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1 reine.de.tout  Sat, Jun 18, 2011 3:14:16pm

Excellent! Thanks.

2 Lobengula  Sat, Jun 18, 2011 3:27:52pm

How do we know that Muslim apologist John Esposito's article isn't in itself an exercise in taqiyya? I don't really believe that but you can see the futility of explaining taqiyya to an "Islamophobe." Still playing the devil's advocate, why should Esposito be regarded as a genuine Islamic expert and not someone like Pipes whose views on taqiyya are pretty much consistent with the "islamophobes'"

3 CuriousLurker  Sat, Jun 18, 2011 4:01:26pm

re: #2 Lobengula

Of course it's futile to to explain taqiyya (and some of the other terms) to Islamophobes, but not everyone who misunderstands the concepts does so out of Islamophobia. Those are the people who may be willing to listen to something that is neither apology nor condemnation, but rather contextual explanation.

As for the true dyed-in-the-wool Islamophobes, they'll believe who and what they will and won't be swayed. Personally, I wouldn't waste my time trying to explain anything to them since, as a Muslim, I'd automatically be considered an apologist and/or liar.

4 Artist  Sat, Jun 18, 2011 4:07:40pm

It's like a massive bout of "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

5 CuriousLurker  Sat, Jun 18, 2011 4:23:43pm

re: #4 SteelPH

It's interesting that (for the Islamophobes) the only Muslims who are considered reliable interpreters of Islamic doctrine are the radical jihadis & hard-line fundamentalists. Their versions are to be accepted without question; all others are suspect.

6 Tiny Alien Kitties are Watching You  Sat, Jun 18, 2011 6:01:02pm

re: #2 Lobengula

Sigh....perhaps because the writer did nothing to try to flatter Islam at all or to distort the truth to whitewash Islam? You have internet access obviously, why not look up the definitions for yourself? If you go to an actual cross-referenced translation/language dictionary site you will find them, or would you rather really on what Pamela and Newt say they mean?

7 Achilles Tang  Sat, Jun 18, 2011 6:37:49pm

*sigh* again,

this dictionary means some thing to some people, and others to other people, and that is hardly unique to Islam.

We know why these terms are considered confrontational by many in the West.

What is the point in pretending that they mean something different when the only ones we have every reason to be concerned about do not accept the non confrontational, theoretical, definitions provided here?

Taqiyya, for example can be reduced to a trivial example, not the only one, in my experience when in taxi with an Arab companion and the driver asks him (I didn't speak Arabic), why not screw the infidel with the fare (I was paying), since they were both Arabs?

Needless to say, the offer was refused, but the sentiment is common, and based in religion as much as greed.

8 Buck  Sat, Jun 18, 2011 6:51:07pm

From the article: jihad literally, "struggle"
Mein Kampf literally, "My Struggle"

Heard it all before. Yes, Dhimmi was a second class citizen. And a Slave was just a working class that wasn't paid.

Maybe dhimmitude is a new concept for some, but that is a better phrase to explain what many on the right think about the left. Bat Yeor would explain, "it represents a behavior dictated by fear (terrorism), pacifism when aggressed, rather than resistance, servility because of cowardice and vulnerability."

By the way, I don't think it is Godwin, if they actually were nazi's

9 Buck  Sat, Jun 18, 2011 6:56:51pm

And in my opinion, anyone who explains dhimmi without explaining the "humiliation" part is whitewashing.

10 CuriousLurker  Sat, Jun 18, 2011 7:05:19pm

re: #7 Naso Tang

re: #8 Buck

re: #9 Buck

And here we go.

I was going to push back, but I've changed my mind. My past experiences with both of you have taught me that that I'd be better off simply continuing to enjoy my weekend.

Carry on to your hearts' content, gentlemen.

11 CuriousLurker  Sat, Jun 18, 2011 7:23:19pm

Hmm, I wonder whose sock Gepetto is? He was here within a couple of minutes to neutralize my down-dings.

I'm crushed, absolutely crushed. How will I ever enjoy my weekend now? //

Keep trying, heh...

12 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Sat, Jun 18, 2011 8:56:59pm

The only explanation I do take issue with is the one for jihad. Its primary meaning in islamic context as explained in Islamic studies is Holy War, not simply "struggle" or "exertion". See for instance Francis E. Peters: The Monotheists: The peoples of God. Princeton University Press, 2003. S. 269: „… the Muslim notion of holy war (jihad) …“; W. Montgomery Watt: Islam and the Integration of Society. Routledge, 1998. S. 61: „The idea of the jihad or holy war seems to have developed gradually during the Medinan period.“ Now, you may argue that war has a different meaning in islamic context as well. Fine. But I won't explain the english word "war" to you by obfuscating with its etymology from an Old High German word for "strife".

