Author Topic: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth  (Read 2407 times)

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Offline flapdoodle64

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Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« on: April 23, 2013, 12:15:14 PM »
Follow the this link to an interesting article:

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/04/23-1

Here are some interesting quotes:

Quote
Murder rates in most of the Muslim world are very low compared to the United States...
As for political violence, people of Christian heritage in the twentieth century polished off tens of millions of people in the two world wars and colonial repression....
It takes a peculiar sort of blindness to see Christians of European heritage as “nice” and Muslims and inherently violent, given the twentieth century death toll I mentioned above.

The author gets a couple things wrong, IMO, especially when he says that the Bible doesn't advocate indiscriminate slaughter of humans...IMO, it does, although I guess one could argue that the Bible actually advocates discriminating slaughter of humans.  Also, he blames much of Xian violence on the fact that the Industrial Revolution hit Europe, a mostly Xian place, prior to Asia and Africa.  IMO, I think it was the influence of the Romans on Xianity that make Xianity especially violent. 

Nonetheless, he shows some statistics and a pie chart to challenge the ugly meme that Islam is more violent than Xianity.  One of the ugly stereotypes in some Atheist circles (Hitchens) and amongst some pseudo-liberals (Bill Maher) is that Islam is more violent than Xianity...I think both religions are inherently violent and silly.  It's only due to the fact that so many people have better natures than their religions would give them credit for that the world isn't even worse off. 

The stereotype of Muslims as being more barbaric than Xians or Jews is wrongheaded, and likely to be simple racism in disguise. 

Also, the Islamophobia is the handy tool of US militarists, since for the last 20 or so years since the Cold War ended, Islam has replaced Communism as the official boogey-man of the USA.  USA imperialism and aggression are now justified by the so-called Islamist Threat, just as the boogey-man of Communism justified the carnage in Viet Nam. 

Offline The Gay Impositor

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2013, 12:52:54 PM »
The concept of jihad is troubling.  What is the Xian equivalent? Crusade?  I have seen no crusade recently.

Still all believers of Islam are not cut from the same cloth and should not be judged for the actions of an ultra-minority.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2013, 12:55:53 PM »
IMO, I think it was the influence of the Romans on Xianity that make Xianity especially violent. 

Could be, but I don't think that's the case.  I think it was human nature and the fact that xians came into power.  The same thing happened with islam.  When mohammed was just another ranting street-preacher, he was all about peace.  Once he got an army in Medina, he was all about chopping off heads.  Powerless, minority cults generally adopt real politik theologies that stress getting along.  It's the ones in power that get pushy.


The stereotype of Muslims as being more barbaric than Xians or Jews is wrongheaded

I diagree. By and large muslims live in nations that are shitholes.  Their societies suck, their schools suck, their economies suck.  They suck.  That is likely to make one irritable and violent.  That they have gone fundamentalist has made the problems worse.  They eschew the very things that can help them.  It is a death spiral.

I do not see that as a racially or socially unique thing though.  In bad times every culture has had a tendency to get fundamentalist rather than rationally and honestly examine their problems.  Look at the GOP.  They are a friggin mess.  And what is their conclusion as to why?  They think they were not pure enough in their conservativism.  Idiots.

And these nations have been shitholes for a long time.  In some cases we are only talking 40 or 50 years (Lebanon, Iran).  In other cases, we are talking centuries (Pakistan, Afghanistan, any country ending in -stan). 

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Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2013, 01:15:52 PM »
Quote
By and large muslims live in nations that are shitholes.  Their societies suck, their schools suck, their economies suck.  They suck.  That is likely to make one irritable and violent.  That they have gone fundamentalist has made the problems worse.

A lot of the shithole status is the result of imperialism and military aggression by other nations.  Afghanistan has long been victim of such things.  Iran and Iraq were created by imperialist European powers at the end of WWI with the intent of them being client states, designed to keep them from emerging as strong, independent nations.  Many of the African Islamic nations are former colonies. 

USA has long had a mytholgoy wherein it's superior material wealth is said to the be result of either superior morals, religion, or intellectual accomplishment.  There is a converse mythology which ascribes the material poverty of a nation to inferior religion, morals, etc. 

Yet the great material wealth of the USA is attributable to a combination of many factors and one could write many books about the subject.  The poverty and misery of another nation is likewise complex.

Regarding Xian equivalent to Jihad: yep, Crusade would be an equivalent. 

Also, Global War on Terror is pretty much a Jihad.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2013, 01:31:15 PM »
A lot of the shithole status is the result of imperialism and military aggression by other nations.  Afghanistan has long been victim of such things.  Iran and Iraq were created by imperialist European powers at the end of WWI with the intent of them being client states, designed to keep them from emerging as strong, independent nations.  Many of the African Islamic nations are former colonies. 

Whether that is true or not is irrelevant to my point.  However they got that way, those countries are backward shitholes.  And so the people who live there are barbarians.  That is not to say western nations didn't play a role in that.  But how long does a nation get to blame 19th century colonialism for all its woes?  At what point do they have to get their act together?

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Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2013, 01:59:53 PM »
Whether that is true or not is irrelevant to my point.  However they got that way, those countries are backward shitholes.  And so the people who live there are barbarians.  That is not to say western nations didn't play a role in that.  But how long does a nation get to blame 19th century colonialism for all its woes?  At what point do they have to get their act together?

