Islam vs. the Western World: off-topic posts from a Religion thread

Discussion in 'World Events' started by kks, Oct 2, 2001.

  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    No, you don't. You continue to miss the entire argument, and project your suppositions unto others in offensive and ignorant ways.
    None of which involved the Hindus or bookstores in my town, or the several other countries' regions with large numbers of Hindus and bookstores selling Rushdie's books. The "Hindu world", as nearly as I can match it up to "the Muslim world" I keep hearing about.

    In other words, completely irrelevant. Atrocities, by every religion and most peoples of the world, are a dime a dozen - and easy to find in Western media unless they involve Western atrocity-doers. Have you forgotten your diatribes against the Western over-emphasis on "Hindu" barbarism in India?

    Now, why are you unable to discuss the topics of this thread? Why, for example, are you apparently unable to compare Juan Cole's take on Rushdie's novels with that of the Muslims here?
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  3. Arsalan Registered Senior Member

    Why should there be a comparison? I love Juan Cole and his brilliant analyses of the Middle East, but does that mean whatever he says on everything is supposed to be what guides me on that issue? No.
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  5. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    You show no sign of comprehending what he (or quadrophonics, et al) says on that issue.

    This appearance of incomprehension you share with the other Muslims on this forum, people otherwise apparently fully capable of understanding similar issues not involving Islam.

    It is striking.
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  7. Arsalan Registered Senior Member

    I understand. Like I said, I've read what he wrote and I've read what others wrote. In the end, my opinion of Rushdie was finalised upon reading of his utter contempt of freedom of speech for other people when they talked about him and his attentionwhore-syndrome. I dont support any killings or fatwas, as I've probably now stated for the 100th time, but I will not just support his books which over the years have attacked a large group of people, over and over, under the guise of freedom of speech. The same thing he could not show to others. I understand the themes, the questions he asks, but I also understand the other side of what he wrote, as did a lot of other intellectuals that tore into him for what he did. Why should I just read what Juan Cole has said on that book and live my life according to Cole's views? Why not read what the other intellectuals, the one that are critical of him, have to say? After all, in law school we are taught that the most important opinion to remember is the dissenting one. And seeing as how most Western writers seem to say the same thing about Rushdie over and over, why not look up those intellectuals that are critical of him?
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2009
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Your opinion of Rushdie is almost irrelevant, and whether or not you support his books is completely beside the point.

  9. Arsalan Registered Senior Member

    Yaya, Ive read what you said. Somehow if my opinion does not match the opinion you consider to be the right one, I show signs of incomprehension. Got it.
  10. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Not really. In the end, I did what it was worth to me personally.

    And that turned out to be a lot less than I'd initially thought, when the war drums started pounding back in 2002. I said aloud that I'd move to Canada if Bush invaded Iraq for no reason. But in the end, he did exactly that, and I'm still here. Although I did make good on my conviction to stop working in the defense industry.

    No, see above. Although my fair share of criticism is much less than the critics I tend to meet around here like to dole out. But what can you expect from people who deal in generality and reduction?

    But at least I am headed in the right direction. My failings are in the "too little, too late" category. I'm not going around apologizing for Bush and Iraq and so on, and then expecting to walk because I include some disclaimer about not approving of the civilian casualties.

    Again, too little, too late. And anyway I was talking about you specifically.

    I think you misunderstand that usage of "apologize."

    And yet, you energetically present their motivations and perceptions as legitimate and admirable, and fault them only for actually carrying out their implications.

    This is not impressive.

    My issue is not your low opinion of Rushdie's personality, but your shielding of those who would murder and intimidate around the world over the issue.

    You are also an opportunistic liar and hypocrite, but you can be assured that I will not be seen rushing to equivocate the issue, should you be made the target of an international terror campaign.

    Whatever one thinks of Rushdie personally, I expect any reasonable person to regard the terror campaign the world was subjected to as a much greater evil, and to see these priorities reflected in their approaches to discussion of the subject. I.e., when real people really get murdered, those who don't approve of said murders generally opt to save any negative opinions about the victims for a later time.
  11. Arsalan Registered Senior Member

    Then heres where we disagree. Because you did not support him or voted him in its not your fault. Besides, its not like Bin Laden was supported and voted in to lead the Muslim world. He was banned and is still hated around the Muslim world.

    Me specifically? ever since I was spat on and discriminated against because some people flew some planes into a building, I have been showing anti-islamics up for what they really are: ignorant and scared.

    I laid out the motivations of the vast majority of people that protested against his books. I dont think I have to remind you for the nth time that it was a handful of people that did the actual violence and killings. Yet you continue to paint all Muslims of ass those people. Thats when you invite people like me to the debate, to prove you wrong.

    Give me a single quote where I said his killers should be protected, or they are heroes, or anything of the sort. I have nothing to do with those people. I presented the argument that showed why not those, but the rest, 99% of the others who protested against him, protested against his books and him.

    I would like to see how I am an opportunistic liar and or a hypocrite. Maybe I can better myself.

    Dont worry, I dont go around insulting people on that large a scale just for my 15 minutes of fame. I actually know what its like to be on the other side. Come to think of it, there are certain people in this world that would kill me if they knew what I was and if they had the chance.

    And who has made negative and or derogatory remarks about the people that lost their lives? We have only focused on Rushdie and his pathetic failed attempts to lie and hide behind a freedom he wouldnt grant other people.
  12. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    But I DID support him in important ways. I accepted the legitimacy of his elections, paid taxes that funded his actions, and generally showed solidarity with the nation he was leading. In some ways, these are more salient actions than my voicing of opposition to his ideas and policies, and voting against him.

    The problem here is that there is no mechanism, democratic or otherwise, through which this Muslim world can elect, or decline to elect, a leader. This allows anyone so motivated to elect themselves as leader, and if they draw sufficient support to do real damage to others, we have no choice but to treat their arrogated status seriously.

    Likewise, when we encounter people that energetically, publicly support key aspects of Al Qaeda's (or Khomeini's) worldview, we count that as a form of support.

