/ Tory Party "institutionally Islamophobic"?

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ripper - on 05 Mar 2019

So leading Tory Baroness Warsi says her party is institutionally Islamophobic.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-47454993

Wonder if the Daily Mail et al will now go after Theresa May in the same way they've attacked Corbyn over allegations of anti-Semitism in Labour?

Probably not, is my guess

11
Andy Hardy on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to ripper:

They seem to be terrified of UKIP stealing their votes. Surely there should be "clear blue water" on *both* sides of the Tory schooner?

2
jkarran - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to ripper:

> Wonder if the Daily Mail et al will now go after Theresa May in the same way they've attacked Corbyn over allegations of anti-Semitism in Labour? Probably not, is my guess

Of course not. It'll barely barely warrant a mention for a couple of obvious reasons.

One, the gutter press aren't interested in knocking the Conservative party. Attacking the government might be more tempting but doing so without attacking the party is rather too nuanced and risky.

Two, islamaphobia is the socially acceptable* prejudice de jour. It simply wouldn't do to risk alienating their readership by challenging that, especially given the certain papers' role in cultivating and feeding it.

*not acceptable but very widely accepted or shrugged off

jk

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The Wild Scallion on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to ripper:

> So leading Tory Baroness Warsi says her party is institutionally Islamophobic.

Well they have been institutionally psychopathic for as long as I've been alive .

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/mindmelding/201706/9-clues-you-may-be-dealing-psychopath

Whats a little Islamaphobia thrown into the mix ?

5
krikoman - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to ripper:

Just heard her interview on the radio, very different from the previous "news" item about anti-Semitism in the Labour party, and Margaret Hodge Where no evidence was asked for or supplied.

Warsi, was questioned and supplied evidence of a tory MP.

Everything Hodge has said has been taken at face value.

A bit like Corbyn "having an egg thrown at him", apparently (and I haven't checked) a bloke punched him, and he also had an egg with him. So Corbyn didn't get egged he got punched, by a bloke with an egg.

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subtle on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> A bit like Corbyn "having an egg thrown at him", apparently (and I haven't checked) a bloke punched him, and he also had an egg with him. So Corbyn didn't get egged he got punched, by a bloke with an egg.

But the egg was in the chaps clenched fist, the "punch" was thrown at Corbyn so technically the egg was thrown at him - c'mon lad, learn how to deduce facts

1
Harry Jarvis - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> Just heard her interview on the radio, very different from the previous "news" item about anti-Semitism in the Labour party, and Margaret Hodge Where no evidence was asked for or supplied.

Good grief. We have a prominent senior Tory, sticking it the Tories, and what do you do? Stick it to the Labour Party. Whose side are you on? 

2
Ramblin dave - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to ripper:

> Wonder if the Daily Mail et al will now go after Theresa May in the same way they've attacked Corbyn over allegations of anti-Semitism in Labour?

Given that they were mostly pretty happy to use antisemitic tropes against "North London geek" Ed Milliband a few years ago, it's probably safe to assume that they're more motivated by finding shit that'll stick to Labour than by any actual concern about racism.

1
The New NickB - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to ripper:

Remember the London Mayoral elections, Zac Goldsmith went so far that even Tories felt that they had to speak out, although only after it was clear that Goldsmith had lost. Michael Fallon was there to defend the indefensible of course.

Of course whilst the perception of anti-semitism in the Labour Party is greater* the reality is that anti-semitism is more widespread amongst Conservatives, as shown by YouGov polls in 2015 and 2017.

* Labour have a problem with anti-semitism, it’s clear if you follow Labour politics on twitter and I’m not defending it.

Just as a quick anecdote, I remember during the 1997 general election, the Conservative candidate in the Blackburn constituency, a young woman of south Asian heritage, was going around the predominantly south Asian areas with a megaphone shouting “Jack Straw is a Jew”. Which was even less subtle than the tactics used by the darling of the hard left and friend to murderous dictators, George Galloway, when competing against Oona King in Bethnal Green and Bow is 2005.

Post edited at 14:19
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Timmd on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Harry Jarvis:

> Good grief. We have a prominent senior Tory, sticking it the Tories, and what do you do? Stick it to the Labour Party. Whose side are you on? 

I read it as him defending Corbyn.

1
dh73 - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to ripper:

who actually gives a f**k about some tweet? the Baroness should get a life. failing that, if, on the basis of this one example, she thinks the whole party is institutional islamophobic why on earth is she still part of it?

ditto for these anti-Semitic squawkers, I am utterly sick of everyone taking advantage of whatever minority/ diversity clickbait happens to be flavour of the month simply to further their own ends.

racism, sexism and indeed any sort of hatred for any (or no) reason are very serious issues - utterly degraded and undermined by moronic offence finding at every opportunity which ultimately does more harm than good, pushes people to extreme positions and alienates most of the public.

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ripper - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to dh73:

> who actually gives a f**k about some tweet? the Baroness should get a life. failing that, if, on the basis of this one example, she thinks the whole party is institutional islamophobic why on earth is she still part of it?

> ditto for these anti-Semitic squawkers, I am utterly sick of everyone taking advantage of whatever minority/ diversity clickbait happens to be flavour of the month simply to further their own ends.

> racism, sexism and indeed any sort of hatred for any (or no) reason are very serious issues - utterly degraded and undermined by moronic offence finding at every opportunity which ultimately does more harm than good, pushes people to extreme positions and alienates most of the public.

Ok - fairly obviously my point was less about the actual tweet and more about about the double standard in reporting that will no doubt be applied by the Tory press (although the BBC News website at least seems to be treating it pretty impartially). However, in answer to yours it's perhaps worth pointing out that while Warsi is using this person and his tweet as an example, she does say similar things are happening on a much wider basis - "daily examples of the most vile racists and Islamophobic comments from both elected representatives and members" was the phrase she used in the link I pasted.

