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Thread: "It Has Nothing to do with Religion"

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    "It Has Nothing to do with Religion"

    Given the recent ISIS release, appropriately titled "Why We Hate you and Want to Fight You", in the Jihadist periodical Dabiq in which the group who've come to visually represent "extremism" [note the intentional exclusion of "Islamic" for full sarcastic value] have systematically explained why they hate "us" and want to fight and kill us, can we finally dispel with the titled notion that this has nothing to do with religion? Can we finally put to bed the "Western Imperialism" excuse-making and pedestal pushing from the likes of Noam Chomsky and others who have tirelessly fought the notion that religion is even a minority cause, let alone a major factor behind their behavioral choices?

    For those who have not read it, I'll link you below, but in the interest of time, I can tell you that of the six points made, exactly two have nothing or little to do with religion. If these six points made represent the entirety of their justification (and why shouldn't they considering they are coming straight from the horse's mouth?), that means more than 65% of their cause is, as they believe and proclaim, divinely justified and religiously mandated. Forget the fact they are telling you it's religious for a second. How is this still not an acceptable number to emphatically throw this notion that their religion is irrelevant directly into the fire?

    This isn't about blaming religion here, either. I'm aware my reputation precedes me, so before I'm charged with made up terminologies like "Islamaphobia", understand this -- this is about having an honest discussion about a real world problem that we cannot have any hope of curing if the conversation always begins with obfuscations about the core nature of the issue.

    The constant outcry, mostly from the [regressive] Left, that this has nothing to do with religion is just as unhelpful that the outcries that it has everything to do with it. Neither is true. But religion has something to do with it. Clearly. In no unsure terms we've now been told this from the group themselves.

    For anyone who hasn't read this "manifesto" or wants a refresher, it's here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-n...reveal-8533563
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    Short answer is no. We can't. Because ISIS is crazy people using religion as an excuse. This changes nothing from the original debate.

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    The group tells you they are acting because of religion. You refuse to believe it and instead proceed to tell them what they are doing it for.

    This is exactly the kind of obfuscation I'm taking about.

    How can we ever have a serious discussion about this when that is a response you expect me to take seriously?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil in Absentia View Post
    The group tells you they are acting because of religion. You refuse to believe it and instead proceed to tell them what they are doing it for.

    This is exactly the kind of obfuscation I'm taking about.

    How can we ever have a serious discussion about this when that is a response you expect me to take seriously?
    I can't help if you take it seriously or not. Doesn't make it a less valid point.

    This is "Islam" speaking. It's crazy people.

    Group of crazy people does crazy shit and says it's for their religion.

    Group of crazy people does crazy shit and says it's because they're red headed.

    Do we attack all gingers?

    Better yet, what's your solution? The US is already battling ISIS. Would you prefer they just declare war on all Islam? Or all religion, in general?

    Where are you even going with this?

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    "It Has Nothing to do with Religion"

    I've explained where I'm going with it, and literally none of the straw men you set up are it or among it. Honest discussion to find a cure. Something that can't happen when the first answer to a published list by the actual group responsible for this kind of terror is to reject what they tell you the reasons are because it conflicts with what you want the answer to be.

    Your ginger analogy might have weight if that were actually happening, but it isn't. Certainly not with the regularity this happens with in the Islamic world. That's an utter false equivalence.

    Instead of honest debate and solution seeking, every mention of Islam and terror is met with cries of racism and "Islamaphobia" in worst case scenarios and obscurantism and obfuscation in the lesser ones.

    This is why I value the opinion and solutions of reformist Muslims like Maajid Nawaz, because even he prefaces every argument with the same fact -- absolving Islam of any blame helps nothing. It only hurts, just as often and just as awfully as blaming it entirely.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil in Absentia View Post
    I've explained where I'm going with it, and literally none of the straw men you set up are it or among it. Honest discussion to find a cure. Something that can't happen when the first answer to a published list by the actual group responsible for this kind of terror is to reject what they tell you the reasons are because it conflicts with what you want the answer to be.

    Your ginger analogy might have weight if that were actually happening, but it isn't. Certainly not with the regularity this happens with in the Islamic world. That's an utter false equivalence.

    Instead of honest debate and solution seeking, every mention of Islam and terror is met with cries of racism and "Islamaphobia" in worst case scenarios and obscurantism and obfuscation in the lesser ones.

