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We DO see hostility of Muslims in Europe, even though they're just a minority. We hear it in violent North African rap,

As opposed to the entirely pacifist (Christian) American rap culture?

see it in urban anarchy,

Where? I am aware of no case of urban anarchy in Europe that are not fully explained by class conflict.

and most telling of all, we witness it in many European mosques which are infiltrated by Wahhabists financed by Saudi Arabia.

Ah, so now we've narrowed it down to a claim that a certain Muslim sect is overtly hostile to European civilisation, and that said Muslim sect is funded and supported by a specific foreign country. This is, of course, correct. It is also altogether different in scope and peril to a generalised Muslim hostility.

Incidentally, most North African governments view Wahhabism as a form of sedition.

(By the way, I'm happy to see that you've realised that Iran is not, in fact, funding Wahhabist mosques, on account of Wahhabism being a Sunni sect and Iran being run by Shias...)

Why do you think the French government is getting involved in building "official" mosques? So that it can pick, choose and approve the Imams who preach in them.

This is an excellent idea. They should do that with Christian churches too.

If Islam were so tolerant as you seem to imply, how do you explain that Asia Minor, which was populated by 80%-90% Christians up until the 14th century is now 99,8% Muslim.

By noting that the Ottoman Empire was violently intolerant of Christianity in the 15th century. There were various reasons for this, of course, but I don't doubt that Islam as then practised was one such reason.

Incidentally, during the 16th century, Christianity was violently intolerant not only of pagan beliefs in the colonies but even of other versions of Christianity (see, e.g., the counter-reformation). So if you are going to claim that Ottoman Turk repression in the 15th century has modern relevance, well...

How do you explain the genocides against the Greeks and the Armenians?

As a nationalist project. Genocides were quite popular among nationalist movements at the time, although they usually had the good sense to practise such predilections abroad rather than at home.

How do you explain Ataturk's famous comment that "Now that we are all Turkish, now that we are all Muslims, we must be secular"?

See above. Violent nationalist movements were not uncommon in Europe at the time.

How do you explain the concept of Dhimmi in the Koran which relegates non Muslims to second rate status...

If by "explain" you mean "make excuses for" then I don't. I simply note that dogma says a lot of things, and religious groups are usually rather selective in their citation practise. Whether this is hypocritical or simply a genre convention of religious exegesis is a question that I will refer to theologians.

a concept which was instituted into Turkish law until the 20th century...

You really don't want to compare Turkey in the 19th century to Europe in the 19th century vis-a-vis general respect for human rights in general and the concept of second-class citizens in particular. That would be an own goal.

and is still an integral component of Sharia.

Sharia, however, is not an integral component of the main strands of North African jurisprudence, and has not been since Nasser.

How do you explain that the Koran openly calls for combating all non believers?

How do you explain Article 1, Section 2 of the Augsburg Confession? To take just one major Christian document of modern theological relevance.

How do you explain that there are NO churches, NO synagogues and NO places of worship to any God other than Allah in Saudi Arabia?

By noting that Saudi Arabia operates on Medieval Savings Time - when it's 12 noon in London, it's 1,000 AD in Riyadh.

By the way, since we're discussing North Africa, at what point did Saudi Arabia acquire a Mediterranean deep water port, again?

How do you explain that Lebanon's Christian population is dwindling?

Several major Christian sects sided with the Phalangists during the civil war. That was a bad pick, in more ways than one. I don't know whether it's a dominant causative factor, but it is a confounder that you will have to correct for if you wish to claim a significant trend.

Or Iraq's?

Iraq does not exist as a coherent political entity at the moment. The territory formerly occupied by the Iraqi state has undergone a series of ethnic cleansings following the erasure of the Iraqi state from the world by an American colonial expeditionary corps. (You may have heard these ethnic cleansings referred to as "secterian violence," although this is a somewhat misleading label.) And while Iraq still existed, it was run by a less than perfectly functioning government, shall we say.

Incidentally, when did Iraq obtain a Mediterranean deep water port?

Or Iran's?

In the first part, I do not have the liveliest of confidence in the accuracy of statistics on the religious demographics of Iran, or any other state in which "apostasy" is a criminal offence.

In the second part, Christianity is actively persecuted, alongside Sunni Islam, members of unauthorised Shia denominations and assorted other religious groups.

Iran, you will note, also does not have any Mediterranean deep water ports.

I'd really be interested in reading a diary explaining how and where the tolerant side of Islam expresses itself?

Broadly the same way the tolerant side of Christianity expresses itself: By not sticking its nose in the running of government or the conduct of people's private lives.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 31st, 2010 at 04:56:21 PM EST
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