1
dh73 - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to ripper:

apologies ripper - I do appreciate that I have vented about a point that you were not making!

ripper - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to dh73:

 No apology required my friend! after all if you can't vent in these forums we'd all be in danger of exploding ;-)

krikoman - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Harry Jarvis:

> Good grief. We have a prominent senior Tory, sticking it the Tories, and what do you do? Stick it to the Labour Party. Whose side are you on? 


Eh! you might want to read my post again.

I wasn't sticking it to anyone, apart from the mainstream media, perhaps.

2
krikoman - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to subtle:

> But the egg was in the chaps clenched fist, the "punch" was thrown at Corbyn so technically the egg was thrown at him - c'mon lad, learn how to deduce facts


And if I punch you in the face, with a handful of feathers in my fist, have I thrown some feathers at you?

OR maybe that was the point you were trying to make

1
Coel Hellier - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to ripper:

> So leading Tory Baroness Warsi says her party is institutionally Islamophobic.

The never-elected Warsi would say that.  She's a Muslim who tries to prevent her religion being criticised.   

"Islamophobia" is a word designed to do exactly that, to try to make out that any criticism of the religion is a "phobia", meaning an irrational fear and prejudice. 

The truth is that Islam is an ideology that contains a lot of bad and harmful ideas. Anyone who accepts Western liberal-democratic Enlightenment values *should* be opposed to Islam, or at least many of the mainstream versions of Islam.

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Coel Hellier - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to jkarran:

> Two, islamaphobia is the socially acceptable* prejudice de jour

Why is it a "prejudice" to be opposed to idea-systems such as Islam? Is that any worse than being opposed to socialism or to capitalism or communism or fascism?  If so, why?

2
Jon Stewart - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> The never-elected Warsi would say that.  She's a Muslim who tries to prevent her religion being criticised.   

> "Islamophobia" is a word designed to do exactly that, to try to make out that any criticism of the religion is a "phobia", meaning an irrational fear and prejudice. 

> The truth is that Islam is an ideology that contains a lot of bad and harmful ideas. Anyone who accepts Western liberal-democratic Enlightenment values *should* be opposed to Islam, or at least many of the mainstream versions of Islam.

Should they also be opposed to the harmful ideology of Judaism while they're at it? Or would it be wiser to regard Jews not as sharing one ideology, but rather single out the terrible ideas held by some Jews (those ideas that cause real harm to people, and I think we both know the kind of extremist views I'm referring to here) while not tarring all Jews with the brush that their religion is in itself bad? It is rubbish of course, but I don't think it's so awful that we need to collectively "oppose Judaism" - it's none of my business what kind of bizarre, anachronistic rituals people conduct in their homes and holy places.

I know you're committed to the idea that mainstream Islam is terrible, and that it isn't just Islamic extremism that's worth getting upset about. But my experience of knowing Muslims personally demonstrates very clearly to me that while they believe in a load of rubbish that I want nothing to do with, they don't follow a harmful ideology. Nothing they do, or at least that is exposed in any behaviour that I witness directly or indirectly, provides any evidence that this version of mainstream Islam is something I should actively oppose. I don't see what harm it's doing - they seem to be doing a good job of bringing their kids up (both boys and girls) to go to university and train to do good, professional jobs that are useful for the whole of society. What is it that you're asking me to "oppose"?

What are these harmful effects of mainstream Islam in the UK that you see, but which I - as someone who works in a profession where a huge proportion of my colleagues are young Muslims - don't see? What are my colleagues and friends doing that's so awful that they wouldn't do if it weren't for their "harmful ideology"?

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Eric9Points - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Have you read the report?

The arse at the centre of the story was implying that all muslims are terrorists. I'd say that was Islamophobic.

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Coel Hellier - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Have you read the report?

Yes.

> The arse at the centre of the story was implying that all muslims are terrorists. I'd say that was Islamophobic.

Where does he say (or imply) that all Muslims are terrorists?

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Eric9Points - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Yes.

> Where does he say (or imply) that all Muslims are terrorists?

"Turkey buys oil from ISIS. Muslims sticking together," 

Ok, on reflection maybe just Turkish Muslims.

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EarlyBird - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

What's her elected or not status got to do with anything?

2
Coel Hellier - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Should they also be opposed to the harmful ideology of Judaism while they're at it?

Sure, I'm fine with people criticising aspects of Judaism, or the religion as a whole.

>  ... while not tarring all Jews with the brush that their religion is in itself bad?

Well lots of Jews are secular and don't hold to the religion of Judaism.   ("Jewish" is surely defined by descent, so that "Jew" does not mean "adherent of Judaism", whereas "Muslim" does mean "adherent of Islam").

> It is rubbish of course, but I don't think it's so awful that we need to collectively "oppose Judaism" - it's none of my business what kind of bizarre, anachronistic rituals people conduct in their homes and holy places.

Well true, Judaism is non-proselytizing and non-expansionist.  As far as I can tell it's an opt-in religion that accepts personal choice in the matter.  It thus seems to me a lot less harmful than ideologies such as Islam or communism which do want to impose themselves on people.

> But my experience of knowing Muslims personally demonstrates very clearly to me that while they believe in a load of rubbish that I want nothing to do with, they don't follow a harmful ideology.

OK, your acquaintances are presumably a small minority of the country they are in?  The evidence worldwide seems to be that having Muslims as a majority of the population is usually harmful for freedom and for the political, social and intellectual life of the country. 

> Nothing they do, or at least that is exposed in any behaviour that I witness directly or indirectly, provides any evidence that this version of mainstream Islam is something I should actively oppose.

Out of interest, what do you make of the recent events at Parkfield community school, Birmingham?

"A primary school that taught pupils about homosexuality as part of a programme to challenge homophobia has stopped the lessons after hundreds of children were withdrawn by parents in protest."

