Islam reaches out

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seladore
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Islam reaches out

Postby seladore » Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:39 am UTC

Link here:

BBC Article

Basically 138 leading Islamic clerics have identified common ground with Christianity, and are attempting to paint a picture of the two religions worshipping the same god in different ways. They have called on the Vatican to join them.

This made my morning - such a great repudiation of all the 'Islam is a religion of violence' hatred that is out there. I just hope the Vatican reciprocates.

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby GreaterSteven » Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:26 am UTC

Wouldn't it be fan-fucking-tastic if this stuff worked out, even some of the time.

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby mazzilliu » Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:27 am UTC

islam's PR is terrible in america. its about time they worked on that.
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Nov 04, 2008 11:32 am UTC

mazzilliu wrote:islam's PR is terrible in america. its about time they worked on that.


Yeah, because that's totally Islam's fault.

America itself doesn't have a problem with Islam. Idiots and zealous Christians have a problem with Islam. Strictly interpreted Christianity is no better or worse than strictly interpreted Islam.
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby Chfan » Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:06 pm UTC

I do hope something good actually comes out of this. Then we can all move to super-Happy-Sunshine-Land and eat cake with our noses while singing jolly candycane tunes.
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby seladore » Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:43 pm UTC

mazzilliu wrote:islam's PR is terrible in america. its about time they worked on that.


What has mainstream Islam ever done to cause bad PR in America? I think it's time America worked on its perception of Islam.

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby Iv » Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:15 pm UTC

Jesus, Abraham, Moses, all appear in the Qu'ran. In the second most sacred Muslim mosque, there is the tomb of many prophets and an empty tomb waiting for Jesus and his second coming (in the hope that the sneaking bastard doesn't do the ascension thing again)

This initiative is a bit late or a bit early. In any case, this won't happen with the current pope. Anyway, screw the pope. Christians feel more and more distant with Benedict XVI. Even bishop say they won't completely obey his ridiculous instructions. Have Muslims and Christians talk together and see that at their level, which is the level of the prayer and the ordinary worship, they ask for the same things : righteousness, happiness of their children, success in their actions. People who pray to see the earth washed out of heathens are pretty rare in both religions.

While I agree that there is a lot of anti-Islam PR going on, I still have the opinion that moderate Muslims are not vocal enough. I know that most Muslims do not condone terrorism, but it would be good for them if they were more vocal at condemning it. That would make Christians accept them better and could also make borderline islamists to think a bit before going full time into fanaticism.

There is a need for competent Muslim theologian vocally explaining why retorting to violence is contrary to Islam's moral. I don't care it is contrary to the Qu'ran : it is a religion. If you are competent enough, you can spin it one way or the other.

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby Gunfingers » Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:34 pm UTC

seladore wrote:
mazzilliu wrote:islam's PR is terrible in america. its about time they worked on that.


What has mainstream Islam ever done to cause bad PR in America? I think it's time America worked on its perception of Islam.

"Mainstream" America doesn't hate Islam, either. If i can be called an ignorant hick every time some backwards state 1,000 miles away from me tries to criminalize abortion then it's pretty clear that guilt-by-association is a real thing in this world.

Or enjoy your "no true Scotsman" view of the world. Whatever. It won't make these muffins less delicious. Why are muffins so delicious?

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby Azrael » Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:41 pm UTC

I think that what Islam lacks in the American PR sense is an identifiable, competent leader. A Martin Luther King of modern American Islam would be pretty darn useful. Louis Farrakhan isn't/wasn't the right 'choice'.

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby Plasma Man » Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:59 pm UTC

I was already aware that Judaism, Christianity and Islam were all related. It seems odd that it needs to be publicised.
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby cwoodin » Tue Nov 04, 2008 2:12 pm UTC

SO many people in America, it seems, aren't aware that Islam and Judaism pretty much teach the same things as Christianity. Even if most of them just blow this event off, I am pretty excited about it for reasons I'm having trouble naming.
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby 22/7 » Tue Nov 04, 2008 2:17 pm UTC

