Why are people scared to discuss Islam

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Why are people scared to discuss Islam

Post Number:#1  Postby Human00 » March 17th, 2017, 5:36 am

I've taken several religion based classes in Uni and one thing I always felt odd was the reluctance to discuss Islam. People would readily denounce middle and right wing Christianity/ Catholicism or Judaism, but when we were asked to rank those three mono-theist religions in order of 'violence' (vague, I know) I put Islam first. I did that because I was assuming it was referring to current times. Christianity had it's super violent time- it's teenage years if you will- Inquisition and what not, but it's an older religion. Islam being a younger religion, it seems to be currently in its sort of 'teenage years'. I got attacked in class because I put Islam first on the "Violence". Now that doesn't mean I have a problem with Muslims- that's not who I am. As long as someone isn't forcing their belief on me- knock yourself out. Anyone who makes a big deal about women wearing a headscarf has obviously forgotten about Christian Nuns and their habits, which no one has a problem with. Keep in mind I'm not a fan of most religions because humans warp and mis-interpret just about everything good about religion. So what I feel is this sort of trendy outlook, people (usually white middle to upper class folks) want to defend the underdog. Currently, especially what's happening in the States with the 'Muslim Ban', Islam is the underdog. I'd have the same arguments about Christianity but that's not what is coming up in conversation. So when I voice opinions about Islam, Sharia Law, it's right wing view of women, I get attacked for my 'Islamophobic' views, or somehow called out as a racist (Islam in not a race, jessuuus). Then on the other hand there are people with the craziest views that are so Anti-Islam it's insane and so uninformed that they are racist because what they fear are Middle Eastern Immigrants not Islam, like they need something to be scared of or join together to blame or segregate a group of people for inequities their country has faced.

I'm wondering why people can't seem to take a common sense approach to this. There are bad things about Islam, things I wouldn't want brought to my country, of course there are great things- the Qur'an is a great text to read and almost mirrors many stories in the Bible. But there are times that I don't think your religion should be an excuse to try and get around laws, partial assimilation should be a compromise. You chose to move to a country that does not recognize Islam as a founding religion and therefor it should be assumed that some morals will have to be adjusted. Allowing women to refuse to remove a niqab (a full face covering veil) for an ID card or license should not be tolerated because you want to appear 'religiously sensitive' ( a niqab is not required in Islam, face, hands and feet is what is required in the more conservative views). Canada and Australia have had issues with this. So when does open-mindedness end and zealot distrust or pandering began?
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Re: Why are people scared to discuss Islam

Post Number:#2  Postby Dark Matter » March 19th, 2017, 11:46 am

People are afraid of being called "Islamiphobic" so they hide their heads in the sand rather than discuss the subject openly and honestly.
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Re: Why are people scared to discuss Islam

Post Number:#3  Postby Eduk » March 19th, 2017, 5:58 pm

I think it's a huge and complex combination of things, I will attempt to list some in no order and in no way exhaustive.
1. Fear of violent physical reprisal. And then pretending not to be afraid.
2. Laziness to deal with outrage. And then pretending not to be lazy.
3. You also have to question the motives of those in positions of influence. Be that protecting their own interests or seeking to gain advantage of situations so they can begin an interest.
4. The stark and obvious disconnect between denouncing one person's crazy beliefs while continuing your own crazy beliefs. Secularism can't just be applied to Islam for example, so to protect your own beliefs you may find yourself protecting other people you don't believe in. For example which is the lesser evil, Atheism or Islamism.
5. Something I like to call sweet grapes. Everyone is familiar with sour grapes? Well it's the same concept but flipped. You reach for the grapes, and after some effort successfully grasp them. You eat them and they are sour and not at all sweet as you expected. So you pretend to others and yourself that they are sweet after all. You only have to ask people if the enjoyed film A, or restaurant B or party C (that they went to and paid money to go to) to see this effect.
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Re: Why are people scared to discuss Islam

Post Number:#4  Postby Dark Matter » March 19th, 2017, 7:20 pm

I like your answer more, Eduk.
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Re: Why are people scared to discuss Islam

Post Number:#5  Postby Felix » March 19th, 2017, 8:01 pm

Human00: People would readily denounce middle and right wing Christianity/ Catholicism or Judaism, but when we were asked to rank those three mono-theist religions in order of 'violence' (vague, I know) I put Islam first.


