Guy DeWhitney on Government by Heretics Crusaders

My ideal of government:
Un-self-consciously, individual humans that are raised to feel a profound duty to protect all aspects of seldom/individuality that neither “picks someone’s pocket nor breaks someone’s leg” and a profound respect for the notion that we are all one and what goes around not only comes around, it DIRECTLY affects us; i.e. “successful” assholery damages a psyche’s ability to make ‘good’ choices in the future.Guy DeWhitneys Heretics Crusade

Theocratic Reformation from Judaism to Islam – Christians 4: Jews 5: Muslims: 0

jesusgunnedOk, we can all agree that Pat Robertson was a dork of stellar magnitude, and the Phelps Family are supernovae in that particular area called theocracy.

 That said, before we submerge a crucifix in urine let’s give the Abrahamic tree a second look, and examine the fruit it has borne.

The Jews never had a drive to spread over the Earth. Their scriptures taught them that certain lands were given them by God; so they took them, enough said, this was 6,000 years ago after all. But after that they lost any territorial ambitions. But, the Persians and Romans proceeded to push them this way and that; being rather fanatical, they pushed back. After the destruction of the 2nd Temple and the Judean Diaspora the centuries have seen Judaism become a religion withdrawn into itself. Having lost the arrogance of the Temple but retained the Love of God and intellectual tradition they became a creative yeast in their host cultures.

gotjewsb

The Jews never expected to take over the world; at most they expected, and some maybe still expect that the world will join them. Not by the sword, but by the Love of God. One of the best aspects of the Jewish religion is its focus on the Love of God and a Love for God in each moment of a person’s life.

But along came Jayzus!

Things started out ok, Yesuah merely echoed and extended the teachings and philosophy of Hillel. It expanded organically and gently; converting mostly people otherwise considered “unworthy” of membership in one of the more respectable religions, then into the idle upper-class (often by way of religiously adventurous wives discontent with being the ornament on a rich man’s arm.

 But then Paul and Constantine came to deal the Judaic Chrestians, and then, later, the mild original “Greek”, a double death-blow of politicization.

St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre

St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre

After several centuries of defending themselves from the fanatically imperialistic Islam Christianity began to model all sorts of the worst of the Islamic “innovations” in religion and took on an expansionist, aggressive attitude of its own.

But, it is inherent in a religion mostly based on the teachings of Jesus that every now and then people would remember what their religion was supposed to be about. Christianity may have done much more good during those periods than it did evil during its more cognitively-dissonant times.

Since the Enlightenment the swings of the pendulum between arrogant fanaticism on one hand, and humble servitude to God on the other seem to have gotten gentler. Christianity also seem centered more and more toward the liberal side of the equation; i.e. Fred Phelps, not Qaradawi.

Christianity may one day even manage to have more people who follow it for the right reasons than fools-in-lambs-clothing who use religion in unhealthy ways, or merely for social reasons.

Christianity has a core in its teachings and scripture that is there for all to see; one of Love. It today can be, and always has been, a potentially dangerous religion (I.e. Fred Phelps, Torquemada) but is not inherently so by the structure and teachings of its chief scriptures.

I do think that, despite the quantum jump that The Enlightenment enabled in society’s evolution, Christianity has shown a definite tendency to speed humanity’s growth due to the focus of many of the faithful being on Jesus’ ministry rather than the “died for your sins” part.

buddy_jesus

Now, about Islam.

tolerantislamIslam teaches much about peace and love. There are verses equal to any in the other Abrahamic writings. I will not comment here about those who feel it was the work of someone passingly familiar with both religions. But Pat Robertson did get one thing right; Islamic theology IS inherently aggressive.

The Islamic scriptures consist of three parts:

The Qur’an, the Sunnah –basically a biography of Mohammed’s life, and the ahadith – stories about Mohammed from people who knew him. If you read it all it is clear that there can only be peace when everyone has submitted to Allah.

Even the most fanatical religion tends to mellow over the years; people are basically families, people who want to live and work and laugh and have the space to find God before they die. Even individuals attracted to a “religious” life for evil reasons can be shocked to learn that Love of God and Love BY God can blossom in their hearts; that is the core of any religion.signe

Islam unfortunately is working uphill in the all so human battle against hubris while trying to find truth. But, by having such an aggressive set scriptures; by having so much to draw from that feeds the darker hungers of man, Islam will, I believe spend more time orbiting around radical aggression before submitting finally to that peace and love that is God, is Allah.

