Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Is Islam Racism?

Daniel Pipes points out what should be obvious: Islam is not a race but a religion that is practiced by people of many races. Thus, it is not logically possible to consider someone a racist, no matter what he thinks of Islam or Muslims. Pipes points out, however, that there are those who want to use the word, racism, in a wider sense: to apply to any ethnic or religious group. If that’s the case, Islam may be the most racist doctrine and practice in history. I present the arguments here.

The concept racism has a specific meaning for important reasons. It is worthwhile to fight against the corruption of this word by those who want to extend the well-deserved condemnation of racism to other matters. The idea that words are mere names applicable to any vague (or arbitrary) grouping is called nominalism. Nominalism dispenses with the notion that there is some essential or central aspect that is key to considering, understanding, and classifying entities of a certain kind.

I have one point of contention with Mr. Pipes, however. In his debate with Lawrence Auster, Pipes takes the view that Islam is whatever the nominal group, Muslims, practice. This makes the nominal demographic group, Muslims, prior to the doctrine of Islam. Given this way of talking, criticism of Islam (and thus implicitly the demographic group Muslims) is seen as an unfair over-generalization. Thus, the label “racism” doesn’t seem so far fetched.

I hope Mr. Pipes reconsiders his definition of the religion from the trivial nominal-type to a more robust doctrinal-type based on texts and ideas rather than a nominal grouping of people. For intellectual clarity, precise definitions are an imperative. Only then will we consistently avoid the kind of nonsense he has exposed in his current article.

9 Comments:

Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

Islam is bigotry, not racism. Islamic bigots come in many colors.

11/22/05, 7:12 PM  
Blogger gandalf said...

I agree with you Jason ,Islam/Muslim is not a specific/ unique race of people, therefore the word "racist"
cannot apply.

Here in the UK the word "Asian" is used as a euphamism for Muslim.

This is getting a lot of Hindu's, Buddhists,Sikhs and zonastrians
( apologies if i have spelled this incorrectly)rather angry.
Asia is a huge geographical area
with many cultures as you know and the abovementioned people do not wish to be assumed to be Muslim.

The corruption of our language continues apace thanks to political correctness and social engineering

11/23/05, 1:01 PM  
Blogger Cubed © said...

Jason,

Finally got to the links. Oh, if only we could teach our kids philosophy from the very beginning, we wouldn't have most of the problems we have today.

You said, "Islam is anything but moderate. However, you are right, there are moderate Muslims (yes, most are)."

Words are symbols for concepts; no matter what word or other symbol you decide to called a particular concept, it remains the same; it has an identity, with specific attributes, and no matter what you call it, it retains that identity and those attributes. You can call a rose a corpse flower, but that doesn't change the rose.

There was once a guy named W. Edwards Deming. He grew up in Wyoming, but later graduated from Yale with a Ph.D. in physics.

This was the man who transformed Japan's post-war economy from a shambles to one that rivaled and eventually surpassed that of the United States. He was the developer of the method commonly known as "Quality Management."

So? What does this have to do with Islam and Muslims?

What may be Deming's most significant observation ever was that eighty-five percent of the problem lies not with the people, but with the SYSTEM.

His enormous influence lay with changes he made in the Japanese production system, where problems were corrected as soon as they appeared, rather than waiting for a faulty end-product to be placed in the market. By correcting problems in the system, the quality of the products improved BEFORE they entered the market, whereas in the U.S., the entire faulty product went back to the drawing board AFTER they caused dissatisfaction with the consumer.

Substitute a couple of words here: "Eighty-five percent of the problem lies not with Muslims, but with Islam."

Islam is an evil, nasty system, and has a putrid philosophy. Islam was an evil nasty philosophical system when it was founded, and it is an evil nasty philosophical system today.

Here's a little comparison:

Our ethics is based on life, Islam's is based on death; our epistemology is based on reason, Islam's on revelation; our metaphysics holds that the universe is understandable, Islam's that it lies outside human ability to understand; our art portrays anything valued by the artist, while Islam prohibits the portrayal of values; our politics is based on the protection of individual rights, Islam's is based on totalitarianism.

OK; that's Islam. But see, Islam is a philosophy, not human beings. Islam is what it is (nasty), but human beings are what they are, too (with a capacity for reason).

The problem is with the system of Islam, not with the people trapped in it.

Islam didn't used to be the Johnny One-Note fundamentalist nasty thing it is today. It became engraved in stone as a system about 200 years after Mohammed's death.

