Error in the War on Error

There is a new book out by an Atlanta-area Muslim attorney by the name of Melody Moezzi titled “War on Error: Real Stories of American-Muslims”.The book is an attempt by Moezzi to give another vision of the lives of young American-Muslims to the public in order to say “look, we are not evil, and we have all the complexities and diversities everyone else has” in order to combat the stereotype that all Muslims are terrorists or extreme in nature.The effort to give non-Muslims a more accurate portrayal of who Muslims are is noble and to a certain extent Moezzi does this in some of her profiles; but at the end of the day as an American-Muslim I am offended by the manner in which Muslims are portrayed in this work ( aside from the good intent I am sure Moezzi had, I am sure).

With her tales of Muslim lesbians, people with Muslim names who do not believe or practice, rootless and shifty Muslim yuppies, Muslim body builders, she is not lying because it is true that all of these elements exist in significant numbers in the Muslim community and there story is valid. What I am offended by is her implying that these groups represent either a majority of young Muslims in America or that these are the good Muslims who are acceptable as opposed to the bad Muslims who do things such as pray, fast and observe the basic tenets of Islam and generally have a Third World mentality.

That is why this book is pointless in my mind. Muslims already know that if you completely assimilate into non-Muslim society and take the values of secular humanism as your own you will be accepted, that is no big surprise. If you are a Muslim male who is an effete latte sipper carrying a man bag in Manhattan on the way to the art gallery you will be accepted by that crowd because you have accepted their values as your own and given them supremacy over the values of Islam. The same can be said to any other number of Muslims who assimilate into different segments of American society. It is a given, it is a known, that if you leave your deen, or at least have a very loose commitment to it, you can gain acceptance into mainstream American society by most people ( outside of the Ann Coulter, Robert Spencer, Joe Kauffman crowd).

What I am more interested in knowing is if America is ready to accept Muslims who are observing the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) in their lives? If this society is as diverse and open as it proclaims to be then one should not have to act and believe like everyone else in order to be accepted. Therefore, it is of a greater interest to me to find out how an average hijabi gets along in her daily life then how a Muslim raver gets along with her fellow druggies.

There is also the issue of class. This book paints profiles of Muslims who have grown up in affluence and have been detached from traditional Islam and traditional American culture and our surrounding themselves with secular globos for the most part. There are a lot of other tales out there that are just as prevalent such as the children of Arab store owners in black ghettos in America, refugee Muslims in urban environments coming of age, second and third generation African-American Muslims ( after all Moezzi lives in the “Black Mecca”), and Muslim converts from any kind of a background you can imagine.

In short, this sister did the book she can do, because those are the circles she moves in, and she gives an accurate portrayal of that element of the community; but in the long run she leaves many questions unanswered and many tales untold.

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55 thoughts on “Error in the War on Error

  1. The history of the Iranian American community is a good example. On the whole they are more “American than the Americans” and are almost completely non religious.

    The “good Muslims” are always those that either deny or do not practice their religion. Bad Muslims are those to whom their religion is dear.

  2. LOL at “man bag.”

    Yeah it’s true, these kinds of books actually hurt more than they help because of what you said: it doesn’t make Islam and it’s practice normal, it makes “Muslims” normal, “Muslims” being anybody born or raised in a nominally “Muslim” environment, and “normal” being most things against the Sunnah.

    Also, these kinds of books hide a bigger question: Why do Muslims have to justify anything about our presence here? We are normal. We contribute to this country’s economy, education and everything else positive you can think of. This book comes from the fact that when I was younger when articles were written about Islam in America, it usually had a good representation of BLACK AMERICAN Muslims and sometimes the whole article was about them. Unfortunately, the shift has focused to Arabs and desis and how “different” and “foreign” these people are. Our Black brothers and sisters have been American and Muslims for over 30 years now. Why not ask them instead of Habibi and Amjad? Blacks are still 1/3 of Muslims, they got more numbers than Arabs and I think tied with Desis. These kind of “Please don’t put jail me white people” books will only come from largely insecure Desi and Arab kids, people who largely have no pride in where they came from and don’t know what to pick from this society and what not to pick.

    Anyway, rant over. Good post.

  3. Maybe the effete with the man bag is running away from Islamic values. In Iran they are soon going to hang some his fellows and throw them off cliffs. In the US he doesn’t have to fear that sort of thing, from the gov at least, and perhaps he has some success going at the art gallery.

    I would rather see him than some aggressive T shirt.

  4. In fact most of us in the US are in flight from Islamic values as we have thus seen them demonstrated. Why do people come to the US? For the food, landscape, architecture, tornadoes?

  5. I admit I haven’t read the book, and really wasn’t planning on either (a friend of mine who did read it told me it was just OK, nothing really special).

    Forgive me if I’ve misinterpreted what you’ve said, but I have a few comments:

    I don’t think I’d classify Muslims having a “third-world” mentality as “American Muslims”. They’re almost always immigrant Muslims (South-Asian, Arab, North African, whatever) who happen to live in America. I think a distinction should be drawn there.

    Also, I don’t think that just because one lives an Americanized lifestyle he or she is completely removed from (or may be loosely connected to) their faith. That guy sipping his latte on the way to the art gallery may be someone who indeed sticks to his prayers, his fasts, pays his zakat, etc, but is accepted by the “yuppie” crowd described anyway. Someone like this is perfectly capable of moving in both circles. Heck, such a thing might even be good for dawah, if one chooses to look at it that way. I have tremendous amounts of respect for these sorts of people (however few in number) because they are quite “American” without losing sight of their faith.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that, too often, Muslims tend to portray everything “American” as bad or completely incompatible with their deen. The values of American society and Islamic faith are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The trick is finding the right balance between the two.

  6. It seems to me that you can sip lattes, wear a man bag and go to museums and STILL be a muslim.

    It seems to me that you can sip lattes, wear a man bag and go to museums and STILL be a Catholic.

    It seems to me that you can sip lattes, wear a man bag and go to museums and STILL be a Jew.

  7. The US public sphere demands discretion in religious manifestations. Christians waving snakes and tambourines are not welcome either.

  8. Umar,

    The reason that we do not find any examples of Muslims who are DEVOUT, yet fully living in the modern world, is because they DON’T WANT US TO EXIST. The idea of a Muslim who fears Allah, prays, wears hijab, etc, etc, etc while STILL going to baseball games, PTA bake sales, and partaking in community functions (like a 4th of July parade), is simply incompatible with, what they conceive, is as being actual possiblilty. People create “departments” in their brains to file people under. Muslims that can have a leg in both worlds is far more dangerous to them than any other type of Muslim, so therefore, they totally AVOID admitting that that category EVEN EXISTS.

    Just think about it.

    There is nothing more scary (to most Americans) than a Muslim who is comfortable in their own skin and who can hold onto their deen while making their way in the secular world at the same time. These types of Muslims are able to show with the example of their own lives, that it is POSSIBLE to be a Muslim who practices an “ancient, outdated” and feared religion WITH EASE AND HAPPINESS, in the framework of a secular and modern world. That is simply too big of a concept for most people to wrap their heads around.

    We are the people who PROVE that being Muslim is compatible with living in the 21st century. In my mind, there is no question as to why our stories are being ignored. I think they feel as if they ignore us long enough, we will fade away and cease to exist.

    A good representation of a Muslimah who is confident and firmly has her feet in both worlds, is in the movie ‘Arranged’. When I saw this movie, I swear, my heart leaped with joy and I immediately called all my girls over for a movie night. I reviewed it on my blog. It really gave me hope that there is a light on the horizon for our stories to be told. And go figure, the movie was written by an Orthodox Jew! It didn’t even come from us!

  9. AS SALAAM U ALAIKUM

    WHY WORRY ABOUT BEING A STRANGER IN THE

    EYES OF DEGENERATES. IF ACCEPTING THIS

    MORALITY IS NORMAL, BLESSINGS TO ALL

    THE STRANGERS. OUR NABI (S.A.W) TOLD US

    ALL ABOUT THESE TIMES.

  10. “The history of the Iranian American community is a good example. On the whole they are more “American than the Americans” and are almost completely non religious.”

    Muslims from the former Yugoslavia are the same way as well, with a few exceptions.

  11. The US has plenty of people professing ancient religions with costumes and customs and exclusionary beliefs.

    It is the actual coercion and oppression that the muslims have exercised, and their fantasies of coercion and oppression yet to come in the pursuit of an earthly utopian dream that give us pause.

    Without force and coercion would Islam still exist?

  12. Not only are non muslims leery of you, but numbers of yourselves are hating and killing each other, and small wonder that some of you are bidding goodbye to you entirely.

  13. “The US public sphere demands discretion in religious manifestations. Christians waving snakes and tambourines are not welcome either.”

    More’s the pity.

  14. Umar, what would you think of compiling your own book on the lives of American Muslims?
    It could be a collection of interviews, or even blog posts much like your own…

  15. Sorry Umar but I am pretty much as American as they come and I still think of myself, actually believe, that I am pretty connected with my beliefs as a Muslim. All Muslims have their faults, but being American— assimilating into American lifestyle such as style of dress, language, entertainment, social behavior– does not make me any less Muslim than someone else who has accepted all of those things but from a Muslim-majority country.

    I know that there are people who have a problem with me because of that and do not understand how exactly I can be both, accept both.

    People need to stop thinking that being American, and having a pretty much American lifestyle, is wrong. It is not wrong!

    Don’t think that because you are a Muslim male who is an chai sipper wearing a white MAN DRESS in Riyadh on the way to a calligraphy gallery you are a good Muslim who holds the values of Islam supreme

    I do agree that finding people who don’t hold up the values of Islam makes for a pointless book that is suppose to be about Muslims.

  16. sabiwabi –
    or perhaps the reason you don’t find the “devout” fully living in the secular world is that those considered devout reject the secular world. correct me if i’m wrong, but i believe the devout believe that the “law” of islam supersedes the law of a nation. theo van gogh made a movie, legal in his country. he’s dead at the hands of a “devout” muslim. salman rushdie wrote a book. fatwas flew. the danes drew cartoons. hysteria ensued. any muslim who would admit to being tolerant of these displays, of which the authors had every right to express, would be considered not “devout” by those who consider themselves more devout. some of those “more devout” leave posts on this very site and question the devotion of the rest of you. muslims in this country do go to baseball games and pta bake sales. they are not scary people. the scary folks are those who wish to live within a society and at the same time reject the basic rights of the citizens who don’t buy into their prophet’s messages. i like a beer at my football games, umar lee.

  17. as salam alaykum,

    I think the example of Iranians is more about the kind of people who immigrated than any change that may have taken place after they arrived. Many of those who fled the revolution were enamored by all things Western and only nominally Muslim anyway.

    At any rate, I’ve been in many communities with a lots of religious Iranians. Since most Iranians are Shi’a, you probably wouldn’t come across them unless you spend time in Shi’a religious gatherings.

    AbuSinan I wanted to email something to you. How can I contact you?

  18. Mr Umar is spot-on. But does the same problem exist for practicing Christians or Buddhists?

    The question is: can the believer be taken serious by the Liberal Secular Humanist? To believe is, to some, ‘to hate’.

    Another question
    might be: why would any spiritually endowed perception want to swim among sensualist?
    The answer could be, as Nietzche’s wiseman says,
    “a good man never tells the truth”.

  19. As a somewhat secular American I found your blog by following a link in a comment someone added to an article about Geert Wilders at the Radio Netherlands website. Please understand, I’m grateful to the enlightened Muslims like ibn el-Arabi who have improved human civilization. Most of the Muslims I’ve known personally have been tolerant and humane so I deplore prejudice against them.

    Yet I also deplore prejudice against secular-minded people. And, because of the way I was treated in the fundamentalist Christian church I attended as a child, I am disturbed when people act as if religions and holy books are above criticism or as if questioning them is rude or evil. I submit that, if a religion or holy book is true, surely some of its followers would be able to answer criticisms and questions instead of denouncing them, to present reasons or evidence for their beliefs instead of attacking or insulting doubters and seekers.

    I wonder, Umar Lee, if you can meet this challenge or point me to others who can. You might start, perhaps, by offering reasons or evidence for the belief, common among Muslims and most other people, that personal human consciousness continues after death. Or you might prefer a different starting point. Either way would be okay with me.

  20. I think some of you are misreading Umar’s point. He’s not saying that Muslims can’t be Americans and participate fully in American culture, as wide ans diverse as that is. He is saying that this strand of American culture is harmful to one’s deen. Islam is not a ‘macho culture “where you’re supposed to be throwing cats out windows and spreading children everywhere…but it is a culture where the man has to be responsible for his wife and family and be concerned with the necessties in life and his iman. He’s probably implying that wearing man bags and being all metro sexual and globo- like is not good. That’s his opinion. He’s not saying that Muslims shouldn;t be American. That would be ridicilous because Umar is a white American from the Midwest. Remember, strip clubs are a big part of American culture…that don’t mean that Muslims need to be involved in that to fully assimilate.

    As for Meltwater, the question you ask is a recurring question in the Qu’ran. The pagans in Mecca did not beleive that Allah (swt) would bring them back after they had died. To which Allah answered:

    “O people! if you are in doubt about the resurrection, then surely We created you from dust, then from a small seed, then from a clot, then from a lump of flesh, complete in make and incomplete, that We may make clear to you; and We cause what We please to stay in the wombs till an appointed time, then We bring you forth as babies, then that you may attain your maturity; and of you is he who is caused to die, and of you is he who is brought back to the worst part of life, so that after having knowledge he does not know anything; and you see the earth sterile land, but when We send down on it the water, it stirs and swells and brings forth of every kind a beautiful herbage.”

    So in a sense, Allah created human being from the lowliest matter, and yet we have consciousness, we all have a unique personality. If all that can come from lowly matter, why couldn’t consciusness extend past physical death?

  21. Meltwater,

    There is no proof to the contrary that consciousness does not continue after one blows his (or her) last breath. The spiritual or mental “body’s” (if you wish) existence is not contingent upon the dense material body’s existence. “Consciousness” is more refined than our carbon based bodies. That’s a general rational evidence that consciousness remains after death.

    Religiously, we have to understand the mission of Prophethood. Because our intellects are going to be restricted to our experiences, and what can rightfully deduced from those experiences, we cannot (by reason alone) reject or confirm consciousness after death. All we can say (rationally speaking) is that such a state of consciousness is not an impossibility.

    Many people will deny that which they are unfamiliar with–whereas, ignorance of a matter gives us no right to reject it. The blind have no right to deny the existence of colors, and the deaf have no right to deny the existence of sound. With that said, God sent Prophets to inform us of various matters that cannot be known by our senses or logical deduction, such as, the knowledge of the unseen dimensions (e.g., the realm of the Angels and jinn), the Afterlife, and Sacred Law. Someone has to inform us of these issues that has been endowed by God with the ability to perceive what the masses of humanity cannot. In particular, i am talking about possessing the gift of Prophethood.

    For us to know that a Prophet is a Prophet (and when i say “Prophet”, i don’t mean merely someone who allegedly predicts the future, but someone who receives Divine Revelation from Allah), God empowers the Prophets to perform miracles. Prophet Muhammad performed hundreds of miracles (e.g., extraordinary healing, miracles of abundance, extraordinary empowerment, inanimate objects testifying to his Prophethood, as well as, prophecy). Some of those miracles were witnessed and transmitted by “tawaatur”, that is, they were witnessed and transmitted in such a way that no reasonable person can deny their occurence. From this we know that Prophet Muhammad was a genuine Prophet, and therefore, we must accept whatever he told us regading the matters of Sacred Law, the previous times, the futuristic events of this world, and the Hereafter.

    I hope this helps clarify some things for you.

    http://swarthmoor.wordpress.com/

  22. Thats a nice gesture, Meltwater, and I believe Bang Gully has addressed it well. I would only add that you check out google videos of Khalid Yasin’s “purpose of life” series. Theres a difference between critique and blatant racist provocations on the part of many Europeans. This isn’t about Muslims, but the agenda of far right fanatics coming to power all over Europe, through a campaign of xenophobia and imagined “threats” to “free speech.”

  23. What a pethetic bunch of wankers you are!

    Muslim Immigration: A Winning or Losing Proposition for US?

    * Moderate Muslims are breeding Islamic extremists, but it is rare that Islamic extremists breed moderate Muslims. Therefore, the US and other western governments are putting their “infidel” population at risk by allowing Muslims to live among us.
    *
    The Muslim world does not accept non-Muslim immigrants. In fact, it is becoming more homogenous as Islamic regimes drive out religious minorities or whittle them down through other means of attrition. Even Muslims who feel entitled to life in the West often decry the presence of foreigners in Muslim lands.

    But if Muslim lands are for Muslims, then it is all the more reason for insisting that this is where they stay, particularly since the legacy of Islamic immigration into the West is becoming a series of unilateral concessions to appease Muslims that not only go unreciprocated, but are then the new foothold for even bolder demands.

    Muslim immigration is a losing proposition for America. At best, it is an unnecessary risk that offers no comparable benefit. At worst, it is suicidal.

    Read about it on my blog.

    http://sheikyermami.com/2007/06/27/muslim-immigration-a-winning-or-losing-proposition-for-us/

  24. Thanks to Bang Gully for a tolerant and courteous response. This should make it clear to all readers that nothing in Islam disables Muslims from answering, without attacking, those who question or criticize their beliefs. Obviously people outside of Islam owe the same tolerance and courtesy to Muslims.

    After quoting an eloquent passage from the Qur’an making the case that Allah has the vitalizing power to grant immortality, Bang Gully concludes by asking me why consciousness could not extend past physical death. Here for whatever it may be worth is my response.

    Even if the existence of life is impressive evidence that Allah’s vitalizing power originally intervened in the material world to make life real, the other biologic events described in this Qur’anic passage (embryonic development, rain fructifying the desert and so forth) result from natural processes not requiring further divine intervention. Personal human consciousness depends on bodily functions and organs, notably the brain, with a limited lifespan. As I discuss in detail elsewhere, this brain dependence means that additional divine intervention beyond the original would be required for consciousness to survive death. If there is evidence for, or good reason to expect, further divine interventions just to undo our personal mortality, I have not encountered such.

  25. I see the judeofascist “sheikhyermani” aka Rabbi WankerPutz has been scribbling more neo-nazi nonsense from his ever fertile paranoid imagination(including trying to get hits for his pathetic site). No doubt high on the krusader kool aid from the Spencer toilet bowl. The only “immigration” which needs to stop is that of jewish terrorists into Palestine. That and deporting neocons back to their East European hell holes.

  26. Thanks also to DrM and swarthmoor for additional responses. Before I carry that conversation onward I want to connect it with Umar Lee’s topic thread. His misgiving about the Melody Moezzi book is what he regards as the author’s tendency to present secularized Muslims as the ones who redeem the Islamic population and refute the stereotypes of Muslims as evil:

    What I am offended by is her implying that … these are the good Muslims who are acceptable as opposed to the bad Muslims who do things such as pray, fast and observe the basic tenets of Islam….

    That is why this book is pointless in my mind. Muslims already know that if you completely assimilate into non-Muslim society and take the values of secular humanism as your own you will be accepted, that is no big surprise.

    Lee’s dismay is understandable, since believers in Islam have been marginalized more than enough already, and if Moezzi’s book were written for Muslims it might well be pointless. Instead I think it was written for non-Muslims who may feel threatened by Islam and seeks to persuade them not to indulge in hateful prejudice. The non-Muslims being addressed, at least in the USA, can be clustered into two groups: not only secular-minded people such as myself but, also and more numerously, religious non-Muslims who deplore “secular humanist values” as much as Umar Lee does.

    The genius of Moezzi’s approach is that it applies to both groups. It emphasizes Muslim “ravers” and “lesbians” and other members of the Islamic community whom secular-minded people are very likely to find non-threatening. In so doing it proves that bigots who believe things like what Werner Riemann said:

    Moderate Muslims are breeding Islamic extremists, but it is rare that Islamic extremists breed moderate Muslims.

    are simply wrong; “moderate” or secularized Muslims do come, and in significant numbers, from families and communities that are devoutly or “observantly” Islamic.

    But Moezzi’s approach also applies to the religious group of non-Muslims, precisely because they feel a dismay much like Lee’s whenever their children, relatives or fellow congregants become less religious and more secular. They fear that the tide of humanism is eroding their traditions and communities, and when they see the same tide eating away at the bulwarks of Islam they cannot help but gain sympathy for the more devout Muslims, who are in a predicament so like theirs.

    Lee said:

    What I am more interested in knowing is if America is ready to accept Muslims who are observing the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) in their lives? If this society is as diverse and open as it proclaims to be then one should not have to act and believe like everyone else in order to be accepted.

    My original comment was intended to suggest that, for our society to be diverse and open, all of us must be ready to accept each other, yet all of us, including the secular-minded, encounter prejudice. To counter that and make diversity work, you owe me (as you and I each owe Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Pagans and whomever) the same tolerance and courtesy and willingness to suspend prejudice that I owe you: not just at a distance, in mutual isolation or in trivial discourse, but also in a more substantive interaction where even our beliefs and scriptures face reciprocal criticism, questions and answers. Whereupon Bang Gully promptly showed that here are Muslims who indeed can deliver what we all owe.

  27. When I read muslim sites that discuss the life of Mo, they do not mention miracles or even prophecies. They speak of who he killed and how, the necessity of robbing caravans, etc. and who the muslims of today should kill, and how to kill them.

    When a person writes about the glorious kindly niceness and purity of the great Mo, they sound like deluded loons.

  28. Muslims stay silent on theological matters? Seems to me you’ve confused yourself with your own strawman arguments.I doubt you’re going to find information from Spencer’s sewer rats, Elizard-skank. That is assuming ofcourse, that you have any interest in learning, which you do not. You’re a low life racist troll high on your own steer manure. The fact that you go out of your way to support terrorism against Muslims in Iraq, Palestine and other places is evidence of this.
    No “miracle” needed to see the utter backwardness and criminality of primitive and polemical worshipers of pagan tritheism trying to dominate the world. It’s just as well you can type, for if you had to speak your mind, you’d be speechless

  29. Had another session with the dictionary, Dr. Miriam Webster? A little thesaurus is a dangerous thing….

    I can’t imagine why the non muslim West can’t tolerate an intellectually barren, poverty stricken house of murder and chaos that wants to destroy it.

  30. More farcical paranoia from the Eliza-Skank. Y0u actually use the dictionary? Look up “delusional paranoia” and you’ll find a picture of retarded, racist Nazi primates like yourselves next to it. The West is doing a fabulous job destroying itself, it doesn’t need Muslims for that. No real culture, laziness, primitive pagan tritheism and militant atheism, zero family values, gross materialism and economic non-sustainability and global terrorism to dominate the world and plunder it of its resources. Not to mention a bunch of spineless neo-nazi gutter snipes soiling themselves in the servitude of zionism. The only laughable thing here is watching you disintegrate into the crotchety old goat that you are. You can’t argue your way out of a paper bag (let alone cite your sources, which you wont for fear of being exposed even further), you have become bitter, and all because you cannot undo the analysis given of your precious and endangered “West” and the sickening system of criminality, and the dreadful foreign policy it practices.
    Why don’t you shrink your head and use it as a paperweight? It’s not much use for writing intelligent posts with, that’s for sure.

  31. I try to read the Quran after every few days, if not daily, and read it with translation. If something interesting comes along, I mark the pages. Reading today Br. Umar’s blog and Eliza’s Islamophobic comments about how Islam spreads with war, I was reminded about what I had read today. Here is the translation.

    “Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just.” (60, verse 8)

    “Allah only forbids you, with regard to those who fight you for (your) Faith, and drive you out of your homes, and support (others) in driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection). It is such as turn to them (in these circumstances), that do wrong.” (60, verse 9)

    So much for coercion.

  32. Thanks, Danial, for your welcoming comment. Now if our host can agree that this conversation remains on-topic, let me answer swarthmoor.

    Part One

    Because I as a somewhat secular American who believes in mortality am asking for your acceptance, I should begin by suggesting what may seem astonishing or even absurd: Not all but surely some among Muslims can remain Islamic and keep their deen, as Umar Lee would say, even if they come to believe, as I do, that conscious personal human immortality is unreal. My basis for suggesting this comes from Islamic tradition.

    The Muslim saint Rabia Basri achieved poetic immortality due partly to her famous prayer, which I take from Farid ud-Din Attar‘s Tadhkirat al-Auliya or Memorial of the Saints, as translated into English by A.J. Arberry under the title Muslim Saints and Mystics:

    O God, if I worship Thee for fear of Hell, burn me in Hell, and if I worship Thee in hope of Paradise, exclude me from Paradise; but if I worship Thee for Thy own sake, grudge me not Thy everlasting beauty.

    Rabia was not denying the truth of immortality, but she was making the case that immortalism (lust for blissful immortality, fear of eternal torment) is neither the only nor the highest nor the deepest nor the worthiest motivation for embracing Islam. Even though Rabia had visions of Paradise that she took to be real, her worship was unconditional, without any requirement that Allah reward her with an afterlife. From what little we know of her, I think we can fairly say that, if Rabia had encountered persuasive evidence that death ends the human personality, she would have accepted that evidence with equanimity, yet her Islamic deen would not have wavered even slightly.

    Before you raise the obvious objection, let’s consider what swarthmoor said:

    There is no proof to the contrary that consciousness does not continue after one blows his (or her) last breath. The spiritual or mental “body’s” (if you wish) existence is not contingent upon the dense material body’s existence. “Consciousness” is more refined than our carbon based bodies. That’s a general rational evidence that consciousness remains after death….

    Because our intellects are … restricted to our experiences, and what can rightfully deduced from those experiences, we cannot (by reason alone) reject or confirm consciousness after death. All we can say (rationally speaking) is that such a state of consciousness is not an impossibility.

    What swarthmoor neglects here is the copious evidence from both commonplace experience and the modern discoveries of neuroscience that personal human consciousness depends on mortal bodily functions and organs, notably the brain. The notion that consciousness resides in a non-contingent immaterial body is amply refuted by this evidence in its many details. Steven Conifer has reported:

    One philosopher who has conducted extensive research in the area of mind-brain dependence is Michael Tooley. He has presented five lines of evidence for the dependence of minds upon brains, which may be summarized as follows:

    (1) When an individual’s brain is directly stimulated and put into a certain physical state, this causes the person to have a corresponding experience.

    (2) Certain injuries to the brain make it impossible for a person to have any mental states at all.

    (3) Other injuries to the brain destroy various mental capacities. Which capacity is destroyed is tied directly to the particular region of the brain that was damaged.

    (4) When we examine the mental capacities of animals, they become more complex as their brains become more complex.

    (5) Within any given species, the development of mental capacities is correlated with the development of neurons in the brain.

    Keith Augustine puts it succinctly: “Modern science demonstrates the dependence of consciousness on the brain, verifying that the mind must die with the body.”

    Given all this, the conclusion that, at least insofar as our experience is concerned, nothing mental happens without the occurrence of a corresponding physical event appears all but inescapable…. while naturalism both predicts [brain dependence] and explains it (by way of biochemistry, biological evolution, and neurophysiology).

    Also, if swarthmoor knew more he would not show contempt for “our carbon based bodies” since they and the neuronal networks within them are exquisitely refined, enough so as to generate the full spectrum of conscious phenomena in all their dazzling variety. My point, therefore, was never that conscious immortality is impossible but merely that, while consciousness is natural, immortality is not and would thus require supernatural intervention (above and beyond the original creation of the universe and its life) to become real.

  33. Now if our host can agree that this conversation remains on-topic, let me continue my answer to swarthmoor.

    Part Two

    Of course, Islam seems to promise conscious personal human immortality, and swarthmoor argues that we can accept these promises at face value because of ancient supernatural miracles:

    Many people will deny that which they are unfamiliar with–whereas, ignorance of a matter gives us no right to reject it. The blind have no right to deny the existence of colors, and the deaf have no right to deny the existence of sound. With that said, God sent Prophets to inform us of various matters that cannot be known by our senses or logical deduction, such as, the knowledge of the unseen dimensions (e.g., the realm of the Angels and jinn), the Afterlife, and Sacred Law….

    For us to know that a Prophet is a Prophet … God empowers the Prophets to perform miracles. Prophet Muhammad performed hundreds…. Some of those miracles were witnessed and transmitted by “tawaatur”, that is, they were witnessed and transmitted in such a way that no reasonable person can deny their occurrence. From this we know that Prophet Muhammad was a genuine Prophet, and therefore, we must accept whatever he told us regarding the matters of Sacred Law, the previous times, the futuristic events of this world, and the Hereafter.

    The trouble here is that practically all religions claim that reputable witnesses have testified to the performance of supernatural miracles by their founders, their saints and their other figures of spiritual renown. Michael Murphy has compiled a very incomplete selection of such accounts in The Future of the Body, a large book that respectfully treats these accounts as plausible, but which makes plain how diverse are the religions from which they come, extending well beyond those Peoples of the Book whose original faith traditions are endorsed by Islam. Frankly, these religions often starkly disagree with one another on “matters of Sacred Law, the previous times, the futuristic events of this world, and the Hereafter.” So miracle stories, even for those who accept them, cannot guarantee doctrinal accuracy and offer the reasonable seeker absolutely no assistance in choosing which, if any, religious promises to believe.

    Empirical observations, meanwhile, reveal a real universe with laws, constants, numbers, angles and processes that are susceptible to scientific discovery and to naturalistic explanation, and which also can be directly attributed to the Creator with far less doubt than any religious institution or scripture can be. Empiricism would therefore seem to offer a greater degree of reliability than religion if we seek to know the Creator’s will. And, the empirical trendline clearly shows that the Creator lets mortals die.

    By now you may be impatient to demand how Rabia Basri could possibly reconcile, as I said in Part One she could, accepting the evidence for mortality I’ve cited with unwavering Islamic faith. Even though immortalism was not her motivation for worship, would she not have to choose between her faith and my evidence? If the Prophethood of Muhammad, peace be upon him, is to be judged by his miracles and the Qur’an is his greatest miracle, and if moreover she took the Qur’an to be factually wrong in promising immortality, how could she keep her deen?

    Well … she, and you or I, could continue to regard the Qur’an as holy and miraculous while admitting that some passages are factually or even ethically wrong, if and only if those passages were endowed with some compensating virtue. For instance, some Qur’anic passages that are untruthful might nevertheless have divinely instrumental value.

    To illustrate what I mean by instrumental, I turn once again to Islamic tradition, specifically two parables. The first, called the Legend of the Pointing Finger, I take from a summary in English by Achmed Abdullah, although the original is from Dhun’Nun the Egyptian:

    For centuries an ancient Egyptian statue which was reputed to indicate the position of a hidden treasure baffled all attempts at finding it. [The statue] was the figure of a man with hand and finger outstretched.

    All seekers except one tried to find the hoard in the direction in which the finger pointed. The one dug at the spot where the shadow of the finger rested at midday. He found the treasure.

    The second is the Parable of the Greedy Sons. It apparently originated with Hasan of Basra, but has been published widely by authors ranging from Roger Bacon to Hermann Boerhaave. The version I give here is from Tales of the Dervishes by Idries Shah:

    There was once a hard-working and generous farmer who had several idle and greedy sons. On his deathbed he told them that they would find his treasure if they were to dig in a certain field. As soon as the old man was dead, the sons hurried to the fields, which they dug up from one end to another, and with increasing desperation and concentration when they did not find the gold in the place indicated.

    But they found no gold at all. Realizing that in his generosity their father must have given his gold away in his lifetime, they abandoned the search. Finally, it occurred to them that, since the land had been prepared, they might as well now sow a crop. They planted wheat, which produced an abundant yield. They sold this crop and prospered that year.

    After the harvest was in, the sons thought again about the bare possibility that they might have missed the buried gold, so they again dug up their fields, with the same result.

    After several years they became accustomed to labour, and to the cycle of the seasons, something which they had not understood before. Now they understood the reason for their father’s method of training them, and they became honest and contented farmers. Ultimately they found themselves possessed of sufficient wealth no longer to wonder about the hidden hoard.

    The personal sort of immortality promised in the Qur’an could be just such a treasure: a divine falsehood that tricks us into learning a vitally necessary life lesson. Of course, coming from me that is mere speculation. Before embracing it, Muslims can reasonably insist on supporting indications in the Qur’an itself, in the Hadith and in some authentically Islamic order or school whose chain of transmission or silsilal stretches back to the Prophet. Regrettably I have no license to offer such indications. But the evidence for brain dependence is empirical fact, not speculation, and requires no such pedigree.

  34. Meltwater,

    Regarding Rabiah:

    It would not be possible for a person to be Muslim while denying the Afterlife. Furthermore, it is an obligation to fear the torture of Hell and long for Paradise (that need not be the ONLY reason for worship–but it is a necessary aspect of it). I don’t know much about her particular situation (i took a lesson in which her name came up years ago), but sometimes the pious people say things while in states of ecstasy (hence, their minds are out of touch) that are religiously rejected. Also, sometimes, the pious will say statements that are misunderstood/misinterpreted/mistranslated by those who have never experienced such states. Anyway, Islamic theology isn’t based upon the statements of people who are in such states.

    Regarding Neurology:

    You are assuming that modern science has the adequate instruments to weigh and evaluate the human soul. No modern scientist has seen another person’s thought, much less the soul–their materialistic approach and tools are inadequate for understanding something that can’t be evaluated with their crude instruments.

    Of Supernatural Intervention:

    EVERYTHING is created by God–whether it be the customary occurrences or the uncustomary ones. Nothing happens “by itself”. Some matters are considered “unusual” or “uncustomary” to some merely because it is beyond their normal experience (such as, a native Amazonian tribesman encountering “solid water”–or hearing of a “mythical” land on earth wherein the sun doesn’t set for weeks at a time). Life after death is no more unusual than life being created from body fluids. God wills for life to exist; God wills for it to cease existing; God wills for the soul to return to the corpse. God wills for the soul to depart from the body when the corpse decays. God will recreated the material body and the soul will return to it. All is created by Allah.

    Regarding the Miracles:

    There are distinctions between istidraaj (extraordinary acts that lead people astray, as was the case with Musaylimah), karamaat (extraordinary acts performed by the pious to prove they are such), mu`jizaat (miracles–extraordinary acts performed by the Prophets to prove they are such), and sihr (sorcery–the use of the jinn and perhaps other than that). Just doing something extraordinary does not stand as a proof for anything. Yogis, Buddhist and Taoist priests, shamans, Christian monks of the Middle Ages, etc. have all done paranormal acts.

    Of the above groups, it doesn’t require us to look any further than what they ascribe to God to know that they are lying or deluded–and ergo, can’t be Prophets of God. Furthermore, the books that these people claim to follow have not been reliably preserved –nor have the reports of such events been reliably transmitted. The miracle is also joined by the challenge to the skeptics and it comes from the one who says that he is a Prophet of God.

    Lastly on Empiricism:

    The science of today will the butt of jokes tomorrow. The empiricists consider acupuncture a “silly superstition” not too long ago–now it has become an increasingly accepted aspect of medicine–even in the mainstream. Racial eugenics was the vogue (in the US/Europe) 90 years ago (until the Nazis came along–they were bad PR for the “mainstream” eugenicists of the time). Muslims don’t build their beliefs and hopes on the shifting sands of science. (Obedient) Muslims follow what God has revealed. God knows about us and the rest of the creation better than we could ever possibly know. God gave us Sacred Law to live by that would be to our benefit in this temporary life and the everlasting life after this one. The study of the creation and the development of technology is a collective Religious obligation; however, Muslims understand the severe limits of empiricism and do not use it as the foundation of their world view.

  35. Hmmm..as opposed to the Hitlarian theories of primitive, triploid, neo-nazi bottom feeders who rely on straw man arguments, eh Eliza-skank.
    Go find a puddle to dive in.

  36. Etienne Gilson, that great French Thomist, used to cite the little truth found pinned to Pascal’s shirt when he died.

    It simply stated: ‘I follow the God of Abraham, Jacob, Jesus. Not the God of the Philosophers’.

    As Muslims, we would add the name of that Meccan Shepard, known as Muhammad (El Amin, the truthful one). Our faith, its beauty, is its simplicity. It is not a Philosophy. We had great thinkers. But that way caused confusion.

    Sufis may speculate. Our way is about simpler things. It is about balance. Modesty. Malik wrote the Muwatta: the beating path. In that title, is the answer to your question Mr Melwater (nice name).

  37. Above, after suggesting that the Qur’an might contain divinely instrumental falsehood and admitting this was merely a speculation, where I wrote:

    Before embracing it, Muslims can reasonably insist on supporting indications in the Qur’an itself, in the Hadith and in some authentically Islamic order or school….

    I should, to be clear, have written “insist on getting or finding supportive indications” rather than “insist on supporting indications” and I wish I had.

    Eliza responded:

    Ah, yes. Divine bunk is so much better than the other kind…

    Eliza, your sarcasm is amusing, but this comment of yours might be truer than you know!

    Seriously, though, what do you hope to gain by heckling the participants in this thread? You’ve said things like:

    When I read muslim sites that discuss the life of Mo, they do not mention miracles or even prophecies. They speak of who he killed and how, the necessity of robbing caravans, etc….

    Unless you can point to a Muslim website on the life of Muhammad that discusses “the necessity of robbing caravans” while never mentioning miracles or prophecies, I submit that your statement is untruthful and your tone insulting without any compensating virtue.

    Other than exposing your own bigotry, do you have some point to make with this behavior?

    Anyway, addressing the others on this forum again, to tie this off….

    I think I’ve shown above how, in principle, a Muslim could keep her deen yet conclude that immortality is unreal. Even if you don’t share her conclusion you might agree that I’ve demonstrated its possible compatibility with Islam. And that must surely mean that the distance = between devoutly “observant” Muslims and the secularized Muslims, “ravers” and “lesbians” in Melody Moezzi’s book = doesn’t have to be as great as Umar Lee imagines.

  38. God sent me to heckle you. Providing proofs is redundant, as all of you probably know what I am talking about.

    Muslims have a way of sounding like mafiosi in court: “Ya can’t prove nuttin’!” Their logic is that whatever they do is right.

    On this blog we are all in the hands of Umar. So blame Umar.

  39. Dear swarthmoor,

    You have responded to my answer with tolerance, courtesy and a tone that is often quite reasonable. Again the anti-Islamic bigots who claim that Muslims are incapable of such virtues are shown to be wrong. Thank you!

    On other points, however, you and I are not, or not yet, in agreement. I also feel you may have been less than fully attentive to some of what I said in Parts One and Two, above, of my answer to your first comment. Even if you never agree with points I’ve made, even if you prefer to oppose or dispute me on some points, attention to the content of my reasoning can only help you to present your own arguments.

    You said:

    Regarding Neurology:

    You are assuming that modern science has the adequate instruments to weigh and evaluate the human soul. No modern scientist has seen another person’s thought….

    Nor have you seen my assumptions, because I never assumed any such thing, swarthmoor, or made any such grandiose claim about modern science.

    You said:

    … on Empiricism:

    The science of today will [be] the butt of jokes tomorrow. The empiricists consider[ed] acupuncture a “silly superstition” not too long ago–now it has become an increasingly accepted aspect of medicine…. Muslims don’t build their beliefs and hopes on the shifting sands of science…. God knows about us and the rest of the creation better than we could ever possibly know…. The study of the creation and the development of technology is a collective Religious obligation; however, Muslims understand the severe limits of empiricism and do not use it as the foundation of their world view.

    Empiricism indeed has its limits. For instance, except for mathematical and math-like endeavors, it rarely allows us to reach certainty on any particular affirmative truth within a single human lifetime, and this can be very frustrating for those personalities who crave certainty. However, scientific empiricism excels at using evidence, observations and experiments to refute particular errors.

    One such error, which scientific empiricism has thoroughly refuted, is the notion that personal human consciousness is a “mental body” independent of mortal bodily functions and organs. In my Part One, above, I quoted and hyperlinked copious evidence for brain dependence both from commonplace experience and from neuroscience, including the five lines of evidence that Michael Tooley summarized. You did not address or even acknowledge, swarthmoor, a single one of those five. I hope that you were inattentive in reading them because I prefer not to conclude that you’re unwilling to face them.

    If I can do so without repaying your courtesy with rudeness I wish to submit that, if you’re unwilling to face empirical evidence, it may be because you fear such evidence would threaten your deen (or, if not yours, perhaps only that of our other readers here). Precisely to forestall such fear, I have suggested that mortalism can be compatible with Islam when faith is both strong and flexible enough. Certainly belief in mortality does not automatically contradict any of the Pillars or the Shahadah.

    Yet, since you consider it impossible for a Muslim to be a mortalist, the evidence for mortality may be something you have forbidden your mind to process in order to protect your image of yourself as a Muslim. Throughout history there have been many people who due to motives they imagined were religious prevented themselves from relinquishing beliefs that scientific empiricism had refuted as erroneous. But their opposition to science has only discredited and undermined the religions they thought they were defending, because every culture produces many people who are unafraid to look honestly at facts.

    For instance, geological evidence that the planet Earth is many megayears old was fervently and irrationally denied for generations by prominent European and American Christian authorities and, as the predictable result, their sort of Christianity came to be rejected by many of the most honest and intelligent people in the West. Indeed the whole of Western Christianity since then has never fully regained its credibility. If you now deny empirical facts too zealously then you risk taking Islam down the same sorry path.

    I agree with you that “God knows about us and the rest of the creation better than we could ever possibly know.” But this makes trouble for those who advocate a literal dogmatic reading of a sacred scriptural Book like the Qur’an, because it means God knows various facts that those Books either do not overtly mention or occasionally even seem to contradict. Like the fact that the Sun is a star, the Earth is a planet and planets are not stars—or the fact that microbes populate our planet and our bodies and some of them cause disease—or the fact that many biological species went extinct megayears before our own species arrived on the scene. These are not “shifting sands” but bedrock science, so reasonable people reasonably ask: Why would such facts be omitted or contradicted if those Books really came from God? And, I frankly assert that, as neuroscience progresses and makes more discoveries, mortality is getting to be another such fact.

    Moreover, people raise not only factual objections to the Torah, the Gospels and the Qur’an but also ethical objections. For instance, all those Books appear to endorse intolerance; in some passages, even to the extremity of genocide. To insist on a literal dogmatic reading of scripture disables believers from answering those objections and obliges them either to embrace ethical and factual wrongs, or to rip many pages out of the holy Books (as Geert Wilders notoriously says we must with half of the Qur’an), or to abandon those Books altogether.

    If however we instead adopt a flexible approach, admitting that empirical evidence deserves religious respect since the empirical creation comes from God, and admitting that some Qur’anic passages may have other virtues besides literal truth, we avoid those evils of ripping out pages or embracing wrongs.

    Of course, a flexible approach may tempt some people to reject the Qur’an outright, since they might consider any objectionable content a refutation of its divine origin. To them I issue this challenge. Get a copy of the Qur’an, in either bilingual or monolingual Arabic, and count the iterations of the word yawm, which means day. A short word of three letters—ya, waw, mim—it isn’t hard to recognize. Count for yourself since, if I told you the number, you would not believe it.

    Due to the manner in which its verses were orally transmitted, memorized, chanted and compiled, the Qur’an has much quasi-repetitive phrasal permutation and there was never any opportunity for deliberate human choice to determine the exact frequency of any word within it. So the frequency with which yawm occurs indicates the metanormal origin of what we can call the Qur’an’s acrostic perfection. If it were the only indication, we might dismiss it as coincidence but, as is well known among Muslims, other such indications can also be found.

    My acknowledging the Qur’an’s acrostic perfection is proof of something that should encourage Muslims to dare, when reading it, a measure of the flexibility I recommend: The Qur’an does not wither, indeed it blossoms, under critical scrutiny..

    You, swarthmoor, said:

    Regarding Rabiah:

    It would not be possible for a person to be Muslim while denying the Afterlife. Furthermore, it is an obligation to fear the torture of Hell and long for Paradise (that need not be the ONLY reason for worship–but it is a necessary aspect of it). I don’t know much about her particular situation ([I] took a lesson in which her name came up years ago), but sometimes the pious people say things while in states of ecstasy (hence, their minds are out of touch) that are religiously rejected. Also, sometimes, the pious will say statements that are misunderstood/misinterpreted/mistranslated by those who have never experienced such states. Anyway, Islamic theology isn’t based upon the statements of people who are in such states.

    In my Part One I cited references to Rabia in both online and paper literature so your not knowing much about her can to some extent be remedied. (This links to another.) Surely there is a difference between hal, or transient ecstatic state, and maqaam, or lasting spiritual station. If, as I believe, Rabia had achieved the latter when she uttered her famous prayer, then any theology that rejects it might benefit from revision.

    Also you shouldn’t worry too much about her prayer being misunderstood. Her words were not inscrutable. She was flatly denying that hope or fear of the afterlife are the worthiest motivations for worship, and sharply affirming that love of God’s beauty suffices for it. She did so, I must concede, as a believer in the afterlife.

    However, something relevant about her character is conveyed by this anecdote reprinted in the Wikipedia article on her. When Rabia was on hajj and halfway to Mecca, she saw the Kaaba coming to meet her but asked, “It is the Lord of the house whom I need; what have I to do with the house?”

    In the same spirit, if Rabia had been shown the signs of mortality that science has found in the Book of empirical reality, and if anyone had urged her to reject them because your literal reading of that other Book, the Qur’an, presents fear of Hell and longing for Paradise as necessary for worship, I believe she would likely have replied, “It is the Lord of the books whom I need; what have I to do with the books?”

    I consider such a reply to be likely because Rabia was she of whom people tell:

    One day, she was seen running through the streets of Basra carrying a torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other. When asked what she was doing, she said: I want to put out the fires of Hell, and burn down the rewards of Paradise. They block the way to God. I do not want to worship from fear of punishment or for the promise of reward, but simply for the love of God.

    Later, swarthmoor, you said:

    Regarding the Miracles:

    There are distinctions between istidraaj (extraordinary acts that lead people astray, as was the case with Musaylimah), karamaat (extraordinary acts performed by the pious to prove they are such), mu`jizaat (miracles–extraordinary acts performed by the Prophets to prove they are such), and sihr (sorcery–the use of the jinn and perhaps other than that). Just doing something extraordinary does not stand as a proof for anything. Yogis, Buddhist and Taoist priests, shamans, Christian monks of the Middle Ages, etc. have all done paranormal acts.

    Of the above groups, it doesn’t require us to look any further than what they ascribe to God to know that they are lying or deluded–and ergo, can’t be Prophets of God. Furthermore, the books that these people claim to follow have not been reliably preserved –nor have the reports of such events been reliably transmitted. The miracle is also joined by the challenge to the skeptics and it comes from the one who says that he is a Prophet of God.

    But you, swarthmoor, in your earlier comment were the one who said that miracle stories were proof enough that any reasonable person must accept all teachings of Muhammad, peace be upon him, at face value:

    For us to know that a Prophet is a Prophet … God empowers the Prophets to perform miracles. Prophet Muhammad performed hundreds … [and some] were witnessed and transmitted by “tawaatur”, that is, … in such a way that no reasonable person can deny their [occurrence]. From this we know that Prophet Muhammad was a genuine Prophet, and therefore, we must accept whatever he told us….

    In your later comment you changed your tune, saying we must first accept Islamic doctrines at face value and must then reject (as istidraaj or sihr or as non-historical falsehood) all miracle stories that glorify teachers of religious doctrines to the contrary. At best this means you were inattentive to the concerns I expressed about the diversity among world religions of the scriptural teachings that confront the seeker and the comparative reliability of empiricism as a guide to God’s will. At worst it is a textbook case of circular logic that is unlikely to persuade reasonable people outside your circle.

    You also said:

    Of Supernatural Intervention:

    EVERYTHING is created by God–whether it be the customary occurrences or the uncustomary ones. Nothing happens “by itself”. Some matters are considered “unusual” or “uncustomary” to some merely because it is beyond their normal experience (such as, a native Amazonian tribesman encountering “solid water”–or hearing of a “mythical” land on earth wherein the sun doesn’t set for weeks at a time). Life after death is no more unusual than life being created from body fluids. God wills for life to exist; God wills for it to cease existing; God wills for the soul to return to the corpse. God wills for the soul to depart from the body when the corpse decays. God will recreate … the material body and the soul will return to it. All is created by Allah.

    The whole point of the naturalistic mode of explanation by which science works is that no more than a single perfect supernatural intervention, at the origin of nature, is required. Customary events indeed happen as if by themselves according to laws, constants, numbers, angles and processes, notably those discoverable by science, that the original intervention set in place and in motion. We mortals from our vantage points in the contingent flow of time perhaps perceive divine intervention as continuous. Yet the perfection of the original could easily mean that no subsequent interventions are due us and possibly even that none occur.

    Obviously since God can do anything God wills, God can recreate the material body with its brain after death, allowing reconstitution of the brain-dependent mind, but empiricism offers us no reason to expect this, and the scriptures that promise it are fallible when taken literally. Anyway the possibility that God might exercise divine power to grant us an afterlife is very different from the scientifically refuted claim that mind is already naturally immortal.

  40. Years ago a man was killed in a mosque in Arizona for writing an article in which he noted that the number 8 occurred repeatedly in the Koran.

    She better run through the streets of Basra. She could be shot for the cut of her clothes.

    Many of the commentators here and on other sites would be murdered by self appointed muslim assassins were it not for the barrier of the internet.

  41. More conspiracy theories(sans goofy sources) from the delusional eliza-skank. Just the standard nazi rantings. Not that dead nazis are something to mourn over.
    It’s truly amazing the way you never let an idea interrupt the flow of your typing, but then, making sense isn’t your area of expertise, is it?

  42. I googled “murder in Arizona mosque” and came up with several people, but not the case I mentioned. Did learn that there is an org called al fuqr (good name) which will kill you if you spout off philosophy such as Meltwater does above.

    Dr. Meltedbrain, are you a son, a father and a husband all at the same time? Difficult to think of you in any of these roles…

    I sign off now as the heaven sent heckler and triploid troll here on the blog of Umar.

  43. Christ Eliza, even your basic facts are wrong. Rashad Khalifa’s code was based on 19 (not 8), his killer was connected to Al-Fuqra (not Al-Fuqr, heh heh, good one), and that whole scene had so much weird shit going on back in the late 80s early 90s (and Khalifa was no saint) that there are a lot of motivations probable beyond that stupid numerical code. You don’t know shit.

  44. Am trying to say the story was not about Rashad. Fuqra was spelled several different ways i took what I thought was the best one.

  45. Oh please, Elizard. You can’t even come up with your own lines, and use my jokes about having an extra chromosome. What else do you do besides being on a dozen medications and, ideologically googling your way through your sad excuse for a half-life? Seriously, you have to got to be the stupidest troll on this blog. No facts, no citations(still afraid of admitting your reliance on Spencer and LGF), nothing remotely intelligent in your predictable bile.
    Just do mankind a favor and always stock up on RU-486. We don’t need any more nazi euro-primates polluting the gene pool.

  46. All record consists of contradictory statements; it is difficult to get at the truth, particularily if one does not have the time to research it.

    It is absurd and delusional to extol the virtues of Islam while avoiding the places where it actually holds sway.

    Were most of us in any of those places, our heads would be in banana boxes by now.

  47. I’ll accept the moniker ‘boring’ – it’s so much better than the usual Muslim labels of ‘foreigner, extremist, intolerant, Arab, or the ever popular terrorist’! No one person can possibly speak for an entire faith group – but since the misconceptions about Muslims continue to evolve – it’s great to see Muslims in America making a dent in the media. Books like Melody’s are a breath of fresh air, regardless of how many conservative Muslims will say “She doesn’t speak for me!” or secular Muslims just nod their heads & acknowledge the diversity w/in Islamic society – something they already knew.

    Just the fact that ‘War On Error’ was published is an achievement – it can only add to the discussion of the American Muslim experience. “The American Muslim Teenager’s Handbook” also seeks to dispel stereotypes while educating & empowering youth to learn more about Islam – there’s so much pressure to conform, but conform to who’s perspective on Islam? An immigrant Imam who’s just arrived here from Saudi or your grandmother who’s never read the Quran in a language she understands, or your best friend who repeats lessons from Islamic school w/o understanding the cultural influence?

    The more literature the better!

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