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Source: (consider it) Thread: The origin of Islamic extremism
mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

mr cheesy - please explain why I should accept that kind of scorn from someone who once asked on another thread "What is the relevance of 'state Islam' to IS?" A clue - what does IS stand for...?

The group calls itself Islamic State. That doesn't mean that it is the only way to run an Islamic State nor does it mean that all Muslims believe in the Islam as the state religion.

It isn't scorn, it is just exasperation at an individual who only has a hammer and therefore thinks that every problem is a nail.

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Steve Langton
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by lilBuddha;
quote:
Floggers of Deceased Equines often point to Jesus saying he wasn't changing the OT. That means all the nasty and violent things God is written to have commissioned are still on and Christianity is not a religion of peace.
Despite which Jesus effectively scrapped the whole of OT ritual and made the Temple redundant.

It is true that Jesus didn't 'change' the OT and it is indeed still the Word of God. It is also true that Jesus 'fulfilled' the OT and brought the things in the OT to their goal. How that applies to DH subjects I'll discuss there; in this case, Jesus brings about a shift from a preparatory stage focussed on one nation, Israel, operating as an ordinary nation in many ways, to a new concept (albeit prefigured and foretold in the OT) of God's people being those 'born again' in personal faith who do not form a conventional earthly nation.

Jesus' "holy nation" is depicted in the NT as living peaceably among their non-Christian neighbours somewhat as 'resident aliens' and needing and practising a different kind of 'warfare' without physical weapons.

lilBuddha, you appear to be making what is commonly thought of as a 'Fundamentalist' error of reading the Bible 'flat' and not allowing for the teaching to progress and develop.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
That is a good secular answer for a pluralist state.

I'm glad about that, because that's exactly where I find myself. What standpoint are you attempting to argue from?
quote:
It's pretty useless in helping us to understand where the violence came from and how we can prevent it arising to begin with.
Who is the "we" here, exactly? And what tools are you suggesting "we" use to help us understand? How is your approach more "useful"?
quote:
And one of the lacks in your whole response there is any significant distinctively Christian view....
The OP was framed in terms of Islam versus Western culture. Please explain how a "distinctively Christian view", whatever that is, might address this.

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Steve Langton
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by mr cheesy
quote:
The group calls itself Islamic State. That doesn't mean that it is the only way to run an Islamic State nor does it mean that all Muslims believe in the Islam as the state religion.
I agree with the first part of your sentence - as you should have read in my earlier posts, I recognise that Muhammad would probably be worried by some aspects of IS. But the general idea of 'state Islam' and where it originates in Muhammad's teaching is definitely relevant to IS and how we deal with it.

Our local churches are currently dealing with many refugees from various Islamic states - it's a struggle these days to find many such states that would satisfy you as being democratic etc. And the few you might just about approve seem currently to be under attack from those who want something more like Muhammad's own version.


Rephrasing the end of your sentence slightly to "nor does it mean that all Muslims believe in Islam being a state and ultimately global religion with the world being run as Muhammad ran Mecca" I'd have to say that I don't see how they'd disbelieve that and still claim to be following Muhammad's teaching - I think they'd find a lot of Muslims considering them heretical and indeed to be persecuted as such.

Muhammad taught and practised Islam as a state religion - who am I to question his teaching about the nature of his own religion - though I'm certainly prepared to question whether that religion is actually the truth about our world.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I agree with the first part of your sentence - as you should have read in my earlier posts, I recognise that Muhammad would probably be worried by some aspects of IS. But the general idea of 'state Islam' and where it originates in Muhammad's teaching is definitely relevant to IS and how we deal with it.

Why is it?

There are people who believe that the bible teaches that they're special and that the need to drink poison and play with snakes to show that they're indeed God's elect.

Is it more important to examine the verse they've chosen to take as a mantra or the tradition that has developed? Is the problem the text or the people?

quote:
Our local churches are currently dealing with many refugees from various Islamic states - it's a struggle these days to find many such states that would satisfy you as being democratic etc. And the few you might just about approve seem currently to be under attack from those who want something more like Muhammad's own version.
I would agree that many Islamic states are bad. But that's not really in question here. The question is whether Islamic states are always, without question bad because there is something stinky about the whole idea of Islam.

And then the second question is whether Islam obliges Muslims to create Islamic states.

I just don't accept that you are in any kind of position to answer those questions.

quote:
Rephrasing the end of your sentence slightly to "nor does it mean that all Muslims believe in Islam being a state and ultimately global religion with the world being run as Muhammad ran Mecca" I'd have to say that I don't see how they'd disbelieve that and still claim to be following Muhammad's teaching - I think they'd find a lot of Muslims considering them heretical and indeed to be persecuted as such.
Right, exactly. You "don't see how" because you are totally ignorant about what Muslims actually believe. I'm glad we're agreeing on that point.

quote:
Muhammad taught and practised Islam as a state religion - who am I to question his teaching about the nature of his own religion - though I'm certainly prepared to question whether that religion is actually the truth about our world.
God help us all.

