Formless wrote: ↑
The thing I like about that list I linked to is that one need not fit all the criteria listed to qualify as an Islamophobe. And its not exhaustive either. Any and all of those sentiments are problematic, in their own ways. Dawkins certainly treats Islam as a monolithic entity, which is criteria #1.
When you dislike the entire idea of a religion why should you need to go into details about it? If I were to attack Christianity by going after the Bible and what is written there, why should I have to talk specifically about the Catholic-Protestant divide and the later divergences from that split? To go even further, if I were to attack a religion by going after the teachings of its core holy writ, why should I even have to touch on how it is/has actually been worshipped at all?
In general, he is more likely to talk about the very physical dangers it poses, the violence and such. But when criticizing Christianity, his criticisms are often more about things like the anti-intellectual aspects and the dangers it poses to science.
If Christianity was in the news for the same scale of organized violence that ISIS has been known for I'm sure he would talk about that. He's not making the same arguments for each is justified by the fact that followers of one system are engaged in acts that followers of the other are not.
Your argument is like complaining that reviews of two packages for the same car aren't the same when one package is known to catch fire and the other is simply an uncomfortable noisy fuel guzzler. The second set of points may apply to the first package in equal or greater measure, but one can be forgiven for instead focusing on the fact that it catches fire.
Islam as he portrays it is more barbaric than the West, without respecting the historical context of how the West fucked up the Islamic world for its own ends. Which makes us look pretty fucking barbaric.
Is this ignoring that the Islamic world had done the same to the West at other points in history and only failed to keep doing so once the West secured a large advantage in economy and technology, or are you going to gloss over the things that make the Islamic World look barbaric?
Not specifically, but if I were to post examples of religious violence I would indeed be a lot more diverse in my examples because I think that if religious violence is important enough to talk about, I should either be even handed or if I am going to be selective I'm going to pick the most relevant forms of such violence to where I actually live-- and that isn' Islamic terrorism despite how much attention it gets on TV. That's why later in my post I note the Avaliability Heuristic as one reason I think his reasoning is tainted by prejudice; Islamic terrorism is easy to recall because it is more visible in the news. But Christian violence is still very real, and never talked about by Dawkins anymore.
Or you could pick the third option and go after the most visible example in hopes of using it to sway your target audience the furthest with time and effort you have at your disposal. This is a pretty common sense approach to most forms of public debate and this board is guilty of the same things. For example, we post more about the police shooting people than the police themselves getting shot and by your measure that should be far more equal. It isn't, and likely will never be, because only one side of that pair makes the news and circulates here.
You see, what you are missing is that there are multiple stereotypes I'm highlighting. The geographical stereotype, as I mentioned earlier-- he alludes to multiple kinds of violence but they don not come from the same parts of the Islamic world.
If he's attacking a religion and not a region why should he care where each data point comes from geographically? Muslims are, or have very recently, committed mass murder in the name of Islam on a scale that hasn't been done in the name of Christ in hundreds of years. FGM is mostly practiced in Muslim nations so even if Christians do it too that doesn't change the fact that it's happening in a Muslim nation and often due to a mistaken belief that their religion requires it. I could go on but the key point is that when attacking a religion one needn't confine their arguments to any one geographic region.
...is that FGM is associated with Islamic terrorism, and really, has much if anything to do with Islam at all. That's a stereotype, both outside of Islam and amazingly, within it. Your point is based on the misconception: there is no evidence that it became more prevalent after Islam than before, and the places where it is most prevalent are far away from Islam's origin point. We know Muhammad was aware of it because its mentioned in the Hadith, but it is NOT mentioned in the Quran. It was a cultural practice which attached itself to Islam after the fact. I had to have this misconception beaten out of my head by an actual anthropologist.
You're the one conflating FGM and terrorism. It sounds to me like Dawkins was just listing off shitty things that go hand in hand with Islam and you're reading into it.
Christians in those countries also practice FGM. But no one makes the mistake of blaming their religion in that case.
That's like saying that people in Canada tend to speak some English in that of course people living in a place where a thing is common will also do that thing.
Yes it is mentioned in the Hadith,
...Which is a major component of most Muslim belief systems. You can't argue that Dawkins isn't looking at the whole religion while at the same time ignoring that the Hadith is a part of most Islamic beliefs.
There is also a large misconception among Muslims in these countries that it is a religious obligation.
By your own argument doesn't this make it a part of the religion? If, as you say, most people don't know a holy text word for word, isn't their personal or communal interpretation of what they do recall as much their religion as what is written in a specific text? Again, you can't have this both ways, either a religion is just the text and can be attacked without concern for geographic and political nuance or the text matters only in so far as it informs the actions of its followers and thus a religion can be attacked by point out the flaws of those who follow it. So which is it? If it is both, then is it not fair that both be attacked even by the same person?
It is mentioned in the Hadith exactly once, but the Hadith is just a bunch of crap Muhammad said that was recorded for posterity. Setting aside how much or how little certain Muslims care about the Hadith in general, this mention is vague as to how it should be interpreted. I do not think FGM should even be a religious talking point per-say, because it is clear that pre-existing beliefs about women's chastity and hygiene attached themselves to a convenient religious excuse.
Which is different from how other religions have evolved regionally how exactly? This is like arguing that the practices of a black church in the southern US aren't religious because they piggybacked some current practices off of the various cultures that the slaves brought with them from Africa. In short this argument is meritless.
the worst you can say about the religion at large regarding FGM is that most scholars agree that it is permissible, even if they don't think it is required. They refuse to accept that Muhammad was an ignoramus on this point.
And this alone damns them. You don't get to claim your religion is good when it finds FGM permissible.
As much as I dislike the other Abrahamic cults, at least you won't hear the Pope arguing anything other than FGM being disgusting. The same goes for pretty much any Pastor or even Rabbi one might care to name.
But they aren't the ones responsible for actually perpetuating the act
Nor was the withholding of condoms by the Catholic church directly spreading AIDs in Africa but that didn't stop this very board for ripping into them for it. Why should Islam get a pass for doing something equally disgusting when they have the power to enable a positive change?
But many of the women who practice FGM are illiterate. If they've never read the Quran, and everyone they know says that its required of a Muslim woman, that's what they are going to do. They don't know where in their religion it says they must practice it, they don't know that there is confusion as to how to interpret the Hadith. And it also explains some of the Christians who practice it, because when you ask them they also think its part of their religion! That of course is flat wrong. There is no mention of it in any Christian text at all. In all of these cases, it only continues because of illiteracy and cultural inertia. Period.
The practices of those who follow a religion, especially when that practice is done in the name of said religion, are part of that religion even if it is not a part of the religious text.
In fact, I would say that it is dangerous to associate it with Islamic Terrorism, because these are people who are actually highly influenced by what the West thinks and how it interacts with their religion. Currently only the Muslim Brotherhood If you want to deal with FGM, you have to deal with its practitioners with compassion and education, and that means entering a dialogue that is tolerant and understanding.
Why are we expected to bend a knee to them when it is clear that they are in the wrong? For all that our actions have or haven't influenced them, they are still the ones mutilating women of their own volition. They are forsaking education in much the same way.
You want stereotyping? You want exaggeration? You want hysteria? Richard Dawkins, my friend:
tell me this isn't stereotypical wrote:
Oh yes, I was forgetting. All those atheists beheading people, setting fire to them, cutting off their hands, cutting off their clitorises.
If you think atheists are violent you don't know what violence means.
Is his comparison somehow false just because you disagree with the tone? Because it seems to me that you're just looking to white knight for a barbaric religion.
So this is what kinds of religious violence he thinks of off the top of his head, huh?
Why shouldn't he when this violence is in the news and, until very recently, the Klan was not.
Oh, and by the way, FGM hasn't got a thing to do with Islam, it predates the religion. It has to do with traditional African folk beliefs, and is practiced far, far away from Syria and Afghanistan. But it doesn't take an idiot to know he's referencing ISIS and Al Qaeda when he talks about beheadings and cutting people's hands off. You know its stereotyping when the person can't even get their facts and context right.
Isn't the Muslim Brotherhood which does practice FGM also in that region and partaking in actions that could be viewed as terrorism? It seems to me like when looked at his statement is not at all untrue even when only looking at a small region.
tell me this isn't hysterical wrote:
Anyone who believes that what is written in a holy book is true even if the evidence is against it is dangerous. Christianity used to be the most dangerous religion. Now Islam is. Of course that doesn't mean more than a small minority of the world's Muslims. But it only takes a few if their beliefs are sufficiently strong, fanatical and unshakeable.
So, attacking the entire religion because of the crimes of the few? And outright admitting to it?
When one thinks that even the most moderate follower of a religion is at best misguided why should it surprise you that it's worst acts color that same person's views disproportionately?
How can it be more dangerous than a religion everyone takes for granted at home?
Perhaps, because in terms of practitioners it is a close second in terms of followers and many of those followers are more hardcore than the average Christian. Add in that there are very few Christian nations where the church makes laws while there are many Muslim nations where this is true. Toss in the terrorism angle and I can see why one might see Islam as the most dangerous religion in the world. I am surprised that you do not see this.
Oh, and by the way, I'm betting he's never surveyed Muslims on their day to day knowledge of the contents of the Quran. Sure, those who can memorize it are no doubt proud, but its not a small book. I have a copy (in English, granted, but surprisingly given to me at a mosque). Its at least the size of a good novel, and no one actually remembers a novel word for word. They are simply too long, so you end up remembering the important bits by abstraction; the plot, the characters, the themes, etc. But that leaves a lot of room to forget specifics, like how that scene didn't actually make sense, or how the writing felt forced to make one character the hero. Same goes for religious texts. Few people memorize them verse-for-verse. I bet you most Muslims don't know about most of the things that Dawkins finds so objectionable in the Quran.
How does that make the religion any less dangerous? All it takes is a shift in how the religion is taught to place emphasis on the more deplorable parts and suddenly the religion is exactly as bad, if not worse, than Dawkins makes it out to be.
WE often forget that believers have in reality a hodgepodge of beliefs that may or may not have anything to do with what is religious canon. Hell, the mosque I went to has a guy who deals with public relations, and what was interesting was that somehow he felt the need to justify so many of their traditions regarding prayer methods and fasting based on (junk) science. He hears that God wants what is good for us, therefore resting your head on the ground during prayer must be good in some way, right? But how, especially given that it hurts your damn ankles? Well, according to this guy, "science" has proven that putting your head on the ground releases "negative energy" from your body. Yes, really. New Age Woo is just as much a part of that guy's belief system as what is in his holy book. Go figure.
Then those beliefs as well as what is written in the actual holy text are both religion and both equally open to attack. This makes your argument weaker not stronger.
I would put it to you that what is truly dangerous are demagogues who lack self-reflection. Dawkins is one of those people. What makes him an Islamophobe is the inability to distinguish between Islam as it exists in real life, and the Straw Monster that exists in his head.
So ISIS didn't happen then? It seems to me like fear is justified when the things one fears are literally happening.