Blog powered by Typepad

« Why does anyone read The Guardian? | Main | In which I bash Benedict Brogan and defend 'Dim Dave' »

Monday, 09 June 2014

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Try cjunk for a good answer to your question.

Fantastic question, and it's one that I've often thought about. Sometimes I think it's the totalitarian nature of Islam, controlling the food you eat, the age of marriage, and so on. But then the same can be said about Judaism and Christianity.

I've had reason to say on your blog before that I think one of the great milestones in human development is the Lord's Prayer, especially the statement, "forgive us as we forgive others". Something similar is found in Judaism, from which it sprang, but is it found in Islam? I'm unaware of it.

Canadian blogger Celestial Junk

To CJ - worth a look. Trade - or the lack of it probably started a more inward looking attitude. Once ocean shipping got going the old Silk Roads fell out of favour and thus the taxes and participation that goes with trade. The West industrialised and took little interest in the Middle East until oil became useful, so no colonisation because there was nothing but sand and flies to be found there. The place was left to itself (apart from the Turks who did take an interest).

So why no industrialisation - not much wood for smelting or too hot for heavy toil. Which leads on to how to control a poor and largely agrarian population that is going nowhere with no hope of going anywhere - religion and plenty of it. So long as the ruling class were comfy little else mattered.

Good question Duffers. I don't know the answer though

Personally as a [sometimes] good Jewish boy I don't give a rats fundamental why they haven't crawled out of the 7th Century. Part of their dark age belief is, amongst other dark ages crap, the extermination of me and my co-religionists [and you lot are included as you are infidel]. That automatically places them in the cross hairs of my early warning system.

The day I see some Mullah put a fatwa on a Muslim terrorist is the day I'll start to rethink my innate suspicions re the "religion of peace". In the meantime the "up" side is that the Sunnis hate the Shia and every other sect, the Shia hate the Sunni and every other sect and they are busy reducing the numbers by various unholy means of homicide.

Just had a quick glance at CJ's post, will read it in full later.

Dom, alas, I am insufficiently up on the minutae of religious doctrine to be able to comment. Even so, I *suspect* that there are inherent difficulties within Islam that precludes gradual change.

Roger, the lack of links to the outside world due to the switch of trade to the high seas strikes me as a very real factor.

I understand and sympathise with your opinion, AussieD. The irony of it is that whilst the various (and mostly military) dictators in the middle east were hostile (for their own internal reasons) to Israel, they actually tended to leave their own domestic Jews alone. Today, alas, they have been replaced by dictators playing the religious card and 'the game's afoot'!

I agree with AussieD as far as the "up" side is concerned. With the aid of Obama and his wrecking ball policy, just about every Arab country has been reduced to ruins.

As far as the UK is concerned, the solution should start with applying the laws of England. If you stand up and call Christian women whores, you are inciting religious hatred. If you call all white women whores, that is inciting racial hatred. Call for all whores to be killed is incitement to murder. I understand that there is difficulty in applying these laws; we are up to our armpits in lawyers in Whitehall and Westminster - just fix the laws!

Why did Islam go wrong? I can think of a couple of reasons. Firstly, Spain used to be the centre of the Muslim renaissance, in the days when Islam led the world in just about everything. However, in the 11th Century, Al-Mutamid, the Muslim governor of Seville solicited the help of some Muslim cavemen from Morocco, the Almoravids, to help him in a fight against the Christian king of Castile. These fundamentalists won the fight, and then started to impose their own version of Islam on the rest of Islamic Spain. In time all debate and free thinking became forbidden with results that we can see to this day.

Secondly, in the 13th Century, a Mongol caravan was attacked by Persians. The Mongol chief sent envoys to Persia to try and sort things out. The Sultan thought it would be fun to remove the heads from the envoys and have them returned to the Mongol chief. This turned out to be one of the worst decisions in history. You guessed it, the Mongol head honcho was none other than Genghis Khan!!! Roughly a century of pillage and destruction against Asian Muslims was to follow, whole cities, including priceless libraries and seats of learning were torched and the Islamic world was virtually destroyed in the process.

