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December 16, 2003

The Good, The Bad and The Democracy
Hamed Seyed-allaei  [info|posts]

force.jpg What is the engine of democracy? What make it stable? Why some countries start with democracy but end with dictatorship?I have been asking myself and I could not find any answer in scientific manner, which is irreducible, simple and general. In this post I would like to have a look at the simplest process that leads to democracy with minimal assumptions and in the worst case. There is no law and every one is evil. I believe no more assumptions are nessesary to construct a democracy.

Democracy is just a side-effect of a very simple process, the only real rule of nature, the rule of primitive jungles: survival of the fittest. This is reality. It is enough to look around and see democratic states and their leaders. If they are not evils, they are not saints either. They use any possibility to go
above the law to gain more fitness.

How a paradise-like society could be established by politicians who take care only of their own personal interests?

Suppose there is not something like religion, as it is assumed in secular states. Therefore, there is not any measure to show what is good and what is bad. Thus, for an individual, good will be something toward his/her personal interest and bad will be something against it.

Assume there is a very strong group in a country, against whom no one can resist. The results is obvious: they will take control. When it is against their interest, They won't respect any laws and rights, like all dictators in the world. It doesn't matter who they are and how they take the power. In fact even a president who has 90 percent of the votes is a potentioal dictator.

Now let us think about when two strong groups coexist. In this case the situation is a little different. If they have the same amount of power, it won't be a wise idea if they try to eliminate each other, thus, the best way is just try to live peacefully. They can either flip a coin or refer to public opinions to chsose a ruler.

When it comes to public opinions and elections, both sides have to respect the voters' rights, because they need their votes and any betrayal to the voters' rights will give the advantage to the opponent.

That is the way things work in the world. Therefore, to have a democratic government, which respect the citizens' rights, we need at least two parties with almost equal power. In fact, the existence of a strong minority is a key factor of a stable democracy. Without the presence of such a minority, any sort of governments and rulers will lead to dictatorships.

I would like to finish this post with a question: What can we tell about Iran within this analogy?

Comments
anonymous at December 16, 2003 08:01 AM [permalink]:

"How a paradise-like society could be established by politicians who take care of only their own personal benefits?"

Is that the aim of democracy? If it is so, how to define or understand the concept of paradise withen the democracy?

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Kaveh Kh. at December 16, 2003 12:33 PM [permalink]:

I love the picture, especially the wooden boxes!

Señor Græd at December 16, 2003 03:24 PM [permalink]:

A long time ago I bought a tiny book in order to quickly familiarize myself with Democracy. The book is titled, no, not "Democracy for Dummies", but "On Democracy", by Robert Alan Dahl, who as I am finding out thanks to amazon.com, has also written the following titles: "How Democratic is the American Constitution?" (sounds intriguing!), "A Preface to Democratic Theory", and "Democracy and Its Critics". I'm afraid I've not yet finished reading Dahl's little book (do I ever finish a book?), but I strongly recommend it for anybody who wants to write a serious essay on Democracy. I believe it's translated to Persian too, but I myself wouldn't rely on the Persian translation.

Señor Græd at December 16, 2003 05:28 PM [permalink]:

The following is not my only criticism, but as I was *trying* to read this post (From now on, not knowing whether "post" or "posting" is the right term for referring to FToI articles, I opt for the shorter "post"), I ran into the following sentences: "Suppose there is not something like religion, as it is assumed in secular states. Therefore, there is not any measure to show what is good and what is bad." I can't be sure what Hamed means by "something like religion", but if he means that religions provide the only possible yardsticks for right and wrong (or as Hamed puts is, "good" and "bad"), then I disagree. I believe that it is this very fallacy (that religion is the only sources of morality) that is responsible for many of our social problems. The secular man, unlike what we have been told, is not necessarily without a moral compass. To give just an example, tolerance is a value, a moral value, that, as it happens, is cherished by a lot of non-believers. That is to say, tolerating the Others, who are not like us, do not share our opinions, or are not somehow related to us, is "good" and lack of it is "bad". So right there, a non-religiously inspired measure for you! But the list doesn't end there. Democracy, is not just a political system of government. In fact, a democratically established government is just the tip of a huge iceberg, nay, but just the facade of an edifice whose foundations, the notion of Human Rights for instance, are of a moral nature and character...

Señor Græd at December 16, 2003 05:43 PM [permalink]:

I failed to explain why in my opinion the idea that religion is the sole source of morality is responsible for a lot of our social ills. Here's an attempt at a clarification of my point: See, once X believes that morality, "the good and the bad" can *only* be provided by the dictums of a religious tradition, then as soon as X rejects a religion without embracing another one (something that, for whatever reason, has been happening in many traditional societies, for whatever reason), X naturally finds it alright to do anything that doesn't get him/her caught and punished. As you know, this is not how the Western man operates though. There are deeply instilled moral codes in the West, without which the society would simply collapse. Our eyes are not trained for discerning these rules and it takes us a while to feel their strong authoritative presence. What we see first is "freedom" and we think there is no morality...

JFTDMaster at December 16, 2003 06:27 PM [permalink]:

"What is the engine of democracy?"
- Why don't you start with, what IS a modern democracy?

"In this post I would like to have a look at the simplest process which leads to democracy with the minimal assumptions and in the worst case. There is no law, and every one is evil. "
- How can you have a modern democracy with no rule of law? And what's "evil"? If people consciously wanted to hurt everyone around them, I don't think democracy or any society can exist. At the very least, a society requires identification into "us" and "them", and "us" is the society.

The idea of democracy is that the leaders are at least partially accountable to the people, and the government at least partially represents what the people want. The most basic question (which I don't know how to answer myself) is, how does democracy come in a single group of people?

JFTDMaster at December 16, 2003 06:36 PM [permalink]:

it all probably starts with councils representing various interests meeting and deciding on things. Over time, more and more groups of people are demanding to have a vote, until most people have a vote through their representatives at the council.

Grand Vizier at December 16, 2003 07:46 PM [permalink]:

Unfortunately my Master of JFTD, the democratic process that you mention here never happened in history unless there were a select few individuals who helped it and saw that it was good.

These simple ideas are good and nice but we must be on the watch for the downfalls as well: both Hitler and Mussolini (as particularly celebrated examples of "evil" in modern times) came to power by manipulation of relatively young democracies. Democracy, I think, is best to be considered as a good tradition not as an ideal system of government; that's asking for too much.

Iran and Turkey are the first countries in the Middle East to have experienced democratic processes. It is interesting to note that Turkey hasn't moved on far from there after about 100 years (well they had uncountably many military coup d'etats instead and are now facing serious threats from Muslim Fundamentalism) and in Iran everything was gradually reversed during the Pahlavi's and was finally brought to a caricature of democracy during the Islamic Republic.

We lacked the tradition not the system.

Yours at December 16, 2003 11:35 PM [permalink]:

The idea of two srong competing party, group or whatever you want to name it, is something that philosopher Karl Poper has pointed out in his book, "The open Society and its enemies", (if I remember correctly.

Hamed at December 17, 2003 07:00 AM [permalink]:

Señor Græd,
I meant by “something like religion” any thing which asks its followers to do some thing against their personal interest, without any reward or punishment. Whatever it is, you can not guaranty that the followers always obey.
“democratically established government is just the tip of a huge iceberg”, I agree. Have it in mind that an iceberg is the result of very simple process, you just need some water and a cold climate :-)


JFTDMaster,
In addition to Grand Vizier's comment,
Maybe the word “evil” was too strong. I meant some one who just take care of his own interests, in any cost.
“If people consciously wanted to hurt everyone around them, I don't think democracy or any society can exist. At the very least.” After a while the people will find that their personal benefit is to do not hurt each others.

Grand Vizier,
You have mentioned good points in your comment, nothing to add, just tanks.


Señor Græd at December 17, 2003 08:20 AM [permalink]:

Okay, I claim that our problem with democracy is the fact that we lack the ethical foundation necessary for sustaining a democracy (together, of course, with beliefs such as belief in the equality of human beings) and Grand Vizier, in an uncharacteristically long comment, maintains that our problem is the fact that we lack a tradition of democracy. I find Grand Vizier's position akin to my own. It seems to me that we both feel that there is something essential missing here, and we each come up with our own words for the missing element. This is not to say that I think ethical foundation and tradition are one and the same, but there is a close relation between them. What I have in mind by "morality" (a word whose old connotations may make you cringe in disgust!) has a more individual nature (every individual should believe in certain basic rules and abide by them) while Grand Vizier's "tradition" seems to have a more communal nature. In any case, the question remains: How should Iranians go about making a tradition of democracy? Can a critical studying of the history (a branch of Humanities!) of our nation help?

Señor Græd at December 17, 2003 11:04 AM [permalink]:

On second thought, "morality" (which I take to mean a set of principles for conducting your affairs with other human beings) seems to have more overlap with "tradition". However, although a tradition-oriented ;-) approach to democracy in Iran points to the fact that Iran doesn't have a past that is, well, democratic (a defect with no remedy that I can think of), a morality-specific approach (should I wink again?) hopes to change the minds of individuals in such a way that they accept, even embrace democracy as *the* way to be.

It seems to me that any system of morality is based on certain convictions. For example, if you believe that all humans are (created) equal, then you will not discriminate against someone based on their race, but if you believe that your tribe consists of God's chosen people, then of course you may act differently. In general, whatever your convictions are, they affect the way you behave. It's kind of trivial; isn't it?

Señor Græd at December 17, 2003 11:06 AM [permalink]:

Hamed wrote: "Have it in mind that an iceberg is the result of very simple process, you just need some water and a cold climate". Let's see if you can make a small iceberg in the Adriatic Sea. :-)

Señor Græd at December 17, 2003 11:49 AM [permalink]:

In a comment above, I said something about the "critical" study of history and I would like to underline the word "critical" here. You see, one problem with history is that no proud nation likes to hear bad things about its past. So the story of those historians who insist on telling the truth will just fall on deaf ears. (In more primitive societies, they may even risk their lives by narrating the events the way they see them.) People simply like to hear good things about themselves and their fathers.

There is, however, a more intrinsic problem with history, which I cannot elaborate on very well. Briefly, any account of history is necessarily contingent. For a nice elaboration on this idea, I suggest reading the beginning pages of this book: "The Individual, Society, and Education" by Clarence J. Karier.

Wessie at January 7, 2004 01:09 AM [permalink]:

Great article, but, you are all way off base.

What is "missing" in a Muslim society is the Judeo-Christian ethic. Regardless of whether our democratic governments are secular, they are nevertheless based in the Judeo-Christian ethic and tenets of morality: The Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. Those tenets also include a separation of "Church" and State ("give unto Ceasar. . .") as well as a high level of tolerance. It is not written in the Torah or the Bible that one should "kill the unbeliever" to the extent that this is so in the Qu'ran with scores of passages on jihad and war against the "infidel."

Unless Islam has a Reformation, there can be no change for Muslim governments because intolerance of the "other" or the apostate ("bad" Muslim, whatever that is) is codified in sharia law. With Islam being a so-called "complete" system of living, based on the literal word of allah, that does not leave much room for individual expression or a Reformation that interprets the Qu'ran differently.

Wessie

Hamed at January 7, 2004 02:00 PM [permalink]:

In Iran we still have some Zoroastrians. Is there any Mithraists in Italy or Muslims in Spain?

Eswin Oakman at January 7, 2004 02:02 PM [permalink]:

I beg to differ with Wessie in so far as he tries to portray the fundamentals of the political ethics in the Western Democratic states on highly aggregate terms.

Of note are the German, French, Swedish and the Dutch political ethic that are radically secular. They draw the ethical concepts from 1789 Revolution inspired principles and values, rather than the so-called "Judeo-Christian" laden values of some common law systems.

I think the strongest feature of the present article is its succinct assessment of the importance of political pluralism and political equality as primary to ensure the effectiveness and meaningfulness of the democratic project.

Unfortunately, Roman style republicanism has often jeopardized democratic projects' salient approach to ensure pluralism and equality. In so doing, Britain and the US have been much slower in the post-War to achieve such pluralism.

In fact, one can argue, especially in the case of the US, that the influence of Judeo-Christian politics in these countries has rendered them to look like majoritarian republics (I appreciate the royal appearance of the UK) as opposed to porperly and proportionally represented parliamentary democratic systems. Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands have been the overachievers in campaign for political pluralism.

France with its presidential model has been slower and more vulnerable to the demands of republicanism.

The minimum to which the author has referred to is obviously not enough even for any country, (Muslim or otherwise, Middle Eastern or Western), that is two party systems do not represent people and can cause frustration by monoplizing the power appartus and refusing to embark upon more respresentative projects. Look at the two-party based US of today. The two parties cannot often be even told from one another when it comes policy making. The look often too identical.

Such a system,one would acknowledge, has been very detrimental for the refrom and progress of the American federalism and democracy since the outbreak of the Cold War.

Indeed, the two parties have ensured that they maintain the power within their own joint-monoply and rendered the system irresponsive to the demographic and societal changes that the polity has undergone since 1945.

Moreover, the Christian conservatives have done their best to consolidate power by closing the public space through various means, mainly propaganda funded by their corporate sponsors, to secular forces and left-leaning forces. This has been much successful in view of the lack of proper campaign finance reform laws.

In this regard, the system appears to be democratic and plural but it is limited to two main parties.

What would one say about Iran? Well, I think the only thing I can say is that without proper constitutional reform that brings about a more politically plural and representative state no democratic exercise is meaningful. By way of analogy, it seems to me that democratic practice in a coutnry like the US has already lost its meaning for many of its citizens, NOT TO MEANION THAT MANY CITIZENS OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN HAVE BEEN FEELING LIKE THIS MORE OFTEN THAN NOT DURING THE PAST 25 YEARS.

