Is ISIS Islamic? Is it a State?

In his September 10th address, President Obama asserted that the Islamic State is neither Islamic nor a state. And there is some truth to both assertions.

ISIS—the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (sometimes known as ISIL since al Sham is the Arabic name for Levant, which in turn is the old name for Greater Syria)—is a radical movement. Though in its megalomaniacal way it has recently dubbed itself “the Islamic State” (as if there could be only one), it remains a fragile coalition of groups and interests held together by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Despite his name al Baghdadi comes from the city of Samarra and was previously a key figure in al Qaeda in Iraq before it was quelled by the Awakening movement engineered by General David Petraeus during the US occupation of Iraq in 2008.

Now the movement is back, center stage. Al Baghdadi merged the al Nusra jihad movement in Syria with his Iraq group—over the protests of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. The angered al Baghdadi dropped the name al Qaeda and ISIS was born. In a blitzkrieg, the militant forces of ISIS spread out from eastern Syria, where they were well entrenched, to the Sunni dominated areas of western Iraq, even conquering Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, which it plundered for its wealth and military armament.

It’s fair to describe ISIS as a terrorist regime, since it uses extreme acts of violence to intimidate both its enemies and its own population. The savage beheadings of Western journalists and aid workers that were posted on the Internet were matched by dozens, perhaps hundreds, of beheadings of recalcitrant Sunnis under ISIS’ control who refused to go along with its demands or who dared to be identified as Christians, Yazidis and other minorities—or even as modern people who liked to dress in a Western style. For ISIS, terror has been an instrument of governance.

Yet it is governing. Though its state is not recognized by any other government, and is despicable in its actions, the region under its control is administered as a state. According to some reports from Mosul, the city is better managed than it was before, largely because old Baath party members and officers in Saddam Hussein’s army who had been denied employment by the Shi’a dominated government in Baghdad before now had the opportunity to return to work, and to run the city efficiently. So despite our reluctance to honor it with the term “state,” ISIS actually is operating a kind of state.

Much the same can be said about calling it Islamic. Muslims around the world have risen up to protest against what they describe as the non-Muslim attitudes and actions of ISIS. Iyad Ameen Madani, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a group that represents 57 countries and 1.4 billion Muslims, said ISIS “has nothing to do with Islam and its principles.” Similar denunciations have come from leading Muslim clergy in Egypt, Turkey, and around the world.

Still, the leaders of ISIS claim Muslim authority for their actions, strict Shari’a law as the basis of their jurisprudence, and the promise of salvation for those recruited into its ranks. In a recent essay in The New Republic, Graeme Wood described the core supporters of ISIS as an uneasy coalition of three groups: psychopaths, believers and pragmatists.

The pragmatists are largely from Sunni regions of Syria and Iraq who have been disenfranchised by the Shi’a regimes of Bashir Assad in Damascus and Nouri al Maliki in Baghdad. On the other hand, the psychopaths and believers are often foreigners, including Muslim youth from Britain, the US, and other Western countries, like the cruel executioner who appears in the YouTube videos of the beheadings of foreign journalists and aid workers who, according to some authorities is believed to be a 23-year old former rapper from West London.

The young men who are lured to ISIS join for a variety of motives. Perhaps the strongest is the desire to be involved in a great war, a cosmic struggle that allows them to play out all of their computer game fantasies of warcraft, valor and gore. But some also come out of a sense of extreme piety, a conviction that they are laying their lives on the line for their faith.

The religious credentials of al Baghdadi gives some credibility to this religious appeal. He’s received a PhD in Islamic Studies from the Islamic University of Baghdad and knows the scriptures and the tradition of Islam better than most jihadists. Osama bin Laden had no religious credentials, and though he pretended to be an engineer, his college training was in business management; Ayman al Zawahiri was a medical doctor; and al Baghdadi’s predecessor in leading al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, was a street thug from Jordan. By contrast, al Baghdadi looks fairly legit.

His credentials do not make the movement Islamic, however. Nor do the Islamic whitewashing of the regime’s terrorist actions and cruel restrictions make them Muslim. The judgment is in the eye of the beholder. And to most Muslims, ISIS represents the antipathy of the faith.

Of course, much the same can be said of extremist movements in every religious tradition. The actions of Timothy McVeigh in bombing the Oklahoma City Federal Building and Andres Breivik in attacking the Oslo youth camp were regarded by many Christians as alien to their faith, even though the literature related to both McVeigh and Breivik were all about preserving Christendom from the rabble of minorities and multiculturalism.

Likewise, most Jews decried the extreme anti-Arab rantings of Rabbi Meir Kahane as un-Jewish, and many Japanese proclaimed that Shoko Asahara, the Buddhist master behind the release of deadly sarin nerve gas in the Tokyo subways, was not really a Buddhist. Muslims around the world were convinced that 9/11 was not conducted by Muslims but by some conspiratorial cabal involving the CIA and the Israeli secret police, since no Muslims could possibly do such a thing.

Yet some Muslims—and some Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs—do bad things. And sometimes they do them in the name of their religion. This is the dark side of all religious traditions, and though it’s difficult to accept, it’s impossible to avoid.

Some years ago the popular televangelist Rev. Robert Schuller advocated positive thinking as the basis of the Christian message. As part of his efforts, he designed a version of the Bible that excised all of the bad parts—the wars, the fighting, the sex and the violence. Some might think there would not be much left, and it’s true that it was a thinner book than before.

But it was also a thinner message. To accept the significance of the religious imagination is to accept all aspects of it, the positive and negative, the peaceful and the violent. As much as we might despise what ISIS is and what it stands for, ultimately we have to make sense of it within the tradition of faiths.

63 Comments

  • dkeane123@comcast.net' DKeane123 says:

    Good article, a couple of thoughts.

    “Though its state is not recognized by any other government, and is despicable in its actions, the region under its control is administered as a state.” – Saudi’s execute tens of people each month for non-violent crimes via beheading. Once recently was for “sorcery”.

    There is a quote from David Mcafee floating around the interwebs, that I very much agree with: ““Religious people claim that it’s just the fundamentalists of each religion that cause problems. But there’s got to be something wrong with the religion itself if those who strictly adhere to its most fundamental principles are violent bigots and sexists.””

  • elizavieta@embarqmail.com' eliza says:

    Most muslims are not terrorists but I think many are theocrats, don’t know how to separate church and state, certainly do think that Islamic government should rule the world and fail to identify the mess going on in muslim countries as a problem. A person who thinks that way is just as much of a threat to liberty and tolerance.

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    Juergensmeyer is walking a line and in doing so, he crosses it. The leader of ISIS has credentials…and a million Muslims have credentials. Are Muslims debating ISIL’s credibility or its Islamic stand? NO! Muslims all over the world have universally condemned them. We think Turkey may not be doing all that country can to contain ISIL, but let’s be serious, just like al qaeda, in two years, this group will be dust.They simply have too many enemies. They have been able to successfully step into a void on a border between two broken states and grab a large territory, but now they have everyone’s attention and like Bin Laden, the hammer is about to go down. I think this writer is Jewish. Muslim Jewish relations are always strained and it is not right of this writer to try to legitimize ISIL. They do not speak for Muslims. They are NOT Islamic. There is violence in the Jewish and Christian traditions. Our best parallel would be the KKK. When the KKK is doing their racist thing, they are standing outside of the Bible that they claim is their guide. Arabs have a lot of political development to do in the Middle East. The chaos in Syria and Iraq is not because they are Muslim, but rather because the US deposed Saddam and encouraged the Syrians to depose Assad. In a few minutes I will get in my car and drive to work. Can I say I “own the road.” Do I have a long narrow “state” as I pass through town? In a minute ISIL won’t be there. Their temporal nature and lack of international recognition means they are NOT a state. Just as they are not Islamic. Mr. J should write about the legitimacy of a religious state (a theocracy?) that keeps deluding itself in trying to self label and sell the world that it is a democracy. If I am right, and the writer is Jewish, he should tell us about the huge oxymoron of a religious state/democracy, instead of telling us ISIL has the features of a true Muslim state….when it clearly does NOT.

  • tojby_2000@yahoo.com' apotropoxy says:

    – To argue that ISIS is not Islamic, one must rely on the No True Scotsman Fallacy.
    – To argue that ISIS is a state, one must rely on the Semantic Fallacy.

    The existential threat posed by ISIS applies to: Iraq, Syria, Turkey, the House of Saud, Kuwait, Iran and several other Middle East countries. A serious threat is posed to Israel. Threats to public peace and order are posed to Western European countries. Mild irritant threat is posed to the USA.

    ISIS proposes a rollback of modernity. I believe this movement will have a shelf life of under five years.

  • jimbentn@verizon.net' Jim 'Prup' Benton says:

    I find this a fascinating, if troubling and questionable, article. I could see problems as early as the second paragraph, when he fails to make plain that “Syria” is not just the name of a modern country, but a name for the region that predates the country by two millennia. (Is this merely the common error of assuming that one’s audience knows as much as he does, and doesn’t need the explanations that most of us do require?)
    /
    Then he says “Though in its megalomaniacal way it has recently dubbed itself “the Islamic State” (as if there could be only one)” and the parenthesis really makes me scratch my head. The whole point of groups working for the restoration of the caliphate is that there can/should be only one universal state over all Islam — the caliphate.
    /
    (Does anyone know if, in fact, a better — if clumsier — translation of the name would be something like “The organization — located in Iraq and the Levant — working for the reconstruction of the Islamic state”?)
    /
    From there he descends into a discussion of whether the organization is ‘truly Islamic’ — something that seems to be both a ‘meaning-free’ question and a needless distraction. We have enough problems with Christian groups trying to deny others are ‘truly Christian’ and have pretty much decided to accept their self-description, whether they are what we might consider as ‘Christian’ or not. But Islam is even less structured than Christianity.
    /
    We eventually reach the quote about believers doing bad things in the name of their religion and the incredible line

  • jimbentn@verizon.net' Jim 'Prup' Benton says:

    [apologies, my old computer is acting up and I still don’t understand its (Windows 8.1) replacement. It froze mid-sentence. To go on…]

    “and though it’s difficult to accept, it’s impossible to avoid” referring to believers doing bad things in the name of their religion. “Difficult to accept” for whom? Few believers here have any trouble in accepting that believers in other religions do bad things in their name, many of the believers will accept that their own co-religionists also can be guilty — and I sometimes find it harder to convince my fellow non-believers that occasionally believers do good things in the name of their religion.
    /
    True, few believers in other religions go for the spectacular as readily as do the more fanatical Islamists. It’s been a while since Christians went in for beheadings — or even lynchings. (But the gay teen who commits suicide because of the religion-inspired bullying, condemnations, or even separation from his family is no less dead, even if he has done the Medical Examiner a favor by leaving his head attached to his shoulders.)
    But rather than asking the question “Are they REALLY! Islamic?” I’d be more interested in knowing what ideas from what form of Islam have inspired them, and what society is like in those regions in which they control and administer. (Thus they hardly seem to be setting up a truly Talibanish administration, and they are hardly requiring the uniquely Afghani burka, as far as I know. But I wonder how much in practice they differ from, for example, a Saudi-administered region — remembering always the story of the schoolgirls forced — by the ‘religious policemen’ — to remain locked in a burning building rather than be allowed to appear in public in the ‘immodest garb’ they had been wearing for, I believe, gym class.
    I hope no one takes this comment as a defense of ISIL — who truly do seem to be both psychopaths and doomed to become merely an unpleasant memory rather quickly — nor is it in anyway an attack on Islam — any more that discussing McVeigh is an attack on Christianity. What it is, if anything more than a comment enshrouded in ‘morning fog,’ is a request that we ignore the over-asked questions and find new and more fruitful ones to ask.

  • zinealine@gmail.com' cranefly says:

    To argue that ISIS is not Islamic, one needs a definition of Islam that ISIS doesn’t satisfy. The No True Scotsman Fallacy doesn’t ensure that everything must always be considered exactly what it claims to be, or that language must never be allowed to accommodate differences between diametrically opposed things.

    The idea that one needs the One True Scotsman fallacy to argue that Mormons are not Christian is absurd even to Mormons, who are nevertheless adamant that they are Christian.

  • zinealine@gmail.com' cranefly says:

    I would agree with Mcafee if I agreed with his implied assumption that fundamentalism is just religion taken seriously. I really don’t think even devout Muslims would agree that ISIS is right theologically, but wrong to care so much.

    I know more about Christianity, and it seems clear to me that Christian fundamentalism is based on wildly inaccurate, anachronistic, cherry-picked, and culturally biased interpretations of the Bible. Moderate Christianity is not less serious, it’s just completely different.

  • dkeane123@comcast.net' DKeane123 says:

    I’ll concentrate on the OT, but it appears to me that the most common translation represents very well what human morals looked like over 3,000 years ago. Lots of nasty commandments and pro-genocidal statements, mixed in with some good stuff. We could start looking at each phrase and evaluate translation errors and look at cultural context , but the average human isn’t going to do that. And to be honest, if we need to do that – it would be better to scrap the whole thing and start over.

  • zinealine@gmail.com' cranefly says:

    You’re right that the average person is not a scholar, but think of it this way: Would an alien arriving on earth for the first time, with no knowledge of history, get an accurate picture of modern Christian fundamentalism just by reading the whole Bible at face value? I don’t think it would be close. For everything in the Bible that Christians ignore, there’s also something non-biblical that they unconsciously add.

    It’s not possible to take the whole Bible literally at face value without believing mutually exclusive things. It follows that there’s no one way to read the Bible, so if a “fundamentalist” is nothing more than the most serious biblical adherent, then I think that term better describes the most serious scholars of biblical studies than it does the most genocidal retribution-mongers. Or maybe it should have to include both.