Denied of a glorious future, the surviving Muslims became firmly fixated on their glorious past. All innovation was stifled, which was deeply ironic, because Muhammad was one of the most forward looking men who had ever lived. Consequently Islam became completely backward looking and has firmly remained that way ever since.

Rogerh. One thing Marx was actually right about "Religion is the opiate of the people". Religion has always been and no doubt will be for some time to come in places where poor education and lousy governance abounds a means of controlling the masses. Leaders of other nations who practice religions other than Islam including our own have used it to considerable self advantage in the past. Ayatollahs and Mullahs are only doing what others have done to keep control and will therefore brook no dissent. To do otherwise then they know like the Christian and Jewish church establishments their grip on power will be irrevocably loosened.

The Catholic church lost it's grip when Martin Luther published his criticisms. Islam needs a similar event and indeed will no doubt receive one eventually. Islam is circa 500 years newer than Christianity and the majority of it adherents are intellectually challenged, poorly educated and brainwashed early into belief or have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. So that eventually maybe a long time coming and considerable conflict and bloodshed may have to be endured until it does. Hopefully not 500 years of it. Shia versus Sunni perhaps has it's parallel in Catholic against protestant that still plague us today although not so virulently as it did. Still as AussieD says better they kill each other than us.

Richard,

"Muhammad was one of the most forward looking men who had ever lived"

How does his being a murderer, paedophile, rapist, thief and corpse mutilator square with that?

And don't Islam's issues today trace right back to that inauspicious beginning, rather than to mishaps in the 11-13th centuries?

SoD

Murderer... people who were trying to murder him. Paedophile... the age of consent was much younger then, basically if they're old enough to bleed, they're old enough to butcher. Corpse mutilator... they all did it in those days. Thief... attacking caravans was also pretty much also legal in those days. Muhammad was basically one of the good guys. He loved and respected women and gave them rights that they had never had before. What he actually achieved was nothing short of miraculous. He took a collection of warring tribes and united them under one faith - a faith incidentally, founded on compassion but with a practical element added, namely not turning the other cheek to bastards who were going to attack you. He got one thing badly wrong though, the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims, and we have been paying the price for that ever since. However, the worst culprits by far are those who followed him and twisted everything that he stood for. Again, we are paying the price for that today. Islam is not the only faith that has suffered that way though. Take a long hard look at Christianity as well. We Christians have had our reformation. The Muslims still await theirs.

P.S. Read Karen Armstrong's biography of Muhammad. For further clarification read Irshad Manji's book "The trouble with Islam Today." They explain it all much better than I ever could.

"Murderer... people who were trying to murder him"

Is murdering murderers an acceptable modus operandi? Beheading disarmed prisoners of war, for example? There was someone who went before him some 600 years or so earlier who put it in mankind's consciousness that that sort of behaviour was wrong.

"Paedophile... the age of consent was much younger then, basically if they're old enough to bleed, they're old enough to butcher." She wasn't old enough to bleed, she was handed her dolls and toys by her nanny while he did the business. Not sure what you meant by "butcher", I may have misinterpreted your sentence.

"Corpse mutilator... they all did it in those days. Thief... attacking caravans was also pretty much also legal in those days." Not really, his predecessor by 600 years made it pretty clear that that was bad behaviour, and ignorance of the law is no defence.

He was a dark ages leader who excelled at the wielding of power. Nothing more, nothing less.

SoD

Muhammad indeed beheaded an entire Jewish tribe that had betrayed him during the Battle of the Trench. All men beyond puberty were killed, and the women and children became slaves. THAT WAS WRONG and we have been living with the consequences ever since.

Marrying children was acceptable in those days, but the marriage was consummated when the child reached puberty. I do not know where you got the information about Aisha being handed her dolls and toys while he 'did the business.' That is the stuff of fable only with no evidence that I have found to back it up, nor have I found any hard evidence that he mutilated corpses, although one of his champions WAS mutilated and his liver eaten after the battle of Mount Uhud.

Dark ages leader addicted to power? That is a gross oversimplification. No, please read some balanced material about him, NOT what (if you will forgive me for saying so) seems to come from the BNP primer on Islam. For the record,Muhammad had no material possessions at all, apart from the clothes on his own back, hardly consistent with a power crazed dark ages leader.

