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← Islam -- Questions & Answers" on a special edition of "20/20" Friday at 10 p.m. ET.

Islam -- Questions & Answers" on a special edition of "20/20" Friday at 10 p.m. ET. - Comments

DamianIcely's Avatar Comment 1 by DamianIcely

Well this is sure to generate a nice, moderate, rancor free, discussion.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 01:55:40 UTC | #527863

green and dying's Avatar Comment 2 by green and dying

I have mixed feelings on how to educate people about Islam, because there are two separate issues - Muslims as people and Islam (an ideology and belief system based mainly on one book). One the one hand, there is plenty of blind prejudice against Muslims AS PEOPLE, which is usually just racism and xenophobia and seeing them as "other". This is not justified and we should be educating people as to why it's not okay. It's good to present Muslims as normal people with their own views. Then there's educating people about Islam, where we shouldn't leave out the very unpleasant realities and give people a skewed view of Islam as "the religion of peace" or as being essentially the same as the other Abrahamic religions. I don't find it difficult to simultaneously hold the view that most Muslims I will come across will be decent, normal people who don't deserve to have racism or blind prejudice directed at them - AND the fact that their holy book is hateful and inspires terrible things. Just because I think believing in the Qur'an and committing horrible deeds commanded in it are related doesn't mean I think it's anywhere near a perfect correlation. But it seems that most people find it hard to separate Islam and people who call themselves Muslims - they think criticising the religion is the same thing as criticising every single follower, and insulting their identity and possibly their ethnicity too, because religion can be so tied up with personal identity, culture and family origin.

What do people think?

Also, this video is relevant: Three Things About Islam

It points out that many Western people assume that Islam and Islamic scriptures work in the same way as the other Abrahamic religions which they are much more familiar with, but that is not the case. That first point is important to get across. But with the other two points in the video I think the maker should have made clear that actually there are plenty of BAD Muslims who don't do what they're commanded to do in the Qur'an. It'd be very easy to come away thinking that he thinks everyone who calls themselves a Muslim is in on some massive conspiracy against non-believers, which I'm sure makes it very easy for the people he's trying to educate to dismiss him - because so many people can't tell the difference between describing what Islam requires you to believe and saying that every Muslim is the same.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 02:10:02 UTC | #527866

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 3 by Neodarwinian

TheWhiteROses video just brings into sharp relief the problem of Islam. This religion needs declawed and defanged before it becomes more than a problem and ends up as a threat to our world.

I think Diane Sawyer will handle this with kid gloves.

I will not live to see the day when all these destructive and time wasting ideologies, all religions, new age nonsense, pseudo science, secular and religious creationism,and all the rest are overthrown, but the day must come. As usual with humans, that day most probable will come by the sword instead of rational discourse.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 03:01:59 UTC | #527868

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 4 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 1 by DamianIcely

Well this is sure to generate a nice, moderate, rancor free, discussion.

Which of course won't be the case as usual. There will be the usual "apologists" against "islamaphobe" bitching.

Ambiguity is the problem, as it is with all religious texts, and of course interpretation and context.

Where the Holy Bible is a book of riddles, that of which no one really knows what is to be taken as true, yarn, metaphor or myth. The Holy Qur'an is less so. The big question is who decides and when?

Leviticus 19:20

"'You shall keep my statutes. "'You shall not crossbreed different kinds of animals. "'you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed; "'neither shall there come upon on you a garment made of two kinds of material.

Now to me that is pretty straight forward enough, can't see it being myth or metaphor, so it must be true or a yarn(lie). If a yarn, then why believe any of the rest of the Bible? If true, then it is plain bollocks that no one need pay any heed to, so why pay any heed to the rest of the bible? Just one example.

Now the Qur'an can be a bit trickier....it's meant to be the true words of just the one prophet and to be taken as read.

Sura 5: The Table Spread

5:38 As for the thief, both male and female, cut off their hands. It is the reward of their own deeds, an exemplary punishment from Allah. Allah is Mighty, Wise.

