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What Secular Indians Need to Know About Islam – Part II

April 9, 2009

Continued from Part 1 of this post ……

It was the eve of Nov. 26, 2008 attacks in Mumbai. I was at Chicago O’Hare, waiting for my next flight which was about 3 hours away. The CNN anchor on TV kept us updated about the confrontation at the Taj Hotel, between the police and the terrorists, and the blood bath which continued. Hearing about the inhuman slaughter of innocent people, I found myself fuming with anger.

In the meantime, a friend of mine called to wish me a safe journey. My friend had just returned home and was unaware of the news. So, when I told him about the incidents in Mumbai, he was shocked to hear it.

As we talked about the terrorist attacks our discussion soon veered into the bombings (this was 2008)  in Jaipur, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Bangalore. My friend suddenly asked- “Why do you think these Islamic terrorists do this to us ? What do they want from us?”

The question sounded eerily familiar to the question asked by a lot of americans after 9/11. In fact, this was also the question which first prodded me to read about the history of Islam and the Islamic religious texts – the Quran and the Hadiths.  I wanted to find out the answers to certain questions myself. Questions like these and many more kept me preoccupied. I was no longer content with the answers given by media, Muslim apologists or my muslim friends. I was totally ignorant about Islam at that time, and I really wanted to read and find out the answers to these questions myself.  I can only say that my opinion about Islam changed since reading those texts.

 

 

As I continued my discussion about Islam with my friend (he is also someone I consider quite secular-minded), it soon became clear that my friend was not willing to accept my interpretation about Islamic texts and the motive behind Muslim terrorists. His objection was that the religious texts of every major religion commands it’s followers to commit inhuman acts in the name of religion, but most people don’t follow them. So why single out Islam and muslims? He also kept bringing up the case of his muslim colleague who is an extremely nice and helpful person. So how is that Islam does not change him but makes terrorists out of others muslims (the documentary provides answers to such questions however I may answer these questions in a later post because this post may get long ) ? He was trying to make the same argument and asking the same questions that I have heard asked by non-muslims before. And in doing so he was falling into the same mental trap that I have seen most non-muslims fall into when they question Islamic ideology and its ultimate goal/motive.

As I continued to point out the problems with his argument I realized that his arguments were based on his limited observations of the world around him and interactions with muslims (which is the case for most of us) and not based on knowledge of the Quran or the Hadiths. As a person who had never read the Quran/Hadiths (I doubt how many muslims do that either) and somone barely aware of Islamic history or the spread of fundamentalist Islam in Europe and other parts of the world, his initial refusal to believe me was based on ignorance and a false impression shared by many secular Indians – an idea that Islam is like any other religion and the fact that IF ONLY we do this and that, all will be at peace with the Islamic world .

Nothing can be more naive and more incorrect.

The pattern of Islamic conquests from the earliest days of Islam, the spread of Islam by the sword, the persecution of different religions in Islamic countries including those in recent years – the Hindus in Bangladesh, Hindus/Christians in Pakistan, The Baha’i s in Iran, The Coptic Christians in Egypt, the Christians in Indonesia and Saudi Arabia – point to the real intentions of Islam. The goal of world-wide domination and conversion (or at worst forcing the jizya on non-muslims) not only through peaceful means but with deadly force if necessary (read Ayatollah Khomeini’s rebuke of Muslims who make Islam look weak and stupid by calling Islam a-religion-of-peace).

 

 

So, the next series of videos from the documentary explores Islamic history and discusses how it spread throughout the world by the power of the sword.

************************************** 

Part 4 (Duration : 9:52 mins)

 

Points raised/Questions answered

1. The Islamic paradise. What type of Muslims are guranteed paradise?

2. The meaning of Jihad in Islam.

3. Martyrdom in Islam. Celebration and glorification of martyrs and martyrdom by Muslims. How are martyrs recruited?

4.  Shoebat’s personal story of his first terrorist mission.

***************************************** 

 

Part 5 (Duration : 9:42 mins)

 

Points raised/Questions answered

1. Was Islam spread by the sword? How does Islam mandate dealings with the non-believers ?

2. A video clip which shows how brainwashed some muslims are about martyrdom. The ultimate goal of Islam – kill or convert.

3.  History of Muslim conquests

****************************************

 

Part 6 (Duration : 9:56 mins)

 

Points raised/Questions answered

1. History of Muslim conquests. The Crusades.

2. The significance of the date September 11th in Islamic history.

3. A historical pattern of Islamic violence, genocide and wars across the world

************************************************

 Speakers in this documentary:

Serge Trifkovic – Foreign affairs editor, Chronicles magazine

Robert Spencer – Author of Islam Unveiled and Director of Jihadwatch.org

Bat Ye’or – Author of The Dhimmi : Jews and Christians under Islam

Abdullah Al-Araby – Director of The Pen vs. The Sword Publications

Walid Shoebat – Former PLO Fatah Brigade terrorist and author of Why I Left Jihad

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28 Comments leave one →
  1. Indyeah permalink
    April 10, 2009 1:50 am

    Brilliant post NN! just browsed through for now ..Will read it at leisure..in a rush but had to drop a note 🙂
    take care

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      April 10, 2009 6:16 am

      Thanks Indyeah . I will be away from the web for most of this weekend (although I will try to get a peek sometime if I can manage) but I hope to read your comment when i come back. 🙂

  2. April 11, 2009 1:18 am

    Nitwik, read your comment about Islam at Indy’s post so rushed here. You know, I have a lot of discussions about Islam with my friends and colleagues and the only simple question that I pose them is “Why am I not allowed access to Heaven?” I tell them, what if a very good human being, a nice human being who has never done any wrong in his life, but is not a Muslim – Does that person not get access to heaven? Just because he’s not a Muslim and doesn’t pray to Allah?