    Except in the places where he isn't banned or hated. Him and his organization still reside in the Muslim world, under the protection of Muslims, and carry out attacks, and recruit Muslims, and draw funding from Muslims, to this very day.

    That the Muslim world lacks the capacity to definitely expel him is the point: absent such a capacity, there is no way for such an entity to disclaim him, to the satisfaction of those he intends to slaughter in the name of the Muslim world.

    And, again, that's okay, at least for those of us that aren't heavily invested in some idea of a "Muslim World" that is perfectly innocent.

    And how does equivocating about the Rushdie terror campaign fit into that project? Seems counterproductive to me.

    The issue has never been those who protested, at least in the usual peaceful ways.

    The issue is about those who waged an international campaign of terror, designed to intimidate the entire world, and the people who lent them sufficient financial and moral support to do so.

    Not all of them. But enough to enable the individual killers to perpetrate numerous crimes.

    Which, to be sure, does not even require anything like a majority of Muslims.

    The criticism of the rest of you guys is that you didn't do much of anything to back up your supposed disapproval of the terror. And while I understand that, for example, you personally have no control over what the Ayatollah does, there are still important things you can do to legitimate the assertion that you oppose this stuff. And I'm not seeing it. Rather, you keep hammering this image of Rushdie as an evil enemy of Islam, rightly despised by all Muslims, and then trying to skate by attaching disclaimers about not supporting actual violence against this diabolical agent of colonial aggression.

    Meanwhile, actual approval of actual violence against certain other diabolical agents of colonial aggression are not hard to find. So this disclaimer is suspiciously convenient.

    It seems to me that you go looking for people to project your pre-conceived crusade onto, for reasons of your own fulfillment.

    I'm not one of these dickheads that goes around abusing individuals over their religion. On Sept. 11, I ate lunch with a South Asian Muslim co-worker (we were working in the defense industry, BTW), and he was more upset than anyone over the attacks. On top of the same feelings of violation that all Americans experienced, he also had to contend with the defaming of his religion, and the possibility that he or his family might become targets for retaliation.

    But this didn't lead him into unreason, or to sympathy with the terrorist's worldview. Perhaps because he grew up largely in the US, he has a much more balanced perspective. In any case, he was vastly more intelligent, polite and considered than is the standard around here, and this showed in the way he dealt with the situation.

    The two phenomena are of a piece. It works the same way in every society: the "peaceful" majority protest something, and then wink while the extremists amongst them enact their subtextual desires. This provides deniability to the masses, and allows the extremists the heroic position they crave.

    In cases where the majority truly doesn't approve of the extremists, they quickly respond to said actions in decisive terms. On the other hand, when they DO approve and simply want to get away with not admitting it, they continue to go on about the legitimacy of the grievance, while including unconvincing disclaimers about not supporting the actions themselves.

    Like you are doing now.

    He got a lot more than fame, and it lasted for a lot longer than 15 minutes.

    What would be really cool is if you guys actually internalized the important, nuanced, informed criticisms contained in his work, and then addressed them in a productive way. it would be good for everyone, and you especially.

    What Rushdie wants - as it applies to "The Muslim World" - is freedom from closed, absolutist systems of thought. And he is right to want such a thing, and it is troubling that you view such a desire as a religious insult.

    It is also ironic that you are expending so much time and energy attacking an author and a book that has a lot more to say - and in particular a lot more critical things to say - about the West, colonialism, and all the various other groups you keep trying to lump him into, than Islam. The Satanic Verses is primarily a criticism of Western models of multicultural immigration, and the arrogant, patronizing worldview that underlies them. I.e., he's making the case you claim to want to make, in a much more cogent, compelling manner, but you're too busy hating him for subjecting non-Western societies to similar scrutiny in the process.

    And perhaps this explains your animus towards him.

    And there are certain posters here, with whom you frequently display solidarity, that make a point of frequently insulting people on a large scale, for substantially less than 15 minutes of fame. So your indignity at such insults, in general, seems suspicious.

    You have made extensive derrogatory remarks about a person who lived underground, for years on end, in order not to lose his life. You have made it clear that he deserves no sympathy for being subjected to the violent intimidation that you supposedly reject. You have sympathized with the motives of those who killed and rioted as part of the campaign of terror targetting Rushdie. If you really object to this stuff so strongly, this would be an opportune time to prioritize that sentiment over your opinions of Rushdie.

    That you instead prioritize demonization of Rushdie, then, carries some unpleasant implications.

    You cannot hide behind a freedom. You can only fight for it, or lose it. He wrote a book promoting such freedom of conscience and speech for those without it, and was subsequently targetted by certain of their oppressors, and spent years enduring exile from public life in order to resist them.

    And here you are lining up with the oppressors to pretend that questioning of absolutist thought is a grave insult against an entire religion, and an extension of the same colonialism that him and his family endured, in blatant contradiction of any reasonable reading of his work. It doesn't really matter that you nominally oppose the actual physical persecution of Rushdie: you have chosen your side, and this is much more important, morally, than exactly how nasty of an action you are willing to support in order to advance it.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  13. Arsalan Registered Senior Member

    You acted according to the law of your country. If you hadnt done that, what would you be called now? Theres nothing else you could have done.

    This doesnt stand because if we were to follow this train of thought Bush would be labelled as the leader of Christians. Every Muslim country can elect their own leader. No one elected Bin Laden.

    What worldview would that be?

    No one knows where they are. If they were, he would have been captured already. I remember the aguments presented for Afghanistan and Iraq and they turned out to be BS as well. So until you can tell me where Bin Laden is with absolute certainty, dont expect other people to know where he is as well. You think he can just go to any Muslim country and announce his arrival without any consequences?

    Not in the name of the Muslim world, in the nameof his own reasoning, which, as we saw before, was related to wars against countries in taht region. it is only realistic that he would draw support from countries that have been attacked and destroyed. The Muslim world lacks the capacity to expel him just as much the Western/Christian world lacks the capacity to expel the gangs and drug dealers and cartels. Just because they are present there, does not mean they are supported.

