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Philadelphia Atheists Meetup Message Board Religions and Religious Studies › UK - Muslim peace conference condemns terrorism

UK - Muslim peace conference condemns terrorism

Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 443
BBC News - Muslim peace conference condemns terrorism

"About 12,000 Muslims gathered at Wembley Arena for Islamic group Minhaj-ul-Quran's Peace for Humanity Conference.

The conference launched a campaign to get one million people to sign an online declaration of peace by 2012.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said the conference would send a message that 10 years of extremist activity should end."

"(Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri ) told the audience: "In spite of statements and memorandum and condemnation of the terror, the voices of the 99% true, peace-loving Muslims have not been heard, they have been drowned out by the clamour and the noise of extremists."


Peace for Humanity Conference website

Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri (wikipedia article), founder of the conference
Anne H.
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 259
I'm kind of conflicted on this. On the one hand, it's good that they're trying to marginalize the crazies. On the other hand, saying, "They're not *true* Muslims," about the terrorists is pretty dumb seeing as how the Koran is just as much a big book of multiple choice as the Bible is. It's so full of contradictions and incomprehensible nonsense that you can pretty much get anything you want out of it if you cherrypick and interpret hard enough. Peaceful Muslims, terrorists, brutal theocrats, mystics, and rarefied theologians alike can turn the Koran to their purposes, and seeing as how there's no way to objectively validate anything in that book there's no way to say who's right.

The peaceful Muslims aren't finding a unified message of not fucking going around murdering people in the Koran, they're getting that from an extra-Koranic source --- their own innate human decency, and the non-religiously-specific values of civility that pervade the larger culture. So the terrorists would be equally logically justified to say that these Peace for Humanity folks aren't true Muslims either. Of course, seeing as how most of these people probably aren't going to recognize any time soon how dumb it is to try to structure your life around the epileptic visions of an ignorant old pedophile, I'd rather the peaceful ones succeed in shifting the political currents in favor of their interpretation. But that's all it is, politics. There's no rational foundation for it.

I also have to admit that there's a certain part of me that wants to say, "What the hell do you people want from us, a cookie?" Because, really, it's pretty easy to not be a terrorist. The vast majority of us manage that every day and don't expect applause for it. When you've gotta have big fancy conferences about how not-a-terrorist you are, well, that really says something, doesn't it?

Which is not to say that they shouldn't keep doing this...
A former member
Post #: 2
wow. anne, impressively stated.
excellent job clarifying perspectives I fully support but might have easily overlooked.
A former member
Post #: 210
Thanks for your interesting commentary, Anne.

At this conference, I would have been impressed to observe Imams argue Muslims are against blasphemy laws that infringe upon an individual's enjoyment of art, music, literature and speech that satirizes religion. I would like to see them argue that democracy is better than a theocracy where Allah exercises sovereign rule over American Laws and Constitution involving separation of church and state etc. I would like to see them argue that women should be allowed an education, voting privileges, drivers licenses and equal protection under the law. The Gods are in the details, no pun intended. Without a renouncement of the negative interpretations of the Qur'an of which Anne spoke I cannot tell the difference between a good Muslim and a bad one.

I agree this conference was a lot of political theater to get non-Muslims to look favorably upon Islam and Muslims. I do question his claim that fanatics are 1% of the Muslim population but I do not have the true statistics. I have read of 10% which would mean that there are 150,000,000 rather than merely 1,000,000 out of 1,500,000,000 worldwide. In Pakistan and Afghanistan I guess there are way more than the 1,000,000 extremists that the Conference leaders mentioned. I am not saying they are all terrorists but I suppose a large population are anti-American and anti-West and at least get vicarious satisfaction in seeing American interests harmed. I welcome clarification on the statistics.
Anne H.
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 263
John, you've got a good point about the need for people who want to be seen as "good Muslims" to repudiate the nastier aspects of Sharia as well. Unfortunately, I think there's still a feeling shared even by many of those Muslims who don't support terrorism that if we really truly implemented Sharia worldwide and joined everybody up into one big ummah [edited --- it's not ulema, oops!] the world would be a perfect and ideal place. So they can't really repudiate that stuff because it's part of their big all-encompassing vision.

I've seen the same thinking in some Orthodox Jews --- I ask if they really want to go back to the days of bloody animal sacrifice and stoning of disobedient children, and while their modern sensibilities might rebel against these brutal practices at some level, they are so committed to the idea that a perfect implementation of Torah law is the only way to make a truly good world that they try to convince themselves that it really would be great to go back to that. They're saved from having to deal with the horror of these ideas they promote only by the fact that there's essentially no realistic chance of those ideas being implemented anywhere in the world today. Muslims don't have that luxury and so are forced to do one of three things: turn a blind eye to how brutal Sharia truly is in its full implementation in certain parts of the world, claim that that's not "true Sharia", or claim to support it.
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 444
First of all, I agree that it's a "no true Scottsman" type fallacy, but perhaps that's rhetorical tool that he feels he has to use in order to persuade his audience.
I also have to admit that there's a certain part of me that wants to say, "What the hell do you people want from us, a cookie?" Because, really, it's pretty easy to not be a terrorist. The vast majority of us manage that every day and don't expect applause for it.
Two things about this response concern me.

First, the notion that this group does, or should expect some sort of reward from "us". This is an event for Muslims by Muslims, who just want to live in a more peaceful society just like most sane people.

Second, sure, it easy for most of us not to be terrorists, but our government sometimes does a pretty good job for that. I've come to agree with Noam Chomsky's statement that the best way to stop terrorism is to stop participating in it.

Considering the human rights abuses, torture, civilian deaths, support for oppressive regimes that the US has represented, it's kind of silly to pat ourselves on the back for "not being terrorists"

When you've gotta have big fancy conferences about how not-a-terrorist you are, well, that really says something, doesn't it?
Yes, it tells us that they're courageous people who want to effect positive change in their culture.

Last week, thousands of people protested a death penalty sentence based on questionable evidence against the accused. What does that say about us? It's pretty unfair to lambaste a group for recognizing a problem and working to solve it.
Anne H.
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 264
George, my point is simply that there's something pretty deeply fucked up about Islam if it's capable of providing such easy motivation and justification for those "bad Muslims" from whom the "good Muslims" are so dramatically exercised about distinguishing themselves. These so-called "good Muslims" would be a hell of a lot more credible and admirable if they were actually making a serious attempt to look into what's wrong with their belief system as a whole, rather than just critiquing the "bad" Muslims' supposedly inauthentic choice of clan tartan.

In a similar way, our criminal justice systems is fucked up well beyond the fact that that one d00d was executed unfairly. Having a death penalty at all is pretty fucked up. Having a system where justice is incredibly unevenly administered based on stupid factors like perceived race is pretty fucked up. Having a system where people's lives are ruined by the judicial system for private use of and/or addiction to illegal drugs is pretty fucked up. Having a system where when people do bad stuff we just drop them in a hole for some fixed amount of time and then expect them to become better people by magic is pretty fucked up. And so forth. If all of those thousands of people were protesting Troy Davis' execution while still supporting the general workings of the system that brought him to that point then I'd be asking them if they wanted cookies too.
A former member
Post #: 212
George writes, "Considering the human rights abuses, torture, civilian deaths, support for oppressive regimes that the US has represented, it's kind of silly to pat ourselves on the back for "not being terrorists." Many bright liberal thinkers hold that position. I offer another perspective.

Enhanced interrogation has resulted in killing Bin Laden and has prevented tens of thousands of deaths but criminal torture should be prosecuted, like the Abu Gray correctional officers. Ticking time bomb torture would be OK with me too. How would you like to spend an hour with the kidnapper of your child who refuses to tell police where she/he is located and where the child is scheduled to be killed by a time bomb?

US caused civilian deaths I assume are due to collateral consequences of bombings (e.g., smart bombs and drones) and terrorist use of human shields. The advantages of these practices outweigh the disadvantages. We are at war and have never been more accurate in our killing of the enemy. Hi tech killings are better than they were in the past. For that we are grateful. To try to kill or capture the terrorist combatants would be more costly in casualties if we were engaged in urban gorilla warfare.

The US does support repressive regimes but that does not justify terrorism against the US. Our economy is well supported by these friendly Arab regimes that are repressive. Better to support these regimes than to be cold shoulder unfriendly with them. We cannot by ourselves reverse the cultural evolution Qur'an-based theocratic dictatorships. We shouldn't have relationships with all the Islamic countries like we have with Iran, should we? We have publicly indicated our preferences for more civil rights. It would be silly to make them enemies or to bite off our nose to spite our face. We are not the terrorists; we are fighting the terrorists.

Do you have a better strategy to fight the terrorists that have been killing innocent women and children, bombing our buildings, supporting governments that are willing to support terrorism, and now making sustained efforts to kill us and our allies with weapons of mass murder?

You can critique my perspective and I can learn more about your perspective. Perhaps I will grow more friendly to your ideas after a good fight. wink
Anne H.
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 265
I also feel like I should make it clear that the "us" I was contrasting against the "Muslims for Peace" in my post above was just some loosely defined class of sane people who don't feel a need to rely on a sky-daddy to us how to live our lives. I would have used the same sort of terminology if it was a group of Christians, or if it was somebody saying, "I'm not a sexist but..." or any other bit of dumbassery where the person was taking inordinate pride in having established themselves as being in favor of something I consider a fairly basic component of human decency while still missing the bigger picture.

I recognize that referring to "us" as a group of people different from "Muslims" is often used in a fairly racist or nationalistic or otherwise xenophobic fashion, and I'm sorry if it came off that way when I said it. I guess I assumed that my fairly well-established history of opposition to anti-Muslim xenophobia would make it clear that that wasn't the message I was attempting to convey, but perhaps that was a poor assumption. For me this is all about opposition to religion in general, and Islam is just the current example at hand. But I don't dislike Muslims as such any more than I dislike any other religious group.

So, George, if you were objecting to the appearance that I was singling out Muslims as intrinsically unwelcome outsiders in Western society or something like that, I hope this clarifies things.
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 445
At this conference, I would have been impressed
You "would have been impressed"? Did you spend time reading any of their actual declarations before you made this statement? All you've done is present a laundrylist of things you don't like about some aspects of Islamic cultures, and then baselessly accuse conference the leaders of not addressing them.

I agree this conference was a lot of political theater to get non-Muslims to look favorably upon Islam and Muslims.
What is your evidence for this? Again you've made a baseless and frankly defamatory accusation against a group of people that I assume you haven't met or dialogued with.
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