So I'm reading a book written by a non-Muslim about the Golden Age of Baghdad and there came a point where it was discussing Islamic governance and how one Muslim had laid out how a khalifah should be to one of his sons. One line was "do everything in moderation". After stating the rest of what the Muslim had written to his son, the author commented that he "must have" gotten the moderation point from Greek sources, not from any of the hadith that talk about moderation.
Following this the author commented that everything else was moderate tyranny in the name of justice and equality. All of this also came after a mention of an exchange of letters between Mu'tasm and some Byzantine emperor. The author portrayed the emperor as this peaceful civilized man while Mu'tasm was portrayed as a warmonger. The implication seemed to be that Muslims are antagonists in the name of jihad blah blah blah.
Of course the back of the book says that it's a must read for Islamist theocrats. That's a convenient opinion when someone is just writing about the personal lives of some affluent people. The author specifically refuses to adress any of the Islamic sciences and what not that arose during that era. After all, it may give Muslims the image of being decent people who are generally not prone to major sins on a continual basis.
Aside from these comments the book is otherwise good for information on the Abbasid dynasty. :P Those are just my Orientalist complaints.
When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World by Hugh Kennedy
Danish Cartoons, Double-Standards and Daniel Pipes
Well surprise, surprise, surprise. Daniel Pipes, the world's most prominent anti-Muslim hate-monger, has finally piped up and posted an article giving his point-of-view on the on-going Danish cartoon saga. He's obviously trying to capitalize on the current cartoon crisis in order to put forward his xenophobic agenda, which a close analysis of his Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism article makes rather clear. Based on the fact that he's the respected spokesman for so many Islamophobes around the world, you'd think he'd be able to articulate a decent defense for his paranoid positions. Please try to keep this in mind when you see how easy it is to un-spin his half-baked assertions--and it is always easy when the facts are on your side. So without further adieu, here's what Daniel Pipes, glaring hypocrite and Islamophobe extraordinaire, had to say:
"Will the West stand up for its customs and mores,
including freedom of speech, or will Muslims
impose their way of life on the West? Ultimately,
there is no compromise: Westerners will either
retain their civilization, including the right to
insult and blaspheme, or not."
It’s quite ironic that he finds it so easy to ignore the fact that laws in eleven European countries (including ones that he lists as standing with Denmark in his article), as well as his own State of Israel, make public denial of the Holocaust a crime. Based on Pipes' own thinking, such an undermining of free speech should have spelled the end for Western civilization. Why didn't Pipes whine that this violated the Western "customs and mores" that he claims to value so highly? Without a decent response to these questions (and if he had one, he would have used it), I'll just say that the "H-word" certainly comes to mind.
When the U.S. House passed a constitutional amendment banning flag burning as a form of free speech () , why didn't Pipes and his cohorts surmise that this was tantamount to being medieval Islamo-Fascist oppression that would cause American freedom to come to an end? Likewise, many U.S. states have laws, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld as constitutional back in 2003 (), prohibiting burning a Christian cross. Why didn't Daniel Pipes and his fellow hypocrites complain that this compromised Americans' right to free speech and that they were now on a slippery slope towards the end of Western Civilization? Like always, the one-eyed Dajjalian approach of hate-mongers becomes apparent whenever the facts get in the way of their agenda..
Actually, the cross burning ban is a bit more of a sticky issue, since opposing it might have aired some of the dirty laundry that the United States of America has in her closet. These are painful truths that many people, excluding most African-Americans, are almost wholly ignorant of. Maybe xenophobes and uniculturalists realized that opposing a ban on a form of racial hatred might end up making more people aware of what used to go on in the American South (), including George W. Bush's home state of Texas, just a generation or two ago. I had mixed feelings about posting these very disturbing images () , but felt that it was high time for many people out there to not only get a dose of reality, but to eat a slice of humble pie.
I want these people to look at what allegedly civilized Christians were able to do to fellow human beings when these "others" had become fully dehumanized in their eyes. They turned killing people into a blood sport, much as the Nazis did, but unlike most Nazis, some of these Americans even brought their children along to watch the brutal spectacle, sometimes even wearing their Sunday best. Take a look at their eyes and stare into their smiling faces and reflect on the question: Could this be you?