    It sure as hell isnt at fault for what Bin Laden did

    Not just Rushdie campaign, various other things. I found out very early that a lot of people are ignorant about Muslims and the Muslim world and so will lump all Muslims together, not seeing them as individual human beings responsible for their own actions but portraying them as this vast group filled with undesirables that are supported by the rest.

    And no one supports the killings or violence. Lets not bring this up again.

    How many?

    Ah yes, after starting to see it wasnt the Muslims that are to be blamed for what individuals do, we are now coming to the point where you are going to present an argument that somehow puts the blame on Muslims even though it was a handful of people.

    We did. And even after we did, we got stabbed in the back by racism right here at home against us.

    Rushdie is not an enemy of Islam. He's merely an opportunistic liar and hypocrite who plagiarized all the arguments presented before him, from the Orientalists all the way to the Crusaders. Why should I not be able to criticize Rushdie without approving of any violence?

    Oh please, no one supports terrorists killing innocent people. And even though you would like me and the others on here to be portrayed as such, neither do we. We merely point out the hypocrisy that's often stunning when dealing with the Muslim world.

    So the anti-war protesters were protesting against the war, but happy about people being killed as a result of the war? Doesnt make sense. You accept that the vast majority of protests were peaceful, but by doing so you have compromised your argument and therefore must resort to presuming to know what people really think.

    Which was done.

    The grieveance of the the vast majority, not the handful of people that committed actual crimes. Understand this and dont bring it up again. By not allowing the grieveances of the people that protested against him to be aired, we would just be controlling what people can and cannot say.

    Thats why he wrote and said all that stuff about people forgetting him and him needing to draw attention to himself again.

    Been there, done that. Its been done ever since the Crusades, when the arguments Rushdie presented were used as morale boosters for the Christians to go and slaughter the Muslims, right through to the Orientalists and even Rushdies works have been adressed in a very polite and productive manner. However, that doesnt make for headlines now does it?

    What Rushdie wants and what Rushdie did are 2 seperate things.

    Im not attacking Rushdie, just showing what he did that isnt so well known to his supporters. Ya, rushdie criticized colonialism, which only added to the fire when he kept attacking the very people that saw him as a hero, book after book. But the problem with your reasoning would be that it wasnt the Westerners that were colonized by the Indians or the Muslims, it was vice versa. And, after having spent a long time recovering, migrating, trying to adjust, hearing the same arguments your conquerors used against you and the author of that getting all kinds of awars isnt very pleasant. Theres a reason the panel of experts advised not to publish the book and were paid off.

    The only thing I dislike about Rushdie is his refusal to grant other people freedom of speech, harassing them legally when they wanted to write something about he didnt like. For the rest, hes just the same as his predecessors.

    First of all, he's not dead. I want proof that I supported killing people. Secondly, prove me wrong in everything I've said about him.

    I object against any violence against Rushdie. thats all there is to it. If he wants more than that from me, he should show the same freedom he used to otehr people. He didnt. But killing him? Nah, I dont agree with that and anyone that does that should be punished.

    Once again, no. Ive sympathized with the vast majority of non-violent protestors. Not with the killers. Dont bring this up again.

    What do you want me to do? Not criticize what he did just because of something that other people didnt do? surely you shiuld be applauding my use of freedom of speech to criticize an author for his work? Does that mean I support anyone killing him? No.

    Ah, so if we criticize someone, we demonize him? Keep that in mind the next time you say that Rushdie criticized Islam and Muslims.

    I dont have a problem with people criticizing absolutist thought. Couldnt care less. But it seems it is you who wants to prevent me from expressing myself by questioning my right to criticize Rushdie under the freedom of speech without explicitly stating that if I choose to criticize Rushdie, I might as well have killed him myself. Sorry, thats not how it works. If it does in your mind, apply the same standard to Rushdie.
  14. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    As I said at the outset, I could have moved to a different country. I live in the US of my own free will. And I'm educated and skilled enough to migrate to another country, and live in comfortable conditions.

    Likewise, I could have quit my job and devoted my career to opposing Bush. Or at least lended more support to those doing so.

    But at the end of the day, it turns out I oppose Bush less than I want to stay here, in my current career. And I accept the (minor) responsibility that accompanies this.

    No, Bush has never presented himself in that way. Bin Laden, meanwhile, has done exactly that.

    Actually, only a few of them can do that. The rest are ruled by kings and dictators.

    And no one needs to. He is able to draw sufficient support - in terms of basing, finance, supply and recruits - to operate, without any electoral mandate.

    Likewise, the leaders of most Muslim countries, who were not elected.

    What I said was "key aspects of their worldview." This would be stuff like the heavy emphasis on colonialism as characteristic of Muslim identity.

    Except for the people who DO know, and keep them sheltered. They aren't in outer space, you know.

    No, I know that he can go into certain places in certain (Muslim) countries, and expect to be hidden and sheltered, so that he can continue to pursue his wars.

    Muslim countries, to be specific, that are to be defended because of their centrality to Islam.

    The guys who crashed planes into the World Trade Center were not from countries that have been attacked and destroyed. Quite the opposite: the US has provided vast quantities of cash, and political and military support for those countries, for generations. The entire reason the troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia in the first place was to prevent Saddam from invading and destroying the country.

    Fortunately for us, said gangs and cartels do not present themselves as acting in the name of The West or Christianity, and so don't raise any comparable issues. Nor do they seek to legitimate their activities by appeals to Western or Christian ideals or grievances.

    Sure it does. Who do you think is buying all those drugs?

    Just because people don't generally like to take responsibility for the consequences of their thoughts and actions (or lack thereof), doesn't mean they lack culpability.

    Are you really numb to the irony of appointing yourself as speaker for a group, in order for them to be seen as individuals? You shouldn't be leaning on this categorical approach at all, if that's what you want (plus, ditching it would instantly resolve most of my and iceaura's objections to your rhetoric).