Islam is inherently dedicated by its self-declared scriptural doctrine to naturally one day  rule the world by TAKING control of it and forcing Dar al-Harb(‘House of War’) (Non-Muslim controlled regions) into Dar al-Islam(‘House of Islam); then all people will be free, in the Islamic view, to “choose” the “right” religion.

Sadly, it is not hard to justify all sorts of atrocities on infidels (non-Muslims) with the Qur’an; by contrast there are very few Samaritans or Philistines around for Jews or Christians to use their scripture as an excuse to start a pogrom against.

In Islam it does not matter that reformist Imams do not support something. In fact it is literally forbidden in Islam to use your ‘conscience’ as a guide in a religious dilemma; the only proper way to get an answer is to ask the proper authority, and then submit to the “truth.”

In Christianity, the violent books and verses are all somewhat shielded by being in the OT and considered to be superseded by the Love of Jesus when any conflict occurs. Islam does not have a NT to mellow its hard edges, though it does recognize the concept of abrogation (what a prophet says later is ‘rock’ to the ‘scissors’ of any earlier pronouncements or doctrines).

lil-kim-burqa

This makes “insulting” Islam dangerous at times in the modern world of high tech, and horrific weapons that you can make in your garage.

Solutions

butcherinnameofislamI mostly find it sad that the bulk of Muslims are not more vocal about denouncing their radical Brethren in both the private and the public arena. It is every person in the world’s duty to restrain the fundies of all aggressive religions until they grow up. Until a religion’s devout – highest clergy to clueless souls just born in it – recognize to their core’s that it is ok to DIE because of your religion but, that it is NEVER anything but evil to use religion as an excuse to KILL, that religion should be watched, and kept on a leash in polite company.

Islam has yet to show that it can stay grown up. They are younger though, lets give them time…but, keep the rolled up newspaper ready to smack their noses if they sh*t on the rug. We have too many permanent stains from Christianity and its messes; AND the Islam’s’ earlier messes. Of course Christianity STILL pees on the floor now and then. We just have to be patient and rub their noses PROMPTLY in their messes; but, we don’t have to worry about them eating the neighbor’s cat anymore.

I am not too PC to call a club a club (well, I can’t say spade anymore can I?); religion can be very wonderful but, people need to get over their BS and realize that the basic code of ethics that most religions have can also be formulated by simple common sense and an understanding of psychology and social dynamics. Go read a little about Neuro-Linguistic Programming and such. Real secular morality is what the world needs, not the Fascist pretend kind, only then can religion truly flourish; when we get over all this bickering on who is actually the only ones in touch with the “ONLY source of Morality™”; which they cannot even prove exists.

Faith is the problem; submission to something you do not feel yourself is the problem. Beliefs have reasons, sometimes bad ones but, reasons that can be ‘reasoned with’; faith has no reason therefore the most reasonable argument does no good, your head still rolls on the floor.

Have faith in Jesus of Mohammed; I will Believe in Bugs Bunny!bugslastsupper1

If this Koran gets burnt it could only be because – You Made Me Do It!

…Mohammad, the pedophile warlord with submissive and transvestite tendencies, met up with Jesus, the gay, black, communist right-man-in-the-wrong-place to engage in illicit sex with unclean animals… I pause here to look around; no-one seems to be bleeding, nothing seems to be burning, nobody’s pocket has been picked nor has their leg been broken; all that happened was that I wrote a sophomoric and idiotic series of statements about two religious figures, neither of whom has sent me any kind of complaint for my actions. My question to the blasphemy law proponents is this: What is WRONG with you guys?

 Human religious history reads like the development of a self-aware and , mostly, responsible young adult from a completely ignorant and self-centered infant. It is a story of tribes of humanity moving from stage to stage in our comprehension of just WHAT reality IS and WHO the hell WE are, and how do we relate to all the rest of it. IT is a story full of amazing examples of how primitive peoples can have grasped truths while too ignorant to even know why what they have written can still be said, even by science to be, on some level at least, true. We have also seen horrific examples of human wishes for things to be the “way they are SUPPOSED to be” ignoring all trace of the voice of God from within and causing misery upon misery in the name of “the Love of God“; it’s been a long, strange trip indeed.