Again, pretty straight forward set of instructions there, but a follower of Islam has to take this as true not a yarn, less options to get away from it. You see the problems already?

Moderate Christians and Jews can pussyfoot about believing what they want about the wishy washy Bible, and do, no one in modern times has been castigated for mixing textiles, I don't believe. There are a few Bible crackpots causing harm by fundamental teachings of Bible bollox, the power of prayer lobby and blood transfusion JW fuckwits. But on the other hand(no pun intended), people of Islam are having there hands lopped of by mainstream institutions for petty pilfering (WARNING:GRAPHIC DETAIL), if moderates believe this to be some wild interpretation of Islamic scriptures, then why the fuck don't we hear it being screamed from the rooftops? Can anyone hear it? Herein lies my difs with this issue.

Edit: on a side note, "You shall not crossbreed different kinds of animals", you would've thought Yaweh would've appreciated the difficulties with this, evolution being his thing after all.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 03:36:04 UTC | #527873

i_am_user's Avatar Comment 5 by i_am_user

I'm pretty sure you can find as gruesome as a passage in the bible that makes no ambiguity about its literal meaning vs imagery. It is what the apologists say these days to justify such horrible passages in the bible.

I think it comes down to the culture around each religion. If you had people following the bible as closely as you have people following the Quran now, I'm sure they'd bee seen pretty horribly too. The reality is that most christians generally do not practice the violence promoted in the bible, whereas most muslim cultures do.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 05:31:21 UTC | #527891

njwong's Avatar Comment 6 by njwong

All the 4 video segments were fascinating. But the last segment about the bakery shop experiment was most intriguing. 6 sided with the anti-Muslim shop assistant, 13 sided with the Muslim shopper, and 22 stood on the fence! What is the real thinking in those 22 fence sitters? Can they be similarly divided as 33% anti-Muslim and 66% pro-Muslim?

I don't agree with the woman wearing the niqab (the 3rd segment) justifying her reasons for wearing the niqab. These are the people who think that the more modestly dressed they are, the closer they are with god. Unfortunately, they don't realise that if Muslims start to compete against each other on who is more holier and religious, all women will end up wearing the niqab - whether they want to or not. She really needs to learn the meaning of the word superficiality.

Too bad the youths discussion (the 2nd segment) was severely edited. When Terry Jones' son quoted a verse from the Koran about slaying pagans and infidels, the Muslim boy countered immediately by quoting a verse from Matthew about Jesus bringing not peace, but the sword, I thought they would start a verbal battle with each quoting the violent verses from the other's holy book. It would have been interesting to see how that argument actually proceeded.

Also, it was not indicated how many among the non-Muslim youths were atheists and how many were Christians. I am curious whether the children in the studio is a proportional representation of the religious breakdown of New York.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 06:35:08 UTC | #527895

njwong's Avatar Comment 7 by njwong

Comment 4 by Ignorant Amos :

... people of Islam are having there hands lopped of by mainstream institutions for petty pilfering (WARNING:GRAPHIC DETAIL), ...

Wow. This video is really horrifying. It is truly representative of the barbaric nature of Islam's shariah laws. How in hell is the thief going to earn a living now that one hand and one leg have been chopped off? By begging for alms and depending on the kindness of strangers? Wouldn't it be more merciful to just execute him instead of letting him suffer? Or are the authorities expecting the thief to commit suicide himself?

If they really wanted to punish the thief, they could have just caned him instead of crippling him for the rest of his life. So much for the just laws from their merciful god.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=5ab_1172940415 (WARNING:GRAPHIC DETAIL)

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 07:08:50 UTC | #527899

TrickyDicky's Avatar Comment 8 by TrickyDicky

Comment 4 by Ignorant Amos :

Comment 1 by DamianIcely

Leviticus 19:20

"'You shall keep my statutes. "'You shall not crossbreed different kinds of animals. "'you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed; "'neither shall there come upon on you a garment made of two kinds of material.