"On Friday about 600 Muslim children, aged between four and 11, were withdrawn from the school for the day, parents said."

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/mar/04/birmingham-school-stops-lgbt-lessons-after-parent-protests

> What are these harmful effects of mainstream Islam in the UK that you see, ...

I see the harmful effects in countries where mainstream Islam dominates.  Do you really need a list of the harmful effects?  Some of them are:

Lack of freedom of speech; blasphemy laws
Lack of freedom of religion; apostasy laws
Lack of political freedom.
Stifling effect on enquiry and intellectual progress.
Resulting lack of social and economic development.

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Coel Hellier - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

>> Where does he say (or imply) that all Muslims are terrorists?

> "Turkey buys oil from ISIS. Muslims sticking together," 

That's not really the same as "all Muslims are terrorists" is it?

1
Coel Hellier - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to EarlyBird:

> What's her elected or not status got to do with anything?

Since her only notability is as a politician, the fact that she's never been elected to anything is relevant to her standing. 

1
EarlyBird - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I'm still not sure it's relevant. A political party is more than the sum of its elected representatives and a democracy functions most effectively when a broad section of the electorate are involved in the political discourse. 

5
Jon Stewart - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Why is it a "prejudice" to be opposed to idea-systems such as Islam? Is that any worse than being opposed to socialism or to capitalism or communism or fascism?  If so, why?

Let's be generous (and this really is generous, because I've pointed out precisely the same fallacy in your argument before) and call this a mistake rather than intellectual dishonesty.

Good comparative "ideas systems" to Islam are other religions, e.g. Buddhism, Christianity. Political and economic ideologies to each other also make good comparisons to each other, but religions to political systems are false comparisons. Yet you choose not to compare Islam to other religions, but to political and economic systems. Perhaps this is for a good reason that you can explain, rather than just weak reasoning by making a false comparison?

I'm afraid the theological argument that "Islam is a political and economic system! - it says so in the koran!" won't wash. Mainstream Islam in the UK is not seeking to overthrow our democracy - sorry to disappoint if you thought it was.

Post edited at 21:59
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Coel Hellier - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> What are these harmful effects of mainstream Islam in the UK that you see, ...

Another example that might resonate with you:

"There's no direct translation for gay, lesbian, bisexual in Punjabi or in Urdu that I know of, so I basically said 'of that with you and mum' - to liken it to a relationship.

"He said: 'You know Islam, you've gone to the mosque, you've read the Koran, you know it's a sin don't you? As far as I'm concerned, I'm right, you're wrong. What you're doing is against Islam'."

"Miriam said her father presented her with a choice; give up her partner and return to the family home, or drop off her keys and never show her face again.

"He basically said he didn't want anything to do with me and disowned me."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-46567505

And a similar issue, that resonates more with me, is the similar ostracism and threats of violence that can be the fate of anyone from such communities renouncing Islam and becoming an atheist. 

1
Eric9Points - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> >> Where does he say (or imply) that all Muslims are terrorists?

> That's not really the same as "all Muslims are terrorists" is it?


Ok, the most charitable interpretation I can come up with, having read it three times and thought about it us the Turkish Muslims are ISIS sympathisers. That's still a) Islamophobic and b) total crap in my view. Of course I'm not a libel lawyer so there may be a perfectly innocent meaning in the statement if one spends a few hours thinking about it but I imagine the average Twitter user will go with one of my interpretations.

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Coel Hellier - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Yet you choose not to compare Islam to other religions, but to political and economic systems. Perhaps this is for a good reason that you can explain, rather than just weak reasoning by making a false comparison?

I do this for two reasons.  First, I'm trying to emphasize that Islam really is a set of ideas.  It is not a "race" or race of people. As a set of ideas it should no more be exempt from criticism than any other idea system such as capitalism or whatever.  

Second, Islam very often is a political system as well as a religion. 

> Good comparative "ideas systems" to Islam are other religions, e.g. Buddhism, Christianity.

I'm quite happy to compare Islam to Christianity.

First, if we go back to AD 1000 or so, Christianity was as bad as Islam (or maybe even worse), being dogmatic, intolerant, oppressive. 

But, today, mainstream Christianity in most nations accepts freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the right to criticise Christianity, and separation of powers between church and state (at least to as large extent, even if not perfectly).  That all makes it vastly more benign nowadays. Further, to a large extent many "Christians" are only nominal Christians and have largely ditched most of the silly and harmful ideologies of their religion. 

The end result is that it's fine to be a vocal atheist in a majority-Christian country such as the US, and you can criticise Christianity openly and nothing bad will happen.

Similarly, in Israel one can be a vocal atheist and openly criticise Judaism and nothing bad will happen.

But, a vocal atheist openly criticising Islam in Bangladesh or Iran or Saudi Arabia or Pakistan or many other Islamic countries would be killed or flogged and imprisoned or lynched.

1
Coel Hellier - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

And it's not safe to be an ex-Muslim even in Britain. E.g.:

"An investigation for the BBC has found evidence of young people suffering threats, intimidation, being ostracised by their communities and, in some cases, encountering serious physical abuse when they told their families they were no longer Muslims."

"Ayisha (not her real name) from Lancashire was just 14 when she began to question Islam after reading the Koran. She started rebelling over wearing the hijab, but eventually decided she wasn't a Muslim and the situation at home rapidly got worse.

"My dad threatened to kill me by getting a knife and holding it against my neck and saying: 'We might as well do it if you're going to bring this much shame to the family.'"

"He used to beat her so badly that eventually she called the police and he was convicted of child cruelty. Ayisha hadn't anticipated the shock of being immediately cut off from her mother and siblings.

"Now just 17 and studying for A-levels, she's been placed by the council under the guardianship of her boyfriend's father. It's hardly ideal, but she understands why. "They thought I wasn't at much risk and that was the end of it."

"Aaliyah, 25, who also did not wish to be named, lives in South Yorkshire. She left Islam while at university and realised she couldn't move back home, where her parents had a marriage arranged for her and the fear of violence was very real.

"I know my family wouldn't hurt me, not my immediate family," she says, looking back. "But I haven't told my relatives. My dad's actually told me that if the wrong people found out then he doesn't know what's going to happen."

"Aaliyah offers advice to other ex-Muslims on online forums and urges them to get financially independent before they tell their parents, so they can cope with being thrown out.

"The fear is constant too. "I used to live in Bradford for a time and I'd be very quiet about it because there are Muslims everywhere. I still have this innate fear, it's hard to explain. You just want to keep quiet about it. It's just safe to stay quiet."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34357047

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Jon Stewart - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Well lots of Jews are secular and don't hold to the religion of Judaism.   ("Jewish" is surely defined by descent, so that "Jew" does not mean "adherent of Judaism", whereas "Muslim" does mean "adherent of Islam").

In this context, I'm talking about Jews who practice Judaism. 

> Well true, Judaism is non-proselytizing and non-expansionist.  As far as I can tell it's an opt-in religion that accepts personal choice in the matter.  It thus seems to me a lot less harmful than ideologies such as Islam or communism which do want to impose themselves on people.

Depends on the specific Jewish sub-community. The hacidic jews are 100% batshit crazy on the issue of apostates or whatever they call them. Horrifically abusive, just like the extremist Muslims. 

> OK, your acquaintances are presumably a small minority of the country they are in?  The evidence worldwide seems to be that having Muslims as a majority of the population is usually harmful for freedom and for the political, social and intellectual life of the country. 

> I see the harmful effects in countries where mainstream Islam dominates.  Do you really need a list of the harmful effects?  Some of them are:

I absolutely do not want to run things the way that an Islamic nation would run things. But nor would I want to run thing the way a Christian government in Africa would run things - the problems are extremely similar.

There are two separate flaws in your argument here: 

1. I'm saying I don't see any reason to oppose mainstream Islam in the UK, and you're responding with evidence about different forms of Islam overseas and saying "yeah, it's all just the same". It isn't. Just like the religious right in the US is not the same as the CofE. 

2. The harmful effects of Islam you present as unique to Islam, and yet they're rife outside of western democracies, Islamic or not.

You're not providing a compelling reason for me to think that I should stop thinking specifically about particular ideas that I dislike advanced by some sub-groups within Islam, and instead draw the circle round the whole of Islam. We can go through the concentric circles argument again if you like, and you can fail to come up with any good reasons why Islam (rather than smaller subsets) is the appropriate level at which to agitate for "opposition", again.

> Out of interest, what do you make of the recent events at Parkfield community school, Birmingham?

I don't like it much. It's a good example of specific idea that I think should be opposed, rather than saying to all Muslims "your religion is bad". Fat chance they'll change their minds, you might say, and you'd be quite right. Still more likely that them denouncing their entire faith though, don't you think? That said, I know plenty of Muslims who at university age decided to drop that particular bit of their religion and hang on to the rest...

Post edited at 22:21
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Jon Stewart - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Another example that might resonate with you:

> "There's no direct translation for gay, lesbian, bisexual in Punjabi or in Urdu that I know of, so I basically said 'of that with you and mum'

The problem isn't unique to Islam - plenty of white working class families where the closest thing to religion is football work the same way. Should I oppose the harmful ideology of football too? Similarly, other (actual) religions are dreadful on the issue of homosexuality, and I oppose all of them. I find it extremely unhelpful to say "Islam is bad" on these grounds and then say nothing about Catholicism. 

> And a similar issue, that resonates more with me, is the similar ostracism and threats of violence that can be the fate of anyone from such communities renouncing Islam and becoming an atheist. 

I don't think you really know how "such communities" work. Sure, there are conservative Muslim communities that bully and abuse apostates. But none of the non-practising/ non-believing Muslims I know have any problem. Any of your n=1 data points can be countered with who knows how many opposing ones where there's been acceptance. I just don't buy the idea that you've got any handle on what different Muslim communities are like. You've drawn the circle around the whole of Islam, but your criticisms either apply to only subsets within Islam, or they apply across wider groups as well as Islam. 

You can try to draw me into "defending Islam" - which is ridiculous, because I think it's a load of shit. My counter argument to your simplistic "Islam is bad" isn't "no, it's good". It's "you've defined the group you oppose inappropriately, on tribal grounds and have included sets that don't warrant opposition, and not included other sets that warrant precisely the same opposition". OK it's a more nuanced position than the facile strawman "you shouldn't criticise Islam, I think it's nice" but I'm sure (maybe) you're capable of engaging with it.

Post edited at 22:42
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TobyA on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> The truth is that Islam is an ideology that contains a lot of bad and harmful ideas.

But unless an ideology has agents enacting those ideas what does it matter? Jon's point is that the actions of the Muslims he knows aren't harmful so, do they not understand the ideology correctly (as you do) if they are not doing harmful actions?

Your concept of ideology is just so vague, it's essentially meaningless, or at least very selective in application. What "ideology" is to blame for America's invasion of Iraq and the destabilisation of the Middle East that followed? What "ideology" was responsible a century ago for Britain continuing to seize land by force around the world and subjugating the people within those lands? Is that white supremacy, or British supremacy, or Liberal Democracy or whatever ideology you want to blame, still with us today? You of course don't have to be subjugating people in other parts of the world, but I presume in the same way that you say Islam works, that British supremacism is still in you and me?

7
Eric9Points - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to ripper:

Newsnight have just finished a report on the issue. The tory party refused to appear.

Good to see they're treating it seriously.

birdie num num - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to ripper:

I’m a very good humoured, pleasant, liberal, tolerant chap who treats his fellow travellers through life with a deal of good natured respect, regardless of who they are or where they come from. 

