Wahabbhism

Discuss the latest news in the media and voice your own opinions about the news.

Wahabbhism

Postby steve » Sat Sep 15, 2007 10:47 pm

many moons ago there lived a man named Mohammed abd-al wahhab . He had a dream of an islam stripped down to a cold set of mechanical rules: strictly enforced and severely upheld. He cut a deal with a bandit chief named Mohammed Saud: in return for his allegiance Saud would help to enforce his new brand of islam. Two centuries later, a collossal amount of oil was discovered in the territory of Saud's family. In keeping the promise their ancestors had made, the family used their newfound wealth to enforce Wahabb's extreme ideas.

What does this have to do with us? Well, alot actually. Western relations with Saudi Arabia have been seedy from the get-go. It all began on Valentine's day 1945 onboard the USS Quincy on the Suez Canal. The Americans basically said "supply us with your oil (a quarter of the world's supplies) and we will ask no questions. The House of Saud have treated their citizens as their own private property ever since.

Which brings us to the present day. Wahabbhism was not intended to be practiced in only one country, the saudis are spreading it as a global project. Of the 120 Muslim schools in Britain, none would be viable without saudi support. Take King fahd academy in West London. A charming exercise for five year olds asks them to "name some negative characteristics of jews". Kids in the playground have been reported to idolise bin laden. A typical textbook for ten year olds reads "the whole world must convert to islam and leave their false religions lest their fate be hell". The saudis subsidise 70 percent of the mosques in france and 80 percent in the United States. Wahabbhism is growing. And we're paying for it every time we fill up with a new tank of petrol.

NOne of our leaders have criticised the house of saud because a junkie doesn't talk down to its dealer. We are simply hooked on Saudi Arabia's oil reserves. Just to clarify the extent of wahabbhism, religion freedom does not offically exist. Private worship is usually tolerated, but otherwise all citizens adhere to strict koranic law. Women's rights are practically nonexistent. The wahabbi courts enforce puritannical law on practically every aspect of their citizen's lifes. Iran looks almost moderate by comparison. In an age where the threat of radical islam is looming over us, a movement like this is the last thing we need. If global warming wasn't enough for us to reduce our dependence on Saudi Arabia's oil, surely this is?
steve
Super Poster
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:30 pm
Location: coventry, england

Postby parnassus » Fri Sep 28, 2007 1:47 am

I grew up in Saudi Arabia and am pretty familiar with the nation's history. That's quite a biased and inaccurate version of what happened. Al-Saud was not a bandit chief. I don't know where that idea comes from. He was a member of a tribe that was driven out of its ancestral homeland (the Najd region of modern-day Saudi Arabia) by the invading al-Rasheed tribe. His family fled, but the young Al-Saud always dreamed of going back and uniting all the tribes and provinces of Arabia into one country. He eventually achieved this with the aid of Muhammad ibn Wahhab, who may have been very rigid and authoritarian in his interpretation of Islam, but for all his faults couldn't bear the discord and consequent poverty in Arabia. The unification of the provinces worked out to everyone's benefit in the end. Without it, the place could never have become economically viable and would have been vulnerable to exploitation from the rest of the world - as the Ottoman invasion showed only too clearly.

The discovery of oil came after Al-Saud had succeeded in this goal, and it wasn't found in the Nejd region - it was discovered in Ash-Sharqiya, the Eastern Province, where I used to live. The first oil deal was offered to the British government, who didn't see it as a worthwhile investment. At that time nobody realised quite how much oil there actually was. It was offered to the USA second.

Which brings us to the present day. Wahabbhism was not intended to be practiced in only one country, the saudis are spreading it as a global project.


Saudis are not a monolithic people. Not all of them are Wahabbi. In fact, most of them aren't Wahabbi by practice, even if Wahabbism is inextricably bound up with the government due to their connected histories. The Hanbali, Hanafi, and Salafi schools of Sunni Islam are very widespread in Saudi, and there is quite a significant Shi'a minority in the Eastern Province as well. You can't pin the same Wahabbi label on them all. It won't work.

Of the 120 Muslim schools in Britain, none would be viable without saudi support. Take King fahd academy in West London. A charming exercise for five year olds asks them to "name some negative characteristics of jews". Kids in the playground have been reported to idolise bin laden.


Bin Laden isn't a Wahabbi. Given that al-Qaeda cells in Saudi Arabia have made several attempts on the lives of Saudi princes and princesses, it would be extremely odd for a school bearing the name of King Fahd to spread a cult of devotion to a man who calls the Al Sauds infidels and has issued death threats against them.