So Christians shouldn't wear poly-cotton?

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 07:24:12 UTC | #527901

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 9 by Jos Gibbons

I shall view the videos later. For now:

Why Do Radicals Feel Violence Is Justified?

The Koran and Hadith frequently order and promise to reward it.

Is Western Culture at Odds with Islam?

In Western Culture, men and women have equal rights, including equal divorce rights; if you are offended by a cartoon, you remain peaceful; and if someone else is of a different faith or of no faith, they get the same legal rights, and your efforts to proselytize to them may make you look pretty silly. So yes.

More than 1.5 billion people are unified by the call to prayer

Have you taken time zones into account?

Many are worried that anti-Muslim feelings have reached a new high.

Where are all the religious Americans concerned anti–atheist feelings are too high? (They are higher than the Muslim counterpart, a problem made all the more serious because there are far more Americans who do not believe in gods than who do believe in Allah.) Where are the vocal condemnations of anti–anyone feelings (anti–Muslim excepted) from Muslims?

A quarter of Americans admit to feelings of prejudice against Muslims ... and 49 percent view the religion unfavorably.

Aw, poor Muslims. Speaking as an atheist who, were he in the US, would have it even worse, my sympathy unfortunately has its limits.

Is there a way to reclaim the faith for the moderate majority?

What do you mean, REclaim?

Sawyer, Weir and Hasan talk to Muslim Americans from all walks of life to explore the history and tenets of Islam -- a faith they say is about love and understanding.

Read Surahs 2–9 all the way through. You will have literally hundreds of proofs this view is mistaken.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 08:02:39 UTC | #527908

Dixiedog's Avatar Comment 10 by Dixiedog

That video was vile. It is clear to see that Islam is still in the dark ages.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 10:10:58 UTC | #527940

Dixiedog's Avatar Comment 11 by Dixiedog

How many times I have tried to write 'that' but it keeps coming out as 'tbat'! I can spell, hoonest...

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 10:13:05 UTC | #527942

TheRationalizer's Avatar Comment 12 by TheRationalizer

MISCONCEPTIONS?

Who is it who is having these apparent misconceptions? The people who kill because they believe their religion tells them to, or the non-Muslims who sit and watch them do it on the news?

Don't tell ME I have misconceptions about Islam, it's the murderers you need to be convincing!

Programmes like this are not an attempt to "build bridges" they are an attempt to gain new recruits. Just like the "Inspired by Muhammad" PR campaign. The most effective way to build bridges would be to spend your time and money convincing people with the "wrong" interpretation of the Quran that they should ignore the "Kill the Kuffar" verses and concentrate on the (abbrogated) "There is no compulsion in religion" ones instead.

Quite frankly nobody else gives a damn about your religion. You are recruiting off the back of publicity gained from atrocities, and that is a terrible thing to do!

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 10:28:51 UTC | #527950

Didaktylos's Avatar Comment 13 by Didaktylos

Dixiedog - you just need to try typing a bit more slowly: kudos to you for actually using the right fingering.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 10:29:46 UTC | #527951

inquisador's Avatar Comment 14 by inquisador

comment 2 by green and dying,

'One the one hand, there is plenty of blind prejudice against Muslims AS PEOPLE, which is usually just racism and xenophobia and seeing them as "other"'

Yes, according to the gospel of Saint Edward of 'Orientalism' fame. For a corrective to this view have a look here for instance.

Claims of oppression and victimhood are handy distractions and counter-claims that switch the attention of critics away from the inadequacies, atrocities and aggressive supremacism demanded of Muslims by their founding father.

When there is no other defence available, it's easy to play the victim card. And victims they may be.

Of their own religion.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 10:38:31 UTC | #527954

Paul Gray's Avatar Comment 15 by Paul Gray

Comment 4 by Ignorant Amos :

Now the Qur'an can be a bit trickier....it's meant to be the true words of just the one prophet and to be taken as read.