Islam was a religion of its time which gave a suitable code of behaviour for the turbulent circumstances under which people in Arabia lived. Christianity started in a different time and place with entirely different circumstances. They are like apples and oranges. The only thing that Muhammad and Christ DO have in common is that their creeds were traduced and twisted by those who followed them, and that is where almost all of the problems have stemmed fro. DO SOME SERIOUS READING LAWRENCE AND THEN WE CAN DEBATE THIS FURTHER.

Chr

When Tony Benn was challenged about the failings of socialism, his fall back position was that the people practising his ideology were just not doing it right. The Muslims have been trying to follow Mohammed's message for 1300 years. Just try watching breakfast TV Richard; this morning included items from Pakistan (shooting up airport); Iraq (shooting up just about anybody); Egypt (99.3% percent of women have been sexually molested). Perhaps, just perhaps, there is something wrong with the message?

Well I suppose this web-site could be a bunch of BNPers duping us all that they're Islamic, but here's their take on it: -

http://islamqa.info/en/1493

And let's assume these guys are BNPers, but at least be tolerant enough to read their assessment of it: -

http://www.wikiislam.net/wiki/Aisha_Age_of_Consummation

"Aisha dolls" in google for the rest of the debate.

And if your quest for knowledge will only be satisfied with real some "serious reading", here's the google books you might try: -

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=aisha+dolls&btnG=Search+Books&tbm=bks&tbo=1&gws_rd=ssl

SoD

I guess no one knows the definitive answer but these following factors coincided:

1. The early Muslim conquerors were a minority and thus were forced to tolerate a great deal of alternative ways of thinking. Under this we can note that many of the great Islamic thinkers were people who lived in Muslim countries and were either not Muslims or were later converts.

2. Early Islam had two competing approaches to religious questions: Ijtihad and Taqlid. The first might be simplified as Open enquiry or perhaps a kind of Common Law approach. The latter by Revealed Truth. ie the idea that all questions can be resolved by a study of religious works. By the second Christian millennium the latter was dominant and it's reach extended to cover all issues secular and religious. I've simplified greatly so do your own research. Joseph Schacht is one person who argued that the 'Closure of the Door of Ijtihad' was a factor in the end of the Golden Age.

3. Mongol invasions. [If you are a trendy lefty then add the Crusades.] The main centres of Islam by the second millennium were Levant cities like Baghdad et al. These states were comprehensively defeated by the Mongols and consequently the culture turned inwards, blaming the loss on the failure on religious backsliding. Arguably the same is happening today. The failure of modern Islamic states results in Islamism.
I'm not convinced by the importance of the crusades given that (a) the main centres of Islam were never seriously under threat (b) Islam won and carried on winning against the West until defeat at the Gates of Vienna presaged a long slow decline.

--

Incidentally I don't think Islam as such is stuck in the deep freeze. There is a movement towards religious fundamentalism which is being reasonably successful, fuelled as it is by Saudi money and Western relativism. That suggests a change in itself.

Thanks, TDK, that was a very useful comment.

The 13th and 14th Century saw Islam pretty much destroy its large indigenous populations of Christians and Jews--which also happened to be the creative/productive class of people.

Richard, if the best you can say about Mohammed is that he was no worse than others around him, that's not saying much about the founder of a religion. It is precisely what is not said of other founders and other religions.

Dom, turn those words around. 'The best' should read 'least worst.' I hasten to add that do not defend Muhammad on everything. However he was a remarkable and compassionate man living in brutal times who was forced to act ruthlessly in order for his people to survive. He was also a genius on more than one level. How does a completely illiterate man come up with something like the Koran? What he achieved was incredible and as one of the outstanding characters in history he deserves careful study. Too many people (as the ignorant hate ridden comments here illustrate perfectly)are happy to dismiss him out of hand. This is a huge mistake.

For further clarification, please read both the books I mentioned earlier - from cover to cover - and read the Koran for good measure. Then both of us can debate Muhammad from a position of knowledge, rather than from a position of ignorance.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment