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Educated Opinions On: Islam in the West

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I'd like to know the opinions and thoughts of others on Islam in the Western World. Specifically, do you think Islam will be 'Westernised', 'watered down', made to be benign (as has happened with Christianity in the West) sufficiently enough to minimise the adverse effects of living in a predominantly or significantly Islamic population to the point where peaceful coexistence is possible?

 

Adverse effects being for example: capital punishments, implementation of 'holy laws', frequent terror attacks, the implementation of sharia law etc.

 

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ISLAM MEANING THE TEACHINGS OF ISLAM, THE RELIGION OF ISLAM, THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ISLAM. NOT meaning individual Islamic religionists; NOT meaning EVERY Muslim; NOT meaning every. individual. single. aspect. of Islam.

 

A much needed throat clearing, apparently. If you want to assume I'm an ignoramus pushing blind hatred for Islam and Muslims, if you want to be offended by all means do so, it takes a lot to hurt my feelings. Although I'd point out that I'm anti-religion, anti-Islam, NOT anti-religionist.

Edited by Iota

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I don't know how many muslims you know. I know quite a few, some of them actually being religious (most are about as religious as the average european christian, which is not very much by US or fundamentalist standards). I not only coexist with them peacefully, some of them I actually call friends. And that's with being one of those atheist infidels. None of them declared a holy war recently, as far as I know.

Edited by timo

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I don't know how many muslims you know. I know quite a few, some of them actually being religious (most are about as religious as the average european christian, which is not very much by US or fundamentalist standards). I not only coexist with them peacefully, some of them I actually call friends. And that's with being one of those atheist infidels. None of them declared a holy war recently, as far as I know.

 

A fair point, despite the facetious ending and slightly defensive vibe I got from it; all too common whenever the topic of criticising or showing concerns towards Islam arises.

 

I know several Muslims, non of which I can call close friends (incidentally not out of deliberation), and I grew up closely with several Hindi and Muslim children primarily (as you do living in or around the London area), to none of whom did or do I have any aversions towards.

 

 

 

Let's get this out the way quickly for the sake of having a constructive and forward moving discussion: I did not create this topic to induce ignorant fearmongering against religious minorities of ANY religious persuasion. When I say Islam, I'm using its sincerest definition; i.e. the religion; not a synonym for brown people or middle-eastern minorities.

 

'Islamophobic' is not a valid argument, nor is anything along those lines. If you're a left-wing nut or someone who's hypersensitive on behalf of Islam or offended by any rightful, rational discussion which includes criticism and concerns over Islam THE RELIGION. This debate isn't for you, please move on.

Edited by Iota

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... 'watered down', made to be benign (as has happened with Christianity in the West) ...

This is a false premise. Christianity remains full of hatred, intolerance, narrow-mindedness, selfishness, and no end of other extreme thoughts and actions. Islam or any other religion your care to pitch will suffer no better in the West or elsewhere.

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This is a false premise. Christianity remains full of hatred, intolerance, narrow-mindedness, selfishness, and no end of other extreme thoughts and actions. Islam or any other religion your care to pitch will suffer no better in the West or elsewhere.

 

Well I suppose I'm appealing for people to approach the question, with recognition that Christianity and Islam do behave significantly differently in the World at present, with one being far more benign than the other respectively, with regard to some of the specifics I exampled in my second post.

 

The premise isn't at all false, you've merely misunderstood my point which I though I'd made clear. Perhaps I should've said 'relatively benign', but I thought that was implied when I also said in the same sentence 'watered down' and 'Westernised'. If that was not clear then I apologise, I hold Christianity in as much contempt as I do Islam, however the presence of Christianity in the World compared to that of Islam is irrefutably relatively benign.

 

And while I have cleared my throat, I put it to you that also nowhere did I state or even imply that Christianity is now perfect in any sense, and common sense should've lead you to realise that I didn't mean that, based on the rest of the paragraph. For some reason you jumped to assuming I meant Christianity is perfect and Islam isn't?

Edited by Iota

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Not sure what is considered an educated opinion? I have an opinion though. So I will start by saying I have never traveled to a predominantly Muslim country, attended any sort of Muslim ceremony, or fully read the Quran. In other words I am not a subject matter expert.