In normal times and places people would describe me as a bit of a character and definitely of liberal views.In the areas of racial equality, sexual equality and the freedom of speech and religion I have always been on the quote ‘Liberal’ side of things. But as for the extremes of the leaders and their sheep – don’t put their words in my mouth, I am quite capable of putting my own foot there should the occasion arise!

My response to the latest assault on free speech by so-called Muslim people who have never had it, are uninterested in understanding it (which culd be said as equally about them regarding Islam as about free speech (religion for humans is supposed to be like the Pirate Code, less a set of rules than… guidlines) is simple. Let me wipe my feet on this book that used to be a Qur’an until you defiled it with your idolatry and then toss it on the fire to toast my kosher hot dogs.

Normally I would have no reason on the Earth to think of doing such a thing; it is the Islamist rioter’s idolatry that demands it to remind them that Allah has proscribed treating anything as though it is “the same” as Allah. To the beloved of God (Allah by your calling) it is not your holy book I spurn here, I “offend” against a stack of paper made trash by the actions of men who call themselves your fellow Muslims.

I have a policy of always being polite, except to those who demand it. The people who are easily offended and use their offense as a means to control others are usually the ones most in need of being “offended“, that they might have a chance to grow up and control their inner two year old. Especially since those are inner two-year old adults capable of building, and using, all sorts of weapons in order to “get their way“!

The Islamst rioters around the world are behaving like pre-Reformation Christians did but, without the built-in “leash” of Christianity’s  central text, narrative and central figure being all about love, peace and the humility and brotherhood of all humans before God… and about staying OUT of the unholy games of money and politics. Instead Islam has allowed itself to replace any feeling of human love and justice with the simple formula that what is commanded by Allah is mandatory if you wish to avoid committing a crime against God at the same time anything that is seen by the authoritative scholars (all long dead) to have be forbidden by the Islamic texts is forbidden. It is forbidden at any time, in any place and regardless of the humanly defined “moral” situation – unless, in some branches of Islam, the forbidden thing is done with a sincere desire in the heart of the otherwise, sinning Muslim to promote or protect Islam, Allah or the name of Mohammad. This holy principal was used to great effect by the atheistic Communists for their redefinition of the meaning of Pravda (truth) to “that which promotes the world Communist revolution.”

Islam is a rather un-unique religion in that it has been its heretics who have ‘enlightened‘ Islam over the course of the years, while Islamic fundamentalism has only acted to destroy the unity and harmony of societies of humans with differeing views in favor of primitive superstitions about God that have been abandoned long ago by virtually the rest of the religious world, barring a cult here and there.

My opinion? The only true prophet is the voice of God in your own heart; how well you are listeing in your life shows in your life and in your fruits. Not because you are “rewarded:” for “obedience” but because your understanding from God changes you into someone who does not need to ask what is right and what is wrong when they know the facts, it comes from within, not from the memory of a priest or Imam’s sermon.

Oh, Virginia, you will like this bit; In the pre-70 CE Judaism you would have still found a tendency toward the same sort of Shari’ah type system that the modern Islamsts seem to be clamouring for; but by 70 CE that tendency had already mellowed considerably; to the point where Pilate chided the Sadducee dominated alternate Sanhedrin for being lax in the enforcement in their world-famously harsh code of law. The Jews, LIke the Christians later and the Muslims soon (we all hope),  had mellowed over 4 thousand years or so as gloss after gloss, commentary after commentary and, yes, interpolation and insertion after interpolation and insertion changed their tribal superstition into a reflection of the shape of God within us all; they followed the trail of their central tenet: God IS Love/Love of God is All.

It started with Abraham and his using a wonderfully bald-faced baloney about rams and bushes and the ‘Voice of God ™‘ to explain his realization that to kill his son HOPING it MIGHT please God was simply not a ‘Godly‘ thing to do; but as he supposedly smashed the idols of his father’s shop, not because they were “evil things” but because they had come to be seen by the people as BEING the Gods instead of merely being a focus for a person’s attention on Godly thoughts. Idolatry is to act as though an idol IS a God in all ways. Surely it is a small step from there to see that this attitude obliterates the view of GOD from the “idolator’s” path? The Jews, the first ‘Judaic‘ Christians, Protestants (what do you think one of the main things they were ‘protesting‘ was?) Christians all have no argument with the basic idea that to place too much reverence in an image of a person (even Jesus) is ‘religiously-unhealthy’. At the same time all of these religions and sects have engaged in idolatry freely on one level or another, time after time.