As I understand it Mohamed is supposed to have recited the perfect words of Allah which were then compiled into a book called the Qur'an, so it records the words of Allah not the word of Mohamed.

It takes a brave man to tell a fanatic with an AK47 that he is doing the wrong thing when that fanatic believes he is following the literal word of God.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 10:51:44 UTC | #527960

DamianIcely's Avatar Comment 16 by DamianIcely

My feeling on this is that Islam appears to demand a greater role in the political sphere than Christianity or Judaism. This is just an impression, but as a secularist it concerns me deeply.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 11:29:48 UTC | #527970

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 17 by AtheistEgbert

Boo hoo. One and a half billion people are all being victimised by those nasty liberal people.

The problem here is identity. Why are people from various countries around the world identifying themselves as 'Muslim'. What does Muslim even mean? I see a great deal of people in America calling themselves Muslim above that of American.

Yes, clearly there is a distinction between Muslim and Islamism. But let's not kid ourselves into thinking that one form does not spring from the other.

Islam can not co-exist within liberal society so long as it has claims to be a political force. The same applies to Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism or any religion or idealogy. This is the fundamental problem which people are constantly obfuscating and confusing.

Liberal society is being attacked, not only from without--by theocratic and non-liberal revolutionary movements and terrorist organizations--but also from within--by our own politicians and people who no longer understand what liberal society means.

We must understand that human (or individual) rights is what is being attacked. This is the source of our freedoms and allows us atheists and everyone else to exercise our free speech. Take away human or individual rights and everything is lost to authoritarianism.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 11:48:51 UTC | #527973

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 18 by Jos Gibbons

Having subsequently seen the videos, I can say a number of things:

Part 1 – questions: none of them will be very pleased when they hear the answers, unless the answers given are dishonest. I don’t know whether any such questions have yet been given an “answer”, though I imagine certain forms of dishonesty (see also my discussion of part 2) are liable to be involved. One of the boldest, most important questions concerned the fact that the most horrid verses overrule the earlier nicer ones. Had the man asking it known and stated it is called the principle of abrogation, he would have left apologists for Islam replying to his query with nowhere to hide, and no doubt the fact that he didn’t will harm the accuracy of the answer.

Part 2 – teenagers chatting: there was nothing encouraging anywhere but in this part (and no, I don’t think the willingness of a mere 6 of 41 customers to stand up to the clerk in part 3 is encouraging, as it’s not even close to a decent figure). In part 2, that peace was sought and in many cases thought viable, and every teenager participating seemed both candid and mostly civil (the intolerance of some, especially the pastor’s son, notwithstanding), was pleasing at least in the sense it gives us something to build on. All the same, it was worrying the basis of such a peace contained so many lies and obfuscations. For instance, to say that Islam has any claim to peacefulness is laughable, at least so long as Islam views the Koran as infallible in a literalist manner. Of course, individual Muslims may be far better than their scripture, just as more or less all Christians are; but we desperately need an equivalent in the Muslim world of the Renaissance, and it won’t help to achieve this if we pretend Islam is already sufficiently pleasant such action is unnecessary.

Part 3 – the experiment: I wonder how accurate the actors’ impersonations of what goes on in the US really are. While I have my concerns regarding that sort of Islamic dress (see my more detailed discussion of this in part 4 below), albeit not with the same suspicions shown by the fictionalised prejudices of the clerk, it is clear the laws prohibiting the discrimination falsified in the experiment are right on the money. Needless to say, the people who didn’t object to the behaviour observed in the store were frighteningly numerous and, while there are groups in the US against whom bigotry is even more commonplace, there is no doubt we should all be concerned about what’s going on.

Part 4 – the woman claiming to be liberated by not showing herself: oh yeah? Where are all the non–Muslim Western women who feel the same way? Oh that’s right, there aren’t any. I must also object to this “Women are objectified in this society” nonsense. Sure, men want to have sex with women; if anything, that conflicts with an objectification of them. (How many men want to have sex with genuine objects?)