The idea that all the Muslim schools in Britain are puppets of the Saudi establishment is false. A Shi'a school would never get Saudi money. A traditionalist school would be unlikely to. The private schools can set their own fees. As for the influence of anti-Semitism, which is a real and unfortunate problem throughout the Middle East, that has a lot more to do with what happened in Palestine in 1948 than the spread of Wahabbi ideology - although an inflexible and exclusivist reading of the Qur'an definitely helps. Very few people in the Western world are aware of what happened to Palestine. They don't know that just over half of the Palestinian population was dispossessed by the nascent Israeli state. They don't know that 750,000 people were expelled from their homeland, many to squalid refugee camps in the Lebanon, and have received no financial compensation nor the right to return. They don't know about the villages that were razed, or that talk about the existence of those villages is suppressed in Israel, or that one more Palestinian teenager was run over and killed by an Israeli military bulldozer last week (for the crime of throwing rocks at it). They don't know that there are special, luxurious "Jews only" housing areas where even Arabs with full Israeli citizenship aren't allowed to live, or about the malnutrition the lack of clean water in the West Bank. They certainly don't know that Israeli schoolchildren are taught to see Arabs as dirty and lacking in intelligence. (I've seen regulation Israeli textbooks, and believe me, the prejudice works both ways.)

Arabs in the Middle East, however, are very aware of all this. The result is not just an anti-Zionist mentality but an anti-Jewish mentality that is deeply prejudicial. This is not helped by subtle and not-so-subtle efforts on the part of the Israeli government to undermine the practice of Islam in Jerusalem. (Tunnelling under the Dome of the Rock, third holiest place in the world to Muslims, was an implicit threat.)

So it's not possible to stand there and point the finger and say, "It's the Wahabbis." Nor is it possible to make out that America and Saudi enjoy a cosy, unchallenged relationship - not given that America has a strong bias towards to Israel. Saudi has imposed an oil embargo on the Western world before; Western governments have challenged Saudi. The situation is not as black and white as you are trying to make out. It doesn't fit the "Once upon a time..." mould.

As for 'making Iran look almost moderate', it is not possible to compare Saudi and Iran due to their very different political and religious situations. Iran is Shi'a; Saudi is Sunni. Saudi is an absolute monarchy; Iran is a republic. Iran's decadent imperial government bore a very striking similiarity to Saudi's - until it was overthrown by the revolution, a revolution that had the overwhelming support of the Iranian people. It's not feasible to compare the only Shi'a (and non-Arab) state in the Middle East, a state that was born of revolution, with the kind of nation that Saudi Arabia is. Islam is not the only defining force in Middle Eastern politics, but people seem to ignore this. Anybody would think that these countries were two-dimensional cartoon places from the way they are misrepresented.

Just to clarify the extent of wahabbhism, religion freedom does not offically exist. Private worship is usually tolerated, but otherwise all citizens adhere to strict koranic law. Women's rights are practically nonexistent. The wahabbi courts enforce puritannical law on practically every aspect of their citizen's lifes.


You are describing a Saudi Arabia that does not exist. I have no sympathy with Wahabbi ideology, but Wahabbi Muslims themselves are not necessarily the Boogeymen. One of my family's closest friends is a member of the mutawwa'in, the religious police, the men who are supposed to impose the 'strict koranic law' that you talk of. He's the gentlest and kindest man that anybody could ever meet. And there are many like him.

Most of my Saudi friends are female. Do they feel oppressed? Repressed? Are they the silent victims that the Western media so often makes out? Do they have lives and minds of their own? Nobody knows what they think and feel about their situation, because...

People in this country decide what they think and feel for them. They have problems and injustices to overcome. Terrible injustices. But the things people in the West often get fixated on them (the face veil, for example) the women themselves see as part of their identity, things that they will never forgo. What we might consider a 'right', they would consider an insult. And by refusing to take their word for it and insisting that they are oppressed and maligned, we are being just as prejudiced and misogynistic as Saudi men can be - we're putting words into their mouths and denying the validity of their own experience. It reminds me of this photo:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/15999187@N00/168390237/

Much commentary on the Middle East reminds me of that photo in other ways.