    Except for the people who do, whose numbers are apparently large enough to wreak havok on random civilians in every corner of the globe.

    "Should?" No reason. But the fact is that you can't, because this conversation is occurring in a context where people used (indeed, invented, out of thin air) the same criticisms you are citing as a motive for violence. Again, not fair, but that's the context in which you are speaking, and in the real world, context counts.

    Except for the people who do. Who, again, are numerous enough to allow terrorists to carry out such killings, on a large scale. And so what is required of the majority is not simply non-support, but active resistance, sufficient to prevent the killing from continuing.

    No, the anti-war protesters don't subscribe to the war arguments at all, generally. The correct analogue is the people who support the invasion, but then want a pass because they don't support civilian casualties. The fact is that civilian casualties were a foreseeable outcome, and so one must either accept responsibility for them, as a price worth paying, or withdraw the support for the war, in general.

    You don't get to go along with an international campaign to portray Rushdie as an evil enemy, and then get a pass on the resulting violence directed at him. Especially in hindsight, when the issue of forseeing the violence doesn't apply.

    The truly "peaceful" protests aren't the ones I care about, and no legitimately "peaceful" person continued to protest once it became apparent that the protest movement was feeding into a campaign of violence. Which was early on.

    No presumption is required, when they provide ample evidence via their actions (or lack thereof).

    Not really. The fatwa is still in effect, and Rushdie had to remain in hiding for many years. Even today, his name has become a codeword for a specific militant attitude towards the West.

    It's the same grievance. The difference is in how far the response is taken.

    I have no problem with the airing of legitimate grievances. I have a big problem with the manufacture of imaginary grievances to drive people apart, and fuel campaigns of violence. And, anyway, what I want is not to silence you, but to confront you with the consequences of your position, and so induce you to modify it. That's an instantiation of free speech, not its suppression.

    If I were to respond by, say, targetting you for death, that would be suppression.

    Again, this "reading" is so blatantly unreasoned, and propagandist, that it merits little more than derision.

    The "little more" consisting primarily of pity.

    It would make for big headlines, if Rushdie's work was addressed in a "productive" manner. It would represent a huge advance in human freedom, in a region sorely lacking in it, as well as the death knell of the terrorism and dysfunction now emanating from it.

    Sadly, he is widely dismissed, reviled and - crucially - misunderstood, often willfully.

    Indeed, but the actions were consistent with the desires.

    That's because "what he did" is a fantasy invented by people invested in the injustice and oppression he was criticizing.

    Meanwhile, "what he wrote" seems to be almost entirely unknown to his detractors.

    The essense of the problem is the supposition that Rushdie's books are an attack on people. On the contrary, they are attacks on the oppression of said people. That so many have been induced to confuse the two is a cause for great concern.

    Again, the arguments are very - VERY - different. To the extent that there is overlap, it should suggest that perhaps that argument actually has merit, as distasteful as such an idea might be.

    To invoke a similar lesson: just because George Bush believes something, doesn't mean it's not true.

    Has it occurred to you that many of the "arguments" underpinning colonialism were not inventions imposed upon the colonized, but rather descriptions of exactly what features of the victim society left them weak enough to be dominated in the first place?

    And so the priority should be addressing those weaknesses, instead of pretending to fight imperialism by denying them. That only leaves your society in the same weak position that allowed it to be dominated in the first place.

    If Rushdie - no imperialist, by any stretch of the imagination - thinks that these are serious social problems in their own right, then a reasonable person should take that fairly seriously, without worrying about what role these problems played in colonialism.

    That people like you work to prevent such consideration from occurring, by painting anyone who would think that way as an accomplice to colonialism, is extremely regressive and unhealthy.

    Freedom of speech is not Rushdie's to grant. All he can do is show you the door, and hope you walk through it (instead of trying to kill him).

    He has no real predecessors, that I know of.

    No, of course not. But you have consistently gone beyond the bounds of criticism, and into the realm of demonization. The stuff equating him with colonialism, in particular, is way over the line, given how totally unjustifiable it is, and its obviously prejudicial nature.

    And yet, when Rushdie applies such criticism to the particular school of absolutist thought associated with your religion, you equate that with an international crime of historic magnitude.

    There are plenty of ways to criticize Rushdie without aligning yourself with the terror campaign that was launched against him. Not taking your critiques directly out of the playbook of said terrorists would be a good start.
  15. Arsalan Registered Senior Member

    Why should you move to another country because your President does something you do not agree with? Why run away from the problem instead of fighting it head on? You may think like this, but I'm pretty sure a lot of people that did not support Bush do not see themselves as being responsible for his actions. They made themselves heard around the world and no sane person would blame them for what Bush did. Just because you have this Mel Gibson complex does not mean everyone else has it as well.

    Once again, no comparison between Bush and Bin Laden. Thanks for agreeing

    A few are ruled by kings and dictators. The rest can do that.

    So once again, he has no support from the community, rather has to resort to underhanded ways to fund his organization. After all, if he was being funded by a community in which it was seen as acceptable, everyone would know who funded him and where. But we dont do we?

    Were Muslims colonized for a large part of the last couple of centuries? Yes or no?

    And you know where they are? Im pretty sure a lot of people, who have been searching for him nonstop with the aid of the Muslim community and nations, would like to know.

    Just like various other leaders in the past. But does that mean the countries they move to under disguises and fake ids and all that goes with it support them being there? No. No one in the world, no country, can know where everyone in their country is at any single moment.

    Beause they have been attacked and destroyed. As by his own reasoning, something which you posted.

    No, they were from countries whose rulers violently suppressed anyone even thinking negatively about them and were supported by the US for years.

    And by doing so, the US gave protection and training to a regime that murdered 1000s of its own people. Not hard to find discontents against that regime among them then.

