Comments on: Lots of advice for Obama on dealing with Muslims and Islam Religion, faith and ethics Sat, 23 Apr 2016 23:25:07 +0000 hourly 1 By: Stephen Perry Sun, 19 Jul 2009 02:10:12 +0000 As an American Christian, yet having spent three years in Egypt and having many Muslim friends, what have I learned? First of all, to me, and my ideas are subjective only, Islam is one of the three great faiths, Islam believes in Jesus and is a major prophet in the Islamic faith. Islam holds the Virgin Mary (Maryam) very dearly and Islam like other religions has a Prophet.

One treats any religion with the utmost of respect.

I never saw the faith of Islam as holding women or minorities in contempt; I saw that as the problem of the society at large.

As for VIOLENCE, One can cherry-pick any statement from the Old Testament and in isolation say, see, Christianity supports violence, supports fire and brimstone, supports stoning of enemeies. One must read the Holy Bible, as one must read the Holy Qu’ran in its entirety and major explications of both texts and then judge.

The problem with ANY RELIGION is who does the preaching and who does the listening, and do the listeners act out on what they think they are understanding? A complex sentence, yes, but read it over again, and you will see what I mean.

Just as Christianity has its splits, its divisions, its adherents, so dies Islam (Shia and Sunni)

To my many Muslim friends in Egypt, in Syria, in Morocco and in Tunisia, I say Salummu Aleykum. May Peace be upon you all.


By: Jayadevan Sat, 03 Jan 2009 16:14:49 +0000 Sugi,

I will not refute you. You need to get out of the defensive corner you have painted yourself into. After all, the search of truth demands jettisoning quite a lot of the beliefs one grew up with. For a true Hindu, life is a series of questions. There are no Revealed Truths like in other religions – even our idea of God is patently what we have thought up ourselves. The quest is the only truth. So you might want to get started with the Ko, Kutah, Ka stream.

We also need to remember that all nations/communities without distinction have committed crimes against humanity. The root cause of all these was hubris – the perpetrators of evil thought that they were superior to the victims; to them, they were Untermensch, Chandalas, barbarians, infidels. This is what causes exaltation in the ghettos of Gaza when a suicide bomber blows him/herself up. This is what caused the now discredited WMDs. AND Hiroshima-Nagasaki. ( Please remember at that time, that the Japanese were totally defeated, had no munitions to keep fighting any further, and were desperately asking for a face-saving formula. Would the Bomb have been used, in the same circumstances, if the antagonists had been white?) Cringing in shame for the evils of our fore-fathers is not called for. Learning from them is. The human race has to grow up sometime rather than keep on remembering old wrongs and justifying new wrongdoing.

We also have a saying in Malayalam – this is a language spoken by people in a small South Indian province called Kerala- which translates roughly as ” the pickle is saltier than salt itself”. This is an insult. It is gratuitous. And it comes after reading your earlier posts. I do hope you get some time to do a bit of research on cluster bombs.

By: ammar Fri, 02 Jan 2009 23:29:01 +0000 @sugi
it is interesting to see how you have presented the US as he most beautiful country. i am referring to your last post only as i havent yet gone through the rest.

well isnt it the US where the whole sub-prime crises began and dragged the whole world into recession. in my opinion it was just the greed of the few that led to the collapse of the financial order. the earth provides for each man’s need but not his greed.

**On US the Wonderfull:
Any country that says “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” has to be the Most Beautiful.**

and im glad that the US welcomes the tired, poor, huddled masses. i guess your country gives out special visas to them. last time i knew they were keen on only extracting the best minds in the best financial state. that too in limited numbers lest your own citizens go jobless.

**Is there any Islamic Country who welcomes the tired & poor of any race or religion? They won’t even welcome other muslims.**

I wish there were an islamic state in the true sense. where the khalifa would be elected and shariyat laws be implemented in the right sense. and yes, if such a state would exist then all orphans, widows, elderly, handicapped shall be the responsibility of the state according to islamic laws.