    Btw, I’m no believer in Heaven or Hell.

    I’m reading “The Islamist” and the way how educated and liberal Muslims were influenced in a society like Britain scares me. The author describes how they forced college managements to provide them with a place to pray. How, a lot of women started wearing the Hijab and actually taking pride in it and how, they considered themselves superior to every other human being, just because they were Muslims.

    Britain did what India is doing – Kept quite on the pretext of secularism. But that allowed these radicals to flourish. Organisations that were banned in the Arab world were allowed to operate in Britain. Crazy how, we see similar instances where the Simi ban is overturned in India.

    This is scary Nitwit. Real scary.

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      April 11, 2009 8:10 pm

      Rakesh, welcome to my blog and thanks for raising a very good point – “Why am I not allowed access to Heaven”

      That’s the question we all have. Christianity and Islam says that unless you are a christian or a muslim you cannot go to heaven no matter how good you are, no matter how selfless your deeds …that is just absurd..and totally contrary to any reason and logic. Doesn’t that make God a megalomaniac who is concerned only with how many people pray to him rather than how many people do good deeds?

      Britain did what India is doing – Kept quite on the pretext of secularism.

      Frankly I am not against equality of religion. If they want a place to pray thats fine with me. Let them waste their time praying to a non-existent god. 🙂 If muslim women want to wear the hijab then let them do it – only as long as they don’t enforce it on anyone. Just as I cannot or do not object to sikh males wearing turbans.. I don’t have problems with muslim women wearing hijab as long as it is not made mandatory. However when women are “required” or forced to wear hijab that’s when it becomes oppression. That’s when it becomes prejudiced.

      But that allowed these radicals to flourish. Organisations that were banned in the Arab world were allowed to operate in Britain. Crazy how, we see similar instances where the Simi ban is overturned in India.

      Yes, that’s very scary and I think it’s because many people , including politicians, have no idea of the threat from fundamentalist islam or they deliberately keep quiet about it. So that’s what we all need to blog about and inform people. Only when people are informed and raise their voices against injuctice in the name of religion (and by religion, I mean every religion) that we can ever hope to see any change.

      Btw,I just had a short amount of time to reply to your comment as i am in a hurry, but we can talk more about it if you want.

  3. Aniket permalink
    April 11, 2009 11:29 am

    Great posts dude!

    -aniket

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      April 11, 2009 8:22 pm

      Thanks Aniket. Will try to post the 3rd and final part soon.

  4. April 11, 2009 9:32 pm

    So far I’ve blogged through about half the koran. Right now I can’t get the audio to work on my computer, so I can’t watch these videos, but i’m sure they’re telling me the same things my blog has done. I started out like you, ignorant of Islam, and curious, I assumed it was like christainity. When they had the reins of government they were as bad as the islamists are now. We still see a loud minority of christains who yearn for the good old days, but we also see ‘cultural christians’, who may reject every theological tenet of their faith yet still call themselves ‘catholic’ or whatever. For them it means only a community with certain shared rituals, and they are nearly indistinguishable from secularists.

    I assumed islam will or could follow that same course, but I don’t see much sign of it. The more I learn the more threatening islam seems, and my question is how do we defend ourselves against it?

    Online I’ve met muslims who seem to be wonderful people and I don’t want to condemn every muslim (other than that they are gullible and deluded) but “islam”, qua “radical Islam”, is a threat. It would be nice to support “moderate islam”, but I can’t pin down what it is. Some say there can’t be any, and we cannot tolerate any form of it. I’m resisting this position with increasing pessimism.

    I’d like to answer the question, can there evolve a “cultural Islam” as there has evolved “cultural Catholicism”, and if so, how does this change happen, can it happen with islam, and how can we help the process along? Because if we can’t, the future looks pretty bleak.

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      April 12, 2009 5:42 pm

      Excellent observation Uzza. I agree that the muslim community needs to search for a middle ground without which I don’t see any resolution of fundamentalist Islam issue other than through a world-war of sorts. The problem with Islam is that any moderate who tries to change it will get his head cut off. I am sure there are muslims who really want to see change in Islam. A shift from it’s 7th century barbaric practices, but how many are ready to risk their lives for that cause

  5. RGB permalink
    April 12, 2009 1:50 pm

    Good honest posts. That documentary should be shown in India as well. It brings out the true nature of the Islamist ideology.

    • April 13, 2009 12:10 am

      Don’t dismiss the fact that the Qu’ran and the Hadith is a *lot* of text. One part clarifies the other. Any one-sided portrayal of a religion ( like this video ) has the possibility (I am just asking to be aware of the possibility) to be biased. After all the film only touches a fraction of the text.

      A more interactive video debate on the points raised by the documentary would be a more fair source of opinions about not just this but any religion in its place.

      • RGB permalink
        April 13, 2009 9:22 am

        I am aware of the fact that the Quran and the Hadith is a lot of text and this documentary does not cover all the text.

        It is true that the documentary focuses mainly on hate verses in the Quran and the Hadith.
        But I think the objective of this documentary was to rebut the notion that Islam is a religion of peace. It may be called biased but the verses are authentic.

        I am aware of the peaceful and tolerant verses in the Quran.
        But the content of the verses in the Quran depend on the circumstances prevailing at the time of their ‘revelation’.

        The peaceful verses during the earlier period are in complete contrast to the ones ‘revealed’ later.

