How to criticise Islam without being Islamophobic?

  • I don't believe that St. Stephens is a muslim school. The article was about how children's education is been ruined by religious theocratics and how people aren't making a stand for the children due to political correctness or been labelled islamophobic and instead take the side of the theocratics.

  • The hijab should not be allowed in the UK, just as western people aren't allowed to go nudie bathing, amongst other things, in muslim countries!

    Why should we make our rules as a reaction to the rules in other countries?


    It's my belief than everyone should be allowed to dress (or not dress) in whatever way they choose to -- and head coverings are common in many religious cultures. Of course, if anyone forces a particular way on anyone then that's an entirely different matter.

  • This thread is a minefield. I find Hippy hard enough to find my way around, so many threads etc, I never know where I am. Well, I know where I've been - I've been writing in some dark, murky corner, a thread on some weird sex case, defining gender. I can just about get my head around that one (but hardly anybody is there). You're all here.


    Likahamma - I noticed on one post you deleted what you'd put, you said you were too angry. Ignore me if I am being rude (and sorry), I don't mean to force an response from you. What is your personal stake in this discussion? Are you consumed with the anger? What you say all seems very well researched and you obviously know a phenomenal amount - I am not doubting that. I hope you are OK.


    Paul starts off superbly with a number of links to other articles, defining the parameters around Islam etc. The very last link is about being publicly tortured for transgender. To put that in perspective, there are cases of individuals being tortured for simply talking (if the talk is against the Saudi state). Same in Syria by Assad, yet that hardly gets the news, it's all IS . . . Freedom of speech is a basic human right. A system that can't take criticism isn't a viable system.


    And Imagine: here we think Big Brother is trash, exploitative entertainment. Over there they have public torture? Presumably if they go to watch, it is because they want to watch, hence why I use the seemingly inappropriate word of entertainment. Would there be crowds watching over here if we brought capital punishment back? I suspect there would, hence why we need control at certain levels.


    I've been watching Big Brother and House of Saud, both are oddly relevant to this thread. The 3 x part House of Saud doc is a good history of how Saudi Arabia, being the wealthiest / most powerful is a pivotal country in balancing Islam relations and linking East and West. It is interesting to see how all the dignitaries, UK royalty and PMs, US pres, Russian leaders . . . world leaders glow in the presence of the Saudi leaders. It all looks very seductive on screen, the flowing robes, gold thrones etc, I still have a mythical idea of Persian princes, living in the sweeping sands near a tropical oasis in my head. The Persians were leaders in science, astronomy, maths . . . Devolution, look what we've come to . . . (Surely people do have power? Maybe we are ignoring something? And praising the wrong things?)


    Bush, Obama, royalty . . . all with their big smiles. Of course they do have to continue these diplomatic relations - the alternative is an undiplomatic one. One top US CIA official said we have more control being reluctant friends, than if we cut off entirely and the Saudis then go to China or Russia. In that statement is the precarious balance which maintains global relations. [In the past, when economies weren't interdependent, before the possibility of nucelar or other military-might catastrophe, it may have been possible to ignore certain countries during disagreements, it's not like that now.]


    How can we go on like this? Well firstly is recognising our position, and that is why we shouldn't criticise Trump's visit (there is a vast fucking difference between Trump and the other totalitarian leaders!). The invite should NOT have been offered so quickly, illiberally, May was clumsily prancing with her power. But once the invite is there, it does far more damage to rescind. True, Trump in power is a big blow to western credibility - we haven't seen such a level of ineptitude for a Western leader for a long time. Bush was funny to look at and couldn't spell, but at least he was a politician. Trump weakens the balance of stability in politics.


    It doesn't bear thinking what could have transpired if Europe had gone along similar lines . . . Farage, Marie le Pen . . . Hopefully the Trump shock will cause a US swing back and right itself again. There also seems to be a worrying increase of right wing assholes bing disguised under manners and lies, check up on their connections and the lies become more apparent. Meanwhile, and of course, the public is increasingly betrayed - why should we have to care?


    On a tennuous hope, the current Saudi prince is being looked at by some as bearing a potential for cultural, political and economic change; the Sauds are primarily bein forced by the latter: longterm economical projections are dire for the Sauds. Time has to prove this prince, but the torture hasn't stopped, as the 47 cases of torture show (?). I didn't fully understand the way this is reported as he is not the king? The program went on to demonstrate the way, for decades, the Saudi family have got away with huge financial fraud, how money ends up in Islamic fundamentalist hands (though direct links are not established), the war in Yemen (but if we didn't supply the munitions others would, and better to be close to your enemy). The program showed CCTV footage of a Saudi prince battering another man in a top London hotel. That man was later found dead, the prince had naked photos of the victim on his phone. Gays testified against the prince . . . he got away with it; a failed case of murder in London and weird 'diplomatic-like' immunity belittling British law.


