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Author Topic: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.  (Read 35163 times)

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Offline FormlessTopic starter

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #100 on: October 27, 2013, 09:48:41 PM »
Thank you , Lady Mithlomwen , Lady Oniya.

I do apologize things went out of hand.

I hope that if anyone have any further questions to post them. And I'll attend to them the best i can.

Offline Serephino

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #101 on: October 27, 2013, 09:56:59 PM »
I would like to say thank you, Formless, for posting this topic.  I always enjoy learning about other religions.  I may not agree, but knowledge is a good thing. 

Evil is done by people from all walks of life, including Atheists.  It's just that deeply religious people tend to twist their faith to justify it.  The religion itself is not 'dark', the human being committing the act is.  I wish more people would realize this and quit the hate mongering.  Personally, since Jews, Christians, and Muslims all believe in the same god and come from the same roots, they should learn to get along.  They fight amongst each other and it's really stupid in my opinion.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #102 on: October 27, 2013, 09:58:32 PM »
No apology needed, Formless.  :-)

Offline ladia2287

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #103 on: October 28, 2013, 02:11:50 AM »
Yeah, don't apologise Formless. It's not your fault the now-banned littlerooster decided to behave in such a manner.

Incidentally, I know this has absolutely nothing to do with Islam, but I would like to put it out there; if Saudi Arabia were more tourist-friendly I would LOVE to go there for a shopping holiday. I've heard the shopping malls and even the traditional souks are a shopping-lover's dream.

That said, I can understand the authorities being wary of accepting tourists, for fear of drawing the wrong kind of people to visit the country. Sadly, a lot of us Westerners just don't get the doctrine of 'When in Rome, do as Rome does'.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2013, 02:28:46 AM by ladia2287 »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #104 on: October 28, 2013, 12:14:11 PM »
Since Ladia mentioned Ramadan, I thought I'd share a semi-personal anecdote.  Mr. Oniya used to work as a store manager, and he was very conscientious about his team.  During December, the big bosses would sometimes call on the employees to work extra time during the set-ups for the big sales, and usually would provide sandwich trays on the company dime.  Mr. Oniya told his District Manager to hold off on bringing in the trays until after sundown, so that those who were fasting during the day wouldn't have to watch everyone else eating.

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #105 on: October 28, 2013, 02:51:53 PM »
Since Ladia mentioned Ramadan, I thought I'd share a semi-personal anecdote.  Mr. Oniya used to work as a store manager, and he was very conscientious about his team.  During December, the big bosses would sometimes call on the employees to work extra time during the set-ups for the big sales, and usually would provide sandwich trays on the company dime.  Mr. Oniya told his District Manager to hold off on bringing in the trays until after sundown, so that those who were fasting during the day wouldn't have to watch everyone else eating.

While I was in service, I got to see Ramadan in the Gulf three times. It was.. interesting to see in Dubai and Bahrain. There is a sense of charity and .. intensity to reaffirming ones faith but it's not.. overt like you get with some of the fundies here in the south that I was used to. It was more of a genuine celebration of faith. There is no way to describe it. The folks in the UAE were very tolerant, and those I talked to were willing to explain what they were doing and offered genuine suggestions on how to do things to avoid offending (though most seemed to think it was  a personal action and not a public requirement). The first time you hear the call to prayer in the Gulf is.. different. It's a moment that I will always recall. I was walking into the Gold Souk in Dubai.

Online Dashenka

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #106 on: October 28, 2013, 02:55:36 PM »
Formless, perhaps I've already asked once but why is the Ramadan. I mean you vast (fast?) but I don't understand why? Is it to show your loyalty to God as many people say it is? Or is there a deeper, more sincere reason behind it?

Offline alextaylor

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #107 on: October 28, 2013, 05:19:07 PM »
There's two major lines of thought on why Muslims fast.

One is that it's scientifically proven to be healthy, cleans the body and mind, and so on. There's plenty of internet resources supporting this, but I feel that much of it is flimsy because it's trying to find proof for a belief rather than believing in proof. One issue is that if it was suddenly proven that fasting is unhealthy (like in the book Freakonomics), the Muslims who claim that they're fasting because it's healthy will suddenly be in denial. They'd fast anyway, proving that they're not doing it for wordly reasons.