Before that, there was a sect known as the Mu'tazilites, who believed that man had free will, that the Koran was allegorical, and a whole bunch of other things that allowed them to do the things like (gasp!) ask questions and debate and change as they discovered the requirements of reality.

They shot themselves in the foot, though (too long to explain here), and the fundamentalists won, giving us the System we see today.

It's unlikely that most Muslims will reject their religion, much as we might wish them to do so. The only option open to them is to change their System, Islam.

As human beings, the people who happen to have been born into the intellectual prison known as Islam are the same as the ones to designed and produced the United States. Left to their own devices--that is to say, if they were free of today's Islam--most of them would choose the good life over what they are subjected to today.

Anybody want to send a copy of Atlas Shrugged to the University of Baghdad?

It would be a start...

11/25/05, 3:42 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Gandalf, you’re right; the corruption of language has ulterior motives. It’s amusing how people like to play “it’s time to change the word” games, once they don’t like your thoughts on a particular matter. I noticed in the UK how the word Asian is used to avoid direct reference to Pakistani or perhaps other Muslim groups. Here in the USA some people advocate Asian as a replacement for Oriental. I’ve joked about this before.

Beamish & Beakerkin are right about how Islam is rife with bigotry. But, as I pointed out, Islam is a supremacist ideology.

Interesting, Cubed, what you call the “system” is related to what I’m calling the “culture” and Codeilla, in his book “The Character of Nations” calls the “regime” (which he takes in a broader sense than political rulers.) There is an integrated manner of thinking and acting that constitutes the reigning character or disposition that determines the functioning within a society at any given time. And you’re right, individual Muslims, when in a non-Muslim country, usually (with exceptions) pick-up new habits of thought. Of course, those exceptions worry me (and AOW.)

Cubed, there is one option you didn’t consider. Muslims may not explicitly abandon Islam, and they may have a hard time convincing their fellow Muslims that Islam doesn’t say what it says. But they have in the past marginalized Islam and reduced it to a perfunctory practice. This was common in the 19th century. In the face of British and French colonial rule, the West was proud of its superiority and shamed Muslims into changing. For example, the British condemned slavery and demanded that the practice be abandoned. Islam, unlike the West, never developed abolitionist societies nor did they become enthused and driven about ending slavery – after all Mo owned slaves. But they slowly got rid of it … or hid it from sight (at least in more cosmopolitan Arab locales.)

AOW, yes, I’d say Pipes is fantastic … as far as he goes. He seems to stop at a certain point. Robert Spencer does the rest. I was hoping to write a blog entry on him today. Perhaps, tomorrow.

11/27/05, 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Abdullah said...

When it comes to human affairs and relations, slavery is one of the back bones of the spine of Christianity and its principles:


Let us look at Leviticus 25:44-46 "Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly."

What kind of a human value does the Bible give to slaves? If slaves and their children must be inherited and passed down to newer generations as slaves, then how in the world will they ever gain their freedom?? Does the Bible believe in Freedom? Does the Bible believe in liberating human beings from slavery? Apparently it does not !!!

For one thing the word for slave isn't present in the Hebrew text of the Bible, the NIV translated the word for servant in Hebrew as slave. Read a Jewish translation of these same verses:

And as for thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, whom thou mayest have: of the nations that are round about you, of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them may ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they have begotten in your land; and they may be your possession. And ye may make them an inheritance for your children after you, to hold for a possession: of them may ye take your bondmen for ever; but over your brethren the children of Israel ye shall not rule, one over another, with rigour. JPS Leviticus 25:44-46

Notice that the word for slave in the NIV doesn't mean slave in the Jewish translation, it means servant or bondman."

When I looked up the word "bondmen" in www.dictionary.com, I found it to mean:

1- A male bondservant. (http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=bondmen).

And when I looked up the word "bondservant", I found it to mean:

1- A person obligated to service without wages.
2- A slave or serf.

(http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=bondservant)

So, how is it possible for the NIV Bible to be in error when they used the word "slave"?

JUST IN CASE JASON, GIVES ME THAT OLD CRAP ABOUT HOW THIS IS THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE NEW TESTAMENT "MODIFIED THE OLD TESTAMENT" WRONG. “ Think not that I come to destroy the law or the prophets: I do not come to destroy, but to For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one title shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:17-19)”

This verse points out that Jesus (pbuh) came to fulfill the law of Moses (pbuh) not replace their laws (such as replace the prohibiting the eating of pork) and this conflicts with the concept in Christianity that Jesus created a new law.

If you still don't believe me Jason then here are some verses from the NEW TESTAMENT:


"All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered. (From the NIV Bible, 1 Timothy 6:1)"

"Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be defamed. (From the RSV Bible, 1 Timothy 6:1)"

"A student is not greater than the teacher. A slave is not greater than the master. (From the NIV Bible, Matthew 10:24)"

We clearly see that the Bible is not a book for freeing slaves. Slavery was practiced very badly during the times of Judaism and Christianity, and was fought against and ended during the times of Islam. It is part of the Bible's "teaching" to practice and promote slavery! And fighting it would "slander" or "defame" the teachings of the Bible.

11/28/05, 3:24 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Abdullah talks about slavery! Islam invented the race-based slave trade hundreds of years before Christians got into the business. Muslims lived by conquest and plunder; and occasionally trade. When they did trade, it was often goods gained by plunder, such as slaves from sub-Sahara and Slavs from Eastern Europe. Slaves were so plentiful that they were used in all aspects of Islamic economic life – including the armies of plunder. At one point a slave even headed an army of conquest; that’s how much slavery was a facet of Islamic societies.

Islamic societies never developed abolitionist movements. They only got rid of slavery when pushed by the British. Slavery was a legacy of every people and in every land. But it was the West that invented the concept of universal liberty – an aspiration and goal it held for centuries until it could be fully implemented. No such aspiration exists in Islam. Islam is a supremacist ideology.

11/28/05, 8:14 AM  
Anonymous Abdullah said...

WRONG AGAIN JASON, YOU WON'T FIND ONE VERSE IN THE BIBLE CALLING FOR FREEING SLAVES, FURTHERMORE SLAVERY IN WESTERN CHRISTIANITY WAS JUST PURE RACISM, ONLY BLACKS COULD BE SLAVES. NOW COMPARE THIS TO THE KORAN:

The example of ending slavery in Islam:

Perhaps the best example I can provide regarding Laws developing gradually in the Noble Quran is the ending of the Judeo-Christians' and Pagans' slavery in Arabia. Let us look at the following Noble Verses:


Freeing of slaves is Commanded by Allah Almighty:

"It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness to believe in God and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing. (The Noble Quran, 2:177)"

"Never should a believer kill a believer; but (If it so happens) by mistake, (Compensation is due): If one (so) kills a believer, it is ordained that he should free a slave, and pay compensation to the deceased's family, unless they remit it freely. If the deceased belonged to a people at war with you, and he was a believer, the freeing of a believing slave (Is enough). If he belonged to a people with whom ye have treaty of Mutual alliance, compensation should be paid to his family, and a believing slave be freed. For those who find this beyond their means, (is prescribed) a fast for two months running: by way of repentance to God: for God hath all knowledge and all wisdom. (The Noble Quran, 4:92)"

"God will not call you to account for what is futile in your oaths, but He will call you to account for your deliberate oaths: for expiation, feed ten indigent persons, on a scale of the average for the food of your families; or clothe them; or give a slave his freedom. If that is beyond your means, fast for three days. That is the expiation for the oaths ye have sworn. But keep to your oaths. Thus doth God make clear to you His signs, that ye may be grateful. (The Noble Quran, 5:89)"

"But those who divorce their wives by Zihar, then wish to go back on the words they uttered, (It is ordained that such a one) should free a slave before they touch each other: Thus are ye admonished to perform: and God is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do. (The Noble Quran, 58:3)"

Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari: "The Prophet said, "Give food to the hungry, pay a visit to the sick and release (set free) the one in captivity (by paying his ransom)." (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Food, Meals, Volume 7, Book 65, Number 286)"

Narrated Asma: "No doubt the Prophet ordered people to manumit slaves during the solar eclipse. (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Eclipses, Volume 2, Book 18, Number 163)"

"'Abdullah b. 'Umar reported that 'Umar b. Khattab asked the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) as he was at ji'rana (a town near Mecca) on his way back from Ta'if: Messenger of Allah, I had taken a vow during the days of Ignorance that I would observe I'tikaf for one day in the Sacred Mosque. So what is your opinion? He said: Go and observe I'tikaf for a day. And Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) gave him a slave girl out of the one-fifth (of the spoils of war meant for the Holy Prophet). And when Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) set the war prisoners free. 'Umar b. Khattab heard their voice as they were saying: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) has set us free. He (Hadrat 'Umar) said: What is this? They said: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) has set free the prisoners of war (which had fallen to the lot of people). Thereupon he (Hadrat 'Umar) said: Abdullah, go to that slave-girl and set her free. (Translation of Sahih Muslim, The Book of Oaths (Kitab Al-Aiman), Book 015, Number 4074)"



If a slave requests his freedom from the Muslim master, he can get it:

From http://www.answering-christianity.com/equality.htm:

First, it is important to know that thousands of years ago life was different than today. Today, people wouldn't accept slavery for any reason. The reason for this is because people are a lot more independent both financially, education wise, mentally, etc... But people back then were different. When a tribe or a group of people lose a major battle and their money is mostly, if not all, is taken as war booty by the other side, then people could and would accept being slaves for the following reasons:

1- Both financial and social security. When their country or tribe lost the war, they also lost most or all of their money as war booty. Being out of money and food, it becomes necessary for an individual to find the means for basic survival in life. Living as a slave would provide this.

2- Protection from hostile individuals. Even under the Islamic rule, you can still find hostile individuals who violate the Law and take matters into their own hands. An enemy family can be sometime in danger if they don't have a "protector".

3- Widows, Orphans, and the extremely poor of the enemy side need the financial and social protection from a Master. Back then, there were no governments with good social system that protects everyone. Slavery back then was that social system in special cases.

There are probably more points I can add, but I think these are sufficient enough. Let us now see the Islamic System toward Slaves:

Yes slaves were taken from the blood-thirsty and hostile enemies, but they were also given the right to get their freedom when ever they want. The Noble Quran not only allows slaves to request their freedom from their Muslim masters, but also orders the Muslim masters to pay the slaves money to help them stand on their feet and to be able to face life with a good jump start.

Let us look at Noble Verse 24:33 "Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste, until God gives them means out of His grace. And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed if ye know any good in them: yea, give them something yourselves out of the means which God has given to you. But force not your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity, in order that ye may make a gain in the goods of this life. But if anyone compels them, yet, after such compulsion, is God, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to them)," In this Noble Verse, we see that if a slave requests his freedom from his Muslim master, then his master not only must help him earn his freedom if there is good in the Slave, but also pay him money so the slave can have a good start in his free life.

"The law of slavery in the legal sense of the term is now obsolete. While it had any meaning, Islam made the slave's lot as easy as possible. A slave, male or female, could ask for conditional manumission by a written deed fixing the amount required for manumission and allowing the slave meanwhile to earn money by lawful means and perhaps marry and bring up a family. Such a deed was not to be refused if the request was genuine and the slave had character. Not only that, but the master is directed to help with money out of his own resources in order to enable the slave to earn his or her own liberty." [3]

Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said:

Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari: "The Prophet said, "Give food to the hungry, pay a visit to the sick and release (set free) the one in captivity (by paying his ransom)." (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Food, Meals, Volume 7, Book 65, Number 286)"



The Bottom line is:

The bottom line is that in order for the Muslims to remain as a purified and GOD Almighty-fearing and obeying society, one of the requirements that they had to accomplish was to gradually and completely eliminate slavery - the same slavery that was at its peak during the Jews', Christians' and Pagans' times.

For more details, please visit: Human equality and freedom in Islam VS the Bible.

http://www.answering-christianity.com/human.htm

(is that gasp I hear)

11/30/05, 3:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abdullah, you really should stay off that site. While its scriptural quotes are accurate, its historical reality is lacking.
The first emancipation of balck slaves by a Muslim ruler was the Bey of Tunis in 1846. The last to ban it were Yemen and Saudi Arabia in 1961. Of course, it is still being practiced in the Sudan, and possibly under the radar in Yemen and Sudi Arabia (possibly indentured servitude) and by some Muslims even in the USA, as a case in Colorado recently showed.
That some parts of Islam still considered slavery permissible into the 20th Century is irrefutable. While the emancipation/manumission of slaves was allowed or recommended, it was not required unless certain rules were broken by the slave owner.
The driving force for the ending of slavery was the British Empire starting in about 1807. They blockaded shipping carrying slaves, making much of Islam irate but the Islam was too weak by then to resist. There were voices within Islam in the 19th century who, while agreeing that slavery was legal by Islamic law, were not comfortable with the practices they saw.
I did gasp, but at your error not your proof. Those nasty Christians beat Islam by over, more or less, a hundred years in formally ending slavery. Modernity, what a concept.

12/8/05, 11:51 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Excellent summary. Thanks for filling in the details.

12/9/05, 6:31 AM  

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