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What will it take to fix the Islamic world's mess?

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#21 Norville

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 02:15 PM

Long post ahoy; couldn't help it.

I'm not interested in listening to some people's propaganda about how Islam is "the religion of peace". A lot of Muslims do prefer to live in peace, but "Islam" itself means total submission/surrender to Allah, and the only way for there to be total peace is for them to convert everyone everywhere to Islam -- not that that would necessarily work, since Muslims fight each other, too, though in a perfect world, they all would live as one community sharing one faith.

I've read enough about Islam to know that it's actually meant to be egalitarian, everyone being the same in Allah's eyes (which is actually practiced on their pilgrimages to Mecca, all dressing the same, with no regard to class, rank, etc.). However, deeper than Islam is the underlay of the societies/cultures which accepted Islam. Islam says nothing about chopping out the genitalia of women, as I recall, but as it was the accepted practice in certain African cultures long before they had Islam, they retain the practice. Islam was actually supposed to help women in some of these societies, to the extent that it gave them a right to property and the like, but the accepted practices, much older than Islam, prefered to continue with the "women are dirt" attitude. (And Islam does actually point out that men are still superior to women...)

Perhaps education would help -- education that isn't solely strictly religious and teaches only the fiercer aspects of the Koran solely by memorization to young people who don't even speak Arabic.

But would education help with the violent jealousy that part of the world tends to feel now?

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Lea: US built and funded these very same terroristic organisations to fight against Soviet Union in that region

We didn't build or fund Al Qaeda. We certainly did help and fund the mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Soviets; unfortunately, the muj didn't only include the Afghans, but also included "Arab Afghans", Arabs from surrounding Middle Eastern countries who decided to join the Afghan Jihad; when that war was finally done, they wanted to go somewhere else and spread the chaos. Al Qaeda arose out of that. Afghanistan also overflows with competing warlords, who destroyed so much that everyone needed guns to protect themselves, and then came the Taliban, disarming everyone and bringing "peace" through utter oppression...

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Lea: Not considering Islamic worlds inferior would help a lot - i.e. not thinking that you might know better how they should live, but accepting that this is something they know the best.

True to an extent. If they were as stupid as most of us think, Al Qaeda wouldn't be happily using the Internet to plan their strikes, and therefore using modernity against us, for one example.

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Godeskian: The western world can bomb them, can demonise them, can flatten entire coutnries and it will make no difference, because the societies that spawn this violence still accept it.

Also true to an extent. We seem to think that, if we bomb them, they should love us. Would we adore anyone who attacked us? No, we hate Al Qaeda for what they did on 9/11. But the Iraqis should love us. Hmm. Well, I don't get it.

A really good book to read about Afghanistan is Soldiers of God by Robert Kaplan; he spent some time with the mujahideen and was impressed by their steadfast refusal to accept any invasion. In fact, he suspected that they fought as they did because they didn't have anything to lose by doing it; and if we were to be in their situation, invaded by some stronger force, we'd probably give up and obey them. I prefer not to believe that; I like to think that I'd resist. But I'd have no way of knowing until the situation actually happened, God forbid.

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Shalamar: Historically the violence in the region goes much further back than the 1960's or even the 1900's..it is a region that has been troubled with violence time immorial..but again isn't most of the world...

I agree with that. Before we had trouble with some of these places, the British Empire had trouble with them. We think we're better than the British Empire was. Well, if we can solve all the world's problems, then we can think that...

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Shalamar: but if the people don't want to change, I don't think we can effectively make them...I think we just have to keep their violence from being aimed at us... part of me very coldly says get out of the region...every western civilization, let them do what they want as long as they don't do it to us...

Part of me agrees with that, Shal. Every so often, the harsh and non-peaceful side of me says "Bomb them all. Destroy Mecca through terrorism and see how they like it." They wouldn't... to the point that it would be politically unacceptable to do anything like that. But hey, my intense initial reaction to the destruction of the towers on 9/11 was "They finally did it... kill them!" Yet I've also tried to talk peace. (I've done that partly because I suddenly understood exactly how Delenn in "Babylon 5" felt. Her initial reaction of rage set off a terrible war. She regretted it and tried to bring peace in the aftermath. Just a thought...)

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Themis: Frankly I'd like to be able to put a dome over the whole middle east and let them either kill each other off or decide to live together.

Ah yes... if only...

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Themis: Could the harsh landscape over there have anything to do with the apparent willingness to do atrocious things in this life and find the reward in the next life??