13 What, me worry?  Sat, Jun 18, 2011 9:46:29pm

re: #11 CuriousLurker

Hmm, I wonder whose sock Gepetto is? He was here within a couple of minutes to neutralize my down-dings.

I'm crushed, absolutely crushed. How will I ever enjoy my weekend now? //

Keep trying, heh...

Unfortunately you were right upthread. People will believe what they choose. But don't give up. We've been here before. Knowledge is Power :) #ShareDiversity lol

Throughout the early centuries, Jews often chose to live in Muslim lands as dhimmis instead of Christian lands because the Muslims were less hostile and allowed Jews to observe their religion. Of course, the treatment of Jews changed from time to time, and from country to country. It wasn't exactly a rose garden, but there were both harsh Islamic rule and tolerant Islamic rule. Maimonides and his family are of the most famous of those who chose to live in Muslim countries.

Bringing out Godwinisms misses the mark entirely because the Nazis never were tolerant of Jews in any way, shape or form.

It seems to me that the definitions you give for these words have been followed for 1000s of years, both the tolerant and intolerant. With the rise of the Arab Spring, I think it's entirely possible to see an Islamic democracy. Maybe not in our lifetime (though I would hope), or our childrens. Maybe a few more generations, but there's hope yet.

14 CuriousLurker  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 2:09:23am

re: #12 000G

I'm not sure where you see obfuscation. Here's what the article says about jihad, highlighting mine:

What it actually means: Literally, "struggle" or "exertion" in the path of God, following God's Will. It is a concept with multiple meanings, used and abused throughout Islamic history. The importance of jihad is rooted in the Quran’s command to struggle in the path of God and in the example of the Prophet Muhammad and his early Companions. The two broad meanings of jihad, nonviolent and violent, are contrasted in a well-known Prophetic tradition. "Greater" jihad is the struggle within oneself to live a righteous life and submit oneself to God’s will. "Lesser" jihad is the defense of Islam and the Muslim community.

Jihad as struggle pertains to the difficulty and complexity of living a good life: struggling against the evil in oneself -- to be virtuous and moral, making a serious effort to do good works and help to reform society. Depending on the circumstances in which one lives, it also can mean fighting injustice and oppression, spreading and defending Islam, and creating a just society through preaching, teaching and, if necessary, armed struggle or holy war. A radicalized violent minority combines militancy with messianic visions to inspire and mobilize an army of God whose jihad they believe will liberate Muslims at home and abroad.

There is no obfuscation there. The "primary meaning" depends on the situation. There is jihad bil qalam (by the pen), jihad an-nafs (of the "self"), etc. There is also violent physical jihad. Which form of jihad takes precedence depends on what's going on. It's not as if we're supposed to maintain a constant state of belligerence.

Look, I'm generally a peaceful, friendly person, but if some guy puts a knife to my throat and tries to rob me—yes, I've been in that situation—then I'm NOT going to be whipping out a pen and writing a missive about the evils of armed robbery. I'm going to fight him. Violently. To the death, if necessary.

FWIW, there is an Arabic word for "war" in the conventional sense of armed combat. That would be harb, and it's different from jihad. We could go deep down into the subject of what constitutes a legitimate jihad, but I'm really not qualified to expound upon it at length, at least not without the possibility of inadvertently misinforming you. Here's a PDF showing the definitions in an Arabic-English dictionary for the roots of jihad (j-h-d) and harb (h-r-b). Compare them and look at the questions I added. Think about them and about how the potential answers might affect your understanding of jihad. That's the best I can do by way of an explanation for now.

As for the books you mentioned, I believe I read something by Watt years ago, but I don't remember what it was and I'm too tired to go check right now. In any event, what a non-Muslim scholar of Islam says, regardless of how well respected he or she may be, is never going to trump a Muslim scholar of Islam for me (or most Muslims), especially when the former conflicts with the latter. Likewise, I'm sure a Jew would take the word of a respected rabbi over that of a non-Jewish scholar with regard to Jewish doctrine, or a Catholic the word of a respected priest.