Plasma Man wrote:I was already aware that Judaism, Christianity and Islam were all related. It seems odd that it needs to be publicised.
Really? It seems to me like that's exactly what needs to happen. Of course, maybe I missed how the whole holy war thing has brought the believers in those different religions closer. And that other holy war has done the same. And that other holy war.
Azrael wrote:I think that what Islam lacks in the American PR sense is an identifiable, competent leader. A Martin Luther King of modern American Islam would be pretty darn useful. Louis Farrakhan isn't/wasn't the right 'choice'.
Very strong point. It's a little sad that we need that, but I think you're right in that it would help the US as a whole to be able to point to a figurehead of sorts and say, "That's what Islam is supposed to look like."
Gunfingers wrote:"Mainstream" America doesn't hate Islam, either. If i can be called an ignorant hick every time some backwards state 1,000 miles away from me tries to criminalize abortion then it's pretty clear that guilt-by-association is a real thing in this world.

Or enjoy your "no true Scotsman" view of the world. Whatever. It won't make these muffins less delicious. Why are muffins so delicious?
THIS. Also, they're delicious because of all the gluten. Or at least that's what my gluten-intolerant friends tell me.
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby tiny » Tue Nov 04, 2008 3:21 pm UTC

Now they both just have to realize that they - obviously!!!!! - worship the same god like the Jews, just in a different way, and we'll be another step closer to world peace.


EDIT: Oh, they're about to do just that. Wow... That article actually provided me with full five minutes of faith in humanity (which is a good and noteworthy thing).
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby stapleface » Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:26 pm UTC

If nothing else, the picture of Rowan Williams with whoever the other guy is should persuade people of the common ground between Islam and Christianity. Also, there needs to be more reporting on the response, if any, from His All Holiness, Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch.

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby seladore » Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:04 pm UTC

Gunfingers wrote:
seladore wrote:
mazzilliu wrote:islam's PR is terrible in america. its about time they worked on that.


What has mainstream Islam ever done to cause bad PR in America? I think it's time America worked on its perception of Islam.

"Mainstream" America doesn't hate Islam, either. If i can be called an ignorant hick every time some backwards state 1,000 miles away from me tries to criminalize abortion then it's pretty clear that guilt-by-association is a real thing in this world.

Or enjoy your "no true Scotsman" view of the world. Whatever. It won't make these muffins less delicious. Why are muffins so delicious?


Woah, OK. Why so hostile? Didn't mean to provoke that, sorry if I came across as doing so.

I don't live in America, but I get the impression that the view of Islam in America is more negative than in other first world countries (Israel exempt, I guess). Maybe it's not even a majority view, but there does seem to be more anti-Islam sentiment flying around in America than, say, in Britain.

I think I am smart enough to realise that not all Americans think this.

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby mosc » Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:07 pm UTC

It's a problem with literalists in general. They're insane, they're loud, and they make it seem like everyone who uses their source material agrees with them. I would point not to a lack of a charismatic figure (a la MLK) but instead to a more denominational structure which can separate literalists for the idiots they truly are. In Judaism, you have Not just Orthodox but a variety of even further out sects. In Christianity, you have a wide variety of denominations many clearly separating themselves from "evangelical" beliefs. Islam needs an organization of moderates. A canonical collaboration of cooperation.
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby clintonius » Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:11 pm UTC

The ICCC? Unfortunately, when said aloud it's dangerously close to the Arabic for "kill the infidels." Might have unintended consequences.
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby TiPerihelion » Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:11 pm UTC

Iv wrote:While I agree that there is a lot of anti-Islam PR going on, I still have the opinion that moderate Muslims are not vocal enough. I know that most Muslims do not condone terrorism, but it would be good for them if they were more vocal at condemning it.


That's not the responsibility of American Muslims. They're Americans. The racists need to get over their presumption that any Muslim who isn't vocal enough in condemning terrorism supports it. There is no reason they should have to be any more vocal about this than any other American citizen. (Just so we're on the same page, I'm not calling the quoted person a racist - I'm calling racist those people who think that Muslims who aren't outspoken enough about terrorism support it.)

Nor is it the Muslims' job to educate the ignorant. Islam is 1400 years old. It's no secret that it branched off from Christianity. You can get that from any high school world history class. How is this new knowledge? Now, obviously, someone has to educate the idiots who've had their heads under rocks for the past millenium and a half, but I don't see why that duty falls to Muslims any more than it does to Christians, Jews, theologians, educators, or the average 16-year-old in world history class. I'm sorry - I just don't have a lot of patience for people who must be so willfully ignorant. BTW, again, I want to make clear that I'm not referring to anyone here - I think we're all targeting the same group of people.