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
The majority do not practise what they believe their religion requires for a number of reasons - laziness, cowardice, ambition for comfortable prosperity, or sheer human decency.

How do you know this? If it seems an obvious, non-evidence-requiring conclusion to you then maybe that is a bit circular.

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Steve Langton
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
That is a good secular answer for a pluralist state.

I'm glad about that, because that's exactly where I find myself. What standpoint are you attempting to argue from?
quote:
It's pretty useless in helping us to understand where the violence came from and how we can prevent it arising to begin with.
Who is the "we" here, exactly? And what tools are you suggesting "we" use to help us understand? How is your approach more "useful"?
quote:
And one of the lacks in your whole response there is any significant distinctively Christian view....
The OP was framed in terms of Islam versus Western culture. Please explain how a "distinctively Christian view", whatever that is, might address this.

Quick responses before going to an appointment this afternoon;

1)
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
That is a good secular answer for a pluralist state.

I'm glad about that, because that's exactly where I find myself. What standpoint are you attempting to argue from?
I also live in a secular state (well, just about with a few rags of an Anglican establishment still confusing things). However,I am not myself secular and I have opinions on the matter in areas where the secular pluralist state is properly neutral. I and other Christians can and should be understanding Islam in Christian terms and offering Christian answers.


from Eutychus
quote:
from SL
quote:
It's pretty useless in helping us to understand where the violence came from and how we can prevent it arising to begin with.
Who is the "we" here, exactly? And what tools are you suggesting "we" use to help us understand? How is your approach more "useful"?
[/qb]"We" is pretty much everybody in the West, I think. Deciding as a practical matter which acts we will prosecute doesn't do much towards analysing and understanding where the problem came from in the first place. The 'tools' Christians should use should basically be a Christian understanding explained as required to both Muslims and non-Muslims. The aim would be to convert Muslims, by peaceable persuasion, to an unambiguously peaceable Christianity which would surely be a quite useful result.

by Eutychus;
quote:
from SLAnd one of the lacks in your whole response there is any significant distinctively Christian view....
The OP was framed in terms of Islam versus Western culture. Please explain how a "distinctively Christian view", whatever that is, might address this. [/QB][/QUOTE]

Well apart from anything else, one of the big problems in the situation is the past history of 'Christendom' - I suspect that even your much more secular France is regarded by most Muslims as a 'Christian country', let alone England which still has a formally established Christian church and a ruler who Muslims can interpret as roughly eqquivalent to a Muslim 'Caliph'. One way a Christian view could address the situation would be by finally clearing that up and separating church and state. Another way is simply by showing Muslims a different way to relate religion and state - a way which unfortunately is considerably compromised in the ideas of the RCC, Orthodox, Anglicans and some other groups.

Sorry, my UBB use still isn't perfect but I think the end result is comprehensible!

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Teekeey Misha
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My difficulty with this whole debacle is the term "Islamic Extremism". Perhaps I spend too much time pondering semantics, and I'm minded to say something along the lines of "there's no such thing as Islamic Extremism; only extremists who are Muslims" but that's crap and I know it's crap. Clearly there is such a thing as Islamic Extremism. That being so, the following ideas ambled through my "mind" (such as it is):

1. Of course there are Islamic Extremists, just as there are Christian Extremists and, from what I see in the world, Buddhist Extremists and Hindu Extremists etc.

2. Is their being Muslim fundamental to their extremism? Clearly it is, since their "arguments" (if expressed at all) are all framed in Islam but...

3. Islam calls itself a religion of peace and there is much in history to back up that assertion. There have been as many times (if not more times) when Islamic states were far more tolerant and peaceful than Christian states.

My point (if I have one, rather than just a series of vague ideas running around my mind in search of argument upon which to attach themselves) is that the origin of "Islamic Extremism" is the same as the "Origin of Islam". Some Muslims have always been "extremists" (the Prophet himself was pretty extreme in some regards after all) and some Muslims have always been "not extremists". The battles within Islam have always been as "extreme" as the battles with those outside Islam, so the history of Islam is a history of "extremism" as much as it's a history of moderation.

In-fighting and forcing your faith on others; is that an "Islamic Extremist" idea or is it equally a summary of the history of Christianity? Is it that the origin of "Islamic Extremism" (see - still inverted commas because it's a phrase with which I'm still not entirely comfortable!) lies in Islam itself (in which case it's no different to any other religion in claiming to be peaceful but not being peaceful)? Or is that the origin of "Islamic Extremism" lies in Islam being practised and interpreted by human beings, who are notoriously bad at interpreting and practising religions as they were intended to be practised (in which case it's no different to any other religion in claiming to be peaceful but not being peaceful)?