Wealthy Muslims countries like Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Saidi Arabia, Brunei, and Jordan don't have radical religious oppression throughout. While they mistreat migrant workers they take good care of there own people. Male and female. The terrorism, religious unrest, and brutality many westerners relate to strict adherence to Muslim doctrine primarily exists amongst the poor. I don't consider that a coincidence. Islam is foriegn to westerners so I think it gets extra attention. However civil unrest, violence, war lords, and etc exists every where in the world where the people of a region are repressed and don't freely share in the benifits of their labors and resources. Cities like Dubia show that when comfortable predominantly Muslim people ease into the capitalist western style of living.

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Well I suppose I'm appealing for people to approach the question, with recognition that Christianity and Islam do behave significantly differently in the World at present, with one being far more benign than the other respectively, with regard to some of the specifics I exampled in my second post.

No; they are not behaving differently. The media may give that perception, but while there may be more violence being perpetrated by extremist Muslims than extremist Christians or extremist Hindu's yada, yada, yada, most Muslims, as most other religious followers, are not extremists. (Outside of the usual extremes all religions involve.)

 

The premise isn't at all false, you've merely misunderstood my point which I though I'd made clear. Perhaps I should've said 'relatively benign', but I thought that was implied when I also said in the same sentence 'watered down' and 'Westernised'. If that was not clear then I apologise, I hold Christianity in as much contempt as I do Islam, however the presence of Christianity in the World compared to that of Islam is irrefutably relatively benign. .

Again no. Christianity is hardly benign given 'their' stance against gays, birth control, evolution, their proselytizing, yada, yada, yada religious BS ad infinitum.

 

And while I have cleared my throat, I put it to you that also nowhere did I state or even imply that Christianity is now perfect in any sense, and common sense should've lead you to realise that I didn't mean that, based on the rest of the paragraph. For some reason you jumped to assuming I meant Christianity is perfect and Islam isn't?

No; I jumped nowhere. Common sense led me -at a leisurely pace- to the conclusion you want to bash Islam over other religious bashing. I am an equal opportunity basher. :P

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'Islamophobic' is not a valid argument, nor is anything along those lines. If you're a left-wing nut or someone who's hypersensitive on behalf of Islam or offended by any rightful, rational discussion which includes criticism and concerns over Islam THE RELIGION. This debate isn't for you, please move on.

Unfortunately I read that admonition as "If you don't agree with what I declare is the obviously correct interpretation I don't wish you take part in this discussion."

 

Your wish is my command, Adieu.

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...

Wealthy Muslims countries like Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Saidi Arabia, Brunei, and Jordan don't have radical religious oppression throughout. While they mistreat migrant workers they take good care of there own people. Male and female. ...

I don't know about most of those countries, but Saudis 'circumcise' little girls and don't allow women to drive, to name just a couple examples encouraged by their religious belief. To be fair, Mormons and Catholics don't allow women in the clergy and Catholics prohibit birth control. So, if it's not one thing oppressive with religions, it's another.

.

...

'Islamophobic' is not a valid argument, nor is anything along those lines. If you're a left-wing nut or someone who's hypersensitive on behalf of Islam or offended by any rightful, rational discussion which includes criticism and concerns over Islam THE RELIGION. This debate isn't for you, please move on.

As we have been learning in the Is Political Conservatism a mild form of Insanity? thread, 'left-wing nuts' are few and far between compared to right-wing authoritarians when it comes to religious fundamentalismnuttiness.

Edited by Acme

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Not sure what is considered an educated opinion? I have an opinion though. So I will start by saying I have never traveled to a predominantly Muslim country, attended any sort of Muslim ceremony, or fully read the Quran. In other words I am not a subject matter expert.

Wealthy Muslims countries like Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Saidi Arabia, Brunei, and Jordan don't have radical religious oppression throughout. While they mistreat migrant workers they take good care of there own people. Male and female. The terrorism, religious unrest, and brutality many westerners relate to strict adherence to Muslim doctrine primarily exists amongst the poor. I don't consider that a coincidence. Islam is foriegn to westerners so I think it gets extra attention. However civil unrest, violence, war lords, and etc exists every where in the world where the people of a region are repressed and don't freely share in the benifits of their labors and resources. Cities like Dubia show that when comfortable predominantly Muslim people ease into the capitalist western style of living.

 

By educated opinion I simply meant an opinion backed up by some reason and knowledge, which is what you've done. So thanks!

 

I can't really speak on many of the countries that you've listed, but I think you've made a good point by naming them. I suppose wealthy Islamic countries would be the first place to look if you want to get an idea of how Islam and Western countries might coexist in the near future. As it would be slightly unfair to only look at the most radical and extreme Islamic countries. My only objection to that, is that there is significant immigration from the poorer more extreme Islamic countries into Western countries, and some of them do carry their radical beliefs with them.

 

I'll pick the UAE out of the list, because I know a little about it and I agree that it is an example of a 'wealthy Islamic nation', as we're on the topic.

 

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/07/2013722133556357619.html

 

The UAE still enforces sharia law, still has an unjust legal system, and still has many prejudices against women, and women are still oppressed. These are in direct conflict with typical Western principles. That goes for Dabai too.

 

I think you've brought up some important considerations here oz.

Unfortunately I read that admonition as "If you don't agree with what I declare is the obviously correct interpretation I don't wish you take part in this discussion."

 

Your wish is my command, Adieu.

 

Thanks for that worthless, arrogant, presumptive contribution to this discussion. Nevertheless I'm glad to see that my message is getting through to the right people.

Edited by Iota

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Perhaps a better question is whether or not it's Islam that leads to these challenges or if instead they are the result of isolation, lack of education, and few available resources. There are plenty of Muslims who are already very westernized, watered down, and benign... Most of them, actually.

 

Scratch that. A better question still is how can we eliminate poverty and extremism in all of it's many forms, and can we actually do so without becoming extremist ourselves?

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I don't know about most of those countries, but Saudis 'circumcise' little girls and don't allow women to drive, to name just a couple examples encouraged by their religious belief. To be fair, Mormons and Catholics don't allow women in the clergy and Catholics prohibit birth control. So, if it's not one thing oppressive with religions, it's another.

 

A very good point.

 

 

As we have been learning in the Is Political Conservatism a mild form of Insanity? thread, 'left-wing nuts' are few and far between compared to right-wing authoritarians when it comes to religious fundamentalismnuttiness.

 

I agree right-wing nuts are probably more dangerous and common, but I welcome neither to my discussions, and I've possibly encountered the left-wing of the scale already; hence my mentioning of it.

No; they are not behaving differently. The media may give that perception, but while there may be more violence being perpetrated by extremist Muslims than extremist Christians or extremist Hindu's yada, yada, yada, most Muslims, as most other religious followers, are not extremists. (Outside of the usual extremes all religions involve.)

 

Again no. Christianity is hardly benign given 'their' stance against gays, birth control, evolution, their proselytizing, yada, yada, yada religious BS ad infinitum.

 

No; I jumped nowhere. Common sense led me -at a leisurely pace- to the conclusion you want to bash Islam over other religious bashing. I am an equal opportunity basher. :P

 

Well then I simply disagree, Islam, on the whole, is far more radical today than what Christianity is.

 

Christianity is still benign in comparison to Islam. Christianity originates predominantly in Western, progressive, advanced cultures and societies, like EU, USA, most of the commonwealth. On the whole the harm caused by Christianity is belittled are far less shocking than Islam. If you disagree, then I simply have to disagree in return on that point.

Perhaps a better question is whether or not it's Islam that leads to these challenges or if instead they are the result of isolation, lack of education, and few available resources. There are plenty of Muslims who are already very westernized, watered down, and benign... Most of them, actually.

 

Scratch that. A better question still is how can we eliminate poverty and extremism in all of it's many forms, and can we actually do so without becoming extremist ourselves?

 

Yes I guess I haven't stabbed at the core root of the real problems with my question, but I'm looking at what's happening right now, and whether it's realistic in the short term to integrate Islam in with Western societies, given its rapid growth in such areas.

 

I don't see capitalism being overthrown or a widespread revolution coming, so as for the poverty matter, I don't know. But I can't see it improving a great deal. As for a lack of education and among other things these countries are deprived of, I personally think it's fair to blame Islam in part for that; where little girls wanting an education are being shot in the head, and the very nature of religion in its ability to deter people from learning and advancing, instead clinging to the fixed dogmatic views of their interpretation of holy books.

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A very good point.

شكرا

 

I agree right-wing nuts are probably more dangerous and common, but I welcome neither to my discussions, and I've possibly encountered the left-wing of the scale already; hence my mentioning of it.

Citations please.

 

Christianity is still benign in comparison to Islam. Christianity originates predominantly in Western, progressive, advanced cultures and societies, like EU, USA, most of the commonwealth. On the whole the harm caused by Christianity is belittled are far less shocking than Islam. If you disagree, then I simply have to disagree in return on that point.

Progressive society is not exclusive to 'Western'. Can you say algebra? Seen Islamic art?

 

As for a lack of education and among other things these countries are deprived of, I personally think it's fair to blame Islam in part for that; where little girls wanting an education are being shot in the head, and the very nature of religion in its ability to deter people from learning and advancing, instead clinging to the fixed dogmatic views of their interpretation of holy books.

Again, these denials of education etc. are coming from extremist Muslims and they do not represent the majority of Muslims. Yes all religions are to receive blame for their narrow-mindedness, but Islam holds no exclusivity in this regard.

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شكرا

 

Citations please.

 

Progressive society is not exclusive to 'Western'. Can you say algebra? Seen Islamic art?

 

Again, these denials of education etc. are coming from extremist Muslims and they do not represent the majority of Muslims. Yes all religions are to receive blame for their narrow-mindedness, but Islam holds no exclusivity in this regard.

 

Don't expect citations for something which I've clearly expressed as an opinion.

 

Make note of the words I've highlighted in bold, I've done that for you. So take not of "on the whole".

 

I never said Islam was exclusive with that respect.

 

In summary, read what I've said before emptily attempting to debunk everything I say based on technicalities, as though you're achieving anything besides derailing this discussion by doing so.

Edited by Iota

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The UAE still enforces sharia law, still has an unjust legal system, and still has many prejudices against women, and women are still oppressed. These are in direct conflict with typical Western principles. That goes for Dabai too.

 

 

But not against Western practices, which is probably a more apt comparison. In the US there are those trying to impose Christian law, we have an unjust legal system, and women are still oppressed. The reality is the the US is only more "advanced" or enlightened by a couple of generations, at best. There are people alive now who were born when women couldn't vote and government-sanctioned segregation was the standard.

 

A fair analysis is actions compared to actions, not one group's actions to another's supposed ideals.

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Don't expect citations for something which I've clearly expressed as an opinion.

I meant for you to point out specifically the left-wing possible nutcases and support your assertion regarding 'them'.

 

Make note of the words I've highlighted in bold, I've done that for you. So take not of "on the whole".

Don't tell me what to do.

 

I never said Islam was exclusive with that respect.

You implied it.

 

In summary, read what I've said before emptily attempting to debunk everything I say based on technicalities, as though you're achieving anything besides derailing this discussion by doing so.

Again; don't tell me what to do. You started this thread saying:

I'd like to know the opinions and thoughts of others on Islam in the Western World.

Whining when you get what you ask for is bad form. :)

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But not against Western practices, which is probably a more apt comparison. In the US there are those trying to impose Christian law, we have an unjust legal system, and women are still oppressed. The reality is the the US is only more "advanced" or enlightened by a couple of generations, at best. There are people alive now who were born when women couldn't vote and government-sanctioned segregation was the standard.

 

A fair analysis is actions compared to actions, not one group's actions to another's supposed ideals.

 

Sure enough there are those trying to impose Christian law, but Christian law isn't by default or without question the system in place in the US. Nor has that ever been the case in the US, thanks to your Bill of Rights. Whereas in UAE and Dubai the opposite is the case.

 

 

 

But not against Western practices, which is probably a more apt comparison. In the US there are those trying to impose Christian law, we have an unjust legal system, and women are still oppressed. The reality is the the US is only more "advanced" or enlightened by a couple of generations, at best. There are people alive now who were born when women couldn't vote and government-sanctioned segregation was the standard.

