Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dear Islamic Community,

New Delhi - An 11-year-old girl was set on fire by a relative
in India's northern city of Jaipur for wearing lipstick and being "inappropriately dressed", media reports said on Saturday. The girl suffered burns over 90 percent of her body. Her chances of survival were bleak, police officers told the NDTV network. Police arrested her great uncle, who allegedly poured kerosene on the girl and set her ablaze on Friday. Investigators told the PTI news agency that the 55-year-old man, a conservative Muslim, had told the police that he was enraged at the girl wearing lipstick and being "scantily dressed".
But relatives told news channels that the man had tried to molest the girl and had set her on fire when she objected. Neighbours came to her rescue, one of whom was also injured while trying to put out the flames, police said. A case of attempted murder was registered against the accused. Police are continuing investigations. Sapa-dpa

Gang-Raped Girl Stoned By Mob
An Islamist rebel administration in Somalia had a 13-year-old girl stoned to death for adultery after the child's father reported that three men had raped her.
Amnesty International said the al-Shabab militia, which controls the southern port city of Kismayo, arranged for a group of 50 men to stone Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow in front of a crowd of about 1,000 spectators. A lorryload of stones was brought to the stadium for the killing.
Amnesty said that Duhulow struggled with her captors and had to be forcibly carried into the stadium.
"At one point during the stoning, Amnesty International has been told by numerous eyewitnesses that nurses were instructed to check whether Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was still alive when buried in the ground. They removed her from the ground, declared that she was, and she was replaced in the hole where she had been buried for the stoning to continue," the human rights group said.
"Inside the stadium, militia members opened fire when some of the witnesses to the killing attempted to save her life, and shot dead a boy who was a bystander."

A young woman recently stoned to death in Somalia first pleaded for her life,
a witness has told the BBC.
"Don't kill me, don't kill me," she said, according to the man who wanted to remain anonymous. A few minutes later, more than 50 men threw stones.
Human rights group Amnesty International says the victim was a 13-year-old girl who had been raped.
Numerous eye-witnesses say she was forced into a hole, buried up to her neck then pelted with stones until she died in front of more than 1,000 people last week.

My tolerance with Islam is rapidly decreasing and if I should have more tolerance
I hope you can help me with some of these issues. I have been studying Islam now very intently for quite some time. I am having a very serious personal crisis, I'm really struggling with what I'm discovering. I really need someone intelligent to talk to about this since most people are uninformed, not interested, radical for one side or another and thus unwilling to listen, or belligerent. I would appreciate it if you could take the time to read through my letter, consider it carefully and respond in particular to the numerous questions I ask throughout. Please read it all the way though and consider it carefully in its total context, just as Muslims request the Quran is considered in its whole context. And I request that you not automatically label me as hateful and view what I say through that lens. While I may not be totally free from the affliction of hate, for the most part what I hate is hate itself, greed, cruelty and senseless suffering. There are many questions posed throughout the letter and I appreciate any answers be given on all of them as much as possible.
Keep in mind I do not adhere to any one specific religion so I am not arguing on behalf of any specific religion, and I am not atheist. but I have studied and practiced many religions and have found the majority of them to be compatible and have a similar effect on the mind and lifestyle, although some more effective and positive than others. The one exception being Islam which I could not commit to due to the dangerous and disturbing nature of it's teachings and the countless examples of Muslims I have heard about, read about, seen or met in person. Islam has stood out to me as being exceptionally violent & dangerous and current events are continually proving this to be true.

We don't have to blame all Muslims, all Indians, all Asians or all Men. But we can see trends in societies and ideologies. When we hear countless reports of a certain kind of behavior from a specific group, it tells us some things and makes us question; especially about the causes.

A religion is an ideology that shapes the very foundation of how a person thinks and behaves.
I have studied many religions un-bias for years. Islam is the only religion in modern times to demonstrate such an endless series of reports of extremely brutal violence toward women and little girls, besides endless other atrocities and human rights violations. While practitioners of other religions do commit crimes and violence, the amount of violence and the extreme degree of violence within Islamic communities far outweighs other religions. There are huge volumes of reports attesting to the quantity and extremity of violence within Islamic communities especially the Middle Eastern countries.
Islam is a religion that shapes every aspect of the practitioners life in a totalitarian way. Muslims themselves have acknowledged this.
It is a simple conclusion that there is something in the teaching and ideology of Islam that is causing people to act in these abominable ways.
I have never heard of a person of any other religion committing this extreme of an abuse on a little girl that young, and yet this kind of thing happens in Islam all the time, it's rampant. Buddhism for comparison shows an extremely low or non-existent record of terrible abuses and inhumanities. In fact history shows that the height of Buddhist influence in India pacified the people so much that they weren't strong enough to defend against the holocaust committed by Muslims that swept India; slaughtering so many people, annihilating so much art, libraries and architecture. If we examine in detail the texts of Buddhism we can see they are radically different from the texts of Islam in regards to violence and how to treat other people.
Even though the bible has quite a lot of violent teachings, it is still nothing like the degree we find in Islam, especially in regards to misogyny and a violent call to arms against non-Islamic groups. One thing that can be said for The Bible. It was taught that the Old Testament is outdated and people should give up the old barbaric ways and simply follow the teaching of Jesus as in the New Testament. It should be recognized that the Old Testament is very different from the New Testament. While Islam recognizes Jesus he is widely ignored. There are good teachings in Islamic text, but the sheer number and degree of violent teachings found in Islamic texts must be acknowledged? Are these numerous passages denied? Is it fair to totally ignore them? Do we deny they have an effect on devotees of Islam? Muslims consider the entire Quran infallible and stress that to question it is a sin which is punished severely.

Sharia law is practiced in Islam's home countries, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc. There are volumes of reports of this law being carried out. I assume you are familiar with the Sharia laws? Stoning, public lashing, death to those who leave Islam, female genital mutilation (maybe not Sharia in all parts but widely practiced). Are these practices justified because they are considered religious? I know no other religion that still practices feudal laws and punishments like Islam.
It is well known that dissenters are readily killed in Islamic countries. Anyone who speaks out against the leader of the country or the religion is mercilessly killed. When Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini came into power it is well known that he killed thousands of people in order to secure his political position. Don't forget he was a high cleric of Islam looked up to as an example.
Female genital mutilation is a widespread practice in Islam. Now Islam may not be the only group that practices it but it is a distinguishable feature of Islam and it is not found in Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Taoism, no other religion that I can think of except radical cults and tribal religions so readily practices the mutilation of female genitals.
I'm sure you have heard the stories about the critical cartoons in Denmark and the violent mass protests and burning of the embassy. The people called for his death! Have you ever heard of this kind of extreme reaction to a critical cartoon anywhere else, ever? Or the British teacher who was ordered imprisoned for 15 days while thousands of demonstrators called for her death; for naming a teddy bear Mohammed? My understanding is that it wasn't even a matter of criticism or ridicule, her class wanted to name the teddy bear. Does this have nothing to do with certain Islamic teachings or passages in the Quran? Aren't high clerics calling for so many extremely violent Fatwa's? Actually I can think of quite a few other examples of many of the above stories. But they come from extremist political parties like the Nazi's and communist countries. In the last century I can't think of any instance where a religion was so violent and intolerant (outside of small radical cults).
I know not all Muslims are like this. I'm not saying they are. But it doesn't mean that the violent and extreme actions I have talked about aren't caused by the effect of Islam on the persons. Is there no way that the teachings found in Islam could be a significant part of the cause of the behaviors I have discussed? Again I'm assuming you have read the Quran and other Islamic texts thoroughly. Have you witnessed the teachings given live in a mosque? The Muslims I know who are not violent and extreme do not seriously follow the religion; they don't bother to read the text, they don't go to the mosque and they don't associate with other highly active serious Muslims. They have mostly disregarded the religion but somewhere in their personal identity they hold onto the idea that they are Muslim, just like many Christians I have known do. I know some Christians and Muslims that haven't read an ounce of scripture or been in a mosque/church for many years. But from the volumes of stories I have read, watched, and heard from others; those who commit the atrocities I discussed earlier are the Muslims that are very serious about Islam, study the text all the time, go to lectures all the time associate with other serious practitioners. Does this say anything to us? Wouldn't you say that study of text, listening to lectures and associating with a certain crowd can have a powerful effect on ones thoughts and behavior?

Even if quite a few people can seriously practice the religion without exhibiting the above mentioned behaviors doesn't it say something that such a large population of people within Islam do exhibit these inhuman behaviors? It's as if there were a drug, when some people consume it they experience a nice effect and are pleasant to be around when others consume it they go mad and commit crimes. Would this be considered a safe drug? Would it not be carefully regulated if not entirely banned? Would it not be fixed or reformulated?
My understanding of a religion is of a teaching, a system, an ideology that serves to tame the barbaric side of a person and results in a person gentle, tolerant, peaceful, forgiving, understanding, even in the face of abuse and aggression. Islam has proven to fail quite a very large number of people in this way. In fact it seems to me that many people have become as violent, intolerant and extreme as is humanly possible. These people must have been unimaginably bad before if Islam has actually helped them.

Now I'm not a hating person, I'm not a racist or bigot of any sort. I have loved people of so many races. One of my best friends is gay. I'm from a European country living in America and I'm married to an Asian lady. I have studied and practiced all the world's major religions and some minor ones. I have found excellent true and beneficial teaching in so many religions. I have studied politics extensively. I favor some parties over others but I have seen the good side of almost all of them and almost everything has something to teach. There is a way to take the best side of everything. With my heart and conscience I have been able to discern the harmful from the beneficial, to leave what is harmful and to maintain what is beneficial. But what I have found in Islam is a large percentage of teaching that is dangerous, conflicting, or in serious violation of human rights. Can we really just call something a religion and by that factor consider it perfectly just and beyond questioning? I can say that I did not like what I saw of the Communist USSR nor Mao Zedong, I have certainly not liked what I have learned about Hitler's Nazi Germany; in fact it evoked very strong emotional responses, anger even, sometimes I felt hate for the things I learned about the Nazi's.

If some Muslims are complaining that they receive anger and fear from some people shouldn't they understand that when people encounter the kind of intolerance, hatred, anger and terrorism of radical Islam that they should expect people will react negatively? When we walk down the street how can we tell violent terrorists from non-violent? Wasn't Mohammed Bouyeri who killed Theo Van Gogh appearing as an ordinary mainstream Muslim as he walked down the street until he pulled out a gun shot him numerous times, nearly cut off his head and stabbed him numerous times leaving knives in his chest? Do they use segregated mosques that we can tell who is a violent Muslim and who is not? Muslims all worship in the same place. If we make an investigation into a mosque to see if it is preaching violence or supporting terrorists we will be branded as unfairly targeting Muslims. Violent Muslims are protected by religious tolerance. How can we practice religious tolerance and still eliminate violent terrorists? How can we tell between the non-violent Muslims that support the actual terrorists and those non-violent Muslims that are not involved at all until they actually attack or kill us? At this point religious tolerance can be misappropriated in ways that protect terrorists and supporters of terrorists.

Aren't wisdom and understanding to recognize the things I've just talked about in the previous paragraph, and wisdom and understanding for why others are angry, a key component of religion? Just as heat and light distinguish fire. What of forgiveness for those who are angry or harmful toward Muslims, even if it is unjust; is this not an essential criteria to be called a religion?

I can see a possibility though. There could be a form of social and psychological warfare, a discrediting tactic; if some Muslims took notice of some of the special features of the western countries such as religious tolerance and a sharp condemnation of hate and prejudice it could be used like this. A hidden group uses guerilla terrorist attacks of a brutal nature to aggravate the enemy. When confronted with the Islamic community in general the anger will be so great people will vent and react in defaming ways. The more angry some people become and demonstrate that anger the more our own western ideologies can be used against us to shelter the whole group from criticism and investigation by condemning critics as guilty of hate. Is this totally impossible? In our modern age we have learned from the past, our warfare has become highly sophisticated, we use media for propaganda, we use psychological warfare. Many great lessons both harmful and beneficial came out of WWII. It is well known that an Islamic leader met and worked with Hitler and trained Bosnian Muslims. It seems ironic that some of the worst warfare and genocide since WWII in Europe has been seen Bosnia.

If the west is kuffar(non-religious unbelievers) and Islam is the one true and pure religion; as many in Islam believe. Is it not then up to those who hold religious wisdom to demonstrate it, to diffuse a critical situation, to practice the behavior of a spiritually enlightened people in order to transmit that religious wisdom to those who lack it via actual performance? To deserve to be recognized as a functional and practiced religion with the honors and protections due?

When confronted with the volumes of reports of horrific atrocities caused by devotees of Islam. So many and so terrible that nothing these days matches it to that degree and scale; I have to wonder why. What's causing this? And why is actual demonstration of many critical religious principles missing in so many fundamental serious practitioners up to the highest leaders such as Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini?

Have you seen the movie "Undercover Mosque" where a cameraman goes inside a prominent mosque in the UK and films the lectures? How the teachings are beamed directly from the highest authorities in Saudi Arabia. How people are sent to Saudi Arabia to learn directly from the source how to preach. Now I know they compiled only the bad stuff in that video. I know clerics say a lot of good stuff. But the bad stuff, it's really bad. Even if you have a full cup of fresh water a few drops of strong poison ruins the whole thing. I mean this is not what I expect from a religion especially one that is requesting tolerance and understanding and doesn't understand why people are afraid of them and hate them. They speak about killing gays, beating women, a form of racism against those who are not Muslim, glorification of terrorists. So many terrible things are there, and this is a prominent popular mosque that claims to be moderate and tolerant. The dangerous side of Islam and the potentially dangerous teachings in Islam should be represented as well when informing a public or person who knows nothing about Islam.

If it is acknowledged that there is a significant threat from a large portion of the Islamic world; how can we solve it? What is the human way to deal with the problem and what kind of results do we expect when the problem is to be considered solved? The issue of terrorism coming from a very large religion with a long history of massive warfare presents some very difficult problems which are critically linked with how we practice religious tolerance. If we are too tolerant in irrational ways, if we are not allowed to make any criticism or examination into what's going on won't this seriously cripple our ability to deal with the dangerous aspect of Islam? Should we ignore the suffering and inhumanities taking place within the Islamic home countries? Should we ignore these things because some Muslims take offense when we publicly make available information about what's happening? Are we not allowed to critique aspects of a religion we find questionable? Is the importance of religious freedom high enough to justify the killing of cartoonists and filmmakers, wife beating, stoning, public flogging, gender inequality, forced marriages, scorn for non-believers? Shouldn't we be able to critique without being afraid of being murdered or branded a hater? Should we stand by while terrible things happen in other countries? If a person is being robbed or raped in an ally should we just stand by and watch? There is a video of two Muslim ladies talking on a TV program about the severe cruelty to women in their home country and specifically telling a story about how the Islamic law protected a man's right to brutalize his wife while the father of the wife is restrained by police from doing anything to protect her. Is this religion and should we tolerate it? If some call this aspect religion should we allow it to become law in our country to fairly accommodate?

Extremist Islam is by my assessment very big. The borders between moderate and extreme Muslims are very hard to define. In just the same way as Hitler relied on media to convey his message to the majority of ordinary Germans since he required a cooperative foundation to support his Nazi party and military campaigns; Isn't it obvious that violent Islamists would require cooperation and support from the masses who are the non-violent working class? That some of the non-violent Muslims are well informed about what is happening but accept it for personal or religious reasons. That some of the non-violent range in a broad spectrum of different degrees of ignorance about what is actually happening. That some (very very few I have discovered) fight back against radical Islamists. That media is used to present certain ideas and agendas to win support and thus some are not accurately informed? Is Islam so infallible and pure that these things aren't possible if not very likely? Are you familiar with CAIR? If you haven't already please read the article, especially the last part:

I have seen numerous videos of Muslims, many leaders, speaking or screaming like criminal psychopaths both in the East & West. I can't recall any other religion that has been so filled with so many violent raging zealots spouting massively radical hate dogma; ever. Perhaps in the distant past Christianity was like this. And I'm not talking about a heated fire and brimstone sermon, I mean violent rage threatening to destroy and slaughter and actually carrying it out. Even if other religions did preach and practice like this that would not make it right and I would condemn those religions as well. I condemn the intolerance and cruelty of religions past. It's just that right now, Islam really stands out, I mean REALLY stands out. Is it really just the work of anti-Muslim propagandists targeting a peaceful and innocent religion?

These Muslims scare me a lot, they make me feel like I ought to stockpile defenses. I feel as if the majority of mainstream Muslims accept and support the militant sector. I never want to be a part of Islam. I don't want to be trapped in a 7th century feudal regime of violence and fear. I don't want to live in a society where I have to submit to the state religion or be ostracized to live and work in a waste dump or be tortured and killed for not being Muslim, which is exactly what happens in Middle Eastern countries. Is this unfair to want? I don't want people to have to suffer in the ways they have suffered for so long in the Middle East, especially the women. In many Islamic villages they inflict surgical mutilation of the genitals on every little girl. They claim this is Sunna the will of the prophet. Is this religion? Should it be tolerated? Should we allow it in the Western countries? Female genital mutilation is even starting to happen in the U.S. so much so that Colorado had to enact a law against it simply because their are new and increasing Muslim communities there.

Don't misunderstand. I'm not rejecting the Islamic feudal life because I wish unbridled hedonism or chaos. I've noticed some Muslims believe that the only alternative to Islam is sure to be corrupt uncontrolled hedonism. I also wish to practice a simple life, self-controlled, peaceful, free from greed, lust, hate, anger and ignorance. But I wish to do so by my own choice, not coerced by threat of violence as we see in the Middle Eastern countries.

I feel we must question, we must examine and find out what is happening in our society. If there are atrocities taking place we must discover the real cause. If there is suffering we must root it out. We may have different rooms, different houses, neighborhoods, cities, states, countries, but we forget we share one world together. The problems and suffering in Islamic countries is our problem and suffering too.

Finally I need to ask these questions. Answers appreciated. If the majority of the Islamic world is cooperating with and supporting violent jihad, how bad will it need to get before the majority of non-Muslims and ignorant Muslims acknowledge and recognize what's happening? And if this scenario is true, how will we deal with it when it has escalated into an issue of critical proportions? How far should we extend religious tolerance to organizations with a long history of violence and conquest who continue to carry it out? Is it not somehow possible that ALL of this is pointing to some fundamental problem within Islam that has been there for a long time if not the beginning. Is it not true for Muslims that the word of Allah is absolutely correct and must not be questioned in any way? Doesn't this say something? I think it might just really strike right at the heart of the problem. If Islam is already a perfect religion as is claimed by many Muslims. It has been around for a long time. Why hasn't the religious system of Islam helped that large sector of violent fundamentalists? Why is there still so much suffering in the religion of peace?

If Muslims believe their religion is perfect while the nation of Islam is afflicted with so many problems and suffering, what must the conclusion be? One possible conclusion may be that the problems are caused by those outsiders who don't follow Islam. This would explain why many Muslims blame non-Muslims for all of the problems in Islamic countries. Granted many new injustices and exploitation have been brought to Islamic countries by the U.S.A., but even before the US invasions and in fact throughout history Islamic nations have suffered extreme internal violence and problems.

Death penalty for apostasy. Shouldn't this alone disqualify Islam as a legitimate religion and reduce it to a totalitarian regime headed by the idea or belief in God? And if all of Islam doesn't practice Death for apostasy then my question applies only to those sects that do. Is it that all we have to do is incorporate God and divine inspiration into our ideology and everything we do is protected by religion?

Not all individual Muslims practice Jihad in the form of violent terrorism.
Not all sects of Islam are identical in every way.
However, wherever non-violent Muslims go in the world the violent Muslim community is found there too. The mainstream Muslim community has not been successful at eliminating the violent Muslim sector. This can be seen today in France, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, U.K., Bosnia, Sudan & Darfur, Indonesia, Russia, some African countries and many others.
In those countries where Islam is entirely dominant widespread suffering and human rights violations are the norm and greatly protected by the laws of those countries. Does this really have nothing to do with Islam?

Here is a very interesting article from the Washington Post I hope you will get a chance to read it through as well. This section talks about just the problem I was discussing. I presented some video links at the bottom, I would appreciate your feedback on those as well. The videos help to support some of the claims I have made in this letter.
"The Brotherhood's history and the challenges it poses to U.S. officials illustrate the complexity of the political front in the campaign against terrorism three years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. FBI agents and financial investigators probe the group for terrorist ties and legal violations, while diplomats simultaneously discuss strategies for co-opting at least its moderate wings. In both sectors of the U.S. government, the Brotherhood often remains a mystery.
The Brotherhood -- or al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun, as it is known in Arabic -- is a sprawling and secretive society with followers in more than 70 countries. It is dedicated to creating an Islamic civilization that harks back to the caliphates of the 7th and 8th centuries, one that would segregate women from public life and scorn nonbelievers."

This shows some very important psychology, some very important things are revealed here.

Killing Non-Muslims is legitimate

Muslim professes rejection of democracy

Islamic Female Circumcision Widespread

Female Circumcision

Major Islamic leaders promoting terrorism to UK Muslims

True colors revealed

Saudi Arabia's religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress (head cover), according to Saudi newspapers.
About 800 girls were inside the school in the holy city of Mecca when the tragedy occurred.
One witness said he saw three policemen "beating young girls to prevent them from leaving the school because they were not wearing abhaya and veil. A large number of girls were burnt alive while their relatives watched helplessly from outside.

The True Treatment of Women in Islam part 1-6

Child Marriages

Mens sexual rights over women

The status of women

In response, clerics throughout the Muslim world have condemned her,
and her telephone answering machine has filled with dark threats. But Islamic reformers have praised her for saying out loud, in Arabic and on the most widely seen television network in the Arab world, what few Muslims dare to say even in private.

The Egyptian court has decided to overturn the ban on female genital mutilation.
While human rights advocates condemn the decision, Islamic leaders express their support. The ritual was prohibited after a campaign conducted by human rights workers claiming that the practice was dangerous. Meanwhile human rights advocates express their desire to appeal the decision made by the court.

Insulting the Leader is a crime in the Islamic Republic of Iran,
and Khamenei, who has been called "notoriously thin-skinned," has not been hesitant in seeing this law enforced against Journalists and writers in Iran. Even family members are not immune, as his younger brother, the reformist cleric Hadi Khamenei, was "brutally beaten ... after a sermon in which he criticized the powers of the Supreme Leader," by Basij militia loyal to him. Some writers, journalists and politicians who have been charged with "insulting Ali Khamenei" include:
Ahmad Zeidabadi, Abdollah Nouri, Mojtaba Saminejad, Arash Sigarchi.