My tendency (I suspect) is not to damn "Islamic Terrorism" because it's "Islamic Terrorism" but to damn "Terrorism" because it's performed by human beings and human beings are fundamentally flawed. (I think) I believe not that any religion is intrinsically evil but that religions are practised by human beings. And human beings are, essentially, heartless bastards. Which is why so many of us need religion to teach us how not to be heartless bastards. But so many of us ignore that teaching. And end up making "ours" a religion of heartless bastardry.

(I hate terrorism almost as much as I hate ungrammatical, incomplete clauses.)

Essentially, I think I'm saying Islam has always been a religion that was peaceful and tolerant whilst never being a religion that was peaceful or tolerant, because (like all religions) it has always involved some wankers who don't understand it.

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Misha
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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
However,I am not myself secular and I have opinions on the matter in areas where the secular pluralist state is properly neutral.

That's as maybe, but I don't get the feeling people are looking for a theological discussion here. The Koran clearly has within it elements that lend themselves to violence, as does the Bible, whatever you or I might say about the NT superseding the OT.

I don't think the question framed in the OP "what gives rise to Islamic extremism today" is usefully addressed in theological terms.

quote:
I and other Christians can and should be understanding Islam in Christian terms
I think that's where you go wrong. You need to start by understanding Islam on its own terms. Many people have pointed out that you appear bent on imposing your view of how muslims should think on Islam. I certainly think your views on muslims' view of the Koran are a projection of your views on Scripture more than anything inherent in Islam.

quote:
"We" is pretty much everybody in the West, I think.
Then why are you so insistent on approaching this from a specifically Christian point of view? It's almost as if you believe in a state religion... [Two face]

quote:
The 'tools' Christians should use should basically be a Christian understanding explained as required to both Muslims and non-Muslims.
The first step to that is to agree on a "Christian understanding" before pontificating about everyone else. I might sympathise with your Anabpatist leanings, but I don't think you're going to build a consensus by ignoring other forms of Christianity be they contemporary or historic.
quote:
The aim would be to convert Muslims, by peaceable persuasion, to an unambiguously peaceable Christianity which would surely be a quite useful result.
I can't help wondering how many religious wars started off allegedly underpinned by such intentions.

quote:
'Christendom'
Not again [Disappointed]

quote:
One way a Christian view could address the situation would be by finally clearing that up and separating church and state. Another way is simply by showing Muslims a different way to relate religion and state - a way which unfortunately is considerably compromised in the ideas of the RCC, Orthodox, Anglicans and some other groups.
So in summary, your plan is:

Step 1: get all Christians to agree to anabaptism
Step 2: confine all Christian testimony to Muslims to your idea of "sorted-out" Christianity
Step 3: REVIVAL.

I think Step 1 needs some working on.

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mdijon
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When bombs went off in tourist areas in the South of Thailand a month or so ago I was confused to see a Thai security official rushing out a statement that they had ruled out terrorism. It seemed pretty much by definition an act of terror.

Then I realised what they meant - they meant to imply that it was the "red shirt" or some other purely political group rather than Muslims. It seems remarkable that the definition of terrorism is gradually shifting to mean Muslim involvement rather than good honest political motives for blowing people up.

[ 13. September 2016, 13:36: Message edited by: mdijon ]

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Teekeey Misha:
My tendency (I suspect) is not to damn "Islamic Terrorism" because it's "Islamic Terrorism" but to damn "Terrorism" because it's performed by human beings and human beings are fundamentally flawed.

Hence the usefulness of the Council of Europe's distinction between "religious practice" and "violent extremism".

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
When bombs went off in tourist areas in the South of Thailand a month or so ago I was confused to see a Thai security official rushing out a statement that they had ruled out terrorism. It seemed pretty much by definition an act of terror.

Then I realised what they meant - they meant to imply that it was the "red shirt" or some other purely political group rather than Muslims. It seems remarkable that the definition of terrorism is gradually shifting to mean Muslim involvement rather than good honest political motives for blowing people up.

As it happens I walked past the exact location of one of those bombs a few weeks prior to the event, and have been looking into the politics of Thailand for other reasons.

My half-informed guess is that the official statement was entirely wrong. And my half-informed opinion is that these comments reflect a specifically Thai political malaise rather than a general trend with regard to descriptors of terrorism.

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Teekeey Misha
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Hence the usefulness of the Council of Europe's distinction between "religious practice" and "violent extremism".

Yes, I do apologise; I slipped from "Extremism" to "Terrorism" and I didn't mean to do so; I meant "extremism" rather than "terrorism". Although the former might well include the latter, I was trying to focus on "extremism in general" rather than "violent extremism in particular"!
Sorry.

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Steve Langton
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by Eutychus;
quote:
by Steve Langton
quote:

I and other Christians can and should be understanding Islam in Christian terms

I think that's where you go wrong. You need to start by understanding Islam on its own terms. Many people have pointed out that you appear bent on imposing your view of how muslims should think on Islam. I certainly think your views on muslims' view of the Koran are a projection of your views on Scripture more than anything inherent in Islam.