Long story short: Islam sucks; Muslims are often good people (though they should do more to take a stand against everything wrong with their faith and their coreligionists); and those who are against Muslims rather than just Islam are a problem as well.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 12:22:15 UTC | #527986

GalapagosFinch's Avatar Comment 19 by GalapagosFinch

I tink in Part 2, where the kids are asked about religion, the whole thing is just scary and shocking. These kids are probably not yet capable of making the right choices at the supermarket, but here they are quoting from some books, and sticking by their opinions, which is clearly impressed upon them by somebody else. It just boggles the mind. If only they could quote so proficiently from their coursework, they would be all set. Even for the religious sorts, they have to understand that religion is there for them as a socio-ethnical support structure at best, and the people are not foot-soldiers of the religion. These teens need to chillax a bit and not feel so seriously about historical stories for which there is no evidence. There are more worthy things to take seriously.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 13:00:19 UTC | #528002

green and dying's Avatar Comment 20 by green and dying

Comment 5 by i_am_user :

I'm pretty sure you can find as gruesome as a passage in the bible that makes no ambiguity about its literal meaning vs imagery. It is what the apologists say these days to justify such horrible passages in the bible.

I think it comes down to the culture around each religion. If you had people following the bible as closely as you have people following the Quran now, I'm sure they'd bee seen pretty horribly too. The reality is that most christians generally do not practice the violence promoted in the bible, whereas most muslim cultures do.

The Bible doesn't claim to be written by God and its readers know that it was compiled over a very long time by different people and that it's not in its original language. Then there's the idea that the New Testament might replace entirely the Old Testament. It's nowhere near set in stone which parts you have to believe or how accurate the writers were. NONE of these things are true of the Qur'an. THAT is why there's a difference in how seriously Muslims and Christians take the bad parts of their scripture - the scriptures do not have the same status at all.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 13:52:23 UTC | #528025

aliensmack's Avatar Comment 21 by aliensmack

This is my view , and if somebody can give me a good reason why it isnt so ...

Islam isnt really a religion at all and it deserves no respect from a free society . Islam is a system of government crafted around the concept of a religion . Its from the mind of a seriously depraved individual , who relished in violence and bloodshed and who had eyes on world domination.

Islam is political ideology disguised in religious clothing . It is worse than communism and on par with nazi-ism or worse still, but we are accepting and respecting and all the while our freedoms (free speech already many victims) are slowly being eaten away.

The video of the thief posted above is so terrible to think about . There are countless videos of this nature to be found these days . Truthtube has more . I have seen a video of a 12 year old muslim executioner , beheading a much older man with a hunting knife .

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 17:04:57 UTC | #528098

aliensmack's Avatar Comment 22 by aliensmack

Comment 17 by AtheistEgbert :

Boo hoo. One and a half billion people are all being victimised by those nasty liberal people.

The problem here is identity. Why are people from various countries around the world identifying themselves as 'Muslim'. What does Muslim even mean? I see a great deal of people in America calling themselves Muslim above that of American.

Yes, clearly there is a distinction between Muslim and Islamism. But let's not kid ourselves into thinking that one form does not spring from the other.

Islam can not co-exist within liberal society so long as it has claims to be a political force. The same applies to Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism or any religion or idealogy. This is the fundamental problem which people are constantly obfuscating and confusing.

Liberal society is being attacked, not only from without--by theocratic and non-liberal revolutionary movements and terrorist organizations--but also from within--by our own politicians and people who no longer understand what liberal society means.

We must understand that human (or individual) rights is what is being attacked. This is the source of our freedoms and allows us atheists and everyone else to exercise our free speech. Take away human or individual rights and everything is lost to authoritarianism.