I agree that it might be good to have a positive Muslim leader rise up to debunk prejudices and stereotypes. But my argument is that they shouldn't have to. It's not their responsibility. Muslims are being targeted by a lot of prejudice today, and it's not the duty of the victim to defend himself against attacks - it's the duty of the attackers to stop attacking.

Oh, yes. I used the term "racist," which is technically incorrect, since Islam is a religion, not a race. I simply don't know a more accurate word.

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby Aikanaro » Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:15 pm UTC

"Bigot" probably works, FYI.
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby clintonius » Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:16 pm UTC

"Asshole" does the job nicely, too.*

*This is not the time for a TWSS.
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:17 pm UTC

TiPerihelion wrote:Oh, yes. I used the term "racist," which is technically incorrect, since Islam is a religion, not a race. I simply don't know a more accurate word.


It's a perfectly cromulent word in this case, given that the average idiot we're speaking of doesn't even draw a distinction between Arab and Muslim.
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby 22/7 » Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:20 pm UTC

clintonius wrote:"Asshole" does the job nicely, too.*

*This is not the time for a TWSS.
You know you want to...

It's not like we're in SB.
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TiPerihelion wrote:Oh, yes. I used the term "racist," which is technically incorrect, since Islam is a religion, not a race. I simply don't know a more accurate word.
It's a perfectly cromulent word in this case, given that the average idiot we're speaking of doesn't even draw a distinction between Arab and Muslim.
And it's probably better to use a term like racist that has negative connotations rather than something that is more accurate but might not have the same taboo attached to it, and therefore embiggens the person to whom the word is being applied.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby Azrael » Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:44 pm UTC

TiPerihelion wrote:Nor is it the Muslims' job to educate the ignorant ... I agree that it might be good to have a positive Muslim leader rise up to debunk prejudices and stereotypes. But my argument is that they shouldn't have to. It's not their responsibility. Muslims are being targeted by a lot of prejudice today, and it's not the duty of the victim to defend himself against attacks - it's the duty of the attackers to stop attacking.

That's a delightfully naive view of how things should be in a sparkley, kittens and rainbows kind of world where everything is right and good. But it *isn't* that way, nor is it going to *be* that way ... like, ever.

An aggrieved party has to stand up and ask/take/convince/etc for it's rights. Otherwise there is no impetus for the mainstream to change.
Last edited by Azrael on Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:58 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby Gunfingers » Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:55 pm UTC

In this scenario, there are three pertinent parties.

Party the first: Muslims who don't bomb things and don't want to be associated with people who do.

Party two: Electric Boogaloo: Ignorant assholes who think muslims bomb things.

Party III: Non-muslims who operate under no pretenses about any race, culture, or religion.

It's wrong that the first party have to prove anything to anyone, it's naive and silly to expect the second party to do anything but get worse (although we could just wait for them to die off. Most of them are old), and it's really no more right to expect the third party to go out of their way to make things better for people they don't know. So where is change going to come from?

Edit: I have decided i should make this statement more generic. Those of us in party III should do more to separate ourselves from Party 2. Apply similar logic to any similar circumstance, not just radical Islam and western bigotry towards all Islam.
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby mosc » Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:14 pm UTC

From within Islam. Religious tolerance and awareness comes from the faithful. This notion that just because you don't support extreme beliefs makes you beyond reproach is unrealistic. Again, there must be a movement to create separation between the mainstream and the literalists. They literalists are loud and if they do not speak up to make themselves heard over that noise, they have noone to blame but themselves for getting grouped together with them.
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby Iv » Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:32 pm UTC

TiPerihelion wrote:Now, obviously, someone has to educate the idiots who've had their heads under rocks for the past millenium and a half, but I don't see why that duty falls to Muslims any more than it does to Christians, Jews, theologians, educators, or the average 16-year-old in world history class.


Well, Muslims are in a better position to talk about Islam. I don't see what is strange in this affirmation. This is also more in their interest than in mine. After all, I don't like intolerance but I also find all religions silly so I may not be their better advocate.