 

A fair analysis is actions compared to actions, not one group's actions to another's supposed ideals.

 

Fair enough, however; 'by how many generations the US is more advanced or enlightened in comparison' wasn't my point. It's comparing each country as it is today, with particular focus on the key variable of this discussion; Islam, which was my point.

 

The legal system is always going to be unjust, in any country, but I'm obviously talking about the Islam's part to play in that; my point being that if our legal systems jump back to the current Islam-style courts of justice, seen in these Islamic countries, it'd be a jump back, not forward.

I meant for you to point out specifically the left-wing possible nutcases and support your assertion regarding 'them'.

 

 

Oh sorry, in that case: no.

Edited by Iota

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Yes I guess I haven't stabbed at the core root of the real problems with my question, but I'm looking at what's happening right now, and whether it's realistic in the short term to integrate Islam in with Western societies, given its rapid growth in such areas.

You seem to be focused mostly on extremist groups, not Islam. Try to remember that just because an organization calls itself the Islamic State does not mean they are representative of Islamic people, although they do get more attention in the media because it's sensational and so tend to enjoy a spotlight effect in our minds.

 

As for a lack of education and among other things these countries are deprived of, I personally think it's fair to blame Islam in part for that; where little girls wanting an education are being shot in the head,

Again. Try not to conflate Islam with extremism. The extremists do hose things you mention, not your average everyday believer.

 

...and the very nature of religion in its ability to deter people from learning and advancing, instead clinging to the fixed dogmatic views of their interpretation of holy books.

 

And here all Abrahamic religions enjoy an equivalence and Islam is not in any way meaningfully different than Christianity.

 

I'm no fan of religion, but I'm also no fan of broad sweeping misplaced generalizations and unfocused uninformed assertions.

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You seem to be focused mostly on extremist groups, not Islam. Try to remember that just because an organization calls itself the Islamic State does not mean they are representative of Islamic people, although they do get more attention in the media because it's sensational and so tend to enjoy a spotlight effect in our minds.

 

Again. Try not to conflate Islam with extremism. The extremists do hose things you mention, not your average everyday believer.

 

And here all Abrahamic religions enjoy an equivalence and Islam is not in any way meaningfully different than Christianity.

 

I'm no fan of religion, but I'm also no fan of broad sweeping misplaced generalizations and unfocused uninformed assertions.

 

Well I see why you're confused. You've assumed when I say Islam that I mean "all Muslims" or when I refer to a particular Islamic state that I mean "every Muslim in that state". When I say Islam, I mean the teachings of Islam, the governments under Islam.

 

I'm stunned at how quick and comfortable everyone feels- assuming that I have some vendetta against every Muslim and that I'm trying to throw Muslims in one category, even though I haven't stated or implied anything of such.

 

Suspect me of doing so- that's fine. But when you instantly jump to the conclusion that- that's what I'm doing, you're being rather ridiculous.

 

Can we just put forward our opinions on the discussion topic and stop trying to accuse me of generalising and having some sort of vendetta against all Muslims, based on your whims?

 

I welcome criticism of me or my arguments- I don't welcome what you're doing right now.

Edited by Iota

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This discussion is pointless as it discusses not a religion per se, but followers of the religion and then even some random subset at an arbitrary point in time.

As others have pointed out, there are so many different islamic countries and societies that a true discussion has to be much more in-depth and cannot be boiled down to Christianity vs Islam. Many things affecting societal values are cannot simply be reduced to one thing, even if it is as influential as religion.

For example, it appears that the general conception is that Islam prevents women's rights. But look for example at voting rights. In Iran and Afghanistan they were allowed to vote in 1963, but in Switzerland it took almost a decade longer.

But since then in Afghanistan things changed dramatically. So if even within a country values and rights change dramatically without a radical change in religion, how can you expect to be able to distill it down to that simple factor?

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When I say Islam, I mean the teachings of Islam, the governments under Islam.

Which ones then? Be specific.

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This discussion is pointless as it discusses not a religion per se, but followers of the religion and then even some random subset at an arbitrary point in time.