It's a matter of practical experience, y'know? You can sit & study something until you (think) you know everything there is to know about it, but it's not the same as being part of it, living the reality of it, understanding it from the inside out. It's not just true for Muslims, Jews, or Christians, it's true for anyone: a cop on his beat, a doctor in the ER, a lawyer in a courtroom, a teacher in a classroom, a farmer in his fields, and so on.

15 CuriousLurker  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 3:48:37am

re: #13 marjoriemoon

Unfortunately you were right upthread. People will believe what they choose. But don't give up. We've been here before. Knowledge is Power :) #ShareDiversity lol

Diversity is the salt of life. I won't give up, but I do appreciate your upbeat moral support—your hashtag made me grin. Thank you for that. {{mm}}. Too bad we live so far apart because we could tear up the town with the diversity stuff!

Throughout the early centuries, Jews often chose to live in Muslim lands as dhimmis instead of Christian lands because the Muslims were less hostile and allowed Jews to observe their religion. Of course, the treatment of Jews changed from time to time, and from country to country. It wasn't exactly a rose garden, but there were both harsh Islamic rule and tolerant Islamic rule. Maimonides and his family are of the most famous of those who chose to live in Muslim countries.

Great links, thanks. I finally started reading Living Judaism, and a few weeks back I watched a good movie called The Wedding Song that someone here on LGF mentioned in passing (maybe SFZ). It was about a pair of childhood friends in Tunisia, one Muslim, one Jewish. It wasn't a happy movie as it was set during WWII. Parts of it were difficult to watch, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The actresses were great.

It seems to me that the definitions you give for these words have been followed for 1000s of years, both the tolerant and intolerant. With the rise of the Arab Spring, I think it's entirely possible to see an Islamic democracy. Maybe not in our lifetime (though I would hope), or our childrens. Maybe a few more generations, but there's hope yet.

From your lips to... :o) I have hope for the Arab Spring too, despite all the cynicism & concern. They're not all going get everything right the first time around, that's sort of a given, but I pray that they'll self-correct and be able to maintain the forward momentum. I think the internet has really helped in that sense; helped people connect & communicate ideas in ways (and at speeds) they couldn't before. Of course, the bad crap also spreads faster, but what can you do? From this distance maybe just offer encouragement and pray the scales stay heavier on the side of goodness and not evil.

16 Achilles Tang  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 5:17:15am

re: #10 CuriousLurker

re: #8 Buck

re: #9 Buck

And here we go.

I was going to push back, but I've changed my mind. My past experiences with both of you have taught me that that I'd be better off simply continuing to enjoy my weekend.

Carry on to your hearts' content, gentlemen.

You are predictably defensive as always.

I have no problem with your interpretations of these terms. I am simply pointing out that others have different takes on them, and you know that or you would not have bothered with the post.

17 Varek Raith  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 8:20:18am

re: #16 Naso Tang

You are predictably defensive as always.

I have no problem with your interpretations of these terms. I am simply pointing out that others have different takes on them, and you know that or you would not have bothered with the post.

Who are these 'others' pray tell?

18 What, me worry?  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 8:35:33am

re: #15 CuriousLurker

Diversity is the salt of life. I won't give up, but I do appreciate your upbeat moral support—your hashtag made me grin. Thank you for that. {{mm}}. Too bad we live so far apart because we could tear up the town with the diversity stuff!

Love that line! Btw, I get around. I may show up in your neck of the woods one day!

Great links, thanks. I finally started reading Living Judaism, and a few weeks back I watched a good movie called The Wedding Song that someone here on LGF mentioned in passing (maybe SFZ). It was about a pair of childhood friends in Tunisia, one Muslim, one Jewish. It wasn't a happy movie as it was set during WWII. Parts of it were difficult to watch, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The actresses were great.

Was probably SFZ. She has all the good links. I haven't heard of either. Living Judaism got great reviews. One of the best Maimonides books is one by Dr. Joel Kraemer, Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization's Greatest Minds who had been studying the Rambam his entire life (he's 75) if that one interests you. It's a big read (I haven't finished it).

From your lips to... :o) I have hope for the Arab Spring too, despite all the cynicism & concern. They're not all going get everything right the first time around, that's sort of a given, but I pray that they'll self-correct and be able to maintain the forward momentum. I think the internet has really helped in that sense; helped people connect & communicate ideas in ways (and at speeds) they couldn't before. Of course, the bad crap also spreads faster, but what can you do? From this distance maybe just offer encouragement and pray the scales stay heavier on the side of goodness and not evil.