Saudi society is not a monolithic entity. It is as complex as our own. For what it's worth, I loved my life out there. I didn't care whether my neighbours were Wahabbi, Sufi, Ismaili, Twelver Shi'a, purple, or yellow with green stripes. There was discrimination out there, and sometimes literal danger to my life, but there was a lot of great stuff as well. And that's the stuff that never gets talked about.
"This above all, to thine own self be true." - Polonius, Hamlet.
parnassus
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5883
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 8:10 pm
Location: Over here

Postby Henri » Fri Sep 28, 2007 9:54 am

Whilst I do not think it is the majority of muslims enforcing the kind of thought you describe, I do acknowledge that there is a problem with the fundamentalist views held by certain members of the muslim community.

These people bring shame on the peaceful, cooperative members of their community.

Yet there is a growing sense of segregation in modern Britain; muslims are attending their own schools, living in only certain regions of towns, and failing to integrate into British culture.

An extremely worrying statistic, is that 40% of Muslims want Sharia law enforced in areas of Britain.
Henri
Forum Master
 
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: Reading, U.K

Postby parnassus » Fri Sep 28, 2007 3:34 pm

Yet there is a growing sense of segregation in modern Britain; muslims are attending their own schools, living in only certain regions of towns, and failing to integrate into British culture.


'Muslim' denotes religious faith. 'British' denotes a nationality. There is no oxymoron in the term 'British Muslim'. This isn't about two contradictory cultures.

In actual fact, people tend to group together with others of their own ethnicity rather than with others of their own religion, which accounts for why there are mosques patronised almost exclusively by people of Bengali orgin, mosques for people of Arab descent, mosques that cater primarily to white English converts (usually found at universities), etc. People of Pakistani heritage (particularly first and second generation immigrants) may live in the same part of town, and then people look at their culture and say, "That's being Muslim." That's not the case. That's being Pakistani. It's important to make the distinction.

The number of Islamic schools in Britain is negligible compared to the number of Muslims there are, so only a minority of Muslim students are educated in a purely Islamic setting. Of all the faith schools in Britain - Jewish, Catholic, Church of England, Methodist, Hindu, Quaker - it's usually only the Islamic schools that face accusations of encouraging segregation, and I suspect that this is because they look visibly different. What about the handful of DT members who have chosen to go to special schools for people with learning difficulties? Should they be setting themselves apart like this, or should they enrol in mainstream education along with the majority of dyspraxic students? And what about people who, for one reason or another, choose to home educate? If you begin calling schools that cater to the particular needs of one group segregationist, then you also have to start questioning all the diverse options that are currently open to us - including private schools, schools for the gifted and talented, Montessori education...the list goes on.

I don't feel threatened by difference, perhaps as a result of my upbringing. I am also justifiably sceptical of statistics, especially the percentages that come from surveys. "40% of Muslims want Sharia law enforced in areas of Britain" sounds exactly like the scare-mongering figures thrown in as column headers by the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. The survey result begs several questions. As every single Muslim in Britain obviously didn't get a chance to air his or her opinion, I am led to wonder whether a representative sample was used - and whether the survey's creators and the Muslims themselves were speaking the same language. (I mean that figuratively, not literally.) The Western media has taken to throwing around Arabic terms like jihad, hijab, niqaab, fatwa, and Shar'iah without really knowing what those words mean to Muslim ears, but assuming that they are on the same wavelength as their listeners.

For example:

Journalist: "Do you think jihad is a good thing?"
Muslim interviewee: "Oh, yes. It is essential to my life as a Muslim."
[Journalist goes away to write about how an educated member of British society supports holy war against non-Muslims.]

In that example, two completely different things were meant by the word 'jihad'. Not enough people realise that - they just make assumptions, which is never a good thing.
"This above all, to thine own self be true." - Polonius, Hamlet.
parnassus
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5883
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 8:10 pm
Location: Over here

Postby Henri » Sat Sep 29, 2007 11:38 pm

'Muslim' denotes religious faith. 'British' denotes a nationality. There is no oxymoron in the term 'British Muslim'. This isn't about two contradictory cultures.


Although I was merely expressing it in a generalised manner, I do recognise the importance in differentiating between faith and ethnicity. However, where Islam is concerned, it is sometimes a difficult task.


In actual fact, people tend to group together with others of their own ethnicity rather than with others of their own religion, which accounts for why there are mosques patronised almost exclusively by people of Bengali orgin, mosques for people of Arab descent, mosques that cater primarily to white English converts (usually found at universities), etc. People of Pakistani heritage (particularly first and second generation immigrants) may live in the same part of town, and then people look at their culture and say, "That's being Muslim." That's not the case. That's being Pakistani. It's important to make the distinction.