 

Look at the original topic for a second please; it's calling for a discussion on Islam... 'per se'. Just because others have changed it from that, and I've had to reply to them, doesn't mean I made that the new topic.

 

 

As others have pointed out, there are so many different islamic countries and societies that a true discussion has to be much more in-depth and cannot be boiled down to Christianity vs Islam.

 

I never boiled it down to that. Someone else introduced it, I merely responded to it. That was in no way my discussion. The problem is every time someone throws an argument my way, someone else sees my response, and out of context sees my response and makes a million assumptions about what I've said or believe. By ALL means have a much more in-depth discussion, it's other people narrowing it down to specific points I've made. I started a very broad topic, which others have chipped away and narrowed down with their wild assumptions.

 

 

For example, it appears that the general conception is that Islam prevents women's rights. But look for example at voting rights. In Iran and Afghanistan they were allowed to vote in 1963, but in Switzerland it took almost a decade longer.

 

Stop looking at individual examples, the teachings of Islam and implementation of Islamic teaching is what I'm asking to be considered. Stop picking out individual countries, individual practices, and saying "well Islam isn't the only factor preventing women's rights"... So what!?!?!? My discussion's whole purpose is to discuss the factor of Islam. I don't assume there aren't other factors, it's just I'm not discussing them right now.

 

 

But since then in Afghanistan things changed dramatically. So if even within a country values and rights change dramatically without a radical change in religion, how can you expect to be able to distill it down to that simple factor?

 

I'm not distilling it down to one factor, I'm FOCUSING on one factor. If you don't see the value in that, by all means explain why, but don't assume I haven't considered other factors.

 

 

 

It has to be said this is the most exhausted I've been on these forums trying to get a simple discussion started. I retire from this discussion, not out of anger; because it's not going anywhere any time soon. I fell into the trap of responding to people who went off-topic, then everyone else fell for the trap of reading my responses, instead of the original topic. Madness.

 

I'm done ladies and gents, feel free to carry on discussing, but I won't be, because I feel discouraged to do so.

Edited by Iota

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I'm not distilling it down to one factor, I'm FOCUSING on one factor

Which one then? Be specific.

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Which one then? Be specific.

 

You don't want to look at the original topic, as I suggested. Fair enough... I'll bring it to you:

 

 

I'd like to know the opinions and thoughts of others on Islam in the Western World. Specifically, do you think Islam will be 'Westernised', 'watered down', made to be benign (as has happened with Christianity in the West) sufficiently enough to minimise the adverse effects of living in a predominantly or significantly Islamic population to the point where peaceful coexistence is possible?

Adverse effects being for example: capital punishments, implementation of 'holy laws', frequent terror attacks, the implementation of sharia law etc.

 

Now, stay with me here. I did mention "Islamic population", but I assure you, the factor is Islam. That was my intent. YES, my intent may not have come across, that happens. Yes, you might not accept Islam as a factor as I'm trying to, if not, just say so.

 

So what!?!?!? My discussion's whole purpose is to discuss the factor of Islam. I don't assume there aren't other factors, it's just I'm not discussing them right now.

 

Now I hope not to cause offence here, as you're one of the members I regard highly and respect on these forums; but just in case you missed that again: Islam.

Edited by Iota

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But as has already been explained and repeatedly pointed out to you, there is no single monolithic unidimensional version of Islam in the modern world. It differs in incredibly significant ways across regions and across individuals.

 

Even when we step back and look directly at the texts of the holy book we find different people justifiably coming to different conclusions and having different interpretations of the exact same passages.

 

You also start with several a priori assumptions and premises that have been directly challenged, and it's been pointed out to you that most of the things you describe as adverse effects are likely better attributed to other factors such as isolation, poverty, poor education, and lack of access to resources.

 

Finally, you're conflating Islam with extremism, and while there are clearly extremist elements within the population, they are by any measure the minority and not representative of the broader population. You would be similarly challenged if you tried to suggest that the Westboro Baptist Church was representative of Christianity as a whole, and asked us if "Christianity" could ever be "watered down" and "westernized" enough to allow for peaceful coexistence.

 

If you're frustrated that people are not understanding you accurately, then stop getting pissed off and lashing out at the reader and start communicating and articulating your thoughts more clearly as the author.

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