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1 Decatur Deb  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 3:16:02am

Tip-toeing Sharia.

2 CuriousLurker  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 4:38:08am

re: #1 Decatur Deb

Tip-toeing Sharia.

Gah! See what you've done? Now Tiny Tim is singing it in my head...

3 Bob Levin  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 5:04:47am

If you go through the list of ways in which our culture accommodates other religions, it's a long list.

However, for religions to be accommodated, they have to step up first as customers, followed by their religion.

We are all customers. We lost the proletariat thing years ago. It's down in the basement packed in some box somewhere.

Muslims need a holiday around this time of year, gift giving--and it's got to be in November/December. Watch the Islam fear melt away as the weather freezes.

4 Vicious Babushka  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 5:41:28am

re: #3 Bob Levin

Muslims need a holiday around this time of year, gift giving--and it's got to be in November/December. Watch the Islam fear melt away as the weather freezes.

Muslims use the lunar calendar, and it isn't anchored to the solar year the same way that the Hebrew calendar is, so the holidays can move around across the seasons. That's why Ramadan coincided with Christmas a number of years ago, but now it's in July. Soon it will coincide with Passover.

5 Bob Levin  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 5:58:12am

re: #4 Alouette

I understand the difference in calendars. I also understand American culture. That's the push/pull of assimilation versus keeping traditional customs. In other words, the holiday would have to be invented.

The major conflict in our house, same issue, assimilation versus traditional culture, revolves around the calendar. In American Jewish history, Chanukah has been elevated to something beyond the shtetl celebration. Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are celebrations of consumerism, yes?

Some would argue that these are signs of cultural decline, others would say these new customs help to fight antisemitism. Both sides are correct.

6 Romantic Heretic  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 7:12:56am

The Shrieking Harpy's head explodes in 3…2…1.

7 dragonfire1981  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 7:36:51am

Former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called the foot baths at the University of Michigan an “accommodation we’re making to one religion at the expense of the others.” He called it “un-American.”

So a prominent Republican says it's "Un-American" to promote one religion at the expense of others.

So I guess all the Republican Presidential nominees are raging UnAmericans!

8 dragonfire1981  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 7:37:57am

On another note, I'm reasonably certain that if Christians had special requirements needed to pray (they don't), the University would be just as willing to accommodate them.

9 Vicious Babushka  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 8:05:04am

re: #5 Bob Levin

I understand the difference in calendars. I also understand American culture. That's the push/pull of assimilation versus keeping traditional customs. In other words, the holiday would have to be invented.

The major conflict in our house, same issue, assimilation versus traditional culture, revolves around the calendar. In American Jewish history, Chanukah has been elevated to something beyond the shtetl celebration. Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are celebrations of consumerism, yes?

Some would argue that these are signs of cultural decline, others would say these new customs help to fight antisemitism. Both sides are correct.

I can absolutely guarantee that if Hanukkah did not occur at the same time of year as a major Christian holiday, it would be totally ignored by the vast majority of American Jews. How many non-Orthodox Jews observe Shavuot, or even know what it is? And it is a much more significant holiday than Hanukkah.

10 CuriousLurker  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 8:05:58am

re: #7 dragonfire1981

I'm still wondering about the part where Huckabee called the foot baths at the University of Michigan an “accommodation we’re making to one religion at the expense of the others.”

What did the foot baths take away at the expense of other religions? It's just a couple of frigging faucets & drains, it's not as if they tore down a church or synagogue so they could build a mosque on campus.

Oh, look—Boston U has a kosher dining hall. I wonder which religion's expense that was at? How un-American. Shame on them! //

11 Vicious Babushka  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 8:07:48am

re: #10 CuriousLurker

I'm still wondering about the part where Huckabee called the foot baths at the University of Michigan an “accommodation we’re making to one religion at the expense of the others.”

What did the foot baths take away at the expense of other religions? It's just a couple of frigging faucets & drains, it's not as if they tore down a church or synagogue so they could build a mosque on campus.

Oh, look—Boston U has a kosher dining hall. I wonder which religion's expense that was at? How un-American. Shame on them! //

If Boston U. opened a halal dining room, Pammy's head would go splodey, and if they closed down the kosher dining room, her head would go splodey again!

12 Lord Baron Viscount Duke Earl Count Planckton  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 8:10:34am

The secular purpose of this is also outlined very clearly - there was too much wet mess, so they did it mainly to avoid it. What's not to like?