**To all those who are pointing to Hiroshima / Nuclear Bomb I ask them “What was the alternative?” Continuation of war till America was defeated?**

you are right there was no alternative, for the US the only option is war, destruction. earlier it was in reply to an attack. and now its pre-emptive based not intel reports which have proved wrong time and again.

**Any comparison of Patriot Law (which allows US Govt to use phone tapping and look into the bank information of individual for national security) with Islamic Fatwa is idiotic.**

as far as i know the patriot law applies only to non citizens of the US. What could bring out more clearly the double standards the US has towards the world. It simply means people from other countries are a threat.

i just ask you to tell me, when 9/11 happened the US sent forces all the way across the globe. and the reason was that the taliban regime in afghanistan was sheltering bin laden. even today, when 1 civilian is killed in israel the US supports mindless use of force. but when about 300 people died in the mumbai attack and pakistan govt has denied handing over of any terrorist even if proved. the US asks India to show restrain?? is indian life less valuable than american life? or are terrorists from countries which have ‘most favoured nation status’ given some special immunity??

By: Sugi Fri, 02 Jan 2009 16:43:03 +0000 On Religion, Islam & Muslims:
Religions have a place in the development of mankind. Since the birth of man many religions evolved and contributed towards the betterment of the mankind. Religion is a set of rules which are followed in the certain frame of time and location, these set of rules might not work in different time frame or location.
The US and many current democratic countries where a human being can live with a certain freedom of lifestyle are product of intelligent thought process. Given a chance most of the people would like to migrate to these countries for better life. Thanks to each and everyone who came before me, and came up with new set of rules that made current western civilization possible. Many rules from different religion were adopted, many were bent or changed and many were dropped. And this process do not stop here, it is in continuation even today and will continue 1000 years later.

The success or failure of any religion is the success or failures of its followers. You cannot claim that Islam is best but its followers are worst. “Final proof of the pudding is in eating”.
Saf, your mother is not the right person to ask if she is oppressed. How about asking Mukhtaren Bibi Or Somali Girl Or Zohreh and Azar Kabiri which are mentioned in following article in NewsWeek.
“Last year the Iranian regime arrested Zohreh and Azar Kabiri, 20-something mothers, on charges of adultery. The sisters got 99 lashes each before being sentenced to be draped in white sheets, lowered into dirt pits and stoned to death with fist-size rocks”

On Palestine, Israel & Refugees:
British ruled many parts of the world. They changed or created new boundaries for many nations. They didn’t do any thing new. It is an historical fact, since the birth of human many national boundaries have been changed or created. One similar case to Israel is case of Pakistan. Pakistan was created out of India. More than 3 million refugees were forced to move from Pakistan to India. India & Its 3 million refugees had two options.
1. Refuse to recognize Pakistan & fight to settle the 3 million peoples in their original homes.
2. Move on.
India & its 3 million refugees picked the second choice. They moved on. Today after 60 years those refugee families are living a similar life or better life than what they left behind.

In Middle East case countries and refugees have picked up first option.
Palestine and other Middle East countries want to turn the clock to pre 1948. But why stop there why not turn the clock all the way back to year 100 BC. It must be Romans controlling this area. So why not clear the place and give it to present Italy.

If Jewish Refugees can transform Israel into an industrial state with decent living standards than what is preventing Palestine refugees from achieving similar results?

On US the Wonderfull:
Any country that says “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” has to be the Most Beautiful.
Is there any Islamic Country who welcomes the tired & poor of any race or religion? They won’t even welcome other muslims.
To all those who are pointing to Hiroshima / Nuclear Bomb I ask them “What was the alternative?” Continuation of war till America was defeated?
Bhopal was an Industrial accident how US is responsible for that?
Any comparison of Patriot Law (which allows US Govt to use phone tapping and look into the bank information of individual for national security) with Islamic Fatwa is idiotic.

Obama the president elect’s utmost Important duty is to keep US the wonderful. Not by giving any special concessions or consideration to Islam. It should be same concessions and consideration it gives to rest of the World.

By: Jayadevan Thu, 01 Jan 2009 09:14:40 +0000 Why are people taking up either a pro or anti- Muslim/America stance on this page? The Muslims are in a terrible trap, partly of their own making and partly of the Americans. It is a fact that the Muslims of the world were not lead by a group of visionaries, having the some of the most degenerate rent-seekers clinging on to positions where they were by accident of birth rather than any claim to merit. But this did not matter greatly as he priestly class never enjoyed much people-moving power.

Israel was an issue, but it was more territorial than religious. You cannot plunk down an entire nation of people in an inhabited land and tell the locals that we Europeans have tried to do away with these, they are not really biodegradable, so bear with us while we dump this garbage on you. Naturally, there will be resentment. The Indians and the Australian aborigines would understand this feeling. So, naturally, and aided by all sorts of players, there was violence. But, if you remember, the Palestinians were not just Muslims. There were other faiths too. George Habash was a Christian.

Then the USA, in its wisdom, decided to depose a democratically elected government in Iran and put its puppet on the throne – the poor deluded man even called himself an Emperor. (Nothing wrong in this, since this was time-tested US policy – read up Pinochet, Suharto, Noriega and a whole lot of s.o.b.s who happened to be their s.o.b.s., but this will go to explain the immeasurable quantum of ill-will the USA had started to acquire.) There was a lot of resentment against the Shah’s misrule, and a cleric called Ayatollah Khomeini was the focus of the protests. Naturally, he invoked the religious route and the Quran to drive out the interloper and, not undeservedly, he became an icon of a nascent Islamic movement. This was the first time that Muslims saw themselves as one people, an idea transcending cultural and national barriers. This is a particularly Semitic thing, an I, being a Hindu cannot understand how this till-now Christian “brothers-by-faith” ideology appealed to the Muslims. The stand-off between the Atatollah and the infidel Americans is too well documented to repeat here. Suddenly, from a god-fearing people defending the world from godless communism, the Americans became the godless. Just to remind you that the Ayatollahs were guilty of copyright infringements when they started quoting the Quran. Then came the Hezbollah and Hamas and the Middle-East conflict taking a religious turn. Not to forget Israel’s meddling in Lebanon that turned the Muslims firmly against Israel, and its principals.

Then came Afghanistan, and a chance to pay back Russia for Vietnam. The CIA turned away its attention from drug-running and discovered the virtues of Islam and the power of the Quran. They trained and forged a formidable fighting force which, as desired, bled the Russians white and achieved American objectives. By this time the Mujaheddin were well armed, well-trained and battle-hardened. And anti-infidel. A well-honed blade which would then turn against the next infidel in line.

The first Gulf war, the Saudi rulers’ rejection of Osama Bin Laden’s offer to defend Saudi Arabia, the prsence of infidel troops on the holy ground of Saudi Arabia, the simultaneous call of Saddam Hussein for a Pan-Islamic identity as well as the latent hatred of America, plus the gradual growth of the Pan-Islamic identity was responsible for the growth of the Al Qaeda. The Mujaheddin fought in Bosnia and Chechnya. I personally found this laudable, since I grew up on American books and was a great admirer of the Lafayette Squadron and Americans fighting in the Spanish civil war and to establish Israel. Now they were blooded and ready to carry on the fight.

This is not to say that Al Qaeda and an anti-American bias would not have developed naturally among Muslims. (I admire many things American, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I admire America – it embodies some of the worst human traits, natural in a country colonized by a people who had no qualms about conning and starving and killing off the original inhabitants – I also remember Hiroshima and Bhopal). All the necessary ingredients were in place.

I will not even discuss 9/11 or the War on Terror here because the whole world is hung up on the idea that only uniformed men have the right to wage war. I only suggest that we could herd all these war-mongers on both sides into a stadium, arm them with clubs and let them fight it out. Entertainment for us, eradication of an evil. One passing question. How many candle-light vigils did we hold for the kids who died and are dying in Afghanistan? Or should we, like Paul Tibbets say,”That’s their tough luck for being there.”

Further, the quantum of intolerance that the fundamentalists among the Muslims exhibit is very much present in America- it is just because we are kind enough that we do not dwell on this. Are abortion clinic bombs any less lethal than Islamic ones? Are the Patriot Act and the frequent waves of McCarthyism sweeping through America any less worse than the fatwas? Rather than sling mud at each other, and there is plenty of it lying all over the place, why cannot both of you work towards an understanding that, albeit unfortunately, you cannot possibly annihilate each other, and so, the faster you learn to tolerate each other the better. A little bit of consideration for the non-combatants might even have us thanking you.

By: Saf Wed, 31 Dec 2008 13:14:38 +0000 Dear Tommy,

Thanks for taking interest.
Simply put, Muslims practiced nepotism and no consensus even though it was a strong community tribal element that did exist, so there’s no excuse. We slipped into a dim-lightenment due to many factors (power, poverty,corruption,abuse,lack of education,etc). However claims of Western interference and agenda of aggression, as a policy, is TRUE. But the onus must fall onto ourselves. Knowledge, community and hard work is what’s needed along with good moral values which are principled yet flexible for the sake of stability.

A unifying leader? Well, Iran believes in the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. However as you notice there is a strong anti-cleric or anti-theocracy sentiment in Iran. He is a Shia Muslim leader, therefore Sunni Muslims don’t follow him and even Shias around the world don’t necessarily follow him.

The Shias who don’t follow Khamenei follow Ayatollah Sistani, the reclusive Iraqi Senior cleric who doesn’t believe politics and religion need be intertwined. Some Shias don’t follow anyone. Sistani is credited with reigning in the majority Shias from committing perpetual violence that we’ve seen and a balance to the junior cleric Moqtada-Al-Sadr who is aligned with Iran. He has strong influence over Iraq’s politics but he’s not active in. He’s one of those rare progressive types, however he’s in old age, and is reclusive. He doesn’t give speeches. Just PR statements from his office. Sistani suffers a poor image amongst Sunni Muslims who believe he was behind the chaos in Iraq. The US govt and media are favorable to him which is taken as proof of a Shia conspiracy (usually the same people who defend Al Qaeda and Taliban).

Sunni Muslims are the majority. They look towards the Grand Mufti in Saudi Arabia, though there’s nothing in their theology that compels them to follow any clerical leader, hence the differences in beliefs of militant groups though universally similar in practice, which also explains the high number of Sunni Muslim individuals who do not follow anyone or DO NOT take part in extreme activities but are practicing. Those differences, however, have been extremely exploited in Pakistan (Ahle Hadith,Salafi,Wahabi,Deobandi,Ahle-Sunna h,etc.). Originally there are 6 school of thoughts, but it seems some of those schools have been redeveloped to meet each groups aim.

You can say Sunnis are equivalent of the Protestants (Which if you notice in predominant Sunni countries, clerics do not run the administration. i.e. Saudi Arabia has strong religious laws, but implemented by a monarchy through consultation with clerics) and Shias are the equivalent of the Catholics as far as the existence of a clergy (priesthood) is concerned with the choice of 2 leaders (Sistani or Khameinei, though there’s no theocratic system for Sistani). As you can tell the groups do not get along. Sunnis being the majority and Shias being the minority in both the Arab world (except for Bahrain) and non-Arab countries (Pakistan).

Right now what’s ripping the world are the Wahabi/Salafi/Deobandi Sunni extremists and their hardcore interpretations and rejection of other sects and will to impose Sharia law. They were used and utilized by the ISI to gain regional dominance over India. Also the Iran Revolutionary Guards who seem to be breaking away from the Iranian public stance and arming these extremist groups, even though ironically the extremist groups hate Shia Muslims, but the Guards seem to think its worth arming them just to get back at the US. As you’ve noticed all these agencies/groups are being curbed in Iran,Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

I guess the biggest cluprit to ripping the ME (the last few years) was Bush’s entire hypocritical,and if not, evil doctrine with the inheritance of years of terrible foreign policy ideology. Currently as you see Gaza pounded, we have yet to hear a strong condemnation on the deaths of the people. Equally to blame are the Arab leaders. It reinforces the belief that US can’t be honest brokers at least for the Palestinians and Obama has now extended an interest towards Kashmir to which both India and Pakistan are skeptical of.

