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August 17, 2006

Do you even know any Muslims?

Someone asked me that question today. The question ranks right up there with, "Do any of you even know a racist person?"

Take the word "Muslim" and exchange it with "racist" in almost any sentence, and the sentence will still work. For example:

Most racists are peaceful. It's only the radical fringe groups who commit violence.

Always remember the above when defending Islam. Take what you have to say about Muslims or Islam, and exchange "Muslim" with "racist" and "Islam" with "racism" and see if you still agree that your argument is a good one. Would you use the same argument to defend racism?

Posted by Jeff at August 17, 2006 04:10 PM


Although this is an intelligently phrased and potent point, I can't help but think that it is flawed. After all, racism is essentially a single belief, and Islam is a large collection of beliefs (not all of which are shared by every Muslim!) While the root of racist violence is racism, it would be misleading to conclude that the root of Muslim violence is Islam. Instead of making Islam the target of our blame, we must confront the flawed beliefs that have the annoying tendency to sometimes attach themselves to Islamic dogma.

Incidentally, I found your site by looking for A+ certification aids. Great site, in general.


Posted by: M at August 18, 2006 03:37 AM

@M: The relevance of specifics that you're alluding to are precisely the issue. Your argument actually compels your agreement with what I said, not your disagreement. What is at issue here is the form of the argument. Those who use such arguments behave as if they've made an important point based upon form alone, and they use that form in an attempt to avoid any specifics which might legitimately get the Muslims (and Islam) off of the hook. They avoid these specifics, of course, because they are unable to make valid arguments based upon the specifics. That's a losing game for them.

You attempted it, but as I read your attempt, it failed, and in a crash and burn type of fashion. You said:

"...it would be misleading to conclude that the root of Muslim violence is Islam."

The violence is decidedly Muslim in nature. The terrorists don't just "happen" to be Muslims. Those engaged in this violence do so out of their Muslim character. Many (or is it most?) of them do so from western locations in Europe where they are thoroughly mixed within western culture. The characteristic, besides their terrorism, which defines them out of the masses of other people with whom they rub elbows every day is their belief in Islam (i.e., they're Muslims).

And it doesn't matter what is the station of the Muslim, either, whether "extremist" or "peaceful" or anywhere in between. A few years ago (but since 9/11), a journalist went around interviewing "peaceful" Muslims and asked for their opinions of bin Laden. The journalist was unable to get a single "peaceful" Muslim to condemn bin Laden. This is because Muslims, from one extreme to the other, ultimately are after the same things (as dictated by Islam; i.e., sharia, etc.). The only differences are the methods they choose to use to bring about what they desire.

But back to my [racist|Muslim] point: I actually avoided the specifics in my argument, too. The issue is to force people into an argument about specifics by destroying their red herrings.

Posted by: Jeff at August 18, 2006 12:51 PM

I definitely see the value of the argument for the purposes of forcing people to discuss specifics. However, if it is taken out of context (as most good argument at some point are, by inferior thinkers) it could be taken to mean that Islam is similar enough to racism that it might be dealt with in a similar fashion.

I apologize for my lack of clarity last night. The specific is exactly what I meant to point out with that suspect sentence: to assume that Islam is the root of Muslim violence is only misleading because "Islam" is too broad.


Posted by: M at August 19, 2006 02:54 AM

"However, if it is taken out of context (as most good argument at some point are, by inferior thinkers) it could be taken to mean that Islam is similar enough to racism that it might be dealt with in a similar fashion."

Count me among them, as that is what led me to the comparison in the first place: one person comes up with a way to deal with Muslims, someone else starts whinging on about human rights and such. The way to respond to them is by making the comparison to racists. Any way that is fair to treat racists (i.e., doesn't violate their human rights) is fair for Muslims. Anything technique or method which is valid for racists is also valid for Muslims. Authorities who profile for crimes will often profile according to associations with racist organizations (including such minor associations as being on a subscription list for white-power magazines). If this is not a violation of the racists' rights, then similar techniques would not be violations of the rights of Muslims. "Ah ha! We see him visit a mosque every week!" Now there's a clue! If it's not okay for Muslims, we must drop it for white power types.

Also, I 100% disagree with this statement made by you earlier: "After all, racism is essentially a single belief, and Islam is a large collection of beliefs (not all of which are shared by every Muslim!)". The first point against it is that you said it as if it is self-evident, and provided no support for it. I see no evidence for it at all. Second, and just as important, even if it is the case it doesn't matter. It has the same impact on the validity of the racism/Muslim comparison as saying, "After all, the word racism begins with the letter 'r', while Muslim begins with the letter 'M' (and uppercase at that)!" While that is true, it's incidental, and not essential to the argument.

Posted by: Jeff at August 19, 2006 12:39 PM

Firstly, my point is self evident. Racism is defined as: n.

1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

While Islam is defined as:n.

1. A monotheistic religion characterized by the acceptance of the doctrine of submission to God and to Muhammad as the chief and last prophet of God.

While the definition of racism is perfectly clear, the definition of Islam points us to a doctrine (in this case, outlined in the Qur'an) which is, last time I checked, a considerable collection of ideas. Anyone familiar with both the concept of Islam and the concept of racism should be willing to admit that racism is essentially one belief, while Islam is a group of beliefs. I am absolutely befuddled by your attempts to argue this point.

Secondly, it has all the relevance in the world. It is absolutely fair to attempt to eradicate racism: it is a belief that goes against concepts that the laws of this country are based upon, it is indubitably unfair, and it is inherently destructive. Islam lacks these qualities. One might argue that Islam encourages prejudice as much as racism, but due to its complex nature, this is no truer of Islam than of Christianity. As the Qur'an describes a group of ideas, some of which (as in any religion) conflict to an extent, it is ultimately the responsibility of every Muslim individual to decide which are the most important, and which are perhaps outdated or political rather than religious in nature.

Most importantly, when I speak of dealing with racism and Islam, I am not simply referring to countermeasures. Racism can never be constructive, but I believe that Islam can be. As Christianity has outgrown many of its violent tendencies, so must Islam, and we should take steps to aid this positive growth. Racism, on the other hand, has no future in a civilised society.


Posted by: M at August 22, 2006 03:16 AM

@M: I disagree with nearly every statement you've made above. Islam is far worse than racism, and racism is as complex and involved as is Islam. I am absolutely befuddled at your attempts to argue those points.

And Christianity, as well as how Christianity compares to Islam, is completely irrelevant and has no bearing on the issue.

And while Islam can never be constructive, and is ultimately always bad in each and every one of its facets (as it is faith based, rather than reality based), racism at least can be constructive. It's important for doctors, for example, to note differences between the essential biology of black skinned individuals as compared to white. Noting such differences and bowing to them allows for noting such differences in the ability to digest milk, for example. (Which also suggests a difference between the *minds* of the individuals, as statistically we can expect black skinned people to have a lesser preference for milk products than white. That sounds a lot like a fried chicken and watermelon argument, but it has the advantage of actually being the case.)

The way to deal with the Muslim problem is the same as those of the racist problem. First and foremost: social ostracism. (Don't delay, start today!)

Another way - and I love this - is one that was used in the mid-nineties: occasionally, a couple of racists would beat the heck out of some unsuspecting black skinned person, or they'd burn down the home of some black skinned people. The problem was that this is a crime that just a couple of individuals take upon themselves to commit - and putting those few in jail didn't really help anything. So a very bright group of lawyers got together and decided to raise funds from the general population from which they could fund lawsuits - against those who put the racist ideas into the heads of those who did the crime. They would argue in front of civil juries (where the standards aren't quite the same as those of criminal courts) that without the encouragement of the "white power" groups and organizations, that the criminals would not have committed their crimes. This lovely group of lawyers bankrupted one racist organization (and its members) right after another. And it was a heck of an effective tool.

Watch the second video: http://hotair.com/archives/2006/08/10/video-bush-on-the-uk-plot/

What a great target for a lawsuit.

Posted by: Jeff at August 22, 2006 01:23 PM

I don't even know where to start. You offer no proof of racism's complexity, you have apparently failed to read the definition of racism. Otherwise you would realize that what doctors do isn't it (note the "...AND that a particular race is superior to others.") That "and" is key.

Furthermore: Please note that most religions thrive on things like social ostracism -- the more they are resented, the more reason they have to fancy themselves martyrs, divine test subjects, etc.

I... sort of agree with you about the faith-based thing, however. But religion is a concept so deeply ingrained into society, that it isn't going to simply go away any time soon. I believe that trying to (intellectually) attack the least reasonable/most violent parts of a religion without attacking the whole is the only way to go.

I'll watch the video and finish my response a bit later, but I hope you consider the above points.


Posted by: M at August 22, 2006 04:08 PM

Firstly ISLAM is tha most respected religion in the world .. to set an xample yu got 2 giv n example .. no need 2 judge all us muslims .. we're not all bad or as yu say us 2 b RACIST!

Posted by: [Sonia]- |Pure Muslim| +Proud at January 11, 2007 02:46 AM

^---what any of that has to do with the issue at hand, I don't know. My post is about logical argumentation. It's NOT about either Islam, nor racism.

But, since you commented: "Islam is the most respected religion in the world." Is that a bit like saying, "Seattle's is the best smelling landfill"?

Posted by: Jeff at January 11, 2007 02:54 AM

Your ideas are very poor and racist in themself. Give up your pathetic views and embrace Islam like the rest of the world! lol

Posted by: Reza Moosavi at March 19, 2007 11:31 AM

Racism is a form of discrimination. True islam does not discriminate agaisnt white or black . It does not have nationality . It is based on logic and holds science in high esteem and demands learning. Only with ignorance will the things i have said be deemed false. The words on this page, however, are filled with such discrimination.

Posted by: Sera at May 10, 2007 02:06 AM

That has to be one of the most closed-minded, ignorant, calous and unforgivable statements I have ever read!

