Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News Editorials & Other Articles General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


(2,884 posts)
36. Nice soundbite
Tue Dec 15, 2015, 08:27 PM
Dec 2015

Do you want ad slogans or a more elaborate analysis?

Moderate Muslims Have Hit Their “Wall”
December 7, 2015 by Daniel Fincke
Below is a guest article by Suraiya Simi Rahman, MD, reprinted from her Facebook page with her permission. She is a doctor and an ex-Muslim who has lived in Bangladesh, the UAE and Pakistan. She practices pediatrics in Los Angeles. Facebook has improperly removed her original posting of this article for allegedly violating their community standards. Before being censored her post was shared over 2,000 times on Facebook.

How do you tell a radical homicidal Muslim from a moderate peace loving one?
Every Muslim humanist is asking themselves this question I first asked myself in September 2001.
And here is my train of thought.
The 9/11 hijackers reminded me of boys I had gone to school with in Dubai in the 80s and 90s. They were the same age, background, and modern enough to have listened to 80s pop and chased girls. Meaning that just like most young people in the Muslim world, we weren’t that religious.
So, I thought, maybe I could locate the differences between them and me, and at some point I would identify a breakaway point. Something they would do that I never would. And it took me a while to realize this, and now with the California shootings, it has reaffirmed for me, that indeed, when it comes to being able to tell a moderate from a radical in Islam, you can’t.
You really can’t tell until the moment before they pull the trigger, who is moderate and who is jihadi. Tashfeen has broken our moderate backbone, by revealing that she lived among us, unnoticed, normal, experiencing motherhood, enveloped in our secure community and yet, had radicalized.
And that’s the problem, that there are many others like her with exactly the same beliefs, who may not have been ignited yet by a radical cleric, but if the opportunity presented itself, they would follow. They’re like a dormant stick of dynamite, waiting for the fuse to be lit. The TNT is already in there.
What’s it made of? Not the 5 pillars, belief, charity, prayer, fasting and pilgrimage. Not the sayings of the prophet as to how to lead a good and just life. Not the celebration of Eid ul Fitr.
It possibly glimmers through in the fealty that Allah demands during the Eid ul Adha, when Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son as a sign of his superior faith is commemorated in a sacrifice and celebration very much like the American Thanksgiving, with family and food. But without the football. And oh yes, the fratricide.
It is there in the silence one must maintain during prayer, brooking no interruptions, because it would make the prayer invalid. It is there in the severity of the hijab when it is followed to a tee. Not a hair can show. It is there in the forced separation of men and women at social gatherings.
It is present in every act that is performed that excludes us from the mainstream. It is present in the very concept of Us and Them. Because the only way we remain Us is to reject Them. The only way to be an exemplary Us is to reject westernization at every turn. Halal only is a sham, constructed out of this notion of meat that has been cut a certain way. It’s the same meat. And yet there is a magical difference that people will attest to in all seriousness.
I went deep into the Midwest, wore a hijab for a year and lived there for 8 years. In that time, I attended ISNA gatherings, met with educated, professional people like myself who were also asking the same questions. They were looking to their faith for answers. And sure, there were efforts made to modernize Islam, but they were only superficial. We couldn’t do it. We couldn’t do it because there is a logical dilemma at the core of Islam. And that is, that the Quran is the last word of God, that it is perfect and unchangeable. And to even suggest such a thing is blasphemy and apostasy.
And so, to understand the moderate mind, you have to envision it on a continuum from radical to middle, but the closer you get to liberal, there is a wall. It creeps up on you, in the condemnation of homosexuality, in the unequal treatment and subjugation of women, but it’s there. Beyond that wall that they are afraid to look over, for fear of eternal hell fire and damnation, is where the answer lies though. So being a Muslim moderate these days is like running a race with a ball and chain attached to your feet. A handicap. Unless you can imagine what the world beyond that wall looks like, you can’t really navigate it. If you’re so terrified of blasphemy that you refuse to look over, you’re forever stuck. Right here. And behind you is the jihadi horde, laying claim to real Islam, practicing it to perfection, as it is laid out in the Quran. A veritable rock and a hard place. I feel your pain. I’ve been there. And it was untenable.
I read, discussed, debated alongside many good Muslim young people from all over the world, in Internet forums, trying to argue our way to a solution, much like we are doing on social media right now. I knew I rejected the homophobia, I knew I rejected the subjugation of women. And it all remained a theory until I saw it in practice. In the drawing rooms of the Midwestern professional moderate Muslim.
There was the discussion of whether the verse that allows a man to strike his wife instead actually means that he should strike her with a feather. As a doctor, I am a humanist first, and so the blatant homophobia was irrational, dangerous and something I stopped tolerating politely. I attended presentations at the mosque of videos from the Palestinian Territories, played to rouse the outrage of the gathered congregation. And that’s when the absurdity started to really hit home.