In addition to which, I have a sensible and hearty religophobia, ie. toward any deity concept designed to control by emotion.

This includes Islam. It’s a concept, not a community, or a fellow traveller.

Warsi is just ramping up the hate. Making it personal

4
Eric9Points - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

> Warsi is just ramping up the hate. Making it personal

What she is saying is that the default attitude in the tory party to Islam is one of hostility and suspicion.

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birdie num num - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

Yes. I think treating Islam (together with any other deity concept that controls by emotion) with hostility and suspicion is a very healthy default attitude to have.

The trouble with all these 'phobic' accusations that are bandied about by folk who should know better, is that they make it appear to be directed toward a community of generally perfectly reasonable people rather than a religious idea, and so the hate begins.

Post edited at 23:44
Lusk - on 05 Mar 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

Hopefully, I'm not holding my breath here, but maybe, maybe, we'll get beyond all this I'm not racist, I'm not a bigot, I'm an anti-semite etc etc etc etc complete and bullshit fuelled by the regular media and the poison that is social media.

Grow up, see it as what it is ... bullshit.

Bobling - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to ripper:

I'm expecting Simon4 to chime in on this one....oh hang on : (

Post edited at 00:01
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Lusk - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Bobling:

I miss our Simon4 and others on here.

1
Darren Jackson - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

I vaguely recall a conversation we once had, when I asked you whether you'd classify Mrs Num Num as a MILF.

You told me that she's a MUSLIM (Mother Useless at Soliciting Libibinous Impulses or Masturbation). 

Pete Pozman - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Do you know many Tories? Do you suppose they don't like Muslims because of their homophobia?

I think you'll find the reason for their distaste is much simpler  

3
summo on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to ripper:

I'd say the world needs a wholesale cleansing of religious influence. Get rid of the God botherers in the house of lords, religious schools etc.. why can a Muslim women cover her face in a petrol station but not a male biker etc. 

The Tories might be bias, but a lot of home grown terrorists have been groomed by these supposedly peaceful Islamic communities in the UK. Any government is between a rock and a hard place in how they tackle it. They can't win. 

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Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> "Jewish" is surely defined by descent, so that "Jew" does not mean "adherent of Judaism", whereas "Muslim" does mean "adherent of Islam".

Is it possible to be a Muslim Jew then? Genuine question.

> Judaism is non-proselytizing and non-expansionist.  

Israel defines itself as a Jewish state and has one of the most overtly expansionist territorial policies in the world through its settlements in the West Bank. It has also been accused many times of ethnic-cleansing in East Jerusalem (including by Richard Falk, UN human rights investigator). However, many Jews, even in Israel, are opposed to these policies, just as the vast majority of Muslims are opposed to groups that seek to spread Islam by violent means.

> The evidence worldwide seems to be that having Muslims as a majority of the population is usually harmful for freedom and for the political, social and intellectual life of the country. 

I have visited many Muslim countries and have found them to be some of the most socially inclusive and intellectually stimulating places in the world. I would certainly not wish that they became more like the UK.

What are you hoping to achieve with your extremely vocal anti-Islamic agenda?

4
Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> What she is saying is that the default attitude in the tory party to Islam is one of hostility and suspicion.

I suspect that their default attitude to communism is also one of hostility and suspicion. So what?

I suspect that many UKCers have a default attitude towards fascism of hostility and suspicion.

But only one idea system gets  protected by people saying that criticism of it is a "phobia". 

3
Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Depends on the specific Jewish sub-community. The hacidic jews are 100% batshit crazy on the issue of apostates or whatever they call them. Horrifically abusive, just like the extremist Muslims. 

I would agree.  We're far too tolerant of, for example, Haredi Jews sending kids to "schools" where the "education" is little more than Bible study. 

These are not fit places for children: https://humanism.org.uk/2018/02/27/a-day-in-my-life-at-an-illegal-ultra-orthodox-school-in-london/

The problem is that in this country we have a default presumption of: "it's a religion, therefore it is good, and we can't criticise it".

1
Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> I have visited many Muslim countries and have found them to be some of the most socially inclusive and intellectually stimulating places in the world.

If they're so intellectually stimulating why are there no universities in Islamic countries in the world's top 200 universities? Why is there almost no scientific research (of anything like international standard) in Islamic countries?  Why is the total number of books published in languages like Arabic and Farsi tiny compared to norms elsewhere?

2
Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> But unless an ideology has agents enacting those ideas what does it matter? Jon's point is that the actions of the Muslims he knows aren't harmful so, do they not understand the ideology correctly (as you do) if they are not doing harmful actions?

Oh come on, it's not a difficult concept that, for example, communism is a highly harmful idea system when it dominates a country, but that a handful of members of the British Communist Party are actually doing very little harm, owing to tiny numbers.

1
summo on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> If they're so intellectually stimulating why are there no universities in Islamic countries in the world's top 200 universities? Why is there almost no scientific research (of anything like international standard) in Islamic countries?  Why is the total number of books published in languages like Arabic and Farsi tiny compared to norms elsewhere?

Or the fact they'd be happiest if only men were educated. 

2
Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> 1. I'm saying I don't see any reason to oppose mainstream Islam in the UK, and you're responding with evidence about different forms of Islam overseas and saying "yeah, it's all just the same". It isn't.

Yes, there are variants of Islam (just as there are with all major ideologies; there are multiple versions of communism for example).   (And yes, some versions of Islam, such as the Ahmadiyya version, do seem much more tolerant and benign.)

But, despite that, the ideologies do have enough common aspects that we can fairly refer to the ideology as a whole.  The idea that "Islam" has no actual identity, no common characteristics, is not sensible -- it's yet another tactic for disallowing criticism of Islam by denying that there is a target to criticise.