The other which I agree with more, is that it's a direct commandment. There are 5 pillars of Islam that are followed by all Muslims regardless of sect - Fasting during Ramadan is one of them. The Shia' follow a few more but also have mandatory fasting.

It's a prerequisite to fast in order to call yourself a Muslim. Someone who doesn't fast is, by strict definition, not a Muslim. Of course, plenty of Muslims don't fast, but they certainly keep it hidden.

Actually trying to explain why loyalty is sincere is much more difficult because of the cultural differences. Pretty much every other question about Muslims like "Why wear a hijab?", "Why not pork?" or "Why pray several times a week?" boils down to that same answer.

Islam is a religion of submission. A Muslim must only worship Allah and only ask for help from Allah. Worship comes in the form of following Allah's commandments.

Why? This is a much deeper and more personal question. A lot of the Muslim world doesn't hold the same contempt for submission as the Western world does. Submission here is a form of humility. The humility to accept that there is a more superior power. There is the acceptance that everything comes from Allah. Wealth, health, happiness. Donate money in the cause of Allah, and you'll get back 300 times that money. If someone threatens to harm you, Allah keep you safe. If you die by doing something for the cause of Allah - by starving in the path of justice, getting assassinated for refusing a bribe - you are a martyr and get rewarded in the afterlife.

This kind of submission brings peace. There's no fear of death, starvation, poverty. A lot of devout Muslims are very independent adventurer types.. they'd go out and do what they wish, believing that Allah protects them, helping people without asking for any reward because they believe that Allah would reward them for their deeds in both cash and afterlife. The devout ones are incorruptible because they fear Allah's punishment more than the punishments and bribes of others. There's a higher purpose to everything in life and happiness comes from letting go. Things like fasting and giving away 2.5% of your wealth to charity is part of the process of humility and not trying to keep such a tight rein on life.

Of course, you won't find this written among many theologists and Islamic scholars because many scholars have their own personal agendas and totally miss the philosophy of the religion that one could find by looking back in its early history.

Offline FormlessTopic starter

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #108 on: October 28, 2013, 06:19:40 PM »
Serephino
I would like to say thank you, Formless, for posting this topic.  I always enjoy learning about other religions.  I may not agree, but knowledge is a good thing. 

Evil is done by people from all walks of life, including Atheists.  It's just that deeply religious people tend to twist their faith to justify it.  The religion itself is not 'dark', the human being committing the act is.  I wish more people would realize this and quit the hate mongering.  Personally, since Jews, Christians, and Muslims all believe in the same god and come from the same roots, they should learn to get along.  They fight amongst each other and it's really stupid in my opinion.


Thank you. And I do agree that a man is not counted by his faith but by how he acts. Sadly , there will be eons before that happens. :-)

Oniya
Since Ladia mentioned Ramadan, I thought I'd share a semi-personal anecdote.  Mr. Oniya used to work as a store manager, and he was very conscientious about his team.  During December, the big bosses would sometimes call on the employees to work extra time during the set-ups for the big sales, and usually would provide sandwich trays on the company dime.  Mr. Oniya told his District Manager to hold off on bringing in the trays until after sundown, so that those who were fasting during the day wouldn't have to watch everyone else eating.

Its refreshing to know people are quite considerate of another's practice of their religion. I always hoped the same freedom can be practiced in my country. People are allowed to practice Christianity in Saudi , it is just that no churches allowed to be built. A lot of southern Asians works in my hospital , and they are free to practice their faith , least can be done I am afraid.

Ladia2287
Incidentally, I know this has absolutely nothing to do with Islam, but I would like to put it out there; if Saudi Arabia were more tourist-friendly I would LOVE to go there for a shopping holiday. I've heard the shopping malls and even the traditional souks are a shopping-lover's dream.

That said, I can understand the authorities being wary of accepting tourists, for fear of drawing the wrong kind of people to visit the country. Sadly, a lot of us Westerners just don't get the doctrine of 'When in Rome, do as Rome does'.

The one thing I can assure you about shopping in Saudia is , there is no taxes to pay at all. So what the price tag says is what you'll pay. So yeah , in a way it is a shoppers dream. Add to it the currency difference so in Australia , a 10000 Australian dollar equals 30000Sr if I'm not mistaken. So have a blast if you ever got to be here. :D

Offline FormlessTopic starter

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #109 on: October 28, 2013, 06:29:29 PM »
Formless, perhaps I've already asked once but why is the Ramadan. I mean you vast (fast?) but I don't understand why? Is it to show your loyalty to God as many people say it is? Or is there a deeper, more sincere reason behind it?