        For example, Chapter 109 , which is quoted as a proof of tolerance in Islam towards other religions, was revealed in Mecca when Islam was in a nascent stage.

        Chapter 9, which was revealed much later in Medina, is filled with verses of hate and abrogates the verses in Chapter 109.

        And observing the history of Islam it is clear that the verses shown in the documentary have been followed more religiously than the peaceful ones.

        • nitwitnastik permalink*
          April 13, 2009 9:34 am

          RGB

          Yes, you are right. That’s what I mentioned in my reply to Sandip’s comment in the 3rd post.

  6. Kaffir permalink
    April 13, 2009 3:20 pm

    Yup. I went through a similar process after 9/11 and started reading about Islam. And I found out that what Sita Ram Goel had written in the 80s (and his book was banned, with the so-called liberals not coming to his defense) was quite true. Your experience of ‘toeing the liberal line’ because it’d cause hurt to Muslims you know, then discovering about Islam on your own, and realizing that the liberals have got it wrong when it comes to Islam, is a quite common journey that many make. It makes one question when and how exactly did we get brainwashed by the liberal world-view. 🙂
    (Or, rather, what exactly do these labels mean.)

  7. vedagnya permalink
    May 17, 2009 4:26 am

    The main reason why people dont explore Quran and Islam in India is because of “Ishwar Allah tero naam” kind of things with which hindu kids are brainwashed/bombarded with from childhood.

  8. tearsndreams permalink
    May 19, 2009 9:51 pm

    Okay, now this is where I will have to say I do not see the point.
    What will happen if the secular India believes what you are trying to say. Lets say I am a secular Indian. Fine. I believe you. Now what? What is it that you are trying to tell a secular Indian like me. That when another attack happens somewhere, instead of saying that this is misled youth, I should say its the religion that they practice?
    This is just spreading hatred instead of tolerance.

    BTW, do you know how sikhism was started…do you know what the main qualifications of being a Sikh were…I invite you to actually visit a Gurdwara near my house next time you are in Seattle and hear their sermons…And doesn’t Geeta say kill your family in the name of Dharma? Does that make people who have Geeta in their homes and children and adults who recite verses from Geeta more prone to killing their family in the name of dharma yudha?

    I am sorry if I my tone is confrontational but this is almost verging on ‘unacceptable’. Going by this logic, I should say…Most Hindu men I know are MCPs because that’s what their religion teaches them. Its in their scriptures..

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      May 19, 2009 10:32 pm

      tears, you probably didn’t realize that I am not a Hindu. I am an atheist/agnostic. So I don’t support any religious text. Btw my post was to inform people who have never read the Quran and give a clean chit to Islam and claim that it is a religion of peace when clearly it is not so.

      2ndly, it’s OK to disagree with me although I hope you can give me reasons for it. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me or find my comments acceptable.

      3rdly, tolerance for other cultures and religion is fine. However, there is line beyond which tolerance becomes weakness and is unacceptable. When tolerance of other religion becomes synonymous with turning a blind eye to injustice in the name of religion then it is no longer tolerance. It is partnership in that crime. Based on that I am proud to say that I am intolerant. I am intolerant of the subjugation of women in the name of religion. I am intolerant of any religion which treats people differently based on their caste. I am intolerant of people who claim that people should be killed because God said so. Btw, you are equating expressing my opinion to spreading hatred which I clearly didn’t. So I hope you can look at it from a different angle than jumping to hasty conclusions.

      Most Hindu men I know are MCPs because that’s what their religion teaches them. Its in their scriptures..

      You have every right to say so. In fact I totally agree with that statement because the manu smriti does teach exactly that. Would you call yorself intolerant and spreading hatred for speaking against injustice or would you think you are exposing the deplorable male chauvinism found in hinduism. I don’t know about you but if you choose to do so, I will laud you for your bravery.

      • tearsndreams permalink
        May 20, 2009 8:49 am

        I totally realize you are not a Hindu.
        Hope you know that I am not a Muslim either. Though I have a name that confuses some people (dont know if u get to see my email id).

        What makes this unacceptable is the fact that you are singling out a religion and saying it has violent roots. I didn’t throw the Sikhism and Geeta card to offend you thinking you are a Hindu. That was an example of other religions that can thought to have violent roots if you start tearing the scriptures apart.

        The whole point of this 3 part post is coming to the conclusion “Islam is a Violent religion.” A better statement would have been “All religions are stupid. Lighten up and stop taking your books so seriously”.

        I do want to know as it is still unanswered what are you trying to achieve? Lets say I believe you. Now what? I post a comment “wow! Great!Awesome!” Now what? What do you want me to do next with this new found knowledge. ..

        And then I will go and read Guru Granth Sahib. Then do similar posts. Then what? What will I do next?

        Then I will go and read Geeta? Then come to similar conclusions. What next?

        How is this post pf yours different from A Christian claiming that Jesus is the only route to salvation because Bible says so. All you are saying is- Muslims behave the way they do because Quran tells them to.
        Islamic terrorists behave the way they do because they feel oppressed and wronged. Instead of bearing with their self perceived oppression, they fight back. Its the ‘should I cut the arm or put my other cheek fwd’ debate. The way out is pulling them into a civilized society so that they don’t feel marginalized and subjugated. Your posts will have an opposite effect.

        The terrorists justify their acts by quoting their books. Just the way RSS moral police justifies itself…does that make every Hindu prone to taking that route? Do you think Hinduism is a menace, a threat because the scripture is full of crap? If yes, please do a 3 part series on that as well.
        Because right now, you come across as an extremely biased atheist.

