I’ve Just received this comment from an anonyms posted in “It’s not about freedom of speech. It’s about intentions” article and I thought this could open a good discussion hopefully civilized one.. so if you want to add a comment make sure it’s a civilized one or ill remove it…

Anonymous said…Hi,

I’m in the US, and I’m an American. I have lived 25 months in Saudi Arabia, among the people. I am a practicing Catholic, a person of the Book. I came looking for a reasoned dialog with Muslims on this question, because I don’t understand this worldwide, violent reaction. I hope you do.

My question is this, and it is intended to provoke thought and reasoned dialog:

How can Muslims condone destruction of property, injury to people, attacks on police and others, half a world away from Denmark, and expect that this will alter the (agreed, blasphemous) attitudes that lead to the creation of such cartoons? What that says to us in the West is, essentially, “I as a Muslim claim the right to attack, kill, maim, or destroy anyone I get angry at, for any reason whatsoever, and it matters not at all that I do this to someone who is completely innocent of the offense that made me angry.”

Again, I intend to engage in a conversation, and I hope it can be a reasonable one.

PJ

My point of view

The answer is quiet simple.. First we should set a fact that what Muslims do in 21st century has nothing to do with Islam. More than 70% of Muslims these days are just Muslims by name.

Second make sure that sometime media, especially west media are tending to exaggerate some images and discard some. So what you see in media is not 100%. The realty of the situation.. there are other millions of Muslims who do not accept violent as an action. Where are those people in west media??

What happened in Gazza is simply because the situation there is full of violent… And what happened in Syria and Lebanon is purely politics… if you see what happened in Lebanon you can easily know that it has nothing to do with Prophet Mohammed (p.b.u.h).
Who did this were bunch of gangster whom I believe they don’t even know who Prophet Mohammed is. And the organizer of that demonstration denied there responsibility of what happened becuase they simply don’t agree, and if they could stop it they will..

I believe your question is based on what you see in the media and it’s not 100% true.. the only action that were taken by the majority is to boycott Danish products and this action has nothing to do with violent.. The rest are politics I believe.

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14 Responses to “Looking for a reasoned dialog with Muslims”

  1. Dave Says:

    “…what Muslims do in 21st century has nothing to do with Islam. More than 70% of Muslims these days are just Muslims by name.”

    The same goes for Christianity.

    “[The] media…[tends]to exaggerate some images and discard some. So what you see in media is not 100%.”

    The same goes for the East in its coverage of the West.

    While those of us who live in the Middle East realize that while this violence is the irate actions of a few, these actions are the most vocal. Like most situations, the actions of the most visual group affects the lives of all those around.

    This doesn’t bode well for the East. The media is going to focus on the most vocal (and in this case, violent) group. The irony is that the cartoons that started this upheaval were an attempt to display how Islam has portrayed itself to the West over the past several years, and the vocal minority is only proving the point.

  2. Bashar Says:

    Thanks Wael for such a nice and civilized post and many thanks also for Dave I really liked your comment specially the one about the percentage of Muslims and Christians who don�t follow and apply their religion.

    Dave, i want to hear your thought that will defiantly assist me in understanding the complete picture.

    I want to communicate why I think this is happening �only in the Muslim� world, step over poverty, lake of education, no industry, � because I think those are all factors yet they don�t justify the act taken by some Muslims, I mean most of Mohammed (Prophet of Islam) companions were poor, some other companions were the richest in the Arab world. So set the economy dominance aside.

    First am not justifying what they are doing. OK !

    But why is it only happing in the muslim world? Great Question.

    like the majority of Muslims, condemn the burnings and all what happened lately, and am not saying this as a feeling, am actually taking huge steps towards changing this aspect among us.

    I hope i can communicate my idea correct, that what is happening is not in anway related to the teaching of Islam.

    My point and question: If the pressure that the Muslim world faces was on any other religion wouldn�t this pressure result in triggering and igniting the ignorant and extremists in that religion?

  3. manal yusuf Says:

    well said wael….n i would like to thank PJ for his curiosity and making the step to ask and see what the other side has to say and not settle with what their media exhibits…..because after all, the voilence that irrupted,adding to what wael n the others said,it’s always reaccted by a very small majority of our nation,islamic or the arbic world…and our religion has so many crossing points with other religions specially christianity so as for the attacking, killing and destroying it is forbidden…and beside boycotting the danish products, some is trying to reach out their vioces……u can read more about it at
    www.360east.com
    n if u have any more questions your are welcomed…

  4. Dave Says:

    “If the pressure that the Muslim world faces was on any other religion wouldn�t this pressure result in triggering and igniting the ignorant and extremists in that religion?”

