Doctor, kvg medical college

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why is islam grossly misunderstood??

why is islam grossly misunderstood??
why is people who doesnt know much about islam so keen in attacking islam?
why an event in islamic countries more focused than others by our media??
why is not prophet muhammed considered great??

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    Sep 14 2011: Just after I made my last post, I logged on to Yahoo! News. This was one of the headlines:

    "Gerard Butler receives death threats at TIFF"

    The TIFF is the Toronto International Film Festival. Gerard Butler is an actor.

    He plays a character in a movie. The character in the movie is a preacher in the Sudan who is helping Sudanese children.

    Sudan is a Muslim country.

    Muslims are threatening to kill an actor for playing a Christian character in a Muslim country ... in a movie.

    Why do you think Islam is grossly misunderstood?
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    Sep 15 2011: Islam is misunderstood because of fear.
    People often attack that which they do not understand, because they are afraid of it/them.
    The media focuses on it because fear seems to attract people as observers.
    Prophet muhammed is not considered great by some people, because he did some things that do not seem acceptable.
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    Sep 23 2011: Thanks Thomas, that was helpful and I agree with you - that makes sense.

    Krizstian - I did care, because I was interested in your comment, so I respect Thomas for responding to my curiosity.
    I also have respect for your opinions, but I would respect you more if you didn't say things like "you are not worthy." There's nothing to be gained by belittling other human beings. If there was anything worth learning from the TED community, it would be that we should be trying to help each learn new things and understand the world more, instead of cutting conversations short with ego trumpeting.
  • Sep 21 2011: C'mon gentlemen, TED is not the usual fanboy forum where people bash at each other "OMG I PAWNZZORZD YOU, TOTAL OWNAGE!!"

    Nobody is all dark, nobody is perfect, we all have to learn to live with each other, and that's also true on the Internet.

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    Sep 15 2011: It is now the time to stop all sorts of stereotypes and propaganda. Islam is likely to be set for propaganda. Islamphobia is a result of those who tend to misuse and tarnish the image of Islam. However, by detecting mutual believes and common points, a possible dialogue between the three religions could happen. One good example of this would be monotheism; all three religions believe and worship the same God. Historically, we are all children of Abraham, like the ‘Fatiha’ in Islam; there is the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ in Christianity. In addition to this, even the name of God in Islam ‘Allah’ is almost sound hearing to the Jewish name of God ‘Eloh’. As a result, the more we feel these common points, the more we feel close to each other and the more dialogue could exist.
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      Sep 15 2011: I visited a church that held service with a priest, an Imam and a rabbi for all 3 religions. They do this once a year on the theme of peace. Maybe they're an example?
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        Sep 15 2011: Franz --


        My priest Fr. Michael O'Connell, has been a leader in this sort of multi-faith leadership. He led a visit to the Holy Land, where all three religions began, with a group of leaders for all three faiths, and others from different religions, too..

        This website provides a snippet of video from a documentary that was produced on their "Journey of Faith"

        I very much see efforts like these and the service you mention as critical methods to promote peace. There are no more "qualified" professionals than they to bring religions together -- and most important of all, each faith's respective flocks.

        Perhaps the biggest lesson they learned from the journey was the importance of relationship. For all their religious differences, and their were tensions that cropped up around these differences during their shared journey, was the power of relationship that holds the reality of "other" through even the most difficult divisions.

        Many thanks, Franz, for illuminating this example.

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        Sep 15 2011: Here is a TED talk that supports what you have all been saying in this thread and the bridges that you are building. It is by William Ury:

        (Out of thumbs up for you Franz but please keep sharing!)
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      Sep 15 2011: Hamza,

      As-Salamu Alaykum.

      And thank you for reorienting us with your wise thoughts.

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      Sep 15 2011: This is a practical suggestion on how to diminish some misunderstanding between three religions. Excellent idea.

      Now, what can we do about the misunderstandings between the religious and the non-religious members of our one, large family?
  • Sep 14 2011:

    The PEW polls are a great source of information for determining the perceptions of both sides.

    I find quite a few things interesting as I read through the data provided.:
    -Muslims want to be identified first by their religion. (for good or bad)
    -Westerners separate religion from who they are, to a much larger degree
    -Muslims have a more negative view of Westerners than Westerners do of Muslims (stereotyping is more prevalent in Muslim societies)
    -MANY millions of Muslims feel that killing innocent civilians through suicide bombing is justified.
    -Many Muslims feel that leaving the religion should be met with death
    -The way Muslims view Jews is extremely frightening
    - Muslim countries don't like each other to a large degree
    -Western nations are much more inclined to place blame on both sides, rather than just the opposite point of view

    I will not get into my personal views of religion and Islam in particular other than to say that i don't like any of it. It is rather obvious to me that the ignorance, intolerance, propaganda, etc. is a two way street and that the evidence points toward Muslims being the more extreme in their hatred of non-Muslims than non-Muslims feel toward Muslims.
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      Sep 14 2011: Jason --

      The data tracks regards numerous things. Particularly that Muslims want to be identified first by their religion. But this is equally true of fundamentalist Christians.

      And, for each data point, one can construe equal and opposite points, ie:

      There is equally shocking data that shows millions of Christians, Jews, atheists and agnostics feel killing innocent civilians is an unavoidable consequences of acts of war. I know many who fit this model.
      There are equally frightening ways Christians, Jews and others view Muslims.
      Western nations don't always feel the love for each other, either.

      And I have to disagree with you regards your perspective of Muslims as being more extreme. It is not what I perceive in my observations of people of various faiths, ethnicities and beliefs.

      For example: I know many Muslims who are exceedingly grateful to Western countries, like mine, that have accepted them. They speak with deep despair about the violences of their fringe members. Not least, because they are losing family to Muslim violence, too.

      Many I know fear leaving their children out of view for three reasons. The first is the odds that they children could get in with the wrong crowd of Muslim fundamentalists. The second is the odd that their children will be racially profiled and judged more harshly for innocuous infractions, due to their faith beliefs. The third is their desire to insure their children are safe and learn behave as good citizens.

      • Sep 14 2011: Andrea,

        I will be the first to place blame on fundamentalist Christians as well as any other extreme point of view that is intolerant of others due to prejudice based on ignorance.

        I know great people of all religions, ethnicities, genders, nationalities. For me to feel that someone is worthy of my friendship, none of the aforementioned "categories" enter the equation. I only judge a person based on how he or she treats me and others. The "evidence" of the PEW Global polls shows that a higher percentage of Muslims stereotype Westerners than the other way around. This needs to be acknowledged in order to have a constructive conversation on how to change perceptions.

        Placing blame is different from bring facts to the table. You seem to feel that I am pointing a finger? I am only attempting to level the playing field in order to move forward in a more successful manner.
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          Sep 14 2011: Jason --

          Appreciate your clarification. I don't question your intent.

          But want to engage a larger picture and address your comment that the data provides evidence that "Muslims are more extreme in their hatred." This is a selective and subjective analysis of more nuanced data, which does not paint Muslims as "more extreme in their hatred." I could not find evidence supporting "MANY millions of Muslims believe that killing innocents through suicide bombing is justified."

          Your characterizations, whether you intend or not, echo rhetoric style of misinformed or misplaced information that lacks balance. And can begin to sound like propaganda without it.

          Muslims reported feelings that Westerners are: violent, greedy, fanatical, selfish, immoral, intolerant and arrogant. Beyond the fact that Islam has more than it's fair share of fanatics, few Westerners could argue with their views. It should also be noted, given Muslims are quite literately in the global cross-hairs, it tracks that they might express more defensiveness.

          Most important of all may be trends and methods used in how the survey was conducted. All Westerners were interviewed by phone. All but one section of Muslims was interviewed face-to-face. This calls into Q the objectivity of the data.

          Face-to-face encounters can allow for subtle communications queues that phone calls cannot. Face-to-face is generally preferable for eliciting greater insights. There are elements of mutual trust that can be conveyed that can't be conveyed via phone.

          If my logic is correct here, it follows that Muslims would have been more forthcoming and candid in their interviews than Westerners.

          So, again, this calls into Q environmental realities that could correlate, such as lack of phones. If Muslims were interviewed face-to-face because they don't have sufficient communications technology, one could imagine their biases towards Western models and consumer ideals would be unfavorable.

      • Sep 14 2011: Andrea,

        I apologize... The link I provided did not give the info on the suicide bombing that i mentioned (I have spent a lot of time on the site and assumed that information was in the link I gave without reading through it first).

        This is one that gives a partial list. There are others, but this is first that I found at the moment.

        I get my feathers ruffled quickly when I sense hatred propaganda in use... Please research PEW Global. I assure it is a reputable organization. No propaganda intended on my part. I have a habit of calling it like I see it though...I think you can relate.
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          Sep 14 2011: Jason --

          Your claims are way off base and feed the very propaganda you claim to reject. From the very first paragraph of the research you cite supports your claims:

          "Majorities or pluralities among eight of the nine Muslim publics surveyed this year say that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians can never be justified to defend Islam; only in the Palestinian territories does a majority endorse such attacks."

          More than 90% of Muslims reject suicide bombing.

          Your selective use of Pew's data undermines the integrity you defend them having. They contrast with yours, it seems.

          I'd have to agree with you. Pew's ideals seem good. Though, I'm beginning to Q your sincerity.

      • Sep 14 2011: Andrea,

        Claim information bias if you want. That is certainly your prerogative. Your "Real People" trump "Distant Data" assertion does have some logic to it, but to use that argument to deny these surveys is, in my opinion, a weak one. Skepticism is a good thing, but in the face of reliable information, one does have to at least consider the other point of view and be willing to go out of his or her comfort zone.

        The way I see it, these surveys are not perfect, but do relay a much more accurate portrayal of global attitudes than any human can conceptualize through personal relationships. I am fairly willing to take these particular surveys at their stated percentage error. From Andrew Kohut down, the entire organization is basically a shining example of journalistic integrity. Do you challenge that assertion?

        The surveys show BOTH Muslims and non-Muslims as guilty of stereotyping the other. The survey shows that people who follow Islam want to be identified as Muslims first, therefore it holds that they be grouped together in their own minds when anyone says anything about a Muslim...whether it applies to them or not. Derogatory claims and assumptions against "Westerners" by Muslims are equally, if not more, common. There is a word "Islamophobia", but there is not a "Westernophobia" to counteract it. Why is that? Why do you argue against any of this? I admit that some of the information is frightening, but reality is frightening at times.
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          Sep 14 2011: Jason --

          No claim of bias. Just of notable trends in data collection that can't be ignored when assertions stand on data-driven information. And, I can't square how Pew's data can be utterly reliable given the dissonances in how it was collected.

          I don't think any person or institution can claim the crown of immutable objectivity. But, I feel it is best to be up-front about potential weaknesses in research. I know this is not the "norm" in institutions and culture, but we simply have too many examples that show that facts and research can lead to quite unintended consequences. Which I'm sure Pew is well aware and seeks to avoid.

          No doubt, stereotyping and bias is not the single domain of any person, people or organization. It is inherently human. And, I'll cop to the fact that I Q the biases of my own culture and those I put faith and trust in more than others. Perhaps it is my way of preserving this hope and belief in humanity I have. And desire to keep close the realities that I am aware can undermine those I who truly seek to obtain and hold their integrity and values at the highest, most humane levels they can.

          But Q-ing interpretations is what scientists and researchers can do best. So we put greater faith in the information they deliver, and thus expect greater stewardship of it by respected organizations like Pew. They likely seek to retain their standards of integrity, and if so, welcome constructive feedback, even if it calls for more efforts on their part to be transparent.

          I'm interested in your views. What do you make of Pew different methods for data-collection for the Islam and non-Muslims?