    Just to be fair, though, I do agree that there’s something wrong with a religion based wholly on the Bible, especially taking it literally, which many Christians claim to do. I just don’t think it makes sense to define Christianity that way.

  • elizavieta@embarqmail.com' eliza says:

    Islam is in the hands of the muslims, it is an abstraction, not a free standing form, but something shaped by the hands and minds of the believers. Shall the religion be a horrible thing that beheads/burns people for what they believe? Terrorism flows from the top down in Islam, spokesmen bellow for infidel blood, mobs follow them.

    I read posts from Pakistanis e.g. that claim that all atrocities are dreamed up by the media, etc. their country is a model of tolerance. Condemnations of violence are followed by admissions that yes, the world should be brought under islamic theocracy; the perfect islamic state should be created. Nice clean people think this, not just filthy maniacs.

  • elizavieta@embarqmail.com' eliza says:

    The KKK use to hire, maybe still does, barbarians to do their wet work. They kept their sheets clean. I say groups like ISIS do the wet work for the majority of muslims who would never get their hands dirty. They just mentally agree with the program of islamic theocratic domination of the world.

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    the KKK hired who? I remember a mob with sheets on burning a cross and hanging black people and don’t remember them contracting it out. “islamic theocratic domination of the world??? Don’t know exactly what that means. we all talk and communicate so we can influence others to join our agenda. so I guess you name the ideology, and it is out to “take over the world.” but your statement, I say so many times I can’t count, shows you have never studied Islam. So why are you here telling me what the majority of Muslims want, when you have never been to a mosque? Now when you tell me I am wrong, then you need to explain why you are here running with tired cliches instead of telling me what Muslims say to you.

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    Yes Islam is what many Muslims practice imperfectly. It is not an abstraction because we practice Islam in the real world. You, see Islam as an abstraction because of your lack of contact with its followers. You should base your opinions on Islam and Muslims through contact with American Muslims, not Pakistanis.

  • dkeane123@comcast.net' DKeane123 says:

    Sounds like the real issue is who is a fundamentalist? Fundamentalists themselves don’t agree on what the Bible says (due to reasons you list) – an example is Ken Ham is always upset at some other group because they aren’t the right kind of fundamentalist.

  • houndmass@yahoo.com' Elddim Eman says:

    Al Baghdadi is “fairly legit” when compared to bin Laden and Zawahiri, et al.? What a strange turn of phrase. A “fairly legit” what, exactly? Religious thinker? What is “legit” about preaching rape and pillage in any context?

    Also, what is the use of the question “Is ISIS Islamic”? Were the knights of the Crusades Christian?

  • elizavieta@embarqmail.com' eliza says:

    All religions, philosophies, etc. are abstractions. My opinions are based on reading posts by muslims.

    People doing lynchings while dressed in sheets – anyone seen that recently? – probably do not have official KKK membership.

  • zinealine@gmail.com' cranefly says:

    I guess it’s mainly used as a pejorative for “religious crazy.”

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    your opinions are “based on you sitting on your couch and judging people on the internet” The KKK is alive and kicking and they know not to openly work their stuff….mainly we get a bunch of cops shooting black boys and Hate Inc. inciting hate against Muslims through lies.

  • elizavieta@embarqmail.com' eliza says:

    Black people die mainly at the hands of other blacks. They have a minority doing open shooting in public. Somewhat similar to the cops’ shootings and probably for the same reason – inadequate punishment of the perps.

    Reading muslim sites gives one an idea of the reasons for this behavior. Get a clue, you can’t have imams etc howling for blood with getting some developments. Meeting muslims face to face in US, they are of course polite.

  • elizavieta@embarqmail.com' eliza says:

    The KKK has members who have no idea. They would say the KKK simply promotes the well being of whites. The wet work is subterranean.

    At the mosque, I dare say most of the congregation is benign, with a bitter core working in the basement. ISIS and similar groups are the muslim KKK.

    I don’t think KKK is based on Christianity, but on race/tribal hate. The urge to drive out/kill everyone not of the tribe. The muslim KKK is based of course on the idea of domination by force. So – where would they get that idea?

  • zinealine@gmail.com' cranefly says:

    Black people die mainly of heart disease, just like everyone else. Try to be a little more racist when you’re parroting catchphrases thrown out by police brutality apologists. You are far too credulous of “sites” on the internet.

  • elizavieta@embarqmail.com' eliza says:

    I have lived in the south for many years surrounded by black people com paining of this very thing. People shooting out in the open. Hitting children and other innocents. Broad daylight. They put signs in their yards pleading – stop the violence. It’s not the police shooting them, it’s YBM.

    Police don’t seem to be punished for their shooting of “suspects”. Have been hearing those stories for years.

    Blacks may die mainly of heart disease, I was speaking of murder.

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    you are telling me about “at the mosque..” because you have been to a mosque? The KKK considers itself a christian organization but surprise surprise….white Christians run the media so they make sure the Christian connection to the KKK catches nothing but dust.

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    black people die mainly because they live in a oppressive society run by whites that refuses to see black people as human beings.

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    America has been dominates by racists the last 30 years. They are called the white racist Republican party.

  • elizavieta@embarqmail.com' eliza says:

    And how do muslims perceive “the other”? A man can stand at the top of Al Azar or in high office in some places and declare that some group is worthy of death, and nothing happens to him.

    Instead of sweeping generalizations I think we should narrowly focus on the perps and how they are handled.

  • elizavieta@embarqmail.com' eliza says:

    Statements blaming whites, making them responsible for everything as if they were omnipotent, is not likely to produce hopeful or pertinent solutions for black people.

    I’m living around multitudes of decent black people trying to cope with this serious problem. It is unproductive to fling slogans and boilerplate in the air.

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    I am not “blaming whites for everything.” I am blaming whites for entrenched racism to the point that America is starting to backslide and be passed by other countries that either don’t have to deal with large minority populations or are dealing with it better than America is. The Chinese, the Canadians, Northern Europe the Germans and the are either catching us or have passed us by many important national indicators. We are about 16th in the world when it comes to literacy. That means there are 15 other countries who will have better educated adults than America does in about ten years. The big problem is racism. The big problem is whites thinking they can run away from black and brown children and that solves everything, when all it really does is cause our nation to have huge patches of underfunded schools. White flight and white irrational fear of blacks and Muslims is not because of blacks and Muslims. Sorry….on being prejudiced until it is about to destroy America…I blame that on white people.

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    We are almost two billion. In two billion people, it is impossible not to find racist behavior. But our religion says not to do it. We don’t have cursed children and chosen people. Our books say ALL people are precious, even if our people don’t always follow them.

  • elizavieta@embarqmail.com' eliza says:

    First let us do something practical to reduce the number of confused young people of all colors who are falling into violence and crime. I really think that is a bigger problem than racism. Make high school less of a joke? Draft anyone at loose ends into the army or a national service org?

    As Europe fills up with muslim and African refugees, it is developing similar problems. The Chinese maybe simply kill non conformists. Countries that brag of being non racist suddenly have muslims gang raping girls and killing neighborhood dogs. Canada is of course perfect, and Sweden even more so. Why, Sweden is heaven on earth.

    There’s nothing irrational about fear of violent crime. Or even constant petty theft. Or even rude abuse on the sidewalk. Do people stay to live in that atmosphere? Nah.

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    Hopefully it’s changing, but right now it’s black boys who are being disproportionately locked up in America’s jails. This has been done for decade as a preference over and above educating black boys. Funny. You claim you care. Are you black? Are you non white? Are you young? Please save me the cliched negative stereotypes. I know….you are not prejudiced, but somehow you mysteriously lapse into bigot-speak about “African refugees and Muslim gangs…” We need immigrants in order to pay for the baby boomers social security. When we drop the white irrational fear of crime, only then will white middle-class be willing to fund education for the ghettos and underfunded school systems across the country. The military is not school. The military is you volunteer to go and kill foreign enemies in service of the federal government. But of course there’s no racism in your position. I don’t like citing racism in comments people make, but when you tinge your comments with racist undertones, it is not me being racist to point it out to you. We need to fund public education period. No black or brown boy needs to go to Iraq or Afghanistan to justify the plain decency of educating all of America’s chlldren. Please drop the subtle prejudice. Our military is voluntary and we should not not black and brown boys go kill the foreigners you don’t like in order to receive the blessings of America that W. Chicken Hawk Bush got without having to set his white self anywhere near a battlefield.

  • elizavieta@embarqmail.com' eliza says:

    Some of those US neighborhoods are battlefields. The violence problem is not a concoction of white racism, it is a real problem as black people will tell you. My opinions have been formed by living with black people, I am white, half of the family old Yankee, other half immigrants.

    I am tired of the approved cliches. There are real problems to confront. Spewing general remarks about the behaviors of this or that group are not going to get us anywhere. Directionless youth need directing toward wholesome sensible goals in all societies. Young ones are so malleable. They can be turned into weapons so easily.

    I read the Coates essay and was amazed at his sentence that if you are white you are protected from falling below a certain point of ruin. What baloney. Let’s all get to know each other better than that.

    I don’t think the military is a panacea for anybody.

  • elizavieta@embarqmail.com' eliza says:

    I saw a muslim’s post that described Islam in its present state as “Mohammad centered Arab imperialism.” Perhaps Mohammad has been over exalted?

    ISIS, Mara Salvatrucha, Crips, Bloods, Westies, Nazis – all adolescent fantasies of domination and/or crime.

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    There is no debating that there are black neighborhoods infested with crime. Now I have admitted it. Can you admit to the unending institutional white racism that is a part of maintaining those bad neighborhoods? Are you going to do the racist thing where you pretend the problems black people have are not related to 500 years of oppression in America? If you are not black, why are you busying fixing what only black people can fix? Why are you driving ten miles to avoid what is two feet in front of your face? The white racist Republican party has spent the last 30 years moving black America backwards and the climax was the 2007 recession, where thousands of decent hard working black people were thrown out of work. Why are you busy fixing black controlled areas when you are not black and you don’t live in a black neighborhood? In those same black neighborhoods, the schools are run by white people who refuse to fund the schools that black children are foxed to attend. The white meanness where you refuse to fix what’s wrong with whites, where you refuse to address this unending stream of racism from the American right, is a cancer and your obsession with negative images of the hood are nothing more than clever white denial.

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    I hate (extreme extreme dislike?) TNC and I see him as symptomatic of internal black problems and white liberal enablers.

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    there is only one argument that even begins to address the Muslim world. It says that less than 1% of 1% of the world’s Muslims are engaged in behaviors that endanger the entire world. That’s a hyped argument, but at least it shows the true scope of the problem. There is a mosque in your area, I am sure. No one at that mosque…not a single Muslim has ever bothered you. In fact, if you or your family were serviced at the local hospital there is a good chance you were aided by a Muslim doctor. Please drop the prejudice. This is my point. It amazes me that MLK was shot dead by a white racist, yet here you are 50 years later blithely tossing racist nonsense. If you want to know about Islam, you are welcome to come study at a mosque. I understand if you have no desire to visit a mosque. What I don’t understand is the racist thinking that makes you think you are a commenter on Islam and Muslims when you have never set foot in a mosque.

  • elizavieta@embarqmail.com' eliza says:

    You have pointed out the truth, that a tiny percentage is engaged in violence, that is true worldwide. In US, KKK and other dingbats are marginalized. At mosques in US I daresay no one is urging death for all us unbelievers in public, they know better now.

    A violent, even crazy minority, can seize a nation. Germany, for example.

    The muslim inability to marginalize their extremists – e.g. violent speakers egging it on – casts doubt on their whole enterprise. I have met muslims in hospitals, workplace, etc. fine people. Many Germans were fine people, too.

    One can find justification in both Bible and Koran for killing “the other”. There is one unique voice, the voice of a divine command – love your enemy – no one else says that. Man does not say that, he says kill the other. The tribe must survive by killing the other.

    I think all 3 assassinations, MLK, JFK and RFK, may have occurred because Hoover hated all 3 men and disregarded threats to them.

  • elizavieta@embarqmail.com' eliza says:

    Fix what’s wrong with whites? Good luck at fixing what’s wrong with anybody. The schools should be centrally funded, of course. The school problems are infuriating. No wonder people flee to private schools.

    Maybe school is the crux of the problem. Make school less of a joke. High school grads should have salable skills.

    Sure I am concerned about black neighborhoods. Who isn’t.

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    the “dingbats” at our mosques have never really called for the death of all Americans. The only anti-Americanism that was there at one time long ago, was that it was common for many Muslims to disparage the US government, especially in its foreign polices. That is the only “dingbat voice that has been silenced. There was never a voice in mainstream Islam that called for the deaths of American citizens in general. I keep telling you; why are pretending you have even been to ONE SINGLE gathering of Muslims anywhere to know us and to tell the world who we do and do not marginalize? Please stop the ignorant talk. “Love your enemy” is in the Bible, so does that mean that Obama should not wage war or that FDR should not have waged war? It’s the old white double standard…you mean negroes should love the whites who oppress them. Once white America identifies its enemies, it’s gloves off and the blood starts flowing and no one is wringing their hands over what the Bible says, which, by the way, if you really knew anything about Islam, you would know such an instruction exists for Muslims. It’s also in many other religions. You only know Christianity and that’s fine. The wrong thing you do is to only barely know one religion and assume you can say things out of ignorance about someone else’s religion…..that is a pretty exact definition of prejudice.

  • DIIS (for Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham, otherwise known in various English translations as ISIS or ISIL) is no more Islamic than Israel is Jewish. Also, it is not a state yet, but so what? They are an organized band of zealots who know a good name when they hear it. Originally the word “al dawla” meant “reign” or “dynasty,” but in secular states with no caliphs or caliphate to reign in dynasties, the term has been used to indicate the sovereignty of the secular state. However, since the specific goal of Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham is to create a caliphate and not a secular state, the term “Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya” should be translated into English as “Islamic Dynasty” not “Islamic State.”