    First of all, could you clarify which pressure are you talking about (the one that is on the Muslim world)?

    Also, I have several opinions as to why this has escalated farther than it should, but I choose not to share them in an effort not to offend anyone.

    I will share that this situation is ironic in that it appears that the people are their own worst enemy. Had the cartoonish crack at Islam been ignored, the issue would have faded into the past, unnoticed. However, having made such a big deal out of things, the citizens of the world are curious about the matter, resulting in reprints of the offensive cartoons, and conversely stirring up passions all the more.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    What i can say that Islam is passing through a very difficult time these days …. why because muslims are not truly muslims…islam is turning to social activity that we do without deep understanding to its meanings . am not going to discuss the reason of that… but what is important is that u arnt seeing the right face of islam….

    Islam …is the religeoun of Allah sent to all people to live in peace … and it has nothing to do with violence….

    on the other hand we muslims beleive in all the prophets , and they were always passing through hard time from people …but the way they replied was different than what we see now from muslims….they had the ability to turn their enemies to friends. Defenders of islam must be patient on non-muslims, and they have to try all the methods to spread their message to the whole world.

    please keep this discussion going on…it is an excellent method to spread the thought of islam to those who dont know it or have a vague ideas abt it.
    am happy to participate in such discussion and thanks to wael…

  6. mrpeace Says:

    hi guys….

    thanks finally for finding someplace where people can post a logical comment without being replied to by some superfecial characters on both sides…

    first of all…i really like what all of you have already presented..and allow me to re-present some of those and add my opinion….

    first we all know that the problem with our culture in the west is mainly a PR one or in simpler words (putting the right face to express the beautiful soul)…..and so far we have failed big time..because of personal and more importantly outisde influence…

    and i think dave..with you being an ex-pat you would surely have met with some good representative samples of our culture and you would know that those barbaric nobodies that claim to represent islam only represent a very alienated fringe of society…unfortunately and once again the louder you shout the more you’re heard..especially if you’re from our part of the world.

    as for the issue of the cartoons…no body can say that people haven’t been offended…you could claim that this is the way our culture presented itself in the west…but i know for sure and from personal experience that this is truely not the case in europe because you have big communities of muslims that are presenting their beatiful way of life…and if people say they only see the bad side, well that could be because it’s the side they want to see or they want to use to defend their own views and in such case you can do nothing and they can say and express themselves (it’s a free world)..However to try and stretch the limits to an extent where you rediculise the basic and most holy principles of any religion in an insultive way…that is something else, and we have previous bad experience of that regarding christian, jewish, seik, and muslim beliefs…

    as for the response…well we all agree that we should say we don’t like this and make ourselves clear…and for a few months (since those cartoons came to light) that what was happening in the most cultured and civilised ways), However there was no or in some cases bad response from the other side. and this led to the appearance (once again) of the weird fringes on the “eastern” side first and then on the “western” side in a endless loop of action and reaction that is far far away from the topic under dispute and much closer to some personal and political agendas.. and once again these poeple were the loudest and the most presented…

    to end a boring comment….let me just say….we don’t like what started this issue because it rally had no message to deliver else of insult and i hope you have a good look at those cartoons, and at the same time we surely don’t like the latest response to it because it re-emphasised our inability to present our massive opinion rather than the opinion of the smallest barbaric minority..

    one last reminder….most other cases with other races and religions ended with the presentation of protection laws..so i hope we can push for such thing that will allow intellectual and civilised arguments about religion but prevent the fringe on one side from fueling the hatred amongst the fringe of the other side….

  7. Dave Says:

    Mr. Peace, allow me to clarify the phrase, “how Islam has portrayed itself to the West.” When I say this I am referring to the way the media portrays Islam to the world. And as we are all aware, the media more often than not portrays only the bad, rarely the good. In this case, the actions of an extreme and vocal minority are speaking volumes (the amount of terrorist atrocities, the majority which have been linked to radical Muslim groups, have balloon over the last 5 years). To the rest of the world, those with little exposure to Arabs or Islam view these sensationalized atrocities as the norm. This should not come as a surprise since Eastern media is just as guilty of sensationalizing the actions and attitudes of events that take place outside of the Middle East.

    It appears that most of the Western world agrees that publishing these cartoons was an ignominious act of instigative controversy; at the same time, the Western world does not (and can not) share the appalling horror that many Muslims are feeling as a result of this affront. Those in the West are hardened by two main issues. The first is an inalienable right to freedom of speech, which allows anyone to say anything about anybody at anytime. While there are some limitations to this freedom, the boundaries are constantly stretched to the point of callousness.

    The second issue is the immunization against religious attacks–from mild jokes to more intense assaults. Such attacks happen on such a regular basis, that it becomes easier to ignore than to confront. Focusing attention on such issues only tends to worsen the problem.

    Add to these two points the view of Islam that many Westerners have been presented with (refer to my first paragraph), and you can see why much of the West views the Arab reaction as more of an over-reaction.

    The current problem is not what was done, but what actions remain to be taken (if any). The issue has become far too political (and far too deadly), which leads me to believe that there isn�t a hidden agenda lurking around underneath the fiery actions of the mob. While I give much credit to Jordan�s King Abdullah for his attitude and approach to this issue, I have a hard time believing that there aren�t other Middle Eastern leaders who wouldn�t hesitate to use this for their own political gain. As I mentioned in my second comment (above), as the people continue to protest the offense, the issue will only become more inflamed, which isn�t good for anyone in the long run.

  8. mrpeace Says:

    dave…

    i see no contradiction between what i say and what you say….. and i totally agree with you about the mutuality in misunderstanding…i wouldn’t be able to tell the difference if i watch al manar channel or fox tv (i actually practice my right not to watch either)…and what you say is also right about the political agendas…because support for fanatics is always drawn from governments in trouble as means of brgaining if not harrassment about political views….

    However…i don’t see the outcome as black as you choose to portray…because such mobs on both sides (and i strongly emphasis when i say on both sides because we can see, and not just hear about, many hardliners on the other side spreading their filth..)..such mobs will shut up sooner rather than later, and i say so because of many previous experiences…..and it is then if not actually now that action should be taken on both sides to draw the limit of the so called freedom opf speech against religion…and please don’t keep reminding us about the lack of limits in the west because we all know that there are loads of limits (even if not put into paper)regarding other religions and cultures and even sexual orientation…ie; you can say you don’t like me and you can say you hate me and you can say i have no morals…but if you publically curse me you are in trouble..and i live in the west and know this for sure…..so i think it’s time to make another one of those “not-written laws” regarding one more issue…..

    you may again say these are eastern thoughts and the outcome of an eastern way of thinking…but if that’s so…i think lots of westerners become eastern in some phases or in some circumstances in their lives….and no need to give examples about minorities and religious groups that were successful in prohibiting even the mentioning of cerain actions or events..and i don’t condemn that but rather totally agree with it because if we want to live together we should respect each other…

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Gentlemen,

    I appreciate your comments, all of them, thank you very much.

    I think the central question, at least for me, lies in something Mr. Peace said:

    “and it is then if not actually now that action should be taken on both sides to draw the limit of the so called freedom opf speech against religion…”

    This is a problem for us in Western democracy. There is NO way, I don’t think, that the US or any other liberal democracy is going to outlaw speech regarding religion, whether good or bad, complimentary or insulting. It’s completely contrary to a fundamental tenet of our freedoms. Now, the opposite can also be said: that is, that for some Muslims, there is NO way that they are ever going to tolerate someone else having the right to say (or draw) what they want about Islam or Mohammed (PBUH). We could also add Jesus, Buddah, the Dalai Llama, or any other religious figure.

    If I have framed the two positions correctly, the resolution may have to come down to who is willing to fight hardest, and longest, to win the argument, presuming someone first decides to start the fight. I think I can authoritatively say that we in the West would never choose to fight Muslims over their right to be Muslims. It is alarming to us (or at least to me and probably most Danes) that some Muslims appear anxious to choose to fight someone over their right to free speech, seemingly whomever is within easy reach is the likeliest target. I would hope this would not be the case, but the media at least seems to be able to find plenty of examples.

    I spent an awful lot of time and energy explaining Arabs and Muslims here in the US after 911, in an effort to prevent the kind of conclusions that have despite my efforts become all too common. The scenes of jubilant people in the streets in the Middle East and across the Muslim world as they reacted with joy to the attacks on the US were particularly damaging. In the year following, there were some attempts, but none well publicized, by leading Muslim figures in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere to issue fatwas condemning the attacks and all acts of terrorism and violence against the innocent: this is Islam as I understand it. But these events got no traction, either because the media refuse to carry it, or because nobody with enough authority tried to support the message. I wonder–where was al-Jazeera then?