+1 what he said

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 17:23:28 UTC | #528111

Zelig's Avatar Comment 23 by Zelig

Comment 12 by TheRationalizer :

Programmes like this are not an attempt to "build bridges" they are an attempt to gain new recruits. Just like the " Inspired by Muhammad" PR campaign. The most effective way to build bridges would be to spend your time and money convincing people with the "wrong" interpretation of the Quran that they should ignore the "Kill the Kuffar" verses and concentrate on the (abbrogated) "There is no compulsion in religion" ones instead.

Quite frankly nobody else gives a damn about your religion. You are recruiting off the back of publicity gained from atrocities, and that is a terrible thing to do!

Agreed. All this quite deliberate evasion and transparent sophistry is both tiresome and dangerous.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 17:51:51 UTC | #528128

aliensmack's Avatar Comment 24 by aliensmack

If during world war 2 there had been Nazi - Americans living peacefully in the west would we be hugging and crying with them in the donut shops ? ??

The nazis hated the jews and the holocaust was the result, The ideology of islam hates non believers they hate homosexuals they hate women and they hate free speech and they hate human rights , we are witnessing the holocaust of individual human rights in western society and Islam has claimed many lives . I dont know what the solution is.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 18:04:43 UTC | #528137

inquisador's Avatar Comment 25 by inquisador

Does anyone know what the solution is?

Perhaps if we had not been deceived into complacent acceptance of Islam into the UK by those who present it as benign, we would have managed the problem with sufficient understanding to pre-empt some of our present difficulties. The only course I can see from where we are now is to go mainstream and raise a national debate that looks honestly at the mess we are in. However ugly that may be, it can't be any worse than the alternative. The question is, will enough people listen and get the message? Look at the actions taking place in other nations of western Europe, such as France and the Netherlands. There are signs there that reality is forcing some to start taking action, such as the halving of Muslim immigration in the Netherlands. Just a start, but going in the right direction.

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 18:26:53 UTC | #528154

secularjew's Avatar Comment 26 by secularjew

Two voices were generally missing from the program. 1) With the exception of a couple soundbytes from the likes of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, there were no proper critics of Islam featured, so most Islamic apologists, who dominated the hour, went completely unchallenged. 2) There were also no conservative, more fundamentalist Muslims interviewed, so all those apologists who wished to dismiss the radicals as being of illegitimate faith totally unconnected to Islam, again went unchallenged.

The program did show that most American Muslims are moderates and just as deserving of respect as citizens (well, daah), but as Sam Harris pointed out in response to Nick Kristof's article, "Why equate justified concerns about the doctrine of Islam with bigotry against Muslims?"

Sat, 02 Oct 2010 19:41:57 UTC | #528188

Notstrident's Avatar Comment 27 by Notstrident

TrickyDicky (Comment 8) asks "So Christians shouldn't wear poly-cotton?" Orthodox Jews sure don't. They make a big deal of this. There are stores in certain neighborhoods in the Chicago area where I live (and undoubtedly in other cities) where they sell clothes warranted to be of only one material.

Sun, 03 Oct 2010 00:00:02 UTC | #528280

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 28 by the great teapot

Dearborn in Michigan is pretty remote from me.

Sun, 03 Oct 2010 00:45:41 UTC | #528300

Seddge's Avatar Comment 29 by Seddge

Over many years of trying to understand my own responses to the world, I now recognize, for good or ill, that EVERY time I see or hear a person wearing their religion on their sleave, or head, or feet, I think less of them!

Sun, 03 Oct 2010 01:42:48 UTC | #528311

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 30 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 15 by Paul Gray

As I understand it Mohamed is supposed to have recited the perfect words of Allah which were then compiled into a book called the Qur'an, so it records the words of Allah not the word of Mohamed.

Yes of course....just like all the rest of the divinely inspired fuckwits... Moses, Abraham, John Smith, Ron L Hubbard, etc, etc, but hearsay evidence is inadmissible am afraid and as you and I know, or are fairly certain of, God didn't tell anyone anything...so they are Mohamed's words regardless.

Sun, 03 Oct 2010 08:50:14 UTC | #528376