Sort of fair comment. But in attempting to understand Islam on its own terms, I find pretty much universal agreement that Muhammad did in fact after some initial havering fight a war to set up an Islamic state - it's not an easy thing to ignore! Nor is it easy to ignore that the major Islamic heresy/split is not theological but apparently over who should have succeeded Muhammad as 'king' (whatever the official word used) of that Islamic state.

Likewise Muhammad does involve Jesus/Isa in his teachings.

And while Muhammad treats the Judeo-Christian scriptures as a whole in ways I wouldn't consider treating the OT, he does appear at the same time to expect something of a fundamentalist approach to the Quran. OK, there probably are varying approaches to the Quran - but I feel pretty safe in usually taking a moderately literal approach and it's not easy to see any way round the combination of Muhammad actually fighting in the real world to set up an Islamic state, and the Quran basically supporting what he did there.

I'm having to move now and pack up the computer; back later after I get home....

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Eutychus
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The answer to all of the above is that you should be seeing what muslim scholars who have some sort of following and recognition in muslim circles have to say about these things, instead of second-guessing from an outsider's perspective.

I realise this is difficult, because as I have got to know them I've realised muslims make evangelicals look positively united and well-coordinated...

[ 13. September 2016, 16:13: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Steve Langton
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by Eutychus;
quote:
I realise this is difficult, because as I have got to know them I've realised muslims make evangelicals look positively united and well-coordinated...
You do also realise that the disunity you're experiencing is because the Muslims have the difficulty of having to deal with exactly the contradiction and conflicted ideas that I've identified - with the added problem that they have to believe that it's the word of God...
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Eutychus
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None of which shifts me from my conviction that the right way to address this is to tackle violent extremism as violent extremism wherever it manifests itself and not target, or seek to "sort out", religious practice.

Whilst sharing the gospel as and when we can, as we would with anyone. Yesterday I gave a Bible to a muslim inmate who engaged me in a lively exegesis of Jesus' words "I have more things to say to you that you cannot bear for now". I hope that counts...

(regular readers will not be surprised that I also directed him to 2 Cor 3. He objected that "that was Paul speaking, not Jesus". I wish I could have directed him to the ongoing Kerygmania debate...)

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

I realise this is difficult, because as I have got to know them I've realised muslims make evangelicals look positively united and well-coordinated...

Absolutely, and as soon as you widen the frame to include non-evangelicals the picture becomes much more similar, and when you include non-western voices even more similar.
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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
You do also realise that the disunity you're experiencing is because the Muslims have the difficulty of having to deal with exactly the contradiction and conflicted ideas that I've identified - with the added problem that they have to believe that it's the word of God...

Whereas once Christians drop the belief that the Bible is the word of God it does wonders for their unity.

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Steve Langton
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by mdijon;
quote:
Whereas once Christians drop the belief that the Bible is the word of God it does wonders for their unity.
You made me smile there (though that's not as rare as Gamaliel sometimes good-naturedly pretends). In my days at Uni I was of course in the evangelical Christian Union - and the simple fact is we had considerable unity across Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians and Congregationalists, Baptists, Brethren, Charismatics of all kinds, lots of people from independent congregations, Lutherans and others from abroad - and even some Catholics and Greek Orthodox.

Of the other groups the RCs were quite strong and I even went to some meetings - the night they watched Ian Paisley in an Oxford debate, for instance. Surprisingly I first came across the 'Good News' NT there rather than in the CU; and the Chaplain secured me a copy of Ronald Knox's interesting translation. They weren't yet much into ecumenism...

The others had been in the Student Christian Movement - but before my time that had become pretty moribund and the 'others' were now mainly in separate denominational societies - Angsoc, Methsoc, CongPresSoc, and Baptist. They had the 'Liberals' and in the case of Angsoc the Anglo-Catholics as well. They talked a lot about unity, but in practice didn't do it much, because being basically the non-Bible-believers they had little to be united around, and in fact tended to defeat unity by hanging on very hard to their denominational distinctives.

I'm not sure how far this was true of other Unis...

As far as I can tell this is broadly still the case nationally; apart from the CongPres group ending up as the URC (the small Presbyterians in England being swallowed up by the bigger Congregational group), they're all still disunited, while my experience of evangelicalism is that we're still pretty much together and cooperate widely.

Hmmm!?

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Eutychus
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The bridge joke must have passed you by, not to mention lots of experience.

From my outside perspective, I think muslim disunity is like evangelical disunity in that it's mostly to do with big fish in small ponds seeking to wield (or at least hold on to) their power amidst underlying distrust masked by superficial unity. Doctrinal grounds are mostly pretexts for much more realpolitik differences, such as control of funds and ownership of real estate.