13 CuriousLurker  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 8:23:33am

re: #3 Bob Levin

Muslims need a holiday around this time of year, gift giving--and it's got to be in November/December. Watch the Islam fear melt away as the weather freezes.

I doubt that making up a new Islamic holiday will ever happen because, well, it wouldn't be Islamic. When our holidays—there are only two, and Ramadan is the only one where gifts are given—fall on or around Christmas, many Muslims enjoy celebrating at the same time as others, but that's about as far as it goes.

Besides, many of us (converts) have family that celebrate Christian & Jewish holidays, so we still participate in terms of being with them during those times. The other holidays like Thanksgiving or New Year's are secular, so they're not an issue.

FWIW, I have designer friends that I exchange cards & small handmade gifts with every year around Christmas time, but we stick to wishes for "happy holidays" or "seasons greetings", the imagery isn't religious, and it just gets done sometime in December-January. We all enjoy it immensely. It's the thought, the effort at making something to share, that counts.

14 CuriousLurker  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 8:28:26am

re: #12 Sergey Romanov

The secular purpose of this is also outlined very clearly - there was too much wet mess, so they did it mainly to avoid it. What's not to like?

Exactly. I'm thinking it was mostly practical, but also beneficial: No wet floors = no slip & fall lawsuits, with the added bonus of making the Muslim students happy (which I assume is financially important to the university to some degree because their numbers are significant, according to the article).

15 CuriousLurker  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 8:29:36am

re: #11 Alouette

If Boston U. opened a halal dining room, Pammy's head would go splodey, and if they closed down the kosher dining room, her head would go splodey again!

She would totally have a cow if they opened a halal dining room, heh.

16 Romantic Heretic  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 8:52:38am

re: #11 Alouette

If Boston U. opened a halal dining room, Pammy's head would go splodey, and if they closed down the kosher dining room, her head would go splodey again!

She's like that character in Men in Black. Whose head grew back after K blew it off. "Do you have any idea how much that stings?"

17 ProGunLiberal  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 8:56:38am

re: #13 CuriousLurker

I'm going to out on a limb here (as I am a new Muslim) and say that a modified Christmas may be celebratable. Jesus (Isa) (PBUH) was a prophet, and apparently some other Muslims celebrate Muhammad's (PBUH) birthday (Known as Mawlid). Since Isa (PBUH) is also a prophet, couldn't we also celebrate his birthday?

18 CuriousLurker  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 9:23:38am

re: #17 ProLifeLiberal

I'm going to out on a limb here (as I am a new Muslim) and say that a modified Christmas may be celebratable. Jesus (Isa) (PBUH) was a prophet, and apparently some other Muslims celebrate Muhammad's (PBUH) birthday (Known as Mawlid). Since Isa (PBUH) is also a prophet, couldn't we also celebrate his birthday?

Nope, I asked about that years ago. Celebrating Muhammad's (s.a.w.s) birthday isn't traditional in the sense that Ramadan or Eid al-Adha are—i.e. it's an "innovation" that came much later, though it's not by definition a bad one (as you probably know, any innovation whatsoever is considered bad by the Salafis).

Even if it were permissible to celebrate Jesus' (a.s.) birthday as an Islamic holiday, we'd first have to know his actual birth date, and then (because of the lunar calendar) it would always fall at different times.

For example, I was born in March, but this year my birthday fell in September according to the Islamic calendar. We're not supposed to celebrate our own birthdays either, you know that, right?

19 Bob Levin  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 9:58:31am

re: #10 CuriousLurker

We're good customers.

20 Bob Levin  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 10:28:02am

re: #13 CuriousLurker

It doesn't have to be Islamic, but it could become an American Muslim custom.

I'm just saying that if you feel this 'thing'--I don't know the word, but many minorities certainly feel it, I feel it, (everything keeps getting back to consciousness, creating the right words for these invisible things, at least for me, that's where I fight)--and if this thing genuinely feels threatening, then the best strategy is to go into battle with the credit card as your shield. There's nothing spiritual about this, it is purely pragmatic.

And because this isn't a spiritual holiday--but a buying holiday, a gift holiday, Hallmark is pretty good at inventing these.

This is just the way America is. If you can show that your group is willing to get up to your necks in debt every December, the doors of accommodation magically open up. The more you hold on to your spirituality, then the more you will feel like the 'other'. Thems the rules.

21 SanFranciscoZionist  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 10:52:03am

re: #9 Alouette

I can absolutely guarantee that if Hanukkah did not occur at the same time of year as a major Christian holiday, it would be totally ignored by the vast majority of American Jews. How many non-Orthodox Jews observe Shavuot, or even know what it is? And it is a much more significant holiday than Hanukkah.

In Renaissance Venice, Purim was the festival most Gentiles knew about, because it coincided with Carnivale.

In India, Shavuos.

22 SanFranciscoZionist  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 10:55:38am

re: #20 Bob Levin

It doesn't have to be Islamic, but it could become an American Muslim custom.

I'm just saying that if you feel this 'thing'--I don't know the word, but many minorities certainly feel it, I feel it, (everything keeps getting back to consciousness, creating the right words for these invisible things, at least for me, that's where I fight)--and if this thing genuinely feels threatening, then the best strategy is to go into battle with the credit card as your shield. There's nothing spiritual about this, it is purely pragmatic.

And because this isn't a spiritual holiday--but a buying holiday, a gift holiday, Hallmark is pretty good at inventing these.

This is just the way America is. If you can show that your group is willing to get up to your necks in debt every December, the doors of accommodation magically open up. The more you hold on to your spirituality, then the more you will feel like the 'other'. Thems the rules.

I really don't think hostility toward Muslims is going to be even slightly dented by inventing a December holiday that involves massive spending.

23 CuriousLurker  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 11:11:29am

re: #20 Bob Levin

That won't work. I have a very difficult time believing that if Hanukkah didn't fall in December that American Jews would invent some custom and call it "Jewish". As Americans we already have other holidays, why do we need to invent a fake Muslim one?

Or maybe you could since Jewishness is also an ethnicity related to a specific people, a specific identity. Islam is not. Islamic "culture" is specifically tied to Islam as a religion. The other cultural parts, which are often mistaken for Islam, are not in fact Islamic—they're Bosnian, Turkish, Berber, Egyptian, Somalian, Arab, Persian, Indian, etc. We are not one tribe or even 12 similar tribes, we are a bunch of disparate tribes tied together by Islam, therefore without Islam we have no common culture.

I don't think non-Muslims fully understand the importance of that single bond that is so essential to uniting 1.5 billion people. My point is that if a custom were to be invented that was distinctly "American Muslim", it would essentially be meaningless to us in terms of our (larger) Muslim identity. Gah! It's confoundingly difficult to explain, so I'm going to stop trying.

Let me just say this: If, as you claim, selling my spirituality, my integrity, is the price of acceptance by non-Mulsims—and I don't believe it is—then I'll live without it.

24 CuriousLurker  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 11:32:48am

re: #22 SanFranciscoZionist

I really don't think hostility toward Muslims is going to be even slightly dented by inventing a December holiday that involves massive spending.

Yes, THIS as well. I meant to mention it and then forgot, so I'm glad you did.

The Muslim-Christian, East-West hostility goes back nearly 1000 years, and is based on a massive clash the likes of which I don't think there's anything comparable between Jews & the West since, from approximately the time of the fall of the Second Temple until very recently, you haven't had a nation outside of your own hearts. As different as you guys were (and still are) perceived to be, there isn't that history of epic "clash of civilizations" type animosity (that's not to say that Jews were made out to be an existential threat in other ways).

25 Vicious Babushka  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 11:59:04am

re: #21 SanFranciscoZionist

In Renaissance Venice, Purim was the festival most Gentiles knew about, because it coincided with Carnivale.

Hey, what's not to like about a Two-Day Halloween WHERE DRINKING IS MANDATORY!

26 Vicious Babushka  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 12:01:26pm

re: #20 Bob Levin

It doesn't have to be Islamic, but it could become an American Muslim custom.

Like Jews eating Chinese food on Christmas?

27 SanFranciscoZionist  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 12:46:33pm

re: #10 CuriousLurker

I'm still wondering about the part where Huckabee called the foot baths at the University of Michigan an “accommodation we’re making to one religion at the expense of the others.”

What did the foot baths take away at the expense of other religions? It's just a couple of frigging faucets & drains, it's not as if they tore down a church or synagogue so they could build a mosque on campus.

Oh, look—Boston U has a kosher dining hall. I wonder which religion's expense that was at? How un-American. Shame on them! //

Well, you see, there are several major American religions where you're not allowed to wash your hands if there's a footbath in the room...