    This is why I value the opinion and solutions of reformist Muslims like Maajid Nawaz, because even he prefaces every argument with the same fact -- absolving Islam of any blame helps nothing. It only hurts, just as often and just as awfully as blaming it entirely.
    Please stop with the straw man this straw man that. It's not a straw man. If you're going to default to that, then just read no further and comment no further. We walk away.

    ##

    If you want to have an actual discussion, then yes the ginger argument holds a ton of weight because it points out that this is one of the many wars against religion that you choose to wage. A war you simply have no chance of winning.

    That's why I ask what you're trying to do. What solution are you bringing to the table, other than the already happening war with ISIS?

    Let's say we all agree that Islam itself is a massive issue—what are we going to do about it? Kill all the Muslims? Eradicate the religion entirely?

    I guess the point I'm making is, you're not really looking for an honest debate, or you wouldn't start a thread with "Can we finally all agree that I'm right?"

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    First, no, you simply can not take at face value the rationale coming from a group that is this savvy in using media and propaganda.

    But for argument's sake let's say that what they offer is exactly the reason they are what they are. Then you combat that. Radical Islam. The taking of a peaceful main stream religion and co-opting it to support their views.

    You don't lump their extreme views into the rest of the faith because then you create an "us" vs "them" scenario. And that will simply swell their ranks.

    You can not simply dismiss the geopolitical and socioeconomic realities that created the instability in the region. The religion has been in the area for thousands of years. The means they are using for terror has been available for a hundred years. Two things have changed in the last 20 years. Near non- stop violent Western intervention in the region and the rise of the Internet.

    The Internet isn't going anywhere. If you want to really start improving the situation, the West needs to go somewhere else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Please stop with the straw man this straw man that. It's not a straw man. If you're going to default to that, then just read no further and comment no further. We walk away.

    ##

    If you want to have an actual discussion, then yes the ginger argument holds a ton of weight because it points out that this is one of the many wars against religion that you choose to wage. A war you simply have no chance of winning.

    That's why I ask what you're trying to do. What solution are you bringing to the table, other than the already happening war with ISIS?

    Let's say we all agree that Islam itself is a massive issue—what are we going to do about it? Kill all the Muslims? Eradicate the religion entirely?

    I guess the point I'm making is, you're not really looking for an honest debate, or you wouldn't start a thread with "Can we finally all agree that I'm right?"
    1. If you don't want to talk about straw men, don't raise them. A straw man is assigning an opinion or answer to your opponent they didn't make and attacking it instead of the arguments they do make. When you insinuate that I want to go to war with Islam or declare war on religion you're setting up a straw man to attack instead of my actual opinion. If you don't feel I have provided one, ask. You know I'd be happy to explain.

    2. The ginger argument holds no weight because it's a false equivalence. It's a false equivalence because it doesn't happen with any regularity. Unlike Islamic terrorism. In fact, can you even name a single instance in which it did occur at all? It's apples to oranges. Not even. It's more like apples to unicorns, because unicorns also do not exist.

    I despise religion, yes, but that doesn't mean you should conflate every conversation I speak to it on as though I only have one solution. This is a lazy way of saying I have nothing to offer except to blame religion. I actually do have opinions to offer on how to reduce Islamism. But it's impossible for me to share them if I can't even get you to agree there's a problem in the first place. You're asking me for my opinion on which color paint is better for the wall when we can't even agree there's a wall to be painted. It's a total failure to launch.

    3 I'm not looking for honest debate because my thread starts with an opinion I actually believe? You can't be serious. Everyone begins or engages in conversations in which they feel they are right. It'd be lunacy to do the opposite. This is my opinion. The question is somewhat rhetorical, but it's important for establishing common ground from which we can actually discuss solutions instead of arguing over whether there's a problem to begin with. This is why I spoke to my reputation in the OP. I had a feeling we'd have exactly this kind of refusal to even acknowledge and accept the statements made by ISIS in the first place. Which leaves us at square one. You want solutions but we can't even agree on the nature of the problem, so what use is there in providing them? They're all based on the assumption we can agree that religion has something to do with Islamic terrorism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil in Absentia View Post
    1. If you don't want to talk about straw men, don't raise them. A straw man is assigning an opinion or answer to your opponent they didn't make and attacking it instead of the arguments they do make. When you insinuate that I want to go to war with Islam or declare war on religion you're setting up a straw man to attack instead of my actual opinion. If you don't feel I have provided one, ask. You know I'd be happy to explain.