        Educated people such as you should not use ‘its in their books cards’. You are making the same mistake in the opposite direction.

        I hope just the way you tell everyone else to be open minded, for once you will see, how posts such as these, feelings such as these are a real threat to humanity. Along with the books that should have been burned long back.

        • nitwitnastik permalink*
          May 20, 2009 3:51 pm

          Thank you Tearsndreams for your long comment. Yes, I can see your email id and I know that you are not a muslim.

          What makes this unacceptable is the fact that you are singling out a religion and saying it has violent roots.

          I hope you realize that it’s not possible for someone to post about every religion in every post. So I am not sure why you think I am “singling” out Islam. This post deals with Islam just as I have dealt with Hinduism and Christianity in other posts. Btw, the reason I deal with these 3 religions and not Sikhism or Buddhism is because I am most aware of these three.

          And yes, I do say that Islam has violent roots (just as I say the same thing about Hinduism and the Manu Smriti and that’s one of the reasons why I reject Hinduism too) so I don’t see why you should have a problem with me pointing out the truth of a statement unless you feel, it is not so. Are you saying that we should stop singling out politicians in India for being dishonest because politicians in every country are more or less dishonest to the same degree? Are you saying that I should refrain from criticizing policemen in my county for being racially biased just because most policemen in my state are such? I don’t agree with that logic nor do I see any point in that. I hope you are honest enough to see the logical fallacy in your argument. Btw, please forgive me for my insistence but do you disagree that there are violent aspects in Islam? You haven’t given any argument till now which says it is not. So I was wondering if you agree or disagree. Do you see any truth to it? And if you do agree, are you trying to say that I should keep my mouth shut and not point it out in spite of it being true?

          If that is the case, I am not sure if I can help you. I love having honest discussions but honesty doesn’t always mean being politically correct or trying to appease people even when I do not agree with their beliefs just because it may hurt their sentiments.

          A better statement would have been “All religions are stupid. Lighten up and stop taking your books so seriously”.

          Tears, it’s clear that you haven’t read my blog. If you go through my other posts you will clearly see that is the point I have been trying to make, maybe not exactly like you say but pretty close to it.

          Now what? What do you want me to do next with this new found knowledge.

          You are asking me to take decisions for you. I am neither a prophet nor a dictator that I can command you to do what I think. What you choose to do with that knowledge is up to you. The way I use my knowledge is to raise awareness so that people who haven’t read the Quran are not misled into believing the lies and half-truths most Muslim apologists spread about Islam being a “religion of peace”

          How is this post pf yours different from A Christian claiming that Jesus is the only route to salvation because Bible says so. All you are saying is- Muslims behave the way they do because Quran tells them to.

          Tears, I hope you can show a little bit of charity by refraining from putting words in my mouth. I have never generalized it for *all* Muslims but my post was attempting to show why Muslim fundamentalists behave the way they do. Where do they get their motivation and inspiration from ? There are many Muslims who are non-violent people and do not kill kaffirs or wage jihad, but they choose to refrain from it *in spite* of the Quran not *because* of it.

          As for your comparison with Christians, my post is different because I don’t insist that I am correct. I do not insist that you have to believe me. I do not insist that my point of view is the only point of view. I just show the evidence, provide my own opinion and let others decide. I base my decisions on evidence and ask people to take a look at the evidence so that they can make more informed choices whether to believe a claim or not. They are perfectly in their right to reject my opinion or provide contrary evidence and try to convince me. If the evidence proves me wrong, I will apologize immediately.


          Islamic terrorists behave the way they do because they feel oppressed and wronged. Instead of bearing with their self perceived oppression, they fight back. Its the ’should I cut the arm or put my other cheek fwd’ debate. The way out is pulling them into a civilized society so that they don’t feel marginalized and subjugated. Your posts will have an opposite effect.

          It pains me to see you are trying to justify the wrongs committed by the terrorists without questioning them (I daresay you probably think of them as freedom fighters). But, how would you justify the videos from jihadists who have repeatedly asked the “infidel Americans” to convert to Islam or die? What would you say about the Saudis who have funded terrorism overseas even when they are one of the richest nation in the world and have never been oppressed? May I suggest you read a little more about Islamic history and try to look at the motives of certain Islamic govt’s in the world e.g Saudi Arabia. Please forgive me for being blunt, but your paragraph above shows the naiveté that most people treat Islam with. I can only hope that you find the time to read the hadiths, the quran and Islamic history a little more deeply before you exonerate Islamic terrorists of *feeling oppressed and wronged*. There are millions of people who feel oppressed, marginalized, subjugated or wronged (e.g. Chinese immigrants in Australia) but they don’t go and kill innocent people on railway stations nor fly airplanes into buildings. I hope you realize the difference between armed conflict and terrorism.

          The terrorists justify their acts by quoting their books. Just the way RSS moral police justifies itself…does that make every Hindu prone to taking that route? Do you think Hinduism is a menace, a threat because the scripture is full of crap? If yes, please do a 3 part series on that as well. Because right now, you come across as an extremely biased atheist.

          Again, you have not only misinterpreted my post here but you have launched into one accusation after another without valid evidence or even taking the trouble of going through the other posts of my blog. I hope you will forgive me for not responding to such accusations in the future. I have never claimed that *everyone* becomes a fundamentalist after reading their religious books. All I am saying *everyone who becomes a fundamentalist* justifies his/her act by using religion as an excuse. Do you see the difference between the two?