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mdijon
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The Muslim student's union at my University looked very united to me. They had a great time putting on events for the Eids and supported each other fasting.

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Steve Langton
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No, the 'bridge joke' has not passed me by - I've even blogged on a related topic.

And I don't by any means suppose my experiences are the only possibility. It still remains the case that in general evangelicals are united on a great deal more than non-evangelicals. And that includes even when we have a few differences that do make working together difficult. For others generally the common ground tends to be too little and the denominational differences too important.

Islam's differences - I still find it remarkable that the big one, the Sunni/Shia split, is about the succession to Muhammad even though all possible lines of descent have almost certainly died out - that's a very different way of thinking to Christianity....

Back to the main point, I think....

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Eutychus
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The point is that it's impossible, and indeed pointless, if not counterproductive, to address "Islamic extremism" as a coherent whole, because you are not dealing with a coherent whole or anything like one, however much you think you are.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

lilBuddha, you appear to be making what is commonly thought of as a 'Fundamentalist' error of reading the Bible 'flat' and not allowing for the teaching to progress and develop.

Which is exactly what you are doing with Islam.
The "preparatory stage" rhetoric is rubbish unless your God is massively incompetent, inconsistent and capricious. We are talking infanticide, filicide and genocide. How the Hell does any of that prepare a nation for Jesus.
That Christians have to rationalise or readjust should give them a less prejudiced understanding of Islam.

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Steve Langton
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
The point is that it's impossible, and indeed pointless, if not counterproductive, to address "Islamic extremism" as a coherent whole, because you are not dealing with a coherent whole or anything like one, however much you think you are.

Of course it's incoherent; like between Muhammmad and now there has been some 1400 years of history and not just a single history for all of Islam but different histories in different countries to create the pressures that make people 'extremists' now. The point I've been making is actually one of the few coherent bits going right back to the foundation. All the different parts of modern extremism link in those ideas going back to Muhammad's acts and example and the support of those acts in the Quran.
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Steve Langton
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

lilBuddha, you appear to be making what is commonly thought of as a 'Fundamentalist' error of reading the Bible 'flat' and not allowing for the teaching to progress and develop.

Which is exactly what you are doing with Islam.
The "preparatory stage" rhetoric is rubbish unless your God is massively incompetent, inconsistent and capricious. We are talking infanticide, filicide and genocide. How the Hell does any of that prepare a nation for Jesus.
That Christians have to rationalise or readjust should give them a less prejudiced understanding of Islam.

I somehow don't think I'd be very popular if I derailed this thread into a fully detailed Christian theodicy at enormous length!

The important bit here is that Jesus did in fact set up his church, according to the NT, on a very different basis to the Islamic religious state approach; and when that teaching of Jesus is followed, Christians do not behave like Islamic extremists. And a key part of Jesus' teaching is to separate his 'kingdom' from the surrounding 'world' and its armies, police, freedom fighters etc.

Muhammad as I've pointed out claims to be following on from the Judeo-Christian tradition - but he rather emphatically rejects that part of it, so far as he knew it. Ironically he follows the later Roman Imperial Church which had gone wrong on this point in ways responsible for pretty much every bad thing you complain of in Christianity.

I do in fact have considerable sympathy for Muhammad in that he had such a bad example from misguided and essentially heretical Christians; but I'd also point out that he'd impress me a lot more if he had followed/reinstated Jesus' peaceable version rather than following the later error - that is one of the things which convinces me he was not a true prophet.


quote:
unless your God is massively incompetent, inconsistent and capricious.
Actually I tend to see it more that humans are massively incompetent, inconsistent and capricious, requiring God himself to act quite drastically in healing our affairs. As for

quote:
How the Hell does any of that prepare a nation for Jesus?
In the way that world typically was, these things at least achieved that Israel survived to be able to learn what was necessary for the nation to provide the background for Jesus' act of salvation to be understood and effective; it's actually surprisingly hard to think of other ways of doing that which don't either make God unacceptably directly coercive, or end up with even more massacres by the other nations involved.

You should also bear in mind that When God takes responsibility for these things he also takes responsibility for bringing good from the situation, and unlike us, he has the power to do that not only in this world but beyond it.

'filicide' - I think I know what you're referring to, but please confirm it so I can respond with certainty rather than guesswork.

But as I say, I don't want to derail this thread into Christian theodicy.

Compared to the Christian Scripture BTW, the Quran is rather 'flat', revealed through one person in only a few years; and where the Quran deals with the Judeo-Christian Scriptures it both 'flattens' them and repeatedly contradicts them.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

All the different parts of modern extremism link in those ideas going back to Muhammad's acts and example and the support of those acts in the Quran.

Which is only true if you believe that there is only one possible way to interpret those bits of the Quaran and Muhammed's actions. A lot of Muslims do not agree with your interpretation of either.
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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
The question is whether Islamic states are always, without question bad because there is something stinky about the whole idea of Islam.