>  2. The harmful effects of Islam you present as unique to Islam, and yet they're rife outside of western democracies, Islamic or not.

I'm not said anything about the harmful effects being "unique to Islam".   They indeed either are or were prevalent otherwise (communist countries, fascist ones, Christianity in the Medieval era, et cetera).

One common theme of all of those is the denial of freedom of speech and the disallowing of dissent from the ideology. That, in one sentence, is why they are harmful.

1
Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> If they're so intellectually stimulating why are there no universities in Islamic countries in the world's top 200 universities? Why is there almost no scientific research (of anything like international standard) in Islamic countries?  Why is the total number of books published in languages like Arabic and Farsi tiny compared to norms elsewhere?

I'm talking about popular culture, not universities. So, sitting on a bus in Amman and talking about Shakespeare with a local youth, being educated in the Napoleonic wars by a resident of Ramallah, discussing politics anywhere in the Middle East or North Africa - it's the number 1 topic of conversation! Let's face it, most people in the anglosphere struggle with ordering a meal in a second language never mind holding an intellectual-stimulating conversation. Oh, but we have the top universities!

3
summo on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

2nd language, the problem is the uks education system not the individuals and the fact that we already speak the world's default 2nd language.

Perhaps all those people you spoke to had to learn English to gain a worldly education from external sources, because their religious culture wouldn't allow it? 

2
Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I'm not said anything about the harmful effects being "unique to Islam".   They indeed either are or were prevalent otherwise... Christianity in the Medieval era, et cetera).

No need to go back to the medieval era!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Pence 

Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> I'm talking about popular culture, not universities. So, sitting on a bus in Amman and talking about Shakespeare with a local youth, being educated in the Napoleonic wars by a resident of Ramallah, discussing politics anywhere in the Middle East or North Africa

It's obviously going to be stimulating for a Westerner to visit very different places.  That's not the same as the society actually being intellectually stimulating as experienced by a local.  

2
Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> 2nd language, the problem is the uks education system not the individuals and the fact that we already speak the world's default 2nd language. 

The UK's education system reflects UK values. It seems to me that many people in the UK population aren't intellectually curious enough to want to explore outside of their own language/culture bubble.

> Perhaps all those people you spoke to had to learn English to gain a worldly education from external sources, because their religious culture wouldn't allow it?

FFS, you really are a prime product of the UK education system!

5
Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> It's obviously going to be stimulating for a Westerner to visit very different places.  That's not the same as the society actually being intellectually stimulating as experienced by a local.  

Both my examples were from conversations about European history and culture. That's the point I'm trying to make!

1
jkarran - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Why is it a "prejudice" to be opposed to idea-systems such as Islam? Is that any worse than being opposed to socialism or to capitalism or communism or fascism?  If so, why?

It isn't per se. It becomes prejudice when your opinion about that belief significantly alters your opinion of or your behaviour toward its adherents. You're a bright guy, you know how prejudice works.

jk

TobyA on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Angels on a pinhead.

The USSR under Stalin was an abomination, areas of Syria under ISIS likewise.  But there were lots of communists who were rabidly anti-Stalin, just as the majority of the fighting against ISIS has been done by Muslims.

Why is it that if the "ideology" of Islam leads to ISIS terror, it also "leads to" the SDF/YPG, who are by a large majority Sunni Muslims just like ISIS? Do they not understand Islam as you do? Are they misinterpreting the essential Islamic message in the same way that you seem to think that, say, a mid-20th century anti-Stalinist Social Democrat was misinterpreting Marx?

Or is ideology what people make of it?

1
summo on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> The UK's education system reflects UK values. It seems to me that many people in the UK population aren't intellectually curious enough to want to explore outside of their own language/culture bubble.

Evidence? 

> FFS, you really are a prime product of the UK education system!

2 degrees plus other bits, 3 languages... Probably not.

Thrudge on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to ripper:

The headline should read "Expense fiddling wannabe Minister for Muslims accuses own party of made up phobia".  Warsi is not a serious or credible politician, she's a one-trick pony battling for Islam.  I've spent most of my adult life being anti-Tory, but her claims of unchecked and institutional hatred sound completely false.  It's just the victim card again, pro-Islamic propaganda.

4
Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> Evidence? 

Read what I wrote: "It seems to me that many people in the UK population… ". No evidence required coz I made it quite clear that this was a subjective observation about a sample of the population.

And in any case, are you disputing it? I would be surprised if anyone genuinely thought differently.

1
Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to TobyA:

>  But there were lots of communists who were rabidly anti-Stalin, just as the majority of the fighting against ISIS has been done by Muslims.

Exactly.  Fascist, intolerant ideologies tend to be aggressive and intolerant towards other version of those fascist intolerant ideologies.

Thus, different factions in communist countries fought and purged each other.  Different factions within Islam fight each other (not only ISIS versus others, but Sunni vs Shia, etc).  In the past, different versions of Christianity fought each other.  Is this all news to you?

> Or is ideology what people make of it?

It's the ideology -- the lack of acceptance of pluralism, the idea that one ideology is right and should be imposed, and that dissent from or speech against that ideology cannot be tolerated.

That applies whether it is fascism or communism or Islamism or past versions of Christianity. 

2
Ian W - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> If they're so intellectually stimulating why are there no universities in Islamic countries in the world's top 200 universities? Why is there almost no scientific research (of anything like international standard) in Islamic countries?  Why is the total number of books published in languages like Arabic and Farsi tiny compared to norms elsewhere?

Because you dont need a university to be intellectually stimulating......its more a way of life in those countries to debate and discuss, not just rely on others to teach you things. By debating and discussing, you can form your own opinions, rather than just accept someone elses.

2
Ian W - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> FFS, you really are a prime product of the UK education system!

> 2 degrees plus other bits, 3 languages... Probably not.

> Or the fact they'd be happiest if only men were educated. - from different post.