    Then some mentioned on this thread the Rotherham scandal - that's why I watched Big Brother, it's tedious and repetitive, but sometimes it's been interesting. I hardly ever watch it, but because Anne, Maggie and Johnson's sister were on it, I thought I'd watch. To keep informed you need to watch all sorts of things, including trash. I'd never heard of Maggie until this, and from what she says, it looks as though a lot of the Maggie conversations have been cut from CBB. Why? Wasn't that supposed to be the point of the new style CBB? More serious debates? Maggie said she went on because she wanted recognition of the Rotherham case which was being ignored - she seem to be opposed to Anne. Anne at the time was shadow something or other at the time of Rotherham. I will be interested to hear what Anne has to say in defence. These politicans are very thick skinned, sometimes they have to make difficult (impossible?) decisions.


    What has happened about that other child abuse inquiry set up by May mid 2014, and which has seen people resign, including Dame Lowell Goddard? It seems to have left the news. To me it seems the linking thread is always power gone wrong. (Saville never got caught . . .) What is the critical thing going wrong with this case? It doesn't make sense. Considering the nature and scale, this should be one of the prime cases of UK criminal history - what's happening?


    We're seeing far too much of the same old stuff. And then suddenly cases can suddenly disappear from the news, it's almost as though state and media conspire to creates a sense of futility within the general public. Also, there is actually too much info for me to process sensibly here, so apologies for all this waffle.

  • Quote

    Paul says: There is clearly something wrong here.


    I absolutely believe we have a duty to respect our fellow humans and allow them agency over their lives -- and it would be wrong to deny anyone their rights to self expression -- but in some ways it's like we're dealing with a culture that hasn't caught up with our values.


    Basically I'm not sure how it can be untangled, because it seems that the only people willing to address it are racist thugs with loud voices rather than anyone with any rational sense.

    "There is clearly something wrong here." Totally aggree, and somehow, you get the sense maybe we don't even diagnose problems correctly. That is why I often mention Assad in relation to Syria. To me, Assad is worse than IS. Yet Assad hardly ever seems to be the focus. Sometimes it is so nonsensical I have even thought 'nonsensical' responses such as Putin must have a deal with Assad, to give Assad a palace or something in return for allowing the ruin of his country so that Putin can then take over. Is it back to this 'diplomatic immunity' thing? Governments have much less power over official corruption than renegade corruption? You need definite, concrete cases to go after a leader? Similarly Myanmar, there the leader seems to be the problem (one who has 'won' the Noble Peace Prize); do we really beleive a leader has no idea what is happening in her own country?


    This is a small point. Then you get Paul arguing with Vanwoman about foreskin and clits (honestly, I don't intend to trivialise there), but I am sure, basically you are both on the same side - right? Yes, Vanwoman, you are right, regarding GM, the manifestation of the female suffering is probably worse in nature and number + it lends itself into a more universal problem where women's rights need a lot of attention. However, weighing up individual's pain is bizarre, we are escaping the issues when we do that. Paul was right to bring up the issue of MGM. Just as there are cases of male Anorexia, husband abuse, prostate cancer, some male jobs are lowly. All sorts of things.


    Divisiveness can be weaker than figuring out where we agree. It could be that beyond sexual inequality the biggest world problem is the division of power. The division of power is skewing / screwing human potential. In fact some of the major 70s feminists were vocal on that - Betty Friedan and Doris Lessing. Lessing got tired sometimes about how some women claimed and trivialised feminism for selfish motives ignoring more serious issues of the division of power. Doris Lessing is a great voice for a true equality.


    There is a tendency sometimes for people to laud their position of being a victim, they are on the winning side, the moral majority. It can be a disturbing side of feminism. Women are safe from being tyranical - men are worse. Watch the yoghurt, Malteaser and Boots commercials - the acceptable side of sexism? Propping up the inferior sex? If that gloating interferes with resolving the problem it weakens the morality it pretends to defend. [Admitted: the ultra-cpaitalist body of advertising is not the best way to analyse the population! It's a shame they can't be bigger minded though, they shouldn't exploit / contribute to negative stereotypes.]


    As for Paul's final paragraph there, I think people who think like Paul need to stand their ground, have hope, faith, whatever other positive terms, stand strong with your conviction. I don't agree with the statement that only racist thugs with loud voices are addressing it rather than anyone with any rational sense. That's an insult to those supporting good, some of them currently being tortured. People in Syria, who did indeed protest "rationally" are now piled up as tortured, naked, dead bodies in Syrian hospital toilets - tens of thousands of them under the Assad regime. Then ditto for all the other regimes on this world. There are a lot of rational minds doing good, unfortunately part of the problem is in the nature of the beast we are fighting: power is powerful.