    They pray to Jesus, wear crosses and say God and Jesus. Same thing as Bin Laden does. However, when Bin Laden does it, suddenly hes doing it because of Islam, not because of other reasons he himself quite clearly stated. Besides, it doesnt always have to be religion. The American Dream, years of oppression under slavery and its consequences, capitalism and racism. Do we ascribe any crime happening for these reasons to be the fault of all Americans/Westerners? No.

    Who do you think is getting killed by the gangs? Is everyone a drug addict and or a supporter of gangs?

    First of all, Im not a speaker for Muslims worldwide. People like you put me and others in a group of your own creation to which you attribute all the ills plagueing our world. It is you who sees us like that. To me, we are individuals. However, it seems there only a few individuals who are Muslim actively post on this board. So I post, and Sam posts, and some others post, not because we consider ourselves speakers of this group, but because you throw us into that group then ascribe to us what other people do, and because we would like to correct people that are ignorant of what Islam is and what Muslims do from our own experience having spent our lives among Muslims.


    People have cited democracy, peace and love and others as motives for violence. Does that mean we should not be able to talk about that without approving of the violence that went with it?

    Warzones. These terrorists kill Muslims on the large scale, far more than non-Muslims. yet according to you the Muslims themselves are at fault for being killed. id say wake up but Im afraid this is you being reasonable.

    I didnt say he was an evil enemy and neither did the vast majority of people. All I said was a liar and a hypocrite and apparently the people that protested saw him as a continuation fo the interference they had experiened at the hand of the powerful Western nations. It is perfectly possible and acceptable to criticize him without approving of any violence. Just like it was perfectly possible to criticize the US for their poor civil rights records by the likes of King and X without approving of the violence that went with it.

    Give in to terrorists? Why should people that are protesting peacefully give in to the actions of a handful of terrorists? The campaign of violence wasnt feeding from those protests as you make it seem. Only the Western media kept showing the violence over and over in a bid to instill a mindset against anyone that dared criticize him.

    Iran doesnt support the fatwa anymore. That measn that from a handful of Muslims that actually did support the fatwa, their own government has refused to see it as acceptable anymore.

    And thats not the fault of the protestors that did not approve of violence. You cannot silence a group of peaceful protestors just because a handful of people commit acts of violence.

    And who decides what a legitimate grievance is? You?

    And ofcourse, not supported by Iceaura even though he may share your point of view.

    Prove me wrong. everything Rushdie said regarding Islam has been said before. Theres nothing new in his books when he talks about Islam.

    Youll be glad to hear there have been a lot of books and articles in response to his books. Now wheres that media attention

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    Surely an articulate and intelligent writer as Rushdie was able to put on paper what he actually meant, instead of doing the opposite?

    Ah yes, anyone who criticizes him supports violence and oppression. Only those that agree with him should be allowed to present their arguments as valid. Got it.

    Again, who decides what are attacks on the oppression of said people and why are they not attacks on those people, their histyr, culture and the denial of their suffering and plight?

    Only problem is that everything he said had been said before. I suggest you read what the Orientalists had to say, then compare that to Rushdies works.

    Only he slammed the door shut when someone was writing a play based on his death. Apparently he was too offended and threatened legal action. So the play was cancelled.

    Read what the Orientalists wrote.

    The same could be said of what he wrote regarding the culture, history and religion of those people that were colonized and how it were those traits that oppressed them and not the British.

    So you are offended by me writing about him and portraying him as someone connected to a dark period in our history? Gee, I wonder whose writings could be similar?

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    Read: the only way to criticize Rushdie is by denying what he said and only saying what I say is a valid criticism.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  16. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Because it's the only sure way to truly dissociate yourself from responsibility for your President's actions. I can lessen my responsibility in other ways, but as long as I remain an American, I have some share in our collective national responsibility. This is the foundation of democracy and self-determination, and anything less is infantilization.

    As I just mentioned, I could also have lessened my responsibility (although not all the way to zero) by taking more actions in opposition of Bush. But apart from voting, and generally voicing disdain, I didn't do much. And I accept the consequences of this.

    Well, if they're Americans, then they need to admit that we all have some share. Bush is a product of our national culture and politics, that thrived in our institutions. The people who were actively supporting him clearly bear a greater share of the blame, but there is enough left over for the rest of us.

    Of the 51 countries in the OIC, only a single one - Turkey - has passed the real test of democracy: two consecutive peaceful transfers of power by elected governments.

    No. Dick Cheney was being openly funded and supported by a community that saw him as acceptable, and pretty much nobody knew where he was most of the time. There is no reason to expect that a military leader's position and operations will be openly known, even among zealous supporters.

    Raise your hand if you have ever lived under colonialism.


    I didn't think so.

    Meanwhile, you're pushing this post-colonialist identity politics on someone who's nation was created in a rebellion against British (and European) colonialism, and whose ancestors and significant other are from other countries that the British colonized.

    So take your victim complex and shove it.

    More magical reasoning.

    "We" should. It's elementary that collective actions and traits are, by definition, ascribed to the collective. And anyone that is a member of that collective shares in the consequences - at least a little bit - no matter how good they may personally be. Indeed, it is exactly this shared responsibility that motivates the good portions of the collective to strive to fix problems in the first place. To deny the nature of collective responsibility is to infantilize - even deny - the group in question, and so undermine its ability to self-correct.

    We didn't make all this social progress in America (ending slavery, women's lib, civil rights movement, etc.) by denying our collective responsibility. Quite the opposite: millions of individuals who had never personally participated in, or directly benefitted from, these injustices accepted the burden of responsibility for their nation, and so gained the power to redeem it. Had they said, "hey, not my fault," we'd still be living in the Dark Ages.

    Other gangs, mostly. In Mexico, right now, a lot of law enforcement officers as well.

    Everyone is a participant in our drug culture - legal and illegal - which is what ultimately drives demand for the drug trade. And everyone is culpable for supporting backwards laws that generally exacerbate the problems associated with the drug trade.

    I have never - not once - entered into a discussion here on this topic where "The Muslims" were not already being vocally spoken for. Not always by you personally, but the idea that I somehow rounded you up at gunpoint and forced you to play this role is plain nonsense.