In fundamentalist Islam we see a completely theocratic and intolerant, indeed by any other World Religion’s standard’s, a primitive tribal faith; structured not around a seaking of the Will of God but instead based around an almost pathological defense of Islam’s freedom from every other human religions’ burden: to constantly question and test its own faiths; to SHUT UP long enough for the small voice of God within us to tell their clergy what is faithful to the God of their worship, the one of their soul instead of the one that only lives in their scripture, and what is only their human failing to be more true to their own selfish desire than to what is right!

However, it is not all bad Virginia, all religions have the strength, as well as the weakness, of being the product of the human mind and soul; science has found that truth is not a possession you can keep to yourself, anyone with a sincere heart and mind can find it if they search with passion and humility.

It is all about how we use it. One of my earliest quibbles with the Christian Bible regarded the notion that a so called ‘perfect being’ was even capable of making a “wrong” choice (unless they were error about their actual data and the very trustworthyness of the source of that data; since Adam and Eve are also described as totally ‘innocent’ this would mean that they lacked all capacity for what we would call judgement and unable to label anything as “willfull mis-information provided by a source not sanctioned by authority as trustwrothy or untrustworthy.” Eve simply accepted the Serpent’s correction of Adam’s recollection of God’s warning, Adam could not judge between the two data sets and was going to fall back on procedure; why would a ‘perfect being’ of human intelligence accept the authority of the Serpent unless it were through mere ignorance that ANY voiced being that spoke to them might fail to speak the truth. It follows that God had either not warned them about the Serpent’s influence or, that they were at that time already “imperfect“. Either way I failed to see how they could have been ‘guilty‘ of anything!

What is the meaning of perfect if a perfect being cannot see that she should not be arguing the side of some random critter with a voice that has been hanging around, regardless of whether or not God had specificallly told her not to trust it; and a ‘perfect‘ Adam would know better than to let his mate’s opinion be the deciding factor when he himself rememberered God’s warnings; it should be noted though that God lied about the effects of eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil since as the rest of the text makes clear that it is the SERPENT’s version that actually occurs (or is feared to be about to occur) by… but, oh my… this is another article in itself. It seems that it seems that the effect of Adam and Eve eating not only the Fruit of Knowlege of Good and Evil but also the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, by which Holy Combo-Smoothie they might live forever and Be As “WE” Are.

The point is that the God portrayed in the earliest parts of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim traditions is either a liar or, far from the omnipotent, oniscient, omnibenevolent being humans conceived of 2,000 years ago; nor the individualized “entity” called the “creator” of the universe Who is also immanent and omnipresent that most faiths ascribe so form of to the word “Deity” today. The worst news though is for non-Monist religions: Quantum physics points to proof that All is One. Yes Virginia, people in white coats with huge intelects and no social lives have proven in repeatable experiments that …

“I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together“! – John Lennon

The nature of time as well defeats those who see God, or Allah or whomever as ‘outside‘ the universe; affecting but unaffected, indeed the very source of effect. If this were so then they would be unable to intervene, change, react or in anyway interact with their created universe for its entire internal “existence.” A God that is within the universe is therefore of the universe and so, if you believe in a God the can relate to you in any way then in the universe you belive in all that is, is inextricably part of God!

When you start to let this all sink in the very ideas of “blasphemy” or “heresy” become ludicrsrous. It hardly takes the wise observation of the ancients that if the Gods exist then it is for Them to decide what is blasphemy, and what fails to make the grade; it is also traditional in such religion’s for the Deity to identify the guilty, and to assign their punishement/retribution. It certainly is not the usual scriptural practice for it to to be the job of any random fool who calls themselves “faithful” to make God responsible for the “working out” of said un-annointed human being’s most personal, and often twisted, inner “issues” in the guise of “protecting” God’s honor!

If my actions offend God then I am sure that God will be fully capable of making my own life, and after-life, conform to God’s, not my own, idea of ‘justice’; anyone else can stay out of my face unless I get up in their’s!