    On a final note, I should add: When I go to any Islamic countries, yes, there are probably prejudices practiced on a wide scale, against youth, gender, class, sexuality; but basically the people are peaceful and friendly, they just want to get on with life, smile and get on with family and friends. Look at news footage of Aleppo, the general population in the rubble, families clinging to each other for survival, the doctors remaining to keep life beating wherever possible. It's a matter of properly harnessing these numbers of basically ordinary people who want a good life; against those who are misusing power. One statistic of hope in the House of Saud documentary was that two thirds of the youth are under 30: they are 'connected' and they want change.

  • Paul was right to bring up the issue of MGM. Just as there are cases of male Anorexia, husband abuse, prostate cancer, some male jobs are lowly. All sorts of things.

    My point was to show how familiarity often reduces the impact on some issues.


    A similar argument could be made regarding the Yulin Dog Meat Festival - we can look at that in horror while ignoring the fate of domestic livestock in the UK.


    An alternative example may be the Orthodox Jewish areas in London such as Stamford Hill, where it's very common to see young people dressed like this:


    payot.jpg


    This sight may be unfamiliar to people outside the capital, but I am yet to hear anyone in London calling for a ban on payot curls.


    The way I see it is that all expressions of culture and faith should be allowed and celebrated, sameness is dull -- but at the same time we shouldn't excuse harmful behaviour on the grounds of it being sanctioned by religious texts or traditions.


    There's a massive difference between choosing to wear a scarf and promoting misogyny.

  • This thread is a minefield. I find Hippy hard enough to find my way around, so many threads etc, I never know where I am. Well, I know where I've been - I've been writing in some dark, murky corner, a thread on some weird sex case, defining gender. I can just about get my head around that one (but hardly anybody is there). You're all here.


    Likahamma - I noticed on one post you deleted what you'd put, you said you were too angry. Ignore me if I am being rude (and sorry), I don't mean to force an response from you. What is your personal stake in this discussion? Are you consumed with the anger? What you say all seems very well researched and you obviously know a phenomenal amount - I am not doubting that. I hope you are ok

    Hiya Maxal, I don't think that you're rude for asking at all.

    As I said in the post , I had just got up with a terrible hangover , add to that , I'm a real grumpy git in the morning. I just thought that the article that Miss Parrot and Crow posted from the SWP totally obfuscated the fact that these offences were perpetrated by muslim men of mainly Pakistani origin. Also miss Parrot is far too nice and polite to have to put up with whatever caustic shit I had typed , so it seemed polite and just the decent/ right thing to do to delete it.

    I'd also got in mind an article by Douglas Murray on how people used to say never write a letter in anger and how that advice seems to have gone astray nowadays , what with social media and this newfangled interweb thingy.


    No I'm not consumed with anger on the subject generally, angry with the goat shagging, Islamist ,tyrant sultan Erdogan bombing and setting his so called moderate jihadi throat slitters on Kurds in Syria and elsewhere .

    Maybe a bit pissed off with the way that the left generally, with a few exceptions never or rarely address these issues or dishonestly smear ,lie and try to discredit those that do.

    For example Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali been put on the Southern Poverty Law Centres list of anti muslim hate speakers. Sometimes one could be forgiven for thinking that the left could be complicit in setting people up for assassination ,as in the case of what happened to Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn.

    Liberals like Sam Harris , Michael Sherlock and many others constantly have to endure these smears and defend themselves from people that really don't seem to have any limits on the levels that they will stoop too, in order to win their arguments on this subject.

    I could go on and on but I've got to cook tea.

    Thanks for asking , nice post by the way

  • Paul - I couldn't open that image for some reason. I actually live 'round the corner from Stamford Hill where the Haredi Jews live. I find them fascinating. You see them in swarms. The children look like little adults. They have a very strong sense of community. Very rarely Stamford Hill is on the London news because of the schools not adhering to UK education policy. This is yet ANOTHER example of things repeatedly swept under the carpet. We know about it, but don't act. The children (young adults just hitting 20?), identity hidden, are filmed stating they are not educated to integrate in modern British life, the emphasis of their 'education' is their very complex religion, other subjects suffer; in this way, it works like a kind of cult not allowing the mind freedom to be anything else. The news is quite clearly a plea from these children - it has so far been ignored.


    The whole of Stamford Hill is a bit of a mystery, behind all these houses, there is a whole way of life. A house is actually a school. I'm not implying anything insidious here. I'm sure it works for a lot of them, but the news showed it didn't work for all (and it's against our law). We need to demand openness and not accuse, because we are knowingly allowing it. Decades pass. Keep on ignoring these issues, don't act on them when they first appear, and they escalate, til it becomes impossible, the timing is wrong. Like Trump and his magic wand for Israel's true capital - thanks for sorting that one out Trumpy. (Still I haven't heard much about that, has it all died down?)


    Thanks Likahama - I still don't know why this particular subject is your bone of contention. Yes you are right about the media, it is difficult to get balanced news. In fact you have to go out of your way to figure things out (despite my belief the UK probably has one of the freest media systems in the world). When I have spoken to Muslims they have opened my eyes a bit, as they have different sources for their information, on the internet etc. I should do the same, but you can't be everywhere. One of my Muslim friends, well-educated, desperately tried to get onto Newsnight to rectify balance - no chance.


    Muslims can be much better informed (they have to be - it is their existence). He rose my awareness a bit about how actively muslims do protest against terrorism. Actually, I should add, he did admit it drove him to despair, the level of ignorance in his own population. But the point is, that the educated muslims are fighting a difficult/frightening battle. Being ostracised out of Islam in the UK is dangerous, open to threat and violence (gays, women whoever . . .).


    I meant to write in the above, in answer to Paul, that that is where the heart of the battle is. How do we unravel the mess? Really, the best way is for it to unravel from the inside out. It can't be dictated from without. 'We' on the outside can obviously support, offer sanction and free speech, but there has to be a willingness from within the Muslim community to accept greater freedoms, and certainly resist terrorism. [Also, I think UK has to wise up as to making it clear to anybody living in the UK, that that means living in a secular state with all that implies . . . ]


    When you say Erdogan, I take it you mean the Turkish president? Yes, it's depressing he is taking Turkey backwards. Where Saudi Arabia is a monolith of Islam, Turkey at one point was a kind of bridge of possibility. Not now it seems. Attaturk's fresh approach is wilted into a bravado of fake tourism industry hiding an aggressive policy towards traditionalism. Meanwhile grasping greedily to become part of Europe, without bearing the credentials. And the Kurds, in search of land, are being used as military fodder by US and us. Who knows, maybe it will pay off and in stead of rasPutin getting Syria, The Kurds will be apportioned some land Churchillian style by the grace of the West . . .

  • Paul - I couldn't open that image for some reason. I actually live 'round the corner from Stamford Hill where the Haredi Jews live. I find them fascinating. You see them in swarms. The children look like little adults. They have a very strong sense of community. Very rarely Stamford Hill is on the London news because of the schools not adhering to UK education policy. This is yet ANOTHER example of things repeatedly swept under the carpet. We know about it, but don't act. The children (young adults just hitting 20?), identity hidden, are filmed stating they are not educated to integrate in modern British life, the emphasis of their 'education' is their very complex religion, other subjects suffer; in this way, it works like a kind of cult not allowing the mind freedom to be anything else. The news is quite clearly a plea from these children - it has so far been ignored.

    I fixed the image.


    I actually grabbed the attachment from this article about teachings in Jewish faith schools being problematic, including the following:

    Quote

    in London's Stamford Hill that had, between them, removed images of women from textbooks, taught that a woman's role was "to cook and clean", crossed out the word "Christmas" and even refused to allow boys to speak to female inspectors.

    https://www.newstatesman.com/p…ng-faith-schools-properly


    For the record I grew up with lots of Jewish kids, have studied Jewish history and I utterly abhor anti-semitism.


    There are similar issues though - for instance, criticism of male circumcision is often said to be anti semitic and I have one Jewish friend who won't even entertain discussion on it - some people are very defensive of their traditions.

  • Paul - you're privileged to have that extra insight from your experience of having lived with the Jewish. My best friend is Jewish, she's not religious at all, but one of her brothers is a deep religious thinker. Society in the UK has an incredible mix of people, yet it can be very difficult to mix across racial barriers! As a society we lose a lot from missing those opportunities.


    Somebody mentioned the Yazidi group on this thread. They are a group that symbolises this quality of races being distinct and protective of their identity, culture, beliefs and values. They practice strict endogamy and are fiercely protective of their population because their survival as a race depends on it. They don't want their values / beliefs altered by mixing with other groups. So they stone their own people if they try to leave or marry outside the group. That's their way of life based on a struggle for survival.


    Oddly, their religion is a mix of all the religions in that area; Islam, Judaism, Christianity and smaller subsect religions . . . You'd think that mix would create some kind of meeting ground, but it doesn't, instead they argue about small differences (one of their gods gets confused with the Shaitan character of the Koran for instance). To us on the outside, we think who cares! For them it is the meaning of their life.


    The Yezidi women all banded together as soldiers against some Islamic terrorists - it was amazing to see this level of confidence, real strength, equality and 'fraternity' amongst the Yazidi women and men (even though it was for the shameful act of killing). At one point of desperation the Yazidi women were begging for international support. Part of me wanted to cry out, "but you stone your own people!". Of course that's missing the point. But you do wonder, maybe these are the ocassions when we could reach out, help and then have real cross-cultural discussions on achieving some kind of set of universal agreements (eg, no stoning, no 'half rights' for women . . .).

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