  • FYI, Shoko Asahara was not associated with Buddhism, much less a “Buddhist master.” Asahara studied Taoism, Yoga, and Christianity more than Buddhism. Asahara saw himself as a modern day “Christ” taking on the sins of the world, not as a Buddha.

  • The McAfee quote doesn’t make any sense. A fundamentalist is not someone who strictly adheres to a religion’s most fundamental principles. A fundamentalist is someone who interprets a religion’s most fundamental principles in a concrete and literalist manner. A fundamentalist is someone who has no appreciation of the role of symbol, image, and metaphor in their own religion while at the same time thinking that everyone else’s religion is just fantasy and mere imagination. There are fundamentalist atheists as well who make a religion out of their materialist view of reality and believe that “matter” is not merely a metaphorical hypothesis and that all religions are mere fantasies and hallucinations.

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    most racist whites are concerned about black schools only in the context of using them as a way to keep black children behind white children. As adults, we put our money where our concerns lie. There is not a single adult problem where we say, money isn’t the problem, until we get to white people talking about schools full of black children, so when we see whites en masse properly funding the schools where the black kids have to go, then we will know that racism has begun to die down in America. Right now we are not even close. I am not the one obsessed with race. I am not the one making elaborate excuses about why it is okay for kids who are not my race to attend underfunded schools in 2014.

  • elizavieta@embarqmail.com' eliza says:

    Have you tried to guide any of your children through the public school morass?

    After 9/11 I read around in the Koran and hadiths and went to muslim sites. All I see in Islam is tribal fear and hatred.

    Your comment on TNC is interesting. Symptomatic of internal black problems and white liberal enablers….hmmm

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    a question and some statements:
    1) I have a boy who is a senior in high school. I used to teach.
    2) why do you keep trying to tell me about Islam, via the internet world?
    3) I think I dislike TNC more than you do. I see him as a liberal sellout.

  • elizavieta@embarqmail.com' eliza says:

    You are in the thick of it if you teach and have someone in HS.

    As long as spokesmen at the top of Islam can pronounce death on this or that group, Islam will look bad to many.

    I was interested in TNC essay for its discussion of the housing swindles.

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    I USED TO teach.

    There is no “top of Islam.”

    Yes black people are swindled, so why is the solution to give out race-based welfare and call it reparations? Doesn’t that just create more of an incentive to swindle black people?

  • maintour@yahoo.com' MainTour says:

    First, I’ll admit that I know almost nothing about Islam. So I have some questions that need to get answered:

    Is ISIL a state? In 1776 a group of wild rebels declared themselves to be the “United States of America” – even though no other country in the world would recognize it as an independent state for quite some time. If ISIL is the governing authority there, it must have self obtained some degree of statehood. What is different between ISIL’s independence and USA’s independence?

    Is ISIL Islamic? I know of no other group of Muslims in the world that follow Sharia Law and Quran as devotedly as they do. So is there a group more Islamic than ISIL? Which is more Islamic – Sunni or Shia? Since ISIL, Sunni, and Shia have all of these learned preachers well trained in their doctrines, how is it possible for a non-believer to know which one is the correct interpretation of Islam?

    Is not ISIL what a True Islamic Caliphate would look like? If not – what would be different?

    ISIL looks a lot like the violent rise of the famous Islamic Caliphates of the 8th & 9th Century. What is different between them and ISIL? Were those Caliphates Sunni or Shia?

  • elizavieta@embarqmail.com' eliza says:

    If they give out lump sum reparations – I have seen 30 thou mentioned – I think a lot of people will buy cars, or other dream items, and immediately be broke again.

    The speakers in mosques, the writers of inflammatory lit, etc. are egging this on. In US I suppose it has been driven underground by now. It is a tribal religion that wants to kill, dominate, subjugate, etc. everybody else. The muslims could turn it into something else. In a few hundred years maybe… I used to see posters by muslims warning each other that such and such mosque had gone bad, turned Salafi, etc.

    This is not a matter of a few violent loons. You’ve got armies.

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    Don’t know why you keep insisting on telling me about a place you don’t go. Guess you like talking from ignorance.

    Done…bye bye!

  • hhyyde71@live.com' Jekyll says:

    Assuming Israel did not have a hand in perpetuating violent jihadis who want to kill more Muslims then to give a hoot about Gaza…wait what ?

  • john.burt@gmail.com' JLB says:

    Who decides whether ISIS is Muslim or not, is it there a governing body like the Vatican or the Mormon Elders? As far as I can tell, even if they only loosely follow their religious texts, they are of that religion.

  • carparts61@gmail.com' tariq says:

    Sometimes I wonder if Christians read the Bible or pay attention to the KKK garment.