I am not going to single out a specific ethnic group - presumably for reasons of political correctness - when lack of integration remains a widespread problem, incorporating many different aspects of both Islam, and a variety of other religions too. It is assumed, and does not sound irrevocably unrealistic, that those who are whole-heartedly committed to their religion, would be accepting of their religious 'colleagues' whatever their ethnicity. I somehow doubt that you have first-hand experience of the extent of isolation some (particularly Pakistani, who are predominantly Muslim), impose on themselves. There are certain areas of my town which have been deemed "unsafe" to travel through. Perhaps it is fear-mongering, or another example of word of mouth's destructive influence, but personally, I will always steer clear of those particular areas.




The number of Islamic schools in Britain is negligible compared to the number of Muslims there are, so only a minority of Muslim students are educated in a purely Islamic setting. Of all the faith schools in Britain - Jewish, Catholic, Church of England, Methodist, Hindu, Quaker - it's usually only the Islamic schools that face accusations of encouraging segregation, and I suspect that this is because they look visibly different. What about the handful of DT members who have chosen to go to special schools for people with learning difficulties? Should they be setting themselves apart like this, or should they enrol in mainstream education along with the majority of dyspraxic students? And what about people who, for one reason or another, choose to home educate? If you begin calling schools that cater to the particular needs of one group segregationist, then you also have to start questioning all the diverse options that are currently open to us - including private schools, schools for the gifted and talented, Montessori education...the list goes on.




You are neglecting the main issue by attempting to divert attention to other issues/religions. I do not doubt that Islam is a peaceful religion, but I am equally undoubted in the exclamation that the fundamentalist side of Islam is visibly dangerous, and that it is spreading through members of particular communities more rapidly than we might expect. I am not accusing these Muslim schools of "encouraging segregation" any more than the other types of school you have listed. The diversity of schooling, and of our society in general, is one of the remarkable aspects of this country. Yet it is an absolute travesty for a school to ask its pupils to "name some negative characteristics of jews", and to adhere to such destructive ideologies as "the whole world must convert to islam and leave their false religions lest their fate be hell" (derived from steve's initial post). These institutions must be sanctioned in one form or the other, for the purpose of human rights and morality. All religious schools - muslim or not - should be thoroughly investigated in order to determine whether they are spreading hateful, unecessary propaganda to their pupils.




Dyspraxia has absolutely no role to play in this discussion. Dyspraxics who attend specialist schools are the minority whose difficulties surpass the range of the standard educational institute's capability for assistance.




I don't feel threatened by difference, perhaps as a result of my upbringing. I am also justifiably sceptical of statistics, especially the percentages that come from surveys. "40% of Muslims want Sharia law enforced in areas of Britain" sounds exactly like the scare-mongering figures thrown in as column headers by the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. The survey result begs several questions. As every single Muslim in Britain obviously didn't get a chance to air his or her opinion, I am led to wonder whether a representative sample was used - and whether the survey's creators and the Muslims themselves were speaking the same language. (I mean that figuratively, not literally.) The Western media has taken to throwing around Arabic terms like jihad, hijab, niqaab, fatwa, and Shar'iah without really knowing what those words mean to Muslim ears, but assuming that they are on the same wavelength as their listeners.




Whilst I do not question the prevalence of inaccuracy in the daily newspapers, I firmly believe that they cannot - for both reputation and legal purposes - conjure statistics out of thin air for entertainment/"scare-mongering" value. I actually read that in the Guardian; a newspaper renowned for its left-wing views and support of liberal equality. The media isn't some sort of anti-Muslim machine, if Muslims don't want their words taken out of context, maybe they should pursue schemes which they are given the opportunity to educate certain people about them. This is after all, an extremely tolerant country.
Henri
Forum Master
 
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: Reading, U.K

Postby mel » Sun Sep 30, 2007 2:34 pm

I do not doubt that Islam is a peaceful religion, but I am equally undoubted in the exclamation that the fundamentalist side of Islam is visibly dangerous

As is the fundamentalist side of pretty much any other religion.
Whilst I do not question the prevalence of inaccuracy in the daily newspapers, I firmly believe that they cannot - for both reputation and legal purposes - conjure statistics out of thin air for entertainment/"scare-mongering" value. I actually read that in the Guardian; a newspaper renowned for its left-wing views and support of liberal equality. The media isn't some sort of anti-Muslim machine,

The media has reason to be anti-Muslim, when articles about the danger of islam gain them more readers. And although they may well not be able to make up statistics, they can certainly use flawed techniques in gathering the data - as Vicky showed in her example - or skew the interpretation towards what they want to say.
if Muslims don't want their words taken out of context, maybe they should pursue schemes which they are given the opportunity to educate certain people about them.