If your relationship with God is threatened by someone else not holding your faith then you have no relationship with God, or Allah, or anything, you have put God in a box and attempted to control your Deity like a pair of shoes. If you think that God (or Allah) is somehow harmed by my words or actions, or that my words or actions could hinder God’s (or Allah’s) plan for humanity and the Earth one jot or tittle (biblical language: sorry but, confidentially Virginia, I am hoping it addds a sage-like air to this piece that might even survive my irreverent sarcasm) then it is they who are the ones commiting blasphemy by putting their own judgement before their Lord’s will for each moment of Creation!

Causing harm to property, people and livelighoods because you think Allah (or God), or Marx for that matter, is hurt and wants you to act like a spoiled two-year old with a machinegun is not a return to fundamentalism, nor is it an expression of the radical fringe of a religion. It is nothing more or less than a social/cultural version of having a disease like rabies in the family dogs.

When are the civilized Muslims in America and around the world going to stop waiting for a new scripture  (forbidden by Islam for anyone ever to write and that most Muslims do not even want) to come along and reform the social diseases within their religion and do it themselves? Can we be sure they want to? If they did then the Ahmadiyya, Sihk and Ba’hai would be thriving and growing faiths all across the Muslim world. In the real world all of them are subject to persecutions and pogroms in many Muslim nations, and are attacked secpond only to Jews by Muslims in the West (Christian are attacked too, just not as frequently or consistently).

A book is a book; holy books should be treated with great respect but, reacting with ANY kind of retaliation on the part of God blashphemes against any ‘holiness‘ you felt the book held if you take that path. If I burn a Qur’an or put dung on a Crucifix or use a statuue of Kali as a coatrack it will be because I used an object in a maner I saw fit that harmed no-one; in I say things about your God or Allah or Mohammed or Jesus or Hitler or any other deity that yo do not like then yo take that rage and give it to God, or Allah etc… You stole it from them to begin with, it is only fitting that you give it back and get on with demonstrating the positive aspects of yor fiaith to those, we might assume, you as a faithful son or daughter of whom you bloody well hope to CHOOSE to change to join your faith.

…so, as I was saying Mohammed and Jesus got out of the third bathhouse and met up with Rama and a few Clears. But I am telling you, the party didn’t get rolling until Lucifer started doing card tricks by pulling puppies out of Mohammed’s houri’s… umm, Virginia, isn’t it past your bed time?

From the Moderate Muslim File: Kuwaiti women MPs refuse to wear hijab in parliament


Two female Kuwaiti MPs, Rola Dashti and Aseel Al-Awadhi, are defying the country’s powerful Islamist movement by refusing to wear the hijab, or headscarf, in parliament.
By Richard Spencer in Dubai

Published: 2:57PM BST 12 Oct 2009

(HH: You just know That is going to go over well. I wish them luck.)

The MPs, …, have angered their Islamist colleagues, who say they say they are flouting sharia, or Islamic law.

(HH: Somehow I think that these women are already aware of that fact. In fact that is the whole point of what they are doing as we shall see.)

One …is going further by demanding the scrapping of …regulations that says they have to observe sharia in parliament.

“You can’t force a woman going to the mall to wear a hijab and you can’t force a woman going to work to wear the hijab,” [said] MP, Rola Dashti…

Last week, the rector of al-Azhar University in Cairo, traditionally the principal seat of Sunni Islamic learning, banned women students from wearing the face veil in women-only classes and student dormitories, and was followed by other academic institutions there.

Students at Khalifa University in Sharjah, the most conservative of the seven city-states that make up the United Arab Emirates, have also reportedly been told to stop wearing the veil, known in Arabic as the niqab.

When electoral law was changed in 2005 to allow women in Kuwait to vote and stand for parliament, Islamists inserted a law-minute rider that “women as voters and MPs” would have to follow sharia. It did not specify precisely where or how.

Three Islamist MPs immediately protested when Dr Dashti and a second MP, Aseel Al-Awadhi, turned up at the Assembly without a hijab, the simple head-scarf that covers the hair and is compulsory for women in public in Saudi Arabia and Iran but optional across most Gulf nations.

One MP sought a ruling from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, whose “fatwa department” last week decreed that hijab was an obligation for Muslim women, without referring directly to the electoral law.

As a result Dr Rashti tabled an amendment on Sunday demanding that the sharia rider be dropped.

She said Kuwait’s constitution stipulated freedom of choice and equality between the sexes and did not incorporate sharia.

“There’s a group of people who know they cannot Islamise the constitution so they try to Islamise every issue when it comes up,” she said. “I’m going to examine anything that violates the constitution, taking it law by law.”

