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Understanding Radical Islam

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  • Understanding Radical Islam

    PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia: Malaysia's top secular court on Wednesday rejected a Muslim convert's appeal to be recognized as a Christian, in a landmark case that tested the limits of religious freedom in this moderate Islamic country.

    A three-judge Federal Court panel ruled that only the Islamic Shariah Court has the power to allow Azlina Jailani — who changed her name to Lina Joy after becoming a Christian — to remove the word "Islam" from the religion category on her government identity card.
    Malaysia's Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said the panel endorsed past legal judgments that state the Shariah court — not the civil legal system — has the jurisdiction to hear cases of Muslims who want to renounce Islam.

    "This appeal is rejected," Ahmad Fairuz said.
    Malaysia is reputed to be a "moderate" Muslim country...
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  • #2
    Moderately what? Moderately extremist? Because that's totally in the description if so.

    Moderate extremists will slap you down in a heartbeat if you want to change your ID card, but if you want them to bomb Washington or the embassy, they're going to be a little hesitant.
    Becoming what I've dreamed about.


    • #3
      Yes I was shocked to when I read the news...I think it's a disgrace.

      I think the only reason why the country hasn't really plunged into the extremes, is that there are two other non-Muslim communities occupying the country. Otherwise, it would be a high risk country and actually we never know what could happen.

      You see, that's the problem with this religion -and with many others but particularly with this one: total submission is its credo. To say that a Muslim is free of choice is a nonsense. He, as an individual Muslim might be, but not within the community.

      I still find it stange to see that in one country different ethnicities are judged by different institutions though...
      The East? The West?

      Men and Women, that's all...


      • #4
        The master plan??

        Islam taking root in Turkey's bureaucracy
        By Sabrina Tavernise
        Tuesday, May 29, 2007

        DENIZLI, Turkey: The little red prayer book was handed out in a public primary school here in western Turkey earlier this month. It was small enough to fit in a pocket, but it carried a big message: Pray in the Muslim way. Get others to pray, too.

        "The message was clear to me," said a retired civil servant, whose 13-year-old son, a student at the Yesilkoy Ibrahim Cengiz school, received the book. "This is not something that should be distributed in schools."

        This leafy, liberal city would seem like one of the least likely places to allow Islam to permeate public life. But for some residents, the book is part of a subtle shift toward increasingly public religiosity that has gone hand-in-hand with the ascent of the party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

        The phenomenon is complex: The party has not ordered changes, but sets examples through a growing network of observant teachers and public servants who have been hired since it came to power in 2002.

        The shift goes to the heart of the question that has gripped this country for the past two months: As the party settles more deeply into the bureaucracy, will it bring Islam with it? Or will it keep its roots in the past, and leave the public sphere as nonreligious as before?

        The answer is as complex as Turkey itself. In more-religious Turkish cities, the party has had a moderating influence, persuading deeply conservative residents to support the European Union. But here in Denizli, a city situated closer to Greece than Iran, which never voted for pro-Islamic parties before Erdogan's, the party's new recruits seem to be laying the groundwork for a more pious society.

        The mayor, Nihat Zeybekci, a charismatic businessman and a member of Erdogan's party, strongly disputes claims that the party has limited freedoms. Alcohol is still sold near mosques. His party has women in local government. The opposition parties do not.

        "I get offended when a lady says to me, 'When you have absolute control, will I still be able to swim at the beach?' " he said. "It's like asking if I'm a thief."

        But secular residents say that they see changes, and that they are the inevitable outcome of several decades of economic transformation. "In a very quiet, deep way, you can sense an Islamization," said Bedrettin Usanmaz, a jewelry shop owner in Denizli. "They're not after rapid change. They're investing for 50 years ahead."

        At the heart of the issue is a debate about the fundamental nature of Islam and its role in the building of an equitable society. Turks like Zeybekci argue that their country has come a long way since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's secular revolution in 1923, and that it no longer needs to enforce controls such as of women wearing head scarves.

        "It's like locking everybody in a stadium, when you know that only three are thieves," Zeybekci said in his office, hung with pictures of Erdogan and Ataturk.

        But secular Turks argue that Islam will always seek more space in people's lives, and therefore should be reined in. They look to the military as secularism's final defender.

        "Islam is not like other religions," said Kadim Yildirim, a history teacher in Denizli from an opposition labor union. "It influences every part of your life, even your bedroom."

