blueollie

Tough topics: Islam in the US, Racism …

Islam: Of course, one can be a good American and a good Muslim at the same time; millions are. But currently, Islam is more of a “total way of life” than other religions are, at least for the bulk of those who practice it. As Shadi Hamid
of the Brookings Institution writes:

This fact gets at something deeper, which often goes unsaid because it suggests there is — or at least there may be — a clash of cultures. Islam seems, at least by Western standards, unusually assertive and uncompromising. Critics might see it as full-blown aggressiveness. But Muslims often point to these qualities as evidence of Islam’s vitality and relevance in a supposedly secular age. To put it a bit differently, this is why many Muslims like being Muslim.

Whether consciously done or not, to be unapologetically Muslim today is to, in a way, show that other futures are possible, that the end of history may in fact have more than one destination. If Islam has been — and will continue to be — resistant to secularism, then the very existence of practicing Muslims serves as a constant reminder of this historical and religious divergence.

I realize that some of my fellow American Muslims will view such arguments as inconvenient, portraying Islam in a not-so-positive light. But it is not my job to make Islam look good, and it helps no one to maintain fictions that make us feel better but don’t truly reflect the power and relevance of religion.

In the West, the common response to the challenge of theological diversity has been banal statements of religious “universality.” All too often, interfaith dialogue, however well-intentioned, is about papering over what makes us — or at least our beliefs — different. It is a tenet of our American faith that we’re all basically the same and ultimately want the same things. This is true in some ways, but not in every way.

The crisis of culture and identity — one that sees the rise of the far-right and white nativism in our own country — makes it clear that our differences and divides are real. We would all be better off acknowledging — and addressing — those differences rather than pretending they don’t exist.

Racism/Black Lives Matter, etc. I was sickened by what happened in Tulsa, where an unarmed black guy was stopped and killed by police, though he posed no threat whatsover. And it saddens me that *athletes* are taking the lead in getting the conversation going.

Unfortunately, the conversation often goes off the rails, as this Brown University professor points out. It isn’t as simple as “it is whitey’s fault” or “black people should quit committing crimes” (which is what one often sees in the internet discussions). All too often, “activists” dismiss statistics that they don’t like as being “racist”:

Yes, it is true that blacks are far, far, far more likely to be simple murder victims than to be shot and killed by police. It isn’t even close.

But that misses the point. Law enforcement is there to serve *all* of its citizens. And all too often, law enforcement is seen as a THREAT to ordinary black people, rather than as an entity there to protect and serve. Just listen to what a Republican Senator has to say:

And as far as protestors: no, I don’t like many of the more strident ones. Frankly, I think that what the more strident ones are doing are turning people TOWARD Donald Trump.
But some of the anger directed toward them is irrational…and yes, even well off, well educated people have vented their irrational anger in public.

instapundit

Yes, that is a Law Professor making that tweet.

September 22, 2016 Posted by | political/social, racism, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Class, Gaussians and Islam in the world…

Islam in the world I wrote about this earlier. Evidently many conflate criticism of Islam (and its practices) with a justification for discrimination against Muslims; those are very different things. A Pakistani woman wrote an open letter to explain why the points brought up by Bill Maher and Sam Harris are worthy ones:

And in yesterday’s issue of Pakistan Today, you’ll find her piece: “An open letter to Ben Affleck“. As a few quotes below will show, she goes after Affleck for trying, as she argues, to minimize the plight of Muslim women like her. Just a bit to give you the flavor:

Noble liberals like yourself always stand up for the misrepresented Muslims and stand against the Islamophobes, which is great but who stands in my corner and for the others who feel oppressed by the religion? Every time we raise our voices, one of us is killed or threatened. I am a blogger and illustrator, no threat to anyone, Ben, except for those afraid of words and drawings. I want the freedom to express myself without the very real fear that I might be killed for it. Is that too much to ask?

When I wrote a children’s book that carried a message of diversity and inclusivity for everyone, my life changed. My book, ‘My Chacha (uncle) is Gay’ has the innocent anti-homophobia message, ‘Love belongs to everyone’. This was not palatable to many of my Muslim brothers and sisters.

Since that project I have been declared an ‘enemy of God’ and deemed worthy of death. All because I want to help create a world where South Asian children too can have their stories told, so they too can know that love comes in all forms, and that that’s okay. My Muslim brothers and sisters were hit hard by this work because it addresses the issue of homophobia within our own community. It is not something they can pass off as ‘Western’ immorality. Just like they deny that any issues exist within the doctrine of Islam, many deny that homosexuality exists amongst good, ‘moral’ Muslims. Just like that, millions of people’s existence is denied. Please do not defend people who think this way, and let me tell you Ben, many ‘good’ Muslims do think this way.

What you did by screaming ‘racist!’ was shut down a conversation that many of us have been waiting to have. . . You became an instant hero, a defender of Islam.

Here is something to remember: the most radical right wing American Christians would be …flaming liberals if they were Muslims:

In your culture you have the luxury of calling such literalists “crazies”, like the Westboro Baptist Church, for example. In my culture, such values are upheld by more people than we realise. Many will try to deny it, but please hear me when I say that these are not fringe values. It is apparent in the lacking numbers of Muslims willing to speak out against the archaic Shariah law. The punishment for blasphemy and apostasy, etc, are tools of oppression. Why are they not addressed even by the peaceful folk who “aren’t fanatical, who just want to have some sandwiches and pray five times a day? Where are the Muslim protestors against blasphemy laws/apostasy? Where are the Muslims who take a stand against harsh interpretation of Shariah? These sandwich-eating peaceful folk do not defend those suffering in the name of Islam, Ben, and therein lies our problem.

Accuracy in media
Here is an example of Fox News reporting something that is blatantly false, but not issuing a correction. The claim was that Colorado law allowed for people to print out their own ballots; that is only true for Military personnel living overseas.

Epic Class Warfare rant
Marc Randazza is a famous First Amendment lawyer. He can’t stand some attitudes exhibited by some rich people, even though he is well off. Read his “candy woman” rant.

Ok, I have a few hang ups about Halloween Trick or Treaters but these tend to be “Larry Davidish”.

Mathematics and statistics Some statistical distributions appear over and over again. This one appears to be half Gaussian, half exponential.

October 27, 2014 Posted by | Fox News Lies Again, mathematics, political/social, politics/social, poverty, religion, rich, science, social/political, statistics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Religion, Islam, “Islamophobia”, etc.

The above is worth watching. And yes, the usually irrational conservative is correct in this instance: liberals are in a tension between equal rights for all and “multiculturalism”.

Islam is in the intersection of that fissure.

On one hand: in the US, Muslims can build whatever center of worship they want so long as the have the proper permits, construction, etc. They should not be discriminated against in terms of business, jobs, education, etc.

On the other hand: their religion and practices are NOT to be granted immunity from criticism either.

So, I found the following to be pathetic:

Hey there, Bill. You hate religion. You particularly hate Islam. We get it. Your liberal bigotry against Muslims and Islam is no secret. For a while now I’ve just avoided watching your show, which kind of stinks because for many years I was a great fan and really loved it. I wasn’t even bothered when you called out Muslims doing stupid, criminal or horrific things. You do that with a lot of groups, and it’s important to do. But I stopped watching when it became clear that you loathed a faith I was devoted to.

[…]

The “open letter” goes on and talks about things like this:

I could tell you that Islam was the first system to establish women’s property rights, inheritance rights, the right to education, to marry and divorce of their free will, to be religious scholars, business owners, soldiers. I could tell you that while Christianity was debating the status of women’s souls and declaring them a source of sin, Islam had already established authoritatively the spiritual equality of men and women and absolved Eve, and womankind at large, of sin. I could tell you that the world and history is full of highly educated, successful Muslim women who are empowered by their faith, not debilitated by it. I could tell you terrorism is categorically forbidden in Islam, and that between 1970 and 2012, 97.5% of terror attacks in the U.S. were carried out by non-Muslims.

Uh, this isn’t about the historical contributions of Islam; some are undeniable. And this is not really about threats to the US. For me, it is really more about this:

Or this:

The Pew Research Center’s vast new study on the views and attitudes of global Muslim populations was bound to create controversy. Like the U.S. public knowledge polls that find that one-third of Americans can’t name the vice president, Pew’s report includes some less-than-flattering pieces of data. And while it’s important not to generalize about entire populations or demographic groups based on one study, some of these numbers are difficult to ignore.
One of the questions, which Pew asked of Muslims in 38 countries from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, was whether or not they support making sharia the official law in the country. In many countries, the answer was overwhelmingly yes, although Pew notes that many respondents said sharia should apply only to Muslims and, just as importantly, that “Muslims differ widely in how they interpret certain aspects of sharia, including whether divorce and family planning are morally acceptable.” Many respondents reject the stricter laws and punishments for which sharia is often, fairly or unfairly, known in the West. In other words, just because some people say they support sharia law does not mean they want to make their neighbors live in a 9th-century-style caliphate.
Still, amid an otherwise innocuous or even reassuring report, Pew’s study found some disturbing details. One that jumped out for me was the alarmingly high share of Muslims in some Middle Eastern and South Asian countries who say they support the death penalty for any Muslim who leaves the faith or converts to another.
According to Pew’s data, 78 percent of Afghan Muslims say they support laws condemning to death anyone who gives up Islam. In both Egypt and Pakistan, 64 percent report holding this view. This is also the majority view among Muslims in Malaysia, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.
It’s important to note, though, that this view is not widely held in all Muslim countries or even among Muslims in these regions. In Bangladesh, another majority Muslim South Asian state that has a shared heritage with Pakistan, it is about half as prevalent, with 36 percent saying they support it. Fewer than one in six Tunisian Muslims hold the view, as do fewer than one in seven Muslims in Lebanon, which has a strong Christian minority.
The view is especially rare among Central Asian and European Muslims. Only 6 percent of Russian Muslims agree that converts from Islam should face death, as do 1 percent of Albanian Muslims and, at the bottom of the chart, 0.5 percent of Kazakhs.

Screen shot 2014-05-14 at 10.22.00 AM

Even the “only x percent” numbers are horrific.

There are also the death penalty for homosexuality and for blasphemy.

Think about it this way; if someone destroys a Bible or, say, insults Jesus: do Christians riot? You do have pockets of badly behaved Christians (e. g. witch burners in Africa), but where (else) is this encouraged from the pulpit?

May 14, 2014 Posted by | religion, social/political | , , | Leave a comment