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Bernard White

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Islam. Is it a "religion for peace"? Do we understand it? Have we treated it unfairly? (With prejudice and discrimination?)

Considering recent events like "Woolwich" (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22664835) I can imagine many feel that Islam isn't a religion for peace.
However I would implore you to watch those TED talks linked in the description (especially "Lesley Hazleton: On reading the Koran" and "Bobby Ghosh: Why global jihad is losing") to get a better perspective on Islamic culture, and its true teachings (of peace and compassion).
All of these TED talks clearly indicate that Al-Qaeda (and other organizations) have distorted the true message of the Quran (or Koran), for instance in the Quran (or Koran) it never mentions "72 virgins".
It is interesting to note that Al-Qaeda's motives seem more political than religious. And their method of recruiting people (http://130.154.3.14/content/dam/rand/pubs/reprints/2006/RAND_RP1214.pdf) where they seem to use various psychological mechanisms (like "conformity", "obedience", "dehumanization", and imbue a "conflict of interest") to make their cause seem more reasonable. This is quite vividly seen in the TED talk "Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: Inside a school for suicide bombers" in the description.
However Philip Zimbardo (if I remember correctly) in his Book "The Lucifer Effect" argues that many of the suicide bombers were of middle class, or high class origin. So nobody is immune.
Before I say any-more I strongly recommend everybody (at least) watchs this short (3 minute video) : "On Iran, Islam, and Amazingly Stupid Comments"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kB-5Srv05M.
Now my last part :
Do we treat Islam unfairly?
Have our nations (the west) genially incited hatred towards us by our exploitation f their nations. (If this, of-course, is true!).
Considering (on another note) that most Islamic people are just normal nice people. Like me or you! :D

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  • May 27 2013: it is supposed to be about peace...islam means peace....but the media chooses to only show hate
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      May 27 2013: How do you think we can solve this?
      • May 28 2013: Thanks, Bernard.
      • May 29 2013: educating people not to discriminate same goes for racism and sexism
    • May 27 2013: I thought the word "Islam: meant "submission." Do you wish it to be otherwise? WOMEN=MEN. Yes, women are different than men. Yes, men are EQUAL to women. Truth works to achieve the positive goals of people.
      • May 29 2013: islam=salem=peace.................perhaps peaceful submission
  • May 28 2013: Islam like christianity and every other religion can be either a religion of peace or of war depending on how its applied. I live On the North side of Chicago about 2 blocks from an area highly concentrated with Muslims and i must say that the ones that stay by me are real good people and i always feel safe in their presence because they seem to have a calm demeanor. I think peoples views get distorted because people only see the bad on the news which in a lot of ways may be influenced by the political and socio-economic conditions of there countries. None-the-less Islam is a belief system and it alone cannot
    committ terrorism, only the people who let it inspire them to do so. Look at christianity it inspires people all over to do good but does and has inspired much evil as well so....
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      May 28 2013: I agree! :D
      It does seem sad to me personally.
      I'v always liked a quote by Bill Maher : "Jesus, as a philosopher is wonderful. There's no greater role model, in my view, than Jesus Christ. It's just a shame that most of the people who follow him and call themselves Christians act nothing like him."
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      Jun 2 2013: To Keith Wessman: You describe Muslims as, " . . . real good people and I always feel safe in their presence because they have a calm demeanor."

      That is exactly the thing that I admire the most about Islam. I intend to explore that further!

      To Bernard White: Why is it that Bill Maher is so seldom wrong? I met Bill Maher at one of those "Jesus Land" theme parks in Florida a few years ago. He was looking for comedy material. I told him that he was wasting his time. There is something about Evangelical Christianity that does NOT lend itself to giggling or other forms of laughter. It wasn't long before he agreed with me. But Bill Mahr is irrepressible.

      Oh, and here is a Neurological insight for your other conversation on God: I've caught myself using the self-conditioned tools of faith as a management device. Forgive the intentionally cynical pejorative, but whatever this "Religious-crap" does to my brain, it makes managing things much easier.