Indeed. Ultimately, revolution has to come from within, a very difficult and dangerous process. As to Egypt, I have no delusions how the Arab street feels about Jews in general, but I think it's a prime time for Israel to reach out to help (if Egypt is open to it) develop their economy and that's probably the best way towards everlasting peace.

19 Achilles Tang  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 9:51:47am

re: #17 Varek Raith

Who are these 'others' pray tell?

Seriously? If you don't know there is no point in this.

20 CuriousLurker  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 10:24:07am

re: #18 marjoriemoon

Love that line! Btw, I get around. I may show up in your neck of the woods one day!

Promise you'll let me know next time you come up this way with a few hours to spare. We can meet in the City for lunch, or even just for a cup of coffee. We could even do some Spanish cafe con leche, or maybe some Indian chai. #ShareDiversity!

One of the best Maimonides books is one by Dr. Joel Kraemer, Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization's Greatest Minds who had been studying the Rambam his entire life (he's 75) if that one interests you. It's a big read (I haven't finished it).

I was just looking at that book the other day on Amazon. Maimonides is a fascinating figure and I'd love to read more about him, but I'm trying to acquire at least a clear basic understanding of Judaism's principles before I approach him. Context, context, context, y'know? It helps that he was a contemporary of some famous medieval Andalusian Muslims, as I 'm already familiar with that. I had to smile at some of his writings that I saw in excerpts on Amazon, because his manner of expression was comfortingly familiar, very similar in tone to that of the Muslims of his time. It must have been the style of the period amongst learned men.

21 CuriousLurker  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 10:41:31am

re: #16 Naso Tang

You are predictably defensive as always.

Yes, so you've been claiming since my first week here. Odd that you persist in trying to have discussions with someone whose emotional attachment to her religion precludes her from carrying on a rational, adult conversation about it with anyone.

22 reine.de.tout  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 12:13:59pm

re: #7 Naso Tang

*sigh* again,

this dictionary means some thing to some people, and others to other people, and that is hardly unique to Islam.

We know why these terms are considered confrontational by many in the West.

What is the point in pretending that they mean something different when the only ones we have every reason to be concerned about do not accept the non confrontational, theoretical, definitions provided here?

Taqiyya, for example can be reduced to a trivial example, not the only one, in my experience when in taxi with an Arab companion and the driver asks him (I didn't speak Arabic), why not screw the infidel with the fare (I was paying), since they were both Arabs?

Needless to say, the offer was refused, but the sentiment is common, and based in religion as much as greed.

I'm not sure how exactly you know the sentiment is common, or how common it is. And it would seem to me to be based MUCH more on greed, than religion. I'm honestly quite at a loss how a desire to cheat you, equates to religion - especially since they "were both Arabs", as you said, which seems to me to be an ethnicity, not a religion.

23 Gepetto  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 12:16:37pm

re: #11 CuriousLurker

I'm Gepetto. I'm nobody's sock, although it says volumes that you would think I am here to neutralize your down-dings. It was interesting to read the article you posted, and I agreed with the posts I up-dinged. I did not see them as a direct contrapose to your interpretations, although it is obvious that a significant amount of people on this planet choose to take a more fundamentalist and radical approach to interpreting these words. Nothing new here, as soon as religious tenets are uttered, factionalization and endless twisted interpretations follow. I am quite willing to believe the larger world takes the more innocuous position on these definitions, but I will never forget there are a number of bloodthirsty bastards out there who like to use every kind of well-intentioned text to justify their murderous depredations. That's why our President is using the military to kill the bad guys, right?

24 Obdicut  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 12:29:02pm

re: #23 Gepetto

Nothing that was written at all obfuscated that there are bloodthirsty bastards out there who like to use every kind of well-intentioned text to justify their murderous depredations.

It's fucking bizarre that some people can read these interpretations-- which include the interpretations of fundamentalist Islam-- and somehow pretend that the fundamentalist interpretation has been left out.

25 Gepetto  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 12:56:24pm

re: #24 Obdicut

never said it was left out. not sure why you have your back up.

26 Obdicut  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 1:04:09pm

re: #25 Gepetto

never said it was left out. not sure why you have your back up.

When you say:

I did not see them as a direct contrapose to your interpretations, although it is obvious that a significant amount of people on this planet choose to take a more fundamentalist and radical approach to interpreting these words.

Whose interpretations do you mean by 'your'?

27 Gepetto  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 1:18:13pm

re: #26 Obdicut

not yours, obviously. Was it really that hard to follow?

28 Obdicut  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 1:24:25pm

re: #27 Gepetto

not yours, obviously. Was it really that hard to follow?

That's not an answer.

Whose did you mean?

29 CuriousLurker  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 1:30:50pm

re: #23 Gepetto

Well, I give you credit for at least coming out of the shadows and stating your thoughts.

...I will never forget there are a number of bloodthirsty bastards out there who like to use every kind of well-intentioned text to justify their murderous depredations.

Nor will I.

That's why our President is using the military to kill the bad guys, right?

Correct.

As for the rest, I'm worn out by this thread and have pretty much said everything I want to say. Writing my Father's Day page made me happy and I intend to stay that way for the rest of the day, so I'm done here. If you're a dad, then Happy Father's Day.

30 Gepetto  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 1:43:20pm

re: #29 CuriousLurker

I am. And thank you.

31 (I Stand By What I Said Whatever It Was)  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 1:43:44pm

re: #14 CuriousLurker

what a non-Muslim scholar of Islam says, regardless of how well respected he or she may be, is never going to trump a Muslim scholar of Islam for me (or most Muslims), especially when the former conflicts with the latter.

And this is where we must part. For I am not a muslim and I prefer to get my information from the best scholars of Islam, not neccessarily by the best muslims who happen to be scholars. I believe Goldziher, even though having been a Jew, can still beat the pants off of any recent Grand Imam of Al-Azhar.

The "primary meaning" depends on the situation.

No, that is not what I get from my reading – except if you argued that "the situation" throughout history had primarily been one that the "holy war" meaning is founded upon. "Holy war" is the primary meaning of "jihad" in the sense that this is how the term has been most consistenly used throughout islamic literature.

32 Gepetto  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 1:48:30pm

re: #28 Obdicut

I'm sure there are contextual clues that would yield an answer. have a great day, Hobberdidance!

33 Obdicut  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 2:10:32pm

re: #32 Gepetto

I never understand why weaseling away from a straightforward question is supposed to be some sort of magnificent rhetorical maneuver.

You fucked up. Your argument is based on a false premise-- that these interpretations leave out the radical ones. They don't. They include them.

34 Obdicut  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 2:11:08pm

re: #31 000G

By that same measure, throughout history 'heretic' has the meaning in Christian as someone who gets put to death.

35 CuriousLurker  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 2:11:51pm

re: #31 000G

Okay, we'll just agree to disagree then. Suum cuique pulchrum est.

36 Gepetto  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 3:01:25pm

re: #33 Obdicut

I never understand why weaseling away from a straightforward question is supposed to be some sort of magnificent rhetorical maneuver.

I'll admit to weaseling away from your question, but it has more to do with a fundamental imbalance in how much we each desire to continue the debate on what I meant by "you", than it has to do with any great show of rhetoric.

37 Obdicut  Sun, Jun 19, 2011 6:16:32pm

re: #36 Gepetto

It's not what you meant, but who you meant. Since you refuse to explain that, your statement just makes no sense.

As I said, you just fucked up.

Protip: If you're going to claim to not be interested in continuing the debate, don't come back to talk about how much you're really not interested in it.

38 Achilles Tang  Mon, Jun 20, 2011 9:38:53am

re: #22 reine.de.tout

I'm not sure how exactly you know the sentiment is common, or how common it is. And it would seem to me to be based MUCH more on greed, than religion. I'm honestly quite at a loss how a desire to cheat you, equates to religion - especially since they "were both Arabs", as you said, which seems to me to be an ethnicity, not a religion.

I have that opinion based on living and working in the M.E. for 10 years, not to mention simply reading what some current "religious" leaders say openly enough in the news.

As to the specific example given, you seem to miss the whole point that one person there appeared to justify the "greed" perfectly well with religious permission. There was more to the conversation than summarized here.

As to the reference to Arabs, that simply meant that one automatically thought he was talking to another kindred spirit in the matter, and I could not understand the conversation.

Needless to say this same anecdote also proves that not all Arabs, nor Muslims, think that way, but to pretend that it is something uncommon is like pretending that Christians who want to force creationism on everybody else are an insignificant minority in this country.

39 Buck  Tue, Jun 21, 2011 7:41:06pm

Supposedly Hamas means strength and bravery.


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