Why should Muslims have the responsibility for stopping the media taking their words out of context? Isn't that just blaming the victim of prejudice for the prejudice?
mel
Super Poster
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 8:42 pm

Postby Henri » Tue Oct 02, 2007 10:07 pm

The polls were not carried out by right-wing bigot papers such as The Daily Mail, it was carried out by YouGov, an organisation with a strong reputation for accuracy, that it tries it's upmost to uphold this reputation.

Another interesting poll conducted by YouGov found that 32% of British muslims agreed with the statement "Western society is decadent and immoral and that Muslims should seek to bring it to an end".

The attitude of this extremely dangerous minority is truly frightening.
Henri
Forum Master
 
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: Reading, U.K

Postby steve » Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:30 pm

it was never my intention to demonise Saudi Arabia. I am sure that the country at large has a wide array of positive aspects to it. In only mentioned the country to illustrate the extent of wahhabi rule. My post was mainly about the house of saud and its realtionship with western governemnts , especially the United States. Relations between the two are "cosy" indeed. Despite minor clashes over the state of Israel (which the house of saud lifted its boycott of two years ago) Saudi Arabia remains a key American ally not only in the arab world but in the world at large. My point was that westerners are essentially shooting themselves in the foot in our mindless consumption of oil from the house of saud (and we shouldn't be consuming such a large amount of oil anyway) as our money is used to promote a highly conservative form of islam hostile to our way of life. The relationship however, is waning. The house of saud are used to abuse from western leftists but what has been surprising in recent years is the amount of american neoconservatives who have put pressure on president bush to roll back the extent of the relationship.

The idea that the saudi regime has a key role in islamic education in britain is not an exaggeration. 98% of British Muslims practice Sunni Islam and given that the Saudis subsidise a large amount of traditional mosques in france and the united states it is therefore not unlikely that traditional schools would get their support. As it stands, the amount of Muslim schools in britain which receive public funds is thought to be as low as 4 and so my guess is we are largely ignorant of this practice.

We don't know a great deal about Bin Laden but numerous sources I have come across have claimed he is a wahhabi. Just as many have disputed this. But the idolatry of him in the playground of king fahd academy is perfectly possible.

Should wahhabhism spread in the west it could indeed cause us problems. Wahhabi belief holds that wahhabis may take arms against the state if they feel it is corrupt or un-islamic. This is in contrast to the teachings of the prophet mohammed who claimed that a ruler should only be opposed if he restricts prayer. Many wahhabi clerics have indeed denounced terrorism but given that the founder of the movement clearly saw violence as acceptable i wonder how many others do?

Hostility to jews and christians would occur without the zionist movement because wahhabhism essentially believes in islamic superiority. Non-wahhabi muslims are also looked down upon for refusing to conform to the rules they prescribe.

I compared Saudi Arabia to Iran because our government, for better or worse are currently portraying iran as a dangerous and extreme regime. Yet they ignore the house of saud, painting them as "moderate" when the religion they promote is in fact more radical than anything that is taught in iran.

As for the segregation question, i think it would be a good idea if we abolished publicly funded faith schools. I went to one myself and the majority of people I spent my days with were white, irish and catholic just like myself. It would be a positive thing for children to get to know people from diverse backgrounds.
steve
Super Poster
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:30 pm
Location: coventry, england

Postby parnassus » Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:00 pm

Henri wrote:The polls were not carried out by right-wing bigot papers such as The Daily Mail, it was carried out by YouGov, an organisation with a strong reputation for accuracy, that it tries it's upmost to uphold this reputation.


It was carried out by ICM. I've done a little research into it and have found that you've forgotten the actual result - 40% of Muslims between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five would like to see Shari'ah law established in Britain. That makes a substantial difference. And even though ICM's polling techniques are as good as they possibly can be, they're still not free of bias for the simple reason that it isn't easy to secure a representative sample. I receive invitations to YouGov surveys and similar things all the time, but I rarely take the trouble to respond. They're boring and time-consuming - unless they're on a subject that I feel passionately about. This means that people who are most likely to respond to a survey invitation on the implementation of Islamic law in areas of Britain are people who feel particularly passionate about that subject, which means that the number of respondants will be skewed in favour of people who adhere to an extreme interpretation of Islam.