When people say that open source is communism, I feel obligated and qualified to voice informed opinions about it. When people say that "hackers" should be put in jail, I explain what "hacking" is. What can I say about Islam ? I read some extracts of the Qu'ran at random and it really seems like a regular crazy holy book. It takes a lot of time to get an informed opinion on anything, especially in things like religions where you have to read texts, interpretations, understand historical schisms, nuances, mixes with other beliefs, etc... I get the opinions of various groups about Islam : fanatical islamists, fanatical neocons, non-muslims intellectual that challenge the "religion of war" memes. I find it abnormal that moderated Muslims are almost non-present on the media (or talk about other things than religion)

TiPerihelion wrote:I'm sorry - I just don't have a lot of patience for people who must be so willfully ignorant. BTW, again, I want to make clear that I'm not referring to anyone here - I think we're all targeting the same group of people.

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby 22/7 » Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:49 pm UTC

Iv wrote:I invoke Crocker's law on me so nevermind about what you call me.
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Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby Kizyr » Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:01 pm UTC

TiPerihelion wrote:
Iv wrote:While I agree that there is a lot of anti-Islam PR going on, I still have the opinion that moderate Muslims are not vocal enough. I know that most Muslims do not condone terrorism, but it would be good for them if they were more vocal at condemning it.


That's not the responsibility of American Muslims. They're Americans. The racists need to get over their presumption that any Muslim who isn't vocal enough in condemning terrorism supports it. There is no reason they should have to be any more vocal about this than any other American citizen. (Just so we're on the same page, I'm not calling the quoted person a racist - I'm calling racist those people who think that Muslims who aren't outspoken enough about terrorism support it.)


The problem is, we have made attempts to be vocal. I quit bothering when I realized that people tend to hear whatever they want.

I don't bother issuing condemnations of terrorism, because we shouldn't have to. It's damned irritating to still hear ridiculous statements like "Muslims haven't condemned 9/11" when nearly every major Muslim figure and organization in the US has condemned it. When you run into that kind of ignorance, what do you expect us to do? Spend all our resources going door-to-door telling everyone that we do condemn terrorism? Even then you can't convince everyone, and there'll still be a sizable part of the country that doesn't buy it.

There's no need for a centralized Muslim figure to come up, because Islam is basically decentralized. There are individual figures here and there that are really good--Hamza Yusuf is one I like, and there's also Siraj Wahhaj in Brooklyn (who I've had the fortune of being able to meet). Then there are other figures who are Muslim, but are known for their other merits not related to religion--Fareed Zakaria and Keith Ellison, for example.

There's an additional problem that when a Muslim figure gains some prominence, they tend to start collecting some unfortunate labels. My "favorite" is how Siraj Wahhaj was named an "unindicted possible co-conspirator", basically meaning that he was libeled but has no way to fight the charge because of the "unindicted" part. (CAIR, similarly, had the same label and ended up having to waste resources fighting the same stupid charge.) There are tons of other figures and organizations who have fallen victim to this, as well, and have had to spend a lot of time fighting ridiculous charges--often on the losing end.

My favorite organizations are ones like Islamic Relief, also, who focus on doing good rather than doing PR for people who are disinclined to like us anyway.

Anyway, the short version of it is this... I'm disinclined to be more vocal than I am, because it usually turns out to be a futile effort. I prefer doing what we're supposed to do, and practicing our religion the way it should be practiced, rather than waste resources trying to convince people who are going to be willfully blind either way. KF
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby Azrael » Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:19 pm UTC

Kizyr wrote:... There's no need for a centralized Muslim figure to come up, because Islam is basically decentralized ...

Last time I checked, being an African-American isn't centralized either. And yet a few strong leaders made a world of difference.

And for what it's worth, while I understand taking the position that changing the status quo is difficult, saying that it's too hard to bother trying goes a long way towards invalidating many of the basic complaints by suggesting that the status quo really isn't that bad.

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby stapleface » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:30 am UTC

Azrael wrote:Last time I checked, being an African-American isn't centralized either. And yet a few strong leaders made a world of difference.


I'm not sure that's the best comparison to make, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr were both assassinated.

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby clintonius » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:33 am UTC

Therefore they made no difference.
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby stapleface » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:43 am UTC

clintonius wrote:Therefore they made no difference.