The argument that there is something rotten in the legacy of Mohammed is the argument that the bad Muslims - the jihadists - seem to be following the published writings of Mohammed more closely or more literally or more obviously than the good Muslims - the prayerful modest hard-working self-controlled charitable good-neighbourly Muslims who live honourable lives within the religious and cultural tradition they have inherited.

If there were two groups of self-proclaimed Wesleyans, and the dishonest murderous bunch seemed to be following the precepts in Wesley's writings more closely than the abstemious and community-minded bunch, would we not conclude that Wesley was a bad egg, despite the lived testimony of the latter group ?

That they were good people despite him rather than because of him ?

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

If there were two groups of self-proclaimed Wesleyans, and the dishonest murderous bunch seemed to be following the precepts in Wesley's writings more closely than the abstemious and community-minded bunch, would we not conclude that Wesley was a bad egg, despite the lived testimony of the latter group ?

I'm sure some would declare them to be following Wesley's precepts more closely, but who is to say that is correct? It looks a pretty subjective judgement and there is a lot of that about.

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I dare say that there are very few of any religion who wouldn't support religious violence under any circumstances but it is clearly wrong to believe that only a minority of Muslims believe that they should be fighting a jihad including the killing of innocent people.

One does not have to believe that violence is always wrong under any circumstances to not be a terrorist blowing up a plane. Obviously.

Obviously you have misread what I wrote and totally confused the issue.

I mean really.

quote:
Well it is certainly true that there are many different individual Muslims with a good deal of different opinions about their religion.

But to then make the connection that those who do not do religious violence do not do it because they are lazy or otherwise deficient.. well that's just plain wrong.

The issue is not Muslims' different opinions about Islam (such as Sunni/Shiite) but about the different responses by Muslims to the near consensus among them that it enjoins religious violence.

Surveys of Muslims (admittedly of those living in the West) reveal a significant proportion who admire terrorists but do not emulate them - hence the very reasonable conjecture as to the reasons for this anomaly, such as laziness, cowardice etc.

quote:
You need to go and talk to a few more Muslims.
It is on the basis of the relationships I have had with Muslims both here in Australia and during years working in India that I included the factor "basic human decency" as a prohibitory factor.

quote:
A Muslim is not "bad" just because they don't behave in the way that you've ordained they should behave. Because you're not the arbiter of how they should behave to be true to their religion.

It has nothing to do with what you or I or any other outsider "arbitrates" or "ordains".

If a Muslim fails to live up to what they understand the Koran to be teaching, then by their own criteria they are bad Muslims.

[ 13. September 2016, 23:45: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]

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Steve Langton
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

All the different parts of modern extremism link in those ideas going back to Muhammad's acts and example and the support of those acts in the Quran.

Which is only true if you believe that there is only one possible way to interpret those bits of the Quaran and Muhammed's actions. A lot of Muslims do not agree with your interpretation of either.
I'm getting a little fed up (and to be fair Chris you're coming in for some annoyance originating with others here, I think you're mostly OK) with people who just tell me that "there are other interpretations" or that others "do not agree with me" as if somehow that in itself answered my points fully and made me wrong.

I seriously want to know what other interpretations there are, why there is disagreement, etc.

Having said that, how many ways are there to reasonably interpret Muhammad leading an army against Mecca - and without evidence, how can I know if there's an explanation that credibly supports the idea of a 'peaceable' Muhammad and his faith?

I think I'm being perfectly reasonable taking a fairly obvious understanding of the situation or words, especially when so far everything else I can find out suggests in this case that the majority of Muslims do have similar views. And do note that I am in fact accepting that there is teaching of peace. It's just that until someone actually produces better evidence, the logical interpretation seems to be contradiction in Muhammad's teaching. That is Muhammad didn't himself properly reconcile the twin notions of peaceableness and having an Islamic state for which he personally fought.

As i say - please prove me wrong, don't just tell me vaguely there are 'other opinions'.

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Steve Langton
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by Russ;
quote:
The argument that there is something rotten in the legacy of Mohammed is the argument that the bad Muslims - the jihadists - seem to be following the published writings of Mohammed more closely or more literally or more obviously than the good Muslims - the prayerful modest hard-working self-controlled charitable good-neighbourly Muslims who live honourable lives within the religious and cultural tradition they have inherited
The argument from me is not so much that some are following more closely than others, but that the writings/teaching/example are themselves confused and incoherent. had Muhammad ONLY taught the peace stuff, there'd be no problem, or at any rate only a problem of the non-peaceful obviously disobeying. But both sides are there in the teaching, aspirations of peace but undermined in practice by the other teaching and example of the Islamic state and the wars to support it. And to make matters worse, while claiming association with Jesus, Muhammad decidedly goes backwards from a better way taught by Jesus....
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mousethief

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Islamic extremism stems from ... CONSTANTINE!

Now going to read Steve's post to see if I'm right.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Surveys of Muslims (admittedly of those living in the West) reveal a significant proportion who admire terrorists but do not emulate them

Quite possibly explained by the well-known proposition that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

What is a "terrorist", after all? Were the French Resistance terrorists? I suspect the German or German-backed authorities of the time would have labelled them as such if that was the terminology at the time. Violence for political ends, yep.

The only thing I can think of that might successfully distinguish "terrorists" is the nature of the targets.

[ 14. September 2016, 01:36: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:


Surveys of Muslims (admittedly of those living in the West) reveal a significant proportion who admire terrorists but do not emulate them - hence the very reasonable conjecture as to the reasons for this anomaly, such as laziness, cowardice etc.


And a lot of Westerners are all for bombing the heck out of most of the Middle East. Except Israel that is. But that's OK, 'cos they are all terrorists [Disappointed]

(I'd like to see the source of these surveys: we've had a few in Britain published by the right-wing tabloids and in numerous cases corrected or refuted entirely.)

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
The only thing I can think of that might successfully distinguish "terrorists" is the nature of the targets.

Or sheer point of view. Our friends are freedom fighters. Our enemies are terrorists.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Quite possibly explained by the well-known proposition that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

Not a "well-known proposition" but a lazy, banal and amoral cliche that gets trotted out with a mindless alacrity and predictability that puts Pavlov's dogs to shame.

quote:
What is a "terrorist", after all? Were the French Resistance terrorists?
You are being disingenuous.

Anyone who claims to be incapable of distinguishing ISIS from the French Resistance is lying.

I am calling your bluff.

quote:
Violence for political ends, yep.
"Violence for political ends" was what the Allies were engaged in during WWII - armed violence to overthrow the Nazi political system.

Indistinguishable from the violence perpetrated by the Nazis, yep?

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orfeo

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Kaplan, I'm not remotely being disingenuous. I honestly don't know a proper definition of what makes someone a "terrorist", and it's something that's bothered me for a long time.

However much my gut reaction might be that ISIS is not the same thing as the French Resistance or a war of independence, I find it very difficult indeed to articulate a principled explanation of what the differences are. In other words, an explanation that doesn't fall back on subjective notions of "we like you" and "we don't like you", or on the fact that the winners/those in power get to write the history books.

And that bothers the hell out of me. Bothering me almost as much is an assertion of how obvious it all is, and how I must be being disingenuous. If it's all so clear to you how to distinguish them, then please, go ahead and do it.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
You are being disingenuous.

Anyone who claims to be incapable of distinguishing ISIS from the French Resistance is lying.

Not exactly By earlier French definitions they would most definitely be.
But terrorist is subjective. If ISIS were able to hold a state together for long enough, then there would be no functional difference between their attacks and war.
Israel considers Palestinian attacks terrorism, but they are as accurately, if not more so, described as fighting for their freedom and against oppression.
The American Indians used terror tactics, but they were fighting to keep their freedom.
The IRA used terror tactics, but they were fighting against oppression.
The borders are not firm and they are subjective.

--------------------
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If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

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mdijon
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The better categorization is right and wrong. The idea that a political determination (i.e. terrorist vs freedom fighter vs insurgent vs state at war) determines morality and is worth getting exercised over is unhelpful.

The ANC were terrorists in the anti-apartheid struggle. They had a strong moral case.

ISIS are at war in Syria. They have zero moral case.

The US went to war in Iraq. This was a bad idea.

The French Resistance were an insurgency. They had a strong moral case versus an occupying army.

In each of these sentence pairs the first is a political categorization that might be arguable but even if it is tells us nothing about morality. The second sentence is even more contentious but, if we agreed it was accurate, tells us something useful about the morality of the action.

My conclusion is that there are a) simple rules one can apply regarding legality and politics which tell us little of value, and b) more contentious categorizations with no simple rules but which might be worth arguing over. But a) and b) don't overlap.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
ISIS are at war in Syria. They have zero moral case.

There are a considerable number of other groups fighting against the Syrian government. The West is generally sympathetic to them. Do they have a moral case?

Russia supports the Syrian government, and has no such quandaries to wrestle with. Recently, Vladimir Putin said to the Australian Prime Minister: "I'm fighting for the legitimate Government of Syria. Who are you fighting for?"

And when Russia first got involved, saying why yes, we'll help you attack those nasty terrorists, we quickly discovered that Russia was interested not only in tacking those nasty ISIS terrorists, but also the other rebel groups that Western powers quite liked, actually.

Whatever it is that makes ISIS into terrorists, I don't think "fighting in Syria" is a sufficient explanation.

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Golden Key
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orfeo--

(Slight tangent.)

Does Australia consider itself to be part of the West? Does the West consider Australia a part? Oz obviously has Western roots (plus indigenous).

Thx.