I think this is a particularly valuable reflection in light of the despicable mutilations of the American mercenaries (which they were, not simply “civilians” as some claim) in Fallujah back in 2004, who were burned and then hung from a bridge--and acts of mutilation are something which the teachings of Islam expressly forbid (), by the way. This is because it’s become rather obvious that a lot of the talking heads out there seem to think that only Muslims ever do this type of thing. Well the wake up call is here folks, so please reflect on it. Let the fact that such actions, or any hateful and bigoted rhetoric that could lead to them, are never justified, while also realizing that certain people--regardless of their race, creed or color--are capable of such things.
Such blood lust is not a Muslim thing, a Christian thing or a Western civilization thing, but just a savage thing. However, believing that it's just uncivilized Third World "others" who engage in such dastardly deeds (which essentially amounts to what I call the “my little Johnny would never do such things” syndrome) just makes one an ignorant bigot much like the people standing in some of the shocking photos included above. In reality, these photos are just the tip of the iceberg, since not only was lynching a widespread and socially acceptable practice throughout the American South until the early years of the 20th century (read this if you doubt me), if you really want to see horrifying displays of what some members of modern European civilization have been capable of, search for some pictures of Auschwitz, Treblinka, Buchenwald, Bergen-Belsen and other such camps--not to forget or downplay the much more recent killing fields of Srebrenica. Maybe all this will help some people get off their self-righteous high horses and realize that we face a human problem here, not a Muslim one. It's disturbing to me that so many people are ignorant of, or choose to willfully ignore, their own country's, society's or religion's crimes of the past…but hopefully, after seeing these pictures () , fewer are ignoring it anymore. Actually, I hope that I’ve turned the convenient little fantasy world which some people live in upside down…
Moving on...later in the his Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism article, with typical intellectual dishonesty, Daniel Pipes goes on to say:
"More specifically, will Westerners accede to a double standard by
which Muslims are free to insult Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism,
and Buddhism, while Muhammad, Islam, and Muslims enjoy immunity from
Well who has called for anti-blasphemy laws (for lack of a better term) that would apply only to Muslims? Exactly no one that counts, which excludes anything that some misguided and militant Muslims might have called for--and I haven't heard such things from them either. Really, I'm yet to hear any Muslim call for laws that would only protect Islamic beliefs and practices from public scorn and derision. Once this is realized, it should be obvious that the cartoon which Mr. Pipes includes in his article gets the basic facts wrong, since no one is calling for laws which provide only Islam with special protection against being mocked and insulted. Additionally, and even more deceptively, his article's cartoon implies that Danish caricatures are rather soft and benign, while Muslim ones are outrageously offensive and over the top. Pipes, as he often does, is purely propagandizing here. This would probably be enough to make Julius Streicher proud, but there’s even more to come:
"Muslims routinely publish cartoons far more offensive than
the Danish ones. Are they entitled to dish it out while being
insulated from similar indignities?"
With this, Pipes has stooped so low that he's seemingly become convinced that two wrongs do indeed make a right. Which is not surprising coming from a Zionist (i.e. Jews were massacred in the Holocaust, therefore they have the right to ethnically-cleanse Palestine). Such twisted logic seem born of the fact that propagandists are aware that when you can’t make a case because the facts are against you, which in this case are the actual details about curbs on the freedom of speech currently in place in the Western world as explained above, just throwing out misinformation is usually the recommended course of action. Such spin-meisters are aware that many television watchers out there are rather uncritical and myopic, thus it's unlikely they'll even notice that what Daniel Pipes is actually arguing for in this case is a juvenile "We're doing it because they do it too!" justification.
Such a statement also shows that Pipes, and all those who think like him--and there are plenty of those--view Muslims as some monolithic whole, thus we’re all to blame for the actions of a misguided few. If we can just snap these bigots out of indulging in this one particular logical fallacy that would indeed be a lot of progress--since they seem to fall victim to it an awful lot.
Before continuing, I just want to say that if Muslim governments have any common, if not political, sense (and no, I won’t be naïve and appeal to their sense of decency), they'll crack down on all such hateful cartoons and offensive ant-Semitic material, since not only are such things counterproductive to everyone on both sides, they're Islamically forbidden as well. For everyone's sake, I hope the current crisis brings some positive change in that regard, insha'llah.