    Which leads to something Dave mentions above–what actions can be taken? I think that, too, is the central question for good Muslims to answer if they do NOT want to be represented to the West as the kind of people we see on TV today protesting these cartoons. If there are 100 people bent on a riot, where are the 1000 peaceful and tolerant people who might stand in front of the Danish Embassy and defend it against he mob? That kind of image WOULD be covered, I can promise you, and it would begin the change required in mindsets on both sides. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

    We in the West do not, in general, have enshrined in law protections for our religions or religious symbols or personalities, including prophets. It’s unreasonable to expect that such protections for any religion will be forthcoming just because otherwise there will be riots and civil unrest. What we need are courageous people of reasonable mind on both sides who are willing to stand up to bigotry and hate, and send them both back to the hell in which they belong.

    My thoughts, and again, thank you all for the conversation, I continue to listen along with each of you.

    PJ

  10. sami Says:

    I am a Muslim, and I was very sad to see such ignorant and hatful cartoons published in the Danish paper, but I said to myself, why to be amazed by this act? There are ignorant and barbaric people every where on this earth. Being a Dane or an American doesn�t necessarily mean that you are civilized. However I don�t agree on any of the violent happened around the ME and Islamic countries over this cartoons, and I think that the boycott is much better response by me for this act, not only for the results of the boycott, but also as a perfect way to make yourself heard.

    The issue is that, while discussing the boycott thing with some Danes and other western ppl on some other blogs. Most of them perceived the boycott as an unjustified act, and a sort of collective punishment for the whole country because of what the paper (a single entity) did.

    My question for PJ is that, considering that the CIA theory about 9/11 that “Osama Bin-Laden did it” was true (though they didn�t take enough time to investigate such a huge attack). However, wasn�t the killing of all the innocent Afghanis a sort of collective punishment? Are all the Afghanis a Qaeda people? Did all Afghanis give shelter to Bin-Laden and his group? Did any Afghani vote for Bin-Laden?

    Isn�t the Iraqi war just another collective punishment case happening in a free world?

  11. sami Says:

    And now the Monster speaks of himself and the truth is unveiled.

    http://www.madison.com/tct/opinion/column/index.php?ntid=72574&ntpid=1

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Sami,

    Wa alaykumu salaam.

    Your mention of the boycott brings another question to mind for me: what, precisely, do you expect to acheive with the boycott? What action by someone else (”the Danes”, perhaps, but which Danes?) will be enough in your mind to bring the boycott to an end and allow relations to return to normal?

    I believe that Osama and Zawahiri have both been shown on their own video tapes to have claimed responsibility for the attacks on 911, so I don’t think it’s reasonable to characterize that conclusion as a CIA theory. There were more people killed that day in the US than were killed at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked the US and brought us into WWII. There is no question that we were justified in going to war over that, and no question what the outcome will be. Osama declared war on the United States in 1998. We declared war on him after 911. Too late for anyone to whine about that.

    I very much hope you do not intend to argue that the deaths of nearly 3000 innocent people are similar in any way to the publication of 12 cartoons? The latter was utterly harmless to anyone before rioting by Muslims claimed the lives of many people, mostly Muslims I believe? What has that achieved?

    The war in Iraq is not collective punishment. We will probably differ on that question. But unless you live in Iraq, or have been there among the people since Saddam fell on 9 April 2003 as I have, you cannot speak for them. I have heard them speak, and they, for the most part, are glad to be free and glad to be rid of Saddam, and glad that Americans are there helping to rebuild their country.

    Many more Iraqis are dying there because their fellow Muslims are killing them than were killed or injured by US action in the active combat phase between 19 March and 1 May 2003.

    I gather from your comments that you expect and hope that Muslims will fight anyone, and everyone, over every slight, cartoon, or idea that they choose to find offensive. All I can say about that is it’s the wrong response, and I hope most Muslims do not choose it. For if you choose to fight over such things, those who are attacked can be expected to fight back, and that is not a path to peace the Prophet would choose, PBUH.

    PJ

  13. Sami Says:

    Wa Alikom Essalam PJ and everyone

    I know this is very late on this discussion, but I have to clear some points. I don’t recall where I said that I expect Muslims to fight and riot over a cartoons incident. I think I made it clear in my previous comment that I am against all the violent reactions. So your assumption was not true, and you can go over my comment once more.

