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Fri Mar 18, 2016, 12:46 AM

 

How Muslim Governments Impose Ignorance

Excerpt: "Muslim societies are underdeveloped in science, technology, economics and culture. This will be overcome only with more freedom."
To have more freedom, these societies need to become less Muslim. The Catch 22 of religion.

How Muslim Governments Impose Ignorance

ISTANBUL — I recently spent a few days in Malaysia, where I was promoting the publication of the Malay edition of my book, “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty.” (..) My publisher was worried about censorship. The risk, I was told, was that the Department of Islamic Development, a government body that “was formed to protect the purity of faith,” could ban the book if it was viewed as violating traditional Islamic doctrine.

....... Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” was banned because, according to the home minister, it “goes against Islamic teachings,” and even “endangers public harmony” — whatever that means. ....... Malaysia isn’t an anomaly in the Muslim world. ........ In Malaysia, the government brazenly condemns “liberalism” and “human rights-ism.” .......

Today, many Muslims, including those who censor books or punish “heretics,” long for that “golden age of Islam” and lament that our civilization is no longer great. Few seem to realize, however, that the greatness of Islam was made possible thanks to its openness to foreign cultures and ideas. The Muslim world began to stagnate and then decline after the 13th century, as this cosmopolitanism was replaced with self-isolating dogmatism. In the meantime, Europe flourished as Europeans began to think more openly.

The Muslim world today is in a state of malaise. Muslim societies are underdeveloped in science, technology, economics and culture. This will be overcome only with more freedom. Progress depends on more Muslims questioning whether policies that promote ignorance are really devised to protect their faith — or to protect the power of those who rule in its name.

Mustafa Akyol is the author of “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty,” and a contributing opinion writer.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/17/opinion/how-muslim-governments-imposeignorance.html

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Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply How Muslim Governments Impose Ignorance (Original post)
Albertoo Mar 2016 OP
Dawson Leery Mar 2016 #1
trotsky Mar 2016 #2
edhopper Mar 2016 #3
Albertoo Mar 2016 #4
edhopper Mar 2016 #5
Albertoo Mar 2016 #6
edhopper Mar 2016 #7
Albertoo Mar 2016 #8
edhopper Mar 2016 #9
Albertoo Mar 2016 #10
edhopper Mar 2016 #11
Albertoo Mar 2016 #12
edhopper Mar 2016 #13
Albertoo Mar 2016 #14
edhopper Mar 2016 #15

Response to Albertoo (Original post)

Fri Mar 18, 2016, 12:58 AM

1. kick

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Response to Albertoo (Original post)

Fri Mar 18, 2016, 09:15 AM

2. To be fair, Islam isn't all that unique in this area.

It has always been in the interests of religious leaders to keep the flock ignorant and uninformed - it's easier to control them that way.

Christians did it (and many still do).

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Response to trotsky (Reply #2)

Fri Mar 18, 2016, 09:30 AM

3. True

we get an awful lot of anti-science in this country from the Christian fundies.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 19, 2016, 11:05 AM

4. Except that there are no officially 'Christian' governements

 

Even if there are interferences of Christianity in many countries (Ireland, Russia, Britain, Uganda), there are no Christian countries like there are Muslim countries. And Darwin's books are only banned in Muslim countries. It's not always been the case, but in this day and age, there's no question it's the islamic religion which is the most oppressive.

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Response to Albertoo (Reply #4)

Sat Mar 19, 2016, 11:26 AM

5. That's because of the positive aspects of our type government.

Christian countries in the past did this regularly, and still would if the enlightenment and democracy hadn't become the norm.

It's not for lack of trying by pro-theocratic Christians.

Ted Cruz thinks the Bible should have dominance over the Constitution.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #5)

Sat Mar 19, 2016, 12:07 PM

6. True. But it shows the term 'Muslim country' means systematic interference of religion

 

Even Ted Cruz (a god nut) hasn't come close to suggesting Darwin books should be banned.
Which they are in Malaysia, KSA, and probably a host of other 'Muslim countries'
(it's horrible to qualify a child or a country as belonging to a religion)

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Response to Albertoo (Reply #6)

Sat Mar 19, 2016, 12:24 PM

7. True

the religions can be just as bad.
The problem is when they have a say in the laws.
Christians do this, they just haven't been as successful in modern times.
Though in some areas, like abortions and laws against LBGT (until recently) are places they have imposed their ideology.
There are politicians that have tried to ban Darwin, but thankfully failed.

One hopes in the decades and centuries to come there is an Enlightenment in the Muslim world.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #7)

Sun Mar 20, 2016, 08:37 AM

8. See how we are prisoners of accepted turns of phrase:

 

One hopes in the decades and centuries to come there is an Enlightenment in the Muslim world.

Yes, we can all certainly hope for that. But notice how your answer shows how we are prisoners of implicit ideas: "the Muslim world". What a horrible, yet usual turn of phrase. Just like "the Communist world", it depicts a part of the world where people are literally prisoners of an ideology.

That's the key difference with the world which evolved from "Christendom" or from that of "Buddhist countries" (and, probably, even of India): yes, you're right, there still are the religious nutters who push their twisted agenda in countries of "Christian heritage"Creationism in school, anyone?), but in those countries, it is possible to criticize the mainstream religion. While this is impractical, to say the least, in "Muslim countries".

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Response to Albertoo (Reply #8)

Sun Mar 20, 2016, 11:49 AM

9. you are right

I used that for lack of a better phrase. "Muslim countries" to me signifies that each country needs an enlightenment movement.
But there is thought throughout many, if not most of the Muslim countries about the influence of Islam on their governments.
So I want to speak about that. "Muslim World" is indelicate, but most understand my meaning.

"Countries where Islam is the dominant religion" might be more accurate, but it is a clumsy phrase.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #9)

Sun Mar 20, 2016, 10:36 PM

10. (1)True. Anyway, (2) it's going to be very hard work.

 

(1) on the use of words, true, we have to make do for simplicity. Mine was just a note along the way. But, back to your main idea:

(2) A reformation/Enlightenment is going to be real hard to bring about. Yes, like the modern soft Christians, it's technically possible to choose the nice parts of these old books which contradict themselves so much. But in the case of Islam, how does one sweep the violent verses under the rug? There are many, have no context markers, and are supposed to be god's commands. It will take generations and tons of ingenuity (or bad faith, pun intended) to de-fang the nasty verses.

It will take so long I don't quite expect we'll see even the beginning of it...

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Response to Albertoo (Reply #10)

Sun Mar 20, 2016, 10:46 PM

11. I agree with that

it is generations away.
Who knows if it will ever happen. But it's the only way their society improves for their people.

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Response to edhopper (Reply #11)

Sun Mar 20, 2016, 11:05 PM

12. Alas, we great apes appear to need wars to shed our illusions

 

I did not note the reference, but Christopher Hitchens quoted a book which linked the end of "Christendom" to WWI, when all sides claimed the Christian god was on their side.

It might take killing fields of the same magnitude for Muslims to reassess the value of Islam, something which seems currently quasi impossible. If anything, the "Muslim world" is getting more radicalized. Pakistan is a ticking time bomb, the gulf states are in the cross hairs of the young radicals that they themselves have fostered, and ISIS/AQMI are in a race to control North Africa. It took long wars to reach the peaces of Augsburg and Westphalia (which were not entirely satisfactory anyway)

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Response to Albertoo (Reply #12)

Sun Mar 20, 2016, 11:18 PM

13. but also

the leading philosophical thinkers and writers and some leaders, like Jefferson, mostly advocated a move away from religion and the Church influence.

Will we see that from Islam?

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Response to edhopper (Reply #13)

Sun Mar 20, 2016, 11:32 PM

14. No, because it would be suicide

 

Another book of which I do not have the reference (again, sorry) studied how the most efficient dictatorships are those where the rules are enforced by the common people for fear of being denounced for not doing so. Example: if someone said 'down with Stalin' on the Red Square in 1950 within hearing distance from you, you'd better be very sure you had a hand in arresting that person. Because if you hadn't, the folks ringing at your door the next day at 5am probably wouldn't have been the milkman.

In the same way, anyone who would "advocate a move away from religion and the Church influence" in the "Muslim world" would be at personal risk and would be shunned by most people. Example: In Bangladesh or Pakistan, atheist bloggers must hide, and it would be very unwise to publicly defend their right to free speech. It is also unlikely anyone could suggest at an Iranian University that the works of Salman Rushdie should be read.

In short, a Muslim Jefferson would be a/ in danger b/ shunned

That's why it is so hard to imagine a peaceful path toward a Muslim Enlightenment.

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Response to Albertoo (Reply #14)

Mon Mar 21, 2016, 09:16 AM

15. That is a scary thought

I guess progress is not insured.

But there are predominantly Muslim countries where i feel the majority do not want a theocracy. Turkey, Morocco, even Iran, if they can get to a secular Government, would be more open.
Other places would be much harder for that to happen.

But you may be right that conflict is the only way. More's the pity.

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