September 18, 2006

WORDS vs ACTIONS

I just saw an interview with Maswan Rasmoudi from the Center for Islam and Democracy. (Or Raswan Masmoudi from the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, as the only google hit came up with. What the heck -- did John Gibson just get it totally wrong? I wrote it down word for word from the TV.)

Anyway, whoever this guy was, he gave the usual speech that Islam is being corrupted by a small minority of people who are attacking the Pope. Naturally, that's not mainstream Islam. OK.

It's easy to cherrypick certain ayat to show how messed up Islam is. Of importance now are the sword verses, those that say

to "fight and slay the pagan (idolaters) wherever you find them" (sura 9:5); or "strike off their heads in battle" (sura 47:5); or "make war on the unbeliever in Allah, until they pay tribute" (sura 9:29); or "Fight then... until the religion be all of it Allah's" (sura 8:39); or "a grievous penalty against those who reject faith" (sura 9:3).

These are certainly troubling passages, but there's plenty of troubling stuff in the Bible as well. In my opinion, the texts are not nearly as important as what followers do with the information.

I've never been 100% convinced that the Bible explicitly comes out against homosexuality. But I don't deny the fact that most Christians read the verses as admonishment and on the whole have adopted the worldview that homosexuality is wrong. No matter what the actual words of the translation of the Bible say, or no matter how I think they could be interpreted, it is a fact that most Christians aren't thrilled with homosexuality. It's the actions that matter, not the words that were written down 2000 years ago.

So when Raswan Masmoudi says that these Koran ayat are being taken out of context and abused by Osama bin Laden and a "minority" of angry Muslims, I call b.s. on him. It doesn't matter how he and his friends at the Center want to interpret the verses; what matters is that real live actual journalists were threatened with their lives if they didn't convert.

I can try to convince Christians that the verses against homosexuality are just as outdated as the slavery or "unclean during your period" verses until I'm blue in the face, but that doesn't make Christianity as a whole keen on homosexuality. Similarly, these folks can keep saying that Islam is a religion of peace and that jihad is a personal struggle, but that doesn't mean that it's going to bear out in reality. In reality, Muslims are threatening to assassinate the Pope.

You can't change the actions of a religion by claiming that verses of the holy book have been taken out of context. What matters is the actions.


MORE TO GROK:

Amritas makes a good point: A big difference between Islam and Christianity is that the words matter so much more in Islam. I remember accidentally starting a fight in my linguistics class because I asked how Allah could dictate the Koran but Mohammad wrote it down with no vowels. The vowels are what matter in Arabic! How could we be absolutely sure what Allah was saying without the vowels? It seemed like a completely illogical system. My teacher got really mad at me and asked how I dared call Allah illogical. And she was a Jew, go figure.

Posted by: Sarah at 12:53 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
Post contains 575 words, total size 4 kb.

1 "In reality, Muslims are threatening to assassinate the Pope." So you have some people who say they are Muslim that are threatening to kill the Pope. But really they are going against thier religon by doing such a thing. So are they now Muslim? Or something entirely different. I see these extremists the same way i see evangalists. They scare the hell outta me, all they do is make themselves and thier beliefs look bad. Look up things such as Christian Identity, i know they are not evangelical but still look it up. I fear them more than Osama. I bet you most Christians hate what these Christian Identity people do and would u say they are Christian? Im gonna guess no. Treat these few that use Islam as an excuse the same as them.

Posted by: Philly at September 18, 2006 01:47 PM (fhEBx)

2 Point taken, Philly. But my guess, not based on data because it's hard to come by, is that there are more Muslims who think the Pope should die than there are Christian Identity folks.

Posted by: Sarah at September 18, 2006 03:14 PM (YL5y0)

3 Im not trying to compare numbers here since its hard to estimate im just saying not to lump them into a big group. You see a bunch of protestors against the Pope sure that looks like alot but 99% of the rest of them are sitting at home watching on tv thinking wow what on earth are they doing?!?! The world is screwed up enough as is, and throwing gas on the fire doesnt help. You have to take into account that the Muslim people are practially up against the wall fighting for some kind of acceptance now. The problem with this is that a lot will lash out as any normal human being would do. This is what i beleive we are seeing. And by the way there are alot of Christian Identity and other sorts of that kind, Lords Resistance Army, National Liberation Front of Tripura, and many others, it just doesnt make good news hearing about Christians slaughtering thousands of people and forcing childern as sex slaves or to be soldiers in this day in age. Yes that stuff is happening right now on a massive scale. All in the name of God........ Does this make Christians bad? Nope does it make these people bad? I would say so. I would also like to say from what I have read here that my views are a fair bit different than what I've read. Like I said different not wrong, im not posting to start an arguement just trying to give a new perspective.