Certainly in Afghanistan, it's had everything to do with the harshness of their lives in that environment. They choose to believe in a harsh, fierce God who demands submission. People who live in areas that aren't total desert out to kill its inhabitants tend to be somewhat more relaxed in their ideas of religion.

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Drew: You know what it'll take to fix the world's Islamic mess? It'll take the world's Islamists.

That's absolutely true.

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Drew: they will have to learn the value of peace. (And I'm not even sure that's possible.)

It's not possible as long as the young people there fall in love with war and violence and proclaim that they love living that way. But then, a lot of guys do fall in love with war, and not only Muslims.

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Vapor Trails: IMO, the very thought of religious "sanity" in Islam is nothing more than a naive, idealistic fantasy.

It is very idealistic. I wouldn't accuse Islam of being the only insane-acting religion, though.

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Zack: Lumping together a disparate array of countries such as Turkey, Algeria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia under the heading "the Islamic" world is just silly, reductionist nonsense.

I completely agree. Excuse me, there are a lot of different countries/cultures there. The Islamic dream may be to make everyone exactly alike, but that's nowhere near true.

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LotS: Islam IS a fundamentally violent religion.

Some of your examples have to do with the underlying culture, which Islam hasn't done much to change. I mean, I could list what Christianity has done, and I get the impression that anyone who calls himself Lord of the Sword might be fundamentally violent, too. *shrug*

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LotS: I don't need to rehash how the women in Afghanistan were treated, do I?

And still are. But that has a lot to do with the culture(s) there, in which women are as dust and probably were long before Islam.

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LotS: And I won't even mention how the people in Iraq were treated.

One weird little thing about the Baathist regime in Iraq: they were actually pretty much secular. Despite the myth that Saddam had an edition of the Koran written in his blood, he wasn't an Islamist and cracked down violently on them, especially Shiites. So that whole situation had less to do with Islam that it did with power-hunger, which can happen anywhere.

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Rov: First: Iraq was a secular state. As such, using treatment of Iraqis as an argument against Islam is a bit dubious.

Thanks for pointing that out, Rov. It's an inconvenient fact.

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Rov: Second: People are mistreated in parts of the world that aren't Islamic.

Imagine that. Burma/Myanmar isn't Islamic, is it? Remember the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia/Kampuchea? They weren't Islamic, but what they did was hideous; amazingly, a country in as bad condition as Vietnam said that Cambodia had become the worst place they'd ever seen. (I remember reading that in a book entitled To Destroy You is No Loss, about a family trying to survive those times in Cambodia.)

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Rov: Fifth: All religions have had their dark spots. While I hate to use what's almost a cliche at this point, anybody read about the Crusades? The Inquisition? Abortion clinic bombings?

I could point out that there are advocates of "muscular" Christianity who declare that seeking peace is feminized, that to be a warrior is preferable. That's encouraging. :sarcasm: And what does it say about our culture that "feminized" is a foul, scurrilous insult? Women are bad, yes indeed...

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Rov: Would the "Christian World" include, say, the United States and Brazil?

And plenty of Europe. But the US doesn't want to be included with Europe, does it? After all, they're all Eurotrash these days. We're supposed to talk them down now.
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#22 tennyson

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 02:34 PM

Considering the demographic trends of the last 100 years all of the Americas as well as Europe, Australia, Russia, New Zealand and a significant portion of Sub-Saharan Africa could be called "the Christian world" from a certain point of view. So the fallacy of thinking of a religion with almost as many adherants as a monolithic entity shows through in that.
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#23 Consubstantial

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 02:38 PM

Delvo, on Nov 21 2003, 05:56 PM, said:

Ignoring the off-topic PC-feeling stuff that belongs in another thread...

I had a feeling many people would say it's just the oil, and I posed the original question open-endedly to see if I'd get that without prompting for it.
Am I reading this right?  You attacked the Islamic faith because you wanted to have an economic discussion.  Your logic completely escapes me.

The accusation that any member's comments here have simply been PC is dismissive and insulting to the members.
From the start, our terms jump to conclusions--Kenneth Burke

#24 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 03:03 PM

Norville, on Nov 21 2003, 03:15 PM, said:

Some of your examples have to do with the underlying culture, which Islam hasn't done much to change. I mean, I could list what Christianity has done, and I get the impression that anyone who calls himself Lord of the Sword might be fundamentally violent, too. *shrug*
LOL...I never, not once, said I was a peaceful person.  ;)  :p
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#25 Rov Judicata

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 03:21 PM

HubcapDave, on Nov 21 2003, 11:58 AM, said:

When did Zack make a State of the Union speech?

