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Since '94 Horror, Rwandans Turn Toward Islam

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nodehopper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 01:34 AM
Original message
Since '94 Horror, Rwandans Turn Toward Islam
Since '94 Horror, Rwandans Turn Toward Islam


Published: April 7, 2004

IGALI, Rwanda, April 6 When 800,000 of their countrymen were killed in massacres that began 10 years ago this week, many Rwandans lost faith not only in their government but in their religion as well. Today, in what is still a predominantly Catholic country, Islam is the fastest growing religion.

Roman Catholicism has been the dominant faith in Rwanda for more than a century. But many people, disgusted by the role that some priests and nuns played in the killing frenzy, have shunned organized religion altogether, and many more have turned to Islam...


...Muslim leaders credit the gains to their ability during the 1994 massacres to shield most Muslims, and many other Rwandans, from certain death. "The Muslims handled themselves well in '94, and I wanted to be like them," said Alex Rutiririza, explaining why he converted to Islam last year.

During the mass killing of Tutsi, militias had the place surrounded, but Hutu Muslims did not cooperate with the Hutu killers. They said they felt far more connected through religion than through ethnicity, and Muslim Tutsi were spared.
"Nobody died in a mosque," said Ramadhani Rugema, executive secretary of the Muslim Association of Rwanda. "No Muslim wanted any other Muslim to die. We stood up to the militias. And we helped many non-Muslims get away." </snip>

more here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/07/international/africa/...

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IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 01:54 AM
Response to Original message
1. "Nobody died in a mosque"
Two of the people convicted of genocide in Rwanda were members of the Catholic clergy. I guess that pretty much did it!
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AlecBGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:16 AM
Response to Original message
2. Islam is a religion of the poor
just like Christianity was in its "early years." And contrary to waht you may hear coming from the fundies, it is not a violent religion...ANY faith can be used to justify killing, but that shouldnt mar the vast majority of peaceful practitioners. I think we are going to see, worldwide, an explosion (no pun intended) in the muslim population. People are getting poorer and more oppressed every day in 3rd world countries, and Islam is an attractive refuge.
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ultramega Donating Member (160 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:15 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Depends on your definition of violence.
Genital infibulation, honor killings, total denial of civil rights to women, death for adultery. And I'm not interested in what the Qu'ran says vs. how it is abused, just as I don't separate what the bible says from what fundies do.

"people have been getting poorer and more oppressed" in the 3rd world thanks in no small part to the U.S. but this condition has been interpreted by feminism to illustrate that when men lose control of their own place they will bond together to tyranically control the women in their society. I fail to see how one could be more "oppressed" than a Muslim woman, and I am ruling death out of the equation.

It can't be denied that Islam is exploding, and it isn't a good thing. Human beings in unstable societies look for a refuge from the mental strain of trying to understand what can't be made sense of, and Islam, like Christianity, gives them all the answers (although the wrong ones) and to boot, a sense of superiority over other religions. (But all religions pretty much do that; it should be the basic definition of religion)

It's very possible that Islam could be the next Christianity, not because of it's appeal, but because the women are forced to breed and on average have at least twice as many kids as do free women. The sperm wars are alive and well despite how enlightened humanity thinks itself.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:26 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Do you actually know any Muslims?
I mean, actually spoken to them? Do you realize that Muslims live a wide range of life-styles?

Genital mutilation of women is deplorable but is a cultural practice common in Africa. Not all women thus treated are Muslim. The practice is not followed by Muslims in other regions. "Honor killings" are also not limited to Muslim communities.

You've declined to identify your gender. Are you a shy feminist? Or are you using "feminist sounding" remarks as a weapon agains Islam?


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Malikshah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. It appears not
The issue of civil rights, FGN, etc--

Sorry-- can't ignore the rules/practice issue, no matter how hard one might try.

Also--the diversity issues--

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ultramega Donating Member (160 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. So let me get this straight. I have to be a feminist,
or a woman, to be disturbed by the violence inspired by the gender apartheid practiced by muslims. Take to it's logical conclusion, this would suggest that only black Americans should be offended by racism from whites. The poster below seems to agree. I am by no means shy, by the way, but I know bullhockey when I see it, and any system that opresses anyone based on anything eventually uses violence; that is if you don't consider islam with it's rating of women as second class psychologically violent, which I do. Having been raised fundamentalist, I can vouch for this through personal experience. I apply this to all patristic religions, including Judaim and Christianity. To me, it is all a crock of shit.