    2. The ginger argument holds no weight because it's a false equivalence. It's a false equivalence because it doesn't happen with any regularity. Unlike Islamic terrorism. In fact, can you even name a single instance in which it did occur at all? It's apples to oranges. Not even. It's more like apples to unicorns, because unicorns also do not exist.

    I despise religion, yes, but that doesn't mean you should conflate every conversation I speak to it on as though I only have one solution. This is a lazy way of saying I have nothing to offer except to blame religion. I actually do have opinions to offer on how to reduce Islamism. But it's impossible for me to share them if I can't even get you to agree there's a problem in the first place. You're asking me for my opinion on which color paint is better for the wall when we can't even agree there's a wall to be painted. It's a total failure to launch.

    3 I'm not looking for honest debate because my thread starts with an opinion I actually believe? You can't be serious. Everyone begins or engages in conversations in which they feel they are right. It'd be lunacy to do the opposite. This is my opinion. The question is somewhat rhetorical, but it's important for establishing common ground from which we can actually discuss solutions instead of arguing over whether there's a problem to begin with. This is why I spoke to my reputation in the OP. I had a feeling we'd have exactly this kind of refusal to even acknowledge and accept the statements made by ISIS in the first place. Which leaves us at square one. You want solutions but we can't even agree on the nature of the problem, so what use is there in providing them? They're all based on the assumption we can agree that religion has something to do with Islamic terrorism.
    I just stopped reading because you failed to even respect the first sentence if my post.

    That's why we can't have serious debates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    First, no, you simply can not take at face value the rationale coming from a group that is this savvy in using media and propaganda.

    But for argument's sake let's say that what they offer is exactly the reason they are what they are. Then you combat that. Radical Islam. The taking of a peaceful main stream religion and co-opting it to support their views.

    You don't lump their extreme views into the rest of the faith because then you create an "us" vs "them" scenario. And that will simply swell their ranks.

    You can not simply dismiss the geopolitical and socioeconomic realities that created the instability in the region. The religion has been in the area for thousands of years. The means they are using for terror has been available for a hundred years. Two things have changed in the last 20 years. Near non- stop violent Western intervention in the region and the rise of the Internet.

    The Internet isn't going anywhere. If you want to really start improving the situation, the West needs to go somewhere else.

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
    We actually agree on more than we disagree here. I refuse to not accept the rationale they put forward, for the same reason I'd never dismiss a threat they make — they are serious and they mean business. They do what they say and they say what they do. And they justify it all through their religion.

    But I actually do agree that radical Islam is what we're at "war" with, and it's what needs to be combatted and stamped out. Not Islam itself. Not Muslims themselves. Most are peaceful and harmless. The vast majority. But he ones who aren't are arguably the most dangerous religious subsect on the planet. While I simultaneously believe that humanity would be better off if religion disappeared tomorrow, my solution to religious problems isn't to simply blame them and then fold my arms waiting for something magic to happen. It's also not to ban all Muslims, or to ban religion. If there were proposals made tomorrow to do such things, I'd be marching right along side the religious becuase I fully support the Constitutional right they have to practice their beliefs (in peace).

    I also don't dismiss the geopolitical and socioeconomic factors. At all. They and the religion justifying this barbarism are not mutually exclusive. They're both true. What I'm dismissing is the idea that the religion has nothing to do with this. That this is only because of geopolitics and socioeconomic disparity. It clearly is not. They say so themselves. It's a factor. A large one, even. But it's not the root cause. It's just part of the fuel behind why it hasn't subsided, and why it's actually been as easy as it's been to establish groups like ISIS in war-torn, economically ravaged countries like Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

    I'd imagine we disagree there, and that in a lot of ways we feel opposite, where you, historically, have always felt that the geopolitics and socioeconomics were the root cause and religion was the fuel/tool. I feel opposite. But neither of us is inherently wrong. Because both are factors. That's what I'm trying to get at here and trying to get us all to agree on in this thread. The religious aspect has to be on the table if we're to find and discuss honest solutions to combatting the problem's coming out of groups like this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil in Absentia View Post
    We actually agree on more than we disagree here. I refuse to not accept the rationale they put forward, for the same reason I'd never dismiss a threat they make — they are serious and they mean business. They do what they say and they say what they do. And they justify it all through their religion.
    Except their entire propaganda effort is to show a false reality. Here's a Huff piece on some of those efforts:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...b0dbb8000e9e45

    They literally stage a fair, complete with blow up bouncy houses and swing rides, in order to paint those living under their brutal regime as happy go lucky folks, significantly better off than others in the region. They take pictures, enhance them all digitally, then circulate them over the Internet. Everything they release is carefully constructed and in line with their branding. If an American Corporation puts out a press release that their core value is helping the middle class flourish, you'd call bullshit on that. Or at least be very skeptical. So I'm not sure why you'd take ISIS' press release stating their core values at their face.

    But I actually do agree that radical Islam is what we're at "war" with, and it's what needs to be combatted and stamped out. Not Islam itself. Not Muslims themselves. Most are peaceful and harmless. The vast majority. But he ones who aren't are arguably the most dangerous religious subsect on the planet. While I simultaneously believe that humanity would be better off if religion disappeared tomorrow, my solution to religious problems isn't to simply blame them and then fold my arms waiting for something magic to happen. It's also not to ban all Muslims, or to ban religion. If there were proposals made tomorrow to do such things, I'd be marching right along side the religious becuase I fully support the Constitutional right they have to practice their beliefs (in peace).
    Sure, they're currently the most dangerous sub-sect at the moment. No disagreement there.

    I also don't dismiss the geopolitical and socioeconomic factors. At all. They and the religion justifying this barbarism are not mutually exclusive. They're both true. What I'm dismissing is the idea that the religion has nothing to do with this. That this is only because of geopolitics and socioeconomic disparity. It clearly is not. They say so themselves. It's a factor. A large one, even. But it's not the root cause. It's just part of the fuel behind why it hasn't subsided, and why it's actually been as easy as it's been to establish groups like ISIS in war-torn, economically ravaged countries like Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

    I'd imagine we disagree there, and that in a lot of ways we feel opposite, where you, historically, have always felt that the geopolitics and socioeconomics were the root cause and religion was the fuel/tool. I feel opposite. But neither of us is inherently wrong. Because both are factors. That's what I'm trying to get at here and trying to get us all to agree on in this thread. The religious aspect has to be on the table if we're to find and discuss honest solutions to combatting the problem's coming out of groups like this.
    Yes, but when discussing the "religious aspect", what's important is being surgical. There are two ways to look at this and it seems to be our fundamental disagreement. One is that the Dog (Islam) has fleas (ISIS). The other is to say the Dog (Islam) creates the fleas (ISIS). The issue is that you'd combat the two situations very differently. If you believe a Dog has fleas, you bathe them in medicated shampoo in order to protect the dog and kill off the parasite. If you believe a Dog creates fleas, then you put down the dog.

    There's no treatment if Islam creates ISIS. You can't cure that. It will just keep occurring. On the opposite end, the one I find myself on, if you believe that ISIS co-opts Islam because it finds Islam to be a suitable host to feed off of in the region, then there are plenty of ways to combat that.

    A lot of ways, we're currently doing. Kill as many as possible, without hurting collaterals (something we're still not great at, but better than we used to be). Hold up those who follow Islam but who are not radical, rather than painting all Muslims with the same brush. Enlist those who follow Islam who are not radical to help in the propaganda effort against ISIS and in the ground war against them.

    And one key way we are not. Leave the region alone to resolve it's own issues, while containing it's ability to effect it's neighbors.

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    to say it has 0 to do with religion is stupid because it's what extremists use as an excuse for their shit.

    But when a hardcore christian shot up a planned parenthood, we were told it was just a lunatic. when a muslim person commits terrorism, it's islam destroying the world. of course, ISIS is more organizaed than that guy was but radical terrorism exists in more than just islam.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlairBettsBlocksEverything View Post
    to say it has 0 to do with religion is stupid because it's what extremists use as an excuse for their shit.

    But when a hardcore christian shot up a planned parenthood, we were told it was just a lunatic. when a muslim person commits terrorism, it's islam destroying the world. of course, ISIS is more organizaed than that guy was but radical terrorism exists in more than just islam.
    Not many are saying it has nothing to do with religion. The question is, does religion cause this or do people who want to do this use religion as a tool. And of course, that matters because how you try to prevent this type of violence is predicated on what is causing it.

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    If religion were the cause then every religious person would be killing other people.

    There's a great south park episode (2 parter actually) where Cartman travels to the future and religion has been eradicated. Yet there are three sects of Atheists with different acronyms fighting to the death over which kind of atheist title should rule.

    At the end of the day, there will always be radical groups of people who want to kill others and control everything. Religion is just the tool of the trade.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanJesus View Post
    Except their entire propaganda effort is to show a false reality. Here's a Huff piece on some of those efforts:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...b0dbb8000e9e45

    They literally stage a fair, complete with blow up bouncy houses and swing rides, in order to paint those living under their brutal regime as happy go lucky folks, significantly better off than others in the region. They take pictures, enhance them all digitally, then circulate them over the Internet. Everything they release is carefully constructed and in line with their branding. If an American Corporation puts out a press release that their core value is helping the middle class flourish, you'd call bullshit on that. Or at least be very skeptical. So I'm not sure why you'd take ISIS' press release stating their core values at their face.
    I don't deny they are propagandists, and I don't even disagree that they've co-opted Islam to fuel/justify their cause. I disagree that Islam, the religion, has nothing to do with their cause, and I take their manifesto seriously because I have little reason, given the wealth of evidence of their crimes and behaviors, to believe otherwise. Even if you could prove they are actually closeted atheists who are just using the religion as a tool because they know it'll help them recruit, that doesn't change the fact that the bodies they are amassing, who are also killing on behalf of the cause, are devout, and are doing so because they believe in this very specific interpretation of Islam. That makes the group, certainly to its victims, a religiously inspired or justified one. Even if the process of acquiring those Jihadists was all an act of subterfuge. Because beliefs influence actions.

    Yes, but when discussing the "religious aspect", what's important is being surgical. There are two ways to look at this and it seems to be our fundamental disagreement. One is that the Dog (Islam) has fleas (ISIS). The other is to say the Dog (Islam) creates the fleas (ISIS). The issue is that you'd combat the two situations very differently. If you believe a Dog has fleas, you bathe them in medicated shampoo in order to protect the dog and kill off the parasite. If you believe a Dog creates fleas, then you put down the dog.

    There's no treatment if Islam creates ISIS. You can't cure that. It will just keep occurring. On the opposite end, the one I find myself on, if you believe that ISIS co-opts Islam because it finds Islam to be a suitable host to feed off of in the region, then there are plenty of ways to combat that.

    A lot of ways, we're currently doing. Kill as many as possible, without hurting collaterals (something we're still not great at, but better than we used to be). Hold up those who follow Islam but who are not radical, rather than painting all Muslims with the same brush. Enlist those who follow Islam who are not radical to help in the propaganda effort against ISIS and in the ground war against them.

    And one key way we are not. Leave the region alone to resolve it's own issues, while containing it's ability to effect it's neighbors.
    There's a middle ground between those two polarities — that the dog (Islam) is predisposed to flea infestation (ISIS). Which I'd argue is the case here. In the same way Christianity, also co-opted throughout history, suffered the same disease, and still does, albeit to lesser degrees than ISIS by modern comparison (there's a reason for this I'll get to momentarily). Because the holy texts make it way too easy to justify horrific behavior because they prescribe it.

    The dog in this case doesn't need to be put down, necessarily (though I'd argue without it we're almost assured to be flea-free because there's no longer a host to infect and feed off of), but it does need to take better care of the fact is so predisposed to flea infestation in the first place and it needs to take more rigorous precautions to that pre-existing condition. This is where the moderates come in. Just as what has occurred for Christianity. It needs to be forced into modernity from within. Not from without. Moderates within the religion need to be championed and propped up. Secular governments need to be established in Islamic nations to wall off religion from government. Democratic and liberal ideals need to be championed, established, and supported, starting with the empowerment of women in Islamic nations where the rule of the land is dictated by the Mullah's who act on devout belief in Sharia and Hadith prescriptions. And all of this can happen provided the moderates are given a wealth of support from countries like the U.S. and Europe as a whole. Especially those with military presences in any of these Islamic nations.

    It's not about stamping out the religion. Much as I'd like to see all of them wiped off the planet tomorrow, that isn't the solution. It's about empowering moderates. Those who do not take the religion seriously. These are the people who can forcefully evolve the belief system into something far more compatable with modernity.

    As to leaving them alone. In a sense, I agree, but I also agree that it's easier said than done when these groups are actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons. That elevates the threat level to one no country on the planet can ignore, especially on the grounds of assuming their motives aren't genuine. Too many have died, horrifically, to have that kind of cavalier attitude.
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    Be it Puritans colonizing Massachusetts, the Mormons colonizing Utah, the Jewish seeking a home nation that became Israel, or ISIS seeking to from a nation, there seems to be an instinctive need for believers to have a home base, and be in a community of like-minded individuals. It's most dangerous when individuals decide to resort to violence in order to forcibly convert, instead of simply self-defense.

    To me, ISIS is such a radical offshoot of Islam I would refer to them as a cult, sect, or something else. If the Jehovah's Witnesses turned violent, I wouldn't refer to them as Christians, even if they self-identified as such.

    It would be more helpful to just talk about the conflict with ISIS, instead of fueling the Islamophobia, which leads to the kind of xenophobia and racism that the KKK thrives on (and Donald Trump is tapping into).

    People are tribal. And it's unfortunate when tribes decide to kill each other.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fletch View Post
    Be it Puritans colonizing Massachusetts, the Mormons colonizing Utah, the Jewish seeking a home nation that became Israel, or ISIS seeking to from a nation, there seems to be an instinctive need for believers to have a home base, and be in a community of like-minded individuals. It's most dangerous when individuals decide to resort to violence in order to forcibly convert, instead of simply self-defense.

    To me, ISIS is such a radical offshoot of Islam I would refer to them as a cult, sect, or something else. If the Jehovah's Witnesses turned violent, I wouldn't refer to them as Christians, even if they self-identified as such.

    It would be more helpful to just talk about the conflict with ISIS, instead of fueling the Islamophobia, which leads to the kind of xenophobia and racism that the KKK thrives on (and Donald Trump is tapping into).

    People are tribal. And it's unfortunate when tribes decide to kill each other.
    This is a really great point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fletch View Post
    Be it Puritans colonizing Massachusetts, the Mormons colonizing Utah, the Jewish seeking a home nation that became Israel, or ISIS seeking to from a nation, there seems to be an instinctive need for believers to have a home base, and be in a community of like-minded individuals. It's most dangerous when individuals decide to resort to violence in order to forcibly convert, instead of simply self-defense.

    To me, ISIS is such a radical offshoot of Islam I would refer to them as a cult, sect, or something else. If the Jehovah's Witnesses turned violent, I wouldn't refer to them as Christians, even if they self-identified as such.

    It would be more helpful to just talk about the conflict with ISIS, instead of fueling the Islamophobia, which leads to the kind of xenophobia and racism that the KKK thrives on (and Donald Trump is tapping into).

    People are tribal. And it's unfortunate when tribes decide to kill each other.
    What you refer to them as doesn't much matter. It's basically a really big No True Scotsman fallacy. Like how Christians say the KKK aren't real Christians, and how Hassids say non-practicing Jews aren't real Jews, etc. Even like how some Rangers fans will say others aren't real Rangers fans, because they don't want to be associated with behavior they disagree with. But they are real. Whether you acknowledge it or not. You may disagree on principles, but you share the same foundations.

    The other issue with this line of thinking is that it presumes all religions are equal in regards to conquest, establishment, and enforcement. They aren't. If Jehovah's Witnesses decided to get violent tomorrow you'd be facing down a very small number of people who don't touch the kind of global reach Islam has. There are roughly 8.2 million JW's in the world, and they hold majority in zero countries. There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and they hold majority in numerous nations like Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudia Arabia, Syria and Turkey. So while I understand the point you are trying to illustrate, you're drawing parallels between nonequivalent groups.

    The majority of Muslims are peaceful. There we'd probably agree. A large number of Muslims, however, do hold pernicious beliefs prescribed by the religion. Look at the recent Pew poll data conducted in more than a dozen majority Islamic nations like Egypt, Jordan and Indonesia, Tunisia (who are currently leading the supply of fighting bodies to ISIS), and more. Look at the percentage of Muslims in these countries who favor making Sharia the law of the land. Look at the percentage of Muslims in these countries that support corporal punishment for the crime of theft. Look at the percentage of Muslims in these countries that approve of stoning as punishment for adultery. Look at the percentage of Muslims in these countries who believe death is the appropriate penalty for leaving the religion (apostasy laws). These are not outlier nations, either. They’re major world players in the Islamic world.

    http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/t...-about-sharia/

    Islamaphobia isn't real, either. Not in the way it's injected into this conversation. For two reasons:

    First, phobias are irrational fears. Like the fear behind of the number 13, or the fear of chickens. Logical in the most basic sense that they exist, but utterly irrational when you juxtapose them against reality. Fears over things like Sharia and Islamic terrorism aren't irrational. They're rational. Because these belief systems and behaviors are tangibly, objectively anti-liberal and anti-free.

    Second, if this same conversation were being had anytime between the 11th and 15th centuries, I doubt you'd be worried about "Christianaphobia", because it also never existed in this context.

    I also understand the point you are trying to make here about not wanting to see Muslims as people discriminated against, and I agree, but these distinctions are increasingly important to this conversation.

    Lastly, ISIS are also not the minority they're made out to be. There are literally thousands of Islamist/Jihadist terror cells/groups. ISIS are the most well known and have the best propaganda machine, so they tend to spear head the conversation, but they're not the only active group. Groups like Boko Haram and Hezbollah are just as guilty as ISIS when it comes to religiously-inspired human rights violations. They just don't get the same press.
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    I think you underestimate the number of violent Christians. Whether it be militias in the intermontane west, the KKK, etc., there's plenty of violent Christians. I'd say the majority of people of all religions are peaceful, so we're dealing with a small minority of violent offenders. But since we've been brought up in a largely (Judeo)-Christian nation, violent Muslims are more intimidating because we lack a cultural understanding of Islam, how radicalization occurs, etc. We have a better idea of where violent Christian sects come from.

    All religions have a tendency to try to increase their influence. Muslims may appear more straightforward with their violence. Christian groups have tried to convert the unwashed masses, and in history gave 'savages' the choice of converting or dying. Mormons feel a social obligation to have large families, to increase their numbers and influence in an area.

    We do ISIS a favor when we turn the war into a battle of Christians vs Muslims, as Muslims have an obligation to defend their brothers. If the US would focus on ISIS poor treatment of women, children, torture, inhumane treatment of enemy combatants and noncombatants, it would be a better approach then playing up the radicalized Muslim angle.

    There are serial killers/rapists/pedophiles in the US that are despicable and deserve the death penalty and/or life without parole. But I would also argue that how the death penalty is currently administered (due to lack of availability of the 'best' drug cocktail) in the US is barbaric (people going through lots of pain for an extended period of time) so Muslim Sharia law isn't the only barbaric thing going.
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    If you feel I'm underestimating the number of violent Christians, I'd love to see data supporting the idea they're even equal to the violence and illiberal ideas still at the forefront of Islam today. I don't deny for a second that Christianity has blood on its hands due to it's somewhat recent history, but it has been forced into modernity at a much greater rate than Islam has if we're viewing them side-by-side.

    The war isn't between Christians and Muslims. It's between free society and closed society, IMO. I'm not sure what you're getting at with the bit about "focusing on the poor treatment of women, children, torture and inhumane treatment of enemy combatants and noncombatants" and "radicalized Muslim card". To me, you're describing a list of offenses, and then the label that produces them. They aren't diametrically opposed.

    Ditto the death penalty/Sharia law comparison. I'm not claiming Sharia law is the only barbarism in the world. I'm claiming Sharia law is diametrically opposed to free society and to liberal values, and as such has no place in modern society where these things are valued. Sharia is a set of beliefs, so let's compare it apples to apples against other sets of beliefs. Not to other barbaric practices that aren't specific to beliefs. I mean, strangulation is barbaric. People are strangled all the time. It's horrible. But until we have a belief system that prescribes it where people are being strangled routinely by a group who believe they are righteous for doing so, that wouldn't stand up equally to comparison with something like Sharia.

    If we're only interested in not singling out Islam (I'm not sure why, considering it's producing the greatest percentage of human suffering in this respect of all the major religions), then I'll also cite Hassidic Judaism as another example of an illiberal, regressive, anti-woman belief system.
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