RE: Islamism

From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Sun Jan 20 2002 - 13:41:34 GMT

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    Subject: RE: Islamism
    Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2002 08:41:34 -0500
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    My God, Joe, I must say that you are a great memeticist, but stunningly
    ignorant on the Middle East and Islam. It is as if you are a newbie to the
    subject and eagerly showing off you most recent learnings, but without the
    depth of knowledge to really make much sense of it all. Combined with your
    potshots ("Islamofascist" -- where in the world did you pick up this phrase,
    or is it all yours?), it is clear that scholarly learning and reflection is
    not what you are after, but the most trivial of sidewalk argumentation.

    Please see my notes below, correcting your most egregious mistakes, though I
    admit that I respond here not with the hope that you will learn anything,
    but to continue the discussion with others on this list who are genuinely
    interested in the Middle East situation, and who put curiosity and learning
    before ranting and arid assertion.

    I won't respond to your diabtribal comments, but will to matters of
    significant fact if it seems that others on this list might give them

    Meanwhile, I will continue to read your comments about memetics with
    interest and anticipation.


    Joe Dees:
    > Wrong. The clerics in Shi'a Islam are born that way; they are
    > descendants of Ali, Mohammed's son-in-law and the husband of
    > Fatima. They are not elected or appointed to exercise such
    > capacities; they are supposedly divinely licenced. That is not
    > the case for Israel, where both legislative and executive are
    > elected by popular vote, like in the US.

    I can't believe that you really think that the rich and varied history of
    the Shi'is can be distilled into one or two nonsense simplifations like
    these. I don't have time to write an essay of Shi'i history and beliefs here
    so will refer you to a very accessible book, Karen Armstrong THE BATTLE FOR
    GOD, chapter 2. Simply put, _ulema_ are drawn from the theological _fiqh_
    schools. They are not 'born that way' at all, and I would guess that by far
    the greatest number of them do not claim descent from 'Ali -- or no greater
    a proportion than is found in the general Shi'i population, claiming such
    descent being a very popular thing to do.


    > The word Islam translates into
    > 'submission'; these folks are raised from birth to believe that
    > submission to the will of Allah, as explained to them by their
    > Mullahs, is their ticket to Paradise.

    A better way to understand the nature of Islamic 'submission' is much like
    the Buddhist notion of 'acceptance,' a theological notion. It has nothing to
    do with 'submitting' to 'clerics.' The slightest experience of the Muslim
    world would make this clear to you, Joe. [Please note that 'islam' can be
    translated in several ways. 'Submission' is the way most Westerners do so,
    but equally accurate is 'reconciliation (to the will of God)'. Not my
    personal cup of tea, but fairly standard theological fare across all
    monotheistic religions.]

    > Many of these people are
    > raised to be like Manchurian Candidates, with the read queen
    > already flashed, and all infidels the targets.

    This is an example of your inability to think clearly about Islam. I can
    only wonder, where in the world does this kind of rhetoric come from? Is it
    all post-Set. 11 shock? Can the norms of research and thoughfulness have so
    deserted you?

    > In Islam, the
    > world is divided into two camps; Dar-Al-Islam (the World of
    > Submission) and Dar-Al-Harb (The World of War). The only way
    > that peace can reign upon the globe, according to Muslim
    > doctrine, is for Dar-Al-Islam to rule the world over, and many
    > Muslims will not stop fighting and killing infidels for their god
    > and his kingdom until they achieve that global totalitarian
    > hegemonistic peace.

    Nonsense. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and here we have a good
    example of it. Yes, the world is divided in Muslim theology, into these two
    worlds. But the 'World of War' refers to the conditions to be found OUTSIDE
    the 'World of Peace'. The perception of the early Muslims is that the
    Christian and Jewish and Arab tribal worlds, for example, were ones of chaos
    and war. Muslims would create a world of peace, leaving the rest of the
    world one of war. Yes, there have been some Muslim theocrats who argued that
    Islam must spread until all embraced it, if necessary spread by the sword,
    but this is akin to comparable Christian calls for forcible and universal
    conversion. The notion of a perpetual Islamic war with the 'World of War' is
    alien to general Muslim beliefs and practice. Indeed, the Muslims were the
    first to develop a code of international law that described the diplomatic,
    commercial, and legal relationship between themselves and the 'World of

    If you really want to learn more about this, I can point you to several
    books on Islamic international law.

    Please don't bounce back blindly with the popular view of the 'jihad' thing.
    To anticipate: jihad is a broad concept; its 'warfare' element is one of
    five. You may wish to look into the other four before offering us gory
    pictures of Arabs sweeping down on French Foreigh Legion posts....


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