;)
This is what I get for editing without double-checking for pronoun matching... ;)
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~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#26 Drew

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 04:26 PM

G1223, on Nov 21 2003, 01:07 PM, said:

The problem is not the faith. It is the people  behind that faith. We have leaders among theose people who insist on twising the reradings of that faith to excuse thier behavior. It is a reason why to me that the Rainbow six concept has merit.
I keep seeing reference to "Rainbow 6" in message threads. Care to enlighten the unenlightened?
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#27 G1223

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 04:41 PM

Rainbow six is a novel by Tom Clancy that deals with terrorism by using the combined assets of NATO theUS's CIA NSA NRO  also MI-6 DSGE The German Intellegence service that is somehow not not at hand. The Russian replacement for the KGB they have found that terrorism is a true enemy of nations and they use these assets combined with a unit made up of the best men in wet work and they go and find the terrorists and deal with them. (That can be kidnapped and handed over for trial or simply killed)

But as I said the faith is not the villian it's the men who hide behind that "holy text" who need dragged into the light of day even if it's inside a body bag.
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TANSTAAFL
If you voted for Obama then all the mistakes he makes are your fault and I will point this out to you every time he does mess up.

When the fall is all that remains. It matters a great deal.

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#28 Shalamar

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 04:44 PM

Tom Clancy's novel Rainbow 6 ..an multinational anti terrorist operations team.


Tom Clancy's site and info on Rainbow 6

Lol G and I cross posted...I am a slow poster..the review at the link about is excellent, as is the book.

I have read my copy to flinders...

Edited by Shalamar, 21 November 2003 - 04:47 PM.

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Respect for One's Self / Respect for Others / Responsibility for One's Words & Actions.

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#29 Drew

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 04:52 PM

Yep. Knew about the novel. I just didn't get the application here. Basically, the idea is that instead of trying to fight against terrorists via conventional methods, we train surgical assault teams to target terrorist leaders, etc.

Hmmm. International Black Ops teams seem like something that would cause Peaceniks and Conspiracy Theorists to really get their undies in a bunch.
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."

#30 G1223

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 04:56 PM

Well you cannot make everyone happy but you could take care of the heads of Hamas Islamic Jahaid. And you di it in the russian way (Like they did in Bearuit )
If you encounter any Trolls. You really must not forget them.
And if you want to save these shores. For Pity sake Don't Trust them.
paraphrased from H. "Breaker" Morant

TANSTAAFL
If you voted for Obama then all the mistakes he makes are your fault and I will point this out to you every time he does mess up.

When the fall is all that remains. It matters a great deal.

All hail the clich's all emcompassing shadow.

My playing well with other's skill has been vastly overrated

Member of the Order of the Knigths of the Woeful Countance.

#31 Delvo

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 05:02 PM

Consubstantial, on Nov 21 2003, 01:38 PM, said:

Am I reading this right?  You attacked the Islamic faith because you wanted to have an economic discussion.
Um... given the fact that I neither attacked nor said this is supposed to be an evonomic discussion, no, you're reading it quite... um... inventively.

#32 MuseZack

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 05:16 PM

Let me clarify my earlier point.  

Islam, as one might expect from a 1500 year old faith that encompasses a billion people spread over dozens of nations, has many different tendencies, some benign and progressive, others aggressive and reactionary.  And it's an unfoortunate accident of history that a large percentage of the world's oil supply sits beneath Saudi Arabia, which is currently under the thrall of Wahabism, one of the most austere, reactionary forms of Islam.  Because of this, the wealth from oil as well as the religious legitimacy conferred by proximity to Mecca and Medina gives the Saudis the motive, means, and opportunity to export their brand of Islam to the rest of the world.  You see the malign effect of Saudi oil wealth everywhere from the madrassas of Pakistan to the Laksar Jihad in Indonesia to the religious fanatacism that's come to infect Chechen nationalism to Al Qaeda itself.

By aggressively developing alternative energy resources (greater fuel efficency, renewables, hydrogen cell, even nuclear) and weaning the developing world from dependence on Saudi oil, we both reduce their ability to blackmail us and dry up the funding sources of fanatical Wahabism, which will give some of the more progressive strands of Islam room to breathe and thrive.

Unfortunately, we seem to be moving in precisely the wrong direction on this front, between our reluctance to mandate greater feul effeciency (even the Chinese are mandating stricter standards, for Pete's sake) to the horrific Energy Bill before Congress which is mainly a giant pile of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and is opposed by everyone from the environmental movement to conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute.

Zack
"Some day, after we have mastered the wind, the waves, the tides, and gravity,
We shall harness for God the energies of Love.
Then, for the second time in the history of the world,
we will have discovered fire."
--Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

#33 Rov Judicata

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 05:23 PM

MuseZack, on Nov 21 2003, 03:16 PM, said:

to the horrific Energy Bill before Congress which is mainly a giant pile of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and is opposed by everyone from the environmental movement to conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute.

Zack
The Energy Bill isn't going to make it, I don't think.

It's already been stalled in the Senate, and I don't think they can get enough votes to force cloture.

Money quote:

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"I'm not saying that this bill won't generate some energy. It will certainly fuel the coffers of big oil and gas corporations. It will propel the wealthy special interests. And it will boost the deficit into the stratosphere. Indeed, this legislation can be fairly called the Leave no Lobbyist Behind Act of 2003.
There are also four proposals known as 'green bonds' for construction of commercial buildings that will cost taxpayers $227 million to finance approximately $2 billion in private bonds. One of my favorite green bond proposals is a $150 million riverfront area in Shreveport, Louisiana. This river walk has about 50 stores, a movie theater and a bowling alley. One of the new tenants in this Louisiana Riverwalk is a Hooters restaurant. Yes my friends. Here we have an energy bill subsidizing both hooters and polluters." - Senator John McCain ®-Arizona

St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#34 Kosh

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 05:25 PM

For once, I can agree with Zack. We should be working on Fuel Cells full speed. The sooner we stop buying oil from the the better. A lot of their funds would dry up.



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Hmmm. International Black Ops teams seem like something that would cause Peaceniks and Conspiracy Theorists to really get their undies in a bunch.

I think Isreal has already been doing this, with mixed results. If I've understood correctly, they haven't always got the right person.
Can't Touch This!!

#35 Shalamar

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 05:32 PM

[Mossad spokesperson] "What??...The Boys...ah... they don't exist...nope, just adventure novel fictionalizations[/Mossad spokesperson]

[back room voice]  Find out who spilled the beans[/backroom voice]  


:p

#36 tennyson

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 05:46 PM

Their was one high profile miss to my knowledge, which was the accidental killing of an I think Argentine doctor instead of the Black September member they were after. Otherwise, they have been frighteningly effective in operations outside of Isreal.
"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

— Londo, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Babylon-5


#37 MuseZack

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 07:43 PM

tennyson, on Nov 21 2003, 10:46 PM, said:

Their was one high profile miss to my knowledge, which was the accidental killing of an I think Argentine doctor instead of the Black September member they were after. Otherwise, they have been frighteningly effective in operations outside of Isreal.
A few of Mossad's greatest hits (courtesy of the LA Times):

* Sept. 25, 1997: Mossad agents try but fail to assassinate Hamas
official Khaled Meshaal in Amman, Jordan. Two agents are caught and
released in a prisoner swap that forces Israel to release Sheik Ahmed
Yassin, a key Hamas leader.

* April 24, 1991: Four Mossad agents are arrested for attempting to
install listening devices in the Iranian Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus. The
agents are released shortly after standing trial.

* November 1987: The London newspaper the Mail on Sunday reveals the
identity of a Mossad agent who had infiltrated a PLO cell in London. The
agent is arrested on suspicion of murdering a Palestinian cartoonist and
is banished from the country.

* July 1973: In an attempt to avenge the deaths of Israeli athletes
slain during the 1972 Olympics, Mossad agents kill an innocent Moroccan
waiter in Lillehammer, Norway. Five of the 15 agents involved in the
operation serve sentences in Norwegian jails.

* 1963: Two Mossad agents are arrested in Bern, Switzerland, on
charges of intimidating a family member of a German scientist who had
been offered a job developing missiles for Egypt. The operatives are
released a few months later.


Mossad's had some spectacular successes along with their blunders, but their reputation has also been inflated far out of proportion to their actual results by credulous spy novelists.  Indeed, an objective look at Mossad's history reveals the real limitations of covert operations in the real world, nonwithstanding the fantasies of Tom Clancy and Mack Bolan, Executioner novels...
"Some day, after we have mastered the wind, the waves, the tides, and gravity,
We shall harness for God the energies of Love.
Then, for the second time in the history of the world,
we will have discovered fire."
--Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

#38 Cressid

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 07:49 PM

How about the human race deciding that this life is all we have, this planet is our collective home and perhaps we should just let go of religion?

#39 Kevin Street

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 08:19 PM

Delvo, on Nov 21 2003, 05:37 AM, said:

Certainly, although many of you don't agree with my assessment that the current trend toward berserk maniacal bloodthirst is the true nature of Islam...
You're right, I don't agree with that assessment. If all muslims were thirsting for our blood, the western world would be in deep, deep trouble. The terrorists are a very vocal and ugly minority.

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...there can be no serious argument that it is a problem that's rather conspicuopusly prevalent within it. Other religions have had some pretty funky problems before, and some have gotten over it. But how? What can kickstart the change "back" to sanity?

The reasons so many terrorists come from the fundamentalist Islamic world are simple. In many Islamic countries there's to much poverty, too little freedom, and a historical tendency to blame other populations for their own internal problems. The last tendency has been aggravated in modern times by dictatorial governments that look for scapegoats to distract the attention of their angry populations.

People in countries like Pakistan and Yemen know that others in the world lead much better lives then they do. In other countries people (many of them plainly unworthy) lead lives that seem to be full of magical abundance, but when they look around their own homes they see nothing but poverty without hope of escape, and it makes them mad. There's so much anger in the muslim world, it spills over  - and young men who look for solutions to the anger and poverty and repression they see all around them are easily sidetracked into terrorist organizations like Al Queda. They are tricked into blaming other countries when they should really be directing that anger and desire for change towards their own governments and social institutions.

I don't know how to "solve" something as huge as that. The problem is enormous. Many people think that simply overthrowing the current leaders of the most repressive governments and creating new democracies will change things for the better, but I can't see how a violent solution will help to solve the problem of violence, at least in the long run.

In the end I think any solution that helps ease the problem of Islamic rage toward the west will have to attack those root causes: poverty, dictatorship, and the sense of cultural shame. Zack made some very good points about the Saudis and their Wahhabi fundamentalism. If the west could counter their message of anger with sucessful development plans for countries throughout the arab world (and not just in countries we beat up first), with money for new schools, loans for people to start their own small businesses, and continous pressure from a united front of western countries to change and reform the authoritarian governments there, it might go a long way towards lessening the problem. Some day, when the middle east and the entire Islamic world is as prosperous and free as the west, the problem will go away completely. But until then, we can only ease it by degrees.
Per aspera ad astra

#40 Uncle Sid

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Posted 21 November 2003 - 09:37 PM

Cressid, on Nov 21 2003, 08:49 PM, said:

How about the human race deciding that this life is all we have, this planet is our collective home and perhaps we should just let go of religion?
It seems to me that this is what your garden variety Communist state was doing.  

You don't need religion to treat other people badly, it's just a frequently blamed phenomenon.  Take away religion, and you might actually end up with more peope fighting over what heretofore, they just considered to be a momentary distraction before ending up in the afterlife.  If this is all there is, then a lot of people are going to want a much bigger piece of what they can get.  

This is the problem we frequently run into when treating any religion.  People associate the actions and abuses taken in the name of a religion as being the actual teachings of that religion.  To judge Islam by al-Queda or Islamic Jihad is as ridiculous as considering any Christian to be fundementially like an abortion-clinic bomber or any atheist/agnostic as being fundementially like Stalin or Pol Pot.  There are actions and teachings in Christianity and Islam and other religions that keep quite a number of people at peace, instead of at each other's throats.  The people who it fails to work for aren't really believers in any event.  

As a Christian, I have my own reasons for selecting my religion over Islam.  I do feel Islam is lacking in many details, but it must be admitted that Islam also was a religion that supported a vibrant and advanced culture at one point.  The reason people are pissed is that they remember that culture and want it back, and feel that poor adherence to Islam is why they are in poor straits.  To a certain degree, they are probably correct in theory.  However, the problem is that what they think of as Islam is not really the Islam that created the Caliphate and supported that advanced culture.  THAT Islam was forward looking in a medieval time.  THEIR Islam is the same, except that what was forward looking in medieval times is now merely... medieval.  They aren't looking forward any more, they're looking backward.  

At this point, I'm not certain what the Islamic world needs to succeed.  Most likely, though, education and a degree of open-mindedness would be useful.  Mostly, though, they need to see a future and not a past.  That will probably take some doing.  It's really hard to let go of something that used to be great.  In all of that, simple time and patience will be key.
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. - Jack Handey



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