All posts by Iyad El-Baghdadi

A hundred articles in twelve days

 

A hundred articles in twelve days

Back from my two-week break! Thanks to everyone who wrote or PM’d, you really made my day. I was hoping to do some writing while away, but I never expected to get this much done! It’s probably been the most productive break of my life.

It all started when I attempted a reply to this thread, where Matt Collins asked: “Why are socio-cons so afraid of Muslims?” By the time I noticed the thread, it was into its 8th page, and the amount of sheer BS piling up from a few of our own socio-cons was towering so high that a reply post wouldn’t have done it.

So I set out to write. Into the 20th page I realized what I had was too long for a thread post. It’s into its 100th…

page now, and I’m calling it a “project”, because I don’t know what it’ll end up being. I guess Acala was quite perceptive in suggesting that I “write a book”.

So… what is it?

In a way I always knew I had to write this some day. A devout “Islamist” Muslim who identifies as a libertarian cannot go too long without being asked to explain himself. How can I reconcile my “anti-liberal” religion and worldview with the ideals of liberty?

I’m calling it “The Islamic Paradigm”, and (for the moment) it’s structured as 100-something ultra-summarized articles, each starting with a “jumping off point”, typically a quote from a socio-con or an Islamophobe. I guess it’s more apt to call them “abstracts” than articles.

My intention is to allow these to grow through active discussion and debate. RPF will be central to this; in a way I’m dropping a super-dehydrated pill into a sea of smart people, who’ll allow it to expand to its final form. Liberty Forest, you’re my muse!

 

The Islamic Paradigm

While I may be proceeding from certain Islamophobic arguments, my intention isn’t to counter or argue against them. What I’m doing is not apologetics; I am not attempting to “defend” or justify Islam’s positions, or show it to be “compatible” with any Western ideas or schools of thought.

It’s been said that the Qur’an can never be translated; only reinterpreted into another language. I submit that this “translation problem” is not limited to Islam’s scriptures but to most of its basic concepts. It’s not a matter of translating a language into another, but a worldview into another.

This is what prompted me to talk of a “paradigm”. I am attempting to portray the Islamic worldview regarding certain concepts and issues, by explaining how Muslims see (or should see) these things; that is, explaining Islam on Islam’s own terms.

Any compatibility I may uncover between Islam and Western thoughts or ideas should be seen as an interesting occasional point of agreement, rather than an attempt at outreach.

You don’t have to agree with Islamic worldview and it is certainly not my intention to convince you of it. In fact, you’re free to hate Islam afterwards. At least, then, it would be an informed disagreement, rather than an irrational hatred based on myths, falsehoods, half-truths, ignorance, and pure stupidity.

I may quote some other posters sporadically, without mention of name. I intend no disrespect to anyone I respond to – they may well be more intelligent, upright, and successful than me. I’m not writing to discredit them. I hope we can maintain this atmosphere of respect even if we hold diametrically opposite views.

 

Why RPF?

As far as I know, this is the best and most diverse pool of smart, liberty-loving, open-minded people on the net. I’ve found RPF to be unique in being intelligent and highly active. In my experience, more “intellectual” forums are rather inactive, and more active forums are rather dumb.

But also because I find this project to be in line with Dr. Ron Paul’s positions and political philosophy; war is the health of the state, and Islamophobia is the fuel of the (current and imminent) wars.

 

The hundred (something)

Below is the “index”. Feel free to critique it, or suggest a different order of posting. Many (if not most) are already written; they just need to be reviewed and posted.

I’ll proceed by posting an abstract every few days, allowing each to get its share of discussion, review, and rebuttal from the RPF community. I’ve also setup a Facebook page for this project, and I’m hosting everything I’m writing on my new website.

Now, on with the list:

1. What socio-cons? There’s no such a thing as socio-cons

2. Why do socio-cons and culture-cons get to you so much? I say live and let live

3. Who are you? What the heck is an Islamic libertarian?

4. Why are socio-cons so afraid of Islam?

5. Islam wasn’t “hijacked” by terror groups; these groups are practicing “real” Islam

6. Sharia law is brutal; it prescribes beating, maiming, stoning, and death

7. “Fatwa” has become synonymous with irrational violence

8. The doctrinal integrity of Islam is in fact a fatal disadvantage; it makes Islam rigid and makes it impossible for it to reform or to evolve with the times

9. Where do you get off calling Islam “the religion of peace”?

10. Islam is a cult, incompatible with the Judeo-Christian conception of religion. It should not protected under our “freedom of religion” tradition

11. If you want to see Islam in action, just look at Islamic countries. They are backward in every possible way

12. Muslim countries are backward because its people are backward. The only hope for them is to liberalize and Westernize and abandon this horror called Islam.