          And yes, I DO think every faith-based religion is a menace and I have done more than 3 posts on them. The day Hindus commit as many acts of terrorism as Islamic fundamentalist, you can be sure I will be there to speak out against it. Btw, the earlier humanity gets rid of religion (if ever), the better we will be (not perfect, but better)

          Btw, even though I try my best to be as fair and honest, I am sorry to hear that you perceive me as biased w.r.t Islam. However, let me reiterate that I am not here to win a popularity contest nor try to please everyone by saying what they want to hear. I am here to honestly explore/discuss certain philosophies or beliefs based on logic and evidence that is available and not based on whether it will hurt other people’s sentiments or whether people will react adversely to that knowledge. I am open to discussion based on evidence/facts and will never claim that I am always right but when people choose to argue based on their perception/sentiments instead of evidence, it something I generally don’t entertain.

          Educated people such as you should not use ‘its in their books cards’. You are making the same mistake in the opposite direction.

          Tears, even though this is the 2nd instance where you have given an unsolicited advice along the lines of “you should do this,” I appreciate your comment and for pointing out my mistake. However, when someone discusses something with me, I would expect him/her to present his/her arguments logically backed by evidence, and not try and hold others at ransom using logical fallacies. I have yet to come across a single coherent argument from you about why Islam is not what I have claimed it to be other than “everyone does it, so we should not criticize them” or repeatedly accusing me of bigotry without reading the rest of my blog or misinterpreting my posts/comments according to your fancy.


          I hope just the way you tell everyone else to be open minded, for once you will see, how posts such as these, feelings such as these are a real threat to humanity.

          Please elaborate, how exposing the lies of religion and providing evidence for something or challenging the lack of evidence for a belief is a threat to humanity? Are you saying that we should keep our mouths shut against injustice or false beliefs even when the logic/evidence proves otherwise?

          Tears, I apologize if I come across as frustrated and disappointed, but sometimes when a reader accuses me of something without a valid argument, I cannot help but feel a little disappointed. I know you probably won’t understand my point of view. Few people do. But I hope that next time we have a discussion, you will at least try to present your arguments more logically.

  9. tearsndreams permalink
    May 20, 2009 6:50 pm

    Okay, as often happens in debate, we are holding each other accountable for the exact words words we say rather than understanding what we are trying to say. I guess I could not make it clear so let me answer your question directlty. Here is my answer:
    I think Islam is as violant or as non violant as other religions. Hinduism- Krishna asks everyone to do their Karma and kill their family to save Dharma. Draupdi, washes her hair with a dead man’s blood. Goddess Kali kills demons almost as a hobby :-)So Hinduism is violant too. Hindus do not take to violance as much even when opressed because of social reasons such as greater spread of education which makes them question all this violance and treat it as stories not lessons on how an ideal Hindu should behave.
    Hope I am clear so far.
    Islam as I said might be equally violant.
    I condemn all attacks, I criticize the Hijab and question the intelligence of people who wear it and I am not into a popularity contst either. I claim on my blog that I eat beef and question Hijab.
    But I stop there. And that’s what I call tolerance. Hang the terrorists. But Don’t say Islam is violant. Because as I said so is every religion.
    Now let me ask you this and would love a Yes/No answer like the one I gave you.
    Knowing what you know about Hinduism, Geeta, Mahabharta, Kali, Sikh Gurus, do you claim Islam is a more, the operative word being more, violant religion?

    If your answer is yes, then I would retreat back to my world because then I dont really want to argue..suit yourself. For me the problem is more of society, education and things that breed hatred and for you the problem lies in a book. Our goal is the same but you hold a book accountable and I, a culture. Because to me all books are equally offensive.

    If your answer is No, then what was the point of those posts? Yes As a secular person I say “No religion asks you to kill”, knowing fully well that Krishna does. But you don’t seem to take objection to people claiming Hinduism is peaceful. Why didnt your post say “what the world needs to see about violance inherent in every religion”. That’s the bias I saw.

    Again, as I said this is not a debating contest where we hold each word under microscope to win. Being the intelligent person that you seem to be, I hope you will understand what I am trying to convey rather than tearing my comment apart word by word, just the way the post does. As you can see, I have just read what you said, so I didn’t have to think over it for long hours.

    Finally, I am not trying to defend false logic. I really started out reading this blog with a very open mind. But these posts, I realy can’t understand what are you trying to do by getting educated secular people to say “No doubt, there are mre terrorists, that’s Islam for you!”. Its not about being politically correct either, its about telling people we do not hate them and they shouldnt hate us either.

    If the goal is to reach a religion less society, the first step is to embrace people with different religious identities so that they themselves stop holding on to it and realize its not that important.

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      May 21, 2009 6:18 am

      Tears thanks for the comment. I will reply to this comment when I have some time

  10. tearsndreams permalink
    May 21, 2009 10:01 am

    Sure! I just realized I can put my question to you another way, a social experiment kinda, testable hypothesis kinda way, the way my professors would have liked me to ask it. So my question to you is:

    Other things being equal/All else held constant/Ceteris paribus (other things, education, age, gender, economic status), do you think a devout Muslim (reads namaz 3 times a day and believes Allah exits,free to add what you’d consider devout) is more prone to violence than a devout Hindu (doesn’t eat beef, believes that Brahma created the universe, feel free to add what you’d consider devout).
    I am trying to isolate the effect of Islam on violence which your posts are claiming exists.

    Yes I agree, it sometimes feel that there are more Islamic terrorists than other faiths (I don’t have the data to claim it conclusively).My personal take is tell Muslims that Islam doesn’t teach you to kill, no God does. Practice your religion peacefully.

    Your personal take is tell people like me to stop saying it, right? You want us to shed this sham and see Islam for what it is- a violent religion? Have I misunderstood you?

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      May 21, 2009 3:20 pm

      Tears, I am leaving on a vacation today so I will try to enumerate the points I want to say. I noticed that you have sent 2 comments and I will try to answer both of them. If you want to continue the discussion, I may write in more details when I come back and if you are still around (from my experience, I have seen that most theist critics of my blog just disappear after a few comments maybe because they don’t like ‘evil’ atheists or probably bcoz they don’t like discussing subjects with dumb atheists like me so just accounting for the most likely possibility :-))

      Ok here it goes.

      1. It seems to me you do not necessarily disagree with the fact that Islam is NOT a religion of peace but you claim that it is as violent as other religions and so we shouldn’t criticize it because it may breed hatred? Do you think I am correct in my assessment of your position?

      Well, if that is correct, I disagree with that premise. Just because something is more or less equally pernicious compared to something else, doesn’t mean we should not criticize it. Please read my comment above again about politicians and police. I hope you realize the logical fallacy.

      You also assume that criticism of someone or some ideology breeds hatred. Again I disagree with that assumption. If criticizing breeds hatred then we shouldn’t criticize any ideology be it religion, be it communism, be it white supremacy or even Zionism, in fact, we shouldn’t even criticize politicians, cricketers, lawyers, hindu fanatics or anyone for that matter, isn’t it? The objective of my blog is to expose malignant ideologies like religion but not to encourage people to hate people who practice them (in fact can you show me a single sentence in my blog where I asked people to hate theists). If people cannot see the difference between these two, it’s their foolishness and blindness and I or anyone else cannot do anything about it. Let’s look at an example. Let’s assume that you are a person who believes that atheism is bad for society and you criticize atheism for encouraging sin (remember you do not encourage violence or even say you hate atheists). Now, if someone distorts your words and kill a bunch of atheists and then blames you for spreading hatred or encouraging violence. Would you take the blame on yourself for someone distorting your words? I certainly won’t. And that is why I oppose your allegations so strongly. I hope you realize that disapproving of an ideology is not the same as hating or encouraging hatred of a person who practices that ideology. In fact, most of my family members are devout Hindus and I have quite a few Muslim and Christian friends. That doesn’t mean I hate them.

      Please read a discussion I had with another reader before continuing the discussion further as I have answered those arguments in much details in that post.

      https://nitwitnastik.wordpress.com/2009/04/15/to-answer-a-few-comments/

      2. The motivation for this post was borne out of my frustration towards people who claim that “Islam is a religion of peace”. People who have never read a single verse in the Quran and yet claim they somehow seem to know the teachings in that book (my own family members included). They say the exact same thing about Islam as you mentioned in your comment – “Islam doesn’t teach you to kill, no God does”. Whenever I hear or see such blatantly ignorant comments, I find myself nodding my head in disappointment. I wonder if any of the people making such comments have ever turned a single page of the Quran or the hadiths leave alone reading anything about Islam (I know most of my family members haven’t). But seriously now Tears, have you ever read the Quran and Hadiths? Have you cared to check all the videos? If not, then this discussion is futile. Such comments just points to the utter naiveté and ignorance of the person in matters of Islam (Besides, I am not going into the fact that religion is a human creation and has nothing to do with God, and will leave that discussion for some other time).

      3. You have claimed in your comment that the reason for Muslims being violent is because of the society they live in and the lack of education. Here’s your comment

      “Hindus do not take to violance as much even when opressed because of social reasons such as greater spread of education which makes them question all this violance and treat it as stories not lessons on how an ideal Hindu should behave.”

      “For me the problem is more of society, education and things that breed hatred and for you the problem lies in a book. Our goal is the same but you hold a book accountable and I, a culture.”

      Tears, first let me correct you again for misinterpreting my point. My post is about Islam and not muslims in general. Nowhere in my post have I painted ALL muslims (the operative word being *all*) with a broad brush and called them violent. Hence your question about whether muslims or hindus are more prone to violence is irrelevant. In my post, I have NOT condemned all muslims but muslim fanatics and tried to reason where they get their inspiration from. I have explained it clearly in my post and previous comment (please read my previous comment carefully) and yet you continue to ignore it and fail to understand my point. It may seem to a reader that you are trying to prove me wrong just because you have to or you need to, without trying to be honest with yourself.

      2ndly, I disagree with you again that society or lack of education in general is to be blamed for Islamic fundamentalism. I am sorry to say that is an extremely naïve idea. You probably have never thought or explored the question in depth or even read about the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in the world, especially in Europe or Saudi Arabia. Also please take a close look at the profiles of members of SIMI and Indian Mujahideen. Most of them are highly educated, had high-paying jobs and came from upper-middle class families. Please read a little about the people who are funding or masterminding these terrorist activities and their qualifications and you will see that your theory does not hold much water (same goes for the RSS or hindu fundamentalist groups) . In fact some authors have even claimed that the rise of Islamic fundamentalism may be due to petro-dollars flowing in.

      Also, have you ever wondered who might be funding organizations like the al-qaeda or the taliban and why are they doing so? You seriously don’t think that the Taliban in Afghanistan has the economic capability to fund themselves. Have you wondered why we didn’t have as much Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism before oil was discovered in the Middle east? If you had thought about your question a little bit more, another point which would have disproved your theory would have been to find cultures who are equally poor and uneducated and yet don’t participate in global terrorism (remember the operative words here are both global and terrorism because there are cultures who are in armed conflicts with their govt. for political reasons)? Can you find such cultures in the world? How about some of the countries in South/South-East asia like Cambodia, laos etc. How about some of the countries in South America which are at the bottom of the list in terms of human development index? Have you ever wondered why they don’t participate in global terrorism? I suggest you read a bit of world history and geography or look at other cultures for comparison.

      Tears, I understand I may have come across as a little harsh but it was not my intention nor my goal. I like honest debates where we are willing to admit our mistakes and we try to understand the other’s point of view. If you think I have made some flawed arguments, please point those out to me and I will apologize for them. But at the same time, I hope that you will also realize the problems with your argument.

      Btw, I thought people felt flattered to know that I read their comments so closely and paid it so much attention. But it seems you don’t like so much attention :-). So I have refrained from quoting you as much as possible except when necessary. Here’s to many more stimulating debates. Hope you have a nice weekend.

  11. tearsndreams permalink
    May 21, 2009 9:44 pm

    Well…Its kinda frustrating to spell it out, isn’t it? When the logical fallacy looks so obvious to you and the other person, just can’t see it. I feel your pain buddy. Because I am having to spell it out too but I would rather do it by giving you another example because this particular issue seems to be very close to your heart…ahem..unbiased heart if I may add.

    So lets say you know for a fact that in a population 1% of people pass science exams. The population is half men, half women. So its a fact, that 99% women flunk it. No body can question it. You know it for a fact. I know it for a fact.

    But will you be right in doing a post saying sciences are harder for women to understand? Will the argument-“I can’t talk about everyone so I just talked about women”, still make sense to you. A right, honest and unbiased statement would be sciences are hard. period. No singling out. No implication by omission of facts.

    Also, I thought it was pretty patronising of you to ask if I have cared to read about Islam. Nothing wrong with the question. Just the tone. You treat me like a difficult closed minded student. Then you apologize like a patient teacher and tell me not to take offence. So very kind of you 🙂 And no I didn’t take offence. Debates should be feeling-neutral, gender-neutral and age-neutral. I am debating the validity of some of your statements not what is in Quran. I am ready to believe what ever you say is in there. But even then the claim ‘Islam is Violent’ is that a right statement? You are giving some facts. But aren’t you concealing some too- by refusing to talk about other religions.

    So let me answer you first. No, I have not read Quran (or the other book you keep mentioning). I am not even sure I am spelling it right. I watched the videos you put up there including the one which criticised Bush for having said Islam is peaceful (would love to know what should the US president could have said though). Having said that, I am ready to take your word for whats in those books.
    That there is violence. Prophet Mhd led a genocide…whatever…my objection, is it violent in a relative sense? I say No. And nothing in your posts proves otherwise. So why should I give in to false logic. Prove to me that its more violent in a relative sense.
    So back to your love for Islam. Yes its violent in an absolute sense.
    But No its not violent in a relative sense. Its just a religion.

    Regarding rich Muslims and rich countries backing terrorism, you may have a point there. I have a personal bias too. Something that I do not say out in the open. Yes I think Muslims take their books more seriously. Based on my limited observations, I see that its harder for Muslims to break a code such as marry outside religion, have a drink socially, use a credit card or give up Hijab, than it is for Hindus. People I personally know do not question their books and practices as much as I question mine. I don’t know why that is. But I am not agreeing with you with this admission. I still say our books are equally non sensical. I wish the people reading them would not take it as something worth giving up their and taking others’ lives for.

    (..digression- hope you always get your currency exchanged at official sources and tell your friends to do the same because the parallel forex market funds terrorism too. I am not getting into a discussion about honesty and stuff because who defines what honest is, all I am saying is unofficial exchange provides dollars for arms–end of digression)

    Now my turn to be patronizing. Have you ever cared to read (borrowing your tone here) the book “how to lie with statistics”. Have you ever heard quotes such as statistics is like a swim suit revealing what is important but concealing what is vital? That’s what you are doing in those posts, By not talking about other religions…you are implying something. And thats what I object to.

    And yes we will not see eye to eye. We have both figured that now.
    I don’t think I have anything left to say. You haven’t managed to put me off the blog though (yet). Lets see how long I last

    • June 1, 2009 8:13 pm

      Tears Thanks for your comment. Please forgive me for not continuing this dicussion any further, because after reading your comment it seems you haven’t bothered to read, leave alone think, about my comments carefully. This is apparent from the fact that you keep repeating the same arguments over and over again – arguments which I have already responded to. Moreover, the fact that you have accused me of using a patronizing “tone” while ignoring your own sarcastic and condescending “tone” is a sure sign that this discussion has become a battle of egos and is no longer an objective discussion.

      In addition, the fact that you chose to start the debate without first getting aquainted with the Quran/Hadiths and the arguments given in this video has given me enough reason to believe that anything I say in the future will not be taken seriously. It is with a futile hope that someday you may get a chance to explore the ideology of Islam more thoroughly than it has been mentioned here, that I take me leave. Wish you all the best in your search for the truth.

  12. January 21, 2010 3:49 am

    tearsndropns,

    “Knowing what you know about Hinduism, Geeta, Mahabharta, Kali, Sikh Gurus, do you claim Islam is a more, the operative word being more,

    violant religion?”

    Just like NN, I too am an atheist, and at the outset want to clarify, I have no conlict of interest in what am I to say. Since, violence

    cannot be measured in mathematical units, you will have to consider some ‘practical’ aspects to assess Islam’s virulence vis-a-vis other

    religions.