Kind of proves the point - well educated, well qualified, obviously intelligent, but very narrow minded. 

3
Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

>  Different factions within Islam fight each other (not only ISIS versus others, but Sunni vs Shia, etc). 

Your simplification of Middle East conflicts only goes to fuel the very sectarian sentiments that you claim to oppose. Iran is majority Shia, Hezbollah too. Both strongly support the Palestinian cause. Palestinians are majority Sunni. Palestinians fought against ISIS (a Sunni Islamist organisation) in Syria (a religiously diverse nation). As Toby has already explained, the Syrian Kurds - who were the Coalition's main partner against ISIS - are also majority Sunni. The main point of contention in Iraq in the past year has actually been between Kurds and Arabs, not between Sunnis and Shias. Yes, it's more complicated than you'd like to believe!

> In the past, different versions of Christianity fought each other.  Is this all news to you?

I'm sure Toby is well aware of the conflict in Northern Ireland; it's not that far in the past! However in Northern Ireland, as in the Middle East, sectarian hatred was mostly just a tool used to build support for territorial claims. The peace that has been the norm since the Good Friday agreement is proof of that.

> It's the ideology -- the lack of acceptance of pluralism, the idea that one ideology is right and should be imposed, and that dissent from or speech against that ideology cannot be tolerated.

Coel, you need to calm down and hang out with some Muslims!

Post edited at 11:59
3
dh73 - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> What she is saying is that the default attitude in the tory party to Islam is one of hostility and suspicion.


How does she know - unless she has spoken to each and every member of the tory party and somehow accurately divined their true feelings about Islam? She has done what she claims to abhor, namely apply the attributes of a small number of people to a whole class of people. if I was a tory party member, I may be very annoyed about being accused of being islamophobic

1
Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> Your simplification of Middle East conflicts only goes to ... Yes, it's more complicated than you'd like to believe!

Well of course it's more complicated!  Real world issues always are!  (Your comment was way over-simplified from a proper and true analysis of Middle East conflicts!)

But different factions within Islam do and have fought each other.  Ditto communism, ditto fascism, ditto etc.  So I don't see why Toby is pointing to factional fighting within ideologies as some sort of refutation of my underlying point; it's entirely in line with my point about such ideologies.

The New NickB - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Odd for an Astronomer / Astrophysist to be so dismissive of Islamic scholarship. The Bernard of Chartres / Isaac Newton quote springs to mind.

Post edited at 12:19
1
Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to The New NickB:

> Odd for an Astronomer / Astrophysist to be so dismissive of Islamic scholarship.

Not at all.  It's precisely because of that that I'm aware of how much science (of international standard) is being done in Islamic countries.  Very little. 

2
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

“Nor did we see any action taken against Michael Fabricant, the Tory MP who tweeted a cartoon image of Sadiq Khan – him again – being mounted by an inflatable pig, an image calculated to hurt Muslims in the most crude and direct way.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/06/tories-tough-islamophobia-anti-muslim-conservative-party?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

As you said, just that victim card being played again. And snowflakes playing identity politics. Move along, nothing to see here

Really? 

Post edited at 13:08
Thrudge on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

"an image calculated to hurt Muslims in the most crude and direct way.”

Or, an image calculated to hurt religious zealots.  Which, in a free and open society, is absolutely fine.  If you're not OK with religions and they're adherents being insulted, that's fine too - you have the option to go and live in an Islamic nation or any other.  What you don't have the option to do, is turn the UK into an Islamic nation by default, by this creeping 'protection of peoples feelings'.  Which in truth - and in practice - means protecting the feelings of the more zealous Muslims.

3
summo on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Ian W:

> Kind of proves the point - well educated, well qualified, obviously intelligent, but very narrow minded. 

Not really. I've enjoyed being allowed to use sports facilities on the white western half day a week they were allowed in ME / gulf states. And still been harassed in there. I've sat in language classes and been the only white European. 

I've never been to the costa where ever in Spain, sat in a brit bar, watched UK tv. 

Narrow minded in that I'm against all religion. Yes I'll accepted that happily. They are all medieval. 

Post edited at 13:24
1
Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

>   So I don't see why Toby is pointing to factional fighting within ideologies as some sort of refutation of my underlying point; it's entirely in line with my point about such ideologies.

Toby pointed to Syrian Kurds fighting to expel ISIS from their territory. This is not factional fighting within ideologies, it's a territorial (and moral) war - you know, a bit like we've been doing in Europe for centuries! I hope you have a better understanding of astrophysics!

5
summo on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Ian W:

> Because you dont need a university to be intellectually stimulating......its more a way of life in those countries to debate and discuss, not just rely on others to teach you things. By debating and discussing, you can form your own opinions, rather than just accept someone elses.

But you could have a c of e bishop in london and they'd happily defend their faith and differing view points. Try that with a Muslim cleric in Riyadh and you'll be heading to chop chop square. Tolerance is very much a one way street. 

Eric9Points - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to birdie num num:

I am shocked and dismayed at the attitudes both you and Coel have expressed.

I suppose I made a mistake in my post where I said that the default attitude in the conservative party towards Islam is one of hostility and suspicion. What I should have said is that the default attitude in the conservative party towards * muslins* is one of hostility and suspicion because the attitudes described by baroness Warsi are attitudes towards people who share a set of beliefs.

Effectively what you're saying is that if, for example, a woman of middle eastern origin wearing a headscarf sits down in the bus beside you it would be perfectly acceptable for you to think, "oh furfuxake, not another bloody Muslim, probably an ISIS sympathiser". I assume, taking this attitude a step further you would see nothing wrong in making sure "those sort of people" weren't offered a job in your company or a candidacy for MP by your constituency conservative party?

Have I got that right?