Poverty and military weakness are characteristics that are hard for nations to change.  Once you get behind in the arms race, once your standard of living is reduced enough, it is hard to catch up.  Put another way, wealthy groups accumulate more wealth, generally at the expense of the poor, and mighty nations tend to become more mighty, while weaker nations, simply by staying in place, become weaker. 

Also, Afghanistan and Iraq are nations which have constant aggression on their soil for at least a generation...Afghanistan going back to the Soviet invasion of the 1980's, and Iraq was bombed and blockaded by the USA from 1991 onward until Gulf War II, and now is in a state of semi-anarchy.  (Is the 'help' you alluded to in an earlier post, that Islamic nations dislike?) Pakistan is beset with US special ops and drones, also Yemen.  The US Africorps are now crawling over that continent...so we don't need to go back to the 19th century...many Islamic countries are victims of military aggression and neo-colonialism right now. 

Also, not every Muslim country is a shithole: my buddy lived in Kuwait 3 years in the mid 1990's, and found it a place of great material comfort and wealth.  And some non Muslim countries are shitholes. 

Frankly, your statement that the people in Muslim nations are barbarians bespeaks ignorance and ethnocentrism that, coming from a so-called moderator, I find shocking. 

Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2013, 02:19:17 PM »
However they got that way, those countries are backward shitholes.  And so the people who live there are barbarians.  That is not to say western nations didn't play a role in that.  But how long does a nation get to blame 19th century colonialism for all its woes?  At what point do they have to get their act together?

I have to add something:

USA imprisons more people per capita than any other nation on earth.  Massacres of innocent people including children, from Columbine to Sandy Hook, are a semi-annual occurrence.  Homelessness is common, often the result of simple illness and gargantuan medical bills.  The USA exports weapons systems across the globe, and refuses to ban land mines and cluster bombs, which other nations outlawed years ago.  The USA holds political prisoners such as PFC Bradley Manning incommunicado, and operates gulags in places such as Gitmo.  The USA dispatches drone bombs which kill 49 civilians for every so-called 'terrorist' into countries such as Pakistan and Yemen. 

A lot of people would say the USA is a shithole, and that Americans are barbarians. 


Offline screwtape

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2013, 03:10:24 PM »
(Is the 'help' you alluded to in an earlier post, that Islamic nations dislike?)

eh, no.  I was alluding to education, modernism, gender equality, religious tolerance, honest self reflection etc.

Do us both a favor - don't try to put words in my mouth.  I find it snide and presumptuous.
Few things on this forum piss me off faster than that. 

Pakistan is beset with US special ops and drones

I don't disagree these are bad things, but pakistan was a shithole long before the first drone appeared in the sky.  And I don't really think drones are holding pakistan back from progress.  I think it is partly cultural and partly their fixation on India. Rather than address infrastructure or education, they plowed billions into nuclear weapons.  Barbarians.

many Islamic countries are victims of military aggression and neo-colonialism right now. 

I agree.  But I don't think that is what made them shitholes. Not all of them anyway.  Poverty, culture and fundamentalism did.

Also, not every Muslim country is a shithole

Yes, I know.  I didn't say they all were. My exact words were "by and large".  So lets please not go down that road.  And Dubai is beautiful, but many of the residents are barbarians nevertheless.

And some non Muslim countries are shitholes. 

Of course.  I've not been to any myself, but I think I could name several US states that would qualify.

Frankly, your statement that the people in Muslim nations are barbarians bespeaks ignorance and ethnocentrism that, coming from a so-called moderator, I find shocking.

Wow.  There is an awful lot of fail in one sentence.  Let's unpack this a little at a time.

your statement that the people in Muslim nations

In case I was not clear, I was not saying all muslim people nor all muslim nations.  I was saying there are some muslim nations that are culturally and economically retarded and as such, their people are savages. They are not the only savages in the world, but they could be the majority of them.

ignorance and ethnocentrism

How dare you, you judgmental little snot.  I disagreed with one of your premises.  I stated my thoughts and opinions, and I never said anything personal about you.  Accusing me of "shocking" "ignorance and ethnocentrism" is just pathetic and uncalled for.  I don't know what your problem is - and I don't really care.  But to me it just looks like you cannot stand anyone disagreeing with you. 

coming from a so-called moderator

This is not the first time you have tried to muster up moral outrage by dragging my status as moderator into the conversation.  Let me clue you in, Sunny Jim.  My status as staff is irrelevant.  There is nothing in the job description for moderator that says I'm not allowed to voice opinions.  Nor does it say I have to live up to your idea of an enlightened scholar.  All I have to do is treat everyone fairly with regard to the forum rules.  Which I do.   

So spare me the attitude and stick with making your case wihtout name calling, if you can.   



I have to add something:

1. none of that is on point
2. I have not argued against anything you've said there.
3. I would agree with many of those points

That's the problem with assuming you know what I am talking about when you actually haven't got a clue.  When you try to lay down some righteous indignation, it kind loses its pop.  You assumed that because I think x I must also think y and z.  Well, shame on you.


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Offline Quesi

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2013, 04:09:29 PM »

I diagree. By and large muslims live in nations that are shitholes.  Their societies suck, their schools suck, their economies suck.  They suck.  That is likely to make one irritable and violent.  That they have gone fundamentalist has made the problems worse.  They eschew the very things that can help them.  It is a death spiral.

Wow.  I have to strongly disagree.  There are certainly some tragically poor and violent and volatile nations that are predominantly Muslim.  And I could list a larger number of tragically poor and violent and volatile nations that are predominantly Christian.  Guatemala.  Haiti.  East Timor.  The Democratic Republic of Congo.  El Salvador.  Compare the capitals of those countries with, say Dubai. 

Muslim Dubai, United Arab Emirates
 

Christian Port au Prince Haiti


Christian Guatemala City, Guatemala


Low literacy rates, foreign control of natural resources, (or a small oligarchy controlling natural resources) and little national investment in infrastructure are the primary characteristics of nations suffering extreme poverty.  A history of colonization, or a history of being a pawn in during the Cold War are also strong contributing factors.   

Also, nations that have a history of marginalizing ethnic or religious or political or caste minorities (or sometimes majorities) have pockets of extreme wealth and pockets of desperate poverty.

To paint the entire Muslim world, (which represents about a quarter of all living human beings) with one brush stroke is impossible. 

Muslims are a diverse bunch.    From the quarter of a billion Indonesians residing in the South Pacific, to the citizens of densely populated nation of Bangladesh (which had two opposing women candidates vying for the post of Prime Minister) to the ancient Northern African civilizations of Morocco and Egypt to the oil-rich nations like Saudi Arabia and Qatar and UAE, to the occupied nations like Chechnya and Palestine, or historically occupied nations, like Afghanistan or Albania, it is impossible to make generalizations.

There are some Muslim countries, and some Muslim sects, that oppress and marginalized women.  But I would bet that over the past decade or so, more human beings have lived in countries led by Muslim women than by Christian women.  I mean, if you look at the 10 most populous countries in the world, http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats8.htm three of them have had female Muslim heads of state in the past decade.  That is a huge percentage of humanity. 

And it defies the western stereotypes. 

Edited to label pictures for clarity
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 04:39:44 PM by Quesi »

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2013, 04:26:15 PM »
It's hard to even know where to begin with all the stereotype-slinging going on here. Let me just say that there have been some very advanced, cultured and literate Muslim societies and some pretty terrible ones in the past few hundred years.

Hard to separate the reasons for the terribleness of many Muslim countries in the past 50-100 years from the Cold War and colonialism, when the people were not even able to choose their own leaders due to powerful external forces.

Afghanistan, for example and Iran, were modern westernizing states in the 1960's and 1970's. I have students from those areas who show me photos of their grandmas as young women in bikinis, who were college students then. Women studied law and medicine, no burkhas unless they wanted to wear one. It would be hard to characterize either country as "barbaric".

Now after lots of Cold War interventions, infusions of weapons, propped-up dictators, retaliatory revolutions, and reactionary religion, one is a failed "barbaric" state in poverty and chaos, on the verge of civil war, and the other is a scary, repressive (but relatively stable and functioning) theocracy. Women's and democracy groups in the region could use some financial help instead of more bombing.

Same stuff happened in Latin American "sh!tholes" from 1950's-1980's. Now the region is able to slowly get its collective act together because the US and the Russians are off chasing money and power elsewhere.[1]If outsiders could leave the "sh!tholes" in the Middle East and Africa alone for a while, the people there will eventually kick the dictators' a$$es out and reform their countries--regardless of religion.

But that is not going to happen, as long as there are oil and strategic rare minerals to control.

And oh, yes, democracy and freedom. &)
 1. No coincidence that more women and populist male leaders are being democratically elected in South America now, instead of repressive dictators taking over in violent coups.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2013, 04:33:43 PM »
Please forgive me for going off on a bit of a tangent, but there is a great George Takei blog going around my facebook page today.  In it, he writes about a recent trip to dedicate the Japanese American Internment Museum in McGehee, Arkansas.  When he was 5 years old, Takei and the rest of his family were taken to be "interned" along with other Japanese Americans who we as a nation confused with the folks who dropped bombs on Pearl Harbor.   

Towards the end of the blog, he writes:

As I write this, once again the national dialogue turns to defining our enemies, the impulse to smear whole communities or people with the actions of others still too familiar and raw. 

The whole blog is really worth a read:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-takei/japanese-american-internment-museum_b_3130896.html

Offline screwtape

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2013, 07:53:47 AM »
Wow.  I have to strongly disagree.

Quesi, you made the same mistake flapjerkweed made.  I believe I have already addressed each of your points:

Also, not every Muslim country is a shithole

Yes, I know.  I didn't say they all were. My exact words were "by and large".  So lets please not go down that road.  And Dubai is beautiful, but many of the residents are barbarians nevertheless.

And some non Muslim countries are shitholes. 

Of course.  I've not been to any myself, but I think I could name several US states that would qualify.

In case I was not clear, I was not saying all muslim people nor all muslim nations.  I was saying there are some muslim nations that are culturally and economically retarded and as such, their people are savages. They are not the only savages in the world, but they could be the majority of them.




Low literacy rates, foreign control of natural resources, (or a small oligarchy controlling natural resources) and little national investment in infrastructure are the primary characteristics of nations suffering extreme poverty.  A history of colonization, or a history of being a pawn in during the Cold War are also strong contributing factors.   

Yes, yes.  Not the point.  I wasn't opining as to how they got that way, exactly.  My point was that they are shitholes (those that are) and as a result the people are barbaric animals.  The point of the OP was that muslims are not barbarians.  I disagree.  Many are.  I'm not even saying most.  Just that there are barbaric muslims and they exist in greater numbers than barbaric xians. And that is because so many muslims live in the third world.

You and flappy seem to be implicitly agreeing that such shitholes exist too, but giving them excuses.  Your excuses may be valid.  I don't know.  But I am not arguing either way. 

To paint the entire Muslim world...with one brush stroke is impossible. 

Yes, I know.  I will send you a certified bank check for ten US dollars for each instance in this thread you can quote where I have done that.  In return, you send me a dollar for each instance I can quote where I have said the exact opposite.



It's hard to even know where to begin with all the stereotype-slinging going on here.

Oh for fuck's sake.  Et tu? 
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2013, 09:20:37 AM »
My point was that they are shitholes (those that are) and as a result the people are barbaric animals.  The point of the OP was that muslims are not barbarians.  I disagree.  Many are.  I'm not even saying most.  Just that there are barbaric muslims and they exist in greater numbers than barbaric xians. And that is because so many muslims live in the third world.


I'm really trying to follow your arguments here, but I'm having a lot of trouble.  First of all, I suspect that you and I are working with very different definitions of "barbaric."  But I really can't guess what definition of barbaric you are using. 

I even went to the OED to see if I was missing something, and I was interested to learn the etymology of the word.  Apparently it enters the English language via old French, originally via Latin from Greek, and originally meaning "foreigner."   

If you are saying that Muslims are more "foreign" than Christians (or Jews or agnostics or whatever) I might agree.  If you are saying that third world residents are more "foreign" then I think I might agree. 

When we look at humans enduring hunger and exploitation and desperation, it is easier to distance our selves emotionally  - to detach and lack empathy.  But some might say that the ability to cause the suffering of others, and then feel no emotional impact about causing that suffering, is in fact cruel. 

Which according to the OED, is one of the primary definitions of "barbaric."     


adjective

1savagely cruel:he carried out barbaric acts in the name of war

2primitive; unsophisticated:the barbaric splendour he found in civilizations since destroyed

•uncivilized and uncultured: drinking undiluted wine was considered barbaric

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/barbaric

Also, as someone who has lived and worked in both the first world, and the third world, I can say that I have never seen any evidence of excessive cruelty among third world residents.[1]  In fact, I've seen a great deal of compassion and cooperation among poor people.  I can certainly provide a great deal of anecdotal evidence of the generosity of the poor, but I'm not familiar with any studies to back up my anecdotes on an international level. 

However, here in the US, studies show that low income people are much more generous in terms of compassionate giving and charities that moderate and high income people, and that in spite of limited resources, they offer a larger percentage of their incomes (and their time)  to help others.    http://philanthropy.com/article/America-s-Geographic-Giving/133591/  In third world countries, I have witnessed similar levels of generosity.  I have even been embarrassed that people who often go hungry, have insisted on feeding me with their limited resources. 

So who are the barbarians? 

If you have access to studies that state otherwise, I would be fascinated to see them.   




You and flappy seem to be implicitly agreeing that such shitholes exist too, but giving them excuses.  Your excuses may be valid.  I don't know.  But I am not arguing either way. 


I do agree that "such shitholes exist."  I've been to such shitholes.  My daughter was born in a community in which a significant percentage of the population makes its living working in picture #3.  However, I believe that in many cases, it was first world barbarism that created the shitholes.  You have no problem hiding your disdain for the "stans."  There are few nations that have been as victimized by foreign barbarism as Afghanistan. 

Again, who are the barbarians?  The victims, who after generations of war and exploitation are illiterate and susceptible to superstitions?  Or the people who used their ancestors as pawns in their own power struggles? 
 1. With perhaps, the exception of warzones.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2013, 10:03:53 AM »
I don't know what a barbarian or a savage is in this context, either. I suppose Osama bin Laden and his followers would qualify. What I do know is that Middle Eastern people and Muslims, despite the horrible things they have been through, are some of the most hospitable and open-hearted people there are on the planet. Desert cultures tend to be that way-- they welcome you, hug you, kiss you, feed you, adopt you. And then they protect you with their very lives.

Some are batsh!t crazy, like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But in my experience, 95% of the regular folks would share their homes and food with a stranger far more readily than 95% of the people in the US.  By contrast, my Muslim visiting scholars find the US a cold and lonely culture, where nobody talks to anyone, nobody invites anyone to their home and nobody hugs anyone.

Even US military folks who come back from those countries are overwhelmed by the caring and friendliness of the people. One military guy told me that he and his team kicked in a door and went into a family's home to set up surveillance equipment on the roof. They did not ask, they just barged right in.

And while they were on the family's roof, the savage barbarians came up with a tray of cold drinks for the soldiers. Because, the couple explained, it was so very hot and the young people were far from their own families. They understood that the soldiers were just doing what they were ordered to do. The soldiers were overwhelmed by the hospitality in the face of an actual home invasion. Can you imagine that happening in the US?

I know anecdotes don't mean much, but that is how we know they are barbarians and savages, right? You have countries, like Iraq and Afghanistan, where the society has completely been destroyed, and the entire population has PTSD, yet most people maintain their kindness and civility.

US society would break down entirely if the ATM's didn't function for a few days, or if the garbage was not picked up for a few weeks. Imagine a month without water and power in the US. The guns would come out and we would see some savage barbarism pretty damn quick. It would look like Fallujah in no time, without a single bombing.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Jag

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2013, 10:24:49 AM »
I have to agree with the points made by Quesi, and especially nogods on this, related to the first-hand experiences of returning soldiers. I happen to have several of them in my life; my son, my BF's best friend, and a close friend's husband all say the same things about the populace. All three are quick to point out that most of the US media has done an appalling job of providing American with accurate coverage of the war, much less a real portrayal of the people in the countries in question.

Anecdotal, I know, but it certainly has influenced my thinking.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2013, 10:54:08 AM »
I'm really trying to follow your arguments here, but I'm having a lot of trouble.  First of all, I suspect that you and I are working with very different definitions of "barbaric."  But I really can't guess what definition of barbaric you are using. 

Well, maybe it was my mistake I didn't ask flapdoodle his definition in the OP.  I'm talking about people who treat women like property.  People who forbid any education that is not narrowly focused on religion.  People whose idea of justice is... skewed from what I would call proportionate. People who do not tolerate dissent from their religious views.  People who meet disagreement with violence.

example: http://dawn.com/2013/03/19/un-blames-rise-in-violence-against-afghan-women-on-culture/

Primarily I am talking about islamists and fundamentalist muslims.  The Taliban is one example.  But a lot of those criteria can apply to other non-mulism people. Does it include all muslims?  No. Does it strictly include the poor?  No.  I think Saudis are barbarians despite their wealth.  Their wahabist bend is partly responsible for the spread of islamism.


However, I believe that in many cases, it was first world barbarism that created the shitholes.

You all seem to keep going back to whose fault it is.  That is beside the point. Are you saying there are no barbarians in Afghanistan?  Pakistan?  Are you saying everyone there is an innocent victim and they carry no responsibility to make their countries better places?


Again, who are the barbarians?  The victims, who after generations of war and exploitation are illiterate and susceptible to superstitions? 

Besides my point. 

But since you brought it up, how long do you let them play the victim card?  How long do you give them to get their shit together?  I asked that to flapdoodle.  He didn't answer.  Are the Taliban victims?   



US society would break down entirely if the ATM's didn't function for a few days, or if the garbage was not picked up for a few weeks. Imagine a month without water and power in the US. The guns would come out and we would see some savage barbarism pretty damn quick. It would look like Fallujah in no time, without a single bombing.

Having lived through two weeks of no power from Sandy, I'm skeptical it would degenerate that fast.  It might even work the other way - bring together neighbors who never talk.  But I digress. 

What you wrote there was sort of my point.  The barbarians are products of their environment.  There is nothing inherent in middle eastern people, nothing in their DNA that makes them barbarians.  I acknowledge in some cases it was from external powers.  But a large part of what keeps them in that state is cultural and religious.  There is nothing special about us that makes us immune.  Except maybe habit, if anything.

I said all this in my first post in this thread.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2013, 11:32:46 AM »
But since you brought it up, how long do you let them play the victim card? 

Maybe as long as they continue to be victimized. 

For example, today's collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh killed over 100 human beings.  As this reporter explains, "The fashions you see on the streets of London, New York, Paris, they are made in Bangladesh."

It is much more comfortable to pretend that we live in silos, and that suffering in other parts of the world has nothing to do with us.  But we are all interconnected. This factory might be what screwtape considers to be a "Muslim shithole."  But this "shithole" would not exist if foreign corporations were not seeking cheap labor in countries that don't provide the bothersome sorts of protections like worker safety and minimum wage. 

I don't know how many hours of Bangladeshi labor have contributed to the wardrobe items hanging in my closet or stuffed in my dresser drawers.  I don't know how many kids were working in factories rather than going to school in order to bring me my jeans and sweatpants and pretty cotton skirts.  I don't know how many people grew up illiterate so that I could pay a bit less for my fashion. 

But I would never have the audacity to call these laborers barbarians because they are not literate or because their illiteracy causes them to believe in superstitions or because they live in a young nation that lacks adequate infrastructure. 



Are the Taliban victims?   


I despise the Taliban.  I fear their fundamentalist dogma, and I most of all I hate their oppression of women.  I know several women who grew up under the Taliban.  One of my staff was married off to a Talibanish Afghani against her will as a young, illiterate teenager.  She was a bright, driven, ambitious single mom, who was pursuing her GED (and who spoke 5 languages) when I hired her.  More than a decade later, she has finished her BA, and raised a great son, and she is a vital, well-respected member of my office.  She could have been one of the burqa clad women we see on the news.  And so many of them could have been her. 

But do I think that Taliban are victims?  To a certain degree, yes.  Decades of foreign wars on Afghan soil led to overwhelming illiteracy.  And illiterate people are much more susceptible to superstitions and foolishness.  And anger.  And angry, superstitious, foolish people are often dangerous.  The Taliban was born out of the Cold War.  And my parents' tax dollars helped create the Taliban. 

This is not "beside the point."  This is the point.  We created monsters, and then we blame them for being monsters.

And then we go on to say that all Muslims are monsters too? 


Offline screwtape

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2013, 02:21:31 PM »
For example, today's collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh...

Let's stick with comparing apples to apples.

This factory might be what screwtape considers to be a "Muslim shithole."

Let's not speculate on what Screwtape considers.  I've not done that to you.  I expect the same courtesy in return.

And for the record, I've not used the phrase "muslim shithole".  Please do not put words in my mouth.  I've not done that to you.

But this "shithole" would not exist if foreign corporations were not seeking cheap labor in countries that don't provide the bothersome sorts of protections like worker safety and minimum wage. 

Who's fault is that?  Who is holding a gun to Bangladesh's head making them have weak labor laws, allowing foreign corporations to mistreat their people?  Do the Bangladeshis shoulder no responsibility for this whatsoever?  I'm not talking about the victims of that particular tragedy.  I am talking about their police, policy makers, business owners, etc.

I'm as against corporate evil as anyone.  And I agree they are a huge part of the problem.  But there are two sides to this equation.  And the other side is Bangladeshis sold out other Bangladeshis.


But I would never have the audacity to call these laborers barbarians

Quesi, stop implying I have said things I have not.  Seriously.


But do I think that Taliban are victims?  To a certain degree, yes.

 n bnnhbg vgfgh,kmhnjunmhju

^beating my keyboard against my head.

Decades of foreign wars on Afghan soil led to overwhelming illiteracy.  And illiterate people are much more susceptible to superstitions and foolishness.  And anger.  And angry, superstitious, foolish people are often dangerous.  The Taliban was born out of the Cold War. 

I pretty much wrote this already, but not in those exact words:

Their societies suck, their schools suck, their economies suck.  They suck.  That is likely to make one irritable and violent.  That they have gone fundamentalist has made the problems worse.  They eschew the very things that can help them.  It is a death spiral.

I don't get why you are out here with pitchforks and torches over what I've posted.  You are saying the exact same things. Only you are qualifying it with "it's not their fault".

And how are, say, the Hatians doing comparatively?  They have illiteracy.  They have superstition and foolishness.  And yet, they are not throwing acid on young girls for daring to go to school.  They are not gang raping men's wives and daughters as punishment for the men's offenses.

How about Central Americans?  The US sure created monsters there. Do they persist?


And my parents' tax dollars helped create the Taliban. 

This is not "beside the point."  This is the point.  We created monsters, and then we blame them for being monsters.

It is completely beside the point I was making.  I pointed and said "Thar be monsters"  I haven't blamed anyone. I don't know why you keep thinking I have.

But let's be fair here.  Even if your parents didn't pay for them, it is likely they would have existed anyway.  The Soviets invaded and they were going to be resisted.  There was always going to be a Taliban.  The question was how effective were they going to be.   We armed and trained them.  But so did the Saudis and Pakistanis, who are primarily responsible for stoking constant war.[1][2]  We did not invent them out of thin air. 

Have you read the book Outliers by Malcom Gladwell?  It explores what allows people to be successful.  A large part of it is opportunity.  Another part of it is culture.  Gladwell spent a little time talking about the toll of feuds in the Apalachins in the 19th and early 20th century.  What drove them was the culture of the Scotch-Irish immigrants there.  They had a culture of masculine honor, which translates to a culture of violence.[3]  And that kind of culture is typical of herding people.  Like Afghans.

What I am getting at is the Afghans are royally screwed.  Nothing about their land, their way of life, their cultural values, their religion, anything, sets them up to succeed in a modern world.  Their entire situation is the opposite of ideal.  Is that their fault?  Not really.  It's not our fault either.  But so what?  The results are the same.


And then we go on to say that all Muslims are monsters too?

If by 'we' you mean me, you'd better check this thread again.  I am getting pretty tired of being accused of saying the exact opposite of what I actually did say, post after post. 


Here's a bone for you.  Juan Cole, a middle east expert I highly respect, agrees with you.
http://www.juancole.com/2013/04/terrorism-other-religions.html
I winced recently when he used the "no true scotsman" excuse to say islamic terrorists weren't real muslims.
http://www.juancole.com/2013/04/islamic-forbids-terrorism.html
 1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban#Origin
 2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban#Role_of_the_Pakistani_military
 3. we discussed that here, but I cannot find it!
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 02:26:47 PM by screwtape »
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2013, 02:30:01 PM »
Oh, you stupid liberals, always trying to make things complicated-- give me the snappy bumper sticker version. "Get the Shi'ite outta our oil!" Heh heh.

I just wanna hate foreign ragheads who insist on living in the toilet bowls of our fine American planet! Why can't I just hate 'em for getting in the way of our fine American bombs? Stop confusing me, calling them humans and sh!t. Because freedom and democracy. Oh, yeah, and women.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/study-majority-of-americans-not-informed-enough-to,32124/

Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Quesi

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2013, 03:19:00 PM »
@ Screwtape-

First of all, I want to apologize if I responded with
pitchforks and torches
.  As I've said several times on this forum, I work with immigrants, refugees and displaced people.  You mention some trouble spot in the world, and I know people who lived through the terror there.  And I am a passionate advocate for social justice.  And I know you are too.

I also really appreciate the fact that you cited the Juan Cole pieces. 


And how are, say, the Hatians doing comparatively?  They have illiteracy.  They have superstition and foolishness.  And yet, they are not throwing acid on young girls for daring to go to school.  They are not gang raping men's wives and daughters as punishment for the men's offenses.

Actually, torture is probably more common in Haiti than Afghanistan.  Rape of family members as punishment has been common as well.  And lots of murder.  Both the Tonton Macoute and the Revolutionary Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti have used terror techniques to oppress the masses. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonton_Macoute


How about Central Americans?  The US sure created monsters there. Do they persist?