...no, really, it's a very ancient tradition....

...like the one about Protestants not being allowed to eat halal shariah turkey..

...goes way back.

28 SanFranciscoZionist  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 12:48:16pm

re: #24 CuriousLurker

Yes, THIS as well. I meant to mention it and then forgot, so I'm glad you did.

The Muslim-Christian, East-West hostility goes back nearly 1000 years, and is based on a massive clash the likes of which I don't think there's anything comparable between Jews & the West since, from approximately the time of the fall of the Second Temple until very recently, you haven't had a nation outside of your own hearts. As different as you guys were (and still are) perceived to be, there isn't that history of epic "clash of civilizations" type animosity (that's not to say that Jews were made out to be an existential threat in other ways).

It's a different kind of conflict, entirely, at least.

29 Bob Levin  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 1:21:46pm

re: #22 SanFranciscoZionist

I really don't think hostility toward Muslims is going to be even slightly dented by inventing a December holiday that involves massive spending.

This is partly a tongue in cheek discussion, but what's your narrative of how Jews got from the unofficial Jim Crow type customs or the 1950s (i.e. this club is restricted) to the relatively free floating Jews of today's America?

30 ProGunLiberal  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 1:37:27pm

re: #18 CuriousLurker

Thanks for the info. I've been dealing with school, so I've been lagging in that manner.

31 Bob Levin  Wed, Nov 30, 2011 1:50:53pm

re: #23 CuriousLurker

That won't work. I have a very difficult time believing that if Hanukkah didn't fall in December that American Jews would invent some custom and call it "Jewish". As Americans we already have other holidays, why do we need to invent a fake Muslim one?

Actually, we invented Christmas--and then found out that we couldn't participate in it. Weird, but that's how things go. The really good Christmas Carols were written by Jews, the great Christmas movies and television specials, written and produced by Jews. Luckily Chanukah falls into this calendar valley. Do you know how Bar and Bat Mitzvahs used to be celebrated? Thursday morning services, maybe Saturday, and few cookies afterwards. We invented the massive media events into which these have morphed. Don't think for a second that if there wasn't a Chanukah that the most popular month for personal ceremonies, Weddings--and even Bar and Bat Mitzvahs would become November and December.

My point is that if a custom were to be invented that was distinctly "American Muslim", it would essentially be meaningless to us in terms of our (larger) Muslim identity. Gah! It's confoundingly difficult to explain, so I'm going to stop trying.

I get it. I just described assimilation. The paradox is, the more you assimilate, the less meaning there is in what remains, the thinner the bonds with the greater culture of the past and the scriptures. But if you refuse to assimilate, then you'll be The Other. This is the American dance. It's uncomfortable feeling like The Other, so people assimilate. The assimilation allows doors to open, it allows customs to be acknowledged by the greater culture. How wonderful, for a time. Then folks find the assimilated life too empty, and they choose to become The Other once again.

32 CuriousLurker  Thu, Dec 1, 2011 3:34:54am

re: #31 Bob Levin

This is the American dance. It's uncomfortable feeling like The Other, so people assimilate. The assimilation allows doors to open, it allows customs to be acknowledged by the greater culture. How wonderful, for a time. Then folks find the assimilated life too empty, and they choose to become The Other once again.

Well, then I guess after almost two centuries our family came full circle, and I'm the one who felt empty and became The Other again. Round and round we go...

33 CuriousLurker  Thu, Dec 1, 2011 3:49:24am

re: #28 SanFranciscoZionist

It's a different kind of conflict, entirely, at least.

I suppose part of it also has to do with competition between proselytizing faiths to see which team can score the most souls.

34 Bob Levin  Thu, Dec 1, 2011 7:23:58am

re: #32 CuriousLurker

Me too. I'm impressed that you can trace your family for two centuries. I can do only a vague sketch of two generations.

The serious question--because it's easy to assimilate, assimilation is almost a default mechanism in the US--is how to fend off these extremely powerful cultural forces, which I like to describe as a gentle wind with the power of a hurricane, without the kind of sequestering methods which many communities choose, both physically and intellectually. How do you fight these forces within a family without causing hurt and scars?

My opinion is that we don't have the language, the understanding of consciousness--in other words, we don't have the tools we need to make this fight. In lieu of effective tools, we blame others. Double not good. I am because I hate?

It's a tough fight.


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