On that note, please realize that the existence of anti-Semitic Muslim cartoonists and the actions of violent angry Muslim mobs in various locales doesn't nullify the fact that many of those who are defending free speech and the so-called Western way of life are having hypocritical double-standards—so please stop using the recent violence as a way to divert attention from the real issue. Various pundits are claiming that European Muslims want special treatment under the law, although at least one specific religion is already getting preferential treatment. They claim Muslims only want their religion to be protected from insult, but true and decent Muslims want all religions protected from insult (which is a Qur'anic concept by the way). They say that they have the right to insult and blaspheme whatever they want, but the right to burn a cross is outlawed in the U.S. and seventy-five percent of Americans support a constitutional ban on desecration of their nation's flag. Thus in the final analysis, it's clear that not only do we have de facto censorship (i.e. Danish Paper Rejected Jesus Cartoons ) in the Western world, but we have de jure censorship as well. So in spite of all of their self-righteous and paranoid spin, it remains rather clear who is being intellectually dishonest here. I wonder if Mr. Pipes finds it disconcerting that, according to his own logic, three-quarters of the people in the heartland of democracy constitute a threat to Western Civilization?
Looking back on all of this, the alarm bells should have sounded as soon as Pipes tried to accuse Muslims in Europe--who remain a small, and largely poor, disenfranchised minority--of some sort of "Imperialism"--which is not just outrageous, but insidiousness of the highest order. Anyone who knows something about the past two hundred years of Middle Eastern history should be aware of the fact that the cruel, racist and exploitive legacy of European colonialism in Muslim Lands bears some responsibility, but certainly not all, for the situation that Muslims face in much of Europe today. An intellectually honest person would want to address the real issues caused by past Imperialism that has not only already occurred, but is still going on today (albeit in a somewhat different form) in both Iraq and Israel today. In lieu of presenting the facts, Daniel Pipes instead opts for spouting off paranoid delusions about some phantasmic "Islamic Imperialism". Indeed such delusional outbursts, regardless of how hard he tries to present them as rational, should alarm us to the fact that the Daniel Pipes' of the world truly have a lot in common with the likes of Julius Streicher.
Read, Reflect and Deen On…
In the name of Allah, the most Merciful, the most Mercy-Giving
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Islamic Information and Products (tm)
Tuesday Feburary 7, 2006, Muharram 8, 1427 AH
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IN THIS ISSUE:
*** ISLAMOPHOBIA: THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE RACISM LEFT
*** 10 WAYS YOU CAN FIGHT ISLAMOPHOBIA
*** THIS FRIDAY: MESSAGE FOR MUSLIM LEADERS
*** FAST THIS THURSDAY
*** ISLAM'S MANIFESTO OF UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD
*** BLACK HISTORY MONTH PAGE
*** CIVIL RIGHTS PAGE
*** QURAN CHALLENGE GAMES
*** HAJJ CHALLENGE GAME
*** PERPETUAL QURAN DESK CALENDAR
*** LISTEN TO RADIO ISLAM TALK SHOWS
*** DONATE FOR RADIO ISLAM
Betty Friedan, an American feminist pioneer who died last Saturday,
discussed "the problem that has no name" in her 1963 book "The
Feminine Mystique." While she did not name it, throughout her book,
she succeeded in describing the problem: the dissatisfaction of
American women in the 1950s and early 1960s with their lot as
homemakers. Her book revolutionized American society as a whole.
A problem, until named or described, is often ignored. This is why
Friedan's book was so powerful and effective. This is also why this
week at Sound Vision, we discuss a problem that has been named but
needs to be brought to greater attention: Islamophobia.
Islamophobia is the fear and hatred of all things Islamic. It is
Islamophobia that causes a media outlet to commission and publish
outrageous cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad while it would never
dare do the same for other religious groups' cherished
personalities. Peace and blessings be upon the Prophet. Islamophobia
leads to the torture of Muslims in places like Abu Ghraib; it
creates the climate ripe for harassment, discrimination and attacks
on Islam and Muslims. It is what allowed a woman to walk into a
Sacramento last month mosque and allegedly throw a Quran on the
ground and spray a fire extinguisher that caused a mysterious haze;
it is what permitted someone to throw a homemade bomb into a mosque
in Nashville, TN less than two weeks ago.