Let's not be pedantic; my point was that calling for prominent muslims to come forward by comparison to the civil rights movement for racial equality in america is probably not encouraging. They clearly did make a difference, but they were also shot for their troubles.

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby clintonius » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:50 am UTC

I wasn't being pedantic -- I was pointing out a logical disconnect (though now perhaps I'm getting pedantic by correcting your usage of the word). Azrael said strong leaders could make "a world of difference." You said certain strong leaders had been shot. That has nothing to do with Azrael's statement.
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby Gunfingers » Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:00 am UTC

I think his point was that being the strong leader is something that is often violently discouraged, so to speak. With bullets.

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby stapleface » Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:04 am UTC

Yeah, pretty much. I tend to evaluate people's comments in the context of the thread they're posted in, so when I saw the comment about african-american leaders I took it as being a comparison to the situation with Islam. I'm genuinely not sure sometimes if posts are meant to exist in their own microcosm.

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby clintonius » Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:08 am UTC

No, they're not. But you questioned his comparison. That's what I'm saying. When you say "I'm not sure that's the best comparison to make," that doesn't in any way sound like "yes, but those people should be careful." It sounds like "your comparison is logically wrong," but was then followed by something that had nothing to do with his statement. What you said in your post immediately after Azrael's and what you said in your next post were two rather different things.

Your point is noted and I don't necessarily disagree. I also don't think I'd discourage people from standing up for unity even if there's a history that tells us doing so may be dangerous.
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby Kizyr » Wed Nov 05, 2008 2:49 am UTC

Azrael wrote:
Kizyr wrote:... There's no need for a centralized Muslim figure to come up, because Islam is basically decentralized ...

Last time I checked, being an African-American isn't centralized either. And yet a few strong leaders made a world of difference.

And for what it's worth, while I understand taking the position that changing the status quo is difficult, saying that it's too hard to bother trying goes a long way towards invalidating many of the basic complaints by suggesting that the status quo really isn't that bad.


I do what I can to change people's perceptions. But I don't try to be a saint and I think it's stupid to expect me to be. Not to mention, it's not worth wasting resources to convince people that are going to hate you regardless. It is worth protecting your rights and holding people accountable, however, which is being done.

Simply because there are few celebrities coming out of this doesn't mean we're failing. And, as I stated, there are prominent Muslim leaders--there's just no need for one central figure. Moreover, there's no direct comparison to be made between African-Americans and Muslims here. There are some similarities and lessons learned, but that's the case for a lot of groups (Jews in particular come to mind, where there was a lot more good done through organizations than any one individual). KF
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aleflamedyud
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby aleflamedyud » Wed Nov 05, 2008 6:38 am UTC

Unfortunately Jews aren't the best example here. We sort of made our way in the West by creating organizations that sincerely believed we should look and act like Gentiles and then having them serve as our public face. This has resulted in a nasty backlash of ultra-Orthodoxy later on and a general slow death of Western/American Jewish cultural identity when compared with American In General, Religious Jewish, or Israeli/Zionist Jewish identities.

In other words, what we did worked OK for us, but don't try it at home because assimilation does and will destroy your unique culture. We've just been persecuted so long that many preferred assimilation and destruction of identity to outright bodily harm and death, and such violence is a problem Islam and Muslims simply don't need to worry about.
"With kindness comes naïveté. Courage becomes foolhardiness. And dedication has no reward. If you can't accept any of that, you are not fit to be a graduate student."

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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby SJ Zero » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:41 am UTC

It should be easy to reach out to Christianity.

"Listen guys, we hate Jews. YOU hate Jews! I mean, you guys are GOOD. You've killed way more jews than we've ever managed to kill. We shouldn't fight, we should get together and kill Jews!"

Cue music "so happy together"

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Azrael
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Re: Islam reaches out

Postby Azrael » Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:21 pm UTC

SJ Zero wrote:It should be easy to reach out to Christianity.

"Listen guys, we hate Jews. YOU hate Jews! I mean, you guys are GOOD. You've killed way more jews than we've ever managed to kill. We shouldn't fight, we should get together and kill Jews!"

Cue music "so happy together"


I know you're trying to be funny and all, but holy fuck, you fail.


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