Is that a rhetorical question? 


Have you read the book Outliers by Malcom Gladwell?  It explores what allows people to be successful.  A large part of it is opportunity.  Another part of it is culture.  Gladwell spent a little time talking about the toll of feuds in the Apalachins in the 19th and early 20th century.  What drove them was the culture of the Scotch-Irish immigrants there.  They had a culture of masculine honor, which translates to a culture of violence.[1]  And that kind of culture is typical of herding people.  Like Afghans.

What I am getting at is the Afghans are royally screwed.  Nothing about their land, their way of life, their cultural values, their religion, anything, sets them up to succeed in a modern world.  Their entire situation is the opposite of ideal.  Is that their fault?  Not really.  It's not our fault either.  But so what?  The results are the same.
 1. we discussed that here, but I cannot find it!

I am not familiar with Outliers.  I will look for it.  I agree that the Afghans are screwed.  But I'm not sure I agree with your assessment that it  "nothing about their land, their way of life, their cultural values, their religion, anything, sets them up to succeed in a modern world."  At this point, it will take at least a generation or two to get to where they were in the 1960's/1970's. 


Or even the 1920's, under Queen Soraya.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soraya_Tarzi

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2013, 04:34:55 PM »
We have had natural disasters in the US. We have had terrorist attacks. But we have never in living memory been invaded and had all our major cities bombed flat. We have never been land mined. We have never had our entire country's infrastructure and government destroyed. We have never had a situation where every family lost people and the survivors had to flee to neighboring countries as permanent refugees.

What is really sad and scary is how fast a war can destroy a functioning, progressive society like Afghanistan was in 1980. Everything modern, all the schools, farms, highways, hospitals and government buildings were destroyed. A whole population of refugees without water, food or medicine, but plenty of weapons left behind by the armies.

Then, chaos sets in over the next 25 years.  Land mines left everywhere blow off arms and legs, creating a generation of amputees unable to work, but addicted to opium for the pain.  Children are blinded and made deaf by explosions. Women and girls are raped by gangs of men.  Some people go insane from seeing their family members killed, and wander around like animals. 
 
Whoever can keep order and provide people with their basic needs becomes powerful, no matter how crazy and twisted their ideology. (And you don't get much more twisted than the Taliban. The US funded them until 2001, BTW. )  Afghan women who had been physicians and architects huddle under burkhas and beg for bread, because the new law says women can't work anymore. The penalty for every offense is harsh and swift.

Everyone struggles to survive and has to live in the present--who can plan for tomorrow? Once the civil society is completely disrupted like that, it is very hard to reconstruct. And after only a few generations, most people have forgotten what it was like before.

One of the main reasons I am against war in almost every case, is that the chaos that follows creates such a ready environment for dictatoship and/or fundamentalist religion to take hold.

Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2013, 09:54:30 AM »
Oh, you stupid liberals, always trying to make things complicated-- give me the snappy bumper sticker version. "Get the Shi'ite outta our oil!" Heh heh.

I just wanna hate foreign ragheads who insist on living in the toilet bowls of our fine American planet! Why can't I just hate 'em for getting in the way of our fine American bombs? Stop confusing me, calling them humans and sh!t. Because freedom and democracy. Oh, yeah, and women.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/study-majority-of-americans-not-informed-enough-to,32124/

Explain this, please.  If this is directed at me, characterizing me, you'd better back it up or failing that, retract it.  I consider this to be slanderous and inflamatory and completely unacceptable.

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Offline Quesi

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2013, 10:18:08 AM »
Explain this, please.  If this is directed at me, characterizing me, you'd better back it up or failing that, retract it.  I consider this to be slanderous and inflamatory and completely unacceptable.

Dammit Screwtape - with all due respect, not everything is about you!

You were extraordinarily sensitive to some wording that I used in a previous post, and although I had not intended it to be directed at you, I apologized because I saw how you might have interpreted it as being directed at you. 

You are very highly respected on this forum, not just because of your status, but because of the content of your posts.  If I disagree with you, it is on fine details and interpretations, not on huge, sweeping issues. 

I would be pretty damn shocked if nogodsforme were directing this at you.  I'm pretty sure she was trying to get back to the OP, and perhaps trying to find an excuse to post the Onion article. 


Offline screwtape

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2013, 10:32:39 AM »
First of all, I want to apologize if I responded with
pitchforks and torches
.

I appreciate that.  And maybe I was being melodramatic.

The thing is, I think we are more on the same page than not.  I just don't think you folks are reading my posts accurately.  I'm sure a large part of that is my fault for not communicating as well as I could.  But I think part of it is y'all not reading carefully and responding with knee-jerk reactions. 

At this point I'm about out of words.  I don't know how to be more clear.


I also really appreciate the fact that you cited the Juan Cole pieces. 

No prob.  My attempt at intellectual honesty.

Actually, torture is probably more common in Haiti than Afghanistan.  Rape of family members as punishment has been common as well.  And lots of murder.

I did a search for torture in Haiti. All the most recent articles I found had to do with the Duvaliers.  I'm not saying it doesn't happen.  I'm saying, I think it happens less there than in afghanistan.

All the recent rape articles I found were commentaries on how common it is because of all the people living in tents and how infrequently it is prosecuted because the police stations and courts were demolished.

On the positive, human rights groups are trying to help that there, with strategies for helping women.  And the Haitians are not systematically targeting them, as they are in Afghanistan.

Both the Tonton Macoute

? That was 40 years ago!

and the Revolutionary Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti

20 years ago!

I'm talking about comparing both groups today.  Relatively speaking Haiti and Central America have been able to move forward despite their setbacks where many (not all) islamic nations have not.
 

But I'm not sure I agree with your assessment that it  "nothing about their land, their way of life, their cultural values, their religion, anything, sets them up to succeed in a modern world."

I meant that within the context of what Gladwell considered as factors for success.[1]   He was focused on individual success, like Bill Gates, but he also looked at broader trends, like jewish lawyers.

He outlined several critical factors.  One is opportunity.  They have none of that.  Another is a livelihood that promotes certain skills.  Garment making was historically one (thus jewish success).  Rice growing was cited as another (thus asian success).  Herding was specifically identified as an occupation that is antithetical to garnering those skills.  Plus it promotes a violence based culture of honor. So, within that framework, they collectively have no way out.  Their only hope is to abandon many of their traditional ways.

Perhaps I am drawing too broad a conclusion from his ideas.  I dunno.


At this point, it will take at least a generation or two to get to where they were in the 1960's/1970's.

I'm going to estimate even longer.  They have no progressive leadership.  They appear even more tribalistic than the 60s.  And now they have fundamentalist, violent islam, which will be a major roadblock to every kind of progress they need. 

Or even the 1920's, under Queen Soraya.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soraya_Tarzi

She was forced into exile for not being conservative enough.  I think they are pretty much there right now. Stuck 100 years or more in the past.

 1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outliers_(book)
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2013, 10:34:44 AM »
Dammit Screwtape - with all due respect, not everything is about you!

That's why I asked.  It was sufficiently amgibuous to me.  Is it about me?  I do not know.  So I ask rather than go off half cocked.

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Offline screwtape

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2013, 11:34:31 AM »
Actual conservatives - as opposed to republicans or neocons - discuss the same question.
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/millman/against-seriousness/

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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2013, 02:38:13 PM »
Oh, you stupid liberals, always trying to make things complicated-- give me the snappy bumper sticker version. "Get the Shi'ite outta our oil!" Heh heh.

I just wanna hate foreign ragheads who insist on living in the toilet bowls of our fine American planet! Why can't I just hate 'em for getting in the way of our fine American bombs? Stop confusing me, calling them humans and sh!t. Because freedom and democracy. Oh, yeah, and women.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/study-majority-of-americans-not-informed-enough-to,32124/

Explain this, please.  If this is directed at me, characterizing me, you'd better back it up or failing that, retract it.  I consider this to be slanderous and inflamatory and completely unacceptable.

I was not responding to you or anyone-- I was  actually channeling an ignorant 'Murican response to Quesi's long and carefully thought-out post. Sorry if you took offense. Unfortunately, the kind of person who would say this (not you, obviously) would not be offended at all.

The Onion piece is related to my experience as a college professor trying to get people to learn something about different places in the world before we bomb them.

A joke among my political friends is that if you can't read a bumper sticker until you are right up close,  it's probably a liberal one. Conservative and reactionary ideas  lend themselves to short snappy, easy-to-remember slogans.[1] While progressive or radical ideas take a lot more 'splainin'.[2]
 1. Choose life. Jesus saves. Gun control is a steady hand.
 2. Global climate change is caused by blah blah blah. It will be a fine day when the Pentagon has to hold a bake sale to buy a new bomber and the schools blah blah blah
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2013, 10:01:41 AM »
I was not responding to you or anyone-- I was  actually channeling an ignorant 'Murican response to Quesi's long and carefully thought-out post. Sorry if you took offense. Unfortunately, the kind of person who would say this (not you, obviously) would not be offended at all.

nogods,

Thanks for the explanation.  I thought about this last night.  I feel bad for taking offense.  I'm being too sensitive.  I get like that sometimes.  I'm a work in progress.  My apologies, sincerely.

btw, the onion link is blocked for me.
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Disputing an Islamophobic Myth
« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2013, 10:41:09 AM »
Onion article:

WASHINGTON—Following FBI reports this morning that the suspects implicated in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing are of Chechen descent, efforts to thoughtlessly stereotype the alleged terrorists were impeded by the majority of Americans’ lack of basic knowledge about Chechnya or the Chechen people, a new study has confirmed.

“Our research shows that, while many Americans would like nothing more than to make sweeping, insensitive generalizations about these two individuals based purely on their ethnic identity, this process is largely impeded by the fact that 9 out of 10 Americans truly know next to nothing about Chechnya, including even the very barest details of what or where Chechnya is,” said lead researcher Dr. Tim Kinane, adding that a majority of American citizens are almost totally unaware of Chechen history and culture, how to locate Chechnya on a map, whether Chechnya is a country or a city or a region, or that a person from Chechnya is called a Chechen.

“Clinical trials show that most individuals will make brief, fumbling attempts to stereotype Chechens based on what little they know about Russians, but eventually drop the subject entirely after running out of anything to say within seconds.” Kinane’s team was able to confirm, however, that once research subjects were told Chechnya is a predominantly Muslim region, they were “usually pretty good to go from there.”
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.