… A private citizen has filed a private suit against Dr Dashti and Professor al-Awadhi for not wearing the hijab, which is due to be heard before the country’s constitutional court later this month.

Read It All…

(HH: This stand could land these women in jail or get them or their families killed. Westerners do not realize just how big of a protest this is in the Muslim world.

Anyone who despairs of Islam ever reforming needs to scan the polls at Muslims Against Sharia and Saudi Controlled Al-Arabiya.

You will find the usual bedrock of anti-Semitism and sense of Muslim manifest Destiny that you might expect. But you will also find very strong minority currents of Western style Liberal thought. A great many people across the Muslim world would LOVE to be able to treat their religion the way most Western Christians do. As a personal comfort and guide that does not demand more than a normal, secular lifestyle can accommodate.

Their leaders are well aware of how slippery is the slope of reform. But these same leaders often find themselves backing this or that reform in order to protect their own power. This is known as shooting yourself in the foot.

With every reform established the hunger of the people for a normal life, free from religious or secular Big Brothers watching their every move, becomes greater and greater. Go ask the Soviet Duma how well Western Reforms go over in a totalitarian state but you might need a Ouija Board to make contact since that body is as dead as Stalin.

It is well not to forget though that even the most reform minded Middle Easterner often has other attitudes that they do even try to examine objectively. Such as the aforementioned anti-Israel/anti-Jew, Muslims are just awesome and Westerners are naive at best self-aggrandizement. But past history shows that once they allow for individual rights and secular law the end result will be the decay of the other superstitious and hateful traditions. It couldn’t hurt, as the Jewish lady said while spooning chicken soup into the dead man.)

A moderate Muslim Revolution


August 6, 2009 – by Ryan Mauro

The war on terror is largely a result of a civil war within Islam. The extremists use terrorism, oppress those who don’t agree with them, and establish states based on strict Sharia law. The moderates, who may disagree with U.S. foreign policy but stand for freedom and democratic principles while opposing terrorism, may not have as powerful of a voice, but they are decisively winning this conflict, making advances in almost every part of the Islamic world.

The Middle East is where the turnaround is the greatest. When the Iranian regime rigged the elections in favor of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on June 12, the population began a peaceful uprising and today protests against Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader, and chants calling for democracy and human rights are commonplace. The regime is today facing the greatest challenge to its very survival since its creation in 1979. This instability has already caused problems for terrorists relying upon Iranian support and when the regime one day inevitably falls, it will have positive consequences across the world.

In Iraq, the provincial elections of January 31, 2009, were a blow to sectarianism and those against separation of mosque and state. The groups who focused on issues like security and less on religion and sectarian identity benefited politically. The party of Prime Minister al-Maliki, who had made the decision of taking on the Iranian-backed militias of Muqtada al-Sadr, won in a landslide, even winning in Baghdad, Basra, and Najaf, strongholds of the Sadrists and his more religiously conservative rivals in the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. Gains were also made by the secular Shiite party of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, while the moderate Sunnis affiliated with the Awakening, the movement that sparked an uprising among Iraqis against the insurgents and al-Qaeda-linked terrorists, have become a significant political force.

On June 7, the March 14 coalition led by Saad al-Hariri defeated Hezbollah in Lebanon, taking 72 of the 128 seats, even though the terrorist group had allied with the Free Patriotic Party, a Maronite Christian party led by Michel Aoun. Al-Hariri’s victory could only have happened with a large amount of Muslim support.

On May 16, four women were elected to Kuwait’s parliament and the Islamists were handed a political defeat. The Islamic Constitutional Movement, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Islamic Salafi Alliance lost four seats. They now only hold three of the 50 seats in parliament.

Polls in the region show a dramatic drop in support for terrorist organizations and key pillars of extremist doctrine. In Saudi Arabia, for example, nearly half of all Saudis had a favorable opinion of Osama bin Laden in a poll conducted only a few months after al-Qaeda bombed Riyadh in May 2003. In December 2007, only 10 percent of Saudis had a favorable view of al-Qaeda and 15 percent had a favorable view of bin Laden. Forty percent view the U.S. favorably and more Saudis view Hamas and Hezbollah unfavorably than favorably.

All across the Middle East there are signs of hope, such as election victories by moderates, louder calls for human rights and democratic principles and against extremism, and reforms instituted by governments to ease popular pressure. This encouraging trend is also taking place in Southeast Asia.