The other which I agree with more, is that it's a direct commandment. There are 5 pillars of Islam that are followed by all Muslims regardless of sect - Fasting during Ramadan is one of them. The Shia' follow a few more but also have mandatory fasting.

Well Dashenka , Alextaylor answered the question perfectly.

Basically the 5 pillars ( basics ) of the Islamic faith are as follows.

1- The Sha'hadah ( To swear and believe that there is no god but all and Mohammad is his Prophet. )

2- The 5 daily Prayers.

3- The Zakah ( I am certain there is an English term for this but ... Basically its an annual duty where one give off a part of his money for Charity. And the explanation of it can be quite long. But to make it simple. If you have an amount of money that remained with you for a whole year , you have to give up 2.5% of it to charity. Of course Muslims now go to the bank and just tell them to calculate it and let them know. Heck you can even do it via a simple Cellphone message. But I hope that clears it. )

4- Ramadan Fasting. And it is said that this is the only thing that is absolutely between a man and God. Because as Alex mentioned , some can break their fast and no one will know. So it is up to the person to be truthful about it with himself.

5- The Hajj ( The Pilgrimage ) A Pilgrimage required to be done once in a life time IF ( and You should put 50 lines under the word ' if ' . ) IF they can afford it. back when Mohammad was alive , travelling was not easy , the long distances and the lack of transportation , sickness , old age. Poverty even. And even these days. A Muslim in a far country may not have enough money to buy a ticket and come to Saudia to do the Pilgrimage. So they are excused. And the Pilgrimage would also require a lot of explanation. It is an a yearly practice done by nothing less than 5 millions. All gathered in the City of Makkah. If you look up videos on youtube about it , you might be fascinated.

I do hope that clarifies the basics of Islam.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #110 on: October 28, 2013, 06:31:20 PM »
3- The Zakah ( I am certain there is an English term for this but ...

Tithe.

Offline FormlessTopic starter

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #111 on: October 28, 2013, 06:34:07 PM »
While I was in service, I got to see Ramadan in the Gulf three times. It was.. interesting to see in Dubai and Bahrain. There is a sense of charity and .. intensity to reaffirming ones faith but it's not.. overt like you get with some of the fundies here in the south that I was used to. It was more of a genuine celebration of faith. There is no way to describe it. The folks in the UAE were very tolerant, and those I talked to were willing to explain what they were doing and offered genuine suggestions on how to do things to avoid offending (though most seemed to think it was  a personal action and not a public requirement). The first time you hear the call to prayer in the Gulf is.. different. It's a moment that I will always recall. I was walking into the Gold Souk in Dubai.

Truth be told . UAE grew up to be one of the most welcoming Islamic countries to the whole world.

Of course there is a difference about prayer between Saudia And UAE. In Saudia , All shops closes during prayer time. ( 25 -30 minutes ). Some shops in UAE do close up but its not enforced like it is in Saudia.

And I do know what you mean about the first time you hear the call for prayer. My Father used to manage a hospital , and an Italian doctor was visiting. It was his first day here ( about 30 years ago ) , and when he heard the call for prayer , he thought the city was under attack. ::) I should feel guilty for finding this funny. ::)

Online Dashenka

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #112 on: October 28, 2013, 06:55:24 PM »
You know what fascinates me about that region of the world? I have been doing some thinking about it and I think I've found out. Despite all the religion in most Arabic nations, the people are more modern in many ways than some countries.

Luxury (cars, houses, jewelry) stands high in a lot of those countries, which seems to contradict with religion but somehow blends in very nicely. That mix of wealth and modernism combined with the heavy religious moral values is such a good and interesting thing.

In Russia, the wealthiest people have NO moral values (with some exceptions  O:) ) and those strong religious people don't care about luxury or wealth.

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #113 on: October 28, 2013, 07:43:17 PM »
Truth be told . UAE grew up to be one of the most welcoming Islamic countries to the whole world.

Of course there is a difference about prayer between Saudia And UAE. In Saudia , All shops closes during prayer time. ( 25 -30 minutes ). Some shops in UAE do close up but its not enforced like it is in Saudia.