    It may be that Buffalo Roam magically "forces" people to play this role (never mind that they seem to get such glee out of it), but he is not "like" me.

    Or rather, only a few who choose to identify themselves as such, and interact with others primarily on that basis. There are probably quite a few more, who aren't interested in these games.

    Again, I haven't "thrown" anyone anywhere. The only reason I have any idea what your religion is in the first place is because you spend a disproportionate amount of time playing spokesman (i.e., "correct[ing] people that are ignorant ...").

    Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt are warzones?

    No, it means that you can't meaningfully talk about the violence that went with it, without addressing its relation to institutions and identities that allowed and perpetuated it.

    Why do you persist in throwing these ass-backwards strawmen at me?

    Again, this reductive strawman about being "at fault."

    Bush killed many thousands of Americans with his policies, and it's nobody but Americans who are responsible for that. To pretend otherwise is to close off the one avenue we have for addressing such things.

    False. Iran has recently - in the last few years - affirmed that the fatwa is irrevocable, and upped the bounty on Rushdie's head to almost $3 million.

    Fortunately for me, I'm not trying to silence anyone.

    I can point out to people that the "peaceful protests" they are staging against books they aren't familiar with, at the behest of leaders with opaque motives, might actually not be such a great idea.

    I'm able to recognize an illegitimate one, constructed as propaganda to support nefarious geopolitical goals, anyway. And that's all that's required here.

    But still, the sort of thing that would make him think twice about publicly repeating my arguments. Especially in the context of people complaining about my violence. He might even feel that his prior statements had emboldened me, if unintentionally.

    You're going to have to accept that naked assertions about the contents of Rushdie's writings, coming from you, are not going to have any impact.

    Well, to be precise, books and articles themselves are "media attention."

    And most of the worthwhile books and articles on Rushdie and his works, in my experience, were produced in the West. I have yet to encounter any from the Muslim World as such. Although I have seen a couple of deeply worthless ones from those quarters.

    Which is not surprising, given how few books that world produces, translates, and consumes.

    He did. The problem is that no writer, no matter how articulate and intelligent, can prevent the willfully obtuse from inventing things to be offended about, and ascribing them to him. That you claim to know what he was really doing, in contradiction of what he wrote, is troubling in this regard.

    No, only those whose criticisms are obviously inventions intended to portray him - personally - as an evil figure.

    There are lots of valid criticisms that have been made of him, by people without nefarious agendas, and I have no problem with them. They're easy to distinguish from the problematic ones, because they tend to actually relate to his works as they exist in reality, and work in terms of cogent, consistent categories.

    I haven't even suggested that those with bad motives be "disallowed" from presenting their arguments in whatever way they please. I'm simply unwilling to pretend that they are anything other than what they are. Freedom of speech does not require freedom from criticism of your ideas; quite the opposite.

    Not people with an axe to grind and no understanding of literature - and a willful unfamiliarity with the works in question, to boot.

    I have, and that's why I understand exactly how insane your association of him with them is. He is considered one of the leading detractors of Orientalism, by the kinds of people who actually understand these things. You are obtusely siezing on the presence of Orientalist elements that are included in his work for the purpose of subverting them. This indicates that you approach his work with an agenda, looking for something to get offended about.

    This is not a productive way to read books.

    The two oppressors need not be mutually exclusive.

    More to the point: the British have been gone for generations, and yet many of the people are still oppressed. So maybe it's worth considering where else oppression might be coming from, and asking whether your insistence on viewing everything through the lens of colonialism - now, generations after it ended - might actually be a component in the present oppression.

    If you think about it long enough, you might even notice that it is your overemphasis on colonialism - i.e., the conception of Muslims first and foremost as subjects of external control - that has offensive similarities to Orientalism.
  17. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Like blacks and native Americans in the US?

    Its why only someone like Barak Obama could be the first African American President. Because he isn't.
  18. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Your ignorance and presumption are deeply offensive.

    I would greatly enjoy watching you say this to one of my black neighbors.
  19. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Of course its offensive. Its offensive enough that your prisons are overflowing with the result of post colonial depression.

    In India at least, we need one more generation before we entirely throw off the shackles imposed on our identity. The only fear is that we still have the white man hangup and may become like them. Where do you think the Israelis learned home demolitions? It was the British way to control the tribals, by collective punishment.
  20. Arsalan Registered Senior Member

    And you still dont see how you cannot compare Bush to Bin Laden: Bush = elected leader of a country, Bin Laden is self proclaimed leader of an organization banned in almost all countries, hunted down and despised. Leaving that aside, this complex you seem to portray about being personally responsible for everything your elected leaders do, even though you did not vote for them and did not want them in power and protested against them, is the first sign on the road to blaming everyone for what everyone else does, no matter how irrelevant the relation may be. It is scary, since according to you no one can plead not guilty in any case.

    Correction: your definition and or understanding of democracy.

    Openly elected leader. Everyone knew who was funding him. Where are the names of the average Muslims that fund Bin Laden? Surely if they were doing it so openly there would be evidence?

    Me? No. But the people that protested were from generations that did and who lived in the immediate post-colonial era.

    Which is why I would expect someone whose country was created by terrorists fighting an overseas power to understand what colonialism can do and why it was fought against.

    The truth.

    Ah, but thats not what I am sayimg now is it? If we were to go with your logic everyone who didnt commit these crimes but simply happened to be an American was guilty. I have yet to find any US case where the population at large was found guilty and punished.

    The problem you wanted to focus on was the alleged support of terrorists in the Muslim community. The comparison that is drawn is with the ending of slavery and the upholding of civil rights. Just like terrorists are banned, pursued and captured in Muslim countries. Exactly what more do you want? Somehow, because they are Muslims, and your country was the victim of an attack, you want Muslims to do more than your country has ever done.

    They kill Americans/Christians. But do we blame all Americans for these crimes? No. We know that every society in the world has criminals, and that, even though the society does not want these criminals or approves of them, it will not mean that they will stop being criminals or crime will end. That is why every country and society in the world has laws dealing with criminals. And none of those laws allow for the whole society to be charged or convicted when a certain individual or group of indivuduals commits a crime. Its called free will and individuality. I am not responsible for other peoples crimes, just like you arent responsible for mine.

    If there wouldnt be threads demonizign Muslims there wouldnt be any need for people like me to get into the debate.

    So I should just sit back and let someone who knows nothing about my religion tell other what it is about? Do you sit back and let anyone who disagrees with, say, the rule of law in the US, to spout ignorant BS without coming into the debate? If you had any pride in your country or society you wouldnt sit back. I am not a spokesman by any means, but when someone generalizes about a group I belong to, you can be damn sure I will reply.

    Where do most terrorist attacks take place nowadays? In the Middle-east I mean.

    The only way you can mention the reason for the violence is by stating what the reasons were. Nothing more, nothing less. It still doesnt mean that you should not be able to talk about those concepts without seemingly approving of the violence.

    Why do you insist on being a martyr and making everyone else a martyr too?

    Its Bush' fault and the people that voted him in and supported him. Not all Americans. I'd like to see you go blame a soldiers mother who didnt vote for Bush and protested against the war who has just lost her son or daughter for his or her death. You wouldnt. Because no sane and or moral person would. Your logic is like the retarded law in Pakistan that blames women for being raped, even though they did not want to be and protested.

    Not the Iranian government. Certain groups have.

    Ah, so now you can generalize about he people that protested that they didnt read his books. Ofcourse, there couldnt be any other reason

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    You are. What makes you sure your definition applies to the world at large? Arrogance?

    So lets see: there has been violence against Muslims because of the Islam bashing it receives in the US. Will that make you or anyone else stop criticizing Islam? No. You do not agree with the violence, yet you are perfectly capable, and indeed should be, to criticize something without automatically being seen as approving of the violence and murder. Anotehr analogy of your logic would be the BSuh supporters calling anyone that criticized Bush a terrorist supporter. Thats equally as ridiculous.

    As you wish.

    This reaction of yours is due to the fact that not a lot of the books it produces are translated and none of the good and positive attention they get is picked up by the Western media. Not your fault.

    Its the patternt throughout his works.

    The problematic ones being the ones who you have a hard time accepting because then it would somehow mean that Rushdie knew what he was doing.

    So who was Mahound then

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    Ah yes, he just used that name throughout to be a detractor of Orientalism. Saying the N word doesnt mean you are a detractor of racism.

    Ofcourse, now they are. But at that time it was still very fresh to everyone concerned. Moreover, looking at the Middle-East we had several countries that still felt like they were under colonial rule.

    Seeing as how his books focused on Muslims and Pakistan in particular, I cant really make an argument for an American or a Confucian.
  21. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    It is exactly because I do understand that, that I am troubled by your misuse of it.

    You need to understand that responsibility is not a black and white issue. There are many different levels of responsibility. It's not a matter of blaming - or absolving of blame - any particular person. Rather, it's about figuring out where they lie on the spectrum of responsibility.

    This is a very different matter than the assignment of criminal liability.

    No. What I want to focus on is the role of various identity politics in enabling violence and oppresion. The identities in question, here, include Islam, "The Colonized," etc.

    If there weren't people like you pouring energy into these "debates," there wouldn't be threads demonizing Muslims. The bigots don't get anything out of posting their trash, unless someone pays attention to them. They do it to get a rise out of you (and S.A.M. and others), and if you deprive them of that, they'll be nothing more than lone voices in the dark.

    And, anyway, there is nothing you can do, ever, to make them stop. Better to realize that nobody takes them seriously, and that the best way to marginalize them is to ignore them.

    Yeah. Why would anyone care what such a person has to say in the first place? If you're going to try to counter every fool who talks about stuff he doesn't know, you're going to need to recruit quite a lot of help...

    Sure. SciForums is littered with threads full of BS about my country and its people. So, for that matter, are countless other fora. Why should I care what some idiots say? Even if I did, why would I want to dignify that foolishness by taking it seriously?

    It's more a matter of sense, than pride. The two often conflict.

    In generalized terms, which amounts to playing spokesman.

    The issue was not so much "the reason" but "the mechanism." These are different things. As ice mentioned before: not because of Islam, but by means of Islam.

    Again, it's not an issue of approval, but of recognizing the role that groups and institutions you are a part of play in enabling violence. This doesn't mean you "approve," in any explicit sense. But it does mean you bear a certain level of responsibility.

    Not a martyr, simply a possessor of personal agency, as well as the responsibility to exercise it in the context of groups and institutions I voluntarily belong to. I'm not looking to die for any cause.

    And all Americans supported him, in one way or another. For example, by accepting the legitimacy of his election, paying taxes to fund his government, etc. Simply disapproving of Bush is not the same as withdrawing all of your support.

    Again, this idea of binary assignment of "blame."

    There are several quite famous anti-Bush mothers of dead soldiers, who accept their share of responsibility for the national actions that cost their children's lives, and so work tirelessly to ameliorate the conditions that produced that outcome. That's how personal agency works. What you won't hear them saying is that they are blameless because they didn't actually vote for Bush. Elections are only a small component of the exercise of political agency.

    No, my logic points out that all Pakistanis - men and women alike - have some responsibility for the status of their nation. It's not that the rape is the victim's fault, but that the law blaming the victim is an aspect of the polity that all citizens - including the victim - are answerable for.

    Certain groups in the Iranian government, such as the Revolutionary Guards, and the Supreme Leader himself. Rushdie recieves a letter from Iran every February 14th (the anniversery of the fatwa, and Valentine's Day - this not being a coincidence) reminding him that the threat is still good.

    Only the ones that evince a blatant misunderstanding of the work.

    Which isn't their fault, necessarily: the book in question is banned in pretty much all the countries where such protests occur. The protestors generally don't even have the opportunity to read the book in the first place.