What in the world were we doing? We were training our children to kowtow without questioning an authority that we believed would keep them safe from evil western ways. And so the community’s children went to Sunday school, wore hijab, prayed and fasted. They were enveloped in a Muslim identity that was unlike any that I had experienced before.
I was raised in a Muslim country in the Middle East and religion was something we kept in its place, somewhere after school, soccer and cartoons. Here was a more distilled, pure and, most dangerously, a context-free Islam. There were no grandmothers here to sagely tell us which parts of the Quran to turn a blind eye to. There were no older cousins here who skipped Friday prayers and goofed off with their friends instead. Oh no. This was Islam simmered in a sauce of Midwestern sincerity, and boiled down to its dark, concentrated core. This was dangerous.
As my children grew older, I grew more afraid. I had tolerated their father’s insistence on sending them to Sunday school, where mostly they played and learned a few surahs. But as they grew older I knew it would change. A sincerity would creep in to their gaze, teenage rebellion would find just cause in judging your less religious parents as wanting and inferior. Bad Muslims. How many teenagers have started to wear hijab before their own mothers? I’ve lost count. Mothers who found themselves in this dilemma would choose to join their child on this journey. They would cover too, and as such offered a layer of protection from the ideology by offering perspective.
I worried though, about the Internet, about radical recruiters posing as friends, finding willing and malleable clay in our unformed children. For we would keep them unformed. We would shield them from western influences in order to protect them, only to create a rift that could be exploited as an entry point. We would in essence be leaving our children vulnerable to radicalization.
And that is exactly what has been happening. The young girls from Europe and the US who have traveled to Syria to join ISIS, have done so because they’re looking for what all teenagers are looking for, a sense of identity, to differentiate themselves from their parents and find a separate identity, the thrill of rebellion, adventure. They can’t date, drink or dance, so they might as well Daesh.
This thought is what drove me to scale that wall. I dropped prayer, stopped feeling guilty for not praying. I drank alcohol, in moderation like most people do in the west, and I didn’t instantly turn into an alcoholic. I dropped the need to cover to my ankles and wrists, and wore regular clothes. Bacon. I mean, seriously, it’s bacon, I don’t have to explain how good it was. I turned to look back at the wall from the other side, and it was…a relief. A relief to lose that fear of apostasy. To realize there was no such thing, it was purely in my mind. The ideas that had worn a groove in my mind, the guilt, the anxiety, the self flagellation for being a bad Muslim, all were gone.
And now, looking in the rear view mirror, I cannot recall what that felt like. I can’t recall what believing used to feel like, because it’s not as if there’s an absence. It’s not like I miss it. No, in its place has come a more robust understanding of humanity, philosophy, history, human nature and yes, even of religion. A realization that the future is everything.
That there is no heaven or hell. Or rather, we no longer need a heaven and a hell to curb us into moral behavior. We have evolved. We know more of the universe, too much to be afraid of it anymore. We know more of this earth, and we know that every human being is made of exactly the same material. There is no Us, no Them. There is only We. We need to move on. We need to break free. We need to scale the wall so we can push back against the forces that seek to snatch our children’s minds and bodies. We need to protect them, we need to inhabit our own intelligence instead of surrender it in the service of an archaic structure of beliefs that make absolutely no sense to follow in this day and age.
We have to break the chains in our own minds in order to do any of this. And it is scary. Especially when you’ve believed your whole life in the concept of blasphemy. Especially when you know that to openly come out and reject these beliefs would be to risk alienation, to be ostracized and maligned, rejected and alone. And in many cases, dangerous to your own person.
So maybe that is where we should start. By encouraging Muslims to create safe spaces to challenge the logical fallacies and inconsistencies, not between translation to translation, but between Islam and the modern world.
Peter Janecki, who created a machine that converts sewage into clean drinkable water and energy, noted in his TEDMED talk recently that he had to zoom out and look at it not as a garbage problem, but as an energy problem. He had to make the problem bigger in order to come up with a solution.
And I think it’s the same with Islam. We have to make the problem bigger. Instead of minimizing, we need to blow it up big and examine it and let go of this idea that a sacred text is unchangeable. Or unquestionable. We have to look at it instead as a humanism problem. Is Islam, in the way it is practiced and preached, humanistic enough? In that does it respect the personhood of a human being enough, and if it doesn’t, then what can we do about it.
We have to make it ok to walk away. We have to come out of this closet and into the light. Because none of us are safe anymore. And none of the old bandages will hold much longer before it becomes a full on carnage that we only have ourselves to blame for.

- See more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/2015/12/moderate-muslims-have-hit-their-wall/?ref_widget=popular&ref_blog=friendlyatheist&ref_post=acts-of-terrorism-rose-60-percent-in-one-year-and-youll-never-guess-what-the-main-cause-is#sthash.ulIpout3.dpuf
Ohio Boy Threatens To Bring Gun To School To Shoot Muslim Boy He Called A ‘Terrorist’ napkinz Dec 2015 #1
"Skyrocketing" maxsolomon Dec 2015 #2
Triple the average number after mere weeks does indeed appear to fit LanternWaste Dec 2015 #3
"no one has actually been attacked/injured" napkinz Dec 2015 #4
I didn't know there had been an attack this weekend. I stand corrected. maxsolomon Dec 2015 #7
Glad you won't mind hot coffee thrown on you then since it's not a crime in your book Person 2713 Dec 2015 #52
Reliable motivation for frenetic Anti-Muslim rhetoric? Reicht wing ambitions of Military Conflict M Kitt Dec 2015 #41
Woman Attacks Muslims Praying napkinz Dec 2015 #6
That's a Coffee Assault maxsolomon Dec 2015 #8
Throwing coffee in someone's face IS assault. Just because you don't think it IS assault does not CBGLuthier Dec 2015 #17
Better yet throw hot coffee in his own face and get back to us on how trivial it was Person 2713 Dec 2015 #53
Woman charged in East Bay park confrontation with Muslim men napkinz Dec 2015 #37
How about smacking a Muslim woman in the face with a heavy beer mug? The Velveteen Ocelot Dec 2015 #57
"a man shoved a pregnant Muslim mother’s stroller into her belly" ScreamingMeemie Dec 2015 #33
Historically, spreading hatred of a particular group results in attacks by the demented against pampango Dec 2015 #5
It's not just "spreading hatred" the demented are reacting against. maxsolomon Dec 2015 #10
While attacks on mosques are horrible, the reason isn't RW hate speech Yorktown Dec 2015 #9
"So poor, ignorant people are led by their noses by manipulative politicians?" napkinz Dec 2015 #11
What is scary? People who plant bombs or folks scared of them? Yorktown Dec 2015 #12
ever hear of right-wing extremists? napkinz Dec 2015 #15
You're looking at yesterday's stats Yorktown Dec 2015 #19
Republicans only recognize acts of terror carried out by followers of radical Islam. napkinz Dec 2015 #16
Who cares? What counts is numbers: radical Islam is taking the lead in terrorism. Yorktown Dec 2015 #21
It's bigoted to attack Muslims because of Daesh treestar Dec 2015 #18
I would never attack Muslims Yorktown Dec 2015 #20
No religion is progressive treestar Dec 2015 #24
There are 1.6 billion Muslims, more than half of which believe the Sharia should apply Yorktown Dec 2015 #32
thank you treestar napkinz Dec 2015 #25
^ Par for the course marmar Dec 2015 #27
exactly ... justifying the violence against Muslim Americans napkinz Dec 2015 #28
Nice soundbite Yorktown Dec 2015 #36
Well here we go again. Another era of shame. jwirr Dec 2015 #13
what's also shameful ... napkinz Dec 2015 #30
Agreed. jwirr Dec 2015 #31
The illness can spread where least expected Person 2713 Dec 2015 #56
One wonders what proxitmately caused this? AngryAmish Dec 2015 #14
So you're saying "this sort of mischief" is justified KamaAina Dec 2015 #35
There is nothing indicated for California oberliner Dec 2015 #22
Thank the ReTHUG politicians and M$Greedia malaise Dec 2015 #23
yep ... napkinz Dec 2015 #29
It's also informative to make note of what our USA news media refuses to cover M Kitt Dec 2015 #40
Muslims are such peaceful and welcoming people. They would be the last to resort of violence... 951-Riverside Dec 2015 #26
Can we start calling them pogroms? KamaAina Dec 2015 #34
"It's beginning to look a lot like ... Kristallnacht." napkinz Dec 2015 #38
Someone else is tracking these Anti-Islamic trends? That kind of Compassion is rare these days. M Kitt Dec 2015 #39
Thanks for sharing, M Kitt. I think you'll appreciate these two articles ... napkinz Dec 2015 #42
The Real Threat To America Is Right Wing Republican Terrorists? Yorktown Dec 2015 #43
I think the point is you are more likely to be killed by a radical right-wing nut napkinz Dec 2015 #44
Me? No. Yorktown Dec 2015 #45
And you seem to be "Invalidating" the threat posed by our own Reicht Wing fundamentalists M Kitt Dec 2015 #46
you are mixing two very different issues Yorktown Dec 2015 #47
So we agree GW and Cheney R owners of a Gigantic Clusterf*ck that the rest of us have inherited M Kitt Dec 2015 #48
GW's war did not invent Afghanistan's Talibans or Algeria's GIA which killed half a million Yorktown Dec 2015 #49
No, but again "Conflation" is the driving purpose of that comparison M Kitt Dec 2015 #50
You mix so many different issues it's hard to see your point Yorktown Dec 2015 #51
Umm, think I'll only address the final statement of that post, per the brief replies you've made M Kitt Dec 2015 #54
Accuracy is on my side Yorktown Dec 2015 #55
Those were both worth review, thanks. M Kitt Dec 2015 #58
Man if those dots DashOneBravo Dec 2015 #59
Latest Discussions»General Discussion»Attacks On Mosques And Ha...»Reply #36