    “And he brought out the people that were in it, and cut them with saws, and with harrows of iron, and with axes…” (I Chronicles 20:3)

    Chronicles 17-19 speaks about David killing thousands of Syrians.

    David and his soldiers were even commanded to take the women who have not known a man and do as they wanted (rape of young girls).

    So yes, the KKK is based on Christianity and they use these texts and many more to justify the slaughter of others.

    And funny thing is many of them carry Gideons

    Gideon was so vicious he even took the flesh of his victims and made jewelry and garments out of them.

    And fathered a son who killed 69 of his stepbrothers.

    Problem is the ones pointing fingers never look to see if their is dirt under their nails.

  • carparts661@gmail.com' Tariq says:

    And as long as Christians dominate the world they are polite.

  • carparts661@gmail.com' IAM says:

    When colonizing a particular group, in order to get them to secede to “new” beliefs and practices, control must first be exerted over three very important and influential branches of society: The education system, law enforcement and lastly, religious organization. Control is extended over the institutions which ultimately warp the human mind, body and spirit.

    You have to idea the profound affect that White Supremacy has had over not just the blacks of America but Native Americans and many other groups. Reservations are ignored but the same atrocities are taking place in many without notice because it’s on a much smaller scale.
    It’s not all white people just like not all Germans were on board the Hitler train but the system of “racism” is a Eurocentric system and that cannot be denied. White is the absence of color and the recessive traits will make them not live very much longer. Racism stems from knowing that. A jealousy and fear that’s deep in the bones of the recessive – the descendants of Cain who displayed the same jealousy.
    You now have the control here in Amerikkka so you can look like the peaceful one after you have slaughtered 20 times the amount of people around the world than Hitler over time.
    You say you kill yourselves not even acknowledging the damage you already causes mentally and spiritually.
    But on your talk shows you love to say that a child is affected deeply by abuse. Well imagine 400 years of that abuse. Wake up.

  • carparts661@gmail.com' Kemetica says:

    The black community should have never fallen for the integration line. Integration does not serve a people well when it’s not in their favor or on their grounds. When the white teacher entered the black school there was no way we would get the same education as a black teacher who cared about the future of his/ her people. Integration should’ve been on the terms of the blacks. After all they follow behind like wagging dogs mimicking the music and stealing the culture I’m sure they would’ve done the same thing when we taught our kids how to build pyramids again.
    We are under their roof on our land and we wonder what the issue is. The Mississippi is the NW Nile River – which is why Washington looks like Kemet and so many towns along the Mississippi have Kemetic names. Notice they never stand under the Pyramid that’s on the dollar. They stand under the bird. This land does not belong to them. They are trespassers and thieves. Take it back, stop this integration stuff unless it’s on our terms this time and rebuild this stolen nation. Replant the Cherry Tree.

  • carparts661@gmail.com' Yoseph says:

    I think someone mentioned earlier you Christians don’t read your Bible much.

  • carparts661@gmail.com' Tariq says:

    Doesn’t America like to refer to itself as a Christian country? Are they separating Church and State?
    Let’s say Obama was in fact Muslim. Why is that a problem in America if all Americans regardless of race, creed or religion can run for President?
    So, going by what you just said yourself – Doesn’t White America fit that bill?

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    shouldn’t you be on a bus stop waiting for the mother ship to beam you back up?

  • GregAbdul@comcast.net' GregAbdul says:

    black people receive less medical care, are therefore sicker and die faster than white Americans. It’s open statistical fact. I know you don’t care cause you aren’t black, but you could at least pretend the truth is there…oh….that would mean you would have to open up medical care and jobs that pay decent wages for blacks and then you would have to quit your pretend ignorance prejudice…..

    sorry

  • zinealine@gmail.com' cranefly says:

    What are you talking about? I’m completely in favor of that. My point is that most black people do NOT die from homicide, despite the conservative wish to defend police brutality against them by portray the black people as irredeemably murderous. I don’t buy that at all.

  • ussstaxpayerswill@aol.com' ColorsOfAlgebra says:

    IN THESIS CLASS WE DID A PAPER (THAT NEVER MAKES SENSE WHEN YOU JUST WANT TO PASS A CLASS AND GET ON WITH THE NEXT). THE PAPER WAS CALLED “WHAT’S IN A NAME” I THINK TAHT ASSIGNMENT WAS REQUIRED FOR TIMES LIKE THIS. “WHAT’S IN A NAME?”Name Calling

    “Name Calling” is a device to make us form a judgment without examining the evidence on which it should be based. Here the propagandist appeals to our hate and fear. http://www.maebrussell.com/Articles%20and%20Notes/German%20Propaganda.html

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