And methodology is only one part of the problem, as I wrote. Interpretation is another difficulty. The Guardian and Abdullah Average (or even Abdullah the Potential Extremist) may disagree on what it means to implement Shari'ah law - especially given that there are at least four major schools of Shari'ah in Sunni Islam alone and Muslims disagree and debate over points of interpretation, as is the case in all religion. That poses an interpretative problem for the Guardian - as does the fact that it exists to sell itself to a specific readership, as does the fact that support for religious extremism appears to be concentrated in a particular age band of the Muslim population. The question to ask is, "Why? What is it about this age group that makes them so much more likely to turn to a radicalised form of Islam than their parents are?" There are so many social and economic factors to consider - marginalisation, unemployment, religious and racial discrimination, quality of education, etc. But it seems that many people are content to just ignore these issues in favour of the simple textbook answer: "Muslims are being brainwashed by extremists."

It is assumed, and does not sound irrevocably unrealistic, that those who are whole-heartedly committed to their religion, would be accepting of their religious 'colleagues' whatever their ethnicity.


That is not true. Racial divides cause huge problems in Islamic society. The problems at the now notorious Finsbury Park mosque began with a lot of infighting (often physical) over perceived 'Arabising' influence. The Pakistani people who attended the mosque regularly felt threatened by the influx of Arabs and the appointment of an Arab preacher. Finsbury Park isn't a lone example. Racial divides in ethnic minority communities are well documented and shouldn't be dismissed. This is a serious problem.

I somehow doubt that you have first-hand experience of the extent of isolation some (particularly Pakistani, who are predominantly Muslim), impose on themselves. There are certain areas of my town which have been deemed "unsafe" to travel through. Perhaps it is fear-mongering, or another example of word of mouth's destructive influence, but personally, I will always steer clear of those particular areas.


I'm from the north of England. We've had race riots up here that had a strong religious overtone. Look at what happened in Bradford and Oldham a few years ago. Cars being torched, houses being vandalised, people getting beaten up, 'white' and 'brown' gangs roaming the streets and having to be separated by the police. In my own hometown, Preston, there is an area that is populated almost entirely by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.

As well as seeing it, I've also known what it is to live 'splendid isolation' for myself. Westerners in the Arab world tend to separate themselves from the local population as much as humanly possible. In all my time in Saudi Arabia, I only ever met one other person besides me who could speak fluent Arabic. Expatriates in Saudi are paying for this now. When people refuse to walk through a certain area - whether it is out of misplaced arrogance or well-placed fear - they are perpetuating the idea that these people aren't 'safe', that these people aren't 'us', that these people are out to get 'us'. In the meantime, the Muslim population starts to feel either cynical or embittered at the way people flinch at the sight of the veiled woman on the Tube and at the way they are misrepresented in the press. And by that I don't mean articles that overtly spread prejudice - I include articles in the 'liberal' media where some journalist presumes to speak on behalf of Muslims and to tell us what a Muslim must look like to earn the label 'peace-loving citizen'. For 'them' to belong to 'us', 'we' have to define 'them'.

This is where my point about faith schools and schools for different needs comes in. All of these schools, no matter whether they are special schools for dyspraxia or Quaker faith schools, provide students with a different take on the world - a take that they wouldn't get if they were in ordinary state schools. You seemed to be suggesting that only the view from Islamic school windows could be negative.

Incitement to racial or religious hatred can never be supported, but by suggesting that Islamic schools need to be monitored and inspected for this you are implying that Muslims are somehow incapable of recognising bigotry and hatred for themselves and rejecting it. Unless the Great White Government steps in, the Little Brown Muslims will be brainwashed into believing that Jews are unsavoury people - because even the 'peace-loving majority' in the Muslim community can't be expected to have the intelligence or the strength to resist or even to recognise such prejudice. This is where so many Muslims begin to get frustrated. People in the West throw around terms like 'Wahabbi' without even knowing what they mean. (Despite what this thread suggests, Wahabbi doesn't have to equal 'violent' or 'extremist'.) Muslims, whose knowledge of their own religion far outstrips our understanding of it, just aren't knowledgeable enough to contribute anything to the fight against extremism. They just have to stand there meekly when they are subjected to on-the-spot body checks, etc., comforted by the reassurance that they are being 'good citizens' by not complaining and doing what we think best.

Of course it is important to check that schools aren't teaching cruel or prejudicial ideas, but for those checks to be effective the full support and co-operation of the Muslim community is needed. And that support won't be gained by insulting their collective intelligence in the way that it is currently insulted by people from the House of Commons on down. If this doesn't change, more and more people will feel pushed towards extremist ideologies - for the sake of their self-respect.
"This above all, to thine own self be true." - Polonius, Hamlet.
parnassus
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5883
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 8:10 pm
Location: Over here

Postby parnassus » Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:23 pm

steve wrote:My point was that westerners are essentially shooting themselves in the foot in our mindless consumption of oil from the house of saud (and we shouldn't be consuming such a large amount of oil anyway) as our money is used to promote a highly conservative form of islam hostile to our way of life. The relationship however, is waning. The house of saud are used to abuse from western leftists but what has been surprising in recent years is the amount of american neoconservatives who have put pressure on president bush to roll back the extent of the relationship.


Clashes over Israel have been anything but minor, as King Faisal's oil embargo showed. And like all international relations, Saudi-American relations aren't based solely on the sale of oil - they are affected by a number of shared interests in the Middle East (such as a desire to see Saddam Hussein gone from power and a mutual suspicion of Iran). The American neocons would like relations to cool because so many of them see things in stark black-and-white religious terms, rather than considering the wider picture.

As for the ways in which the oil revenue is spent, only a fraction of it is devoted to the promotion of any kind Islam in Western countries. The building of schools, hospitals, houses, and mosques in Saudi Arabia takes priority - as do the stipends that are paid out to members of the royal family, as does the financial support that is given to the 25% of Saudis who are currently unemployed, as does the free education and healthcare that are available to all Saudis. None of this comes cheaply. The idea that the revenue from oil is being slurped up by a sinister Wahabbi propaganda machine makes no sense. Money that is given over to the promotion of Islam is usually donated to Muslim communities that are already well established, such as Regent's Park Mosque in London. The idea of the Saudi government making proselytising anything more than a tributary business is strange, as most of the governing princes aren't religious in the slightest. One of the reasons why segments of Saudi's more religious population and groups like al-Qaeda are so opposed to the current regime is because of its unIslamic decadence. Wahabbi mission work is a product of the nation's history, not of some evil scheme to take over the world.

The idea that the saudi regime has a key role in islamic education in britain is not an exaggeration. 98% of British Muslims practice Sunni Islam and given that the Saudis subsidise a large amount of traditional mosques in france and the united states it is therefore not unlikely that traditional schools would get their support.


Sunni doesn't mean 'traditionalist'. Traditionalism, like Wahabbism, is a school of thought within Sunni Islam. Wahabbis are Sunni. Hanafis are Sunni. Malikis are Sunni. Traditionalists are Sunni. And so on. Traditionalists make up the biggest group beneath this umbrella and their beliefs don't correspond to Wahabbi ideology in any way.

Hostility to jews and christians would occur without the zionist movement because wahhabhism essentially believes in islamic superiority. Non-wahhabi muslims are also looked down upon for refusing to conform to the rules they prescribe.


Wahabbism is a corollary to Arab nationalism and the pan-Arabist movement, which means that it could never catch on outside the Arab community. It is too bound up with Arab politics for that.

I compared Saudi Arabia to Iran because our government, for better or worse are currently portraying iran as a dangerous and extreme regime. Yet they ignore the house of saud, painting them as "moderate" when the religion they promote is in fact more radical than anything that is taught in iran.


Again, it makes no sense to call the Saudi government 'moderate'. It also makes no sense to call it 'extreme'. It safeguards a religious ideology, but it's not a religious government in and of itself. There is a huge gulf between the expected standards of behaviour of the people who write the laws and the expected behavioural standards of the people who live under them. I've met quite a few Saudi royals and I only know two who don't touch a drop of alcohol. Drinking is common. This is just one example of the way the Saudi royal family deviates from the Wahabbi pattern. There's more Wahabbism in my little toes than there is in the average Saudi palace. This situation is not as clear-cut as it looks from the outside.
"This above all, to thine own self be true." - Polonius, Hamlet.
parnassus
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5883
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 8:10 pm
Location: Over here

Postby Qasim » Thu Oct 04, 2007 7:41 pm

On the subject of Wahabbism being seen as a threat, I would disagree. There is no reason why anyone from other Middle Eastern countries would find it appealing, just restrictive. Also as Vicky said, Wahabbism has grown alongside its nation, it is incompatible with other political situations, such as Iran. Most Muslims actually look down on Saudi's, and generally there is a feeling of dislike towards them. I can tell you this because I spent almost two months in Syria this year.
User avatar
Qasim
Mega Poster
 
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 9:55 pm
Location: Birmingham, England

Postby Thirteen-thirty-seven » Thu Oct 04, 2007 9:41 pm

Another interesting poll conducted by YouGov found that 32% of British muslims agreed with the statement "Western society is decadent and immoral and that Muslims should seek to bring it to an end".