The answer isn’t having a clerical hero, but just a Muslim guy, not necessarily religious nor secular, who can deal with the today’s issues from attitude to infrastructure. The same way people are hoping Obama will be a transformational leader in the US, is the same thing we’re hoping from him and one of our own, but have no clue who. There are good countries like Kuwait and UAE, but still lack some qualities.

I thought Musharraf was going to be that guy for Pakistan. He disappointed big time.

Here’s hoping for the best.


By: Saf Wed, 31 Dec 2008 06:12:19 +0000 Dear Sugi,

Please notice my harsh comments against many of my own countrymen throughout other postings on Reuters. I specifically targeted your post on this blog post only because I had deemed it WAY too wrong.

Like I mentioned before there’s a difference between Muslims and the religion Islam. Also a difference is the way Islamic rules are implemented in a so called Islamic country.

You may want to tell my mom she’s being oppressed (though I think I am as she bosses me to drive her around), but she’ll beg to differ. She wears the Hijab (not the Niqab in case you had a wrong image of a Ninja creep in) and is fond of her rights and religion. There are many Muslim women like her. You won’t see them get air time.

I read your comments on the Somalian girl and therefore answered. I didn’t realize you were looking for a broader answer to 1600 years of women in Islam. So here I go (By the way, I find it odd how you dismissed whatever education I did impart and not acknowledge that the radical Al-Shabab men weren’t following the true interpretations of the Quran. I thought that would give a hint to the difference of literature and human nature).

Absolutely there’s oppression of women. Where isn’t there? Our religion doesn’t tell us to but the opposite misogynist leanings happens. Women suffering under Islamic rule? Ever been to UAE? Not true for all places. Women have suffered in all rules not just Islamic. And not justifiable. However there’s nothing in Islam that tells you to treat them like crap or property. Yet this tribal misogynist culture persists. Remember the time when people received Islam, was called ‘Jahiliya’, (the time of ignorance). Even then they tried to be funny with religion, the same case now.

Islam hasn’t failed anymore than Hinduism for Hindus in regards to the historical context of India’s violence, the Gujarat massacre, the Christian riots and now the Pakistan CD burning ala Taliban style.

All religions have a golden rule and have a code of conduct. Its up to the individuals to ignore it or implement it. And unfortunately you are seeing this massively in the Muslim world due to many factors (poverty, uneducation, nepotism and lack of consensus, superstition, confusion of tribal values and national aspirations, corruption, etc.). All these issues are addressed in Islam and their repercussions. Follow the message or ignore it. What more can the Holy Book do? Jump up and scream ‘Seize and Desist’ (apparently that’s what some Muslims believe their doing, only at extreme measures)?!

As one Western scholar said: “Islam is the best religion and Muslims are the worst people. I can not become a Muslim as if I do, I will have to live with them.”

I have no problem in criticizing Ali or any fellow Muslim, and I’m not going to side with them to gang up against you. Its a stereotyped template you’ve created Sugi. And I concede as many others do I receive more rights in Western civilizations with hardly any abuse in custody (except Gitzmo) and a fair trial (also addressed in Islam but…). But also concede on your side the foreign policies that have been double standard around the world including against Muslims.

The point I had issue on Ali’s comments was his Muslims ruled for 800 years and still other religions existed or flourish or whatever. I thought that was silly…it sounds like we’re doing a BIG favor for letting others live. You had your extremes. From Akbar to Aurangzeb, polar opposites. Lets not forget Ashoka had gone nuts on a killing spree as well and one of the most interesting individuals of India’s time and unfortunately should receive more exposure than a Shahrukh Khan movie.