Model Waris Diri wrote about her own genital infibulation, which was in the Sudan. Have none of you heard about the Georgia man who cut off his infant daughter's clitoris with scissors? You folks take the cake, really. I'm touched that you feel the need to be apologistic for your preferred fairy tales, but it doesn't make them any more special than all the other bogus "gospel" that has come down the pike the last 100,000 years. I'm sorry if that offends, but I'm offended by the inanity of one of the most anti-female religions to come down the skid being praised because it supposedly contains "no racism". That is one of the more ridiculous and hypocritical statements I've heard to justify a wacked belief system. Just the fact that the poster below insists on pointing out that his wife converted "on her own" (wow) shows what a wacked thing you've got going on.
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Whose "fairy tales"?
You seem to focus upon rare exceptions rather than broad rules. Muslims generally are huge advocates of human rights even moreso than other religious branches.

What is your religion?
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ultramega Donating Member (160 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Rare exceptions my behind.
You are delusional. As delusional as George W. Bush is when he thinks God chose him to be president.

That's the point. I don't think one has to have a religion, although I reserve the right to use whatever humankind has produced that helps me be a better person. I think it is our inheritance and birthright as human beings to have access to anything that helps us get through the day. I think it is exactly wrong to narrow it down to specifics and say that I am a ____ or _____ (enter religion in the blank). It leads to oppositional behavior, exclusionary practices, oppression and inevitably violence. Every single time.
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ultramega Donating Member (160 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. One more thing: "muslim countries"
WTF? I thought islam was a religion. And yes, wherever islam spreads, women get murdered for so-called "family honor". There have been many reported in England. With regards to FGI, if you can provide me concrete evidence that muslims aren't the only folks that do this, I'd appreciate it.

Honor killings are practiced by muslims. It's possible they picked up the practice from Judaism, as Jesus' mother Mary was almost an honor killing. In fact, it seems that Islam has picked up just about every twisted tradition it has been exposed to as it has spread over the earth, with the exception of settee from India.

There is an article on French Muslim young women in this month's Vanity Fair which shows the conditions the young women are forced to live in. Asked to characterize her life as a muslim women, one interview subject put it this way: "I am condemned."
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Then, why are there still so many Islamic young women?
I believe it is wise to separate/distinguish the acts by extremists from religious/spiritual beliefs. Extremists arise out of all forms of religion and godlessness, and have reigned terror upon humanity using fear to oppress others, especially women. Nevertheless, one cannot deny the positive tenets contained in Islam. Well, on the other hand, of course one CAN deny the positive tenets *LOL*.
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The Stranger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #9
14. About that "one more thing."
Who is the leader of the world's largest "Muslim Country"?

What is her gender?

(Oops. Gave it away!).
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termo Donating Member (183 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. Indonesia
and... if there is one woman chairman in a company, you go straight to the conclusion that women and men are equals (same jobs, same salaries) at work in our society ?

then let's talk about women rights in saudi arabia.
http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/intcam/saudi/report.html

a book that looks interesting (I'll read it soon)
http://www.muslim-refusenik.com /

just to put oil on fire:
http://www.secularislam.org/women/shame.htm


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The Stranger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #20
22. No,
and... if there is one woman chairman in a company, you go straight to the conclusion that women and men are equals (same jobs, same salaries) at work in our society ?

apparently, you go straight to the conclusion that the entire company is more sexist than any other institutionalized, sexist company, most of which do not have women chairmen, and have never had women chairmen, including those that are supposedly most advanced and progressive) and also go straight to the conclusion no woman has ever been successful there.
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No Passaran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. don't know what you're talking about
hm... let's see. I'm a Muslim male and my wife (also a Muslim who on her own converted from Catholicism) has a masters degree vs. my bachelors. My mother has a college degree, my father doesn't. I've never seen any genital mutilation of women. I understand this is done in some parts of Africa dating back to pre-Islamic days. In my father's country they still do some things dating back to their "pagan" days that have nothing to do with Islam.

One thing I like better in Islam than any other religion: No racism. Having all kinds of nationalities, races and backgrounds in one place and not feeling left out is the thing that always drew me back to Islam. There is nothing better than calling another person a brother or sister and feeling that way regardless of their nationality or "color of skin".

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ultramega Donating Member (160 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. You folks are killing me.
Read Waris Diri's tale of having her clitoris cut off when she was around 5 years old. I beleive Waris is about 40.

Read "The Nine Parts of Desire" written by a female journalist who lived in the middle east for about five or six years. The father of the family she stayed with practically sexually assaulted her and when she resisted he pleaded with her to acquiesce on the grounds that he wasn't attracted to his wife because "they cut her" and he found it disgusting to look at.

Can't anybody just say that there is good in every religion, but that like most, Islam has it's completely psycho characteristics. Anyone? All this zealotry is giving me the creeps.
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. See post #12 *smile* EOM
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ultramega Donating Member (160 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. I do find it endearing how Muslim women are inching
there way out of oppression by trying to find evidence of feminism in the Qu'ran. This is the same method Christian women used duing women's suffrage in the 19th century in this country. It's vaguely depressing, but the truth is it is their only option. I'm sure they feel as I did, growing up Christian, that the men around them were perverting the scriptures to serve human ends and sinning against God in the process. Will they succeed? Time will only tell. I certainly hope so, because then they will feel free to tell their own stories instead of having arrogant borderline (?) psychopathic men speak for them. Thanks for giving me hope that there are women brave enough to lead men who despise them. In fact muslim women are probably some of the bravest and most resolved people there are. They would have to be, otherwise they would not survived Islam's institutionalized bigotry. Of course, there were those 4 afghani young women who immolated themselves last month, but they must be exceptions.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #11
19. FGM is an African custom
practiced by various tribes of all different religions. I've even heard that the ancient Egyptians, who certainly weren't Muslim, practiced it.
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termo Donating Member (183 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. an interesting link
http://www.religioustolerance.org/fem_cirm.htm

"FGM originated in Africa. It was, and remains, a cultural, not a religious practice."

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Aquarian_Conspirator Donating Member (148 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 03:33 PM
Response to Original message
16. Unlike Ultramega I actually *talk* to Muslims. More qualified? Yes!
And, in high school, my best friend was an Albanian Muslim. I was so taken by how cordial and civilized they were, I nearly converted. That turned out to be a bit of teenage experimentation though, as I am too spiritually claustrophobic to squeezing myself into any organized religion.

First of all, Ultramega, Islam is not a culture. All of these horrible atrocities you have mentioned *would happen whether the cultures involved were Muslim or not*. The cultures of the middle east, west africa, and central asia, have been forged through eons of nearly constant warfare. This is not because of any religion, as it has continued through multiple, even pagan, religions. It is because of environmental and economic factors. The middle east, central asia, and west africa, are mostly flat desert and dry plains. Most continents, Europe being a good example, have plenty of forests, mountain ranges, and, rivers, where, if you look at a map, you'll see boarders have solidified. This is because they offer the defender an advantage. Most of the terrain of the middle east and central asia offers the attacker the advantage. There, the saying, "the best defense is a good offense", is very true. Now add to this the fact that the resource poor (before oil) middle east has historically been a vital trade rout dealing in the wealth (including slaves) of Europe and Asia. Now, not only is there a defensive advantage to being on the offensive, but those nations who are the most mobile and warlike have the advantage of also becoming the most wealthy by seizing or raiding the trade routs of their regional competitors. At this point, everything becomes very, very, Darwinian. This lead to the rise of powerful warlords and a great inequality of wealth. Any society born of such extreme violence and poverty, no matter it's religion, is going to reproduce those extremes in it's culture. Whatever you have, including women, becomes something you can trade for your survival. Again, we're talking survival, here. Trade in your girls now, or you will all starve together later. It is this making of women into property which has formed the present cultural attitude toward women in the mid-east, east africa, and central asia.

It is awful, but it has nothing to do with Islam, and, in fact, if you look at other cultures which have risen out of such desperate poverty and rampant warlordism, such as China, you will see similar atrocities against females. There is a huge women and girl smuggling trade between China and Vietnam. Women and girls are kidnapped or sold by their own families in Vietnam, and have their ankle tendons cut so that they can not run. They are kept in cages until they find a home in a brothel, or are sold to abusive "husbands" as sex slaves. The problem is, of course, exacerbated by China's one child policy, but it is the fact that girls are still considered property, and low labor value, at that, that they are aborted, and often murdered as youth, in such numbers that a vast human smuggling trade can thrive in the first place.

In short, know what you are talking about before you go shooting your mouth off and whipping up prejudices. We get enough of that from FOX news. And I think Muslims are having a hard enough time getting by in this country without help from you.

P.S. - I have not met a single Muslim who even attempted to excuse the atrocities you have mentioned.
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Aquarian_Conspirator Donating Member (148 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. I meant east africa...
when I said west.
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Aquarian_Conspirator Donating Member (148 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. I hate to write about such a grim topic without offering a solution.
The solution, in the regions discussed, is simple. Pressure the U.S. and Israel to stop exacerbating the conditions of poverty and violence which reinforce the negative conditions which led to the awful treatment of women in the first place. Treat the people of the middle east and central asia with respect, appeal to their higher values, encourage self determination, not pseudo-democratic, puppet regimes, and help them improve their standard of living, for a start. Prosperity and self empowerment, is, after all, how the west rose past it's own fanatical, violent, and oppressive, cultural traits.
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