That is another vague statement. "Bring it to an end" could mean "destroy wstern civilization" - which is scary. Or it could simply mean "change Western civilization so that it is no longer decadent and immoral." I looked up this poll and less than one per cent of respondants said that they should bring about this change by violent means. The rest were opposed to violece of this kind.

I think there are lts of decadent and immoral things about our society which I would like to bring to an end (I won't list them here because they aren't directly relevant to this particular issue.) That doesn't mean I want to destroy it. I have to say that anyone who wanted to argue that Western society isn't decadent or immoral in any way would have a very hard case to make
Image
User avatar
Thirteen-thirty-seven
Forum God !
 
Posts: 5688
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 11:37 am
Location: Stoke-on-Trent, England

Postby Qasim » Thu Oct 04, 2007 10:59 pm

What kind of poll question is that anyway? It's very suggestive and not very straightforward.
User avatar
Qasim
Mega Poster
 
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 9:55 pm
Location: Birmingham, England

Postby steve » Fri Oct 05, 2007 11:31 am

Thirteen-thirty-seven wrote:
Another interesting poll conducted by YouGov found that 32% of British muslims agreed with the statement "Western society is decadent and immoral and that Muslims should seek to bring it to an end".


That is another vague statement. "Bring it to an end" could mean "destroy wstern civilization" - which is scary. Or it could simply mean "change Western civilization so that it is no longer decadent and immoral." I looked up this poll and less than one per cent of respondants said that they should bring about this change by violent means. The rest were opposed to violece of this kind.

I think there are lots of decadent and immoral things about our society which I would like to bring to an end (I won't list them here because they aren't directly relevant to this particular issue.) That doesn't mean I want to destroy it. I have to say that anyone who wanted to argue that Western society isn't decadent or immoral in any way would have a very hard case to make[/

Regardless of whether they believe violence is acceptable, and i have no doubt that most of them don't, the reason to be worried is that the views of those polled are inherently anti-western. it is not a healthy thing for any society to have 32% out of a million of its citizens believe it "should be destroyed".
it could be that the poll is not entirely accurate but yougov is usually very efficient.
and the question is, what would their preferred method of instilling moral fibre be? if they would like to tackle family breakdown, drug abuse and pornography on television then we have lttle reason to worry. if however, they think that interference in an individual's private life is acceptable then it is worrying
steve
Super Poster
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:30 pm
Location: coventry, england

Postby parnassus » Fri Oct 05, 2007 11:57 am

Regardless of whether they believe violence is acceptable, and i have no doubt that most of them don't, the reason to be worried is that the views of those polled are inherently anti-western. it is not a healthy thing for any society to have 32% out of a million of its citizens believe it "should be destroyed".
it could be that the poll is not entirely accurate but yougov is usually very efficient.
and the question is, what would their preferred method of instilling moral fibre be? if they would like to tackle family breakdown, drug abuse and pornography on television then we have lttle reason to worry. if however, they think that interference in an individual's private life is acceptable then it is worrying


Some people would argue that drug (ab)use and family breakdowns are private matters and shouldn't be legislated. The reclassification of cannabis took place partly because of that. Divorce is now more easily available partly because of that. Where are you drawing the line between the public and the private realm?

Like Esther, I see a lot of immorality and decadence in the world at large and in Western society more specifically that I would like to destroy. Because I am not a Muslim, people are less likely to find this statement threatening. Many people would disagree with me over my ethical views and would probably say that I support interference in the private lives of individuals, but they wouldn't perceive me as anti-Western. They might even acknowledge that I want to make a positive contribution to Western society by working against things that I see as harmful. In short, even people who disagree with me strongly would give me the benefit of the doubt. But when a Muslim makes an identical statement, a worrying number of people (especially certain branches of the media) start assuming that they intend to bring about their ends through violence.
"This above all, to thine own self be true." - Polonius, Hamlet.
parnassus
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5883
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 8:10 pm
Location: Over here

Next

Return to News and Current Events

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron