Closing Statement from Rollin Wildhorse

The striking "Profession of Faith" by one of the visitors here made a deep impression on me. And after a great deal of reflection, over several days, I decided to close out this thread. I realized that the task of reconciling the Islamic world to the rest of the world really is a daunting task. I got a feel for what our diplomats must experience when they approach leaders of Islamic nations. Frustration. And even hoping to open a dialogue was a bit beyond anything I could ever achieve, even symbolically, even temporarily, or even momentarily just on TED. I was hopeful at first. Because if TED can do anything, TED can give us at least a momentary vision of a better and more positive future. That vision might be unrealistic or quite distant in the future if it is ever to be achieved. But TED has a handle on what the George H.W. Bush White House used to call: "That Vision Thing!"

But the single "Profession of Faith" given here by a follower of Islam, did the most to make that clear to me. In no way am I in a position to Judge, or even comment upon the spiritual experiences of any Muslim. That was clear. Furthermore, something here seemed both unapproachable and unassailable in terms of engagement. Even a quiet conversation seemed impossible to achieve. It would take much more than anything I could write or post on TED to sort this out in any meaningful way.

I gave up. I might be deserving of criticism for that. But I gave up.

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    May 16 2013: Dear Juan Valdez,

    I'd like to start defining 'terrorists' or so called 'Islamic terrorists' by our 'free' media:
    A bunch of unknown people who have their POLITICAL agendas and motives which have NOTHING to do with Islam since God CLEARLY says in Holy Quran [for those who want to read]: "...whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind..." http://quran.com/5/32

    Terrorists use Islam to recruit free and expendable soldiers (usually 15~20 years old who are easily manipulated) who'd die for them and kill innocents. These terrorists are MUCH MORE than your average 'Taliban' with AK47 riding on camel on some distant mountain...

    "But to fix this problem the ideas that feed the terror must be rejected. And there, it would seem, is the rub. Can it happen? Will it happen?"
    It IS happening right now. Muslims strongly reject these ideas but sadly evil still remains. Everyday more people realize true beauty of Islam. And by Will of Allah, these terrorists, no matter wherever they hide or how hidden they think they are, WILL be annihilated and suffer in next life ETERNALLY (you can count on that!).

    What is Islam?: plz watch these videos:

    http://youtu.be/hBTykj6D9ss
    http://youtu.be/b2AiThc5KZ8
    http://youtu.be/W-1fE5opgU8

    http://www.whyislam.org/islam/islam-explained/
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  • May 24 2013: I am a Muslim. But I can't be a Muslim unless I believe Abraham and his teachings, I can't be a Muslim unless I believe in Moses and the message given to him by God, I can't be a Muslim unless I believe in Jesus and the message given to him by God. These are the prime requirements for me to believe in all the Prophets of God and all the Books sent by him and then believe in the Quran and the Prophet Muhammed. God through the Quran demands this from me.There is only one God and HE has been giving the same message right from the beginning which found its final shape in Quran.
    This is where the connect lies, our belief in HIM and HIS message. So if we get connected, we can be on the same page. When we get to the same page we have nothing to fear from each other. The opening verses of the Quran in Chapter 2 where the actual message starts, emphasizes constant Communication with the CREATOR and in the same breath and at the same level communication with HIS CREATION. This is the philosophy of our life on this earth.
    I am a Pakistani living in Pakistan. We have lost thousands of soldiers and more thousands of innocent civilians fighting TERRORISM including Al Qaida. We know what it is like to face misguided fanatics and their likes who are exploited in the name Islam. Fortunately they are not many. We know that even when the US and NATO leave Afghanistan, we will still have to face the menace for a long time. And we will God willing be able to control , defeat and eliminate the problem.

    As suggested , we all need to put a concerted effort together to fight them every where and make our citizens and the world safe from further suffering, as we are all followers of peace loving religions. We must continue this effort.
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    May 24 2013: Jaun Valdez said: "...You say: "But, in the end we all die and how we die and, what for, becomes more important then struggling to live as long as we can." In response, I say: Yes, we all die. But how we live is what matters. And living a long, productive life is a very good thing. To quote a fictional character I greatly admire: "Live long & prosper..."

    What we have here Mr. Valdez.... is a failure to communicate.. Quid pro Quo my friend. Quid pro Quo...

    Some live long, some not so long.... what is the average life span you think, taking the whole world into consideration? 67.2 years?

    I was speaking of French Warriors. Al Qaeda are not realy warriors. They, knowingly, harm women, children, old people and pregnate women. This puts them at the bottom of the warrior pile, in the mud and muck. Al Qaeda is a group of none religious people. They hate Muslims and try to harm them all the time. Notice the increase of violence in Afganistan and Iraq, (Muslim on Muslim), since the US has decided to leave those countries. The incidence of Muslim on Muslim violence is esculating. If it contines at the present rate, when all American are gone, there will only be a few Muslims left in a couple of decades. This is sad.

    Islam has nothing to do with violence. Not all people who profess to be Islamic are true believers. Some are violent people, who dislike Islam's virtues and wisdom. If they had to live in peace, they would not have anything to do and they would be lost in a world of Happines. This would only make them sad people.

    Real Muslims are peace loving people who hate war and violence. They want to study Science and make a decent living in the banking industry. They love Iraeli people and want to be their friends.

    So, how would you describe a typical Al Qaeda warrior? Juan?
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    May 23 2013: In my opinion, Western Society is not a Godless society. Not all wealthy people are materialistic. I do believe that Islamic fundamentalists are exploiting vulnerabilities that have crept into the religion of Islam. During the original creation of Islam, the warriors of Mohammad would never kill or set a blade to an old person, child, pregnant woman or any non-combatant because such was considered working against Allah, and would be punished by Allah. To harm an Infidel or kill them is to prevent Allah from leading them to Allah's understanding and therefore, against Allah. Any Martyr who has caused the death of innocent people will not find their way to Paradise. This means that most suicide bombers are tools of Satan, and not worthy of the gifts of Allah. Allah will disown them.

    The Islamic movement became tainted with ignorance and deception when they invaded Constantinople. Being a city that they could not lay siege to, they incorporated bombardment tools, that were not guided by the hands of true Islamic warrior, such as the sword, or hand held projectile devices and could not discern between the innocent and guilty. As such, many innocent people were killed in that battle. Killing innocent people does not yield honor to the word of Allah. It is against Allah's teachings. It is a path to Hell, not paradise.

    As such, Al Qaeda is not an extension of anything to do with Islam. It is a terrorist organization, purely and complete and there exist no true Martyr's in their ranks.

    The subject of Islam is too in depth to answer such questions as you ask. I can say this: the only people who fear the violence of radical Muslims, is other Muslims. To Western society, they are just a simple pestilence that must be completely immobilized. Terrorism, has localized affects but on the whole, is an inefficient tool to create a willingness to force nations to negotiate and turn to Islam. A better path is .show the happiness and joy one feel in following the teachings of Allah.
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        May 23 2013: Yes, you are correct. Thank you for drawing that to my attention. I have rephrased the sentence.

        I personally don't believe we need to resort to nuclear devices to resolve the problem. Doing it in a more human manner will result in many deaths, ours as well as theirs. But, in the end we all die and how we die and, what for, becomes more important then struggling to live as long as we can.

        There are many more of us than there is of them. If America were to pull out of the game, France would just step up their efforts. Their warriors are fantastic; well trained and dedicated special ops soldiers. We will not allow them to claim all the fame of eradicating this form of violence from our planet. We would also like for others to put some money into the effort. We can only do so much ourselves.

        The truth of the matter is, Terrorism hits us in the one spot where we are most vulnerable -our pocket book. If you study how the Muslims rose to prominence and (eventually) became the Ottoman empire, you see how serious and powerful a tool that religious zealotry is. In the beginning, the Muslims were outnumbered and outgunned by every other nation of the earth at that time. It took a long time for them to become the Empire they became. This is what they are (actually) working towards. Islam is just one of many tools they are using in their arsenal. The Suicide bomber is to them like the bombard was when they brought down Constantinople. The Muslims were the first to use cannon as a siege weapon. The leaders of these people live in many nations. They are not all situated in the Middle East.

        They live here in the US, England, all over Europe and Russia. What we have to do -and it is a long journey- is to convince their cannon fodder to long for western ideals and comfort. Instead of nuclear bombs we need to make more cell phones, distribute them for free and come up with some kind of antenna network that is hard to destroy.
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    May 23 2013: I'm betting you have probably watched these two TED talks :
    - Bobby Ghosh: Why global jihad is losing
    http://www.ted.com/talks/bobby_ghosh_why_global_jihad_is_losing.html
    - Lesley Hazleton: On reading the Koran
    http://www.ted.com/talks/lesley_hazelton_on_reading_the_koran.html
    I think they answer your question to an extent.
    These two TED talks gave me the impression Islam was "meant" to be a religion of peace (teaching forgiveness and compassion). I may be wrong on this though!
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        May 23 2013: I am not Muslim, So I don't feel I am able to comment further.
        However it is worth saying (unfortunately) that Bin Laden ideas are still not dead, and his ideology (his distortion of the word "Jihad") is still very active. This in-turn encouraged prejudice (mostly formed by revenge (due to 9/11) and ignorance) against Islam. Considering in Britain (where I live) a soldier was just hacked to death in London terror attack, where an Islamic extremist murdered a British Soldier. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22634468
        I personally find this very upsetting...
        The man who killed the soldier was ideologically motivated, due to the "atrocities" committed by British Soldiers in countries like Afghanistan.
        Did you watch the other TED talk as well?
        Regarding (the original meaning of) Jihad, I feel it is a pursuit worthy of admiration and praise.
        Kind regards,
        Bernard.
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        May 23 2013: However I do view (somehow) that Islam is still a religion which its core teachings preach compassion and forgiveness. Bearing in mind most of these "extremists" are more politically motivated, and Al-Qaeda distorts the Koran. To mean what they want it to mean.
        Watch this short video ("On Iran, Islam, and Amazingly Stupid Comments") : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kB-5Srv05M
        I view Leslie Haxelton gave an accurate description of the Koran. Yet it saddens me that so much media distorts the message of the Koran (like the "72 virgins myth").
        I think a quote which comes to mind is from Winston Churchill : "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
        I personally have found this has happened a lot with Islam! :-(
        Kind regards,
        Bernard.
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    May 17 2013: Maybe you should get a copy of the Koran, written in English, and read.
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    May 17 2013: As already expressed by other friends here making Islam synonymous to Al Qaida it's nothing but politically motivated propaganda.
    Just think when Al Qaida born ? Was not there any Islam before Al Qaida was born? Who gave birth Al Qaida and nourish them for long and why ?
    Then questions come which Islam you want to know. There are lot of sects with in Islam and each sect and leaders of each definitely and followers to some extent think only their sect is right all other are invalid .
    Reading the Quran doesn't solve it as it needs explanation from which different sects evolved. If one reads translated version question comes which translation is one should follow , which becomes another debate.
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    May 16 2013: Try reading the Quran, it's mostly propaganda, though, and a poor transcription of other scriptures. Perhaps there is a better book about Muslim philosophy.
    I learned a lot from reading 1001 Nights.
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        May 17 2013: You couldn't have read the Bible eating nachos in the Middle Ages.
        I believe in progress...
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