      Steven King, the Author of best-selling horror novels, once commented upon the Reptile Brain. "Sometimes the Reptile Brain just says: KIll them All!" The interviewing Journalist just had to sit in stunned silence when he heard that. That may well be the secret of Stephen King's Success in the genre of horror.

      When my Reptile Brain says: "Kill them All!" If I can focus some Religious Thinking into my consciousness, it seems to activate my Limbic System and pacify everything. And it is more complex than just meditation. I'll have to reflect upon that. I will.
  • Jun 1 2013: Skelton's history is am evil caricature, he has never read any thing about Islam except from his Islamaphobe website.                                                                                                                                4 ) How can you show love : only  by doing good to His creation  I leave you this verse to ponder over.
                  Verse    2/ 62. Surely, those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians,and the Sabians, whoever believes in God and the last day, and DOES GOOD, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.
             ( Paradise is not exclusive to the Muslims only )
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      Jun 1 2013: From the 2nd Inaugural Address of President John F. Kennedy:

      I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.

      The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe – the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.

      We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

      Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

      This much we pledge – and more.

      Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.

      We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt.
  • May 28 2013: Seems to me that the biggest problem with most religions, when they form an integral part of the politics, is that they take and get too much power. The love of God, or whatever they call Him, and the love of the neighbour change into love of self.

    This article is a Swedenborgian perspective on the Islamic belief system. There are in fact many similarities, one of which is a belief in One God, not three.
    http://webhome.idirect.com/~abraam/documents/Islam_NCL95new.rtf

    One of our basic doctrines is
    "All religions have goodness in them. People of every faith are saved if they live sincerely according to their religion."
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      May 28 2013: I'm sceptical of your last claim ("All religions have goodness in them. People of every faith are saved if they live sincerely according to their religion.").
      Considering if you watch the TED Talk "A.J. Jacobs: My year of living biblically" (http://www.ted.com/talks/a_j_jacobs_year_of_living_biblically.html) seems the Bible has some pretty horrible bits in it. Thus if you were to live "according to their religion" (as a Christian) you would have to do some pretty horrible stuff, if you were to have a literal (or fundamentalist) interpretation of the Bible.
      • May 28 2013: This is about all present religions. As I said elsewhere, the Old Testament should no longer be applied literally. Just as we do not go back controlling and forcing an adult person on the level of a child. The Old Testament, the New Testament and now the Second Coming (which we often call the 'Third Testament') are three stages of guidance adjusted to the human condition or spiritual development. Each religion interprets what it sees as Revelation and is not perfect doing that, but on the whole there is a level of good in that interpretation and development to make it applicable.

        Living Biblically may be a cute and interesting project for an individual, but it is not for a church to apply.

        As an aside, Swedenborg also says that Islam came about (was initiated by God) primarily to offset the Christian belief in three gods.

        This is Swedenborg's booklet on the Sacred Scriptures,
        http://webhome.idirect.com/~abraam/documents/sacredscripture.pdf
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          Jun 2 2013: Swedenborg apparently recognized that, in the eyes of Almighty God, Islam got some important concepts exactly right.
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        Jun 2 2013: Thanks for the video, Bernie, it shows the limits of what religion can add (or take away) from one's life. A.J. Jacobs made his thought/life experiment last a full year. That by itself is deserving of respect. I appreciated his points about living life with gratitude; and how people become what they think about.

        Mr. White, I actually enjoy your willingness to focus upon religion as the world's "Great Opportunity for Irrational Thought . . . " I cannot describe how refreshing I find your mildly acerbic, and terribly dry British wit. I would hope that, by comparison, my own "Yankee horn tooting & drum beating" is not too unbearably Philistine and Evangelical. But I don't apologize for quoting here the Second Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy. So much of that brief address is right-on-point in the struggle with terrorism.
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          Jun 2 2013: :-)
          I freely admit that religion has a lot of positives, yet it also has a lot of negatives.
          I personally have never been able to make up my mind on the matter of whether religion does more harm or good.
          (sorry to get off topic, as always!)
          Do you view religion is a "force for good in the world"? (Or more specifically Christianity?)
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      Jun 2 2013: Sir Adriaan Braam, whom this day I BeKnight "KC-KGT" [Knight-Commander- Kindness, Generosity, & Thoughtfulness] &:>) I confer upon you, this day, all the Honours; Privileges; Responsibilities; and Duties commensurate with same.

      As sole-heir to the Russian Romanov Dynasty, I am a pretender to the title of "Tzar of all the Russias."

      I am one of 12 or so living, (and about 243 or so now decedent) "clone-twins" of Alexi Romanov, heir to Tzar Nicholas at the time of the Soviet Revolution. It would seem, that I am a living product of Soviet Science!
      Да здравствует Revlolution
      Может Великой победы советской науки жить вечно!
  • May 26 2013: I believe that we try to treat Islam fairly but when terrorism occurs then we start to panick and get extremists mixed up with normal Muslims. We know that Islam is a peaceful religion but we are easily influenced by the shocking acts of terrorism. This causes us to be more prejudice unconsciously of normal Muslims as we forget how extorted the views of extremist Muslims are compared to Islam itself.
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      May 26 2013: Hello Johnny! :D
      I agree completely.
      Kind regards,
      Bernard.
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    May 26 2013: I am privileged to quote here from Wheed Bhatty:

    22:29 UTC Friday, 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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    Jun 2 2013: Sir Adriaan Braam, whom this day I BeKnight "KC-KGT" [Knight-Commander- Kindness, Generosity, & Thoughtfulness] &:>)

    Adriaan Braam was kind enough to share a Paul Bloom Review Article upon which the Atlantic Article you shared in your other (God vs. Neuroscience) conversation was based. I quote the abstract here from Annu. Rev. Psychol. 2012.63:179-199. Professor Paul Bloom does an excellent job of reviewing all of the applicable literature on the subject. And thank you, Professor White, for introducing me to same.

    How did religion evolve? What effect does religion have on our moral beliefs and moral actions? These questions are related, as some scholars propose that religion has evolved to enhance altruistic behavior toward members of one’s group. I review here data from survey studies (both within and across countries), priming experiments, and correlational studies of the effects of religion on racial prejudice. I conclude that religion has powerfully good moral effects and powerfully bad moral effects, but these are due to aspects of religion that are shared by other
    human practices. There is surprisingly little evidence for a moral effect of specifically religious beliefs.

    My conclusions from that are simple: Even without the faith of Islam to shore up and solidify their beliefs, the membership of Al Qada would most likely still want to kill us all. They would just have to find some other justification for doing so. And I hope that the point I have developed here sustains that.

    The danger to Islam itself from Al Qada is real. If Al Qada gets all they want in terms of killing White people (nothing personal there, Bernie :>) Irradiate/kill a million or more of us and nuclear missiles will fall on Mecca. Perhaps Muslims should question their own faith & insist upon a return to the origins that the Prophet Mohamed intended. Ibthaj Khilji Reply 4 days ago: This is a great TED talk by Haroon moghul about Political Islam,
    http://www.youtube.com
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    Jun 2 2013: I find the Woolwich murder to be very curious.
    The practice of dismemberment seems to be a new thing.

    I first heard of it from a Syrian friend who was perplexed by the sudden practice of dismemberment in his home-country's civil destabilisation. He had no cultural basis by which to compare this behaviour and was in anguish at the inexplicable need to do such a thing.
    And then, a few months later, it appears on an English street.

    To my appreciation, this cannot be coincidence .. I would say that it is the act of provocateurs - and remember that it was the English themselves who made a fine art of such provocation.
    If you take the assumption that an agency is behind the outrage, then one must question the intention - why is Islam being recruited as the object of revulsion through these acts?
    Are Muslims being groomed as the scapegoat for a deeper agenda?
    One needs look no further than the machinations of the powerful to see that it will be used to dispossess the land under Muslim feet - and to blind the world to a dangerous insight that Islam might reveal.

    Islam, like all religion, is a tribal totem. And as all religions, has been diluted beyond the true scale of the tribe in order to harness large groups of people into nations, empires, and corporations.
    The dilution of the tribal totem is called "Civilization" and has served only psychopaths from the dawn of history.
    We come now to the great paroxysm - the final orgy of psychopathy.
    If any human survives it, it will be by returning to the true totem of tribes no greater than 200 members. The window of opportunity depends on creating a code of harmony amongst the tribes.
    (continued by edit)
    I talked to my Syrian Friend today . the Syrian conflict has announced its intention to try to avoid civilian zones of struggle .. this is announced by both sides .. however, my friend says " When elephants fight, the grass is crushed."
    Kill the elephants - it's the only sanity left for grass.
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    Jun 1 2013: Simply put, no matter what religion you follow your conscious will ALWAYS tell you what is right and what is wrong. The way you interpret these "feelings" is you choosing to see it like that.

    God would not have you kill, in my eyes.
    God would not have you cause the suffering of others in any way, in my eyes.
    God would not ask things of you that he would not do himself, in my eyes.

    But me I'm not even sure that I believe in God and if i must say "There is a god." I would call that God "My Conscious", just as i have.

    What is always with you and speaks to you?
    How can you tell if something is right or wrong if you've never known anything about that particular something?

    It all leads back to you and your thoughts. So it's said we were created in Gods image, so that leads me to believe God has a conscious as well. For what does God need a conscious if he is the Almighty? All these Bibles and Qurans are simply MORTAL MEN writing books.

    And now i will prepare for the religious storm i just started.
  • Jun 1 2013:           Further comment on Skelton- Jesus is one the greater prophets whom all Muslims rebere and love . We are not talking about him but how you have followed his message of peace and love and turning the other cheek. 
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      Jun 1 2013: After the events of 9/11/2001, Diplomats from all over the world spoke quietly and in secret with their Diplomatic counterparts in Islamic nations all over the world. The message was simple. "You have made a great mistake." And there was a warning. Because of the attacks of 09/11/2001, the Christian people of the Unites States of America were very willing to go to war. And they did. They fought two wars at the same time.

      Yes, Jesus said "Turn the other cheek!" but the United States of America is a great nation. And many of the Christian people in the United States believe that the U.S. is a nation favored by God for the sake of the righteousness of the people. The words: "In God we Trust" are written upon all U.S. currency. Those words are there because all people of all nations need to know: We Believe It!

      Read the words of President John F. Kennedy here.
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        Jun 2 2013: The unites states is finished.
        The stroke of the towers hit hard because of the tension that was built-in to the city and the nation.

        It took only a nudge.

        Wait and watch as your evil collapses upon you - it is too late, your god is false and will join in your downfall.
        We will succour your refugees and teach them who god really is.

        Be still. All is well.
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          Jun 2 2013: I can't wait! ¡Viva la revolución

          And just what is it that the united states is finished with?
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      Jun 1 2013: I understand what the Quran says about Jesus, that is the main argument. They say prophet, I say, and so do all/most christians, He was the Son of God. The Gospels are witness to this. There being four satisfies the law of at least two witnesses shall come forth.i paraphrase Deuteronomy 19:15. That point alone is the major schism in the different christian denominations alone.
      As to your request, My testimony starts out horrible. I didn't know of Jesus or anything to the effect of christianity. fast forward 22 years later, I was truly saved in 2002. I have slipped off the path one way or the other, and at times i even took a detour, trying life on my own. I am now back on the path and have been blessed with many gifts. A great family being one. Turning the other cheek is by far one of the hard ones. However, the point of the story is not to defend yourself.
  • Jun 1 2013:               This means there are two aspects to obeying  God a) worship Him b ) do good to His creation. The importance is that you are to be assessed on these points as If you were given two must-pass tests. This is the significance  and role of love In Islam.
                    Thus a man retires to a solitude and spends all his time praying to and worshipping God but has cut himself off from all humankind and has not done anything for them,  that is he has not done any good , he does NOT  qualify for Paradise ( except for the Mercy of God.)
                      Similarly , there are non-believers who have done good to Allah's creation. I believe they will merit Allah's  mercy, for indeed He is the Merciful, the Compassionate. He can forgive any sin against Himself.
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      Jun 1 2013: John F. Kennedy 2nd Inaugural address:

      In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.

      Now the trumpet summons us again; not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are; but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation" – a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.

      Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?

      In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility; I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it – and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

      And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.

      My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

      Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength & sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing & His help, but knowing that he but knowing that here on Earth God's work must truly be our own.
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    May 31 2013: Look at the foundation of the religion. Islam was founded by Muhammed. He was thrown out of Mecca for his preaching and then went to a neighboring city, amassed an army, and overtook Mecca in a war. Placed himself at the head of everything. Jesus Christ, fulfilled all prophecies of His coming, (which the odds of doing so have been calculated to an astronomical number) preached peace and love, then was falsely accused and crucified, (a plan which He knew of and accepted,) in order to fulfill the law of His chosen people. Yes there are those that have twisted the religion to an unrecognizable form, but the foundation of the religion will let you know what it is all about.
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      Jun 1 2013: Jon, I quote JFK here, but when I look at what is going on in response to Leslie Hazelton's talk I have to worry.

      They really do need to read the words of JFK and realize that those words are more true today than they were in 1963.
  • May 31 2013:      How should a religion with Spanish Inquisition, burning of heretics at the stake ( Joan of Arc ) , disembowelment and quartering, the treatment of slaves ala ROOTS,  the I.R.A. and  K.K.K. , and recent history of GITMO. ABU GHAREB. BAGRAM  written bold across its history , be viewed?  And all the while proclaiming the love and peace of Jesus and God , and stressing  the beauty of "turning the other cheek ."
              This link could open your mind
    DShttp://www.juancole.com/2013/04/terrorism-other-religions.html
          But I have had many Christian friends , Godfearing, pious, loving , generous and humble in spirit, just as Jesus would desire. I therefore  know that the above described picture is not the true representation of Christianity. 
           Do you even have a nodding recognition of any Muslim?
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      Jun 1 2013: Earlier in this conversation, I talk about Christianity and some of the atrocities that have occurred in my lifetime in the name of Christianity and Jesus. But I also speak about how the faith of Christianity has managed to correct its own errors & continue to follow the teachings and example of Jesus.

      I do not consider myself "old" in any sense, but I remember racial intolerance when I was a child. I was very small, but I remember when both John F. Kennedy & Rev Martin Luther King were shot dead by assassins. In the case of Dr. King, many whites justified the assassination, using their own misinterpretation of Christianity. Members of the Secret Ku Kluk Klan believed that they had a secret mandate from God to torment, abuse and kill African Americans. "We have to keep those people in their place!" They would say.

      But the same "Christian" nation that (in many parts) condoned or even welcomed the assassination of Dr. King, has since elected Barak Obama President. And President Obama attributes the fact of his election to the courage and sacrifice of Dr. King. He was 7 or 8 when Dr. King was shot. Dr. King was an ordained, Christian Minister. He gave his life in hope of change. President Obama is part of that change.

      So I guess with this, I have a very simple question: Is there any real hope? Will the leaders of Islam amend and correct from within to eliminate the threat of Al Qada? Or will Al Qada succeed one day in the Terrorist Nuclear destruction of Houston, or Detroit, or Cleveland? And if two cities of the west suffer Terrorist Nuclear Destruction, with as many as one million dead, there will be anger and war. And the first Islamic target evaluated for counter-strike will not be conventional targets in Yemen or Darfur -- but another, place. The Nuclear missiles will fall upon the heart of the problem.

      The Prophet, Muhammad, May His Name always be remembered, spoke the words of Allah, the Merciful. He placed the "Heart" of Islam in Mecca.
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    May 29 2013: I think the better question is why is Islam associated with such acts of violence and oppression? When asking this I think of Ayaan Hirsi Al; Salman Rushdie; the Dutch cartoons; the murder of Theo Van Gogh the Dutch TV director; the Australian Muslim who refused to stand for the Magistrate; the recent Stockholm riots; or the withdrawal and pulping of a university newspaper that lampooned all other religions, but when the Muslim issue was printed the university demanded the pulping of the newspaper through fears of potential violence (link here http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/uni-bans-koran-satire-for-fear-of-violent-backlash/story-e6frgcjx-1226650955420).

    Also, why is it that Islam is associated with such grand acts of violence and violent demonstrations?

    I do not believe that any religion is violent or peaceful - it is its adherents who are violent and contort their religion to justify/validate their actions. Remember Christianity was no angel (forgive the pun) when it come to violence. In America today there are radical Christians who are murdering abortion doctors.

    What is missing is the lack of condemnation from the non-violent adherents of the violence of their brethren - regardless of religious choice.
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    May 28 2013: This is a great TED talk by Haroon moghul about Political Islam,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUoPwVpLBBk
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      Jun 2 2013: Thank you, Haroon Moghul is great! I want to hear more from him. At the end of his talk he describes about the "Overlap" between how U.S. Americans view their place in the world, and how Muslims view their destiny in fulfillment of the words of the Prophet Muhammad. This insight is something I have been searching for. And Professor Haroon Moghul seems to know so much.

      I am a Christian. And I am not the kind of person who will abandon the faith of my fathers. I was trained in faith as a Fundamentalist & Evangelical Christian. I am/was a member of the largest protestant denomination in the U.S.A. But I have always recognized something very special in Islam. There is something in Islam that puts iron in the soul. It straightens your walk and quiets the mind. I like that. But I am still a Christian.

      I am also trained in Science. And I have to hold myself accountable for that view as well. But it would seem that there is something tremendously powerful within Islam. And Haroon Moghul addresses that obliquely in his talk. I want to hear more. He is telling me what it is that I already think.

      This sounds kind of silly. But If the human body and spirit are compared to an automobile I see a difference. Christianity delivers a clean new family sedan, something like a Buick or Chevrolet. But Islam seems to deliver something that runs like a Ferrari. The engine hums with power. And it is that power that makes Al Qada so dangerous to both the non-Muslim and the Muslim world. Al Qada, and what Haroon Moghul calls "Political Islam" may one day destroy Islam.

      If Al Qada succeeds in killing one million U.S. Americans, nuclear missiles will fall upon Mecca. I believe this. I am not a Prophet like Mohammed; I am not the Messiah like Jesus. But I know this to be the truth. And that will pierce the heart of every Muslim in a way that will make the entire Earth Bleed.

      Let's not do that.
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    May 28 2013: tsarnaevs in boston. the wtc attackers. those that tried to kill malala yousafzai. the mumbai bombing in 2008. this is just a very thin set of examples. at some point, we need to give up the position that these actions has nothing to do with their religion. islam might not directly teach aggression, but it seems that its teachings lend themselves for misinterpretation, and often leads to ire and also justification of terrible actions. nobody except islamists call islam the religion of peace. islamic people does not look too much peaceful. compared to buddhists for example.
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      May 28 2013: Buddhism has extreme prejudice towards Islam in Sri Lanka (and other nations) : http://asiancorrespondent.com/108235/sri-lanka-monk-self-immolation-highlights-anti-muslim-campaign/ and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22356306.
      What say you?
      Considering Buddhism teaches peace and compassion, just like Islam does.
      Also Buddhism (in Sri lanka) has become quite commercialized. When I went there anyway.
      Buddhism doesn't teach "consumerism", if anything they teach against it.
      Considering they make you pay (large amounts of money) to go into certain temples.
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        May 28 2013: i'm having hard time getting your point. for every ten islamic terrorist, you tell me one buddhist. fair? your turn.
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          May 28 2013: Well.
          I would say in these countries for every 10 Buddhists theirs one Islamic PERSON.
          Please did you read those links? (At all?) Read this one first : "Why are Buddhist monks attacking Muslims?" (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22356306)
          Your turn. (Why the "your turn"? :P)
          EDIT : I notice your a Buddhist yourself. Which makes this conversation (if you forgive me for saying) slightly biased on your part.
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        May 28 2013: you can also spot "atheist" there. try to reconcile this.
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          May 28 2013: Simple.
          Buddhists can be Atheists, and Atheists can be Buddhists.
          Just like Christians can be Buddhists, Buddhists can be Christian.
          I'm not sure how this impact my argument at all...
          Considering I am an agnostic (or call me an atheist if you wish), and yet see the many positives in religion. So I don't think I have much of a bias when I say "People distort the Koran (or Quran)".
          You just have to accept that Buddhists are doing many acts of violence, which goes against their teachings. Just like some Islamic people are doing.
          My point still stands : "in these countries for every 10 Buddhists theirs one Islamic PERSON."
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          Jun 2 2013: Does "Krisztian" translate to "Christian" in U.S.A./English? I study the meaning of names as a hobby. Maybe it is only a trivial form of "divination" -- but you take insight where you find it.

          The TED talk (Haroon Moghul) video link offered by TEDvisitor Ibthaj Khilji here is tremendously instructive in terms of how dangerous a perversion of Islam can be. Haroon Moghul has insight into how potent & destructive the Terrorist-thought of Al Qada can be. He also has a vision of how crushing the perversion of Political Islam can be. As I see it, the issue at risk here are the fundamental rights and political liberties of mankind. I think Haroon Moghul would do better to reframe his terms. Political Islam is better described in English as Political-Tyranny Islam.

          We'll take that word "Tyranny" away from Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and the Tea Party.

          Oh, this is the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUoPwVpLBBk

          And you won't find this talk on TED. Some (quite reasonable) interpretations of Islam apparently provoke a great deal of insanity on blog sites like here@TED. Look @ what's going on in the commentary following Lesley Hazleton's talk on Islam. This is the problem that has to get fixed.
  • May 27 2013: "jihad"
    "cut of heads, hands, feet""
    "Al-Taquiya" (lie to non-Islamic people)

    ALL in the Koran.
  • May 27 2013: Some people argue that all Muslims are bad people. At first, I had that conception about them because every time there was a terrorism attack, most of the people said: Islam people again! However, I met a Muslim guy from Uzbekistan a few days ago and he explained me that this misconception about this religion is due to Islamists from Afganighstan and Iran. So, we should not think of them as bad people. The only ones who can stop this are they.
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      May 27 2013: :-)
      Out of interest, I am always curious to know, how is Islam perceived in countries like "Afghanistan and Iran"?
      It really does seem to me that the media gives (and feeds) a very negative impression of Islam.
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    May 26 2013: Part Three
    So all human institutions (and Churches) face 3 challenges. They must 1) Keep it Real! They must 2) Keep out the Crazies! They must 3) encourage, empower, and nourish the human spirit.

    Finally, 3) the Religious leadership must strive to empower & nourish & encourage the human spirit. This is where simple acts of kindness, generosity, and caring make all the difference. People support one another in faith. And people can find the strength to overcome many obstacles in faith. People overcome addiction, dysfunctional families, poverty, suffering, sickness, & affliction. They go to church to christen/name their newborns. They mark the coming of age of children. They marry & create families. They mourn & bury their dead. They can & do shape, build & rebuild their lives with a full understanding of God and Faith. This is the core function of a house of worship. It must nourish, empower, & enable the fulfillment of the human spirit.

    This last is where our secular and irreligious society has dropped the ball. We have so cocooned ourselves from the more primitive challenges faced by people living in places like Afghanistan that we don't need to depend upon religion in the way that we once did. Technology has done this for us. But in either ignoring or neglecting these spiritual issues, we've left an opening for "the crazies" to accomplish some really bad things. The events of 9/11/2001 are the best example of that. Think about it.

    I'm not saying that we all need to get religion and go to church. But we do need to take a lesson from history. The TED talk by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy identifies one aspect of the problem. Let's take a hard look at the rest of it. Let's start working on some solutions. And as I said elsewhere, So does Islam!

    NBC News Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel has reported (if obliquely) on some of the behind-the-scenes meetings within Islam on these issues. He's reported "progress" and "hard work" but not much specific.
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    May 26 2013: Part Two
    I am speaking from the perspective of history & my own Christian faith. All houses of worship have to accomplish three broad tasks. First, they must keep it real. Second, they must keep out the crazies. And third, they must empower & nourish & sustain the human spirit. And it's the 3rd that makes all the difference.

    First, Keep it Real! A house of worship needs to be relevant and engaged. Christian Churches, both Protestant and Catholic, meet needs at multiple levels. Current social issues are on the agenda. Current events are interpreted & explained. Doctrines are made relevant. Political issues & faith perspectives are addressed from the pulpit. Church leaders engage like the Biblical Prophets of Old. They forever call the people to choose what is good & righteous over what is evil & corrupt. This we expect & understand.

    Now the second issue: Keep out the Crazies!

    I don't refer to crazy followers. Jesus & his followers cast out Demons & healed the mental afflictions of many. Often there is healing in faith for the mentally afflicted. But crazy LEADERS are another matter. Jim Jones led his Christian sect, the People's Temple in murder and suicide in 1978. The Branch Davidians were originally a conservative congregation of the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church. But David Koresh led his congregation in murder and then in fire-suicide after a 51 day standoff w/police. There are other examples.

    The leadership of Christianity & Secular society must often act in concert. They have to protect people. We can't have crazy men claim power through faith & then kill people. Perhaps Jim Jones & David Koresh are anomalies. But the responsibility remains for those who lead. Both secular institutions (police) & faith/churches must act to identify & exclude crazy leaders and crazy doctrines that can poison the mind & destroy lives. And so must Islam. That's the point: So must Islam.

    The TED talk by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is proof of this last. So must Islam.
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    May 26 2013: Part One

    Christian Fundamentalists call the statement made by Wheed Bhatty - a "Confession of Faith." A "Confession of Faith" is a very powerful statement of fundamental beliefs & must be accepted at face value. I am encouraged by and am grateful for this.

    On the other hand, I just watched the TED talk by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. That, by itself, is grimly frightening beyond words. I found that video terrifying. And it may foretell a terrible future for us all.

    Islam is a major world religion that is only a few centuries younger than Christianity. All major religions have some important commonalities & face similar threats from within & without. I speak here only for Christianity. I have ZERO authority to speak for Islam. I speak only for Christianity in general and hope to make a very broad but valid point.

    Christianity is not unique as a major world religion. And as you look at the history of the Christian Church, you can see much. Leaders meet in private or in secret and work out their differences. They also identify and deal with threats. The council of Nicaea adopted The Nicene Creed. That too is a Profession of Faith. It was adopted in the city of Nicaea (İznik in what is now Turkey) by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325. Here is a strong, documented instance of Church Leaders responsibly protecting the church from "problem doctrines" & "poisonous ideas." See the Wikipedia article on: "Ecumenical council."

    The Wikipedia article reports a lot of detail. By that, these councils look like a bunch of boring "Committee Meetings." Still, if you realize that for the work being done there, these meetings were every bit as important and as intense as the 1st & 2nd Continental Congress(es), & the Constitutional Convention (1787), which created both the structure & governing institutions of the United States of America. Enduring and relevant human institutions have a knack for successfully getting things done in this way.
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      May 31 2013: The striking "Profession of Faith" by Wheed Bhatty, quoted here made a deep impression on me. And after a great deal of reflection, over several days, I decided to close out my similar thread on this issue. 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 I had very little luck w/that here!

      But the single "Profession of Faith" I quote 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 entirely self-evident. 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.