    However, when I used the Bin-Laden and Saddam cases it was just a study case. I am not comparing cartoons to 9/11. I suggested that 9/11=War on Afghanistan
    ????= War on Iraq (really don�t have a good reasons yet)
    Insulting Cartoons=Boycott Denmark.

    You have your reasons to believe that Bin-Laden has something to do with 9/11 and every attack against American interests after that. I also have my reasons to believe that it was not Bin-Laden or any of his people. (Though he may have expressed his happiness about it, and that he was notified about something huge is going to happen in USA soon. I recall this was the most related comment he made about 9/11). However, I am still convinced that he is not capable of committing such an act, and I provided a link for some American specialists supporting my idea.

    However, who did the 9/11 is not the issue here, but the consequences are. If it was a Muslim guy who did it, I�ll tell you he was reckless enough to estimate the consequences of his act, he should�ve thought if the American cowboy decided to react the same savage way, there will be too many innocent killing from the Muslims side. In our case, the cartoons were published in a paper for the public, and the owners of this paper were reckless enough to estimate the reaction of the public stream in the Muslim world (protests and boycott are a public reaction), and therefore some Danish interests will be affected by the paper�s foolishness. The Danish paper decided to Insult more than 1 billion Muslim around the world, without a slight understanding for the nature of this insult. They didn�t insult any Muslim principle or a Muslim Sheikh or scholar. It was Prophet Muhammad, and the prophet is strictly a red line in Islam (whether the west likes it or not, they have to believe it). Freedom of speech doesn�t go as far as shouting “Fire” on a crowded train.

    I will not say much regarding the War on Iraq, you have a reason to believe that Iraqis are happy about the war ( though they call your coalition “the occupation force”), it�s up to you. But I�ll tell you that they are defiantly not happy about Abu Gharib prison or about killing unarmed Muslims in Mosques etc, etc… According to my knowledge of the Iraqi people, I know that they hate the USA and the coalition forces as mush as they hated Saddam. And they are the only victims in this USA/ Saddam/ Oil conflict.

  14. James Says:

    Hi;
    Can you folks get together and decry the horrible Muslim on Muslim violence happening in Iraq at the top of your voices? Multitudes of Iraqis are being tourtured, killed and blown to bits everyday. I makes me very sad. I feel the need for a rational dialog but I am afraid of a fatwah (I think the term is, for an assasination) being put on me for attemting a discussion. Maybe I am foolish for thinking this, but the violent actions of some muslims really does refelct very badly upon the entire group and is detrimental to Islam’s reputation in the eyes of westerners. It can also cause fear and distaste of all Muslims even though they are, as a whole, good people and a great culture. That is just a fact.
    I seem to care more than other people, most Muslim included, about the carnage in Iraq and I was raised Christian. Today I am agnostic, (not sure); more Buddhist or Taoist. I cannot see how God would approve of such horrible actions. It really sours me on religeon in general.
    I never agreed with going to war in Iraq. Bush has created a disaster. I also realize the U.S. has interfered stupidly in Muslum affairs in the Past. (Iran, with The Shaw and supporting Sadaam in the past for example) so I can kind of see how a lot of Muslim can dislike the U.S.. Being a “third party” I can also so see how both sides of the tragic Israeli- Palisinian conflict can feel very justified.
    I guess Sadaam Hussen was a necissary evil to prevent ethnic violence. I am not sure, are Muslims happy he is gone, or not? Obviously, being American I hate to see our soliders getting killed as well. I have herd Iraqis say they hated Sadaam but they hate Americans too. That is a lot of hate. If they hated Sadaam shouldn’t they be grateful to the U.S.? (Maybe not with our past record). I think that most U.S. solidiers think that they are helping Iraq. I wish Iraqis would begin to help point out these mass murderers.
    Mostly they are all Muslims killing each other over there en masse. They all believe in one God and The Profit. Regaurdless, all these people are sons, fathers, husbands and daughters; just people.
    By the way don’t all Muslims, Christians and Jews believe in the same one God? Also believe in Aberham and Jesus etc. as profits? I was raised Christian but I can respect Muhammed as a wise profit. I realize saying “a” profit will condemn me to hell to some. When I use my own head to interperate religeon it works out well for me. I don’t think I need anyone to tell me what I “better” beleive. If anyone is going to hell it is those people touturing and killing multiudes of civillians in Iraq.
    My point is we have so much in common. One God means One God. If the “one” God is not the One God of everyone then he is not the One God. Please don’t hate me for speaking my mind.
    God bless us all; James

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