Posted by: Philly at September 18, 2006 04:03 PM (fhEBx)

4 Crazy christians and muslims...

Posted by: Will at September 18, 2006 09:12 PM (H4u2c)

5 "The world is screwed up enough as is, and throwing gas on the fire doesnt help. You have to take into account that the Muslim people are practially up against the wall fighting for some kind of acceptance now. The problem with this is that a lot will lash out as any normal human being would do. This is what i beleive we are seeing." Well, thank god most of us have 20-20 vision on this instead of the myopic Mr. Magoo clarity you bring to the situation. Uh, maybe they are against the wall because they've complacently and smugly allowed these well armed nuts to forward and define their religion? As long as they were ultimately under control, of course. Now they're not -NOW they're finally going too far over the line. But it's too late. And for the record, lashing out and killing a nun because you don't like WORDS is not lashing out like a two year old - it's called murder in civilized parts of the world. Some people can rationalize anything, I guess. Thanks for the perspective, and yes, your views justifying murder and threats are very different. I'm with Sarah, numbers ARE important. Christians don't consider it a victory when mad fringe Christians kill or enslave. We don't applaud it behind the doors of our church. We don't invite crazy frothing bearded freaks to speak from our pulpits about the next way to kill the infidels. We don't say that all followers of Islam are evil and must be destroyed. Some Christian churches might ban homosexuals from joining their church, but we don't KILL them. Can you see that distinction? The Lord's Resistance Army has pagan and muslim members. Their goal is to set up a new government in Uganda based on the ten commandments. The National Liberation Front of Tribpura is found in India and is a Christian organization. If they are using killing and slavery to forward their agenda, have you twigged yet on the fact that they are located in countries that have violent Muslim populations? That maybe they're "lashing out" because they are "against the wall?" If you pray, pray that this doesn't happen in the United States. That we are not faced with being forced to violence to defend our lives and government. A few years ago I would not have written a post this strong. But viewing the ever creeping threat and change in Europe has convinced me that the U.S. is also at risk.

Posted by: Oda Mae at September 18, 2006 09:17 PM (dX1s6)

6 Do you think people in WW2 sat around debating the virtues of Nazism vs. Democracy? I don't think so - I think they just joined the army, went to battle and won the war. That's because it was a real war with a real aggressor and real things to fight for, whereas the GWOT, I now realize, is just another theological debate. Watching people try to fight fundamentalism with more fundamentalism leaves me feeling empty and a little bit sick. So congratulations on making you blog into a mini-LGF sarah.

Posted by: Will at September 19, 2006 12:02 AM (H4u2c)

7 Will -- What does LGF (or me) have to do with fundamentalism? Show me a single instance where Charles Johnson advocates Christianity! Show me where I have done it either! It's all too simple to break this down into a religious war. It's a cop out. This current war is an ideological war, like the Cold War. Why more people aren't taking it seriously is beyond me.

Posted by: Sarah at September 19, 2006 01:55 AM (YL5y0)

8 Do you truly believe the entire muslim community is for the attack and praise killing that nun? My point with those other groups is that im saying they say they are christian but christians say they arent. Don't you think most muslims are the same way? And by the way this quote "We don't say that all followers of Islam are evil and must be destroyed." We do have extremist Christian groups who believe god will not come back to earth until every non-christian is killed. They do preach the killing of others. When they say these guys are extremists they really mean that they are extremists. They are not working on the teachings of Islam they have scewed it so they can use it to justify whatever they want. Are you gonna condem the muslims who live down the road simply by thier religon? Would you be happy if they were all put on a boat and forced to leave the country? If so go back to Nazi Germany and think it over. I truly hope thats not how you feel. All im trying to say is dont hate someone cause of thier religon. These people you see on TV, sure go ahead hate them but not all muslims are that way. There are bad seeds in all reglions. The world is facing a large portion of those bad seeds right now.

Posted by: Philly at September 19, 2006 02:29 AM (fhEBx)

9 Actually, Will, until December of 1941 most people wanted little to do with the "real aggressors". America First organization ring a bell? Japan had been conquering and murdering in Asia for nearly a decade. Hitler had run all over Europe for over two years. People went just joined the army, went to battle and won the war only after it was clear they were coming after us. The hindsight of history is black and white to us now. The biggest difference in my view was that people in 1939 didn't have any idea of what was happening in Polish Ghettos or at Nanking. Now we know exactly what Iranian Mullahs and Saudi clerics plan to do. Recreate the holocaust that, as you said, was an obvious reason for just war in the 1940s. What's different now? Bush hatred. No matter what a fanatical muslim nutjob says, no matter how vile and evil their language, Bush is somehow just as bad. Go watch some videos from MEMRI and tell me that George Bush or even Jerry Fallwell is THAT twisted and wrong. Even if he were that crazy, Jerry Fallwell doesn't have a nuclear weapon...Ahmadinejad will soon.

Posted by: Mike D at September 19, 2006 12:43 PM (YL5y0)

10 Get some perspective you frothing warmongers: Civilians killed at WTC attacks: 2752 Civilians killed in July and August in Iraq: 6599 And you're trying to convince me that Muslims are coming for us... Look, it's obvious that we're the ones going for them and killing them on a mass level. Just go to the current BBC homepage and read the story titled "Iraq torture worse after Saddam." This whole thing is something that history will probably look back on as the American Holocaust. And the saddest part about it is that the more innocent muslims we kill and torture, the more extremists we'll create. Every time I hear on the news that so-and-so number was killed, I multiply that by an average family size of four and think about all the terrorists Bush is making and then I seriously fear for the future of my children. Karma is real Mike D. We're all going to have to pay for this.

Posted by: Will at September 21, 2006 10:53 AM (H4u2c)

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