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04 June 2017

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turcopolier

Peter Brownlee
"Crusade ideology was almost identical to jihad, as the warrior who was killed fighting for the faith was supposedly guaranteed admission to heaven. The passing of time showed that this was an aberration in Christianity." No. It was not "The passing of time." It was the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation that led eventually.to at least a partial change of attitude. Nothing like that has ever successfully occurred in Islam. Islam remains a religion that reflects the medieval mind set. pl

jonst

I would reverse your formulation Harry. Respectfully. It was primarily a religious war, with a wrapper of chic radicalism, 70s style, and a touch of seasoning in the form of profit taking.

turcopolier

imagine

You know very well that I am writing of violent jihad, not spiritual struggle. Don't be condescending. People here are not ignorant. pl

mo

Sorry Colonel, I really don't see how I prove your point. Just because I point out that what one group of people claim to be is erroneous and say exactly why, does not equate to me believing that other versions of Islam are invalid. Nor does it equate to my belief that Islam is universal rather than various. In fact, I believe that Islam can only be various, not just between groups but on an individual basis and I do not make claims of validity to any particular sect be it Shia, Sunni, Sufi or Druze.

The Sunni/Shia divide has existed since Karbala but it has rarely manifested itself in violence and Sunnis and Shia have co-existed without feud or fighting far longer than they have ever done at war with each other. The differences may be "irreconcilable" but this has often led to honest and open dialogue between the two rather than war to the extent that Al Azhar also teaches Shia theology.

So what never ending violence do you mean? Almost a thousand years were Sunni and Shia lived and fought together? If the divide was so deep would Nasrallah be evoking the memory of Saladin? The divide is there but not this level of hostility in the last one thousand years which if truth be told is a one way hostility.

In my opinion, the current hostile atmosphere is a result of two things but emanating from one place: Saudi Arabia. It is a reaction to the influence the Resistance Axis was having on the Sunni public as it was seen as Shia led, and it is the export of Saudis nasty cancerous beliefs. You can call it vanity if you wish but there is a reason the black and white minstrel shows are found to be obnoxious. It doesnt matter how much boot polish you put on a white man, he will still be white.

P.s Most theological and clerical scholars have decreed that the self-immolation practiced at the Karbal Remembrance is wrong and should not be done.

Babak Makkinejad

All:

Col. Lang is generally correct.

And Muslims will reject the idea of Islam being non-political theoretically.

Several centuries ago, the Iranian people as well as the other Shia decided that they best leave the articulation of Islam and who is and is not a Muslim to the ayatollahs in Qum, Najaf and elsewhere.

In this they followed Plato's advice that in search of Truth, the layman must go to experts in Truth just as he would seek a physician in case of illness.

The political ramification of it was that for the most part, you would not find a number of Shia Muslims going into a room and deciding that they constitute the True (Shia) Muslims and every one else was a heretic.

With the advent of the Islamic Republic of Iran, this process has accelerated, attempts are being made in Hawza of Qum - led by the Iranian Government - to mitigate and limit even more the autonomy of the ayatollahs in issuing statements that could endanger the state.

After all, you could not have some obscure Ayatollah or Sheikh al Islam issuing a fatwa that contravened the edicts of the Islamic Government, headed by the Supreme Jurisprudent - no state or government could function in such a manner.

In a way, it is like Anglo-American political scene in which Lawyers, who are experts in an obscure body of knowledge called "Law" play a very important role - some would say detrimental - in the government.

Clearly, you cannot let 4 lawyers go into a room and decide that they are the only True patriots and everyone else is a traitor.

I stated this on this forum several years ago: basically the only way you can stop "jihadism" is to organize Muslim governments along the lines of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in my opinion.

turcopolier

mo

"Just because I point out that what one group of people claim to be is erroneous and say exactly why, does not equate to me believing that other versions of Islam are invalid." I think it does. A judgment that some belief is "invalid" is just that. Universal truths are aspirations in Islam. They are not actually universal. pl

Babak Makkinejad

This Iranian guy was in Mecca a few years back and was discussing Islam with this blind Wahabi Sheikh.

The Sheikh maintained that Quran did not require contextual knowledge for its interpretation (things such as grammar, hadith, analogy, history, logic etc.)

The Iranian responded by quoting the verses 16 & 17 of the Cow Chapter - with its allusion to the inability of the blind ( and deaf, and mute) to see God.

The blind sheikh started swearing at him next.

A man with gun most likely would have killed him.

turcopolier

Curtis

There is a deep seated disbelief in the Islamic culture continent concerning the actual possibility of other than zero sum outcomes in business deals. I have had endless conversations with ME businessmen on the subject of the desirability of win-win outcomes. The more 'evolved" will agree with this line of reasoning based on Western business experience but when the crunch comes submission is always sought no matter how elaborate may be the courtesy rituals that accompany it. This attitude prevails among Christians as well in that part of the world. In politics the Camp David II talks were a perfect example. The Israelis and Americans believed that the outcome would emerge in a Hegelian dialogue. The Palestinians assumed that the outcome should be known in advance and that the Israeli willingness to talk signaled a willingness to accept Palestinian maximal demands. When that did not occur the Palestinians believed themselves betrayed. Surrender in both business and politics is suitably "padded" with elaborate politeness. pl

curtis

Surrender in both business and politics is suitably "padded" with elaborate politeness

Reminds me of Asian cultural behavior (Japanese in particular).

Thank you.

jr786

As a Muslim, albeit a not very dutiful or observant one, I have no objection to the restoration of a caliphate, nor can I see any reason why any other Muslim would.

I certainly don't agree with the theo-political concepts, or methods of IS, but would much prefer a Muslim world that negotiates and determines such things independent of outside intervention, let alone locked into borders decided upon by the British Foreign Office and Churchill's table manners.

The fitna that has bedeviled the Muslims since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and before, comes from lack of unity, lack of cohesion. Is it still necessary to remind each other of what the Prophet said about tribalism, and its implicit posterity of nationalism and ethnicity?

Fred

Tyler,

There are some who alive who still have his spirit.

Dubhaltach

In reply to Robert44 25 September 2014 at 09:06 PM

I have an Irish republican father and did most of my growing up in the Middle East. I find the way in which Western secularists such as you pontificate about wars and societies in which religion plays a major motivating role actually quite funny in a ghastly "let's pour more oil on to the burning oil slick" sort of way.

The war in Northern Ireland is a continuation of the War of Independence which led to the British withdrawal from the 26 counties. It's a war in which a Catholic people have consistently resisted attempts by armed colonial and protestant invaders to subjugate them and to create a colony loyal to the protestant British crown.

For historical reasons if you're Catholic in Ireland it's pretty certain that you're descended from the original Irish and that you're a member of a community that gives its political allegiance to the idea of a free and united Ireland there are various shades of nationalism but ultimately for all of them an independent and united Irish republic is the goal.

If on the other hand you're protestant in Ireland it's pretty certain that you're descended from the invading colonisers and that you're a member of a community that gives its political allegiance to the idea of continued British sovereignty in the Six Counties still occupied by the British.

" political, not religious in nature. Think Northern Ireland." - To this day in Northern Ireland people on all sides of the divide routinely think and refer to their political opponents as "Catholic" or "protestant" respectively. It is ignorant in every sense of that word to try to pretend that what's going on there is - and I quote you directly "political, not religious in nature".

Similarly in the Middle-East the struggle between Sh'i and Sunni in its various manifestations is intrinsically both religious and political. Islam is inherently political in that it prescribes not only how individual believers should behave but also how the communities in which they live should be ordered.

Religion is a major part of identity both individual and communal. Get used to it.

Dubhaltach


Dubhaltach

In reply to FB Ali 25 September 2014 at 10:53 PM

Agreed. In particular this bit:

"You seem to exaggerate the 'value' of money. Perhaps everything can be bought in America, but that is not the case in much of the rest of the world."

Dubhaltach

Dubhaltach

In reply to Peter Brownlee 26 September 2014 at 01:43 AM

Thank you for that link to "A Deadly Mix of Tribalism and Religion" - by Lawrence Cross. Well written, well argued, and with much food for thought.

Dubhaltach

Dubhaltach

In reply to mo 26 September 2014 at 09:08 AM

" The divide is there but not this level of hostility in the last one thousand years which if truth be told is a one way hostility.

In my opinion, the current hostile atmosphere is a result of two things but emanating from one place: Saudi Arabia. It is a reaction to the influence the Resistance Axis was having on the Sunni public as it was seen as Shia led, and it is the export of Saudis nasty cancerous beliefs."

Agreed, and they're exporting it. There's a proposal floating around in what for lack of a better term I'll call Nordic-Europe that imams should be licensed by the state in the same way that priests and preachers are. The idea is that an imam needs to be aware of and respect the social, political, and legal realities of the country(ies) in which he lives and preaches. The motivation behind it is that at least in Scandinavia the experience has been that Imams have been appointed to mosques backed by Gulf state money - mostly Saudi but sometimes Qatari and sometimes Kuwaiti but always very hard-line Muwahhidun.


Dubhaltach

Dubhaltach

In reply to turcopolier 26 September 2014 at 08:40 AM

I wonder if it would be possible to orchestrate their gasps and set them to music. I can see the musical direction for the overture to Turcopolier the Oratorio now:

"Allegro ma non troppo, un poco inorridito"

Dubhaltach

Babak Makkinejad

I know many people - even some misguided Shia Muslims - deplore the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire; not I.

Good riddance....

toto

@Tyler:

Well, Charles Martel kicked the Arabs out of France. This is being fought in Arab lands.

We don't need a natural-born warrior. Ideally we would need a Frederick II - a man (or woman?) of superior subtlety and intelligence, who would actually try to understand the situation and address the long-term problem, rather than just throw more men and bombs at it.

jr786: My understanding is that many muslims want unity - until you start asking for which rules (or rulers) they should be united under.

Considering the difficulties in uniting the relatively homogenous European nations, claims of building a "Caliphate" are bound to be fig-leaves for conquest and submission of dissenters, at least for the foreseeable future.

mo

The Islamic code says that any Muslim living in non-Muslim lands must adhere to the laws of that land and if they conflict with their religious duties then they should leave rather than break the law of that nation. Licensing would only drive these people into preaching in homes and private property and make them seem like martyrs.

The best response is to ensure there are people in the mosques who are well versed in religion to counter their arguments and sometimes even the invented verses they concoct.

mo

Those Shia obviously have no idea of the way Shia were treated by the Ottomans

turcopolier

mo

"who are well versed in religion to counter their arguments and sometimes even the invented verses they concoct." Which "religion," the kind of Islam you prefer? So, you think that those you don't agree with invent verses from the Qur'an? Or is it from the versions of the Hadith that you do not like ? pl

Haralambos

All or any
Perhaps of interest to several here, as an expat American for 37 years, I have spent 25 of that in Greece and 12 in Portugal during which I have managed to observe a few characteristics. In Thessaloniki, where I have spent my 25 years, I learned that this part of northern Greece achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, and I have heard a number of stories of the locals and edited a number of books and academic articles on the then and current situation. The Ottoman legacy is much more marked here than in many parts of Greece. A couple of personal accounts might help to paint a broader picture of that. In my Greek course at the Aristotle University, I had a Greek instructor whose mother was as refugee from Izmir (Smyrna in Modern Greek) who fled during the war initiated by Greece after the Ottoman defeat in WWI. The Greeks invaded thinking that they could achieve their irridentist Grand Idea (Megale Idea) of regaining Alexander’s empire. They were defeated, and this led to as mass pogrom of both Greeks and Armenians. The Greek and Turks on both sides of the then-border were “repatriated” according to the Treaty of Lausanne (1923 if memory serves).
My Greek teacher’s mother was a young girl who was evacuated as a refugee by one of the ships that helped folks out. She landed in Thessaloniki and had the name of her father’s employer’s brother who had a butcher shop here in Thessaloniki. Long story short is that the families exchanged deeds to their respective properties, the Turkish family took the ethnic Greek family in until they were both resettled, and that was one human encounter that I find a cause for some limited optimism at present.
That said, I find a great number of western attitudes to be projections of western fantasies and ignorance of day-to-day life throughout this part of the world and in regard to Islam and the ME. Col. Lang and others point to these often. I will offer a anecdotal observations. On Col. Lang’s observations on negotiation and business, I hope I will not be judged as exceeding pedantic when I point out that Herodotus, considered by many to be the founder of western history undertook to tell of and celebrate of the heroic of both the victors and the losers. He also pointed out that the Persians considered the Greeks rather uncivilized in that they did not conduct business under the roof of the bazaar but in the open air. The Greek word for bartering or haggling is pazari, which I believe derives from the same root. I have observed this numerous times both in Greece and in in Istanbul, where western ideas of value and those of the bazaar differ. We westerners tend to think of market value in different ways than in the bazaar. In the latter, the seller has a notional lowest price, and the haggling is an attempt to reach a compromise in which each side feels happy. Often such “negotiations” are the result of common acquaintances. I recall going into as stall in Istanbul in 1980 and spending two hours with a carpet merchant who answered my questions, gave me tea, and kept offering his wares at lower prices despite my insistence that I was not in the market to buy. I left with the promise that I would buy from him on my next return. In contrast, a British friend went through the same routine a year later and four hours and many teas fled when the merchant came down to her initial offer or thereabouts out of fear of “being cheated.”. He pursued her indignantly but not threateningly. She confessed to us that she made a huge mistake.
Obviously, times have changed, and the current dynamics of international relations are much more complex than buying a carpet, but the projection of stereotypes of the universality of cultures is dangerous. Apologies for the length of this.

Fred

mo,

"The best response is to ensure there are people in the mosques..."

You mean the government must monitor all assemblies of Muslim worshipers to ensure they adhere to the correct interpretation of the religion?

turcopolier

haralambos

I have made mant a deal in bazaars from Fez to Peshawar and have enjoyed beating the poor bazaari down to the point at which I insisted on giving him more money than he agreed on. To do that was easy if you understood his culture. Sorry, I suppose that is a stereotype. On the other hand I have made business deals worth hundreds of millions. Every big business man I ever dealt with in the ME was out to screw the other side in the deal. if you think I am spreading bigoted stereotypes, go somewhere else to read. BTW read Hemingway's "On the Quai at Smyrna." The scene was in Alcinjak around the corner from my house. I particularly like the part in which the Greek Army broke the knees of ther horses and mules and pushed them off the pier to prevent their capture by Ataturk's men. pl

Fred

toto,

re: Charles Martel. I think we need plenty of natural born warriors though perhaps not as president.

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