Islamophobia is alive, well and getting worse. It is easy to bury
our heads and try to hide from it. But sooner or later, it will hit
us in ways subtle or obvious. This week at SoundVision.com, we offer
practical ways to fight Islamophobia as well.
The tenth of Muharram is on Thursday. According to a Hadith of the
Prophet, it is the day God liberated the Children of Israel from the
tyranny of Pharaoh. It is encouraged to fast on this day. Let us
fast on this day and ask Allah to liberate us from the scourge of
Islamophobia and hatred of "the other." Let us pray for guidance and
wisdom in living and sharing Islam.
Abdul Malik Mujahid
*** ISLAMOPHOBIA: THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE RACISM LEFT
*** 16 WAYS YOU CAN FIGHT ISLAMOPHOBIA
*** THIS FRIDAY: MESSAGE FOR MUSLIM LEADERS
Muslims are hurting deeply from the offense caused by the cartoons
published by Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Muslim leaders must
address these feelings while suggesting how to respond
appropriately. Here are some Khutba ideas for this Friday:
*** BLACK HISTORY MONTH PAGE
*** CIVIL RIGHTS PAGE
*** JOBS IN CHICAGO
Two motivated and hardworking people are needed at the Council of
Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.
*** NEW PRODUCTS AT SOUND VISION
*** QURAN CHALLENGE GAME
*** JUNIOR QURAN CHALLENGE GAME
*** PERPETUAL QURAN DESK CALENDAR
*** LISTEN TO RADIO ISLAM
DAILY TALK SHOW 1450 AM: http://www.radioislam.com/talk/
DAILY LIVING ISLAM SHOW: http://RadioIslam.com
VERY VERY long article but insha'Allah it may be interesting for some.
Orientalism, Misinformation and Islam
Abû Imân cAbd al-Rahmân Robert Squires
© Muslim Answers - Orlando, Florida, All Rights Reserved.
Any open-minded person embarking on a study of Islam, especially if using books written in European languages, should be aware of the seemingly inherent distortions that permeate almost all non-Muslim writings on Islam. At least since the Middle Ages, Islam has been much maligned and severely misunderstood in the West. In the last years of the Twentieth Century, it does not seem that much has changed even though most Muslims would agree that progress is being made. I feel that an elegant summary of the West's ignorance of Islam and the motives of Orientalism are the following words by the Swiss journalist and author, Roger Du Pasquier:
Here's an excellent piece from the late Dr. Isma'il R. Al Faruqi in regards to so-called "higher criticism" of the Qur'an. This long quotation is taken from note 142 on pages 244-245 of his now out-of-print and hard-to-find Christian Ethics: A Historical and Systematic Analysis of Its Dominant Ideas (McGill University Press, 1967):
Some orientalists have criticized Islam for asserting the divine origin of the Qur'an alleging that such assertion precludes any literacy of higher criticism which is essential. But Islam has never prohibited literary of higher criticism of the Qur'an. On the contrary, the Qur'an openly challenged the Muslims and non-Muslims to criticize, or even imitate, any of its verses. ( click...Collapse )
'Wake up, muslims!!! Reality is quickly catching up with you. The day will dawn when our Hindu Rashtra will be thoroughly rid of the evils brought on by this barbaric religion of the desert.
Awaken Bharata ..!!!'
'Islam is extremely rigid in its approach towards other religions. Hinduism is more a group of religions that share some common beliefs and traditions and is not in favor or against a particular belief or religion. Islam believes in rescuing people from eternal damnation through their conversion to Islam, where as Hinduism believes in letting the Individual choose his path according to his inner convictions and scale of evolution. Hinduism and Islam differ on a number of issues, which are too many to be enumerated here. However one fundamental difference which needs to be mentioned is that Hinduism is the oldest living major religions of the world, while Islam is the youngest. '
'The place of medieval cannons is now taken over by laser guided nuclear missiles and people who are proud owners of these high-tech toys are hardly aware of their destructive nature. Ignorance rules their minds and hatred fills their hearts. Basic issues confronting these countries such as poverty and education remain unanswered. The survival of all the countries in this region today precariously hangs in balance. One mistake on any ones part and the world would see the waters of Indian ocean swamping the valleys of the Himalayas and inundating the steppes of Central Russia. Would religions destroy this world eventually? Yes, when not individuals but a whole region becomes insane and obsessed with suicide. Let us hope the answer is "NO".'