    No, not "because of." Those two things ("violence against Muslims" and "Islam bashing") are one and the same.

    There is nothing that you personally can do to get people to stop criticizing anything, and no valid reason for you to want to do so. Criticism is a good thing, intended to improve its subject. It's oppression that you should be worried about. And your oppressors don't bother to operate in the realm of literature or reasoned criticism: they skip directly to the violence.

    Again, it's not an issue of "approval," but of recognizing your role in the systems that perpetrate the acts you disapprove of in the first place. It's about giving actual force to disapproval, instead of using it as a cop-out.

    And this is because very few books are being produced in the first place, and very few of those are any good. Which is exactly what you would expect, in a culture that treats meaningful free thought and speech as treacherous crimes.

    It (Orientalism) is exactly the opposite of the pattern throughout his works.

    Rushdie DID know exactly what he was doing. The issue is that he wasn't doing what you keep pretending he was.

    You need to understand that subjecting Islam - as an instance of a closed, absolutist system of thought - to criticism, is not comparable to "Orientalism."

    And particularly not when done by an author who is himself from the east, and from a Muslim family.

    And using the N-word in the context of a piece of literature subverting racism, does not mean that you are a racist.

    In 1988? That's 4 decades after the British packed up and left. Enough time for children born around the time of partition to grow into middle-aged authors who value freedom of expression.

    Indeed, and it is the exploitation of such sentiments by elites in those countries, for their own nefarious ends, that is at issue, both here and in The Satanic Verses.

    The book in question focussed on Bangladeshi and Maharashtri Muslims in Britain. I don't recall any mention of Pakistan in The Satanic Verses. Maybe you're thinking of parts of Midnight's Children?
  22. Arsalan Registered Senior Member

    Misuse? Quite clearly the protests that took place disagree with your view.

    And yet when you blame someone who has no connection to a terrorist cell for the actions of said cell, you are doing the same thing. Yes, there are shades of grey, but your argument doesnt stand in the real world. maybe rewording it might help?

    And the answer would be: they dont enable violence and or oppression any more than the rest of the world does.

    I dont do it for them, I do it for the people that havent made up their mind yet and might stumble onto it via Google.


    And as I said before, its merely a matter of the countries that are at play.

    They dont enable the violence and I dont bear any responsibility for the actions of terrorists.

    Surely you are familar with the varying degrees of martyr behaviour?

    Bin Laden wasnt elected, was not paid taxes to and no one knows where he is. Moreover, he is banned, disowned and actively pursued. His organization clamped down. Thats enough

    Again, Bush was the elected leader of a country, Bin Laden lives ina cave somewhere with his group. There is no comparison.

    For the status of their nation where they elect the leaders. Hence they can exert any pressure on the government. Bin laden is not an elected leader of a nation and no one can exert pressure on him to do anything.

    Yet not Iran, certain groups.

    His books were pretty well read by the people that protested against him.

    Criticizng Islam and violence aginst Muslims are not one and the same, yet they do follow eachother at certain times. Does this mean anyone that criticizes Islam should stop? No. They can criticize without approving of the violence.

    How many people acted violently? You make it sound as if all Muslims suddenly went out and killed and destroyed and obeyed their leaders without any question. This lie was exposed some time back. I dont have any oppressors that tell me what to think of Rushdie, just like a lot of individual Muslims made uo their own minds about Rushdie. This argument once again presents us with the product of the kind of thinking Rushdie promoted i.e. Muslims cannot think for themselves, they need someone that oppresses them to tell them what to think.

    Its not a copout, just the facts. If you want to be held responsible for the crimes of others, go ahead, Id like to stay with the sane world and not go around blaming a whole group because of the actions of certain people.

    Proof? More proof that the kind of thinking Rushdie promoted towards the Muslim world was actually taken up by people.

    and yet, he used their arguments, not as detractors, but in the same vein.

    I keep pretending? Maybe its you who keeps pretending he didnt do that.

    And that wasnt what the protests were against.

    Who made it quite clear in his books how much he despised the religion and the place his parents moved to. Maybe him being from a Shia family meant the Ayatollah thought he had to do something to not get blamed for what Rushdie did

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    Unless ofcourse the piece of literature is racist and regurgitates the same arguments against black people that were used in those times.

    Ofcourse, they valued freedom of expression, and they used that same freedom to explain why they disagreed with what Rushdie wrote.

    True, but that was a small part of why there were protests.

    Yep, and there are hints in his other books as well.
  23. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Which is to say: significantly.

    And have you ever encountered any such person?

    No, the only outcome that would rise to the level of "enough" would be if those outside of your group do not have to worry about being attacked by those in your group. At that point, you'd be justified in telling those outsiders that enough is being done to limit your group's impingement on them. Anything short of that, and you're going to have to accept that some culpability is left for everyone in your group.

    Or, again, you could always leave the group, if you don't like that.

    What you can't do is retain your group membership, without accepting the responsibility associated with it.

    Moreover, it is reasonable to expect to be able to criticize, without that being equated with violence, and without suffering violence and intimidation in return.

    And, on the flip side, if they forward criticisms that are unrelated to reality, prejudicial, and used by their originators as pretexts for violence, then they should be held accountable for supporting violence.

    And, through some amazing cosmic coincidence, you all independently arrived at the same opinion on Rushdie, with all the same obvious misreadings and personal aspersions, as the oppressors. Meanwhile, such a position is very rare in populations that don't share your religious allegiances.

    What explains the correlation?

    Not someone, but something. And not "need:" what is needed is liberation from these processes. You have the causation exactly backwards: you aren't oppressed because you're intellectually dysfunctional. You are intellectually dysfunctional because you are oppressed.

    No reasonable person who has read his work agrees with that view.

    Why would I do that? It's you who has ulterior motives when approaching his work, and who clings to a criticism constructed for blatantly political purposes. My view is aligned with that of the overwhelming majority of readers who do not come to the table with a pre-existing agenda.

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