Hopefully this discourse does not illustrate the quality of the instructors at your schools.... Are you comparing these religions' tenets or the extreme behaviour of their followers? It sounds like the latter. I mean, have you ever read the Old Testament? It is a veritable bloodbath.

Is it really surprising that middle eastern countries where there has been incessant war and strife for years should give rise to violent extremism? Is the Islamic religion to blame for that? I think not. Fear and hatred are not apt to breed calmness and kindness, if it did we'd be seeing an explosive growth in membership of the Sufi sect of Islam rather than in it's radical apocolyptic adherents.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin
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Re: Why are people scared to discuss Islam

Post Number:#6  Postby -1- » March 19th, 2017, 8:20 pm

Eduk, I like your answer very much.

I just wanted to add one more thing: People don't know Islam, the specifics, and they are reluctant to criticize it for being proven wrong.

I don't know Islam. I am an atheist, and I sometimes speak out against Christianity, because I have at least a little, rudimentary knowledge of it. My beef with Christianity is twofold: Its tenets are logically contradictory, and therefore necessarily false; and it still makes its followers follow, despite the a priori or necessarily false demagogism of it.

I don't speak out against Judaism because it is an insignificant, non-encroaching religion. Most Jews, at least 90% of them, keep their Jewish identity but decry their own religion. I would like to see that in the Christian community. The population of the Eastern Block countries in Europe could do that; why can't we?

I can't criticise Islam, because I have hardly any knowledge of the Koran. I can't criticize something I don't know and can't have an opinion about.

Pretty well the only criticism I can bring up is its inflexibility. Christianity started that way, and kept its inflexibility for a long time, but it was its own inherent self-contradictions that made its best thinkers turn against it, and introduce new ways of doing things and of belief. The Islam, apparently, and I have no clue if this is true, but this is what I heard, has less or no self-contradictions it its scriptures, and it requires of the people complete buy-in in religious behaviour. Which also prescribes a lifestyle which is horrible in my view, but then again... what do I know.

As far as the violent nature of the nations and peoples in the Middle East is concerned, it is not their doing, I don't believe that for a moment. I chalk it up to American neo-imperialism going sour. A blotched job. A complete and utter failure due to American ineptitude in international diplomacy and politics.

No, I am not blaming the everyman American. I blame their leadership, who don't know what the dickens they are doing.
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Re: Why are people scared to discuss Islam

Post Number:#7  Postby Fooloso4 » March 20th, 2017, 10:48 am

The discussion of any religion must address two issues that are often difficult to differentiate between - basic tenets and practices, and the interpretation and actions of its followers. The most significant difference between Islam and Christianity can be traced to the advent of modern philosophy, Machiavelli, Bacon, and Descartes, specifically the conquest of reason over religious authority and value of toleration.

As to contemporary non-critical attitudes toward Islam, I think it has much to do with the desire to promote unity, While I think the goal is noble, some think that this is to be accomplished by avoiding critical examination of others. In addition, there are those who want to promote the idea that Islam is the enemy. And so, as with so much else today we are left with a chasm between opposing side with any middle ground being pushed or pulled in one direction or the other, as either too critical or not critical enough.
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Re: Why are people scared to discuss Islam

Post Number:#8  Postby Eduk » March 20th, 2017, 11:17 am

Well the original example given was ranking three religions in terms of violence. Saying religion A is more violent than religion B and C is not the same thing as saying religion A is violent. Although personally I find the question a bit offensive as in my experience no religion is more violent than the other. For example there are a lot of hooligans who go to football matches, but this doesn't mean football matches cause hooliganism.

Desiring to promote unity is obviously a reasonable and good goal. But there is a massive difference between promoting unity and avoiding conflict (or critical examination). Honest, calm, critical thinking brings the maximum possible amount of unity.
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Re: Why are people scared to discuss Islam

Post Number:#9  Postby Gertie » March 21st, 2017, 9:39 am

People discuss Islam lots where I live, and among non-Muslims it's usually critically. So I disagree with the premise, tho it was an otherwise thoughtful o.p.

And I'd hope the level of discussion in academic settings asks people to question their own norms and assumptions when making these types of comparisons, which can often be hard to see in yourself, and is useful thing to learn how to do. I'd imagine that was one of the points of the exercise. I think the point you made about 'defend the underdog' is linked to this. Being overly cautious about criticising something you don't understand well isn't a bad idea, as opposed to something you have a good grasp of. Especially when you're talking about a vulnerable minority where you live. The Muslim ban shows how easy it is to slip into stereotyping of 'the other'. Leaders and opinion makers should be sensitive to this when criticising Islam, words can have consequences.

All that being said, I tend to agree that where I live at least, Christianity is fairly benign (and ineffectual/powerless, the two might be connected!). People tend to take from it the parts that feel like a good fit in a basically humanist, secular culture, and it works well. I have no idea of the religious beliefs of most people I meet, it's considered a personal matter, and about half won't have any. Islam is a religion which practised here is broadly speaking still more prescriptive about how you live your life, and sometimes in ways I consider harmful. And I'm happy to criticise them, I disagree with faith schools and Shariah courts, with terrorists taking out as many people as they can, with the inherent misogyny of an old patriarchal religion which struggles to reform and take on progressive ideas. These are hardly views people are scared to express.

The violence and resurgence of fundamentalism which we currently associate with Islam is a very complex issue, and I do believe religious loyalty and factionalism plays a part in making conflicts worse and harder to resolve. But if you talk to Muslims their view of the historical and current east-west politics is from a very different perspective to what our media feeds us. The west has historically subjugated, manipulated and exploited Muslim countries, and recently carpet bombed, invaded and occupied them. To simply say Islam is the most violent religion is a simplistic answer to a simplistic question.
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Re: Why are people scared to discuss Islam

Post Number:#10  Postby Belindi » March 23rd, 2017, 9:07 am

Felix wrote:

Hopefully this discourse does not illustrate the quality of the instructors at your schools....

I echo Felix. I have heard of students at Uk universities wanting to curb free speech. Sometimes this is sort of justifiable, but for any students to feel too intimidated by either Koranic threats or by political correctness gone silly, is reprehensible, as Felix implies.

Are you going to tell us, Humanoo , which institution you had this experience at? Was it by any chance the U3A? Old people do tend to be stuck in their ways.
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Re: Why are people scared to discuss Islam

Post Number:#11  Postby Fooloso4 » March 23rd, 2017, 11:05 am

Belindi:
I have heard of students at Uk universities wanting to curb free speech.


About two weeks ago at Middlebury College in the U.S. students protested a talk given by Charles Murray ended in violence. There was a thread a while back dealing with similar incidents but unfortunately it was marred by rants against liberals/progressives/secularists and the voice of reason and moderation could not be heard above the gleeful party line attacks.

This is a generation that grew up in an age that prohibited hate speech. Hate speech has no specific meaning and now seems to represent the opposite of another term that has also greatly expanded what is covered and has no specific meaning - political correctness. The right to speak is being threatened by the notion of right speech.

I think that educational and child rearing practices under the banner of ‘self-esteem’ plays a role. Criticism is seen as damaging and a form of hostility, one should neither criticize nor be criticized. Protection from harm is the other side of self-esteem. Opinions that run counter to what one comfortably believes are seen as a form of harm and must not be allowed. And so, students who have not learned how to engage in public or political discourse are rendered inarticulate and thus seek action to silence their opponents.
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Re: Why are people scared to discuss Islam

Post Number:#12  Postby Belindi » March 23rd, 2017, 4:04 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
I think that educational and child rearing practices under the banner of ‘self-esteem’ plays a role. Criticism is seen as damaging and a form of hostility, one should neither criticize nor be criticized. Protection from harm is the other side of self-esteem. Opinions that run counter to what one comfortably believes are seen as a form of harm and must not be allowed. And so, students who have not learned how to engage in public or political discourse are rendered inarticulate and thus seek action to silence their opponents.


Jane Austen should be required reading for all students.
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Re: Why are people scared to discuss Islam

Post Number:#13  Postby Fooloso4 » March 23rd, 2017, 5:02 pm

Belindi:

Jane Austen should be required reading for all students.


The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published an article on Jane Austen and the alt-right that has garnered a lot of attention:

chronicle.com/article/Alt-Right-Jane-Au ... ten/239435
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Re: Why are people scared to discuss Islam

Post Number:#14  Postby Belindi » March 23rd, 2017, 6:30 pm

Foolosof The article about Jane Austen travesties is interesting. I wonder if there is a mechanism for selecting students who are not hopelessly enmeshed.
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Re: Why are people scared to discuss Islam

Post Number:#15  Postby Steve3007 » March 24th, 2017, 7:37 am

Given the apparent obsession with zombies in popular culture, perhaps the movie "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" might be a good introduction to Jane Austen for young people? Or perhaps not.
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