        Yildirim is part of a number of concerned teachers who say that the new teachers hired in recent years, often from conservative backgrounds, are adding up to a change in the education system.

        Last month, the Education Ministry relaxed requirements for appointing new school principals. It was later annulled, but in the brief period it was in effect approximately 4,500 people in 40 cities across Turkey were appointed as principals and deputy principals, two-thirds of whom were affiliated with Erdogan's party, according to an analysis by Egitim-Sen, an opposition education labor union.

        According to a report to Parliament by the education minister, 836 people from the government's Religious Affairs Directorate have been transferred to the ministry's offices during Erdogan's tenure. That has also led to lifestyle changes in the bureaucracy: In Denizli, during the month of fasting in Ramadan, the lunchroom in the Ministry of Education no longer serves food, in an assumption that all workers are religious, employees said.

        Staff changes are a common feature of any change in government administration. But in Denizli, as in other more secular Turkish cities, the shift is potentially society-changing. Most of the new workers are from an entirely different social class, having come to the city from the surrounding towns and villages to work in new textile mills that started in the 1980s. In 40 years, the population of Denizli has grown ten-fold, according to Zeybekci.

        "They are coming to power, and it scares the hell out of the established elite," said Baskin Oran, a professor of international relations at Ankara University. The two groups "have nothing in common," he said. "Try to find a similarity."

        The mixing has caused friction, which, in Denizli, burst painfully into view last month, when the Turkish military, the backbone of the secular elite, publicly warned the local government that it had strayed too far from secularism. Its sins? Organizing an Islamic singing performance of schoolgirls in full head scarves and a running women's religious study group in a public school in a village south of Denizli, called Nikfer.

        For Zeybekci, the transgressions were so minor that the rebuke had to have been about power, not religion. The military was simply trying to remain relevant, he said.

        "They are very aware of what kind of power they are going to lose," he said.

        But power has already changed substantially under Erdogan's party, despite attempts by the secular establishment to stop it. Government candidates that were vetoed by the president have continued in the prospective positions as "substitutes," including the head of the public television and radio, the Education Ministry director in the city of Izmir, and the director of research and training at the Ministry of Culture. In the Education Ministry alone, 536 are working without approval, according to the minister.

        In Nikfer, the school principal who allowed the religious study group was a religion teacher. He has since been transferred to another town, a punishment that Asiye Sozeri, a 33-year-old housewife there, regrets: Her teenage daughter no longer has a religion tutor.

        Koran classes in Nikfer have proliferated in recent years, Sozeri said, but far from being politics-related, the reason can be found in the deteriorating state of farming.

        As villagers migrated to Denizli to work they tried to put their children in its schools, which were far better than rural ones. Many could not afford apartments, and as a result, the student hostel became a central feature of city life. Often supported by donations from religious groups, the hostels were places where poor students lived and studied, but had religious undertones: Chaperones, often devout college-age Turks, were the role models.

        "Education is where the religious communities concentrate their efforts," said Gulay Keysan, a 31-year-old English teacher in Denizli. In a school in the city's Karaman district, where she taught several years ago, a quarter of her students lived in hostels.

        Perhaps the most sensitive point for teachers like Yildirim are the changes they say are occurring in textbooks. Changes were already under way, part of an upgrade needed to join the European Union, but some officials say that as the nationalism is taken out, a new conservatism is being put in.

        One of the country's primary eighth-grade science books, for example, "Science Knowledge," has lost its detailed description of Darwin's theory of natural selection, and gained a reference to a theory that holds that living beings did not evolve but came into being exactly as they are today, attributed to several ancient Asian scholars. The reference was not there before, nor was the word Islamic to describe them.

        All education material, once vetted centrally, is now checked in a far looser fashion, according to one senior Ministry of Education official in Ankara, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was afraid for his job. A point system to rate textbooks has been loosened. The red prayer book, illustrated with pictures of small children praying, would probably not have been distributed in past years.

        It is still unclear where today's changes will lead the country. Oran argues that although the ideology of Erdogan and his allies "is inevitably Islam," they are workers and tradesman who are ultimately motivated by profit. "They are very rapidly becoming bourgeois," he said.

        "There must be a distinction between those who give the public service and those who receive it," he said. "The first cannot wear head scarves. But the second can go as they want."

        Yildirim draws hope from a recent exchange among his students he overheard. One posed a dilemma: If you were rowing a boat with only one extra seat and passed by a deserted island with the Prophet Muhammad and Ataturk, whom would you save? Another answered: "Ataturk is resourceful. He can save himself. Take Muhammad."