13. The “Islamic Golden Age” is pure propaganda; Muslims were always backward

14. “Cordoba” to Muslims is a symbol of victory over Christianity

15. Islamic history is surprisingly monolithic with very little changing from their start till now. They have never known a form of government other than an absolutist     theocracy

16. All Muslim countries are theocracies at one level or another; that’s why they are backward

17. Even the “best” Muslim countries are a thin veneer of flash hiding deep barbarism; like lipstick on a pig

18. Muslims are lazy and unproductive; in fact productivity rankings put them at the bottom of the world’s nations. That’s why they never had and probably never will have an industrial revolution or work ethic.

19. The supposed “wealth” of some Muslim countries is based purely on oil dollars and not on anything they’re getting right. It’s an economy that rose from the desert sands and will go back into the desert sands the moment the oil runs out

20. Muslims are smelly and dirty, and their countries are arid dustbowls; even their language is ugly and guttural. If it wasn’t for oil, these guys will be herding camels and living in tents. In fact just give it a few years for oil to run out

21. Arabs are camel-herding nomads from their beginning; they continue to be primarily nomadic as seen today in Arabia, the Negev, the Sahara, or Darfur

22. Islam’s god is a false god and its prophet is an insult to prophets. Their position on Jesus is an insult to Christianity; their values are in stark contrast to Judeo-Christian ethics

23. Islam is a lie form the pit of hell and its prophet was in league with the Devil

24. While Christianity presents a beautiful purpose for human existence, Islam is purposeless and nihilistic. It knows the good and wishes to destroy it for the sake of its destruction

25. The Islamic civilization is a relic of the past; the new millennium will only see the Western civilization, the Chinese civilization, and possibly the Indian civilization.

26. Muslims by nature carnal and unspiritual; that’s why they don’t understand Redemption

27. Islam stole most of its scripture, theology, metaphysics, eschatology, and exegesis from Judaism and Christianity

28. It’s completely acceptable to burn the Qur’an. Muslims hate the Bible and if they had the chance would burn it too

29. What do Islamists want anyway? Even those who renounce violence remain fundamentalist, extremist, and radical

30. For the past 100 years, Islamic movements have brought nothing but death, destruction, intolerance, and instability

31. Islamist movements are synonymous with terrorism; whether it’s Hamas, Alqaeda, Taliban, or Hezbollah, they are all the same in their goals and methods

32. Jihad means terror and Islam teaches that terrorists who practice jihad are fulfilling their religious duty and will be greatly rewarded by their “god”.

33. The War on Terror is a totally unique situation with no precedent on which the United States and its allies can fall back

34. The War on Terror is a no-holds-barred struggle for liberty, in which we must do anything to win. Stop complaining about torture and stuff. Besides, these people are scum and they deserve it.

35. Islamist terrorists are cowardly, evidenced by their hiding out in caves and targeting civilians. Face to face, man to man, they are no match to a regular Western army.

36. Islamist movements are largely responsible for the fall of the secular nationalistic Arab ideologies that could have modernized and liberalized the Arab world.

37. Muslims have an irrational hatred for the West

38. Why are Muslims making such a fuss all the time? Their reaction to the Danish cartoons shows them to be such a touchy lot

39. Muslim immigration is threatening the demographics of Europe. We must make sure this doesn’t happen to us.

40. Muslims want to impose Sharia law upon the United States

41. Muslims want to create a global Islamic state

42. Muslims want to conquer and take over the world

43. Islam spread through violent conquest while Christianity mostly spread peacefully

44. Islam has a brutal history. They don’t treat non-Muslims good.

45. Islam not only condones but promotes slavery, and the slave trade was purely a Muslim invention.

46. Islam teaches that women are subhuman and discriminates against them legally and socially

47. Islam teaches that all non-Muslims are infidels, and hence sub-human; today’s terrorist groups even extend the definition of “infidel” to Muslims who disagree with them

48. The worst thing about Muslims is that they take their religion seriously, unlike Christians and Jews. That pretty much defines fanaticism in my book

49. Islamists (especially Alqaeda) are hell-bent on destroying America, and killing as many civilians as possible

50. Muslims have no qualms about killing civilians; they have never had a tradition of “just war”. All their wars have been “total wars”

51. The only way to defeat terrorist movement such as Alqaeda and Hamas is to be more effective at killing large numbers of them

52. How can I even trust you? I’ve seen that video that proves that you’re a liar.

53. Why are many Islamic centers and personalities implicated in supporting and funding terrorism? Just shows we can’t trust them

54. Islam is very contradictory; one Muslim group quotes verses of peace and loving one’s neighbor while another quotes verses of death to all infidels. How can we trust them?