Christians and Jews have gone through and going through great times. The Muslim world on the other hand are going through a dim-lightenment. But NOT ALL Muslim countries are stuck in a rot. This dim-lightenment started with years of abuse from nationalistic governments but then Wahabism/Salafism/Deobandi ideologies (which appeal to people in the Sunni sect. I’m Shia Muslim by the way. And we’ve got our own idiots, but not Al Qaeda and Taleban. Don’t be surprised if some Sunni countrymen might start rejecting me and calling me a Kafir after this post) started serving as a better alternative but still a continuation of miscarriage of justice (again some Muslim countries much better than others).

I applaud you on pointing out Pakistan Ambassador’s to the US statement of US policy but not a comprehensive plan of what Pakistan is going to do. This as you can see is true of many posters here, though there are some other Pakistani posters who aren’t short-sighted. I’m upset you lumped me like that.

I don’t like or dislike Ahmedinijad. I think the guy is nuts. However he’s a powerless puppet in the theocracy of Iran the opposite of the scary propaganda we hear. I’m not one to defend a nut but if you have some familiarity in Persian he was quoting Khomeini and totally taken out of context

The phrase he then used as I read it is “The Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] from the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad).” -hacker-and-hitchens.html
Please read the context of the paragraph before and after what I quoted before the link.
He wasn’t talking about a Nazi style extermination that everyone envisions but the end of Israeli occupation. People in the West ran with it. The Arabs were amused and didn’t tell him to shutup because ‘wipe off the map’ is not what he used and he’s not the leader. adinejad_and_Israel#2005_.22World_Withou t_Zionism.22_speech

So I hope I eased some of your fears. I take it your mind is already made up and I can’t help that. Best of luck. Damn that’s a long post.

By: John Mon, 29 Dec 2008 00:42:36 +0000 What a collection of thoughts, comments and ideas.
To our USA friend, you forgot to mention what we did to the indians.
Yes, close down Camp Getmo and let’s save the money. Stick these guys in places like Sing Sing and the problem will resolve itself in due course.
Great idea about Obama visiting, any muslim country will do. Whichever it is, he should stay there until the problem is resolved. That should keep him busy for a while. he can even take his ACORN friend too.
Any country which is ruled by religion is going to have problems which the rest of the world. The “chopping” system does have some merit. Better that then keeping some poor soul locked up for a long time on the tax payer’s dime.
Sorry, the world is not fair. Poor people are poor because they do not act to change the condition. Freedom is not a gift. It is human nature, for some odd reason, that some of us wish to deny it to others.
What does the Arab/Muslim world want from the USA? Simple. They want parity in treatment they way we conduct ourselves with Israel. The preferred relationship Israel enjoys with the West is the heart of the matter at hand. It is the total support of Israel by the US which festors this conflict. Why we must pay annually Israel billions of dollars to prolong this situation is beyond logic. Would it not be better to have 20 friendly countries in the region than 1?

By: Steve Sun, 28 Dec 2008 15:17:32 +0000 WHAT PART OF THIS WHOLE MESS DO THEY THINK IS GOING TO CHANGE? Islam followers & al Qaeda- Muslims have one agenda conversion of the world and destruction of Israel,full control of the world ITS been like this for hundreds of years? the greed of there oil RICH leaders WILL CONTROL THEM FOREVER, Instead of spreading there great fortunes and developing there country’s, they spend it frivolously in Dubai on indoor skiing facilities, giant skyscrapers, etc…all thanks to American technology that we shared years ago, and the wealth Americans gained is being sent to china on inferior,dangerous products, America was the richest nation in the world, we have sold it, traded it and given it away(CHARITY) for far to long, NOW WE ARE IN TROUBLE AND NOW ONE STEPS UP TO HELP US? ITS TIME WE STOP AND TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN

By: Sugi Sun, 28 Dec 2008 00:13:33 +0000 Text Format was lost during posting the comment. My appologies. The Bold and Italic part was
“although it would have been even more informative if it had included suggestions for what should change in the Muslim world.”