        Sebnem Arsu contributed reporting from Denizli and Istanbul.
        Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

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        • #5
          Are you refering to "Islam the religion of peace"?(that is going to be the cause of the end of the free world)


          • #6
            Astute. Very astute.

            But then again, I've been reading too many books on this subject lately.
            Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

            "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

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            • #7
              More interesting developments in the world of Islam:

              Radicalism among Muslim professionals worries many
              By Hassan M. Fattah
              Friday, July 13, 2007

              DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: They were some of the best and brightest in the Muslim world who toiled for years to master their knowledge. Now they stand accused of seeking mass murder.

              For weeks, commentators and analysts in the Muslim world have been grappling with the implications that a Muslim doctor and engineer, at the pinnacle of their society, may have been behind the failed car bombings in London and Glasgow last month.

              The question being asked in many educated and official circles is this: how could such acts be committed by people who have supposedly dedicated their lives to scientific rationalism and to helping others?

              The answer, some scientists and analysts say, may lie in the way that a growing movement of fervent Muslims use science as reinforcement of religious belief, rather than as a means for questioning and exploring the foundations of the natural world.

              "It's not that surprising for doctors and engineers to be involved in political Islamist movements — both of the violent and the more moderate sort," said Taner Edis, associate professor of physics at Truman State University in Missouri and author of "An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam."

              He and other researchers who study Islamist movements say that the involvement of doctors and engineers in terrorism is not shocking. Muslim scientists are among the most politicized groups in the region, and the Muslim approach to the scientific method, in the most extreme cases, can squelch the freewheeling curiosity at the heart of scientific discovery.

              "Fundamentalist-type attitudes are relatively common among people in applied science in the Muslim world," Edis said. "The conception has been that modern science is developed outside, and we need to bring it into our societies without it corrupting our culture."

              In other words, science is a tool for furthering an ideology rather than a means of examining core beliefs.

              For Islamists like Zaghloul el-Naggar in Cairo, who hosts a popular television show about the Koran's scientific teachings, all science can be discovered within the Koran — from the cause of earthquakes to genetics. Such direct links between science and religion ultimately hamper the scientific method by making some questions taboo, analysts say.

              "You have the emergence of a new kind of religious figure who is not a cleric, and all of his authority is as a scientist," said Todd Pitock, who profiles Naggar in an article about Islam and science in the July issue of the magazine Discover. "The whole purpose of science for some Islamists is using it to reinforce faith; it really has nothing to do with science itself."

              Medicine and engineering have long been the most prestigious professions in the Arab world, and many of its most illustrious writers, thinkers and politicians have risen through engineering and medical schools.

              Many notable militant leaders, too, have graduated from those schools. They include George Habash, a doctor and founder of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; the late Fathi Shikaki, a doctor and founder of Palestinian Islamic Jihad; Mahmoud Zahar and several other leaders of Hamas who trained as doctors; and Osama bin Laden, an engineer, and Ayman al-Zawahri, his No. 2 in Al Qaeda, once a practicing doctor.

              Nor are such militants limited to the Arab world; they are among a list of radical doctors and scientists who have risen in leftist, and extremist movements and groups in recent decades in the West, Asia and the Arab world, including Che Guevara.

              Extremists are of course a tiny minority of the thousands of graduates that come out of the region's science programs every year. But increasingly, analysts and researchers say, the region's engineering and medical schools have become hotbeds of nonviolent political Islamist activity. Many Arab doctors, in turn, have led the charge against American, Israeli and Western interference in the region, building on their time-honored roles as community leaders.

              "The doctor at one time or another presented a figure who could really decide life and death," said Sari Nasser, professor of sociology at the University of Jordan. "Now doctors have this tradition that they have to lead people and not to let them down. This is one reason why doctors as such are leading the fight against the West."

              At the University of Jordan medical school, for example, where Mohammed Asha, a suspect in the Glasgow bombing, was a star student, politics features prominently in student life, Medical students lead demonstrations, fund-raising drives and boycotts against Israel, the United States and other causes. For some professors at the school, the surprise was that Asha, who seemed largely apolitical during his time at school, could be connected to Islamic militancy. "I might have accepted this from some of the other students," said one of his professors, speaking on condition of anonymity. "But he was not an activist like the others."

              Hassan Abu Hanieh, who researches and has close ties with militant Islamist movements in the region, says they have their own scientific perspective in which there are simple questions and clear answers. "They have an equation which is one plus one equals two—Israel is the enemy and its allies are apostates, for example," he says.

              "If these are the symptoms then this is the disease," he adds. "They diagnose the West and regard it as their enemy. Their mind-set is hard and their knowledge is based on facts, with one opinion and no room for exchanging views."

              It was perhaps inevitable, he and others say, that Al Qaeda would seek to recruit Muslim doctors and scientists into its ideology for tactical reasons as well. Zawahri is reported to have sought recruits who could blend in the West.

              "Wherever you go in the Muslim world, those who are most violent and most extremist are the ones who have the most scientific tendencies," Abu Hanieh said. "One could even argue that sciences might contribute to increasing one's radical thinking if the radical finds justifications to his philosophy through science," he said.

              For many Muslim doctors in the West, the implications add yet another challenge.

              "Ninety-nine percent of us don't go beyond political activism; what is the difference between the 99 percent and the 1 percent who go to violent extremism?" said Hasan Shanawani, a senior member of the Association of Muslim Health Professionals, in Downers Grove, Illinois, who said that doctors are normally on the lookout for foul play in medicine and will now have to be just as vigilant about spotting extremism. "How do we find that needle in a haystack? That's what's really bothering us."

              Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

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              • #8
                Christianity is not very different. When the Dali Lama was going to speak in Chicago last month, a group of christian fundamentalists were gathering there to try and 'convert' as many buddhists as they could.


                • #9
                  I think pretty much all major religions are like this... they each have the group of fanatics that they publically denounce but privatly endorse... ****ing hypocrites...
                  The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!


                  • #10
                    There is a major difference in how Islam approaches "converting" people, as compared to other religions.

                    This news article is not only very foreboding, it demonstrates a key aspect of Islam. It popped up and rapidly disappeared off the main page for some reason. It's representative of what's happening all over Europe, even though it's not being "talked" about much:

                    Last Rites in the Holy Land?
                    The world's most ancient Christian communities are fleeing their birthplace.

                    By Rod Nordland

                    July 23, 2007 issue - He refused to leave Baghdad, even after the day last year when masked Sunni gunmen forced him and eight co-workers to line up against a wall and said, "Say your prayers." An Assyrian Christian, Rayid Albert closed his eyes and prayed to Jesus as the killers opened fire. He alone survived, shot seven times. But a month ago a note was left at his front door, warning, "You have three choices: change your religion, leave or pay the jeziya"—a tax on Christians levied by ancient Islamic rulers. It was signed "The Islamic Emirate of Iraq," a Qaeda pseudonym. That was the day Albert decided to get out immediately. He and the other 10 members of his household are now living as refugees in Kurdistan.

                    Across the lands of the Bible, Christians like Albert and his family are abandoning their homes. According to the World Council of Churches, the region's Christian population has plunged from 12 million to 2 million in the past 10 years. Lebanon, until recently a majority Christian country—the only one in the Mideast—has become two-thirds Muslim. The Greek Orthodox archbishop in Jerusalem, where only 12,000 Christians remain, is pleading with his followers not to leave. "We have to persevere," says Theodosios Atallah Hanna. "How can the land of Jesus Christ stay without Christians?" The proportion of Christians in Bethlehem, once 85 percent, is now 20 percent. Egypt's Coptic Christians, who trace the roots of their faith back to Saint Mark's preaching in the first century, used to account for 10 percent of their country's population. Now they've dwindled to an estimated 6 percent. "The flight of Christians out of these areas is similar to the hunt for Jews," says Magdi Allam, an Egyptian-Italian author and expert on Islam, himself a Muslim. "There is no better example of what will happen if this human tragedy in the Arab-Muslim world is allowed to continue."

                    Nowhere is the exodus more extreme than in Iraq. Before the war, members of the Assyrian and Chaldean rites, along with smaller numbers of Armenians and others, constituted roughly 1.2 million of the country's 25 million people. Most sources agree that well over half of those Christians have fled the country now, and many or most of the rest have been internally displaced, but some estimates are far more drastic. According to the Roman Catholic relief organization Caritas, the number of Christians in Iraq had plummeted to 25,000 by last year. Of the 1.7 million Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Syria, half are Christians, says Father Raymond Moussalli, a Chaldean vicar who now says mass every night in a basement in Amman. "The government of Saddam used to protect us," he says. "Mr. Bush doesn't protect us. The Shia don't protect us. No Christian was persecuted under Saddam for being Christian."