And I do know what you mean about the first time you hear the call for prayer. My Father used to manage a hospital , and an Italian doctor was visiting. It was his first day here ( about 30 years ago ) , and when he heard the call for prayer , he thought the city was under attack. ::) I should feel guilty for finding this funny. ::)

The first time I went to Dubai was during Ramadan. It was humbling.. particularly after spending time in Europe and seeing Hong Kong and Singapore. I've yelled a friends who sneeringly refer to the Muslim sense of charity. International Islamic charities are taking a hit after 9/11, but the folks in the Gulf don't look on it as duty, a requirement or a way to get a write off. They, according to the ones I talked with, almost universally look on it as the RIGHT thing to do. To give to those who don't have it as well as they do..and to help their fellow man.  I know the driver I got paired with on two duty cycles was more than happy to explain it.

He said something that stood out to me, years later. "We all want the same thing in the end.. peace, safety and health for ourselves and those we love." He took me to a nice spot WAY off the beaten path and introduced me to Iranian cuisine (finger food) and the local take on coffee (which I like as little as European or American coffee) and answered questions after he broke his fast at sunset. They were simple working joes who could have been anywhere, in fact.. it felt like some taxi cafes and truck stops I've been in back home, or corner stores in Spain/Ireland/Hong Kong.

I refuse to let the man holding an AK and banner wearing a mask be my image of a 'Muslim'. My image is a guy with jeans, a nice shirt, and smoked too much. Him and his friends at prayers while I stood bus watch waiting for them to resume stays with me. I lost my faith a long time ago.. Ireland crushed my faith in organized religion pretty thoroughly but I can respect men of gentle faith who want to have the same things I do. That.. the sight of four bus drivers praying on a holy day is my image of Islam.

The man with the gun, mask and who sends children to die in the cause of God? He's no more a Muslim than Fred Phelps and his followers are christian. They both speak of a faith that largely preaches peace, tolerance and love, and yet do vile things.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #114 on: October 28, 2013, 08:32:30 PM »
While I am not Muslim, I am of South Asian heritage, and as a result am familiar with the religion and culture in many of these areas (as a result of having colleagues and family friends from these regions).  I think this is an excellent thread for understanding the historical and philosophical basis of Islam.  I think it is unfortunate that littlerooster couldn't articulate his remarks in a more civil manner, but I think a deeper analysis of why people ascribe to a philosophy such as his is worth discussing.

From what I have read, these anti-Islamic sentiments are perhaps strongest in some of the smaller European countries, which seem to be undergoing a dramatic demographic shift over the past two decades.  For example, in Brussels, 25% of the population is Muslim - and as has been discussed in this thread, the Islamic faith tends to mobilize itself strongly in the community - leading to the creation of numerous mosques, and other Muslim institutions.  I think many Europeans are troubled that many of their cultural traditions are being largely lost, as a result of a very influential, strongly unified, Muslim presence.  For example, by 2026, Caucasians will be a minority in Birmingham, UK.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/5994047/Muslim-Europe-the-demographic-time-bomb-transforming-our-continent.html

From the American perspective, I think this argument largely falls short - since as we all know, we are a country founded by immigrants, and we should welcome people of all races and backgrounds.  But as far as the European perspective, I think some of the anti-Islamic sentiment is largely a result of immigration policy that is largely detached from what the majority population desires.  In other words, I think many Europeans are feeling that their government is almost 'forcing' a demographic change, when there is no inherent obligation for immigration in the first place in those countries.  Again, I can't speak for Europeans, since I am not a European - but after chatting with many European friends, including some here on E, I am hearing about how the culture of cities and regions has transformed in a very limited time span as a result of demographic shifts, and immigration.

Formless, if you would prefer I discontinue this particular discussion, I can end it.  I just thought it was worth perhaps articulating one of the primary reasons for anti-Muslim sentiment in the Western world.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2013, 08:37:05 PM by ValthazarElite »

Offline ladia2287

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #115 on: October 28, 2013, 11:11:21 PM »
Much of the lack of tolerance comes from lack of understanding. As humans, we are biologically programmed to be wary of anything that is unfamiliar, in case it poses a danger to us. Sadly, through this lack of understanding a lot of inaccurate assumptions are made, such as littleroosters comments. I prefer to gather my own evidence and judge for myself if the statements of others are true. A pity some people are perfectly willing to believe the worst they hear without checking first.

But back to the topic of Islam, I think it was Dashenka who asked why Muslims must fast during Ramadan. As far as I have been able to gather, it is because Ramadan is the holiest month in the Muslim calendar. One must focus on God and their relationship with him as much as possible, and it is thought by some that the act of fasting is a sacrifice to show your devotion to Him. It's the most common explanation I have found. Like the Hajj pilgrimage, fasting in Ramadan is supposed to bring you closer to God.

Incidentally, Jewish people also fast in the week leading up to the Jewish New Year and technically Christians are supposed to abstain from eating meat in the forty days leading up to Easter.

And of course, every Muslim I have met looks forward to Eid al Fitr, the feast that marks the end of Ramadan. The two girls I mentioned earlier always come in with henna patterns on their hands, which often draws curiosity from our customers :)

Offline Skynet

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #116 on: October 29, 2013, 12:04:42 AM »
Another question on Islam:

To my knowledge, "Imam" means a teacher.  Among Shi'a Muslims, I've heard mention of 13 Imams, who are all significant figures.

Do Sunni and Shi'a Muslims have differing definitions/responsibilities of Imams?  If so, what are the differences?

Online Dhi

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #117 on: October 29, 2013, 12:06:06 AM »
From what I have read, these anti-Islamic sentiments are perhaps strongest in some of the smaller European countries, which seem to be undergoing a dramatic demographic shift over the past two decades.  For example, in Brussels, 25% of the population is Muslim - and as has been discussed in this thread, the Islamic faith tends to mobilize itself strongly in the community - leading to the creation of numerous mosques, and other Muslim institutions.  I think many Europeans are troubled that many of their cultural traditions are being largely lost, as a result of a very influential, strongly unified, Muslim presence.  For example, by 2026, Caucasians will be a minority in Birmingham, UK.

That was the picture of Islam that resulted in some very bad publicity for Cardinal Peter Turkson when he endorsed the conspiracy video 'Muslim Demographics.' The lambasting he got suggests to me that people don't generally share that view. Snopes has a very helpful page for disassembling the enduring myth that Islam will conquer Europe through immigration, and it's right here:
http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/demographics.asp

I am also of South Asian heritage and I also work alongside people who are first generation immigrants, and visit Islamic and mixed Islamic countries as part of my work (though I was advised against visiting Saudi Arabia, for my safety). Maybe we share a little bit of the same perspective. My cultural part of the world is seething with conflict over race and immigration. My current part of the world, though, my immediate area, has nothing to excuse its anti-Islamic sentiment except for a wild imagination.

I reside in the Midwest, where the Muslim population is even more vanishingly invisible than its gay population. People are shocked to learn there are Buddhist temples here and demand to know where they are; Mosques are completely off the radar. If you listen to people here talk about Islam, however, such unabashed ignorance is espoused that it's hard to keep quiet. They know nothing of Islam, they have zero exposure to it, but they're rapidly able to stereotype and vilify.

In one smaller town, further into the country, where were no black citizens- zero- until the local school started offering scholarships to black basketball players. When they came, the families of these black students were met with racism and hostility. The homebound people of the town had most likely never seen a black man or woman in the flesh, but once a few families began to move in, racism erupted from every crevice as though it had just been waiting for the arrival of someone to hate.

Sometimes all it takes are "some links" of the uncredible kind to ferment that hate. When I read littlerooster's posts, that is the only thing I see.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #118 on: October 29, 2013, 01:20:28 AM »
Dhi, I disagree with your line of reasoning for several reasons, but I do not want to derail this discussion on Islam.  However, I think we can all agree that hate and intolerance are by no means an appropriate means of amending any perceived wrongs in society.

Offline ladia2287

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #119 on: October 29, 2013, 01:38:35 AM »
You know what fascinates me about that region of the world? I have been doing some thinking about it and I think I've found out. Despite all the religion in most Arabic nations, the people are more modern in many ways than some countries.

Luxury (cars, houses, jewelry) stands high in a lot of those countries, which seems to contradict with religion but somehow blends in very nicely. That mix of wealth and modernism combined with the heavy religious moral values is such a good and interesting thing.

In Russia, the wealthiest people have NO moral values (with some exceptions  O:) ) and those strong religious people don't care about luxury or wealth.

I may be mistaken, but I have been informed that unlike the New Testament, the Qu'ran encourages the faithful to embrace all of God's blessings, including wealth. If God has deemed it fit to bless you with luxuries, according to the Qu'ran it would be a sin to forsake this blessing. At least, that's what I have been told.

Plus, with all the wealth from the oil wells (and now tourism in the case of the UAE), the Arabian Peninsula can afford to be extravagant :)

Online Dashenka

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #120 on: October 29, 2013, 04:02:53 AM »
I may be mistaken, but I have been informed that unlike the New Testament, the Qu'ran encourages the faithful to embrace all of God's blessings, including wealth. If God has deemed it fit to bless you with luxuries, according to the Qu'ran it would be a sin to forsake this blessing. At least, that's what I have been told.

Plus, with all the wealth from the oil wells (and now tourism in the case of the UAE), the Arabian Peninsula can afford to be extravagant :)

A lot of Christians can afford it as well but the deeply religious Christians still think of everybody as equal. (Of course, the leaders of the church lack any such conscious and bath themselves in riches)

Offline FormlessTopic starter

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #121 on: October 29, 2013, 07:27:54 PM »
Callie Del Noire
The first time I went to Dubai was during Ramadan. It was humbling.. particularly after spending time in Europe and seeing Hong Kong and Singapore. I've yelled a friends who sneeringly refer to the Muslim sense of charity. International Islamic charities are taking a hit after 9/11, but the folks in the Gulf don't look on it as duty, a requirement or a way to get a write off. They, according to the ones I talked with, almost universally look on it as the RIGHT thing to do. To give to those who don't have it as well as they do..and to help their fellow man.  I know the driver I got paired with on two duty cycles was more than happy to explain it.

He said something that stood out to me, years later. "We all want the same thing in the end.. peace, safety and health for ourselves and those we love." He took me to a nice spot WAY off the beaten path and introduced me to Iranian cuisine (finger food) and the local take on coffee (which I like as little as European or American coffee) and answered questions after he broke his fast at sunset. They were simple working joes who could have been anywhere, in fact.. it felt like some taxi cafes and truck stops I've been in back home, or corner stores in Spain/Ireland/Hong Kong.

I refuse to let the man holding an AK and banner wearing a mask be my image of a 'Muslim'. My image is a guy with jeans, a nice shirt, and smoked too much. Him and his friends at prayers while I stood bus watch waiting for them to resume stays with me. I lost my faith a long time ago.. Ireland crushed my faith in organized religion pretty thoroughly but I can respect men of gentle faith who want to have the same things I do. That.. the sight of four bus drivers praying on a holy day is my image of Islam.

The man with the gun, mask and who sends children to die in the cause of God? He's no more a Muslim than Fred Phelps and his followers are christian. They both speak of a faith that largely preaches peace, tolerance and love, and yet do vile things.

If people began to see each others for who they are , and not for what they believe in , there'll be a lesser hostility towards each others. Unfortunately , there's always someone who lost his purpose to live , and became desperate to hold onto anything , fell into the trap of these recruiters ( Yes there is many recruiters who enlist people to fight in the name of Islam. Those are the ones really responsible for spreading the extreme visions of Islam. ) Hopefully more will embrace the mind set you have towards religion Callie. Until then , one can only do what he can. :-)

Offline FormlessTopic starter

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #122 on: October 29, 2013, 07:42:06 PM »
ValthazarElite
While I am not Muslim, I am of South Asian heritage, and as a result am familiar with the religion and culture in many of these areas (as a result of having colleagues and family friends from these regions).  I think this is an excellent thread for understanding the historical and philosophical basis of Islam.  I think it is unfortunate that littlerooster couldn't articulate his remarks in a more civil manner, but I think a deeper analysis of why people ascribe to a philosophy such as his is worth discussing.

From what I have read, these anti-Islamic sentiments are perhaps strongest in some of the smaller European countries, which seem to be undergoing a dramatic demographic shift over the past two decades.  For example, in Brussels, 25% of the population is Muslim - and as has been discussed in this thread, the Islamic faith tends to mobilize itself strongly in the community - leading to the creation of numerous mosques, and other Muslim institutions.  I think many Europeans are troubled that many of their cultural traditions are being largely lost, as a result of a very influential, strongly unified, Muslim presence.  For example, by 2026, Caucasians will be a minority in Birmingham, UK.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/5994047/Muslim-Europe-the-demographic-time-bomb-transforming-our-continent.html

From the American perspective, I think this argument largely falls short - since as we all know, we are a country founded by immigrants, and we should welcome people of all races and backgrounds.  But as far as the European perspective, I think some of the anti-Islamic sentiment is largely a result of immigration policy that is largely detached from what the majority population desires.  In other words, I think many Europeans are feeling that their government is almost 'forcing' a demographic change, when there is no inherent obligation for immigration in the first place in those countries.  Again, I can't speak for Europeans, since I am not a European - but after chatting with many European friends, including some here on E, I am hearing about how the culture of cities and regions has transformed in a very limited time span as a result of demographic shifts, and immigration.

Formless, if you would prefer I discontinue this particular discussion, I can end it.  I just thought it was worth perhaps articulating one of the primary reasons for anti-Muslim sentiment in the Western world.

Well , You did point out the key element to this whole argument. Its been only two decades. But Islam came into the negative side of the spotlight because of the 9/11 incident. Before that fateful day , to the whole world , Islam was just ' another religion out there '. It wasn't significant in the media , there were still anti-islamic debates that goes on , but there were mere opinions to the beholder. But after 9/11 , Islam was brought out to the whole world.

Now the whole world knows about Islam , but under the wrong concept. And what fortified that concept was how some Extremists tried to further the emotional impact the 9/11incident caused. Its like they wanted Islam to be ' feared '. Sadly it was only tainted and tarnished. Hated and resented. I don't really blame whoever was exposed to Islam after that incident , if they feared any Muslim. The correcting movement of Islam began too late. But I do hope someday , things will be much clearer to the whole world.

To further the discussion about the demographic debate would take a political path. I wouldn't mind participating if it was in another thread. It is best to save this thread for an informative purpose if possible.

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Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #123 on: October 29, 2013, 07:54:54 PM »
Skynet
Another question on Islam:

To my knowledge, "Imam" means a teacher.  Among Shi'a Muslims, I've heard mention of 13 Imams, who are all significant figures.

Do Sunni and Shi'a Muslims have differing definitions/responsibilities of Imams?  If so, what are the differences?

The term ' Imam ' originally means : The man who leads the prayer in a mosque. He's the Man who stands at the very front , and the rest of the prayers stands behind him.

But as time goes by , to be an Imam , one must be very knowledgeable about the faith. So an Imam is automatically considered a righteous virtuous man. Thus regarded a higher amount of respect among people.

For Sunnis an Imam is just an ' Imam '. Nothing more. For Shi'a , There's those called ' Sai'ed '. This figure can be the equivalent to a priest in the christian faith. People ask for his guidance in any religious matter , ask for his blessings. They even bring their sons , daughters and even their wives to be ' blessed '. ( And yes its exactly what you guessed what is done to ' bless ' someone. )

For Sunnis , there's the Sheikh. Supposedly a Sheikh is a man who attained a wider knowledge of the faith and can help people understand the religion and answers any question. In some countries he is called ' Mofty '. Of course in theory , a Sunni Sheikh does not do anything in regards to blessings. But I will not rule out every single one. Heck some people still use religion to do their own things.

Offline FormlessTopic starter

Re: Islam , A variety of discussions from a non extreme perspective.
« Reply #124 on: October 29, 2013, 07:57:52 PM »
I may be mistaken, but I have been informed that unlike the New Testament, the Qu'ran encourages the faithful to embrace all of God's blessings, including wealth. If God has deemed it fit to bless you with luxuries, according to the Qu'ran it would be a sin to forsake this blessing. At least, that's what I have been told.

Plus, with all the wealth from the oil wells (and now tourism in the case of the UAE), the Arabian Peninsula can afford to be extravagant :)

There is a verse in the Qur'an that advise a muslim to be proud and joyful of God's wealth upon him , but to be careful not to think it was attainable without god's will. So in a way , a Muslim can ' show off ' as long as he admits it was god's wish for him to have those riches.

And for the record , in Saudi Arabia , the mere commoner has nothing to do with the Oil wells. And trust me , the poverty line in my country is going up faster every year.