Social Question

syriansteve's avatar

How does the world approach Muslims?

Asked by syriansteve (41 points ) July 5th, 2010

I have been thinking for awhile, why does most of the non-Muslim world have a bad image of Islam and Muslims in general?
Why are these negative champaign and anti-Muslims mudslinging getting very salable and common nowadays?
Do you think the dilemma is in the Muslims themselves, or in the anti-Muslims libels?
As some of you may know, the media has been a great influence on the human mind. E.g. If Fox networks oppose a thing related to Islam, they make a big deal out of it even if it was very minor. As a result many watchers and members of the party that fund and support FOX will go with what it’s said on it, and that might create a manipulation somehow…

ALL thoughts and opinions are respectfully welcomed as long as they’re free of racism.

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43 Answers

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FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I don’t think anyone can deny that Islam has held back progress in many countries. It also seems to be more amenable to radical interpretations than other religions, although the radical elements of Christianity and Sikhism can be just as frightening. Islam has had a much more pronounced effect though, since some sects are closely related to Sharia Law – which is probably the most morally devoid code of conduct in existence.
There is no question that some elements of Islam deny basic rights to followers, even including the right to life, and in that there is a strong case for opposition. However people tend to fear what they do not understand, and so the whole religion has been tarred with the same brush. There are plenty of Muslims who are good people despite the Qur’an, just as there are plenty of Christians who maintain good standards despite some of the despicable teachings in the Bible.
Since there are such widespread issues with Islamic countries, and some sects practice immoral and unethical rituals and precepts, people have tended to assume the religion as a whole is a threat.

Edit: @ericnueman You can edit answers up to ten minutes after you have posted them, so there is no need to make multiple posts one after the other.

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SmashTheState's avatar

Capitalism always requires a hostile “alien Other” in order to exist. Marx proved 150 years ago that capitalism is unsustainable, built as it is on a constant race against itself. The existence of profit (the skimming off of a portion of the worker’s labour by a parasitical owning class) means that there is constant inflation, as the means of production must be constantly revolutionized to keep ahead of the need to pay workers enough to consume their own products. Since eventually the workers will be producing more than they can possibly consume as a result, you get cyclical economic crises (“recessions”) in which the system must destroy production (usually through laying off workers) to reduce output to the point where the remaining workers can again consume enough of the product to justify the value of their own labour. The problem is that with each crisis, you get a larger and larger group of disenfranchised workers, until the whole system collapses under its own gross inefficiency.

In order to stave off collapse, then, capitalists have traditionally used an external “Other” as a means of bleeding offf production and adding externalities to an otherwise closed and doomed system. This means capitalists must always have an enemy to fight, so that the disenfranchised workers can be used up as soldiers and excess production can be bled off as guns and bombs and ships and planes, with the side benefit that conquered enemies provide a source of fresh resources and as-yet unexploited markets to keep the system going for a little while longer.

The upshot of this is that if an enemy does not already exist, capitalism must create one. When the Soviet Union fell, it became necessary to find an implacable enemy which could be manipulated into providing unending low-level warfare. Islam fulfilled this role nicely. That’s why the West will always be hostile to Islam (until they crush them, as they did the Soviets, in which case they will have to find an entirely new enemy).

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FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@ericnueman This is now off topic. If you want to continue this discussion, feel free to send me a PM.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh I really think we need to distinguish between saying ‘Islam held back progress’ and ‘Specific interpretations of Islam by people using it as a scapegoat for their political games held back progress’ – as I understand and believe, Islam was always a religion of progress (especially in its ‘good days’ and in comparison to the other two Abrahamic religions).

ericnueman's avatar

Did you know God even loves the Muslims and doesn’t believe in the gun solving western greed for oil which some Muslims defend with the gun and rightfully so if some US guy invades their home and threatens their children’s lives. God forbid.

ericnueman's avatar

I’d use a gun too if this happened to me!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ericnueman Is it possible for you to put all your responses into one so that you don’t monopolize the thread with your run-on thought process? Thank you

ericnueman's avatar

ok…learning:

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir That is true, there is a lot we can thank the Muslims of old for. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a religion of progress though, since they refuse to reconsider the wording of the Qur’an and write new translations. I would also blame a lot of the lack of progress in the Islamic world on the US too, since it has developed a habit of deposing leaders to insert their own. No political situation this complex can be summed up so briefly.

ericnueman's avatar

Although when I lead a discussion I usually write to reply to others and remain one step ahead, so I’ll think about your suggestion as I’m new here..

ericnueman's avatar

Sorry about my ego. Sometimes it gets the best of me…

ericnueman's avatar

Also I’m an Aquarius…I talk a lot!

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@ericnueman Simone and I have both informed you of the potential for placing all thoughts in a single post. Please attempt to do this, or I will have to start flagging you for spam.

ericnueman's avatar

Ok I know when I’m not wanted…see you later

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh That is true – some have refused reinterpretation ( I say some, because many Muslim reconstructionists have done just this) and some have added rules and regulations that never even existed (not specific to Islam, mind you).

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ericnueman That is completely untrue.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I can’t say I am the most knowledgeable person on Islam, but I am very reluctant to accept it as a socially acceptable belief system. The portions of the Qur’an I have read were meandering conglomerations that often made little sense unless the axioms of the religion were already accepted. The thing that struck me though, was the strong advocacy of predestination. There was the occasional threat made to unbelievers, but they were no more severe than those to be found in the Bible.
My problem is that Muslims seem to follow the Qur’an more literally than Christians follow the Bible, and they are generally more reluctant to work modern wisdom into their belief systems. A friend of mine, who is an Afghani Muslim, is an example of this. Her family is considered moderate (maybe even progressive?), because she does not wear a hijab and she is allowed to have a job and study. For many years though, her brothers chaperoned her, and she is still not allowed to talk to men alone. Although she is committed to her faith, she has an extremely restricted social life because of her family’s beliefs. I realise that it is probably cultural as well as religious, but I cannot bring myself to respect a belief system that does not allow an adult woman to dictate the terms of her own life.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh I really think that Islam was supposed to be a religion where women were equal to men – all that you describe and all that we hear these days about honor killings and the like are perversions of the original intention…though I have read the Qu’ran (albeit in English, which really is problematic) and I know there are passages about women in there that made me uncomfortable but then again I am a feminist and an atheist so reading any ‘holy’ text makes me nuts.

SmashTheState's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh For 500 years while the Europeans were burning each other at the stake and picking their syphilis scabs, Islam was the centre of all learning on the planet. Or did you think “algebra” sounded like an English word?

Ron_C's avatar

Approach Muslims? I know and work with Muslims in Malaysia and Singapore. With us, religion is no issue. We go to lunch, to nature parks with their kids. People are people, the know that I don subscribe to any religion and no one has tried to convert me and I haven’t tried to talk them out of theirs.

Fundamentalist christians, however are a problem. I am not “convert-able” and do not want to join any religion. The Muslims understand that and the Christians don’t.

mattbrowne's avatar

Both fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims are a problem. The majority however does not have a fundamentalist attitude. As Christians or atheists it makes most sense to approach moderate Muslims. This can be done in online forums for example. The first part of the approach is to understand them. Observe what they write. Ask questions. Learn the special terminology. Keep an open mind. The second part is to join forces with the moderate Muslims and debate how fundamentalist violent Islam can be stopped. They do welcome this. And speak out against islamophobia. Jews, Christians and Muslims actually have a lot in common (monotheism, biblical stories etc).

HungryGuy's avatar

“The Greatest evils inflicted by man over the face of the Earth are wrought not by the self-seekers, the pleasure lovers, or the merely amoral, but by the fervent devotees of ethical principles.”Robert M. MacIver

DominicX's avatar

You really don’t know why Islam has a negative image?

I’m not saying it’s right for a few to be the voice of the many, but let’s face it, the negative image of Islam comes from the fundamentalists who believe that all non-Muslims should be put to death. Islam is seen as the religion where women are killed for adultery, where teenage boys are publicly executed for being gay, and where people cut their infant’s skin with bloody knives for the sake of a festival (type in “ashura” in Google images). It isn’t exactly the most inviting picture and the fundamentalist Muslims are the ones making threat videos and the ones who want the most attention (and get the most attention).

CaptainHarley's avatar

@SmashTheState “Capitalism always requires a hostile “alien Other” in order to exist. Marx proved 150 years ago that capitalism is unsustainable, built as it is on a constant race against itself. The existence of profit (the skimming off of a portion of the worker’s labour by a parasitical owning class) means that there is constant inflation, as the means of production must be constantly revolutionized to keep ahead of the need to pay workers enough to consume their own products. Since eventually the workers will be producing more than they can possibly consume as a result, you get cyclical economic crises (“recessions”) in which the system must destroy production (usually through laying off workers) to reduce output to the point where the remaining workers can again consume enough of the product to justify the value of their own labour. The problem is that with each crisis, you get a larger and larger group of disenfranchised workers, until the whole system collapses under its own gross inefficiency.”

I keep wondering what we’re going to do with all of our extra time when most so called “labor” is performed by robots.

HungryGuy's avatar

@CaptainHarley – In a way, that’s kind’a what I’ve been saying also. There are way more people than hours of employment available, and it keeps getting worse with every generation. The solution, IMO, is to reduce the work-week to fewer and fewer hours per person.

Anwd what I’ll do with my extra time? Write, learn to play an instrument, paint, draw, travel, play video games, create video games. I’ll never run out of things to occupy my time, even if I don’t have to work for a living…

CaptainHarley's avatar

@HungryGuy

But you DO realize, do you not, that there are many people who have NO idea what to do with their unstructured time. Without a job to devote themselves to, their time would be spent in doing things that are either bad for others or bad for themselves, or both!

CaptainHarley's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh GREAT answer! How any woman could advocate Islam is wayyyy beyond this old man to understand!

Jeruba's avatar

@CaptainHarley, I’ve been thinking about that question of “free” time, which they started promising us in the 1950s with enticing images of common folk luxuriating in idleness while robots performed all the labor. it doesn’t work that way: “we” won’t have extra time. They never intended to pay us a week’s salary for a few hours’ work. Whatever made us think so? Instead we have to work harder and harder to give value for pay in order to keep our increasingly scarce jobs, while all that free time is concentrated in the hands of (a) the leisure class and (b) the unemployed.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Jeruba

Something will definitely have to give. Society will either become too top heavy and fall over of its own weight, or will have to reach a point where only those who want to work will and the fruits of all labor will be more equally divided.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@SmashTheState Hence my statement above that “there is a lot we can thank the Muslims of old for”. However it seems their recent resistance to change has brought about change in its own way.

@CaptainHarley Thank you sir.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh

Uh… you’re welcome. : )

mattbrowne's avatar

@DominicX – Yes, but what are the solutions you are proposing? Identifying the problem is only step 1.

HungryGuy's avatar

@CaptainHarley – Yes, I realise that. As for “bad for others,” that’s why we have laws to enforce civil behaviour and punish acts of assault, theft, vandalism, etc. As for “bad for themselves,” what people do is their own business even if it’s bad for themselves—that’s called freedom.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@HungryGuy

No one lives in a vacume. I would be hard pressed to name something that I might do to harm myself which wouldn’t harm some other(s) in the process.

ericnueman's avatar

You think you know what to write about Muslims? Try living with them at least a year listening to them in their land and then you’ll most likely speak of them in a more positive light!

They are just as much in need of real concern as you are which can change things for the better. Ex. If the US went in with financial help, needs, free services, medical assistance, Social aid for all etc instead of invading certain territories for oil wealth they may have found much more of a working relationship with everyone including those in power without killing innocent bystanders.

It seems to me the Leader of invading forces is responsible to carry the weight of guilt for every life taken in battle before an angry God, because God loves the poor and sees hidden agendas & motives will be exposed at the great white throne judgment where God judges every man under the law if they didn’t receive Jesus’ mercy in this life or the next.
—e

HungryGuy's avatar

@CaptainHarley – You’re right. You drive into the mall and see an available parking space up close, but I beat you to it, and so now you have to park a mile away. I’ve harmed you indirectly. That comes with sharing a planet with other people. Tough nougats! Deal with it…

Ron_C's avatar

I travel a great deal and one of the places I visit is Malaysia. The Malaysian government theoretically supports freedom of religion. Unfortunately the Muslim majority thinks that they should have special privileges. According to my Hindu driver, the Muslims expect people to defer to them. The likely reason is that the Muslim religion is a relatively new off-shoot from the other two Abrahamic religions and is insecure in its beliefs.

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