And face it... its not just that - its also racist.

Without doubt it has come straight out of the mind of someone who has fallen victim to propoganda, someone who needs to be reminded that the world does not end at their boarders, and quite frankly, someone who does not deserve the time it is taking me to write this.

Closing your mind off like that, when you have never even taken the time to truely experience the thing you are evaluating is the most dangerous thing you can ever do to yourself - it is how you allow yourself to become controlled.

I know whoever wrote that little statment will not pay any attention to this - they are too enclosed in their own opinions - but I hope it does help someone...

Posted by: Adi at May 10, 2007 10:35 AM



{Phone number edited out. --Jeff}

Posted by: James Clay Jensen at June 21, 2007 08:41 AM

Interesting and eloquent argument on both sides. However I would have to agree with "M" if only for the reason that the terms 'racism' and 'Islam' are not as easily interchangeable in the manner you suggested.

I understand the "civil rights" argument but your example of subscribing to a white power publication and attending a mosque is like comparing voting republican to going to a bar...one suggests a specific political inclination the other merely suggests that one may be a drinker without any clue to what they are into other than drinking.

When someone subscribes to white power literature one could realistically conclude that the subscriber is a racist...an assumption, true but a fairly safe one. Attending a mosque only suggests that one may be a Muslim and does not imply any SPECIFIC beliefs...just knowing that someone is Muslim only provides a clue to their GENERAL beliefs. The beliefs of those that practice Islam are just as varied as followers of any religion otherwise there would be no such thing as Sunni, Shi'a, Sufi, NOI, etc., etc., it would just be "Islam"...so one cannot determine any specific beliefs merely based on one's religion other than they believe in their specific god(s).

Although there are many races to be racist against and many different ways to be racist, in essence racism is very specific: my race is better than your race. End of story, everything else is just superfluous.

As a side note to the other posters no one will ever take you seriously no matter how right you (maybe) are when you use all caps and funny spelling.

Posted by: Jelo at July 22, 2007 01:00 AM

yo james clay, and your ugly mom look at you, I don't see you fighting us!? so shutup!!

Posted by: UNKNOWN at September 13, 2007 10:32 AM

James How Can You Talk About Muslims That Way You Know Your Talking Bout Yourself.Well This Is The Kind Of Racism I HATE!

Posted by: ANONYMOUS at October 22, 2007 05:43 AM

An indisputable fact of History: If someone believes he has a duty to kill you, AND is willing and even eager to die himself for his beliefs, sooner or later he will kill you. Unless you first quench his thirst for martyrdom. This is unfortunate, but inevitable.

Posted by: cgb at November 8, 2007 05:57 PM

racists huh?
do you even know what islam means?
it's mean peace !it's religion.. the most fair religon in the world and i vist Saudi Arabia
i staied with arabic there.
and he was really nice and i was intersting in islam
i read alote of books about islam and i'm really
surprise how fair the islam is ! and how they're life like .. it make's me really happy just to see one Muslim..and you will be surprse how
peaceful it is in Saudi Arabia..there is only like 3% of bad people in Saudi Arabia and they don't look to person by his looks or colour nor
his nationality..
please don't talk to some you don't even know..
and don't look at them just cuz your different
from them we are all the same ..
we are all humans..
it doesn't matter the colour or..
where is he/she from ..
that what i learn in my life ..

you should learn it too don't you think ?

Posted by: No.One at November 14, 2008 03:11 AM

sorry but ur argumentation is really shit.
u dare to compare islam with racism??islam is the only religion that ever managed to get rid of the idea of racism.there has never been any kind of racial segregation in any muslim country till today. n if u had the slightest idea bout history u would know this.
the ottoman empire embraced 3 continents in its largest expansion n never any people were forced to convert to islam. cuz islam forbids missionism(in opposite to christianity btw). in fact the ottoman empire even offered a shelter for tens of thousands of jews during the christian reconquista in spain. even today there r more than 300 hundred churches n over 50 synagogues in turkey. while in the western democratic states it is still discussed if mosques with minarets shall be built in a christian western state...
racism is only a western phenomen. nor islam neither muslims do exclude people cuz of their religion, colour or race.even today in egypt e.g. 10 % of the population are christian for hundreds of years already n its working incredibly well. the same in lebanon n this minorities do not have to justify themselves every single day like us muslim minorities in the west have to justify ourselves every single day.
almost in every arabic country u can find a population that is mixed up whites and blacks n still in no single muslim country any kind of racism ever occured.cuz islam says that everybody is the same in front of god n hes the only one who has the right of judgement according to islamic understanding.
but isnt it strange that the western democratic world keeps questioning islam n muslims while praising democracy n freedom n killing more than 1 million innocents in afghanistan in iraq in palestine at the same time.
n isnt it even more strange that a western comes here, considering all the western history of segregation,apartheid and jim-crow era n explains that islam is racism??
but in fact i dont wanna offend you cuz its not ur own fault. ur just a victim of media.

Posted by: sanane at February 12, 2009 12:52 PM

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