand they out produce westerners in general in any case. No, the only real solution that I can see is to get them to assimilate. That is what I think has happend to a certain extent in Sweden, I very rarely see anyone wearing any kind of burqa. I don't live in an immigrant heavy area, though.

Sun, 22 Nov 2009 23:26:00 UTC | #415590

Azven's Avatar Comment 7 by Azven

Religion warps a persons priorities, providing a presumed reward (where none exists) for actions that are abhorent. I don't see what the big mystery is?

And it's "If only I could explain from where this violence comes".

Sun, 22 Nov 2009 23:29:00 UTC | #415594

PaulEmecz's Avatar Comment 8 by PaulEmecz

I think the comment she makes is valid:

"The more contemplative commentators are asking if illiberal measures need to be brought in to identify and control this one troublesome, religiously profiled community. A yellow star you might call it, for our times."

I'm sure there have been Jews taking part in Zionist conspiracies, but that should not justify anti-Semitism. If you described people who are Jewish as 'disgusting', you would rightly be rebuked by any rational person. And the truth is that we don't really need the yellow star. People discriminate against some Muslims purely on the basis of their appearance.

There are Muslims who are terrorists. I cannot abide them. There are atheists who are terrorists. I have no time at all for them. It isn't that I find Islam and Atheism disgusting, it is that I find terrorism disgusting.

Sun, 22 Nov 2009 23:31:00 UTC | #415595

black wolf's Avatar Comment 9 by black wolf

Her article, taken as a whole, exemplifies the deep incapacitation people face who are at once inclined to hang on to religious faith for no reason they can make clear, even to themselves, and also uphold their conscientious and intellectual conviction that secularism makes for a better society.

I can only pity the mind that must hold fast to a religion that makes no secret of its strong aspiration to political dominance, the driving force being a purpotedly supernaturally ordained system that declares all living beings its subjects from birth - and right along hush the thought, push it back into the box so heavily guarded by the mental forces of denial.
We might be seeing sincere attempts at finding a way to truly make Islam compatible with secular democracy, but I cannot find much hope there.

There is too much written in black and white, uneraseable and unquestionable by its most holy words, and too much legendary and mythical historisation of those whose lives have been dedicated to the cause of uniting the planet in submission. Sometimes people must just let go.

Yasmin seems to have no answer she can convince herself of. My question to her would be, has she taken a good hard look at herself and asked, 'why hold this any longer, I could be using both hands to drag myself forward'.

Sun, 22 Nov 2009 23:36:00 UTC | #415597

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 10 by Bonzai

Islam is disgusting, even if there is no Muslim terrorist.

She alludes to the internment of Western citizens of Japanese origin. While I understand her warning against mass hysteria, but the comparison is invalid. Being Japanese is not a belief and one cannot stop being Japanese even if he/she so wishes.

Sun, 22 Nov 2009 23:37:00 UTC | #415598

BroughtyBoy's Avatar Comment 11 by BroughtyBoy

The opening sentence gives us a clue to Ms Alibhai-Browns well documented self regard. I remember her using a phrase to the effect of = "because I am a muslim, it makes me humble" and thinking, - well it certainly doesn`t make you modest.
Does anyone else find her general output irrevocably skewed? The constant insinuation that the West is ultimately to blame for all the worlds ills is something I find more and more tiresome.

Sun, 22 Nov 2009 23:41:00 UTC | #415600

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 12 by Bonzai

I think this article highlights why there is such widespread unease with Muslims.

I have read some of Ms. Brown's articles before. I find her to be a very reasonable and secular person, her being Muslim not withstanding.

However, when push comes to shove, instead of denouncing the fundamentalists and admitting that there is a real problem with Islam, she decides to close rank with fellow Muslims and direct her anger at the society that supposedly have unjustly treated all Muslims with suspicions (She actually may have a point there)

That wouldn't be so bad if she could at least acknowledge that there is a problem with Islam, but instead she is serving us the usual bs that Islam is a beautiful and liberating religion and it is only some Muslims who commit terrorism etc.

It doesn't look good on her.

Let's be honest, Islam has a major problem and it is not just terrorism.

It is a disgusting religion even without terrorism.

Christianity has at least been dragged screaming and kicking into the modern world,--or at least the 19th century. But Islam is still in the Dark Age judging by the teachings of all its major schools. The fact is, next to the Mullahs the Pope looks like a great liberal.

Islam is still a medieval religion soaked in barbarity and ignorance in most places where Muslims are a majority. This is a fact that no platitude of how beautiful 'true Islam' is can whitewash away. One also wonders why so few Muslims get the essence of 'true Islam'. Did Allah have a speech problem?

If she can honestly acknowledge these problems, then maybe people would be more willing to listen to he plea for a more nuanced approach towards Muslims,--which is a sensible recommendation.

Edited for grammar and spelling

Sun, 22 Nov 2009 23:55:00 UTC | #415604

Linda Ward Selbie's Avatar Comment 13 by Linda Ward Selbie

This remark seems pointed at Dawkins so Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, why not admit it if he emails you?:

I thank him for his genuine concern and pity his inability to understand those elements of human nature - like love, tenderness and jealousy too - which cannot be precisely measured or validated by rationality alone.

What an ignorant thing to say about any person. Surely if Richard Dawkins is not a man that loves and is loved by family and friends it would be public knowledge and the topic of chatty tabloid scorn.

Do study the reasons for Islamic violence and find that the perpetrators are most likely emotionally dysfunctional and sexually repressed men. They come from lawless, backward tribal cultures in which bloodshed and cruelty are entwined with archaic religious beliefs. They are conditioned in the womb.

Islam does not declare for the common good, human rights, gender equality and personal freedom. It is a litany of oppression.

Modernizing developing cultures will take time however there can be no accommodation for Islam (or other religion special interest groups) in OUR communities and government policies.

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 00:01:00 UTC | #415605

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 14 by Steve Zara

Comment #434001 by Bonzai

Excellent comment.

I wish that Alibhai-Brown would explain just what it is about Islam that keeps her loyal to it.

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 00:05:00 UTC | #415606

BroughtyBoy's Avatar Comment 15 by BroughtyBoy

Not so Bonzai. She is not reasonable at the core. She is a sophist defending a more and more untenable line because it suits her contrary mentality of victimhood. I sincerely hope that we prevail in this debate, but I fear our cause will not be assisted by using Ms Alibhai-Brown as a conduit.

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 00:12:00 UTC | #415610

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 16 by robotaholic

she's a retard and just completely wrong- about everything-

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 00:43:00 UTC | #415614

Pobjoy's Avatar Comment 18 by Pobjoy

Well said Paula and Bonzai.

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 00:47:00 UTC | #415618

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 17 by God fearing Atheist

Muslims for Secular Democracy and their constituency are caught between a rock and a hard place - the BNP and the mad mullahs. Neither side will take prisoners.

So whick UK political party is capable of sorting it out? Who has the velvet glove and iron fist? Who can treat the innocent with understanding, yet crush the guilty?

Its certainly not Denham, if this is accurate:- Sucking up to the mad mullahs indeed!

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 00:47:00 UTC | #415617

bethe123's Avatar Comment 19 by bethe123

"But why do educated, high-achieving Muslims fall into nihilism? Hassan and the Algerian scientist had everything going for them. Their adopted countries delivered all they could have wished for. We do not know the answers to those questions. " -- Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Come on.
From what I have read, Hassan was not particularly high-achieving nor well educated.

But he apparently did know enough to shout "Allahu Akbar!" — "God is great!" in Arabic before his rampage, and he also had previously sent emails to Al Qaeda.
Pretty much says it all.

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 01:11:00 UTC | #415622

Demotruk's Avatar Comment 20 by Demotruk

"I thank him for his genuine concern and pity his inability to understand those elements of human nature - like love, tenderness and jealousy too - which cannot be precisely measured or validated by rationality alone."

I'm noticing that "you can't intellectualize love" notion a lot these days...

What do these people believe, that because you prefer to have beliefs that are rational, or because you use your brain to think a lot, that you somehow can't appreciate or have emotions? Do they think because we reject their superstitious beliefs, that we're robots?

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 01:13:00 UTC | #415623

Ania's Avatar Comment 21 by Ania

Why is Islam disgusting?

She seems to answer her own question, rather in depth and comprehensively. Including:

"obscurantist Islamic doctrine that, if allowed to prevail, will obliterate progress and human aspiration. We can see this in Pakistan already, even in highly cultured places like Lahore. And in Europe too."

uh yeah, that would be a problem.

If you denounce Burkas and drink wine then you're not a Muslim in the eyes of most Muslims. You're statistically insignificant, you don't represent Islam, you're a hybridized belief system that cherry picks the elements of Islam that comply with western democracies. Now, unless enough Muslims start behaving the way Kirby described above, you don't count!!

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 01:14:00 UTC | #415624

Logicel's Avatar Comment 22 by Logicel

Despite her intelligence and many good qualities, Brown is a god belief junkie who refuses to accept that her particular cut of heroin is laced with a deadly poison. She keeps on saying, but it is so pure, keeps me aloft, is my greatest comfort, I will just keep taking it, this lovely thing can't me adversely affecting me or others. Oh yes it is, Brown, since you pity Dawkins for the dumb-arsed reasons you give, it does appear that your addiction is screwing with an otherwise decent brain.

And, I pity you for being a god belief junkie.

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 01:21:00 UTC | #415626

The_Intangible_Fancy's Avatar Comment 23 by The_Intangible_Fancy

There are a lot of things that annoyed me about this article but I can only articulate a couple at the moment.

It seems to me that this writer has trouble distinguishing between criticism of Islam and criticism of Muslims. The "well-known atheist" who emailed her made a point to distinguish between her ("a good, kind and intelligent woman") and her religion which he found to be "disgusting". He was criticizing Ms. Alibhai-Brown's IDEOLOGY not her as a person. Religions/ideologies don't have feelings and believers need to stop getting hurt/offended on their behalf.

I was mildly annoyed when she brought up how Japanese people were detained during WWII because it seemed that she was making the classic error of confusing Islam for a racial identity. Islam is an ideology not a race. The sooner people stop making this error, the easier it will be to criticize Islam without having to dodge charges of racism.

Major Hassan embodies these pressures, and his solution was to gun people down, emulating American mass murderers to discharge Muslim derangement.

This line really made me angry. "Emulating American mass murderers"? It seems to me he was emulating ISLAMIC mass murderers. But I guess I forgot that Americans have trademarked mass murder.

It is frustrating because I agree with her that there is way too much hate directed at Muslims and that ultimately this hate is just going to drive more young Muslims away from the West and from secular ideas. But it is hard to ignore the fact that there are all too many Islamic radicals waiting in the wings to prey upon these disillusioned youth. Bigotry is a problem, but so is Islamic fundamentalism. And moderate Islam continues to shield fundamentalism by defending irrational faith and religion.

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 01:27:00 UTC | #415628

Dean Buchanan's Avatar Comment 24 by Dean Buchanan

@ Logicell #434023

Brown is a god belief junkie who refuses to accept that her particular cut of heroin is laced with a deadly poison.

Thank you for putting it that way. I have read the analogy of addiction/religion, but somehow the way you put it helped it sink into my like wow!

No really, the drug addiction analogy is good.


Mon, 23 Nov 2009 01:58:00 UTC | #415633

BigJohn's Avatar Comment 25 by BigJohn

Once again, Paula nails it for us. Bonzai adds a few tacks. Either that or this a Poe.

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 02:38:00 UTC | #415638

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 26 by TIKI AL

Just another delusional god whisperer who desperately wants to misplace blame.

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 03:51:00 UTC | #415644

Crazy_Steve's Avatar Comment 27 by Crazy_Steve

disappointing she doesn't come to the obvious conclusion that is right in her own text: Islam, as practiced in most of the world, is a destructive and hateful religion.

Clearly, many muslims can lead moral and productive lives, such as the author. But in doing so, like the author, they must leave large enough parts of the religion behind so that they are not considered true muslims by others, again like the author. And yet she can't recognize that to become a moral person she had to stop obeying islamic law...

If Islam was a religion of peace, then there would be massive protests against the evils done in its name by the most important people in the clergy. Instead, we have either silence, or encouragement. It's disgusting.

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 05:36:00 UTC | #415653

ronfac's Avatar Comment 28 by ronfac

When I read first TGD, I thought, WOW!here is someone who felt and thought as I did on the subject, the difference being that RD had the eloquence, wit, knowledge and training to put it out there.
To read Paula Kirby's occasional comments on this site is to recognize those very same talents and abilities. It would be my humble suggestion that Paula produce a volume of her observations as soon as possible, because I have no doubt whatsoever that it would make a remarkable contribution to the debate. My apologies if this was a little off topic.

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 05:37:00 UTC | #415654

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 29 by Jos Gibbons

Rationality doesn't make demands on any aspects of her life other than her beliefs. Love? Tenderness? Jealousy? Why doesn't she bring up "fun" while she's at it? Either one has at least one belief not supported by sufficient evidence, or one is sensible. Which is it in her case? Well, she's a Muslim, so there's our answer. There is literally no excuse for believing things that make you feel good. Those of us who live in reality do just fine. We also constitute less of a danger to others.

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 07:16:00 UTC | #415663

atp's Avatar Comment 30 by atp

Freedom of choice, means freedom for women to be whores and for men to be drunk.

Any "good" Muslim must those oppose this "immoral" western freedom. Any moral person believing in freedom as a human right must oppose Islam

In this lies a struggle that will not end before the whole world is educated enough to see that religion is based on nothing but dogmatic statements, and holds no truth at all.

Mon, 23 Nov 2009 07:50:00 UTC | #415667