Ms. Wessie at January 7, 2004 10:33 PM [permalink]:
First, Mr. Oakman, try to turn your sexist prejudices off automatic pilot and understand that I am a woman. ;-) Second, I continue to maintain that Western secular law and jurisprudence is based in the Judeo-Christian ethic, which in turn are based in Roman law. It is precisely the reason WHY the state can be secular. Regardless of the "radical" secularism of many European states, their basis of law and jurisprudence are in the tenets of the Judeo-Christian ethic. Note the current argument in the EU regarding making that part of the constitution. “By way of analogy, it seems to me that democratic practice in a coutnry like the US has already lost its meaning for many of its citizens, NOT TO MEANION THAT MANY CITIZENS OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN HAVE BEEN FEELING LIKE THIS MORE OFTEN THAN NOT DURING THE PAST 25 YEARS.” With all due respect, sir, that is the stupidest thing I have ever heard! You are comparing the freedoms and pluralism in the US to the fascistic Islamic regime in Iran. Please, come and see for yourself how many women get beaten on the streets for not being “properly dressed” or how many dogs get “arrested” for being dogs or how many non-Christians the US jails or executes on a regular basis or how many opposition candidates we persecute, ban or imprison. Thanks for the laugh! “Unfortunately, Roman style republicanism has often jeopardized democratic projects' salient approach to ensure pluralism and equality. In so doing, Britain and the US have been much slower in the post-War to achieve such pluralism.” Pluralism, based Roman secular law, is what makes the free West, Mr. Oakman. It is Muslims who come to the West and try to impose their restrictive values— negating Western concepts of equity based in Roman law— demanding sharia concepts, that are threatening our traditional pluralistic way of life. Additionally, your wrong-headed idea that the religious right runs the US is just that—WRONG—just as wrong as the Islamic myth that the “Zionist-entity” runs the US. We have people in government of every stripe, ethnicity and religion as well as gender and sexual orientation. While there may be much religious influence in the US and there may be more religion in general than in Europe, the US is nevertheless a nation of secular laws in which all religions and minorities are equally protected. Indeed, even having no religion is protected. The US is really the only nation where Muslims, for example, can freely practice their religion. Note that we do not have a law pending banning the hijab as can be seen in several European states. Nor does the US exclude and persecute other religions besides our own, as do Saudi Arabia and any number of other Muslim states. While two parties may "look identical" in the US there is nevertheless not a tyranny of the majority or the minority—although, many radical Muslims would like to impose such a tyranny just as they have done in Islamic lands. In the US we change governments every 4 years quite peacefully. Voters are not going to the barricades on a regular basis as in a number of European countries (France for example) because there is a general consensus of pluralism and tolerance for all! Riots against the “other” do not happen in the US as they do in Islamic lands. You may want to note that the Bush administration is being challenged in the courts and in the Congress regarding many of its policies. That is hardly the case in Islamic countries where challenging the regim ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Señor Græd at January 8, 2004 04:56 PM [permalink]:

This is quite an interesting exchange. Not that I have anything to add to it, or even suggest that I fully understand what Ms. Wessie and Mr. Essie are talking about. Part of Ms. Wessie's comment, however, reminded me of a strange piece of news that I ran into recently:

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/8AD9D094-4356-4428-BE23-2A6C1FAA19E6.htm

huh! at January 8, 2004 05:42 PM [permalink]:

You seem to be a REAL admirer of your Judeo-Christian stuff! However you seem to have overlooked the fact that your beloved Christian backers here in the states want you to be in Israel in order to expedite the second coming of Jesus! "According to the most influential of the Christian Zionists, Hal Lindsey, the valley from Galilee to Eilat will flow with blood and "144,000 Jews would bow down before Jesus and be saved, but the rest of Jewry would perish in the mother of all holocausts".
Just check out this piece! http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/comment/0,10551,973445,00.html
And there is more than 50 million of this kind here in the US!
Also in a recent opinion poll, the “Christian Europe” singled out Israel as the biggest threat to the world peace!
You don’t seem to have a minimum knowledge of history otherwise you wouldn’t make these gross and ridiculous comments!

Señor Græd at January 8, 2004 05:58 PM [permalink]:

Someone wrote:

"You don’t seem to have a minimum knowledge of history otherwise you wouldn’t make these gross and ridiculous comments!"

I think this language is inappropriate and unacceptable. Even this one is not so polite (from another column, witten by a loose can):

"How many Iranians have you met that told you that? ... How much do you know about Islam anyway? Have you looked at any modern scholarly text on Islam?"

Can we all calm down and discuss our issues in a more friendly setting?

Señor Græd (+ Google) at January 8, 2004 06:13 PM [permalink]:

"No free-enterprise economic system can function properly (fairly and efficiently) without a strong Judeo-Christian ethical base. [Remember the Judeo-Christian ethic—“Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul and mind; and love your neighbor as you love yourself.] Free-enterprise, without this ethical basis, will inevitably deteriorate into materialism. Materialism is the belief that comfort, security, pleasure, and/or prosperity are the only things that really matter in life; or it is the tendency to focus on material things (e.g., a nice car or a large, comfortable house) rather than on spiritual things (e.g., God, His Will, justice, and righteousness). Without a strong Judeo-Christian ethic, powerful “capitalists” (because they are human—because their fundamental nature is self-serving) will exploit their workers and their customers for all they can get. With a strong Judeo-Christian ethical foundation, the built-in checks against human nature—competition and the bottom line—together with ethical competitors, workers and consumers (provided those competitors, workers and consumers are generally moral, educated and informed) keep the “capitalist” honest."

Source: http://www.americandaily.com/item/3252

I don't buy this line of argument myself. The reason why I am quoting it is reminding you that this is a thesis procaliming that:

"The Ten Commandments are the foundation of Western morality and the American Constitution and government."

Read: http://www.secweb.org/asset.asp?AssetID=2

An Iranian Student (AIS) at January 9, 2004 03:38 AM [permalink]:

To throw my two cents on this topic, I have problems with this 'judeo-christian' categorization. The way I see it, Christianity is fundamentaly different from Judaism, although it is superficially connected to it via the same 'old' testament and pre-Christ history. Judaism was the result of a great innovation, Christianity is Pagan to its very roots and only immitates Judaism in its outward declerations. I am aware that protestanism has been trying to uplift a lot of the historical Jewish elements but its still a far cry (and will remain so) , for one thing thae simply can't do away with their Christ's life,death,resurrection, God in flesh...dogma.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at January 9, 2004 03:55 AM [permalink]:

Oh yes, and as to the point of secularism, I agree that Christianity has left the matter not completely closed so that the remaining loop hole could be used after the renaissence to do away with theh Church in politics, the matter is not so simple.
By just looking at John for example (which is incidentaly not a Gospel at all , but a theological tractatus in which Jesus is only a character in the same sense that Socrates is one in Platos works, and has therefore almost no historical worth-but is included by all Christians in their Canon so it does form part of the basis for Christianity) you see in abundance claims of Jesus being the Only path, the only way of redemption, the only channel to God and truth...and the Geist of that is against the very core of democracy and secularism and the fact that the Church proved to be anything BUT democratic in its times of power gives extra credence to this claim. Secularism and democracy are the fruit of generations of free thinking brave souls who really struggled for it again all odds through out history.
As a final suggestion, perhaps Graeco-Judaic is a better candidate , though it stll leaves a lot missing.

daanaa at January 9, 2004 08:02 AM [permalink]:

Ms. Wessie, your words sound to me as if you might not be very familiar with Islam, history of Iran and the one of the west.

Let me remind you that judeo-Christian made a very dark point in the mankind history when they had absolute power. You might have seen one of the not very famous words of one Pops - If you go to Rome you could find it. It reads "Peace of Jesus for the Jesus kingdom".

I am absolutely disagree with you and I think that the source of present pluralism and tolerance IS NOT judeo-christian culture. These concept have been borrowed from some other fountains located outside of judeo-christian yard.

Islamic countries made and even established the base of modern science and culture, when Islam had the power in these countries. Islam never has stood against science as the church did.

Anyway it seems after Mogul invasion something dramatic happened.Something like what happened in Europe after barbar[?] invasion. After this period the aims and the values changed.Mogul affected soft Islamic culture by their barbarism. One might count it as unwanted and hidden reformation of Islam.However I think in the modern Islamic culture mogul affects are being washed out.

Also at the end let me remind you that Islam has not destroyed any religion. In iran Zoroastrians do exist. A religion with about 3000-4000 years history. Could you answer Hamed why there is no any Mithraists in Italy?And why its fellow have been simply washed out by Cristian. May be cristians want the pluralism to be only among themselves. Don't get angry last sentence was joke ;).

AS an Iranian let me remind you that even at the time of Darius the Great the existence of all group of religion had been accepted. We inherit a great histoty and culture which perhaps needs to polished but never to be changed with any presents ones.They are not worth enough.

As an answer to one of your sentence also I would like to remind you that In Quran there exist No word or sentence that people of other religion or beliefs should got hurt, in any way. There are so many sentences that no one should ever force other people by any means to change their idea.

Wessie at January 9, 2004 03:02 PM [permalink]:
Ah, this is interesting. While Iranians often profess to be irreligious just look at the posts above. ;-) "You seem to be a REAL admirer of your Judeo-Christian stuff!" You apparently don't understand what is meant by the term Judeo-Christian, Señor Græd, or you would not make the statements you made. It has little to do with either Judaism or Christianity as religions but rather their tenets as the basis for our civilization and the laws under which we live in the West. And, yes, despite not being a 'Christian,' I am an admirer of the progress the Judeo-Christian world has made, while the Muslim world has produced virtually nothing for the last 500 years—since being driven out of Spain, a Christian country where Muslims did not belong in the first place. I will pit my knowledge of history as well as my knowledge of Christianity and Islam against yours or anyone's any day. Try me. The advantage I have is that I know both—while you appear to have only read Islamic propaganda. ;-) "And there is more than 50 million of this kind here in the US!" Those 50 million Christians are not all fundamentalists. Additionally, Christian fundamentalists are not committing worldwide terror as are Islamic fundamentalist nor are they trying to take over the world, as is militant Islam. And don't bring up Afghanistan or Iraq because ISLAM ATTACKED the US and NOT vice versa! It was Muslims who shamefully danced in the streets on 9/11 and not other peoples. "Also in a recent opinion poll, the “Christian Europe” singled out Israel as the biggest threat to the world peace!" Yes, well Europe is known to already have dhimmi status in Islam. Perhaps you are not aware that it is Muslims who perpetrate anti-Semitic attacks in Europe. You might want to look at this report, which has since been published by the EU, Señor: "Manifestations of anti-Semitism in the European Union" "Anti-Semitic incidents in the monitoring period were committed above all either by right-wing extremists or radical Islamists or young Muslims, mostly of Arab descent, who are often themselves potential victims of exclusion and racism;" but the report also noted that that "anti-Semitic statements came from the pro-Palestinian left." http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1070259994583 "Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them." prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad" ---- "The Ten Commandments are the foundation of Western morality and the American Constitution and government." I agree with this statement. Islam paints the US as "Godless," Iran likes the "Great Satan" (I’ve grown rather fond of that epithet). At least we are not letting earthquake victims from 10 years ago still live in tents. The US is in fact a very religious and moral nation that has saved the bacon of Muslims numerous times in Kuwait, Iraq, Bosnia, etc. Europe is much more secular and decadent. Most people in the US go to religious services and have a Judeo-Christian moral base. --- You appear to only understand Christianity superficially, Iranian student. If Christianity is "pagan" then Islam is a 7th century death cult. Christianity, despite its "idols" of saints and crosses, says "Love they neighbor as thyself" While Islam says: • "Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures were given ... and do not embrace the true Faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (9:29) • When the sac ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Wessie at January 9, 2004 03:14 PM [permalink]:
"Also at the end let me remind you that Islam has not destroyed any religion." Destruction of ALL religions besides Islam is Islam’s mission as instructed in the Qu'ran: • "Slay those who believe neither in God nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and his apostle have forbidden, and who do not embrace the true Faith, until they pay jaziah out of hand and are utterly subdued Surah Al-Tawbah (Repentence), Ayah 29, . . " Why are other religions persecuted by Muslims world wide? Why can no Christian or other religious places of worship be built in Saudi Arabia, the "birth place" of Islam, etc.? Why do Muslims murder innocents every day of the week all around the world in the name of Islam? Why is the cry of Muslim fundamentalists "convert or die"? "Bombs found in Christian Schools. Pupils Warned to become Muslims or Die." http://www.barnabasfund.org/News/Archive/Iraq/Iraq-20031120.htm "Harkat-E-Islam Al-Jihad’s issued ultimatum to religious minority businessmen and leaders of opposition party to convert to Islam with in seven days of receiving letter. The letter said, their family members will be attacked and houses will be burnt if they do not follow the orders. . . " http://www.hrcbm.org/news/sangbad_11_032003_harkat.html This sort of thing is an every day occurrence from Islam. Show us where ANY OTHER religion is saying "convert or die" in its "holy" book! Please show us where in the New Testament (Christianity) there is such language? Even in the Old Testament one cannot find hundreds of passages that say “kill ALL the unbelievers” or subjugate them. Not too many Jews strapping on bomb-belts in following passages from the Book of Joshua. " In iran Zoroastrians do exist. A religion with about 3000-4000 years history. Could you answer Hamed why there is no any Mithraists in Italy?And why its fellow have been simply washed out by Cristian. May be cristians want the pluralism to be only among themselves. Don't get angry last sentence was joke ;)." ANY religion can be practiced in the West; there are all kinds of religions from paganism (real ones) to Satan worshipers and anything in between including Jews, Hindus, Buddhist, Bahais, Zoroastrians, etc. They all live in peace together in the West. The only fly in the ointment is Muslims, who are constantly agitating for special privileges for Muslims not accorded to other religions in the West. Any Muslim can walk into any church including St. Peter's. Such is not the case in Islam. A non-Muslim cannot step foot into the "holy" cities of Mecca and Medina. Nor can non-Muslim go into most mosques. Forget about the issue of women–especially menstruating women. That little issue alone is enough to turn one away from this misogynistic cult of Islam. "AS an Iranian let me remind you that even at the time of Darius the Great the existence of all group of religion had been accepted." Darius has been dead a long time now. Don’t forget, the Qu'ran states that ALL OTHER peoples and religions must be subdued until Islam "is supreme" in the world. Other religions are “accepted” with dhimmi status, not equal status to Muslims in an Islamic land. ". . . In Quran there exist No word or sentence that people of other religion or beliefs should got hurt, in any way. There are so many sentences that no one should ever force other people by any means to change their idea." That is an unmitigated LIE, daanaa! I could clog these boards with hundreds of quotes from the Qu'ran and the ha ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Señor Græd at January 9, 2004 03:53 PM [permalink]:

I am here to witness that His Majesty Señor Græd did not write the comment you are referring to, Wessie. Look carefully: somebody else wrote that comment!