In Pakistan, the liberal Pakistan People’s Party came in first in the February 18, 2008, parliamentary elections, ahead of the Pakistan Muslim League led by Nawaz Sharif, who has called for establishing a “truly Islamic system” in the past. The extremists even lost in Northwest Frontier Province, their stronghold. Although the PPP had to craft an alliance with Sharif’s group to form the government, the election results showed the Pakistani population was more moderate than many had thought.

There are other positive signs coming from Pakistan. Eight celebrities wrote a hit song called “This Is Not Us,” decrying the extremists and terrorists who are acting in the name of Islam. They helped promote a petition, now signed by 62.8 million Pakistanis, including especially large numbers in the Northwest Frontier Province, saying that true Muslims do not support terrorism. Some moderate clerics have openly sided with the military during the offensive into the Swat Valley, with one even offering to send volunteers to help. The actions of the Taliban have caused a popular backlash, with protests erupting against them.

In Bangladesh, the moderate coalition won a landslide victory in the December 29, 2008, general election over the Islamist parties including Jamaat-e-Islami, winning 263 of 300 seats. In Afghanistan, only four percent of the population favors a return to Taliban rule. In Indonesia, the president’s secular party won the May elections with 21 percent of the vote, a threefold increase, and support for the Islamist parties has dropped 15 percent over five years. And in India, over 6,000 Muslim clerics denounced terrorism after the attacks on Mumbai. The authorities had trouble burying the terrorists who died in the attack because local cemeteries didn’t consider them Muslims for what they had done.

Moderate Muslims are also taking a strong stand in the West.

A Muslim cleric named Dr. Taj Hargery is receiving intense pressure for his criticism of Wahhabism as well. He has described multiculturalism as “the biggest disaster to happen to Britain since World War II,” saying that “it has given the extremist mullahs the green light for radicalism and losing our faith.” He argues that Muslims must assimilate to British society and that “we can do so without losing our faith.”

In London, moderates confronted extremists who had protested a parade held for British soldiers returning from Iraq. Police had to intervene to keep the crowds apart. When asked about the clash, one of the moderate participants said, “We have been fighting these Muslim extremists for you. … The community decided to move them on because the police won’t.”

In Ireland, Imam Shaheed Satardien left his mosque, repulsed by their following of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a top Muslim Brotherhood theologian. He has started his own mosque, where he preaches against Wahhabism and extremism and teaches moderate Islamic beliefs, such as the belief that women should be seen and heard freely. He’s received numerous death threats as a result.

The United States is seeing moderate Muslim organizations rise up to compete with Muslim Brotherhood fronts like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has seen a dramatic decrease in support from the Muslim American community. The American Islamic Forum for Democracy, American Islamic Congress, Free Muslims Coalition, Islamic Supreme Council of America, and various groups and individuals dedicated to supporting democracy and human rights in overseas Islamic lands are becoming a force to be reckoned with for extremists. Even without the foreign funding enjoyed by more prominent Muslim organizations, these groups are making tremendous inroads.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the war on terror is over. Somalia is falling to al-Qaeda affiliates and a terrorist offensive sponsored by Syria and Iran or a regional war could reverse many of these gains. The battle between moderates and extremists rages on in the West as well, as frightening percentages still express support for different elements of radical Islam. This is all true, but these victories are showing an unmistakable trend in favor of the moderates. I am in agreement with my friend John Loftus, who writes that “we may be witnessing the death throes of the fundamentalist terror states, and the birth of a renaissance of modernity in the Middle East.”

(HH: Let us hope so!!!)

Read it all

Secular Muslim Manifesto

Submitted by admin on 17 November, 2004 – 15:06. IHN 2004.4 November
International Humanist News

By Tewfik Allal and Brigitte Bardet

We are of Muslim culture; we oppose misogyny, homophobia, anti-Semitism and the political use of Islam. We reassert a living secularism.

We are women and men of Muslim culture. Some of us are believers, others are agnostics or atheists. We all condemn firmly the declarations and acts of misogyny, homophobia, and anti-Semitism that we have heard and witnessed for a while now here in France, and that are carried out in the name of Islam. These three characteristics typify the political Islamism that has been forceful for so long in several of our countries of origin. We fought against them there, and we are committed to fighting against them again – here.

Sexual equality: a prerequisite for democracy

We are firmly committed to equal rights for both sexes. We fight the oppression of women who are subjected to Personal Status Laws, like those in Algeria (recent progress in Morocco highlights how far Algeria lags behind), and sometimes even in France via bilateral agreements*. We believe that democracy cannot exist without these equal rights. Accordingly, we unambiguously offer our support for the “20 ans, barakat!” (20 years is enough!) campaign of the Algerian women’s associations, demanding the definitive abolition of two decades old family code.

It is also for this reason that we oppose wearing the Islamic headscarf, evenif among us there are differing opinions about the law banning it from schools in France. In various countries, we have seen violence or even death inflicted on female friends or family members because they refused to wear the scarf. Even if the current enthusiasm for the headscarf [among some Muslims] in France was stimulated by discrimination suffered by immigrant children, this cannot be considered the real cause of the desire to wear it; nor can memories of a North African lifestyle explain it.

Behind this so called “choice” demanded by a certain number of girls is the promotion of a political Islamic society based on a militant ideology which aims to promote actively values to which we do not subscribe.

Stopping homophobia

For Islamic fundamentalists, (as for all machos and fundamentalists), “being a man” means having power over women, including sexual power. In their eyes, any man who favors equality of the sexes is potentially subhuman, or “queer.” This way of thinking has proliferated since the rise of political Islamism. Its ferocity is equaled only by its hypocrisy. One of the organizers of the demonstration on Saturday, January 17th 2004 in favor of the headscarf declared that “It is scandalous that those who claim to be shocked by the headscarf are not shocked by homosexuality.” Undoubtedly he thinks that a virtuous society hides women behind headscarves or puts homosexuals behind bars, something we have already seen happen in Egypt.

We shudder at what the triumph of these attitudes implies for “shameless” persons in society-like women who fail to wear the headscarf, or homosexuals or nonbelievers.

In contrast, we believe that recognition of the existence of homosexuality and the freedom for homosexuals to live their own lives as they wish represents undeniable progress. As long as an individual – heterosexual or homosexual – does not break the laws protecting minors, each person’s sexual choices are his or her own business, and do not concern the state in any way.

Fighting anti-Semitism

Finally, we condemn firmly the anti-Semitic statements made recently in speeches in the name of Islam. Just like “shameless” women and homosexuals, Jews have become the target: “They have everything and we have nothing,” was something that we heard in the demonstration on January 17th. We see the use of the Israel-Palestine conflict by fundamentalist movements as a means of promoting the most disturbing forms of anti-Semitism.

Despite our opposition to the current policies of the Israeli government, we refuse to feed primitive images of the “Jew.” A real, historical conflict between two peoples should not be exploited. We recognize Israel’s right to exist, a right recognized by the PLO congress in Algiers in 1988 and the Arab League summit meeting in Beirut in 2002. At the same time we are committed to the Palestinian people and support of their right to found a state and to be liberated from occupation.

Living secularism

Islam has not received sufficient recognition in France. There is a lack of places to pray. There are not enough chaplaincies nor enough cemeteries. We are aware that young French people, the sons and daughters of Muslim immigrants, are still held back socially and suffer discrimination. All monitoring bodies recognize this. Consequently, “French-style” secularism has lost a great deal of value in the eyes of these young people.

Two possibilities lie before them. They can rediscover the strength of a real, living secularism, that is, political action on behalf of their rights and to demand the social gains fought for by their fathers and mothers-who belonged to social classes, cultures, peoples and nations before they belonged to Islam. Or they can see themselves in an imaginary, virtual “umma” [Islamic community – ed.] that no longer corresponds to reality, and then masquerade in republican or tiers-mondistes (Third-Worldist) rags. This only ends up securing unequal, repressive, and intolerant societies. This latter path cannot be ours.

*France has bilateral agreements with Algeria, which allow the application of Algeria’s “Family Code” to emigrants in France. It particularly affects issues of divorce and discriminates against women.

Tewfik Allal, a French union activist, who was born in Morocco of Algerian parents, and his wife Brigitte Bardet, a teacher and feminist activist are the authors of this Manifesto. The Manifesto attracted several hundred signatories and a list of “Les Amis du Manifeste” (Friends of the Manifesto) composed of non-Muslim intellectuals expressing their solidarity. www.manifeste.org