      • Sep 15 2011: Andrea,

        Are your true colors beginning to show?

        Quote: "Your claims are way off base and feed the very propaganda you claim to reject. From the very first paragraph of the research you cite supports your claims:
        "Majorities or pluralities among eight of the nine Muslim publics surveyed this year say that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians can never be justified to defend Islam; only in the Palestinian territories does a majority endorse such attacks."
        More than 90% of Muslims reject suicide bombing.
        Your selective use of Pew's data undermines the integrity you defend them having. They contrast with yours, it seems.
        I'd have to agree with you. Pew's ideals seem good. Though, I'm beginning to Q your sincerity. "

        Just with the eight Muslim countries listed in 2009, Pew reports that well over 50,000,000 followers of Islam feel that suicide bombing is justified against innocent civilians in order to protect their religion. I call that many millions...The most extreme countries, along with many others, are not included in these numbers. Why is an innocent civilian a threat to their religion?--answer: An innocent civilian is not a threat, but hey, if they kill enough babies and elderly, they just might put the fear of God into the rest of us, right? The majority of Muslims should not be judged by the actions of the extremists, but those who remain silent against such actions speak volumes with that silence.

        Point to where I have been selective in my information reporting or have mislead with false information. Also, please tell me what I have to gain by spreading harmful propaganda.

        You can surely come up with a better manufactured accusation against me than this. Your Pew Research inquisition didn't go so well, so you are trying to go after the messenger now? For someone who claims to be for human rights, you sure have a strange way of showing it.
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          Sep 15 2011: Jason,

          Cite and directly quote your source. The figures you claim are nowhere in the research you linked. Though, it may be true. I suppose somewhere in their research Pew has data that shows 50,000,000 non-Muslims feel that collateral damages to innocent muslim citizens.

          However the most recent research on Muslims by Pew, affirms Muslims shared rejection of terrorism:

          Here's a snippet from Pew, dated August 30, 2011:

          "Muslims in the United States continue to reject extremism by much larger margins than most other Muslim publics, and a higher percentage views U.S. efforts to combat terrorism as sincere than did so in 2007. At the same time, majorities of Muslim Americans express concerns about Islamic extremism here and abroad - worries that coexist with the view that life in post-9/11 America is more difficult for U.S Muslims."

      • Sep 15 2011: Andrea,

        The numbers you are using do not include Nigeria, but they are more recent. I will use them instead of the 2009 numbers i was using...

        % of Muslims who feel that suicide bombing against civilians is often or sometimes justifiable:
        -Pakistan-- 5% of 169,000,000 population = 8,500,000
        -Turkey-----7% of 75,000,000 population = 5,250,000
        -Indonesia-10% of 230,000,000 population= 23,000,000
        -Jordan-----13% of 6,000,000 population =767,000
        -Egypt-------28% of 83,000,000 population=23,000,000
        -Palestine--68% of 4,000,000 population =2,700,000
        -Lebanon---36% of 4,250,000 population =1,500,000

        Total = 64,700,000, but not all of these are Muslims. I did the calculations to take out non-Muslims for the other data set, but I will not again. I can safely say this final number is over 50,000,000 as well. This is based on only 7 countries. 28% of Egypt supports suicide bombers often or sometimes. I did not include any of the "Rarely" percentages for any country. Do you refute any of this data?

        These %'s are taken directly from the "Overwhelming Majority Say Suicide Bombing Never Justified" graphic in the "Support for Extremism Remains Negligible" section once the page is expanded for additional info.

        Why are you so unwilling to acknowledge these numbers?
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          Sep 15 2011: Jason--

          To take a study with data that clearly supports the assertion that the "Overwhelming Majority Say Suicide Bombing is Never Justified" and seeking to deny the primary findings of the data by parsing out details is corrupting its findings and propagandizing them for causes contrary to the weight of the full evidence they show.

          The perduring fact is many, many, many more Muslims reject suicide bombing against civilians than support it. Balanced by the fact that many, many, many Christians support collateral damages against civilians as the cost of war,

          I'd say your argument is not only flawed, but impotent.

      • Sep 15 2011: Andrea,

        "Though, it may be true. I suppose somewhere in their research Pew has data that shows 50,000,000 non-Muslims feel that collateral damages to innocent muslim citizens."

        Are you saying that intentionally targeting innocent women and children in a non-war zone is the same as collateral damage in a war zone? I am Not saying that collateral damage is acceptable in war, but to link the two as equally evil strikes me as inhumane.
      • Sep 15 2011: Andrea,

        Your quote: ""Though, it may be true. I suppose somewhere in their research Pew has data that shows 50,000,000 non-Muslims feel that collateral damages to innocent muslim citizens."

        My Question: "Are you saying that intentionally targeting innocent women and children in a non-war zone is the same as collateral damage in a war zone? I am Not saying that collateral damage is acceptable in war, but to link the two as equally evil strikes me as inhumane. "

        Your answer: " I think killing for any reason, anywhere is inhumane."

        That couldn't be a bigger cop out and does not come close to answering the question. Does this mean that the premeditated murder of a child is the same to you as a police officer's bullet ricocheting while defending the public from a mass murderer and accidentally killing a civilian?

        Are both "Killers" equally evil in your opinion? Are you brave enough to answer the question with a yes or no answer?
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          Sep 15 2011: Jason--


          I do not believe a police officers bullet ricocheting accidentally killing a civilian while defending the public from the in-flesh presence of a mass murderer attack is inhumane.

          I'd like to be clear about this "in the flesh" point and in "attack" mode. Even good people sometimes see imminent threat where there is none. And this is where I think it is best for all the check their guns--and their perceptions of reality--before drawing them on one-another.

          Here is my comment amended to reflect your call-out:

          "I think intentionally or recklessly killing anyone for any reason, anywhere is inhumane."

      • Sep 15 2011: Andrea,

        Quote: "To take a study with data that clearly supports the assertion that the "Overwhelming Majority Say Suicide Bombing is Never Justified" and seeking to deny the primary findings of the data by parsing out details is corrupting its findings and propagandizing them for causes contrary to the weight of the full evidence they show.
        The perduring fact is many, many, many more Muslims reject suicide bombing against civilians than support it. Balanced by the fact that many, many, many Christians support collateral damages against civilians as the cost of war,
        I'd say your argument is not only flawed, but impotent."

        I never did anything other than provide facts. You are the one who has fought them the entire conversation to this point. Just to be clear...Are you still fighting against the information provided with Pew surveys? It appears that you went from accusing Pew of propaganda, to accusing me of propaganda, to acknowledging the validity of the information, but saying it doesn't matter?

        How many millions world wide feel it is okay to blow up innocent civilians for the perceived threat to their religion? In my opinion, it is MANY millions...Do you deny this? If so, what would constitute many millions for you? ...Many does not mean majority. I never claimed a majority.

        All of the propaganda has been coming from you so far... Show me specifics of how my arguments are flawed and impotent?
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      Sep 14 2011: What do you mean by MANY?
      Is it a thousand, maybe more? Is my neighbour one of them?
      I think you make a big, BIG mistake as most do by talking after the news-headlines.
      The whole thing has nothing to do with being Christian or Muslim, it has to do with extremists and the rest of the world. These people are fascists by nature because they were brought up that way.
      • Sep 14 2011: Read the results of this poll and others on the site. You will see what I mean by MANY. Do the math... multiply the percentage points by the millions of residents of each country. I will not do the math for you, looking it up yourself is much more effective. Saudi Arabia, and Iran are not even included in the survey...What do you think the results would show for those countries?

        News-headlines and facts from a respected survey can be very different things. Show me how these results are not legitimate or sensationalized and I will change my tune. The site shows unbiased information from both sides. Make your own conclusions.

        I agree, the extreme problem is in how these people are brought up. I said recently in another TED debate that much of the problems with fundamentalist thinking are the fundamentals in which that thinking is based. Who is right in the Christian faith...The one who says to love everyone as yourself or the one who says that homosexuality is an abomination and Gays and lesbians should be stoned to death? Who is right in Islam, the one who says that a man can beat his wife if she disagrees with him or the one who says to love everyone and violence is not the answer? Much of the problem with both religions is the books they are based on. There is no denying that either. least there is no denying that to my way of thinking. People can be blinded by faith.
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          Sep 14 2011: I think the whole problem wear out with a few generations. Here in Amsterdam we live with people of more than 170 nationalities. Being different has become normal and accepted. People are the same the world over but cultures that stand with one leg in the stone-age have some difficulty to adapt. Family bonds and tradition hold up the process.
          The more everyone mends his own business the faster it will go.
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          Sep 14 2011: Jason,

          My interpretation of the data is it is skewed by methods the pollsters used. This doesn't deny your personal views -- which I largely agree with.

          But it does deny the validity of the data. For a global influencer like PEW to be painted as the be-all of facts, it must provide fully balanced methods of data collection. Which it didn't with this study.

          Had the research been qualified upfront as using different methods of data collection for Muslims respondents than non-Muslims, the disclosure itself would demonstrate a certain level of objective integrity.

          Because it didn't PEW's objectivity must also be scrutinized, in this case, as subject to both their different treatment of data between populations as well as perceptions of who would purchase and use their findings.

          Given their economic involvement and global influence this must be taken into consideration as of significant relevance. They are paid for providing data that is construed to be factual. But data collected with "apples and oranges" techniques doesn't meet the scratch-test of unbiased and, thus, factual research standards.

          Thus, PEW itself is expressing bias. Which, frankly disqualifies them as fact-deliverers at the very least. Given the implications of their research, I'm troubled.

          All this said, I am grateful you've engaged this dialogue Jason. It is never easy defending personal intents with outside facts. And I don't question your attempt to do so.

          In doing so, you've (if unintentionally) invited all to question how we interpret institutionalized interpretations of what is taken as granted as fact. A good reminder, in my mind, that "real people" trump "distanced data," every time.

      • Sep 15 2011: Frans "The whole thing has nothing to do with being Christian or Muslim, it has to do with extremists and the rest of the world."

        you are making one big mistake here. no good religion in the world say murder for gain under whatever circumstances. i based my opinion on New Testament & Dhammapada.
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          Sep 15 2011: Maybe some muslim can state that what you assume about Islam is true or not and maybe why it is so.
          Maybe you know the details yourself and will share this so we can discuss this. It should be very important for the image Islam holds in the world.
      • Sep 15 2011: Frans: quote Maybe you know the details yourself and will share this...

        Quran (2:191-193) - "And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]... but if desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah."

        Quran (2:244) - "Then fight in the cause of Allah, and know that Allah Heareth and knoweth all things."

        Quran (2:216) - "Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."

        Quran (3:56) - "As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help."

        Quran (3:151) - "Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority".

        Quran (4:74) - "Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward."

        Quran (4:76) - "Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah…"

        Quran (4:89) - "They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks."

        Quran (5:33) - "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world..
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          Sep 15 2011: Kaka
          I'm relieved that it isn't as bad as you suggested.

          Our own Dutch Political Islam demonizer had made a clip "Fitna". In it he showed all bad things that he had read in the points that you've listed from the Quran.

          I've checked them one by one in a Dutch and English version and give you my translations within context. I must say that The Old Testament is more disturbing.

          My English version was a bit different than yours but in all I can summarize those lines as follows:

          Quran (2:191-193) - (If unbelievers persecute you because of your faith fight them as you can but if they quit then you stop also.) This isn’t for gain but self-defense.

          Quran (2:244) - (Fight for the good cause and life will become better.) Most people do.

          Quran (2:216) - (Fighting a bad habit?) Nothing much is specified.

          Quran (3:56) - (Christians also come in heaven, others don’t.) Correct for not believers say there’s nothing after dead.

          Quran (3:151) - (This is the same as with Christians, who is not baptized ends into hell.)

          Quran (4:74) - (This line says: help those that cannot help themselves.)

          Quran (4:76) - (Fight evil, very clear nothing new.)

          Quran (4:89) - (If they fight you fight back.) English translation not consistent.

          Quran (5:33) - (For those that kill their brothers, cut off a limb.)
      • Sep 16 2011: Frans "This isn’t for gain but self-defense"

        Yes i believe it is from a mouth of man and not from Allah/God's.
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          Sep 16 2011: It is how you define God.
          It is not from the mouth of your God.
          In many traditions men is the representative of the creator and one that perfected himself could be seen as one that speaks as God. Maybe that vision was common in the time of Mohammed and forgotten now. Maybe it still exist.
          It has all to do with language and how it is used at one time or place.
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      Sep 15 2011: what can we say about a survey that leaves out the largest muslim community on earth, the one in india?
      • Sep 15 2011: All one can say is that India is not represented in this survey...along with Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Yemen, etc, etc. How does this detract from the countries that are represented? How does this take away from any of the information provided?

        If you are curious as to why India is not represented, I would advise sending them an e-mail with a request for an explanation. Either that or you could do some research on your own...If you want an answer from me, I am afraid you are going to be disappointed.

        Do you have anything else to add?
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          Sep 15 2011: for one, indian muslims tend not to blow up things. (please note the word "tend") if you selectively leave out the most peaceful and at the same time the biggest muslim population, your research not anymore represents muslims. it represents a certain selection of muslims. so the title has to be changed accordingly.
      • Sep 15 2011: Krisztan,

        Are Indiam Muslims more peaceful than Chinese Muslims? What about Australian, Swedish, or Canadian Muslims?

        How does that take away from the information provided?
      • Sep 15 2011: As a logical person, it appears to me that the cross section of countries used for the "Muslim" point of view are all from the Middle East (Note India is NOT in the Middle East, it is Asia)... The bottom line is that it doesn't matter where they are from in the world, because each country is broken out separately with specific information.

        You want to argue semantics...I do not. There is valuable information to be gathered from these surveys. To dismiss them due to not including India or having a title that you find fault with is not constructive. To point out such information is constructive. Which are you doing? Pointing out or dismissing?
      • Sep 16 2011: Krisztian, "for one, indian muslims tend not to blow up things"

        yes they occasionally blow up things but they fear because of the repercussion the Muslim community face in Hindu dominated India. i guess the blow up happens most in Muslim dominated nations where other faith holders has less voice (please note the word "most").
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    Sep 14 2011: IF Islam is grossly misunderstood it is because it needs to attend to better PR.
    Beheadings by supposed moderates in Buffalo New York, women being held responsible for the depravities of men so that they have to wear black bags in Saudi heat, chopping off of body parts in Chop Chop Square, honour killings,stoning of women who are raped and terrorism all make dramatic press that frightens people away from any representation of a loving portrayal of Allah. And the solution to these is to eliminate them not prevent the reporting of them.

    The misunderstandings of Islam are a direct result, in my opinion, of the moderate Muslims not speaking up to challenge horrors to the fundamentalist portions of their own faith and making it clear to the world that they are as distressed and as opposed to them as civilized people everywhere are.
    (But then I am a woman and my perspective on this might be worth only half as much as a man's according to my understanding of the faith.)
    • Sep 14 2011: islam never oppress women!!islam was the religion which gave more power to women..
      burkha is not a must and black burkha is a tradition not a islamic rule the rule is only to cover your body parts!!
      islam says to cut the hand of a person who has stolen others properties unless the victim is ready for a compromise.i wish if this strict rule was still prevalent everywhere then we wouldnt have found this much corrupt politicians!!
      islam was introduced and completely introduced without any errors by learn the history u will understand how the prophet and his disciples ruled successfully wth the same rules...thanks for your comment inshah allah you will get the right knowledge about islam and god bless you sister
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        Sep 14 2011: Respectfully Faiz, while I am not a Muslim. I have had 3 children who lived in Saudi Arabia for extended periods of time at an embassy there. I made a point of learning quite a bit.

        I do know that Muhammad had wives who were business women and they did not live in black bags. I know that they were intelligent and that Islam gave the rights of inheritance to women long before women had any rights in any other religious system. I also know that they only get half of what men get and that when their husbands decide that they don't want them any more that they leave the marriage with nothing- NOT EVEN THEIR CHILDREN- and are forced to go back to fathers or brothers who are ashamed of them. No one can tell me, though, as a woman who has proven her intellect, that women are not subservient or considered of less worth in Islam than men are just as they are in fundamentalist Christian circles based on their own book.
        I speak from the perspective of people who do not want women killed because they did not yell loudly enough when they were raped, or impoverished because their husbands are not holy enough to follow the precepts of Islam and discard them. We do not want women's fate left in the hands of men who are not as dedicated as Muhammad was.

        You seem to believe that people are singling out Islam for criticism. We have spent decades and centuries criticising the beliefs of our own religious fundamentalists in an attempt to get them to listen and treat people with compassion and humanity. We want all articles of every faith tempered with compassion.

        Faiz, i would truly appreciate your impressions of why moderate Muslims are reluctant to confront the more heinous stances of the fundamentalist believers.
        • Sep 14 2011: Allah (SWT) says in the Quran:

          "O You who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will, and you should not treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the Mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at time of marriage) you have given them, unless they commit open illegal sexual intercourse. And live with them honorably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings
          through it a great deal of good." (An-Nisa 4:1)

          Islam considers a woman to be equal to a man as a human being and as his partner in this life. Women have been created with a soul of the same nature as man’s. Allah (SWT) says in the Quran:

          "O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever and All-Watcher over you." (Al-Nisa 4:1)

          And in the words of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW),

          "Assuredly, women are the twin halves of men." (Sahih reported by Abu-Dawud (RA)

          In reality, and in Islam, the rights and responsibilities of a woman are equal to those of man, but they are not necessarily identical with them. Equality and sameness are two very different things. I think you’ll agree that, for one thing, women and men are physically very different from one another, although they are equal to each other in other important ways.

          In the West, women may be doing the same job that men do, but their wages are often less. The rights of Western women in modern times were not created voluntarily, or out of kindness to the female. The modern Western woman reached her present position by force, and not through natural processes or mutual consent of Divine teachings. She had to force her way, and various circumstances aided her. continued....
        • Sep 14 2011: Shortage of manpower during wars, pressure of economic needs and requirement of industry forced women to leave their homes to work, struggling for their livelihood, to appear equal to men. Whether all women are sincerely pleased with these circumstances, and whether they are happy and satisfied with the results, is a different matter. But the fact remains that whatever rights modern Western women have, they fall short of those of her Muslim counterpart! Islam has given woman what duties her female nature. It gives her full security and protects her against becoming what Western modern women themselves complain against: a "mere sex object."

          if i switch on t.v or if i see advertisement they just project naked or half naked women and strange thing is that our society calls it development or freedom!!they are just using women they are selling their flesh nothing more!!
          islam says the women to cover their body parts so that they has security they dont provoke men.during days of caliphs even women used to go for fighting in wars..why is not that seen by all??why is not that called freedom...freedom is only dressing??
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          Sep 17 2011: Faiz,

          You have touched on a point I feel emotional about - the subjugation of women.

          You feel Islam is "protecting" women from men by having them cover their body parts.

          What you are saying is, "Men are weak; and woman must pay the price."

          Why not just make men wear blindfolds whenever they are in the company of women?

          Oh, I know: It's because it's the men who make the rules (or pick the ones that should be followed.)

          If women made the rules, I'm sure there would be much less of this nonsense in the world (and here, I am not singling out Islam.)

          You claim Islamic women are "given" what "duties" fit her "female nature."

          As defined by who? You? A book? Allah? Or by a living, breathing woman who no doubt knows more about her "female nature" than any man ever will?

          You say, "whatever rights modern Western women have, they fall short of those of her Muslim counterpart!"

          Really? Have you asked them? All of them?

          Religions of all types assume there is one set of guidelines that apply to all people equally. If the people don't fit, rather than change the guidelines; change the people - even if that means killing them. (This is nonsense ... and not limited to Islam ... or even religion.)

          But, let's say there are two women, one "Western" and one "Muslim;" (in an orthodox country) and let's say both of them WANT TO DO any of the following - whose "rights" would fall short?:

          1) Have an affair;
          2) Divorce her husband;
          3) Renounce Islam and the Prophet Mohammad;
          4) Marry outside of her faith;
          5) Get a job, or a higher education, instead of raising a family;
          6) Be examined by a male doctor;
          7) Wear high heeled shoes or makeup;
          8) Go swimming in a bathing suit;
          9) Engage in sports of any kind;
          10) Make her own decision; and her own mistakes;
          11) Basically do whatever she wanted to do without considering what men think is appropriate.

          Whose "rights" do you think will "fall short?"


          Even with that, the "West's" treatment of women is far, far from exemplary.
        • Sep 17 2011: Thomas,

          I am confused by your number 6 "right" for a female Muslim vs. female westerner.

          "6) Be examined by a male doctor"

          It is my understanding that a male Muslim doctor may examine a female Muslim (along with males), but that a female Muslim doctor may only examine females. Maybe this is another example of my grossly misunderstanding Islam? An honest explanation of this example would be appreciated.
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          Sep 17 2011: HI Jason,

          Many of the things on the list can be done in moderate Muslim countries but in very strict Muslim communities, it is forbidden for women to be examined by a male doctor (and, as far as I know, it is also forbidden for women to be doctors.)

          The point being, there are restrictions placed on Muslim women, to varying degrees, that "Western" women do not have to deal with.
        • Sep 17 2011: Hi Thomas, great list. I would like to see a Muslim woman living in Muslim country take a boat and circumnavigate the earth.
        • Sep 17 2011: Hi Thomas,

          I fully understand your point. My concern which generated my reply is due to "The gross misunderstanding of islam".

          Of course women can't be doctors in some muslim nations. I do believe that in some muslim nations, women doctors are greatly preferred to only examine women, but male doctors can examine men and women with much more acceptance. I must admit that this is a combination of what I have read and been told by members of those societies and not from personal information. Iran is one such nation.

          The more one studies the different rules, laws, preferences, of Islamic nations, the more one sees how the idea of Islam is greatly different from any form of Islam in existence. How is a non-Muslim "grossly misunderstanding" the vast differences in opinion and actions of devout Muslims regarding their own religion and how it translates to everyday life?
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          Sep 17 2011: Hi Jason,

          I'm not sure I'm following you.

          I agree Islam can be "interpreted" differently, by different groups of Muslims.

          I have lived in a Muslim community where you would not know the neighbours were Muslim. Much as we could live in a Christian community and not know if our neighbours were Christians (or Democrats) and so on.

          I have also lived in a community were everything revolved around the faith and it would be impossible to not see that "everyone" was Muslim (except me, of course.)

          As with other belief systems, Islam has a full spectrum of involvement from the nominal Muslim (born into a Muslim family but living a "secular" life) to the fundamentalists such as "The Taliban."

          QUOTE: "How is a non-Muslim "grossly misunderstanding" the vast differences in opinion and actions of devout Muslims regarding their own religion and how it translates to everyday life?"

          I don't understand this sentence.

          I think we are in agreement but, as I say, I am not sure I understand your last post.


          Are you suggesting that, the fact Islam is interpreted differently from within Islam itself, it makes sense that non-Muslims would grossly misunderstand it?

          Yes, I agree.
        • Sep 18 2011: Thomas,

          I think you had trouble understanding me due the terrible way that I expressed myself... The ironic part to that is it actually illustrates my position. Misunderstandings come from a misinterpretation or a lack of coherent communication. In this case, it was my poor communication which led to the issue.

          My point is exactly what you say: "Are you suggesting that, the fact Islam is interpreted differently from within Islam itself, it makes sense that non-Muslims would grossly misunderstand it?"

          It is also difficult to say what the "moderate" view of practicing Muslims is due to no type of organization in place to form a specific stance on various concerns. It appears there are an endless amount of "Moderate" views.
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          Sep 18 2011: Hi Jason,

          You say, "Misunderstandings come from a misinterpretation or a lack of coherent communication."

          I think that explains most, if not all, misunderstandings (whether about Islam or not.)

          I think we sometimes mistake understanding for agreement. We think if someone understands us, they will agree with us. And also, we have an "unconscious sense" that if we "understand" them, we will be tacitly agreeing with them. As a result we make an ("unconscious") effort to not understand.

          This creates ... problems.

          It is perfectly normal for people to understand one another and disagree. I think it is hard for some of us to understand that. We think the process of communication is about "conversion" (to our way of thinking) ... I don't necessarily mean in a religious sense although it naturally applies there too.
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          Sep 24 2011: From a recent report on the status of women published in Newsweek:

          "In Saudi Arabia, women aren’t allowed to drive. In Pakistan, a thousand women die in honor killings every year. And in Somalia, 95 percent of women are subjected to genital mutilation."

          This might lead to some gross misunderstandings.
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        Sep 14 2011: Dear Faiz, I will not and cannot defend the treatment of women in the West because I see those forms of exploitation of women in the west and personally reject them too. However, that is not among the questions that you posed and that we are discussing. You assert that Islam is more complete or more moral than all other religions and I brought forward things that contribute to the 'misunderstanding of Islam'. The greatest threat to all religions is their own followers who are corrupt and do not act according to the tenets of their faith. How many men in your sphere actually treat the women in their lives with the loving kindness that Muhammad declared was the standard?
        At no point have you answered my most important question. Why is it that moderate Muslims are not dealing directly with and condemning the fundamentalist actions without reservation within the faith and publically?
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        Sep 14 2011: Faiz --

        I recently asked a very devout Muslim woman what percentage of women in her culture are physically abused by men due to gender oppression. Her answer: nearly every Muslim woman she knows has been.

        • Sep 15 2011: im not saying all muslims are gud here im bothered with attack on the ideologies of islam not the modern muslims....anyone who goes against the law of islam cant be a muslim...islam is never against humanity or women..islam ascertain equality rather than sameness!!
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      Sep 14 2011: Debra --

      If I may, though I am not Muslim. I imagine moderate Muslims don't speak out due to fear and/or denial. This would be similar to moderate Germans during the Holocaust.

      The Christian pastor Deidrich Bonhoeffer, for example, rose up against Nazism only after leaving Germany and finding persistent evidence that his worse fears about his countrymen were true. He left Germany as an agent of the German government and evolved into a co-conspirator in the planned assassination of Hitler.

      Denial and fear are protective defenses most (but not all) people use in the face of hard to accept realities about things they've long been told to believe. When chaos prevails and coercion is implied, as it is in some Islamic cultures, few have the courage to sustain a fight against forces they can neither understand nor reason away.

      They are often too busy trying to survive to pull together what it takes to fight systems of oppression.

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        Sep 15 2011: Thank you for this reminder of our humanness, Andrea. I admire you for it. I am familiar with Bonhoeffer and his journey but it is good to be reminded of just how hard it is to stand and be counted.

        I feel strongly that the ones who can change the direction of any movement or religion are those on the inside. All external voices are 'alien'. It takes someone who loves the faith, the movement, the organization to speak up when the true purpose and character is being perverted. I hear a heart's cry in Faiz question when his beloved faith is being (to his mind) criticized and maligned. My heart answers him, challenges him to be the best Muslim he can truly be and I try to speak for those who I imagine cannot.
    • Sep 15 2011: Debra, you hit the nail on the head.
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    Sep 20 2011: 2 things:
    1) Political agendas from the West
    2) Media profit goals
    • Comment deleted

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        Sep 20 2011: You have stated this is wrong with no input or counter evidence. From what I've learned, the misrepresented image of Islam pretty much boils down to a combination of sellable stories for the media (they can hype up stories of Islamic extremism, which results in organisations such as the English Defence League forming - a manifestation of people being deluded by images from the media, and if the media find any media from terrorist groups, they will slap it everywhere, because it is a story that will sell a lot) and a little bit of governments wanting oil. The leaders say Terrorism must be stopped at all costs, its the biggest threat to humanity. Then they send people off to war and we somehow get the added bonus of millions of barrels of oil. Terrorism is not a global threat - it is hugely exaggerated by Western governments. More people die from accidents in hospitals each day than an an entire year of terorrist related deaths. Terrorism has been made synonymous with Islam. So therefore there is a tainted image of Islam, which has been created by media profit goals and government agendas. If you can disprove these points, I would appreciate it. Thanks.
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          Sep 22 2011: [Reposted with quote from Krisztián removed.]

          Charlie, I do believe your assertions address only a small, though important, part of the problem.

          Islam seems to be grossly misunderstood within Islam itself; and in communities that have little or no access to media; and in countries that have no political agenda insofar as Islam is concerned. For example, in the villages in rural Kenya, where my friend Maurice Kokayo lives, Islam is misunderstood.

          My view, which I think is also "partial" is that Islam is grossly misunderstood because of the actions of fanatical Muslims. The "source" of our misunderstanding is their actions. The source of their actions, is their belief. So the ultimate source of the gross misunderstanding is "Muslims."

          The rest of us just amplify the misunderstanding and perhaps, as you say, use it for political gain or to provide "content" for our "news" media, and so on.
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          Sep 23 2011: Charlie,

          Your points are well-argued.

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          Sep 22 2011: Blimey. I'm curious to know what the general gist of Krisztian's reply is?
          I would also be interested in any constructive counter points.
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        Sep 22 2011: You can read the whole conversation here:

        The "gist" of Krisztián's argument was that socialism is inherently violent.

        The request I referred to has been deleted from the conversation but it still exists in "the cloud."

        You can probably find it if you do a search for it.
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        Sep 23 2011: Krisztian and Thomas --

        How dissonant that in a dialogue about polarized beliefs you perpetuate polarizing behaviors by demonstrating it.

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          Sep 23 2011: And you are doing what, Andrea?

          Interesting, isn't it?

          When others do it, it is obvious; when we do it ourselves, not so much.

          Essentially you are saying you do not appreciate the dialogue. And I respect that.

          That is what I am doing too. I do not appreciate Krisztián's propensity to drop little bon mots like: "wow, you've managed to be wrong and meaningless at the same time."

          If it was "once in a while" fine ... but it's not; he does it quite often.

          I agree the dialogue between Krisztián and I, might be socially awkward but I choose to engage in it anyway. My exchanges with Krisztián do not bother me in the least.

          If they bother you, I suggest you ignore them.

          The "juicy bits" get deleted by the administrators soon enough anyway. But interestingly not, "wow, you've managed to be wrong and meaningless at the same time."

          What did that contribute to the discussion?
  • Sep 18 2011: I think there's a minority of people both among muslims and non-muslims that are staining the reputation of Islam.

    I'm living in Europe, and from here, the image of Islam shown in the media is totally biased. Of course, the media in general only talk about things that are going wrong. So whenever we hear about Islam here, it's all about intolerance, sex discrimination, scary fundamentalists, etc... And I perfectly know it's biased because I have Muslim friends and their lives are exemplary. They are the most respectable, rational and compassionate people in my entourage.

    On the other side, these things we see on TV are not all made up. Problably they are inflated to look even uglier, but they are here and they exist. And it's as Debra said, I think the other normal Muslims don't condemn these fundamentalists strongly enough. Of course as I said, it's also our media's fault not to try to make your voice heard.

    I think there are efforts to be made on both side. And also, don't be too afraid. It's not because they are saying trash on TV that everybody in the west believes that trash.

    I like to say that the smaller dogs are often those who like to bark the more.
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      Sep 18 2011: QUOTE: "I think the other normal Muslims don't condemn these fundamentalists strongly enough."

      The fact that fundamentalists might kill them if they spoke out probably dampens their enthusiasm.

      [I am not being facetious; knowing that some religious fanatic halfway around the world can command "the faithful" to kill you if you say or do "the wrong thing" has a less that salutary effect on people, I am sure. What's worse, is knowing that some "nut jobs" will actually take the command seriously and act on it if they can. This, I think, leads to a degree of misunderstanding.]
      • Sep 18 2011: True. Thank you reminding me this. I had the incredible chance to grow up in a country where freedom of speech is more or less respected. I tend to take it like it was granted.

        And it is not.
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    Sep 15 2011: All in all, a pure dialogue, a respectful vision, and a peaceful manner all contribute to the building of underpinnings of world religions’ dialogue. All sorts of linkages, mutual believes and shared faiths would make a possible and positive dialogue between Judaism, Christianity and Islam

    I hope you can get my point now
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    Sep 15 2011: Hi Debra, i do show my gratitudes for your further point. erm to be more precise i want to suggeste manners that can contribute to a possible/positive dialogue between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.The dialogue between religions is nowadays more than a need, but rather a necessity. Dialogue should be among religions, cultures, and civilizations. Not only should dialogue be between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but it should also be among each religion-per se. One of the best manners which can be taken for a positive and possible dialogue between the three religions is simply emphasizing the common points or mutual believes, plus learning the other’s religion and respecting it as well. It would be true to say that Christianity is the first religion to point out the idea of the inter-religious dialogue, however, nowadays it has become expanded to a global necessity, thus, Judaism, Christianity and Islam must dialogue positively.
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      Sep 16 2011: Hi Hamza, Thank you for your kind clear hearted engagement here. I too, believe that positive dialogue is vital for all of us to live on a small planet. The dialogue has to be unbiased and tolerant on all sides. The world view that one holds cannot be the only one that cannot be examined, reasoned about and asked sincere questions. In addition, there is a big difference in every religion between the way it is practised by followers in their humanity and the ideal versions. I think that is worthy of challenge. Every person in every belief system is human and fallible. To quote a Christian expression: they "Fall short of the glory of God (Allah)."
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    Sep 14 2011: I do hold myself and be more experience-based rather than data-based.Islam, as the Prophet pbuh once said : Islam was strange, is strange and shall keep strange...... the reason whay ismal is strange is simply because other religions could not belive that the Q-ran is the last devine werds by God. People, throughout history, have linked enthnography and anthropology with the spiritual life of the "Primitive". they could not set up a line between the two. What you see is not what it is. can we imagine a family whom father is muslim, mother is chrestian and the children are jews? how come? So why do we have families who's father is German, mother is Japanese and the children are somehow "Hybrid"?

    it is all about the other's acceptence- if we don't see things in a box of Different then we never aknoledge the other.
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      Sep 14 2011: Hi Hamza, I really enjoyed your post and I think you are bringing forth something important of which I would like to learn more. Could you elaborate on what you are saying above, please?
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    Sep 14 2011: Islam is not misunderstood at all. A few of its laws just fundamentally clash with modern society in a big way.

    1. Apostasy: Freedom is becoming sort of a popular thing in the world. If you put someone to death for leaving your religion, your also put fear into the hearts of us here in the free world. This means that by law, anyone that isn't a muslim can be murdered for practically no other reason than not being a muslim. It happens all the time.

    2. World Domination: Islam was meant to be spread throughout the world & anyone who resist that movement would be put to death under sharia law. That is pretty much a declaration of war on the entire non-muslim world. People don't like that.

    3. Hashal: Under sharia law all meat animals must be slaughtered in a specific way. I have witnessed this & it caused me to give up meat for an entire month. This is cruel torture & it is an abomination. The only reason this practice isn't a crime against nature is because it is simply a way of life to Muslims. This isn't something that is common knowledge in the western world, but it is the single most violent thing I've ever seen in my life.

    Islam is not misunderstood. It's just the mandates of violence against non-believers (and animals) are a little difficult to reconcile.
    • Sep 14 2011: 3.not hashal its halal:when a animal is killed if you kill it suddenly that is without allowing to bleed before it die the toxins in the body will not be detoxicated and hence many toxins will remain in the muscles which makes meat unhealthy but if you cut its jugular veins which is one of the important large veins in the body the animal will bleed before it dies ie before its heart stops working this will help to wash off most of the toxins off the flesh and hence makes the meat more healthy and its not necessary that you should be a non vegetarian a best muslim can also be a vegetarian
      rest answers i will definitely give you let me learn about it properly
      .. thanks bro!!
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        Sep 14 2011: OOps! Is this true? Or perhaps I am wondering if it is intellectually honest and complete?

        The terms halal and haraam are applied to many facets of life; and one of the most common uses of these terms is in reference to meat products, food contact materials, and pharmaceuticals. In Islam there are many things that are clearly halal or haraam. There are also items which are not as clear, and for which further information is needed. Items that are not clear are called mashbooh, which means "questionable". 'Halal' means permissible. 'Haraam' means forbidden. (From Wikipedia)
        • Sep 14 2011: 1.haraam: its a sin if you do it and if you do it you are kafir ie out of islam .you will have to again tell kalima and embrace islam. eg eating pork
          2.halaal: you are permissible to do it but you wont be rewarded for the divorce (its the halaal which allah hates the most)
          3.sunnah: its things which if you do is wll and good and you will be rewarded by god but its not a sin if you don do covering hair of men
          4.farz: these are things which you should do for which you will be rewarded and if not done you will be 5 times namaz
          5.makrooh: Means disliked, hated or detested. It is used in reference to actions and deeds that are refered to negativly in the sunnah or the Quran. These actions will not get you ithim, but avoiding them will gain you thawab. Doing makrooh things is not recommended. E.g. growing long finger nails.
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    Sep 14 2011: Thomas --

    Faith-based harms against humanity is not the domain of Islam only. Christians and Jews aren't non-violent.

    There is more to why Islam is not understood that is less flattering to non-Muslims. Including racial bias. Black jihadists are easier to identify than whites plotting racial cleansing. Such as Christian fundamentalist Andre Brevik assassinating Norwegian students and Roman Catholic bishops funding Nazi genocide.

    A better answer to Faiz question is fear. The product of both ignorance and aggression.

    Muslims would do well to communicate the loving values of Islam to counter the brutality of fringe members. Just as Christians and Jews, who harbor equally brutal fundamentalists. A difference is that Muslims, in part due to their beliefs, avoid economic and geographical expressions of power, a way other faiths assimilate into cultures.

    Muslim aggressions, like Christian and Jewish aggressions, are founded on impulses for religious domination.

    To understand the deeper, more connective faith realities, consider the Bible. From which Judaism, Christianity and Islam emerged. First came Judaism and Islam. When Abraham fathered Isaac and ishmael, the fathers of each. Christianity came later, after Christ's life.

    God was a multi-culturist who desired all nations to be stewards of each other as literally biological brothers. When corruption, power and war persisted, God evolved from Old Testament methods as disciplinarian, which Noah and Moses efforts proved didn't keep civilization in check.

    Mohammed's message echoed Jesus'. Both called followers to love one another and their God, which is the same God. Institutional interpretations, seeking political power, corrupt these essential truths.

    Believers of all faiths should see love for all Gods creation, not religious domination, as their holiest mission. This is the mission God most persistently and compelling calls followers of Islam and all other faiths to seek and evangelize.

    • Sep 14 2011: Hi Andrea,
      I was just wondering if you take this approach to all topics in life?

      For example, if someone were to say to you that "shit stinks," would you simply agree? Or would you demand that I clarify further to say that only certain, specific and extreme shits stink? Or would you counter with the fact that not only does shit stink, but garbage and rotting fruit does as well? If so, why? Why not just agree that "shit stinks"?

      Similarly, why not just agree with the factual data? There is no need for you to overlay your opinion on 17th century Christianity onto a debate about modern Islam or to qualify any (potential) condemnation of modern Islam with equal criticism of the other major religions.

      If you feel the need to defend Islam from its detractors and answer Faiz's question without resorting to a doctrinaire comparison of extremist behavior you might say something like -

      "Islam is a religion of peace and is widely misunderstood. The reason is because the vast majority of loving, caring Muslims are undereducated and poor. They have no social defense against the extremists groups organized and funded by local mosques, nor have they any other means of social ascension but to rise through the ranks of the religious community. Thus, they fall victim to the extremist propaganda and in the end become extremists themselves." OR

      "Islam is misunderstood because it was founded as a political movement, but is meant to be practiced as a peaceful religion now. Thus someone who reads over the Koran without proper guidance from a religious leader will be mislead." OR

      "Media prefers explosions to genteel people praying."

      You see, there are a ton of ways to approach this questions WITHOUT mentioning Christianity, Judaism, Catholic priests, genocide, evangelicals, etc. Try to contribute to the conversation instead of attempting to DISQUALIFY those who have other religious affiliations by highlighting their religion's ancient atrocities.

      • Sep 14 2011: i understood wat u meant..islam is not good because christianity or judaism is bad or vice versa...a good muslim in some or the other way is a christian and jew..muslims believe and respect jesus moses abraham yonus yosuf noah adam (pbu them).
        but you have to understan one thing SEP we have reached this century after passing through 16 17 18 19th centuries so defenitely history has the role to play in the political set up of this century.learn about isreal you will definitely support me.
        i here asked about the ideologies of islam and if you go back to history of islam you will definitely find islamic rulers(caliph) were one of the most ideal rulers ever existed.learn about history of spain you will definitely understand how grossly we were fooled by the people who wrote history..see one bbc documentary "when moors ruled spain"
        thanks sister andrea and bro sep... god bless you
        • Sep 14 2011: Faiz -

          " have to understan one thing SEP we have reached this century after passing through 16 17 18 19th centuries so defenitely history has the role to play in the political set up of this century."

          I do understand.

          "..learn about isreal.."

          I know a pretty good deal about Israel, but . .

          " will definitely support me."

          I do not support you.

          "..I here asked about the ideologies of islam.."

          Exactly. Several key teachings have been discussed and dismissed as incompatible with modern Western Civilization. Namely the treatment of women and the impossibility of a secular state. I do not think this is the result of a misunderstanding.

          "..if you go back to history of islam you will definitely find islamic rulers (caliphs) were one of the most ideal rulers ever existed.."

          No, they are not. I have studied history. I would probably cast my lot with the American Founding Fathers. But this does corroborate what I was saying to Andrea, that islam was initially a political movement rather than a purely religious one. And a political movement attempting to obtain power is antithetical to a peaceful religion.

          I will check out the documentary sometime tonight.

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        Sep 14 2011: Seth --

        Your vitriol undermines your credibility.

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          Sep 15 2011: QUOTE: "Seth -- Your vitriol undermines your credibility."

          I disagree on both points: I do not see his comments as vitriol - clear, concise, even blunt perhaps; vitriolic not at all.

          In a mature dialogue, a strongly stated, dissenting opinion is not, in any way, to be construed as cruel and bitter.

          And his credibility seems to me to be intact.
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      Sep 15 2011: Hi Andrea,

      Somehow I missed the presence (or at least, scope) of your response.

      I take your point (but many of your facts are inaccurate particularly regarding the Christian/Islam timeline and your theology, in general.)

      While I appreciate your more general arguments, I still do not think they address directly the question of why Islam is grossly misunderstood.

      I agree, fear has a great deal to do with many misunderstandings - but, in this case, fear of what? Fear of the ideal? Fear of the practice? Fear of what is presented? Fear of what is intended? Fear of what is said; not said?

      Islam is, to a large extent, feared. And while the same could be said of many other religions it is not generally held that "Christianity" or "Buddhism" are particularly frightening; nor are they perceived as a threat to one's physical wellbeing.

      This is not to say that "Christians" (or even Buddhists) have not engaged in abhorrent behaviour, clearly they have, only that "Islam" is viewed as inherently violent and other religions are not. That is, other religions - not other religious fanatics - are perceived as peaceful while Islam, rightly or wrongly, is perceived as violent.

      Muslim fanatics do not help correct this perception.
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        Sep 15 2011: Thomas,

        Please cite, with sources where my theology facts are incorrect.

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          Sep 15 2011: It's not really relevant to the discussion but, for example, this is incorrect:

          "First came Judaism and Islam. When Abraham fathered Isaac and ishmael, the fathers of each. Christianity came later, after Christ's life."

          Convention has Christ's birth occurring precisely 2,011 years ago. Scholarship has it more likely to be 2,013 or 2,014 years ago.

          Mohammad - the founder of Islam - was born ca. April 26, 570.

          I understand where the misunderstanding has probably arisen but do not want to get into a theological discussion (in this conversation ... in a separate one ... sure, why not?) ... you can do a quick google search to verify.
        • Sep 15 2011: Andrea,
          Speaking of undermining one's credibility . .

          Christianity pre-dated Islam. For some reason, you state that Islam began when Abraham fathered Isaac and Ishmael. Judaism (the teachings of the Pentateuch) was formed in prehistory, I believe roughly 2000 BC. Christianity was founded with the death of Jesus, roughly 30 AD. And Islam was founded with the life of Mohammad, roughly 700 AD. Therefore, Jesus' teachings did not echo Muhammad's. Islam did not begin with the Bible.

          Now that we are seemingly equal (in terms of lacking credibility), could you address the points I raised in my previous post?

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        Sep 15 2011: Thomas,

        Muslims around the world, as Christians have long feared in China, fear political and social persecution at best via isolation and detention and death at worse.

        The good news for Christians, which I heard from Evangelical Christians pastor friends of mine who supported the Christian underground there before the Chinese government determined that trying to suppress religion only tends to strengthen it, is Christianity in China is growing faster and is now larger in China than it is all of Europe combined.

        Still, the Chinese government controls religious expression by forbidding it beyond church walls and demanding that citizens claim allegiance to the country before their God.

        As with Muslims, this promotes defense of religious expressions through increased evangelism, and, with it increases in the perceived need and appeal of martyrdom.

        I suggest the Chinese government is onto something. Fighting religious beliefs doesn't neutralize religious fanatics, it catalyzes them.

        In other words, fervently denying the peaceful ideals of Islam isn't likely to suppress the violent interpretations you refer to.

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          Sep 15 2011: Hi Andrea,

          I am not sure what Muslims around the world fear ... but this discussion is about why Islam is grossly misunderstood.

          Do you have any ideas as to why that might be?

          Your argument seems to be that we humans grossly misunderstand everything ... which might be true.

          As to the Chinese government demanding "citizens claim allegiance to the country before their God:" I am married to a Chinese Christian - and we live in China - we have yet to experience any input from the government in regards to her faith.

          QUOTE: "...fervently denying the peaceful ideals of Islam isn't likely to suppress the violent interpretations you refer to."

          I haven't read all of the comments but the ones I have read do not deny there are peaceful ideals within Islam - the comments I have read do address the violence which is supported by doctrine, observation, and, in some cases, experience. Violence and a celebration of violence* is probably one of the reasons (I think the main reason) Islam is grossly misunderstood.

          I gather you are arguing from principle, which is fine, but it is not really what this conversation is about. It's about why Islam is grossly misunderstood.

          Any ideas?


          By the way, when you say, "... fervently denying the peaceful ideals of Islam isn't likely to suppress the violent interpretations you refer to," I agree with you.

          * Refer to how a Muslim can be GUARANTEED to be admitted into heaven.
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        Sep 15 2011: Thomas,

        I concede it is more commonly understood that the founding of Islam began with Mohammed. So it is understandable that you would quibble my theology.

        That said, all three religions are Abrahamic. Abraham is the father of Isaac and Ismael, from whom Judaism and Muslims nations were directly descended. Jesus is a descendent of Isaac, born a Jew centuries later.

        While Christians do not view Abraham as the founder of their faith, Muslims do. The Q'uran refers to him as the "first Muslim."

        Regards your wife's religion. If your wife doesn't put her religious beliefs before her national allegiance and belongs to a state-sanctioned church it would be unlikely she'd experience personal input from the government of China. If she expressed dissent for Chinese political interpretations of religion, she might.

        But, as I said, in any case, the government there has significantly loosened its control of religion in the decades since Mao. Some speculate this has to do with the rise of capitalism, which I allude to in an earlier post as a way religions like Christianity assimilate into cultures.

        And, I'm unclear why you so struggle to understand that believers of Islam might not live in fear. If some of your brothers condoned suicide bombings and violence, wouldn't you?

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          Sep 15 2011: QUOTE: "So it is understandable that you would quibble my theology."

          I am quibbling your theology? I was pointing out it is inaccurate, and otherwise ignoring it, as it does not relate to this discussion. You asked for clarification.

          And it is not "commonly understood that the founding of Islam began with Mohammed." It is accepted, as fact, "that the founding of Islam began with Mohammed." And there are no competing theories. That he made retroactive claims to historical figures cannot be used as evidence to claim Islam predates Christianity. This is not "a quibble" ... I think it rather more important than that - well, at least from the standpoint of comparative religion.

          And I do not "struggle to understand that believers of Islam might not live in fear."

          I merely said I do not know what "Muslims around the world" fear .... and I fail to see how this relates to the topic.

          Your understanding of Islam (and China,) I would suggest, are not, shall we say, fully informed.

          But let's not quibble.

          Why do you think Islam is grossly misunderstood?
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        Sep 15 2011: Seth,

        See my response to Thomas regards the chronology of religions.

        And, responding to your point that Mohammad echoed Jesus' call for peace, not the other way around, you are correct. I edited my comment to reflect your correction.

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          Sep 15 2011: Andrea, If I were you, I wouldn't use your reply to me as a rebuttal.
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        Sep 15 2011: Thomas,

        The situation in emerging Southeast Asian democracies is quite brutal. No less so than in Islamic countries, from what I'm told by Americans who've worked in both.

        This, of course, is the reason Buddhist leader Dalai Lama is in exile. When it became clear his efforts for peace and justice were not welcome, His Holiness was forced to flee in fear for his and others' lives.

        This correlates to your points about Salman Rushdie's exile and the risks to his life for his truth-telling.

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        Sep 15 2011: Thomas,

        My theology comes from the Christian bible, the Q'uran and theologians of note. And yours?

        And my belief for why Islam is misunderstood, as I've repeatedly said, is due to expressions of fear. From all sides, including the sides you express here.

        The Q, again, is whose facts are your referring to? Yours, Westerners, Chinese or Muslims? Facts are hard to quantify immutably in any setting, let alone a multicultural world.

        However your point regards retroactive facts is something you must also consider regards Christian beliefs. The Biblical texts were not recorded until many years after Christ's death with editing continuing centuries later up until the Nicene Council, at least..

        Best people of any sincere hope for a peaceful and just world is seek less religious and political polarization. Not more.

        This requires attempts to see others realities through their prisms, and as possibly factual, too. And Q ones own belief-sets with equal energies.

        By the way, I'm Catholic.

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          Sep 15 2011: Hi Andrea,

          So you think Islam is grossly misunderstood due to expressions of fear?

          Is there anything else you would like to add?


          My theology is not relevant to this conversation.

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          Sep 15 2011: Hi Andrea,

          I do not recall citing any facts (other than to point out some you offered were not ... well ... facts.)

          So while you are correct "facts" are slippery little guys, this conversation is more about why we think Islam is so grossly misunderstood.

          In abridged form:

          - You have said because of expressions of fear (on all sides.)

          - I have said because of acts of violence perpetrated by Muslim fanatics.

          I see acts of violence as acts of fear so I do not see any conflict in our positions.

          Any other ideas?
    • Sep 15 2011: Andrea "Faith-based harms against humanity is not the domain of Islam only. Christians and Jews aren't non-violent. "

      lets talk real. lets compare holy books Koran and New testament. where does Jesus say kill for gain?
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        Sep 15 2011: Kaka,

        Nowhere does Jesus say kill.

        Jesus has only two commandments and they are quite unequivocal. They are:

        1. Love one another as you love yourself
        2. Love God.

        Which makes it all the more inexcusable that Christians kill in God's name. Not only are Christian teachings clear that killing is in violation of their God. Christian teaching is to love all their brothers, even those with whom they disagree. Many lessons in both the Old and New Testaments teach non-violence as the only answer to conflict.

        This leaves us with the Q. How have we corrupted Christian texts to support the wars we wage against Muslims and Jews? These are the "brothers and sisters" God and Jesus call us to live in peace with.

        Christians, above all, can not judge the actions of others until they stop behaving like the others they judge.

        And to your point about Jesus not saying Christians should kill for gain. Quite correct. Which leads me to wonder what Christians gain by going to war?

  • Sep 14 2011: islam is not understood by many even muslims too!!but dont you people feel that our media is very much keen in attacking islam!!don you people think there is well planned conspiracy going against islam!!
    when taliban attacked u.s definitely majority of muslims including me in india was shocked and really we were hurt deep in our hearts.islam had taught us that killing a innocent human being is like like killing humanity.
    But what happened after that was more hurting and more shocking.but still what i dont understand that no media did not talk against US for their dirty act.
    After all these events when we turn back and see i felt that as far as some US politicians (not US people) are concerned they dint loose much by WTC attack instead i felt they gained much..they gained control over oil fields in iraq ect ect...they kept whole world in fear telling there is islamic fanatic called osama he will kill us all (like my mom used tell me eat food or there is a demon in basement he will come) and it worked out..all started to talk against islamic fundamentalists slowly against islamic ideologies slowly muslims all around the globe were targeted..but it was not called terrorism!!
    at last one fine morning the world's strongest country who owns all modern complex technologies caught the demon and the greatest comedy was they dint show him to anyone..wat information did US got from him about WTC attack??no one knows!!no media questioned!!!no problem for anyone!!STRANGE!!
    Thousands of people were killed for catching a guy and he got caught but no one saw STRANGE!!
    Thousands of people killed saying there is lethal nuclear weapon and at last without any shame they told there was nothing!!STRANGE!!but no media has problem!! no one asks also!!
    im a muslim who loves peace in the world.islam never teach compulsion on will understand that if you study the history of islam when the great seven disciples of prophet ruled the world!!
    lets all join hands for world peace!!!!
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      Sep 14 2011: Very good of you to speak out your thoughts over past events and how you feel. By doing this you give a voice to the silent majority of Islam. Of course you're not the only one but it can't be enough to make it clear that all horrors are detestable no matter if they come from people that call themselves Muslim or conservative.
      The press and news agencies won’t bring this for the public because they think their public want sensation and no peace talk.
      To know the truth of what happened however will have to wait a number of years until those involved start to talk about it to clear their hearts. It will be the same as we nowaday hear from people that were involved in the murders and corruption of free elected presidents in South America. At that time there was no proof although every well thinking person could see the hand of the CIA. Now the details are revealed it is crystal clear that they who were suspicious then were right all along.
      Politics often works with spreading fear to mobilize the people so they have full support of their selfish goals. This works fine now and did for over 2000 years but maybe now the world is becoming smaller all the time less people will swallow all misinformation that is given and look through all the masquerade.
      • Sep 14 2011: thank you sir for your valued information...
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      Sep 14 2011: Dear Faiz, Thank you for your post. You point to an area that we are in complete agreement. I think that some sort of fair standard has to be applied and all acts of terror and injustice on every side need to be roundly condemned.
      The bias in the news reporting is unconscionable and it promotes and prolongs the injustices - which amounts to killing more people on both sides of the issues.
      I think that biased news reports are actually lies. For many people in a time of relativity, lies are just the cost of doing business but in reality they are a huge moral issue. When we are lied to especially by sources we trust or should be able to trust, we base our view of reality on a spongy, sandy foundation that can shift and distort at any time leaving us without a foundation to rely on in our decisions and stances in life. This is what specific interest groups on both sides have been doing. They are taking in the majority of people or have been keeping them so confused or disillusioned that they do not know which to support.
      If the average American, Canadian, Pakistani, Lebanese, Christian, Muslim, black or white or purple person has the facts they will demand a pretty fair outcome. Without reliable facts we are all 'screwed'.
  • Sep 14 2011: Answers in order:

    1. Ignorance.

    2. People fear what they do not understand. They also fear the radicals.

    3. In the face of nothing new, bad news is good news for the modern media.

    4. The Prophet is considered great to some. Not everyone shares the same views or knowledge to know about the prophet.
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      Sep 14 2011: Hi Bob,

      I disagree with your first answer. Taken to its extreme, ignorance would result in no understanding whatsoever.

      (What is your understanding of Skoptsy?)

      I suggest the gross misunderstanding is primarily the result of the very public acts of fundamentalist fanatics.
      • Sep 15 2011: I'm not sure I understand your point. (or why you disagree with the first point)

        People judge things all the time, sometimes without any understanding to base their judgements upon. Nearly any amount of ignorance on Islam could lead to misunderstandings.

        In a vacuum of a complete lack of knowledge one might reach out for the smallest hint of information and then proceed to make a judgement on possible false or incomplete information.

        Example, I entered Skoptsy into Wikipedia and one of the first lines is, "The Skoptsy are best known for practicing castration of men and the mastectomy of women in accordance with their teachings against sexual lust."

        With that, I can call the group horrendous monsters deserving only of annihilation. I have not verified the data or sought out the reasons behind their teachings... I made a judgement and through my ignorance, I may have grossly misunderstood the group... if even that information is correct.
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          Sep 15 2011: Hi Bob,

          My point is that to attribute the gross misunderstanding of Islam to simple ignorance is not completely accurate. It may not even be accurate at all.

          For example, someone may be an Islamic Scholar (i.e. not ignorant) and still be considered to grossly misunderstand Islam (by, say, another Muslim.)

          As to the "general public," I do not think it is ignorance that leads to gross misunderstanding; I think it is awareness - awareness of the violent acts of a fanatical few.

          In the abstract, they (the public) may be aware that the vast majority of Muslims do not engage in acts of terrorism, they just don't care. What they, understandably, care about are the few that do.
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    Sep 14 2011: Probably because the most visible face of Islam is a small group of men (and, now, a few women) who like to blow things up.
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      Sep 14 2011: That's the face the media shows you. I know many people in Midwestern America that are Muslim and they are the face of Islam that I see and know.
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        Sep 14 2011: Yes, I have lived in countries with large Muslim populations and they present a different face to be sure.

        But, justifiably or not, they are not the most visible face of Islam.

        Blowing people up and threatening to kill actors, authors, daughters, sisters, apostates, and the like tends to get more attention. Not to mention the attention actually killing them generates.


        What do you think would happen, for example, in the United States, if a group of, say, Christians (or Vegans) decided to systematically plan and execute suicide missions? What if Democrats killed their sisters for shaming the family by voting Republican?
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          Sep 14 2011: Thomas --

          Raping children, as some Catholic priests have a (forgive the pun) habit of doing, gets attention, too. International courts are investigating the Vatican for these crimes against humanity.

          Murdering children, as fundamentalists Christians in the Ku Klux Klan did, gets attention, too.

          As does systematically exterminating millions of ethnic Jews, as Germans, supported by people of faith (but notably not Muslims) did.

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        Sep 14 2011: Hi Andrea,

        Yes, you are quite right. Additionally, the lone, right-wing, anti-Islamic, supremacist, "nut job" who guns down 70 children also get a lot of attention. As did Timothy James McVeigh.

        But how does all this relate to the question of why Islam is so grossly misunderstood?

        Catholic priest who rape children, might be said to contribute to the gross misunderstanding of Catholicism, to be sure ... but how this relates to Islam, escapes me.

        Are you suggesting we should be more tolerant of violence perpetrated by Muslims because Catholics, or the Ku Klux Klan, or the Nazis, or disaffected Americans, also engage, or engaged, in such aberrant behaviour?

        I'm confused by your comment. Could you please clarify?

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          Sep 14 2011: Thomas,

          I am a pacifist. I reject killing any people, for any reason.

          My comment was meant to highlight exactly what you caught. That aberrant behavior gets attention. And we should give equal attention to understanding how fundamentalist interpretations of any belief can be corrupted in the name of God.

          Who of course, would be appalled by the violence against all humans, regardless of who, whet, where they are.

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        Sep 14 2011: Hi Andrea,

        Thanks for the clarification and I share your sentiments.

        However, that does not really address the issue of why Islam is grossly misunderstood.

        And while some of us might delve a little more deeply into "things" and discover a more compassionate side to this or that, I suggest most of us will not.

        Most of us will hear only that an author, say, Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie, has been condemned to die for a book he wrote (that was unread by the Mufti who issued the fatwā, by the way) and that a British born convert to Islam, Yusuf Islam, (Cat Stevens), and other "moderates" support the fatwā; and so on.

        I think the misunderstanding is perpetuated by well-meaning Muslims such as Faiz Mukthar who, in the face of this evidence, simply quote scripture in defence of the faith. The message is, yeah well, those things do happen but, let's just brush it aside and accept that Islam is still great.

        This does not, I think, mitigate the misunderstanding.
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    Sep 28 2011: From Yahoo! News:

    "A Saudi woman was sentenced Tuesday to be lashed 10 times with a whip for defying the kingdom's prohibition on female drivers, the first time a legal punishment has been handed down for a violation of the longtime ban in the ultraconservative Muslim nation."



    Are you still with us?
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    Sep 21 2011: Why is islam grossly misunderstood??

    This is from a article printed today, Sept 21, 2011, on Yahoo!

    "Suspected [Muslim] Sunni extremists opened fire on Shiite Muslim pilgrims travelling by bus through southwest Pakistan on their way to in Iran [sic], killing 26 people, officials and survivors said."

    Muslims shooting Muslims.

    This is the first comment written by a reader under the article:

    "want to see what islam will do for the places its going to? just look where its been and is dominating. afganistan, pakistan, nigeria, iran, iraq and so on. what does islam offer to the world? really?? what?" - Scott

    It is not surprising that Islam is grossly misunderstood.
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    Sep 17 2011: Khilafah might lead to misunderstanding.

    "It is the duty of every Muslim to reject nation states and only recognize one united Islamic Ummah ["community" or "nation"]"

    These excerpts are from a mainstream Muslim website (presumably that has the intention of eliminating gross misunderstanding.)

    "The Khilafah is the name given to the Islamic system of government. When we say that Muslims must establish Khilafah, we mean that Muslims must establish an Islamic state, with an Islamic system of government ruled by the Islamic Shariah. ...

    "Muslims must perform the bay'ah [oath of allegiance] on the Khaleefa ["Leader"], which means to select him as a leader and to trust him to rule by the word of Allah (SWT). This means that the Khaleefah must implement Islamic laws, the Shariah, in all the lands under the Khilafah. The Khilafah must include all nations in the world where the population is predominantly Muslim, and all Islamic Shariah laws must take effect in these lands with respect to all issues in the society. ...

    "Islam came as a uniting religion, meant to unite all of mankind under one rule, the rule of Allah (SWT*)...

    "In order to be true Muslims, we must follow the commands of Allah (SWT) and his messenger (pbuh), and we must unite ourselves into a single nation and a single Ummah under one leader...

    "Not only is it a religious duty on every single Muslim [to establish Khilafah], but it will also lead to economic prosperity, justice, peace and security for all Muslim communities living throughout the world...."


    Essentially if, say, Kenya, or America become "predominantly" Muslim, the existing government should be replaced by Khilafah with a single Leader ["Khaleefa"] who may live in another part of the world (as there are no "nation states," there is only a single "Ummah" (Muslim community.)

    This scenario, I think, might, unwittingly, contribute to gross misunderstanding.

    *SWT = Subhaanahu Wa Ta'Ala = most glorified, the most high
  • Sep 16 2011: Faiz, (or any Muslim)

    Please describe the concept of Abrogation in The Koran and how "The Verse of the Sword" is viewed in this respect. Please give both Muslim views on this example for the most complete understanding.
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    Sep 16 2011: Very utile as a coment. i congratulate you for your ideas. Thnaks for sharing
  • Sep 16 2011: Its because you have events like 911 mixed with the racist-im-better-than-you types out there, who dont underdstand that its only the few terrorists who tarnish islam. i know quite a few islam people, and known of them ever run around with bombs and guns, so why dont we take a good opinion and over estimate islam? because people are ignorant and always look for faults in others before themselves. thats a big part ofthe reason. wedont want to blame ourselvesfor americas entire economic crash, so we need a scapegoat. Hope that helps
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    Sep 15 2011: But where are Imams in ?
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    Sep 15 2011: Thanks to all of you !

    erm, i see your point Mr. Thomas. Non-religious people are really making a stambilg-block toward breakingh the religious ice. i can answer that, for i have no pre-knowledge on that. i may assume which is relly bad.
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    Sep 15 2011: yeah indeed, they are a very utile e.g. i do encourage more activities like these. Yet, we don't find these in the Arab World why?
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    Sep 15 2011: The dialogue between religions requires a very well open mind and attention. By omitting all stereotypes and considering the historical, eschatological and moral linkages, the three religions might start dialoguing. Another good manner which could contribute to a possible and positive dialogue is reaching the level of understanding that all wars and conflicts of this very day are mainly due to political, economic, and nationalist reasons, and not of religious ones. It is believed that once a religion reaches this level, then directly a sense of collaboration, tolerance, anti-violence, peace, and respect would appear to make dialogue easily to be done.
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    Sep 15 2011: One of the dangerous things when being confronted to another religion is when we have no idea about the other’s faith. It happened to me once; I was participating in a forum on called; ALL ABOUT GOD. As the discussion board was full of Christian and Jewish participants; I posted a topic about the prophet Mohammed (pbuh). One of Jews there started insulting the prophet (pbuh). By then I realized that there was a lack of knowledge about the other religion (Islam).often, the notion of knowledge goes side by side with the notion of respect. In Islam, people are obliged to believe and respect all seers and prophets (pbut) (sura; al baquara: 283). As one of my American friends says; ‘knowledge is respect’. Existentially, as long as the three religions believe in the doomsday, then why shall be a conflict? From an ethical viewpoint, the more the three religions are aware of the shared Ten Commandments or teachings, the more they are likely to dialogue.
  • Sep 15 2011: Faiz Mukthar,
    "why is islam grossly misunderstood??"
    -- actions speak louder. suicide bombings i suppose.

    "why is people who doesnt know much about islam so keen in attacking islam?'
    -- because of its claim without evidence that Allah is the only one god. on the contrary Islamist has no clu about other highly developed religion.

    "why an event in islamic countries more focused than others by our media??"
    -- media loves to fill-up its pagers with craps.

    "why is not prophet muhammed considered great??"
    -- child lover.
    • Sep 15 2011: suicide bombing:
      Koran does not teach suicide bombing.why is it tagged to islam??
      indian young prime minister rajiv gandhi was killed by LTTE through suicide bomber!!
      Between 1980 and 2000 the largest number of suicide attacks was carried out by separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam of Sri Lanka. The number of attacks conducted by LTTE was almoust double that of nine other major extremist organizations.
      The tactics of the Kamikaze, a ritual act of self-sacrifice by state military forces, occurred during combat in a large scale at the end of World War II. These suicide attacks, carried out by Japanese kamikaze bombers, were used as a military tactic aimed at causing material damage in the war. In the Pacific Allied ships were attacked by kamikaze pilots who caused significant damage by flying their explosive-laden aircraft into military targets.
      Suicide bombings have become a tactic in Chechnya, first being used in the conflict in 2000 when a man and a woman drove a bomb-laden truck into a Russian army base in Alkhan Kala.[15] A number of suicide attacks have occurred in Russia as a result of the Chechen conflict, ranging from the Moscow theater hostage crisis in 2002 to the Beslan school hostage crisis in 2004.[16] The 2010 Moscow Metro bombings are also believed to result from the Chechen conflict.
      Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff intended to assassinate Adolf Hitler by suicide bomb in 1943, but was unable to complete the attack.
      Modern suicide bombing as a political tool can be traced back to the assassination of Tsar Alexander II of Russia in 1881. While driving on one of the central streets of Saint Petersburg, near the Winter Palace, he was mortally wounded by the explosion of hand-made grenades and died a few hours afterwards. The Tsar was killed by a member of Narodnaya Volya, Ignacy Hryniewiecki, who died while intentionally exploding the bomb during the attack.
      are these muslims??whomever does it is enemy of mankind!!
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        Sep 15 2011: Faiz,

        Let's stay focussed: The fact that others do something - like practice suicide bombing - does not excuse the practice by Muslim or Christian fanatics (even if the Muslims or Christians do "less" of it than the "others" do) nor does pointing out others do the same thing address the question of why Islam is so grossly misunderstood.

        If someone killed your mother, would it make any difference to you to find out many other people had also killed other people's mothers?

        No, it wouldn't.


        You have asked us why we think Islam is grossly misunderstood. We are telling you. Accept what we say whether you agree with us or not ... we are telling you: Why WE THINK Islam is grossly misunderstood.

        Isn't that what you want to know?


        Faiz, why do you think Islam is grossly misunderstood??

        PS If you are going to cut and paste from Wiki, it's considered polite to say so.
        • Sep 15 2011: thomas sir
          sorry that i dint mention it..i had done that only i accept...
          i accept the fact that whomever does suicide bombing is a crime for which they should never be forgiven i just wanted to ask that if all these groups does it why is it tagged only on with islam??
          thanks sir
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        Sep 15 2011: Hi Faiz,

        The reason we are mentioning that Muslims carry out suicide bombings (and other such things) is because you asked us why we think Islam is grossly misunderstood.

        You have defined the extent of our focus by the question you asked.

        If we were discussing suicide bombing, in general, I am sure we would tag it onto other groups as well.

        So, to get back on topic: Why do YOU think Islam is so grossly misunderstood?

        There are some interesting answer in the conversation so far:

        - Islam is not misunderstood.
        It is misunderstood because of:
        - the violence perpetrated by a few fanatics.
        - expressions of fear from all sides (Muslims and non-Muslims, etc.)
        - the way women are treated.
        - Etcetera.

        What do you think, Faiz?

        How do you think we could resolve the misunderstanding?

        I suggest you think of something other than having the whole world converting to Islam; the whole world reading the Quran; the whole world watching a video, reading a website, etc. It's not going to happen.

        It's a nice idea, I suppose, to think about the whole world reading your book but be realistic ... it's just not going to happen.

        So aside from the grand ideas, what do you think might help dissipate the gross misunderstanding people have about Islam?

        You are a member of a minority (Islam) and you think the rest of the world misunderstands you. Your solution seems to be that the rest of the world should change ... that is, the rest of the world should make the effort to understand you.

        Personally, if I was a member of a minority, I would not expect the majority to adapt to accommodate me, I would be asking myself, "What can I do do make myself better understood?"

        "What can I do to eliminate or minimize this gross misunderstanding?"

        So, my question to you is: What can YOU do to eliminate or minimize this gross misunderstanding?

        (Now, be careful: Generally, "we" do not misunderstand you because of something we have NOT done; we misunderstand you because of something you HAVE done.)
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          Oct 5 2011: Thomas, thank you for clarity and patience.

          I want to share a concern that might help Faiz respond to your question, "What can [Faiz] do to eliminate or minimize this gross misunderstanding?" He could share—give and take—speak and listen.

          I am a person of faith in reality, much of which is unknown. Additionally, I am a human being and member of the community of living species, immediately, humankind.

          I was born Southern Baptist and indoctrinated myself in their Bible interpretation until age 54. I am slow; it took me that long to discover that neither my mind nor heart is Southern Baptist. Before, I was trying to fulfill my mom and dad's vision. I continue to discover my preferences.
          My experience did not happen only because of precious doubt I discovered in the sixth grade: A being, possessed with the self-doubt and weakness expressed by the threats in Revelations 22:18, cannot be God. Added to my long-standing precious doubt was castigation of my wife’s religion (Catholic) by my Baptist peers in a married-couples Sunday-school class.

          Slowly, I became a human being—a minnow in an ocean. Each day, the joy of my status increases.

          About twelve years ago, I was trying to share my discovery with two co-workers, each in private conversations-- one a PhD chemical engineer and the other a PhD chemist.
          In both cases, their only response was, “Phil, sooner or later you will submit to Allah.” As a result, I have no desire for heartfelt conversation with Muslims. I want them to flourish in peace and happiness as equals. By equals, I mean governed by the authority of the governed including me. However, I have no desire to try to share my experience with them: I do not want to hear that “sooner or later” message, let alone debate it.

          Faiz, please comment on this idea:
          Islam is misunderstood because it seems Muslim people can’t share—can’t give and take—can’t speak and listen.

          Edited to "Faiz." Also made “could” and “can’t” consistent and more.
      • Sep 15 2011: Fazir, none of those suicide bombers you mentioned holds koran and loudly pronounce "Allahu Akbar".
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        Oct 6 2011: Hi Phil,

        Thanks for your kind words.

        I think this conversation has run its course, for one thing, Faiz Mukthar, the person who started it, seems to have abandoned us. He has not posted since September 15th (and he did not reply to a personal message I sent him to see if he was still interested in the conversation.)

        Perhaps he received a satisfactory reply to his question.

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          Oct 6 2011: Thomas,
          Thank you for the information and for somehow prompting me to share my story.
          One of the two gentlemen I referred to I feel is a dear friend, yet we have the “sooner or later” barrier. To make it worse, each time we depart, he says, "God bless you," not realizing that my brain bounces to, "You will submit to Allah," and I depart a little alienated or perhaps wounded--again.
          I think my question is one that would eventually help the Muslim dialogue with non-Muslims and will be looking for another opportunity to present it.
          In the meantime, perhaps another Muslim will respond. I do want to help.
          I would be interested in your comments on my story. Is it too blunt? Would there be interpretation problems with the edited language? Does it prompt the Muslim to merely stop making the “submit” statement, or does it come through that perhaps they cannot imagine a non-Muslim has a desirable destiny? In other words, is my story too subtle?
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        Oct 6 2011: Hi Phil,

        I do not think your story is too blunt or too subtle. It is your story, and you can tell it however you like. Of course, the purpose of a story is for another to hear it (it also informs us of the image we hold of our self.)

        So, if you would like your story to be heard, consider the audience (perhaps your dear friend) and find a way to tell it so that he can hear it.

        Remember, all stories are fiction - even if they are based on fact. The only true Story must be no longer than a single breath. Any story that takes longer than that to tell will abandon us as we breathe our last breath. (Such a Story, of course, cannot be "told," it can only be lived.)

        However, if we wish to tell our longer stories (while we have the time) considering the audience is a good place to start.

        As Stephen R. Covey puts it:

        "If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations, it would be this: SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD. This principle is key to effective interpersonal communication." [Emphasis his.]
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          Oct 7 2011: Thomas, thank you.

          My story about why I misunderstand Muslims:
          To submit to Allah, I would need to deny my faith, which I cannot do.
          But I am good to my neighbors, without wanting to know their religions.
          Can the Muslim accommodate my citizenship?
          Can the Muslim be my good neighbor?

  • Sep 15 2011: he taught almost eveything.christianity teach very less about the political world.jesus(pbuh) taught things which needed for peace and love same did muhammed(pbuh).islam forbids many things which the modern world cry for.and unfortunately they call it developement or civilised..homosexuality islam forbids but modern world talks for it (wats the sense in it think if all of us are homosexuals the world ends).homosexuality was something moses (pbuh) fought against when it was prevalent in pharoas but now jews doesnt attack homosexuality but muammed(pbuh) and quran clearly forbids it and hence islam still attacks it.jews and christians to some extend compromised it but muslims didnt and wouldnt compromise for it because it is crystal clear that its dangerous for humanity.this is just an example and here im not criticising christianity and judaism im sayin that christianity and judaism got more human interference (apart from messengers) than islam and hence except islam other religion was made flexible and hence people accepts it because they get more room in it.
    islam is so detailed that it teach you how to do sex with your wife.its a perfect guide you can refer to live.
    now you may ask why rule for everything or why a control over everything.answer is simple but not easy to can question yourself and try to get answer "will you pay tax if you are not feared legal action"
    So for a peaceful and adjusted life always needs some rules has to be kept.islam never says that you should wage war for spreading islam.islam teach that if you dont love the country where you live even if its not an islamic nation you are not a complete muslim..why people are deaf and dumb to such noble teachings???
  • Sep 15 2011: The answer for this questions can only be given through relative thinking as far as understand from the talks here..
    lets think wats there in islam which is not there in other religions which makes islam a villain in this modern world.
    christianity if embraced as such as jesus(pbuh) i will be confused whether to call him a christian or muslim!!that deep is the relation between christianity and islam.
    But what happened to christianity was it got influenced by people.the bible itself was edited and was made it comfortable for us.this is the reason why you will never find reason to hate christianity because its more humane and match the way we think and gives as a better room.
    abraham(pbuh) was a messenger whom islam respects a lot.quran sites the abraham's (pbuh) examples a lot in islam and every muslim's pray 5 times a day wont be complete without praying for him.muhammed (pbuh) itself is his descent..
    abraham (pbuh) is in islam to the extend that every muslim celebrates the day when god asked abraham (pbuh) to sacrifice a goat instead of his own son.but rarely people know islam this day is given more importance than prophet's birthday.
    abraham(pbuh) destroyed all the ideals and preached monotheism and discarded idol worship but what happened after his death we all know his own idol was STRANGE!!
    I told above things to make you understand that islam is not an alien to other religion.we are all preaching a religion whose messengers had same aim.

    Now let's take islam.what makes islam different from these religions is that islam interfere in everything in your life.right from you are born till the judgement day is being discussed and explained.quran was never edited and hence its not humane at all in our eyes but its divine hence can never be against humanity and love.muhammed(pbuh) taught how to live.he was a ruler and taught how to rule.continued....
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      Sep 15 2011: Faiz,

      Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

      However, you miss an important point: You believe in Allah, the Quran, and so on.

      For you, they are true, because they are true.

      Not everyone believes as you believe.

      For many, what you believe is simply superstition that we humans have a tendency to propagate.

      For some, the Quran and Bible are fiction; for others they're an inspiration but not literally true; and for others they are the Word of God.

      Perhaps one of the reasons that Islam is so grossly misunderstood is because (some) Muslims fail to accept that contradictory views are as equally valid to those who hold them as Islam is to them.

      True believers of all religions tend to believe they are right and everyone else is wrong.

      A few true believers are willing to kill to make the point.

      Do you think that might lead to a gross misunderstanding?


      By the way, if, in response to my comments, you assert that the Quran is true, and that if I only read this or that website, I will understand and accept your interpretation of the "Truth" as correct, you will have missed the point completely.

      This seems to be a common error we make. We assume that if the other person knew what we know, they would believe what we believe ... which is true, by the way. The part we miss is that it goes both ways ... for example, if you knew what I know, you would believe what I believe.

      The difference between a religious believer and, me, for example, is I don't mind if you agree with me or not.

      True believers such as fundamentalist Christians and Muslims, do care whether others believe in what they believe in or not - for them, it is a "matter of (eternal) life and death." If I do not believe what they say .. well, you know what the outcome of that will be .. I'll go to hell.

      Now, if you are a true believer, you will likely say I do not have to believe in what "YOU" say (because you are fallible) but I should read the Quran .. because it is infallible .. and so on.
      • Sep 15 2011: I do understand that.I do accept the fact that other religion need not respect quran nor they will accept trying to state that islam is grossly misunderstood just because that people do not try to explore the or learn about quran its content why when and how was it introduced but they are very well interested to criticise it!!
        if you want to criticise something you have to learn it properly

        Anyways thanks bro for your feedback..god bless you
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          Sep 15 2011: Hi Faiz,

          So you are suggesting that anyone who criticizes Islam should first read the Quran, is that correct?

          It's a fair assertion to make.

          What if they have read the Quran and still choose to criticize Islam?

          Then what?


          Why do you think Islam is so grossly misunderstood?


          By the way, you sound an awful lot like another person I was conversing with about the Quran here on TED.
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          Sep 15 2011: Hi FaizI for my part have read the Quran just to find anything that I could admire. I know most sacred books of the world and find true meaning in them but for the Quran it isn't that easy. Some say it's a matter of interpretation, if I would translate the spirit of it to todays values it would fit. Maybe this is true and maybe not every muslim is doing so.
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    Sep 14 2011: Regarding media . don't want comment because the role of media is really a big question mark ............
    Whom with Islamic community ,people who are not muslim can learn what Islam means from your view point?
    Why there are so many fight fraction with in followers of islam ?
    What lesson world can learn from the so called muslim countries of middle east ?
    What are the bigger events now around the world going on which is out focus other than what happening in so called islamic world of Middle East ?
    What lesson no islamic world can learn from Islamic country of sub continent Pakistan , where every now and then muslim are killed in the hand of muslim ?
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    Sep 14 2011: The religion is not bad some people are bad. Islam is just a media attention thats all nothing is different just after Kargil war things started to change lot of things were uncovered after that, but if you dig into things the root cause of the problem there is and was caused by some other country not to mention as history is transparent and everyone knows that. And recently OBL was found in abotabad and the whole world starts thinking that all middle east (on the way to west for us) is a problem causing place. Actually a few people from that region only helped or even now helping me to learn a lot of new programming styles :) so hence proved not all are bad nor good.
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    Sep 14 2011: Ignorance of a topic, leads to band wagon beliefs or authority following in relation to that topic.

    American priest says "Islam is the cancer of the world" You got a church full of people who are ignorant [in respect to Islam (the history, philosophies, and theologies)] whom will follow that say-so...

    Now I'm going to ask you questions...

    Why is Buddha not considered great for you? Jesus? Krishna? Abraham? Moses? All historical leaders of people whom wish to be "enlightened" yet you feel the prophet muhammed is superior? No, absolutely not.

    Perhaps you should dig into other people's cultures prior to assuming your culture is in anyway, better..
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    Sep 14 2011: why? is islam grossly misunderstood?
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    Sep 13 2011: Misunderstood, by whom? Do all muslims understand Islam? What do you think?