You have written a long comment. Yet another boring weekend is upon us, I know. I shall try to correct your wrongs as far as I can, but I may not be able to finish it. You feel free to write back though.

First of all, I do agree that Judeo-Christian ethic had played an important role in *shaping* America the way it stands today. But I certainly disagree that the modern notions of democracy, pluralism, tolerance, human rights, etc. *emerge* from the Judeo-Christian tradition. How come they didn't emerge for more than a millenia? Quite the contrary, I believe these modern notions emerged *against* a tyranny for which Christianity was largely responsible.

Muslims' having produced "nothing for the last 500 years" has little, if anything at all, to do with their being "driven out of Spain". The way you phrase your sentence it seems you want to convey the false idea that Muslims' contribution to the world civilization in the golden era of Islam, when Europe was sleeping fast in the dark, had something to do with their being in Spain. All accounts of history that I have seen (Google is at your service!) point out that it was Spain (and later the whole Europe) that benefitted from a civilization that had thrived under Islam, not the other way around.

You say Muslims didn't belong to Spain. It is as if I say you don't belong to America, because your great grandparents were not born in America. Muslims conquered Spain, as they did Persia and North Africa, converted the population, and made it their own for a long period of time. In that sense, they did belong to Spain and Spain did belong to them. If you've been to California, that I assume was once a Spanish colony you can easily see the influence of the Islamic (a.k.a. Moorish) architecture in many places! Imagine that! Or just see with your own eyes: http://www.sdrm.org/gifs/sfd-1.jpg (Google, google!) In a mission in Santa Barbara, I saw with my own eyes minarets on the tilings inside the building! So here we go. Islam even influenced America!

So no dear, unlike what you're trying to say, Europe didn't make progress because Muslims were driven out. I'm now out of breath.

Babak S at January 9, 2004 04:02 PM [permalink]:

Wessie:

The name of the commentors appear above their comments in the comment section, not below. So, it was "huh!" that proclaimed: "You seem to be a REAL admirer of your Judeo-Christian stuff!" not "Señor Græd" and it was "An Iranian Student (AIS)" who suggested: ". . .As a final suggestion, perhaps Graeco-Judaic is a better candidate , though it stll leaves a lot missing. . . " not "daanaa." Just to clear some things up!

Señor Græd at January 9, 2004 04:17 PM [permalink]:

I think Wessie's last comments above has some valid points, although the best thing about it is that it provides for us a well-versed account of how someone may be tempted to view us (Iranians or Muslims) from the outside. The thesis that Islam is not compatible with democracy is nothing new, however. This has been discussed at length by many "insiders", if you will, and in fact, we argued about it in this very forum while back...

Wessie HRH at January 9, 2004 07:14 PM [permalink]:
Sorry about the confusion with ”who posted what” all. I realized after I posted that I had miscredited the posts. How come no one signs their names? His “Majesty Señor Græd”? Right! OK then I’m the Queen of Sheeba. LOL ”You have written a long comment. Yet another boring weekend is upon us, I know.” First, it’s not the weekend yet. Second, Americans tend to work even on the weekends as will I. And third, only boring people are bored. ;-) “First of all, I do agree that Judeo-Christian ethic had played an important role in *shaping* America the way it stands today. But I certainly disagree that the modern notions of democracy, pluralism, tolerance, human rights, etc. *emerge* from the Judeo-Christian tradition. How come they didn't emerge for more than a millenia? I already told you your Majesty, because of the literacy of the populace after the invention of the printing press, after the Reformation, the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment when the Church (not Christianity) was finally caged because the people became more literate and could read the Bible themselves—The Church was caged as Islam must be caged! Actually, I think Islam will fade away once people are able to read the misanthropy and misogyny for themselves. “Quite the contrary, I believe these modern notions emerged *against* a tyranny for which Christianity was largely responsible.” There is no “tyranny” in Christianity that is codified in its tenets, as there is in Islam. The Bible does NOT say, “Kill all unbelievers” as does the Qu’ran. Don’t confuse the Church (as in Catholic Church) with the tenets of Christianity. Jesus said, “Love thy neighbor as thyself” he does not say “kill the neighbor because he is not a Christian.” ”Muslims' having produced "nothing for the last 500 years" has little, if anything at all, to do with their being "driven out of Spain". . . . .All accounts of history that I have seen (Google is at your service!) point out that it was Spain (and later the whole Europe) that benefitted from a civilization that had thrived under Islam, not the other way around.” Hardly. Again I say that Islam is a conduit, the concept of zero aside. Islam is not innovative, it used the innovations of the peoples it conquered with the sword—that means war. Even “Islamic” architecture came from other peoples. Tell us what Islam has produced in the last 500 years your Majesty. Name ONE thing that has benefited mankind as those things that have come from the West. “You say Muslims didn't belong to Spain. It is as if I say you don't belong to America, because your great grandparents were not born in America.” I DO belong in America, despite the fact that I was not born in America. That is the greatness of the US assimilation of immigrants. Muslims conquered Spain, as they did Persia and North Africa, converted the population, and made it their own for a long period of time. Well, conquered is the key word here isn’t it—Conquered via WAR. Spain was a Christian country. Islam forced itself on Europe and Africa and Persia, etc. Islam even forced itself on the Arabs. The conversions were forced. Accept Islam or die, just as it says in the Qu’ran—or live as a dhimmi in inferior status to Muslims. In a mission in Santa Barbara, I saw with my own eyes minarets on the tilings inside the building! So here we go. Islam even influenced America! Regardless of Byzantine architecture, which the Muslims adapted and adopted, Islam has not influenc ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
An Iranian Student (AIS) at January 10, 2004 03:15 AM [permalink]:
Wessie, I wonder why you answer the points I made by refering to Islam? "Islam is a 7th century death cult. " exactly. I agree with you on that and your view about Islam 100%. (You seem to be new to this site,so welcome first, because I have made many points myself on this topic that you can check for yourself (you have to usually look at the last half of comment sections for my part), so when I talk about Christianity rest assured that Islam is completely out of the picture already.) "It (the term Judeo-Christian) has little to do with either Judaism or Christianity as religions but rather their tenets as the basis for our civilization and the laws under which we live in the West." That is exactly why I am saying that it better be called 'Graeco-Judaic' instead. I agree again with your overall point of view, but you see although Christianity has as two of its pillars Judaism and Hellenism among other things, its own identity is a combination that is quite hostile (please FORGET about Islam, compared to Islam almost anything is mild and loving) and totalitarian. Let me ellaborate a bit further: Judaism has at its very basis the concept of an independent Law above EVERY individual that is presented as God. That is why EVERY prophet or character is portrayed as haing made a mistake or commited a sin in the Hebrew Bible, in order to prevent any man to become deified and so that the attention is drawn to an ever more abstacted God of LAW and LOVE. (That always gives me a kick because precisely THIS is presented to us in our brainwashing school system in Iran as a proof of degeneracy of judaism and the Bible, just shows how out of phase Isalm is with the meanings here) And the more imoprtant that person is the more this humanity is exaggerated, so that Moses the most important figure is sometimes presented as a real simpleton, where as the whole essence of Christianity is in deifing a single man and concentrating everything on Him. The two are diagonally opposed. The consequences is seen in history. In the ancient lands of Israel and Judea we see kings even as great as David himself constantly and sometimes really harshly reprimanded by mere subjects, shepherads, carpenters and the like.(Nathan , Amos etc)and this in a time and place where in neighboring lands kings where above the law, directly connected to gods or gods themselves. Where as the history of Christianity starts with a church (and I don't just mean the Catholic Church) who declares itself and subjugation to it as the only path to god and redemption and thousand years of dark tyranny and inquisition that make those older god-emperors look benign. You can argue about the difference of Church and Christianity as much as you like, but this church was what NATURALLY came from it and there was a reason for it. Also please stop talking of christianity as all just loving stuff. First of all it turns that human natural love and tragedy that it takes from the Biblical tradition into a sterile theology of almost mechanistic 'love' relation. Secondly what do you say of paasages like " I am not come to bring peace. Not the peace but the sword! I am come to seperate the father from the son...?" What about the real savage attitude towards the scribes and the pharisees? I don't need to recall John again that is fascism itself in some parts of it. Or the revelation, do you think one gets ideas of tolerance and democracy after reading it? Yes there are Judaic,Greek and yes Persian elements ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Wessie at January 10, 2004 04:04 AM [permalink]:

Iranian Student, thanks for the reply. And thanks for the welcome!

I see that you are still "mixing" the tenets of Judaism and Christianity as well as the crimes of so-called Christians, which have nothing to do with the teachings of Christianity. While Islam TEACHES hatred and jihad, Christianity does not. Never mind that *some* people, calling themselves Christians did very bad things. That is almost irrelevant, as horrible as it was, because Christianity does not postulate such things in its written scriptures. Islam, OTOH, has reams of misanthropic surahs and hadith.

However, it is very late here and my day is over. So, if you will excuse me, I shall have to tackle your post tomorrow. :-)

Wessie

PS—I don't think daanaa was kidding. ;-)

AIS at January 10, 2004 04:19 AM [permalink]:

My God, Wessie, can't we talk of Christianity without comparing it with Islam?
please remember that 'The revelations' and 'The Gsopel of St. John' ...ARE in the scripture.
Once again, there is a REASON, to be found in the basic dogmas of any religion, why those 'bad' people behaved the way they did, FOR A THOUSAND years and perhaps more. I am NOT talking about orders of killing of infidels in the Christrian texts, ok? I am talking about the inherent fascism in the teaching that says 'I am the ONLY way, if you want to see the Father you have to go through me' that anone else will be condemned to eternal damnation in the after life. This is afterlifce terrorism if you like . ;)

I have a question for you:
What do you hope to achieve by confronting people like this?
If you agree that the very core of Islam has is bloody, then you must also understand the effects it would have on the character of the people that are raised with it. By opposing the PEOPLE like that you would just get them to react and stick more to their views.
I have said very direct and harsh words on Islam, but I always directed it to the idea, the teaching and the like and never to the people who are brainwahsed by it, if you like. Don't you see your attitude is self-contradictory?
Bias is wrong, form any side.

AIS at January 10, 2004 04:45 AM [permalink]:

I think I really ahve to tell a bit more here.
I have defended Judaism here a lot, and I do not deny that there are many elements in it that I STRONGLY admire. That however does not make me blind to the fact that you can also find some mumbojumbo in its myriads of religous documents that are indeed absolute bullshit, or that you sometimes find passages in the early that are horribly savage. I understand this as the more primitive stages of an ever evolving CULTURE based on a very noble idea that eventually gets more and more humane in its details and I compare even the savage parts with the total savagery of the time-just look at the Hammurabi law code for example and remember that despite its disturbing violent nature it is a milestone in human history. I can do that because Judaism has no specific initial dogma, because it is precisley a culture and a national thing. I can not do this for Christianity, because it is based on a historic figure as its dogma. There is no way you can regard that as a primitive early age because if you take Jesus out, nothing remain of Christianity and I also see a relation of why it HAD to be so fascistic in declaring its own teaching as the only way to salvation and threatning any opponent to eternal damnation-and they RAE in its scripture as well as church.
More so in case of Islam that was extremely savage for its own time and whose very existence is justified by unchangbility.
If you mean cultural trends, stop defending christianity with this bias. (Islam is worse ok? satisfied? But Chrsitianity is already bad enough)

Señor Græd at January 10, 2004 03:12 PM [permalink]:

In the middle of Wessie's comment (dated yesterday 07:14 PM) I smelled the unpleasant smell of bigotry. I was first willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, but she's totally unreasonable, man! I didn't even finish reading the comment. I stopped where she stubbornly insists on her unsubstantiated (and ignorant) version of the story of Spain. Go to a library and read some books, for God's sake, ma'am. Anyway, it's a busy weekend and I don't have time to respond all your allegations one by one. You certainly don't know much about the history of Europe. Or maybe you prefer not to know. If you don't have access to books, you should be able to use google, too. Just go to http://google.com and search words such as Islam, Spain, you know. Of course you will find some stuff that would please you, but for Heaven's sake read some of the scholarly stuff as well. Or you may start from here: http://www.historyforkids.org/ ;-)

Wessie at January 10, 2004 05:52 PM [permalink]:
"I smelled the unpleasant smell of bigotry." Ah the race card. If one tells the truth about Islam and quotes the Qu’ran and the hadith as well as Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic historians, then one is labeled a “bigot” by Muslims. LOL The race card is so ineffective against the truth. The facts are that it is Muslims who are bigoted, intolerant and racist! They are taught to be so in their religious book the Qu’ran as well as the basis of sharia the hadith. As the Student above mentioned, the fascist idea that Muslims are “the best of peoples.” As a victim of Islamic terror I am only willing to give the “benefit of the doubt” to Muslims who categorically reject the violent, misanthropic, misogynistic passages in the Qu’ran. Let me see you put that into writing Señor Græd! ;-) “I stopped where she stubbornly insists on her unsubstantiated (and ignorant) version of the story of Spain.”. . . You certainly don't know much about the history of Europe. . . ” Not only do I know about the history of Europe I also know about the history of Islam. What, BTW, have you substantiated, Señor? Please list some references for your claims. After Islam was driven out of Europe came the Renaissance. That is a fact! And Islam has done nothing since having been driven out of Spain except blame the world for its self-inflicted problems. Amazing! Muslims always know so much more about everything, yet they can’t make a decent, peaceful nation in the modern world. Your twisted Islamic history does not bear out in facts! In about the 11th century Muslims started to fight amongst themselves in Al-Andalusia (quelle surprise!) and thus, the caliphate was weakened so that the Christians could re-conquer it and drive the Muslims out by 1492. . In fact it is called: the Reconquista in other words it was theirs once and they got it back from Islam. After the Reconquista Spain had what is known as its “Golden Age” a place where Muslims never went. And all of Europe had the Renaissance, The Reformation and thereafter the Age of Enlightenment. Here are a few books you should read on Islamic history instead of Googling radical Islamic websites that only tell half the story. What Islam did 1000 years ago is totally irrelevant! What has it done lately besides murder innocents? Al-Tabari, “The History of al-Tabari (Ta’rikh al rusul wa’l-muluk)”, (Albany, NY.: State University of New York Press, 1992). “The Origins of the Islamic State (Kitah Futuh al-Buldan)”, translated by Philip K. Hitti, (Piscataway, NJ.: Georgias Press, 2002); Al-Kufi, “The Chachnãmah”, Part I: Giving the Mussulman period from the Arab conquest to the beginning of the reign of the Kalhorahs, translated by Mirza Kalichbeg Fredunbeg, (Delhi Reprint, 1979); Speros Vryonis, Jr., “The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor”, (Berkeley, CA.: University of California Press, 1971); K.S. Lal, “The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India”(New Delhi.: Aditya Prakashan, 1992); Moshe Gil, “A History of Palestine,”, Translated by Ethel Broido, (Cambridge. : Cambridge University Press, 1992); Bat Ye’or, “The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam”, Translated by Miriam Kochan and David Littman, (Cranbury, NJ.: Associated University Presses, 1996) Dozens more are waiting for you in the library if you are serious about learning about the terrible history of violent Islam and how it tried to conquer the world via war, but, failed. You should also look at the consensus on the natu ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Señor Græd at January 10, 2004 07:18 PM [permalink]:
Hey, Wessie, I never said I was "knowledgeable" about the story of Spain under Mussulmans, or the history of Islam for that matter. Unlike what you claim to be, I am not a student of religions. As idiotic as it sounds, I have adopted Google as my Great Educator. I really have no time for deeply delving into a serious study of religions. To my own embarrassment, I have not even read Koran once from cover to cover. Are you happy now? But I am not filled with fanatical anger and hatred directed towards a particular religion and its followers either. You've surely been hurt by some Muslims (the least of all, the 19 boys on a mission on September 2001) and you seem to know no better way of relieving yourself than lumping all the Muslims together and find faults (of which I'm sure there are many) with their way of life, their creed and their scripture. I told you I don't have time now to search the web to contradict your assertions, but you're insisting. So here we go: "In the 10th century, Cordoba, the capital of Umayyad Spain, was unrivalled in both East and the West for its wealth and civilisation. One author wrote about Cordoba: "there were half a million inhabitants, living in 113,000 houses. There were 700 mosques and 300 public baths spread throughout the city and its twenty-one suburbs. The streets were paved and lit... There were bookshops and more than seventy libraries." Muslim scholars served as a major link in bringing Greek philosophy, of which the Muslims had previously been the main custodians, to Western Europe." Read more at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/history/spain/index.shtml (This was the first thing that came up when I googled "Islam Spain".) I have read in other sources that the number of books in a Muslim Spain's library exceeded the number of books in all other European libraries combined. The importance of public baths must be clear to you. In Europe of that era, bath was an unheard of notion. Is that also because they hadn't read the Bible? Look here: "The Muslims were the first to license physicians and require standards of cleanliness in their hospitals. They were the first to establish permanent general hospitals with dispensaries and libraries. The Romans had introduced the idea of military hospitals." I recommend you to read it all, since you seem to have a lot of free time on your hands (it *is* weekend now!): http://www.dental-site.itgo.com/islamic.htm "Scientific knowledge, architecture, mathematics, and philosophy flourished in Spain during the rule of the Umayyad. Much of this intellectual climate can be traced to the precepts of the Qur'an (in English, we sometimes refer to this as the Koran). Throughout the Qur'an, there is a strong emphasis on the value of knowledge. As noted in the tutorial, "because Muslims believe that Allah is all-knowing, they also believe that the human world's quest for knowledge leads to further knowing of Allah. Muslims must thus pursue knowledge not only of God's laws, but of the natural world as well, extending the frontiers of human knowledge. Unlike the revealed knowledge of the Qur'an, Muslims believe that human knowledge is not perfect, and requires constant exploration and advancement through research and experimentation. According to the Qur'an, learning and gaining knowledge is the highest form of religious activity for Muslims, and the one which is most pleasing to God."" Read it all at the non-radial-Islamic website: http://www.m ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Señor Græd at January 10, 2004 07:30 PM [permalink]:

I should haste to add that I am by no means proud of the situation the Islamic world finds itself today. I just wanted you, Wessie, to get your sources of information right. Islam once helped make a great civilization. Perhaps Christianity helped made another great civilization later, as you seem to claim (though I have my doubts about how meaningful this comparison is, because, as I said before, it was the *decline* of the Church that paved the way for Reformation in Europe, or maybe the Reformation pushed Church back. Either way, I find it a hard-to-buy argument that: as soon as Muslims were driven out of Spain and Europeans got a chance to read the Bible "themselves", the art and science and democracy and whatevernot flourished among them. Frankly, it's even laughable.) Again, please clear your mind/heart and get your historical sources right, Wessie. Love thy neighbor, as you have already said quite a few times. After all, in the "global village" we're all neighbors...

maryam at January 10, 2004 08:42 PM [permalink]:

Have you people heard of this saying “The dogs bark and the Caravan passes by”?
I was just checking some of the references that this “woman” was referring to and found out that some of them come from “Memri” website. It is basically a media institute that translates the Middle Eastern newspapers.
The Guardian had an article titled “Selective Memri” which was explaining the nature of the institution and its functions.

1) Memri's purpose, according to its website, *is to bridge the language gap between the west - where few speak Arabic - and the Middle East*, by "providing timely translations of Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew media".

2) Its work is subsidized by US taxpayers because as an "independent, non-partisan, non-profit" organization, it has tax-deductible status under American law.

3) The co-founder and president of Memri, and the registered owner of its website, is an Israeli called Yigal Carmon.

I checked some of their translations of the Iranian newspapers and compared them with the actual pieces in the related newspapers and was shocked by how manipulative and deceitful they were in their translation!
This is the link to the Guardian articled that I talked about at the beginning, I think it’s good to check out the article.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/journalist/story/0,7792,773258,00.html

Wessie at January 10, 2004 09:39 PM [permalink]:
"Civilization is not something inborn or imperishable; it must be acquired anew by every generation, and any serious interruption in its financing or its transmission may bring it to an end." Will Durant “Hey, Wessie, I never said I was "knowledgeable" about the story of Spain under Mussulmans, or the history of Islam for that matter. Unlike what you claim to be, I am not a student of religions. As idiotic as it sounds, I have adopted Google as my Great Educator. I really have no time for deeply delving into a serious study of religions. To my own embarrassment, I have not even read Koran once from cover to cover. Are you happy now?” You really are a pip, Señor! You denigrate my posts without being “knowledgeable.” You have not even read the Qu’ran cover to cover!? Get with it! The Qu’ran is a very, very short poem in comparison to the lengthy tome called the Bible. And you admit to having Google as your great “educator.” That is pretty pathetic. LOL “But I am not filled with fanatical anger and hatred directed towards a particular religion and its followers either. You've surely been hurt by some Muslims (the least of all, the 19 boys on a mission on September 2001) and you seem to know no better way of relieving yourself than lumping all the Muslims together and find faults (of which I'm sure there are many) with their way of life, their creed and their scripture.” Get over yourself! Muslims see “fanatical anger” and “bigotry” against Islam and Muslims behind every tree—not to mention the “Zionist entity.” I have NO “fanatical anger or hatred” directed against any religion or its followers. What I do is tell the truth about Islam and its history— A history which I happen to know rather well; A terrible, violent history which most Muslims are clueless about. This bothers lots of people who would rather gloss over this with PC BULLSHIT and Googgle their history. The bottom line is that Islam is not “peace” but submission to a 7th century death cult—and without a bona fide Reformation it will fail to sustain any sort of democracy. “(This was the first thing that came up when I googled "Islam Spain".) Señor! No one disputes that Islam had a period of “greatness.” You had better re-read my post above, Majesty. That is NOT the point of this thread! The POINT is whether Islam is compatible with democracy. I say it is NOT! The person who posted this thread is interested in how democracies are sustained. I say that Christianity and virtually any other religion—except Islam—is compatible with democracy. But, that the Judeo-Christian base is the “best” for sustaining a successful democracy in the modern era. Are you saying that Islam can sustain a democracy? “I recommend you to read it all, since you seem to have a lot of free time on your hands (it *is* weekend now!):” I am working in my office being very productive. What are you doing besides sitting in your dorm room—dateless? ;-) "Scientific knowledge, architecture, mathematics, and philosophy flourished in Spain during the rule of the Umayyad. Much of this intellectual climate can be traced to the precepts of the Qur'an (in English, we sometimes refer to this as the Koran). The “scientific knowledge” that Muslims “brought forth” was from the peoples Islam conquered. There were very few Islamic scientists and mathematicians. Very few! And the ones that appeared were during a very limited time period. Muslim caliphs were much more interested in the decadent pleasures of ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Wessie at January 10, 2004 10:20 PM [permalink]:
Continued: "Cordoba in its prime has no peer in Europe for the amenities of civilized life. Its houses were bountifully supplied with hot and cold running water, its streets were lit at night, its royal library. . ." If you recall (which I doubt) Spain was at one time conquered by imperial Rome. Indeed, Roman culture is very much a part of Spain to this day. The Romans had baths long before the conquering Arabs. Again something the Muslims acquired from another peoples—Public Baths. And I am sure that you will also recall the burning of the Egyptian library at Alexandria by Amr bin Aas at the behest of the Second Caliph, Umar. What the HECK is your point? All I am saying is that Islam is not, Not, NOT compatible with democracy. Are you saying that it is? “thanks for the list of the books. Rest assured that I'll check them out (not necessarily out of the library) whenever I get the chance.” You are welcome. I could give you a list that is hundreds of books long. If you read anyone then read the Islamic historian al-Tabari. ”I should haste to add that I am by no means proud of the situation the Islamic world finds itself today. Well that’s a relief. [roll eyes] I just wanted you, Wessie, to get your sources of information right.” Mr. Google, I shall continue to get my information from serious reference books that are in my personal library—which numbers several thousand volumes. I probably purchase and read more books per year than the 22 Arab League states translate into Arabic per year—about 300 or more. Nice to hear you are “not proud” of Islam today. I really find it difficult to believe anyone would ever be “proud” of barbaric Islam at any time in its bloody, misanthropic history. ”Islam once helped make a great civilization.” "Fools can invent more hypotheses than philosophers can ever refute, and philosophers often join them in the game." Will Durant Islam was a conduit as it conquered OTHER civilizations! Islam is not now, nor has it ever been an innovator—despite the first missive in the Qu’ran being: “Read.” Perhaps Christianity helped made another great civilization later, as you seem to claim (though I have my doubts about how meaningful this comparison is, because, as I said before, it was the *decline* of the Church that paved the way for Reformation in Europe, or maybe the Reformation pushed Church back. You are belligerently ignorant and proud of it, Mr. Google. Just like the Saudis insisting that they do not harbor terrorists and that their charities don’t fund same. It was the excesses of the Church that paved the way for the Reformation not the decline! The Church’s influence declined as a direct result of the Renaissance, The Reformation and the fact that the printing press was invented by Gutenberg and people learned to read the Bible for themselves. Read Martin Luther for Heaven’s sake! Here, THIS is the reason for the Reformation in Christianity: DISPUTATION OF DOCTOR MARTIN LUTHER ON THE POWER AND EFFICACY OF INDULGENCES http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/ninetyfive.txt Islamic scholars ought to pick up a few of Luther’s points and get with their own Reformation. ”Either way, I find it a hard-to-buy argument that: as soon as Muslims were driven out of Spain and Europeans got a chance to read the Bible "themselves", the art and science and democracy and whatevernot flourished among them. Frankly, it's even laughable.)” All of these things came together at appr ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Wessie at January 10, 2004 11:22 PM [permalink]:
I was just checking some of the references that this “woman” was referring to and found out that some of them come from “Memri” website. Maryam the references come from the books listed. Why don’t you look them up? Just because Memri uses the books of Islamic scholars does not make them invalid. The great Islamic historian al-Taberi is who he is, whether Memri or I or you use the references. You may purchase the great Islamic historian here and find the references for yourself: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0887067077/104-7753634-1579125?v=glance Al-Tabari, “The History of al-Tabari (Ta’rikh al rusul wa’l-muluk)”, (Albany, NY.: State University of New York Press, 1992). So, what I hear you claiming is that all the scholarly references listed are “no good” because Memri too uses them? It is rather like the Jews claiming that Wagner’s music is “not good” because he was an anti-Semite. Sorry, no cigar on this one. As to the Guardian’s article, everyone knows the politics of Guardian. Anti-Semitism is their middle name. Perhaps, Maryam you can open a website that translates Arabic better than does Memri? We’d all like to know what the Arabic press is really saying. We do know that what Muslims say in English to the press and what they say in Arabic is very different. We get translations of the rants of Muslim clerics every Friday. Are you saying these translations are not correct? They don’t say, “Kill the infidel” and “Oh God shake the ground under their feet”? ;-) ===== Just to be clear here, AIS— I am not exonerating Christianity for its atrocities through the ages. There were plenty of persecutions, enslavements, forced conversions and book-and people burnings. I am, however, saying that Christianity has come a long way and today, for the most part, Christians actually follow the peaceful teachings of Christ. Islam was on the planet at the same time that Europe forged ahead into the Age of Enlightenment. Since the advent of Islam’s turning inward about 1492, it has been in a severe decline. The rumor of the burning of the library of Alexandria by caliph Umar (and others through the ages) was just as criminal as the recent, wanton destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan by Muslims. The deliberate destruction of our collective human heritage has been committed by many religions—but, chief among them Christianity and Islam. Islam was at its greatest when it was open to other civilizations’ and influences. The only reason that Islam was this open was because it was the only way to rule its vast empire of dhimmis, as mentioned above. This same openness is what makes the American democracy so unique and this openess is the base of its success. America is a land of immigrants who have made her great. Unlike Europe, the U.S. assimilates its immigrants. The people who immigrate to the U.S. are by nature adventurous and individualistic. The more cautious tend to stay at home. Thus, America is a democracy of cantankerous individualists who will continue to lead the world toward democracy and freedom. The very worst thing that could happen is for America to close itself off and become isolationist. That said—we must certainly have a better security policy than we have had in the past given the international nature of Islamic terrorism. We can no longer afford to placate those who breed, support, fund and export terror. However, the sustaining of the American democracy will always depend on the fresh influences of eage ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
AIS at January 11, 2004 03:03 AM [permalink]:

Wessie,

"The deliberate destruction of our collective human heritage has been committed by many religions—but, chief among them Christianity and
Islam. "

Cool. That's what I have been trying to say too. Why did it take you to say so much and we wouldn't have had much to disagree upon. :)

AIS at January 11, 2004 03:04 AM [permalink]:

I meant 'why did it take you so long to say as much...' sorry.

Wessie at January 11, 2004 03:40 AM [permalink]:

If you had been paying attention (like in class) AIS ;-) then you would have seen I have no love for Christianity either. But—and here’s the but— It is a better, more humane, less misanthropic, less misogynistic system than Islam. And—one can develop pluralistic democracy under Christianity, even under fundamentalist Christianity. The converse is not true. I don’t believe that democracy will flourish under Islam. Oh, it may limp along like in Turkey but, flourish, as in the US or Europe— No way— because, there is no tradition of secular humanism, and all its attendant philosophies, in Islam.

Rather depressing, huh? ;-)

Wessie

Señor Græd at January 12, 2004 10:01 AM [permalink]:

Wessie, you wrote, among many other things, of course:

"I find it difficult to “love” a neighbor who wants to kill me, my family, my friends, my dog and my civilization in the name of his barbaric, 7th century death-cult, ..."

If you REALLY think Muslims have nothing better, or more interesting, to do with their time than killing you, your family, your friends, and your companion, then it's REALLY time for you to head out of office, stop being "productive", take a break from work and study, go to a vacation, and leave your humongous library alone for a few days and let your mind relax and breathe. You can go to Bahamas or to Hawaii, but you better not take a book by Will Durant or about Salman Rushdie with you. ;-)

By the way, I would appreciate it if you could tell us where in the many many books that you have read cover to cover you found the term "dead cult" used for Islam. Or is it your own appelation, in which case maybe you should start writing and publishing your own books. But of course, after you come back from Jamaica. ;-)

Analogist at January 12, 2004 10:23 AM [permalink]:

Wessie don't worry too much about what is going to happen to Muslims and Islam... It is all a part of "natural selection". Who knows maybe in 500 years the Western Civilization might face a similar survival challenge that Islam is facing now [and is fighting for it].

Islam is the only strong religion left, and the war is upon it for the last time... If the enlightenment didn't finish off Christianity, the holocaust did it, so to make more analogies, maybe there might be another holocaust in waiting?

daanaa at January 12, 2004 10:41 AM [permalink]:

Wessie:
"I find it difficult to ?love? a neighbor who wants to kill me, my family,my friends ... and my civilization ..."

Take a look at Quran it is exactly the same sentence and argument at 2:190. I guess you think this argument does not have anything to do with violence, why do you count this ayah as a valance symbol?

Try not to become an Islamic hardliner during the war with Islamic hardliners. ;)

Señor Græd at January 12, 2004 11:34 AM [permalink]:

;-)

(Sorry, something's got in one of my eyes. Damn. Have no idea why I'm smiling though. Hmmm. ;-) ;-) )

Hamed at January 12, 2004 12:13 PM [permalink]:


A general comment,

I meant by this post to discuss about democracy in a rational way without entering religion. I believe it is possible to improve democracy in Iran without paying much attention to the consistency of Islam and democracy or Islam and human rights. We are yet far from it.
By the way, I understood that people love to argue about religion.


Wessie at January 12, 2004 01:09 PM [permalink]:
Your Majesty! How nice to see you back and in good health—your posting sarcasm fully in tact. Did you get a lot of reading done over the weekend or did you just leave it all to Google—your "educator" as you have said. ;-) My weekend was great! I finished final tweaks on two scientific manuscripts and sent them to be submitted for publication; answered about a dozen e-mails and made some half-dozen phone calls. Enjoyed the wonderful winter weather with my husband and dog; had a BBQ; cooked for next week; did laundry; lifted weights and rode my bike; watched television for the first time in months (a depressing documentary about the long suffering women of Iran and two wonderful films about exuberant, free, musical Latin and black cultures). I finished reading 5 books on architecture and home construction, because I am designing a new house; picked out some fixtures and appliances for that house and read a bit more on the history of misanthropic Islam in al-Tabari's "History of al-Tabari"—best of all I had time left over for posting a bit to the indolent, "overworked" Muslims on the net. But, take heart. Real life is much easier than university study. Getting paid for what you produce is an excellent incentive if you are a real, decadent capitalist pig as I am. ;-) How many vacations have you had this last year, Majesty? I was abroad about half the year working and enjoying the "decadence" free West. ;-) Been to Paris lately or Tokyo or Brussels or Florence? All you need is a cell phone, a laptop and best of all—no chador! ;-) Nothing like people-watching in a Western cafe, while pounding those lap-top keys. Beautiful or weird people are inspiring, especially if they are permitted to wear whatever the heck they want. "Try not to become an Islamic hardliner during the war with Islamic hardliners. ;)" Daanaa, you should understand the difference between an "Islamic hardliner" and a democratic harda**. Guess which most Americans are. ;-) Here is what the mad-mullahs those "Islamic death-cult hardliners" are doing while you all are sitting nice and comfy in the free West complaining about how tough your little lives are and debating as to whether you should give up that cushy expatriate life for the bleak world of Islamic politics: "Iranian Council Bars Thousands From Vote" TEHRAN, Jan. 11 — A new power struggle engulfed Iran's government on Sunday when a hard-line Islamic religious authority disqualified half the 8,200 candidates in parliamentary elections next month, provoking outrage among reformers who accused their conservative rivals of trying to steal the vote. . . The election had been seen as a test of the public's attitude toward the reform movement in Iran. The council's disqualification actions could lead to voter apathy, some political commentators said. "We must not forget the fact that the Islamic Republic has received its legitimacy in the past 25 years from voters' turnout in elections, and if people refrain from voting this time the system's 25-year-old legitimacy would be questioned," wrote a journalist, Badrolsadat Mofidi, in the Shargh newspaper on Sunday. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/12/international/middleeast/12IRAN.html If people are nihilist, inshallah types, then they will get more of the same. Every peoples gets the government it deserves. :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) Now, if you all will excuse me—I have some work to do and several meetings to attend on this wonderful Monday. One of the ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Wessie at January 12, 2004 01:15 PM [permalink]:

“I meant by this post to discuss about democracy in a rational way without entering religion. I believe it is possible to improve democracy in Iran without paying much attention to the consistency of Islam and democracy or Islam and human rights. We are yet far from it.

By the way, I understood that people love to argue about religion.

Unfortunately, Hamed, you are wrong. A bona fide democracy cannot be sustained in an Islamic state! Turkey is a good example. They are hanging on to their freedoms by the skin of their teeth and only because of a strong military committed to secular rule. Unless there is a Reformation in Islam wherein the ummah rejects all the misanthropic and misogynistic tenets that make Islam incompatible with democracy—it won’t happen.

An "Islamic democracy" is an oxymoron!

Wessie


Hamed at January 12, 2004 01:28 PM [permalink]:

Wessie,

Maybe we think differently about democracy, could you describe yours?

Señor Græd at January 12, 2004 01:44 PM [permalink]:

How you spend your weekends, hon, sets a model for all of us, the happily indolent ones, *not* to follow. Leisure is a concept that workaholic Americans simply don't get. Relax, already! It's weekend for crying out loud. "I finished reading 5 books..." Well, no wonder none of the stuff you read sticks. Over-reading and under-thinking corrupts the mind, Wessie. The book becomes the worm that eats the bookworm's brain out, as my made-up proverb goes. Trust me on that! And be assured that I'll be back once I'm free from sitting around and doing nothing, with my sarcasm flying in your face stronger beyond your wildest dreams. ;-)

Wessie at January 13, 2004 01:32 PM [permalink]:

"How you spend your weekends, hon, sets a model for all of us, the happily indolent ones, *not* to follow. Leisure is a concept that workaholic Americans simply don't get. Relax, already! It's weekend for crying out loud. "I finished reading 5 books..." . . ."

Señor Græd, I did a lot of fun stuff on the weekend and am not a workaholic, not even a type "A." I just have "unusual" hours—nocturnal and all that and make the most use of my time.

I consider hiking, bike riding, 3 hours of TV watching, cooking, sitting with my family for at least 6 hours at table and reading—a very relaxing weekend. What do you consider relaxation—sleeping? LOL

As to my retention ability. It is quite excellent, thank you. I also read extremely fast. I have what is known as a photographic memory. That means I can point to exactly the page and the passage where I read something—even years later. Better watch it Majesty. Age has not caught up with me yet. ;-)

BTW—I only worked about five hours over several days on those manuscripts last weekend. As to those five books, they had all been started. And trust me, reading about house design is not science nor is it brain surgery. Even you could read that many books at once if they were simple enough. :-) Now al-Tabari is a different story. But, he is not as consuming or challenging as a philosophy or science text.

Try reading the Qu'ran. It's really simple, but the history that goes along with it is nasty and complicated. ;-)

Need to go have a "relaxing" business lunch.

Bye

Wessie.

Wessie at January 13, 2004 01:35 PM [permalink]:
"Maybe we think differently about democracy, could you describe yours?" Quickly, Hamed (because I'm on the run today) both rights and responsibilities for everyone is my idea of democracy. I think the best place to start is with the American Bill of Rights: The Bill of Rights: A Transcription Note: The following text is a transcription of the first ten amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the "Bill of Rights." ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Amendment II A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Amendment III No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Amendment IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Amendment V No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Amendment VI In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Amendment VII In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Amendment VIII Excessive bail shall not be re ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Hamed at January 13, 2004 02:39 PM [permalink]:


"both rights and responsibilities for everyone is my idea of democracy."

So democracy in united state is very young and it backs to 1972 when the Equal Rights Amendment was signed by Nixon.True?

Wessie at January 14, 2004 09:37 AM [permalink]:

"So democracy in united state is very young and it backs to 1972 when the Equal Rights Amendment was signed by Nixon.True?"

Sarcasm will get you nowhere, Hamed. No one is saying that US democracy does not have its problems. However, I will say that US minorities and women are not exactly lining up to immigrate to the Middle East. ;-)

Our women in the West have always had more rights and freedoms than women in any Islamic country—at any time including during the time of Mohammed, who introduced purdah! Indeed, Muslim visitors to Europe hundreds of years ago were very shocked that Western women were permitted to walk about unveiled in "mixed" company. How could one "control" these wanton women if they were permitted freedom—the Muslim visitors wanted to know. LOL

It appears to me that you don't really want to learn about democracy or why it functions so well in the West, Hamed.

It always seems to me that the people on these sites have nothing but criticism for the West, but our societies work better than theirs regardless. However, they only see the underbelly and not the positives. Why is that?

Wessie


daanaa at January 14, 2004 10:06 AM [permalink]:

Why are we so interested in discussion on religion and democracy? ??

If we are going to stablish an stable democracy shouldn't we take care about the problems happens after obtaining the democray before the time we face them?

If the answer is yes, how many of us are taking care about it? Shouldn't we look at the post by ali on "A Case for an Iranian Asset Bubble and the Role of Iranian Credit Markets"?

When we left Iran we had a very good vision of its current problems and difficulties.For a while or more we are going to study out side of Iran, how long could we maintain the true vision of Iran?

A true vision is the direct result of interaction .How could we take care about mutual homogeneous comunication with Iranian people?

A democratic motion has to be within the public. what is the best way for us to make an influence on the Iranian people? Being accused by insiders as "mortad", accused by outsiders as stupid Islamic fan, how could we ever make an stable long term comunication?

Hamed at January 14, 2004 11:41 AM [permalink]:


I believe US was a democratic country even when women didn't have the same rights. Now it is definitely better. I believe the same about Islamic country. Even if they can establish a democracy among Muslims without any rights for others, it is one step forward, it is good and it is better than absolute dictatorship. Believe me or not, it can be done without changing Islam which is not something easy to do. Let us do this step, then we will think about minorities. I remind you that even this sort of democracy is missing in many Islamic countries.

I have no doubt that you have been successful, but we don't not agree about the causes and the methods completely. I think also there are many people in the west who do not agree with you.

daanaa at January 14, 2004 12:10 PM [permalink]:

"It always seems to me that the people on these sites have nothing but criticism for the West, but our societies work better than theirs regardless. However, they only see the underbelly and not the positives. Why is that?"

1-Change requires time, don't you think so?

2-During my childhood, When I was reading western stories I had not been able to understand why a sunny day is counted as a good day.I had opposite feeling that rainy day is perfect.Now I understand why in europe sunny day is better than rainy one. However all european could not find why a rainy day is counted bettter in Iran.

3-really "Why is that?" so.

maryam at January 14, 2004 04:08 PM [permalink]:

comment removed in accord with FToI Comment Policy, Rule 2. Editors believe this discussion should continue elsewhere via e-mail. So, Maryam, if you wish to do so, please leave an e-mail address here or contact the editors at free[@]freethoughts[.]org.

Señor Græd at January 15, 2004 11:22 AM [permalink]:

Thought it may not seem so, but I really try to avoid including in my comments what can be found elsewhere on the internet in their entirety. I rather give links. Therefore I think copying and pasting the Bill of Rights in a comment is not appropriate when you can simply provide a link.

Just my opinion.

maryam at January 15, 2004 01:44 PM [permalink]:

Comment removed in accord with FToI Comment policy, Rule 2.

Wessie at January 15, 2004 01:56 PM [permalink]:

Comment removed accroding to Rule 2 of FToI Comment Policy.

The truth is defensible in a court of law in the West—libel is not.

Blaming the victim as you do here and justifying censorship:

http://freethoughts.org/archives/000391.html

is the same logic that suicide jihadis have—it is all the fault of the "other." Muslims are never at fault. It is always the "other" who "provokes" them. Muslims attack and blame others for telling the truth. Amazing! Note that the most recent mass murderer of both Muslims and Jews, Reem Raiyshi mother of two small children, holds the Qu’ran the book that tells her it is good to murder innocents in the name of Islam:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/040115/481/jrl10601151400

I posted on subject with relevance as I saw it with the TRUTH and used supporting passages from the Qu'ran and the hadith as well as some personal information to support my position. Maryam used that information to make her own bigoted, erroneous conclusions and libel me. While my "style" may be challenging (quite intentionally so, I might add) I have a right, in a society that honors free speech and democracy, to use such a non-sugarcoated approach as many here have recognized and even defended—provided the truth is posted.

Therefore, I think you should leave the comments Maryam made as evidence instead of removing them.

You people: Iranians, Middle Easterners, Muslims claim to want freedom and democracy but have no clue as to how to go about getting it. When someone tells the truth as to the root cause of your problems you call it "provocation" and want to shut the challenger up. In my opinion it is indeed ALL about religion. The inability of Islamic peoples to get a grip on democracy and freedom is ALL about religion—the religion of Islam and its mandate to be in the social, political and religious realm to the exclusion of every other system. Certainly people such as Salman Rushdie and other Islamic intellectuals have said the same.

Muslims will never find freedom and democracy until they recognize that EVERYONE has the right to speak the TRUTH and no one has the right to make libelous, ad hominem attacks.

Again: The truth is defensible in a court of law in the West—libel is not. And unlike in Islamic countries, a non-Muslim’s as well as a woman’s testimony are just as valid as those of Muslim males. Closing the comments section is the coward's way out. It is common in Iran to shut up the opposition because they tell the painful truth. It is a shame that you are bringing that terrible "tradition" of shutting people up to this site, where you claim to want "free thoughts" on Iran and suggestions on how to bring democracy to your suffering nation.

Often the truth hurts; Let the opposition speak! :-)

As Voltaire, a great champion of liberty and freedom of speech, said: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”You all should take that to heart. People have a right to their opinions! Those who post libel might get their little selves sued some day. ;-)

Wessie
-->

yahya at January 15, 2004 02:05 PM [permalink]:

Why don't Maryam and Wessie send their thoughts as well worded articles to FToI to be published as entries?

It is much easier to understand what they say if they write coherent articles than writing their short confusing comments.


Wessie at January 15, 2004 02:05 PM [permalink]:

“. . . I really try to avoid including in my comments what can be found elsewhere on the internet in their entirety. I rather give links. Therefore I think copying and pasting the Bill of Rights in a comment is not appropriate when you can simply provide a link.

Señor Græd, it appears that many people receive their comments via e-mail and thus are not able to follow links as necessary. I felt that the Bill of Rights was so very relevant to this discussion to warrant posting it.

So far, no one seems to feel that such a Bill of Rights might be relevant or valuable in their efforts to set up a democracy.

Wessie

asdfasdfs at January 15, 2004 05:26 PM [permalink]:

why can't you just statet the good things about democracy? Do you really need the page that long jsut to tell why it is good. It could be done in like 30 sentences.

Wessie at January 15, 2004 11:41 PM [permalink]:

"why can't you just statet the good things about democracy? Do you really need the page that long jsut to tell why it is good. It could be done in like 30 sentences."

It is not a matter of the "good things about democracy." This is supposed to be a discussion isn't it? It is a matter of Muslims comprehending the rule of secular law; that freedom means responsibilities. That democracy means order, not the right to do whatever one pleases at the expense of other people.

It is wise for those who wish to have democracy in their lands to look at the documents and the laws that make the Western democracies and republics work.

However, I do not believe that any sort of democracy will ever be possible under fascist Islam. Again I say, an Islamic democracy is an oxymoron!

These sorts of cowardly deeds and statements (below) will be the demise of Islam. Nobody in their right mind wants the fascist terror of Islam in the rest of the civilized, modern world!

Every suicide jihadi shows Islam for what it truly is, a 7th century death-cult that renders its followers psychotic.

Palestinians Hail Female Bomber As Hero

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/ap/20040115/ap_on_re_mi_ea/israel_palestinians

"She is not going to be the last (attacker) because the march of resistance will continue until the Islamic flag is raised, not only over the minarets of Jerusalem, but over the whole universe," Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said. . . .

"It is not enough to call her a hero. Calling her hero does not give the whole truth. This woman abandoned her husband and children to win paradise," Zahar said in the eulogy. . . "

http://www.coxandforkum.com/archives/000258.html
---

Freedom of Expression Not at Cost of Islam: Abdullah

"JEDDAH, 15 January 2004 — Saudi Arabia will not allow anybody to attack the Islamic faith in the name of freedom of expression, Crown Prince Abdullah, deputy premier and commander of the National Guard, declared yesterday.

“This country will never accept anybody, whoever he may be, to hurt the Islamic faith, in the name of freedom of opinion or any other name,” the crown prince said in an address to the nation aired live on state television. . .

“We will not allow anybody to stand in the way of reforms, be it by calling for stagnation or recession or any other reckless adventure,” he said.

. . . “But the state will not allow anybody to destroy national unity or disturb the peace of its people under the pretext of reforms.”"

http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1§ion=0&article=38053&d=15&m=1&y=2004&pix=kingdom.jpg&category=Kingdom
---

Do any of you really believe that it is possible to have a fully functioning secular, democratic republic as exist in the West under Islam? Even Turkey dares not give everyone their "rights" because if you give the Islamists a little finger, they will take the whole hand in their Qu'ranic mandate to Islamicize the world.

"East is East and West is West—and never the twain shall meet! . . " Rudyard Kipling

Wessie

Wessie at January 15, 2004 11:57 PM [permalink]:

"Even if they can establish a democracy among Muslims without any rights for others, it is one step forward, it is good and it is better than absolute dictatorship. Believe me or not, it can be done without changing Islam which is not something easy to do."

Hamed, I completely and utterly disagree! Can you show us how, under the tenets of Islam if these are really followed, this would be possible? And the other thing is a contradiction. "Rights for Muslims without any rights for others" is not rights—it's dhimmihood and discrimination! That won't fly in the modern world. (See above post.)

"Change requires time, don't you think so?

Daanaa, Islam has been on the planet the same time while the rest of the world moved forward. Why have Muslims stayed in the middle ages—at best? I believe it is because of repressive Islam that mandates "no changes." Islam and modernity don't mix unless it is secularized.

Regarding the "rainy day" analogy. That has something to do with climate. Depending on where you are in Europe it often rains all the time. In the US that is a bit different. I know Western Europeans who are not happy unless the day is "perfect"—sunshine. In the ME the need for rain is obvious. Americans tend to take the weather more in stride.

"Why are we so interested in discussion on religion and democracy? ??"

Because, without taking religion OUT of Islamic nations—in other words secularizing them, a democracy of any kind won't be possible. Look at Turkey, Daanaa.


Wessie

Babak S at January 16, 2004 12:07 AM [permalink]:

I do agree with you Wessie that islamic democracy is an impossiblity. But any religious democracy is an impossibility. You might argue or take history as evidence that Christain faith or Jewish faith has the seeds of democracy in it, but that's hardly relevant; as far as religion is not separated from the state, and thus marginalzied in the game of power, no true democracy has become possible.

I quite disagree with you on "that democracy means order, not the right to do whatever one pleases at the expense of other people." Granted, democracy brings with it a sort of stable social order, but it's only an outcome, the outcome that makes it so desirable. democracy is about people having the power to run their society, all of the people. This simple principle along with the ideals of freedom makes the basis of democracy, human rights, rights of the minorities, etc. remember, a brutal monarchy could be well in order, and actually noone would have "the right to do whatever one pleases at the expense of other people," especially the monarch. But not surprisingly that order does not make for a democracy.

When would you stop denying yourself and us a real chance of discussion, one in which one would actually learn something new and exciting, not one in which one is bored by your outright, religious opposition to everyone and anyone middle-eastern or nominally/officially muslim, I wonder?

Wessie at January 16, 2004 01:14 AM [permalink]:

Babak, certainly democracy means order with rights for all. That is why we have laws that protect civil rights. Even under a Western monarchy there is democratic order i.e. some Nordic countries, Belgium, the UK, Japan, etc. We have much more order in the West under democratic republics or democratic monarchies than there is in ANY Muslim land. However, what we constantly see is Muslims coming to the West and wanting to use our freedoms against us— demanding special rights for Muslims—with the goal of Islamicizing the West. No Way!

"When would you stop denying yourself and us a real chance of discussion, one in which one would actually learn something new and exciting, not one in which one is bored by your outright, religious opposition to everyone and anyone middle-eastern or nominally/officially muslim, I wonder?"

I have no opposition to anyone Middle Eastern or Muslim. In fact, I have great admiration for the music, art, poetry, literature and foods or your cultures. I do however, have incredible disdain for Islam. I am quite able and willing to admit that— unlike many people who are so cowardly PC and parrot that "Islam is the religion of peace."

When will you (all) stop denying that fascist Islam is at the ROOT of all of your problems and has been for millennia?

What do you want to discuss? So far, no one has said how they can make a democracy in an Islamic land with Islam still there.

Wessie

Wessie at January 16, 2004 01:39 AM [permalink]:

Here, again— Islamic terror! Every day there is Islamic terror against innocents somewhere in the world.


Pakistan church blast injures 11

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3399479.stm


A car bomb near a church in the Pakistani city of Karachi has injured at least 11 people, police say.

The powerful blast happened shortly after police received an anonymous telephone warning that a bible society near the church would be targeted.

The explosion is the first attack on Pakistan's small Christian community for more than a year. . .

. . . In 2002, six attacks on Christian targets left more than 40 people dead. The most vicious was at a Christian society in Karachi, when gunmen tied up seven people and shot them execution-style. . . "

---

You want to have a discussion? Let's talk about why it is that Muslims every time they are "angry" about anything murder other innocent people? What happened to "honoring the people of the book"? They are "angry" at the US but they attack innocents. WHY?

There can be no democracy under Islam!

If this keeps up Islam will take the whole world into anarchy!

Wessie

Babak S at January 16, 2004 03:12 AM [permalink]:

Wessie,

You again evaded the truth, by producing some irrelavant comments, mostly incorrect. You use yourself the term "democratic monarchy," that admits the existance of democracy there; the "monarchy" bit, as everyone knows, is symbolic and irrelevant. Canadians are also all subjects of her Majesty, but when in practice that matters, I wonder? I was trying to tell that "order" is by no means what democracy is about; you said nothing related in response.

You are yourself still to answer the question you asked: how to have democracy in Islamic countries? Where did I miss it in your pile of words? Let me tell you that I agree that "islam" is and has been the source of quite a lot of problems in our land. So, is the problem solved? Hardly so. That people should reach the same conclusion needs more than one person's admission to it, and far more than "accept it, you mere mortals!" as you shout outloud.

On your last sentences: Who are "they"? Please show me the line where "they" are defined in your book of wisdom. I share your disdain for Islamic terrorists and Islamic terrorism; am I one of "them?"

Wessie at January 16, 2004 04:25 AM [permalink]:

"You again evaded the truth, by producing some irrelavant comments,"

Babak, perhaps it's a language barrier. I found my comments to be very relevant. That is why I wrote them.

"You are yourself still to answer the question you asked: how to have democracy in Islamic countries? Where did I miss it in your pile of words?

You must have missed it. Here is what I said above:

"There can be no democracy under Islam!"

I have said several times that Islamic democracy is an oxymoron! In other words, I don't believe there can ever be a democracy in an Islamic country until, if, there is a Reformation in Islam. That means that Muslims need to:

1) Renounce the violent, supremacist tenets of Islam against the "unbeliever."

2) Make Islam strictly a religion and not a political entity. A separation of mosque and state if you will.

I don't believe that will happen in our life times. Do you?

"I share your disdain for Islamic terrorists and Islamic terrorism; am I one of "them?"

Unless you have renounced those hundreds of passages in the Qu'ran and the hadith I mention above then I would consider you to be a supporter of Islamic terror with your silence. Those Muslims who do not renounce the violent, jihadi tenets against the Jews and the "unbelievers" are culpable, in my opinion, for the crimes of Islamic terrorists. Just as the Germans were culpable for the Holocaust and the Catholic Church culpable for the Crusades, etc.

Have you EVER marched against Islamic terror? Do you give to Islamic charities? There were two Islamic terror attacks in the last two days. What did you do to protest these crimes committed in your name and the name of your god?

As to "they"—they are Muslims as the article linked states. "They" attacked innocent people just because these were not Muslims. Like I said—why?

Here are a few reasons from the Qu'ran:

• "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God’s religion shall reign supreme" (8:39)

• "Prophet, rouse the faithful to arms. If there are twenty steadfast men among you, they shall vanquish two hundred; and if there are a hundred, they shall rout a thousand unbelievers, for they are devoid of understanding." (8:65)

• "Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures were given ... and do not embrace the true Faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (9:29)

• Slay those who believe neither in God nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and his apostle have forbidden, and who do not embrace the true Faith, until they pay jaziah out of hand and are utterly subdued Surah Al-Tawbah (Repentence), Ayah 29, . .

And there are hundreds of passages like the above.

Will you renounce them as well as the misogynistic ones?

Wessie


Wessie at January 16, 2004 04:45 AM [permalink]:
"I do agree with you Wessie that islamic democracy is an impossiblity." See, Babak, you said it yourself above. It can't work. Read this article to understand the difference between American democracy and European democracies. I think the article applies to not only Iraq but also to all Islamic nations. George Will does not seem to believe that democracy will come to Islamic nations either. Can We Make Iraq Democratic? http://www.city-journal.org/html/14_1_can_we_make_iraq.html "The histories of America and Europe have given rise to markedly different judgments about democracy and nationalism. Americans have cheerful thoughts, and Europeans have dark thoughts, about uniting democracy and nationalism. Hence Americans and Europeans have different ideas of what constitutions should do—ideas that lead to different valuations of international laws and institutions. Americans believe that a democracy’s constitution should arise from, and reflect the particularities of, that nation’s distinctive political culture. Europeans’ quite different idea of constitutions implies a bitterly disparaging self-assessment. Their idea of what constitutions are for is a recoil from the savagery of their twentieth-century experiences. The purpose of their constitutions is to contract radically the sphere of self-government—of democratic politics. American constitutionalism speaks with a Philadelphia accent, in the language of popular sovereignty: “We the people of the United States . . . do ordain and establish. . . . ” European constitutionalism speaks with a Parisian accent—the Paris of the eighteenth-century philosophes, of timeless and universal truths, defined by intellectuals and given, as gifts from on high, to publics expected to accept them deferentially. ". . .Democracy and distrust usually are, and always should be, entwined. America’s constitutionalism and its necessary corollary, judicial review, amount to institutionalized distrust. But although Americans are said to be suspicious of their government, they actually are less deeply wary of their government than Europeans are of their governments. Scott Turow, the American lawyer and novelist, sees evidence of this difference in the sharply divergent American and European attitudes about capital punishment. It is, he says, exactly wrong to interpret European opposition to capital punishment as evidence of Europe’s higher civility. Rather, says Turow, European democracies have a history of fragility and “have repeatedly been overwhelmed by dictators.” So “the day seems far less remote when another madman can commandeer the power of the state to kill his enemies.” In fact, “American opinion about capital punishment is subtly dependent on the extraordinary stability of our democratic institutions.” ". . .Certainly Americans will not passively watch their nation’s distinctive ideas of justice be subordinated to any other standards. Most Americans are not merely patriots; they are nationalists, too. They do not merely love their country; they believe that its political arrangements, and the values and understandings of the human condition that those arrangements reflect, are superior to most other nations’ arrangements. They believe, but are too polite to say, that American arrangements are not suited to everybody, at least not now. These superior American arrangements are suited to culturally superior people—those up to the demands made by self-government. . ." --- Personally, one can a ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Grand Vizier at January 16, 2004 11:01 AM [permalink]:

Comment removed in violation of Rule 2 of comment policy.

Babak S at January 16, 2004 03:29 PM [permalink]:

Wessie,

You must be blind then. You know full well, if you have read Qur'an (not Qu'ran, by the way) that doing what you demand a muslim to do will be punished by death, the same way Salman Rushdie was sentenced to death. So, please be a bit more realistic, and say something doable. Yes, in theory your response sounds as a solution, but it is anything but. That's exactly why your presumptuous attitude towards this web site in particular and muslims in general has no practical outcome except for death and destruction, either of muslim countries (not Islam, I might add) or the West under the mindless terror attacks of Islamic extremists. Your method results in a lose-lose situation for humanity.

No, I do not pay zakat, and I do not believe in Qur'anic truth. I was almost denied an admission to my garduate studies in Iran just for those very reasons. So, is there anywhere in the vast world for me and my likes as you see it? Or just because I'm born a muslim in a muslim, middle-eastern country I should be washed out of the surface of the globe? Have you ever started reading the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

...

Article 1
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

... .

I do not believe it is a language barrier. But if you really think you might convey yourself better in some other language than English (after all, it's not your mother tongue, as it appears), do not hesitate to try German, French, or even Spanish. A pity you have no clue about Persian (I might also add Arabic, but let's not make the burden too heavy). Otherwise, please stop being sarcastic, or too boastful of a few words.

Babak S at January 16, 2004 03:31 PM [permalink]:

Here is a link, in case you are enticed to read it:

Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Wessie at January 17, 2004 06:17 AM [permalink]:
" by the way) that doing what you demand a muslim to do will be punished by death, the same way Salman Rushdie was sentenced to death. So, please be a bit more realistic, and say something doable. Yes, in theory your response sounds as a solution, but it is anything but. That's exactly why your presumptuous attitude towards this web site in particular and muslims in general has no practical outcome except for death and destruction, either of muslim countries (not Islam, I might add) or the West under the mindless terror attacks of Islamic extremists. Your method results in a lose-lose situation for humanity." So, Babak you are saying what we all know, that if Muslims renounce the violent, misanthropic, misogynistic parts of the Qur'an and the hadith that this would render them apostates and then some wacko, Islamofascist would have license to murder them as prescribed in the Qur'an. What a clever man that Mohammed was. Under the threat of death most people would eat dog dirt. However, if people like Salman Rushdie, Ibn Warraq, Ali Sina and a host of others can renounce the violence in Islam then why are you, an educated person, so gutless? At least you could do it to your god and still pretend to the Muslim community if you feel your life would be in danger. Do you have the nerve to do that, Babak? It is up to Muslims to reform Islam, not the rest of the world. We can only reject the misanthropic, fascistic mind-control system that masquerades as a religion. There is a new book out that you might want to read: "Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out" by Ibn Warraq http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1591020689/qid%3D1054164357/sr%3D11-1/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F1/104-7279952-3347944 or you could check out some of the apostates' testimonials here: http://www.faithfreedom.org/Articles/sina/why_i_left_islam.htm As to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—Muslims have rejected that if you recall-despite some Islamic nations having originally signed on. It does not correspond with sharia and the Islamic tradition of denying women their rights —as the other half of the human race, but still not equal. “What they call human rights is nothing but a collection of corrupt rules worked out by the Zionists to destroy all true religions.” Ayatollah Khomeini “When we want to find out what is right and what is wrong we do not go the United Nations; we go to the Holy Koran . . .” Ayatollah Moussave-Khomenehi “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was for complete equality for man and women. For us, women are equal to men in law, but they are not the same as men, and they can’t be allowed to wander around freely in the streets like some kind of animal”. Muhammed Naceri, member of the Morocco Council of Religious Scholars ~~~ Regarding the language barrier. That appears to be your problem. Babak. ;-) My command of English is impeccable, like a native speaker and extremely clear in its expression. Certainly, I can write in other languages. However, that would be rude toward the other posters. Therefore, you will simply have to improve your comprehension skills. It's good for you, Babak. I studied English for years. ;-) ~~~ Speaking of human rights, here is a development of Islamic misogyny: Women in Iraq Decry Decision To Curb Rights http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A21321-2004Jan15.html ". . .This new law will send Iraqi families back to the Middle Ages," Hakki said. "It will allow men to have four or five or six wi ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Wessie at January 17, 2004 07:16 AM [permalink]:

Western democracy and the rule of law in action. This will be an interesting case to follow. I have full confidence that at the end of the day the rule of law will be restored and the prisoners given their day in court.

I also have full confidence that "someone" will be made to pay for the wrongs that are being committed in the name of "national security." It may take a while. . .

Wessie

Bush's Power to Plan Trial of Detainees Is Challenged

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/16/national/16GITM.html


WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 — Five uniformed military lawyers assigned to defend detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have filed a brief with the Supreme Court, challenging the basis of President Bush's plan to use military tribunals without civilian court review to try some of the detainees there.

In their 30-page brief, filed late Wednesday, the lawyers assert that President Bush worked to "create a legal black hole" and overstepped his constitutional authority as commander in chief in the way he set up the program for military tribunals.

"Under this monarchical regime, those who fall into the black hole may not contest the jurisdiction, competency or even the constitutionality of the military tribunals," the defense lawyers wrote. They said they were not taking a position on whether the president may deny habeas corpus to people simply detained at Guantánamo, but once he puts them before a tribunal as the government is contemplating, "he has moved outside his role as commander in chief." . . .

. . .Other briefs objecting to the detentions include one on behalf of 175 members of the British Parliament who said "the exercise of executive power without possibility of judicial review jeopardizes the keystone of our existence as nations, namely the rule of law."

The Guantánamo situation has been a major irritant in United States-British relations. Anthony Lester, a barrister who filed the brief, said it was unusual for so many members of both houses of Parliament to have rushed to sign the brief, including five former law lords, the rough equivalent of United States Supreme Court justices, two of them former chief law lords.

"This is a remarkable thing and it goes right across any party lines," Lord Lester of Herne Hill said, noting that the signers included many prominent Tories, Labor members and Liberal Democrats.

"One could have gotten a couple of hundred more if one had a few more days," he said.

Babak S at January 18, 2004 02:59 AM [permalink]:
Wessie: "So, Babak you are saying what we all know, that if Muslims renounce the violent, misanthropic, misogynistic parts of the Qur'an and the hadith that this would render them apostates and then some wacko, Islamofascist would have license to murder them as prescribed in the Qur'an. What a clever man that Mohammed was. Under the threat of death most people would eat dog dirt." Good there! That got across safely! And yes, we all know that, only your solution does not seem to do. Yes I have seen the book by Ibn Warraq, and I have read Salman Rushdie, even back in Iran: his "Midnight's Children" and "Shame" were both translated into Persian and "Shame" even won the IR's prize for the best translation of the year! Then they were all banned, of course. Wessie: "...if people like Salman Rushdie, Ibn Warraq, Ali Sina and a host of others can renounce the violence in Islam then why are you, an educated person, so gutless?... Do you have the nerve to do that, Babak?" You know, Wessie, I'm beginning to think it is really a language barrier. Do you really know how to read English? Read again Wessie, dear. I just did do that, despite the fact that I do not have the nerve to do so and am very gutless, just as many others are, including, I might add, yourself. "As to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—Muslims have rejected that if you recall-" Hold on! That's exactly where you are lost in the woods. "Muslims" is a plural, indefinite noun, referring to all muslims. And as I've gathered, you call me a muslim, just because apparently I come from Iran—a muslim country. Yet, not a single one of the quotes you quoted is uttered by me. Plus, I have just announced loud and clear that I believe in the Declaration. So, either "muslims" have not rejected it if I'm a muslim, or I'm not a muslim. Clear your mind up! And hey, you are such a good question dodger as though you do it for a living. So, after all, what about you: Have you accepted the Declaration or rejected it? If you accept it, then I repeat: "is there anywhere in the vast world for me and my likes [and let's see if you finally get what I mean here!] as you see it?" See, I don't know where you come from, since you are quite careful not to reveal that information. Let's assume for the sake of argument, and since you gave a hint at your knowing German, that you come from Germany (It would work in a similar fashion, no matter where you some from). If so, then by the same argument as you have been using about muslims, I should hold you accountable, by the day or the hour, for your position on Nazism. Sure, Nazis are long gone, but Neo-Nazis are with us. "Not all germans were Nazis, but certainly all Nazis were German, So, when did you last go to a protest renouncing the deeds of Neo-Nazis, hon?" As I said before, If you consider someone as belonging to a group s/he does not her/himself care about or thinks s/he belongs to, how are you going to get her/him to do what you think s/he should do? That's why your solution is not doable and why you are barking at the wrong tree by your hostile comments towards the people (well, most of them) at this site. Wessie: "Western democracy and the rule of law in action." There is no such thing as "Western" democracy. What is Japan then, an "Eastern" democracy? Bisecting humanity with these kind of dichotomies is really harmful. What is it to serve really? Create a safe haven of them-and-us? Its venom is already taking victims and caus ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
AIS at January 18, 2004 07:38 AM [permalink]:

Wessie,

(yawn)
we muslims must end islamic terror by our selves, you won't do that for us, Islam is very bad, you don't like to stand in long lines in the airport and you are very american by choice, a little bit too much I dare say but anyway, oh yes and we muslims must have guts and correct everything caue you're not gonna do it for us etc.
(yawn again)
have anything new or are you gonna repeat yourself till judgement ( I mean the Christian one, cause that's the one whose trend you like and is compatible with democracy, of course) come?
(yawn yet again)

AIS at January 18, 2004 07:41 AM [permalink]:

or is it 'till kongdom come'?

Sorry, my English ( and probably Persian as well) is not even half as good as yours, but I'm just a mere muslim so it is no surprise....

AIS at January 18, 2004 07:43 AM [permalink]:

'kingdom' damn it!
Oh I must be very muslim...

Wessie at January 18, 2004 09:21 AM [permalink]:
Babak, your responses are those of a typical middle eastern, male chauvinist pig—Muslim or otherwise. My "solution" as you call it is nothing of the sort. I have said Islam needs a Reformation —but Muslims have to do that–not I. All I asked is that YOU, personally, denounce the misanthropic, misogynistic passages of the Qur'an. Which, you, gutless wonder, have not done! Personally, I don't think a reformation will help at all. Islam needs to disappear as Muslims become enlightened. And yes, Babak, democracy IS Western! It was conceived by the Greeks not the Asians or the Arabs. Democracy is Western. The Islamic states have rejected the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Whether you personally believe in it is of no consequence, when millions of Muslims don't have rights because they won't get off their indolent derrieres and overthrow the theocratic despots who rule them. Inshallah = Islamic backwardness. Take note that the rest of the world appears to be really turned off by Islamist BS, the smoke and mirrors of "Islam is Peace" while they (Muslims) murder and maim with impunity world wide. Those people who say, "I'm not a terrorist, it's not my fault" should understand that we blame you, yes YOU—Yes, indeed it IS YOUR FAULT! You are culpable via your silence and your support of Islamic charities. Your peoples brought forth this monster. Like I said, YOU people (that means Muslims) have to figure this out before radical Islamic terrorism destroys the whole world. And yes, Babak, ALL Germans are culpable for the crimes of the Nazis! That is why in Germany today and many other European states inciting or supporting Nazism is a crime. Supporting fascism does not come under the "rights of man" in the free West. As Ms. Maryam noted, doing so can get you jail time—which is soo "undemocratic" according to Ms. Maryam. Unlike in the Muslim world where preaching the "holy" word of this allah is not a crime. It should be because the Qur'an is nothing but a fascist terror manual conjured up by pedophile-criminal, Mohammed to secure his 7th century Islamic empire. Yawn— yourself. I see you all complaining and having no solutions to YOUR problems except whining and being depressed [shrug] and of course, wanting visas to come to the West. And once you are here telling us how we are doing things all wrong. HA! This whole thread, indeed the whole website, has nothing but a bunch of whining Middle Easterners complaining about how "hopeless" everything is in their part of the world and griping about how "undemocratic" it is in our part of the world. Like I have said all along, fellas. The rest of the world really does not give a rat's a** what you do—as long as you don't do it in the civilized world. ;-) You can go on murdering one another until "kingdom come" nobody really cares. Get that through your heads! We "dumb" Americans would rather watch re-runs on the boob tube than see re-runs on the nightly news of screaming, flagellant Muslims demonstrating for Islam while slicing their heads and the heads of their children with swords. Yuk-Yawn! Once you've seen one Muslim demonstration with flag burnings and screams of "Death to the USA" and "Death to Israel" and "Death to everything that is not Islamic" —you've seen them all! Yawn At Least 22 Killed in Bomb Attack in Baghdad http://www.nytimes.com/pages/world/text/index.html Most of the victims were innocent Iraqis many of whom were probably Muslims. Keep it up folks. Yo ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
FToI Editorial Board at January 18, 2004 11:00 AM [permalink]:

Wessie,

Please respect freethoughts.org's comment policy. By "abusing" offensive words you might loose your right to comment:

"middle eastern ..." is an obvious racist comment, regardless of how you felt when you wrote it, it is very very inappropriate and does not appear to be a suitable response to Babak, considering his language.

If you are doing this only for the sake of provoking people to write stupid or hate material in your response, you have not come to the correct place. People who are using this website, REALLY, want to go beyond the hate words and to have an opportunity to think, and to decide "FREELY" in the light of everyone else's opinions, how is best for them to REACT.

Please do not obscure people's right to think clearly with offensive words and expressions!

Grand Vizier at January 18, 2004 11:17 AM [permalink]:

Enlightenment shall come.

Wessie at January 18, 2004 11:59 AM [permalink]:

""middle eastern ..." is an obvious racist comment, regardless of how you felt when you wrote it, it is very very inappropriate and does not appear to be a suitable response to Babak, considering his language."

Babak was very insulting and derisive to me in several posts. But, that does not appear to matter much to you. Why don't you criticize him for his insults?

Since when is "Middle Eastern" a racist slur??? What other word should one use for people who live or hail from the Middle East (a geographic region) other than Middle Eastern? If one says "Arab" then the "Persians" will object. Since all people from the ME are not Muslims I did not use that word. What words would you prefer when one refers to people living in "that" region of the world?

Ozymandias

I MET a Traveler from an antique land,
Who said, "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is OZYMANDIAS, King of Kings."
Look on my works ye Mighty, and despair!
No thing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that Colossal Wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

(1792-1822)

Wessie at January 18, 2004 01:02 PM [permalink]:
"Please do not obscure people's right to think clearly with offensive words and expressions!" Exactly! Babak behaved offensively. I thought clearly enough to name him what he is: a male chauvinist from the Middle East! Oink! The truth will out. --- Chauvinist definition: ". . . smug irrational belief in the superiority of one's own race, party, sex, etc. example: male chauvinism" MEMCP = A male living or hailing from the Middle East who believes this, yet still wants a visa to the West: • "You (true Muslims) are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind." means, the best of peoples for the people, as you bring them with chains on their necks till they embrace Islam." Volume 6, Book 60, Number 80 A Muslim male who believes this: • "Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surly God is high, supreme. (Surah Al-Nisa, Ayah 34)" Translation of Sahih Bukhari --- How about this as a description: A bigoted male believing in his own superiority, compared to women and other peoples, coming from the part of the world bounded by the Mediterranean, Black, Caspian, Red and Arabian Seas? Oink! ;-) There is a constant call from Muslims/Arabs/Iranians/Middle Easterners to give them "respect." Yet, they rarely if ever extend the same courtesy to the rest of the world. I have said it before. I respond to people in kind. Babak was chauvinistic and disrespectful and he got a response in a similar tone. Just follow the discussion and see how it began. But, of course, you will never get a Middle Easterner to admit that he is the perpetrator. Middle Easterners are always "victims." Just like Osama bin Laden pretends that it is all the West's fault —and that Islam just "had to attack us" because they were "provoked," blah, blah, blah, some posters here pretend they can insult and be condescending with impunity and then turn it around and make it someone else's fault because they were "provoked." ". . . Why are we fighting and opposing you? The answer is very simple: (1) Because you attacked us and continue to attack us. . . We, WE, the US, the West— attacked Islam. RIGHT! LOL I guess 9/11 was just a figment of our collective imaginations as were the other attacks perpetrated by Muslims for years prior to that. . . . When the Muslims conquered Palestine and drove out the Romans, Palestine and Jerusalem returned to Islaam, the religion of all the Prophets peace be upon them. . . " Osama bin Laden 2002 http://observer.guardian.co.uk/worldview/story/0,11581,845725,00.html So, ObL admits that Islam attacked and conquered palestine and took it away from its previous inhabitants the Jews and the Christians who just happened to have been there for thousands and hundreds of years (respectively) before Islam was ever dreamed up by Mohammed—but, because Muslims believe that "everything" belongs to Islam—it's theirs. RIGHT! The hypocrisy of Middle Eastern peoples and Muslims in general is really laughable. The culture of blame, lies and censorship is alive and well even on "Free Thoughts"—which apparently is only "free" for ME/Muslim males to support their fantasies of superiority while bashing the West with impunity. --- So, anyone. ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Loose Can at January 18, 2004 01:02 PM [permalink]:

It's the "pig" they are talking about... they dropped it to be more polite.

Wessie at January 18, 2004 01:27 PM [permalink]:

[This comment was deleted for violating the comment policy.]

http://www.wiesenthal.com/social/press/pr_item.cfm?ItemID=8720


"Condoleeza Rice is a jungle creature" As I recall a Muslim psychiatrist, whose name escapes me now, said that. If that is not blatant racism I don't know what is.

Any of you ever complain about this sort of thing to Middle Easterners?

Wessie


-->

Kaveh Kh. at January 18, 2004 01:53 PM [permalink]:
[NOTE TO EDITORS AND HAMED: please don't remove this irrelevant comment!] Wessie, I thought I knew you Wessie, but now that I think of it, maybe not. I am not a preacher of victimization of Muslims, they all deserve what they get [like those others who hate them blindly and of course deserve what they get]. however I have a few points to make. Not that I completely disagree with your views, but mine and yours seem to be very related in conclusion, but vastly different in their approach: [1] Some people who are responding to your comments are not Muslims/ME's. [2] Almost [but less than] half of them were female. [3] It appears to me that when there is a reasonable criticism of your ideas, you tend to ignore it, however as soon as someone says something that you can find disagreeable within your circle of common sense, you tend to lash at them and enjoy the barbaric dialogue of insults. I think it is ok to admit a mistake, or a misplacement of words, or apologize for a potentially offensive word, even though you didn't mean it, or the person deserved what you gave him/her. THAT, is a message of Christianity that you (and I) seem to like but probably are not believers: The message of tolerance. [4] Why do you keep generalizing? Does every Christian you know go to church regularly and acts according to Christianity in every aspect of their lives? So most Muslims in practice and even in their thoughts do not act[think] as it is preached in their scripture. Some, however, do! Worse than that, some actually practice the worst parts of it. [5] I had some ideas about reformation of Islam that you seem to mention at the end of each round of your comments, why don't you have a look at them and leave a comment? LINK and LINK. [6] The sad thing is that after I wrote that post, visa problems, I only looked at a practical problem, for the Iranian students studying at US universities, while some people started to make it a very big issue of it. I know that if someone wants to stay and study/work/live in the US and he/she feels that he/she's not welcome there it is entirely their problem, and an important one, not that they shouldn't share it with others, but that they should realize that its essentially a personal problem. This is my take on staying in the US for studying/work. Many people would still cry that it is unjust and so and so, and they are welcome to talk about it... [7] [I dropped this one myself, it was about your degree in comparative religions, nevermind please] [8] I urge everyone, reading your comments not to respond based on a sudden urge, or feeling victimized, etc, not based on the rush of Adrenaline for that matter! In the end of the day it is only Wessie's [and maybe many others, mind you] personal opinions. I personally know the editors of freethoughts and know that they are rather busy with their own businesses and the only reason they spend time on this website, is not that they want to victimize the middle eastern male. They just want everyone to have their say, so please do not use that tone with them. If you had lived in a country like Iran, in which freedom of speech is equivalent to jail, and had any opposition to the system there, you'd definitely appreciated this freedom in the West, and I think the editors of freethoughts do. They might make mistakes nonetheless, and maybe they made some in the above comment chain. [9] By the way, Hussein Shariatmadari that you mentioned in your comment, would be called a sm ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
AIS at January 18, 2004 02:46 PM [permalink]:
Dear Wessie, This would be my last comment to you, unless you say something new for a change. This is the conclusion I have reached from the current series of comments from you and others who have responded to you that I like to share with every one here. Unfortunately I have to agree with Maryam that there is something not well in place with the way you comment here. I don't know where you come from, you say you are a northern european blond white. I also think you are probably from Germany. It pains me to have to write this here, but I think you have some problems with your life. Your world view is very similar to a neo-nazi but you disguise it under American patriotism and a defence of western democracy (which I by the way ADORE!) Unfortunately you are a fake. You try to show yourself a super American, unfortunately you are NOT an american regardless of how many years ago you have been a US citizen, you are and probably never will be a real american. Americans simply aren't like this. They might be angered sometimes, many of them are very patriotic and they have every right to be because as i saud earlier taken everything into account USA has been an enormous power of good in recent history since her inception, and sometimes they act with hot temper, but they always MEAN WELL. I thought that of you at first, but I am sorry to say that I was wrong. You don't mean well and you are not a real american. It's a pity since you obviously want so much to be one. (sigh) the fact that you mention it so many times in your comments and the way you make others inferior only shows that you have a 'need' to do that, perhaps to be able to identify yourself with a group (in this case Americans), ironically that's why you are not authentic. You are yet another of those European supremacist racists under disguise here. You would be a very good example of a German of the old school, no matter how much you denounce them by your words. Your attitude and actions tell a different story. I have been wondering why you write in this website when you obviously consider everyone here such inferior brainwashed pseudo criminals, but I think I understand it now. You need to go somewhere and empty your frustrations without being exposed as a very uncivilised person as you prove to be here, of course you can't do that among people you accept as 'civilised' so you have come here, and thecurrent events and the (just) war on terrorism and Islamism seems to give you a justification for your way of satisfying your emotional complexes which deep below even you sense are not right. Whether you believe it or not I feel no anger against you and your remarks but just pity. Isn't it pitiful that even evident 'scumbags' like us can see through you? It's painful to see a fellow human being writhe like this in front of your eyes. You don't need to bother and answer me, I think I can do that for you by now: ......................... "some parts of my remark in italics" It is so typical of you moslem middle easterners to whine and blame everyone else, and instead of giving an answer to my points throw your insults at me! Why don't you go and tell these stuff to your over lords mullahs? Why don't you solve your problems instead of coming here and blaming us? we don't give a damn about you if you stop bothering us, so go away and accept defeat. (a news item of another islamist terror attack or dictatorship, or violation of human rights) You are all alike no matter how much you p ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Wessie at January 18, 2004 02:56 PM [permalink]:
"Kaveh Kh. at January 18, 2004 01:53 PM: [NOTE TO EDITORS AND HAMED: please don't remove this irrelevant comment!]" Kaveh, I have been sort of keeping track of the amount of "irrelevant" comments that get to stay and those that get removed. I could link to scores of "irrelevant" comments that are left because they are made by Iranians or Middle Easterners or Muslims here and not by people such as me who are critical of Muslims and Middle Easterners who do nothing to fix their miserable lands. I stick to the point I have made that the site is hypocritical in its policies and censors unfairly—just like "back home." Let's see if your comments get to stay. ;-) Either way it will prove my point. --- "Why do you keep generalizing? Does every Christian you know go to church regularly and acts according to Christianity in every aspect of their lives? So most Muslims in practice and even in their thoughts do not act[think] as it is preached in their scripture. Some, however, do! Worse than that, some actually practice the worst parts of it." Because, NO OTHER peoples or religions are supporting religious terrorism the way Muslims are in the name of their god! I have said it over and over and over again. IF you are a Muslim and you are SILENT, then YOU are culpable for Islamic terror! Just as the Germans were culpable as a people for Nazi fascism. Misreading seems to be a specialty here. Just for the record, I never stated that I had a degree in comparative religions. NEVER! I said I was a student of same. 'I thought I knew you Wessie, but now that I think of it, maybe not. How can you or anyone here possibly "know" me or anyone else? This is a website—hardly the place to see the multidimensional human personality. Besides, as much stereotyping as goes on here by the so-called educated residents about Americans who are dubbed as Fox news watching, chips eating, dummies. . .when they disagree with the "educated elite" in residence here. Well, give me a break. ;-) I have just as much "alphabet soup" after my name as most here and still think the tactics employed are those of the places from which they want to escape. " If you had lived in a country like Iran, in which freedom of speech is equivalent to jail, and had any opposition to the system there, you'd definitely appreciated this freedom in the West, and I think the editors of freethoughts do. They might make mistakes nonetheless, and maybe they made some in the above comment chain." Censorship with an uneven hand is deliberate and not a "mistake." As I said, that is "typical" of the culture of victimization from which they come. If they really "appreciate" the freedom of the West then they would not censor relevant comments. And if I could meet them in person then I would tell them so to their little faces. :-) Re: Hussein Shariatmadari he is not the only one. These sorts of comments can be seen daily all over the Islamic world. We don't appreciate it when Muslims DEMAND equal time and respect for their "RIGHTS" in the West and then want to use our freedoms against us like here: Marching for hijab is big stuff this week-end in France. But, when Muslims attack Jews simply because it says to do that in the Qur'an and burn synagogues in the name of allah, that gets brushed off as "misguided vandalism" and not a hate crime. It gets excused by Muslims as having been "provoked" by Israel. For SHAME!!! With tactics such as these is it any wonder that Muslims and Mid ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Babak S at January 18, 2004 03:42 PM [permalink]:

Well, I for one am going to be silent from now on. Wessie revealed herself well enough for anyone with a decent mind to judge for herself/himself. So: no comment, period.

Eswin Oakman at January 18, 2004 03:48 PM [permalink]:

Dear FToI Editors:

From the beginning I felt that this last posting was coming.

The person/persons (woman, American, European, and/or very possibly a Middle Eastern, South Asian, or African) who want(s) to be known as Wessie constantly tried to use polemic and most often extremely insulting comments to take us to this point that this/ese person(s) wanted to see us taken, that is, "you are not tolerant" and you conduct censorship.

Even though, in my opinion, FToI visitors and contributors have very much exhibited the tolerance that proves their interest in not being pluralist enough and interested in openness, the person, and I would add persons, known as "Wessie" insist that "censorship" is being committed against them:

":;-) Either way it will prove my point."

It is my opinion that these types of intolerant attacks have to be dealt with so that many of those who have a word to contribute are not scared away.

If we have reached the point that whatever the participants to this forum do proves the "righteousness" of this/these persons, it is most appropriate that the Comment Policy is revised so that such comments are directed to a different page, perhaps through a hyperlink, for those who want to continue it in that manner (or as the person wants to be recognized as a woman in that "personner"!)

"Wessie" or "Wessies" are allowed to continue their insults, but proper debate can be conducted under the fire as well; although much of the exchange may not make sense any more.

Wessie, and Wessies, target tolerant websites such as FToI with the hope that everybody becomes an extremsit and then they can comfortably say: "You see! this what we were saying from the beginning, you are all intolerant!"

Hence, they insult others and if others object verbally, even this reaction is a sign of their intolerance, in the end, Wessie or Wessies put it quite correctly: either way they are correct!

Ordak D. Coward at January 18, 2004 04:40 PM [permalink]:

In life you'll meet a lot of jerks. If they hurt you, tell yourself that it's because they're stupid. That will help you from reacting to their cruelty. Because there is nothing worse than bitterness and vengeance... Always keep your dignity and be true to yourself.

Grandma's advice to Marji -- Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi