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Gloria Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:12 PM
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The Muslim Malaise--Toronto Star--excellent backgrounder
From the new World Media Watch up now at
Tomorrow at

More headlines in m Journal

3//The Toronto Star, Canada Aug. 20, 2006. 07:03 AM


Haroon Siddiqui

(The authors book "Being Muslim" is scheduled to be released Sept. 15. For more information, visit .)

Contrary to the popular belief that the West is under siege from Muslim terrorists, it is Muslims who have become the biggest victims of the attacks of September 11, 2001, as inconceivable as that would have seemed in the aftermath of the murder of 2,900 Americans. Since then, between 34,000 and 100,000 Iraqis have been killed by the Americans or the insurgents. Nobody knows how many have been killed in Afghanistan. In the spots hit by terrorists from London and Madrid to Amman, Istanbul, Riyadh and Jeddah, through Karachi to Bali and Jakarta more Muslims have been killed and injured than non-Muslims.

None of this is to say that Muslims do not have problems that they must address. They do. But the problems are not quite what many in the West make them out to be.

One of the strangest aspects of the post-9/11 world is that, despite all the talk about Muslim terrorism, there is hardly any exploration of the complex causes of Muslim rage. Muslims are in a state of crisis, but their most daunting problems are not religious. They are geopolitical, economic and social problems that have caused widespread Muslim despair and, in some cases, militancy, both of which are expressed in the religious terminology that Muslim masses relate to.

Most Muslims live in the developing world, much of it colonized by Western powers as recently as 50 years ago. Not all Muslim shortcomings emanate from colonialism and neo-imperialism, but several do.


While the past casts a long shadow over Muslims, it is the present that haunts them. Hundreds of millions live in zones of conflict, precisely in the areas of European and American meddling, past and present U.S.-occupied Iraq, U.S.-controlled Afghanistan, the Israeli Occupied Territories, and Kashmir, the disputed Muslim state on the border of India and Pakistan in the foothills of the Himalayas. Only the Russian war on Muslim Chechnya is not related to the history of Western machinations, but even that has had the tacit support of the Bush administration. These conflicts, along with the economic sanctions on Iraq, have killed an estimated 1.3 million Muslims in the last 15 years alone. Why are we surprised that Muslims are up in arms?

In addition, nearly 400 million Muslims live under authoritarian despots, many of them Western puppets, whose corruption and incompetence have left their people in economic and social shambles.

It is against this backdrop that one must look at the current malaise of Muslims and their increasing emotional reliance on their faith.

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JohnLocke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:24 PM
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1. BS.
"AL-QAEDA is secretly recruiting affluent, middle-class Muslims in British universities and colleges to carry out terrorist attacks in this country, leaked Whitehall documents reveal."
"In addition...a significant number come from liberal, non-religious Muslim backgrounds or (are) only converted to Islam in adulthood. These converts include white British nationals and those of West Indian extraction."
"He said that he believed last weeks attackers were almost certainly British-born, brought up here and totally aware of British life and values.",,2087-1688261,00...

LONDON: Experts have been surprised to discover that the typical recruit to Al Qaeda is Western educated and has a wealthy, professional background.
The typical recruit to Al Qaeda, the terrorist organisation, is upper middle class, has been educated in the West and is from a professional background, according to a new study.
An analysis of 500 members of Osama Bin Laden's organisation has revealed that the majority had been in further education and were from relatively affluent families.
The recruits also tended to come from the wealthier Arab countries.
Dr Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist who conducted the study, said he assumed it would find that most Al Qaeda recruits were poor and ill-educated.
"The common stereotype is that terrorism is a product of poor, desperate, naive, single young men from Third World countries, vulnerable to brainwashing and recruitment into terror," he said.
However, his study showed that three-quarters of the Al Qaeda members were from upper middle-class homes and many were married with children; 60 were college educated, often in Europe or the United States.
Some, like Omar Sheikh, the British-born terrorist, were educated at fee-paying schools before heading for Afghanistan, Bosnia or Chechnya. (...)
About half grew up as religious children, but only 13 - mostly from southeast Asia - attended Islamic schools.
Sageman's study is backed by Abdullah Anas, a former senior mujaheddin commander in Afghanistan who now lives in London.
"There is no question that most of those who came to Afghanistan in the 1980s were from middle-class backgrounds - teachers, doctors, accountants or imams. Most came with their families," he said.
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:59 PM
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4. the more common stereotype is that
terrorism as practiced by al Qaeda has anything to do with Islam as practiced by millions of its adhereants. Qur'an forbids killing of innocents, and says war can only be enacted if Muslims are forbidden to practice their religion. This is not the case here in the US, and the brand of "religion" bin Laden and his ilk are peddling is NOT Islam. Many Sufis around the world have been saying this in a non violent manner, and many have been suppressed, their centers torn down, etc, etc.

The West tends to portray Islam as a monolithic religion, or a religion of two sects, Sunni and Shia. They say that the mullahs or imams put out edicts that everyone follows. This is not the case. Mullahs and imams may be respected, but they are not considered holy, as the guru is, or infallable, as the Pope is. Each Muslim is responsible for his/her own salvation-no intermediaries needed. So to disagree with an imam is not going to cause you to go to hell or to be excommunicated.
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:54 PM
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2. Eh. Apologetics, in which
facts are partial and conclusions provisional.

Such an article for nearly any other religion these days--especially Christianity--would be chewed up and spit out with distaste.

In some cases, he asks questions he doesn't answer; the answers would be the opposite of what he expects. In other cases, he makes claims that are iffy; some apply to part of the community but are to be construed by the reader to apply to the entirety; others are true but pointless since rules of interpretation concerning the Qur'an are typically taken to render the texts in question moot.

An article in need of some serious critiquing. Not gonna do it, probably wouldn't do a thorough enough job, and I have stuff to do.

My one last quip is that much of the problem is less religion per se than cultural attitudes; but like so many other things about Islam, the religion entails some cultural aspects, with more cultural attitudes entailed by more conservative species.
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CJCRANE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 04:54 PM
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3. I blame the Iraq invasion
for the big rise in islamic fundamentalism in the last few years.

It's pretty clear that B*sh is the leader of a christian extremist party with a military wing which is responsible for the 30,000 Iraqi civilians who died in "shock and awe".

Americans were very angry on 9/11 when 3,000 people were killed on their soil (and most of the world sympathised with them). And of course Americans pulled together and many wanted revenge. Unfortunately much of that revenge was taken out on Iraq which had nothing to do with 9/11. Now many in Iraq and their sympathisers have the same feelings from "shock and awe" that Americans had on 9/11.
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