55. The issue of “abrogation” shows that Islam is full of contradictions and shows that Muslims are dishonest about showing the Islam’s true face

56. The Qur’an is a dangerous book calling for violence and barbarism

57. A religious Muslim cannot be friends with a non-Muslim; Islam instructs him to hate all non-Muslims and to consider them as enemies

58. Non-Muslims living in a Muslim country are called “dhimmis”, a demeaning and dehumanizing term; they are discriminated against in every possible way

59. Sharia is fundamentally anti-liberal

60. Sharia is authoritarian and big-government

61. Islam is collectivist

62. There is no place for personal liberty in Islam, since every small sin is met with a severe capital punishment

63. Islam is a fascist religion

64. Islam is a totalitarian religion

65. The Sharia form of government is an absolutist dictatorship

66. Muslims never had and probably never will have a written constitution or a limited government

67. Islam is fatalistic and claims a monopoly over “the truth”, making it diametrically opposed to progress and modernity

68. Islamic philosophy is an oxymoron; there can be no speculative thought in the presence of “doctrinally dictated truth”

69. Muslim countries ban missionary activity by Christians because they know that if they allow it, people will leave Islam en masse

70. The tribal nature of most Muslim societies makes them more compatible with medieval feudalism than with modern states

71. There is no hope for a libertarian or even a liberal-leaning movement to take hold in any Muslim country

72. The greatest sign of retardation of the Muslim world is that there has been no rumblings of a popular revolution against the tyrannies that rule them; they uncritically accept their lot under these dictators

73. So what if Muslims invented algebra? Good for them, we don’t owe them anything. The renaissance and enlightenment were purely European phenomena.

74. Islam is such a foreign culture to the West

75. What use is all of this? As an America-firster I do not care about Islam and don’t think there’s anything to learn or gain here. This is a non-issue not worth thinking or talking about

76. “Islamic multiculturalism” is a myth; Islam only recognizes Arab culture and attempts to impose it on all. There is no place for any other culture or race, and Arab Muslims look down on non-Arabs.

77. Islam’s anti-Semitism is at the very root of the Arab-Israeli problem

78. Screw all of this, let’s just bring our troops home and cut off foreign aid. The Middle East can burn in hell for all I care

79. Israel is culturally superior to its neighbors; it is an oasis of democracy in a desert of tyranny

80. We have to interfere in the Middle East because we’re the only thing stopping those idiots from killing each other; the moment we pull out they’ll be at each other’s necks again

81. The only workable solution in the Middle East is a two-state solution

82. American intervention in the Middle East is good because it forces these countries to “do the right thing”; if it wasn’t for the American stick over their heads, they would never reform

83. Muslims have been hating us long before we were even aware of them; their values are diametrically opposed to the founding principles of America. We did not initiate ill-feeling or aggression towards them, we are merely reacting to them

84. Sunnis and Shias have been fighting each other for 2000 years; we better not step in or even try to understand what’s going on

85. Sunni or Shia, doesn’t matter one way or the other. It’s all irrational BS.

86. For all their bravado, Muslims keep losing wars spectacularly; I can’t remember the last time they actually won something. Yet, pathetic as they are, they keep claiming victory!

87. You will rarely find as much hubris and hypocrisy as in the Muslim world; where else do you see tyrannical demagogues like Gaddafi, Saddam, or Ahmedinajad go off about how  it’s Islam that is “truly civilized” and the West that is “barbaric”?

88. I don’t care one way or another. All religions are nonsense.

89. Pakistan is a glaring example of what Muslims are, and is proof that democracy cannot work in the Muslim world

90. Proof that Muslims are irrational: We attack some villages in Yemen, and a Nigerian Muslim comes at us!

91. The post-911 “Islamist wave” that took the Middle East has largely died out; Muslim nations are more open to secularism and liberalism now than before

92. “Islamic libertarianism” is an oxymoron; there can be no meeting point between a secular ideology and any religion. The parallels you’re trying to draw with Western thought are deeply inappropriate.

93. Muslims in the West are not integrating, and instead are being radicalized; hence the fear of “home grown” terror and the need for close surveillance and monitoring

94. Islam’s strict moral code is unrealistic and unnatural, and that’s why no one can keep it, even Muslims. Just see how Muslims indulge in alcohol, drugs, and sex the moment they’re away from home

95. What of the 72 virgins? Islam’s concept of paradise is childish and laughable

96. Muslim societies are socially reserved, or rather socially backward, especially on gender and sexual issues

97. Religion is strictly personal and should have no place in the public or even social sphere

98. Islamic feminism is a welcome development in the Islamic world; if Western women can burn their bras, Muslim women should burn their burqas

99. “Islamic education” is synonymous with brainwashing, just as “madrassa” is synonymous with “terror school”

100. Islam did not get rid of superstition, instead it strengthened such beliefs; Muhammad dabbled in magic and claimed supernatural powers

101. Muslims, just like Christian fundamentalists, are Creationists, and opposed to scientific progress

102. Muslim media are unprofessional and sensationalist. Some, like Aljazeera, are probably directly in league with the terrorists.