    So, yes Islam is more violent than Hinduism because the instances you pointed out have at best been glorified as exemplary behavior, which is

    bad indeed. What I find objectionable about the manner in which Kunti produces her five sons is not that they were out of the wedlock, but

    that the scriptures have tried to perpetuate them as some kind of miraculous hands-free technique wherein no penetration (sexual intercourse)

    was involved! This is what I find hypocritical. But getting to the original point, the difference between Hinduism and other religions is

    that it does not have a single authoritative Book with orders on how to lead one’s life. And as I pointed out, whatever seem to be directives

    (at least in the epics – Ramayana and Mahabharata) have at best been portrayed as exemplary behaviors, and not as direct orders from Gods.

    Also, another consequence of not having a single authoritative text is that for every single view expressed, there is definitely something

    contradictory that could also be found in the Vedas. And before someone points out Vedas are THAT authoritaive text, then again the nature of

    Vedas is much more different than that of Islamic scriptures in that the former are a lot more heterogenous in their authorship, which makes

    them much more ambiguos and much less binding on the follower to well, follow them.

    So, just like you pointed out, if the operative word is “more”, then yes Hinduism does allow for a more peaceful existence of people with differing faiths, and that makes it more conducive to harmony than Islam. The reason, in my opinion is because Hinduism has never really been a religion with a single ideology behind it. In fact, within the Vedic culture that has come to be associated with Hindus, there are many sects and castes, all of which follow different Gods. For instance, if I am not wrong, there had been fierce conflicts between Shaivites and Vaishnavites, fighting respectively for the supremacy of Shiva and Vishnu, which can practically be viewed as a conflict between two religions rather than just two sects. The ‘Hindu’ identity emerged more as a reactionary coalescence against other religions like Islam and Christianity. Again, all this I am citing only to point out that Hinduism was never a political ideology with “numbers” as one of its targets. This in itself makes it more tolerant of other views.

    So, to paint all the religions with the same brush of “virulent” would not be inappropriate, but to qualify them with an operative adverb “equally” (as in ‘equally virulent’) would be to lose one’s objectivity. True, AIDS and common cold both are diseases, but to call them ‘equally’ virulent would be an overkill in political correctness.

    Of course, all this was only to point out Hinduism is more peaceful, and why. Which is not to mean at all that it is perfect. In fact, the mistake we make in assessing religions is in assuming them as perfect by default, and then trying to find imperfections in them. Whereas, I feel, just like everything primitive, we should assess them objectively, not trying to see good in them (“cherry picking” as NN has labeled it elsewhere). If all this requires cutting off the umbilical cords from our past religions, then be it! Why should we shy from doing that? But, for that to be done one has to point out that that umbilical cord is no longer required, and that it is harmful to hold on to it! It is the second thing that NN, in my opinion, was trying to point out.

    “Yes I agree, it sometimes feel that there are more Islamic terrorists than other faiths (I don’t have the data to claim it conclusively).My personal take is tell Muslims that Islam doesn’t teach you to kill, no God does. Practice your religion peacefully.”

    tearsndrops, aren’t words like “feel” a case of excessive euphemism and undermining the problem? Do you know that there are no “data” as to how many people die of AIDS v/s common cold in India, but do you really need that to know that AIDS is more frightening to contract? As to the second point, it is important to understand that religions are not created and scriptures NOT written by God, because God does not exist! I know saying it so forcefully that God does not exist puts off many readers and listeners, and even before we get into hilosophical vortices like, “what if” God could exist, it becomes pertinent to remind the theist that just conceding the possibility that God could exist should not be used as a stepping stone to exhort the monopoly of scriptures in dictating our lives! And that’s where role of atheism moves beyong mere philosophical considerations to social improvement in reminding people to take charge of their own lives and moral beliefs, which effectively could result in a more peaceful society, if we are to assume that independent thinkers are more likely to be wise, hedonistic, and hence, peace-loving.

    NN,

    “just as I say the same thing about Hinduism and the Manu Smriti and that’s one of the reasons why I reject Hinduism too”

    I’m quoting you here because, I wanted to point out a very subtle example for the default obligation we feel in accepting religious scriptures’ veracity. For instance, you have directly talked of rejecting the Manu Smriti because of reasons, and it sounded like, you had accepted it “by default” (without reasons to do so). I feel this happens because of cultural conditioning, and is not at all your fault, especially having spent your childhood in India. I was exposed to a few religious ideas in my early childhood – the ideas of rebirth and “aatma”, etc., but what I now recall is I had developed my own moral system, totally independent of any religious influences by the time I had turned 10. Though, I had been a firm believer in the existence of God till I turned 16, it was much before I realized that I needed to be “good” and had to avoid to be “bad”, not to appease a God, but that is the “best” I could be! Somehow, it was very inherent in my belief system that what I do not like being subjected to myself, I had not RIGHT to do to others.

    I’m giving this example because I think it is very important to promote this kind of independent thinking about morality right from the childhood, rather than telling people that “be good because God tells you to be good”. This way, we can hope that societies would turn better, because the moment we say, be good because “God wants you to be good”, it is more of an imposed goodness and is associated with a fatigue, because it is in hope of a reward to be achieved AFTER one dies!!!

    My last point might seem irrelevant, but I made it only because so many readers (as did tearsndrops) urge others to use religions as instruments for peace rather than their outright rejection. I feel, morality and ethics have nothing to do with theology. And religion at best is a hybrid entity, trying to dabble in too many areas of human life, which is very risky to allow to continue. 😦

    Take care.

  13. January 21, 2010 10:27 am

    *Kunti had produced 4 sons! Sorry! 😛

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  1. Indian Secularists and their attitude towards Islam « Beliefs, Religion and Reason - A perspective of Hindu Atheist
  2. What Secular Indians Need to Know About Islam - Part III « Nitwit Nastik

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