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Whatever it is that makes ISIS into terrorists, I don't think "fighting in Syria" is a sufficient explanation.

I think you've completely misread my post. I can't see how you think I'm arguing that at all.

The point about my paired sentences was not that one can conclude the second from the first, but actually the opposite - to illustrate that the first had pretty much no bearing on the second.

[ 14. September 2016, 08:51: Message edited by: mdijon ]

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Golden Key
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Quite possibly explained by the well-known proposition that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

Not a "well-known proposition" but a lazy, banal and amoral cliche that gets trotted out with a mindless alacrity and predictability that puts Pavlov's dogs to shame.

...or it's a view that takes into account different perspectives.

--Were the American revolutionaries traitors to England? Were the people in America who stayed loyal to England traitors to America?

--Israel and Palestine: Who's wrong, or worse, or terrorists?

--My usual example is American abolitionist John Brown (Wikipedia). Liberator? Terrorist? Instrument of God? Mentally ill?

I *don't* think ISIS falls into this paradox. I think they're nihilistic.

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--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Whatever it is that makes ISIS into terrorists, I don't think "fighting in Syria" is a sufficient explanation.

I think you've completely misread my post. I can't see how you think I'm arguing that at all.

The point about my paired sentences was not that one can conclude the second from the first, but actually the opposite - to illustrate that the first had pretty much no bearing on the second.

Yes, okay, on rereading your post I might not have taken it all in, and certainly YOU might think that I hadn't read it properly based on what I wrote, but...

The problem still remains in this form: what exactly is it about ISIS that gives them zero moral case?

Because the Muslims answering survey questions that indicate some kind of sympathy with "terrorists" of whatever description are presumably doing it because they DO think whoever they sympathise with (not necessarily ISIS) has some kind of moral case.

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
orfeo--

(Slight tangent.)

Does Australia consider itself to be part of the West? Does the West consider Australia a part? Oz obviously has Western roots (plus indigenous).

Thx.

Yes, I would say so. We wouldn't let a silly thing like our geographic location get in the way.

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I seriously want to know what other interpretations there are, why there is disagreement, etc.

Well, yes. Of course you do. But if you have access to a computer, you also have access to enough information to inform yourself as to how wrong you are and how other people saying "but there are other interpretations" are really saying "how can you not know there are other interpretations?"

For example, how many Sufi suicide bombers have you read about?

Seriously: if you don't know about the difference between Sunni and Shia and Sufi and Yazidi and Druze, or Arab and Persian and Berber, then you need to do that asap. This is a starting point. It's not your end point.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:

The problem still remains in this form: what exactly is it about ISIS that gives them zero moral case?

Yes, this is a difficult question to answer. I think partly it must be about intention. We know that IS is interested in creating an intense form of theocracy built on violence.

But one has to wonder whether that is a whole lot different to building a democracy built on violence. They execute people in the street, we do it from a distance with drones. They're murderous zealots, we are nuclear-bomb-dropping democrats.

And, perhaps more importantly, what is the critical difference between the disgusting Saudi regime and IS? One is our friend-and-ally, the other is a nation run by fundamentalist fruitcakes.

quote:
Because the Muslims answering survey questions that indicate some kind of sympathy with "terrorists" of whatever description are presumably doing it because they DO think whoever they sympathise with (not necessarily ISIS) has some kind of moral case.
See, I think this does depend on what is the question being asked of young Muslims, particularly in the West. There may indeed be a difference between "support" of the idea that there is something worth fighting for in the name of - or under the banner of - Islam on the one hand and wholehearted support for the whole IS package on the other.

I'm not sure that's so much different to asking a Christian if they supported the Christian south in the war in Sudan. If they know only a little about it, they might instinctively say yes, Christians were oppressed by the murderous regime in the North of Sudan, they had a right to organise and fight for freedom.

If they know a bit more they might say no, the things that the South Sudanese got up to were disgusting and that cannot ever be supported, even whilst agreeing that the North was oppressive to Christians, etcetera.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
The problem still remains in this form: what exactly is it about ISIS that gives them zero moral case?

Burning people alive on camera, use of children in executions, total denial of human rights within their controlled territory. Yes the problem still remains, my point was to decouple that problem from the label of terrorism.

quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Because the Muslims answering survey questions that indicate some kind of sympathy with "terrorists" of whatever description are presumably doing it because they DO think whoever they sympathise with (not necessarily ISIS) has some kind of moral case.

Your wording noted, I would expect that most Muslims would very rarely express any sympathy with ISIS. Of course some few people will think they have a moral case, as do some for Hitler. Morality is very arguable.

I have found some UK resident Muslims to express some sympathy for those committing terrorist acts in the Palestinian cause (but not ISIS), which indicates that the origin of that sympathy lies as much in politics as it does in religion. (Either way I would expect most to believe that killing the innocent is wrong, aside from expressing some sympathy in the cause).

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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