                    Over the centuries, the region's Christians have frequently made common cause with their Muslim neighbors. Leaders of some Christian factions even backed Hizbullah during last summer's Lebanon war, and Arabic-speaking Christians in the Palestinian territories have regularly sided with the Muslim majority against the Israeli occupation. Five years ago Palestinian militants found sanctuary from Israel's tanks inside Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity. Nevertheless, old relationships are crumbling now. When Pope Benedict XVI quoted a medieval scholar's critical comments on the Prophet Muhammad, last September, furious Palestinians reacted by torching at least half a dozen churches on the West Bank. About 3,000 Christians remain in Gaza—many of them seeking new homes somewhere else. "We're living in a state of anxiety," says Hanady Missak, deputy principal of the Rosary Sisters School in Gaza City. Militants ransacked the school's chapel during the battle between Hamas and Fatah last month. Crosses were broken and prayer books burned.

                    At least a few moderate imams are speaking out against attacks on Christians. "I ask the culprits to return to the Holy Qur'an and reread it," said Sheik Muhammed Faieq in a recent sermon at the Mussab Mosque in the Baghdad suburb of Dora, where jihadists have waged a cleansing campaign against Christians. "Forcing people to leave their religion or properties is contradicting Islam's traditions and instructions." For many in the Middle East, the admonition comes too late. "There is no future for Christians in Iraq for the next thousand years," says Rayid Paulus Tuma, a Chaldean Christian who fled his home in Mosul after two of his brothers were gunned down gangland style. His pessimism is shared by Srood Mattei, an Assyrian Christian now in Kurdistan: "We can see the end of the tunnel—and it is dark."

                    With Kevin Peraino in Jerusalem, Salih Mehdi in Baghdad, Barbie Nadeau in Rome and Mandi Fahmy in Alexandria
                    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

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                    • #11
                      And just today, more incredible stuff from the news:

                      Hamas TV introduced a new children's character intended to inspire future extremists and suicide bombers with Nahoul the Bee.

                      In a television skit, the character vows to continue the work of his cousin, Farfour the mouse, in following in the 'path of Islam, of heroism, of martyrdom.'

                      During the Hamas TV show, "Pioneers of Tomorrow," Nahoul the Bee pledges to "take revenge upon the enemies of Allah, the killer of the prophets and of the innocent children."

                      Farfour, a Mickey Mouse lookalike, caused an international uproar before Hamas TV ended the character's show. In a final skit, the character is killed at the hands of an Israeli soldier.
                      Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                      "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

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                      • #12
                        silly muslims, ridiculous religious tv programs are for televangelists....
                        "For some reason I'm in a good mood today. I haven't left the house yet, though. "

                        "fa hui, you make buddhism sexy." -Zachsan

                        "Friends don't let friends do Taekwondo." -Nancy Reagan


                        • #13
                          A new best seller coming out of Malaysia...

                 - Coming soon? A car designed for Muslims, complete with a compass to indicate the direction of Mecca for prayers and a compartment to house the Koran and prayer scarves.

                          Proposed by Iran, the plan is under consideration by Malaysia's national auto maker Proton, the company's managing director said at the weekend in Tehran, where he is taking part in a business mission.

                          Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir told the Malaysian Bernama news agency that the proposed model, which the Iranians suggested be called an "Islamic car," could be produced in Malaysia, Iran or Turkey.

                          "The car will have all the Islamic features and should be meant for export purposes," he said, adding that with government support, the producers could expect a large volume of orders.

                          Proton has been building cars since the 1980s, and sold about 150,000 in 2005 before experiencing a slump in 2006. Most of its sales are domestic although it also exports to countries mostly in the Middle East and Asia. It has been in talks with potential international partners.

                          Praying five times a day in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, the holiest place in Islam, is one of the pillars of the faith.

                          There are an estimated 1.3 billion Muslims in the world, with the largest populations in Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran.

                          Most bigger Muslim countries have low per-capita car ownership figures - fewer than 100 cars per 1,000 people, although a U.S.-British academic study early this year predicted significant increases by 2030 in countries like Turkey, India and Indonesia.
                          Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                          "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                          (more comments in my User Profile)


                          • #14
                            I want a car designed around my needs as an atheist.
                            The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!


                            • #15
                              The perfect solution, design cars that run on hate.


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