6
Ramblin dave - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> The truth is that Islam is an ideology that contains a lot of bad and harmful ideas. Anyone who accepts Western liberal-democratic Enlightenment values *should* be opposed to Islam, or at least many of the mainstream versions of Islam.

It's not an ideology, though, any more than it's a style of music or dress. It's a large and diverse cultural entity that influences a number of different ideologies in different ways. As Jon has repeatedly pointed out, many Muslims in the UK don't subscribe to what you consider to be "Islamic ideology", but they're the ones who take the brunt of Islamophobic sentiment in Britain.

It undermines your claim that you aren't bigoted and just want to discuss Islam in a sensible and reasonable manner if the first thing that you do is mischaracterize it to make it easier for you to kick it.

2
summo on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> Toby pointed to Syrian Kurds fighting to expel ISIS from their territory. This is not factional fighting within ideologies, it's a territorial (and moral) war - you know, a bit like we've been doing in Europe for centuries! I hope you have a better understanding of astrophysics!

There are religious twists too as I suspect you know, kurd tribes going back to the Iranian Kurds, ottoman or Persian empires, Sunni and Shia etc...  So it's not just territory. Many generations of long seated bitterness too. 

Ramblin dave - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> But you could have a c of e bishop in london and they'd happily defend their faith and differing view points. Try that with a Muslim cleric in Riyadh and you'll be heading to chop chop square. Tolerance is very much a one way street. 

So instead we should make it a no-way street? Joy.

2
summo on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> It's not an ideology, though, any more than it's a style of music or dress. It's a large and diverse cultural entity that influences a number of different ideologies in different ways. As Jon has repeatedly pointed out, many Muslims in the UK don't subscribe to what you consider to be "Islamic ideology", but they're the ones who take the brunt of Islamophobic sentiment in Britain.

Not every Catholic priest is a pedo. But those who aren't don't do enough to hold the rest to account. All religions have their problems, probably comes from being evolved around fiction and fantasy. They are living in a world that doesn't marry up with the real world. 

summo on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> So instead we should make it a no-way street? Joy.

No. They can have their churches and those wishing to attend can.

But get them out of politics and education. 

Ian W - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> Not really. I've enjoyed being allowed to use sports facilities on the white western half day a week they were allowed in ME / gulf states. And still been harassed in there. I've sat in language classes and been the only white European. 

If your only experience is Saudi, then fair comment; but its not like that throughout the gulf. 

> I've never been to the costa where ever in Spain, sat in a brit bar, watched UK tv. 

That can also be "culturally enlightening", but in a completely different way....

> Narrow minded in that I'm against all religion. Yes I'll accepted that happily. They are all medieval. 

Now here is one thing we can completely agree on!!

Eric9Points - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

> "an image calculated to hurt Muslims in the most crude and direct way.”

> Or, an image calculated to hurt religious zealots.  Which, in a free and open society, is absolutely fine.  If you're not OK with religions and they're adherents being insulted, that's fine too - you have the option to go and live in an Islamic nation or any other.  What you don't have the option to do, is turn the UK into an Islamic nation by default, by this creeping 'protection of peoples feelings'.  Which in truth - and in practice - means protecting the feelings of the more zealous Muslims.


So, to put it another way . "If you don't like me saying, writing and doing things designed to personally offend you can just go back home to your own country". Has it occurred to you that most Muslims would find this sort of behaviour rather offensive?

2
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

I think it’s likely that the image would be universally offensive to Muslims. You may choose to define Muslim as having equivalence to ‘zealot’ but that tells us more about you than it does about Muslims.

and it’s also far from a secret that such an image would be regarded as offensive to most Muslims. Indeed, that was the point of it. Selecting a known characteristic of Muslims and using that as the focus of a joke, or political attack, which has no other point to make beyond attacking that characteristic, looks pretty much like the textbook definition of anti Muslim prejudice to me. 

There were plenty of other examples in the article. From sitting MPs, not fringe activists. It seems pretty clear to me that the Tories have got a problem with this.

you appear to see criticism of this behaviour as some sort of fifth columnist activity hastening the rebirth of the U.K. as an Islamic state; and appear to be suggesting that I leave the U.K. and find an Islamic country to become a citizen of.

im surprised to see views like that openly expressed on a mainstream forum. Another Brexit dividend I suppose, so much to be thankful for 

2
krikoman - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

>   Which in truth - and in practice - means protecting the feelings of the more zealous Muslims.

Yo might like this http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/m0002zc9

Ian W - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> But you could have a c of e bishop in london and they'd happily defend their faith and differing view points. Try that with a Muslim cleric in Riyadh and you'll be heading to chop chop square. Tolerance is very much a one way street. 

But its very possible in the UAE (for eg). Cant speak for Saudi; never been there. Maybe the UAE's relative openness comes from it being a british protectorate until 1972...

summo on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Ian W:

> But its very possible in the UAE (for eg). Cant speak for Saudi; never been there. Maybe the UAE's relative openness comes from it being a british protectorate until 1972...

I personally found that places like Kuwait, Bahrain etc.. that were much more tolerant have become more hard line despite western influence. It's as though through the internet they can't stop western influence anymore and it's one last gasp at controlling people. 

Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> Not really. I've enjoyed being allowed to use sports facilities on the white western half day a week they were allowed in ME / gulf states. And still been harassed in there. 

In which ME countries have you been discriminated against outside of the Gulf states? I've never been prevented from going to any public place in the ME, but then I've never been to the Gulf states.

The Gulf states appear to generate a lot of anti-Islam sentiment. They also seem to follow Islamic law to a much greater degree than the rest of the Muslim world. They also receive - somewhat ironically - the most investment and support from Europe/USA.

Go to the bouldering wall in Ramallah if you want to experience true hospitality and inclusiveness, then go climbing with the locals. But be warned - your anti-Islam prejudice might not remain intact!

1
Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Effectively what you're saying is that if, for example, a woman of middle eastern origin wearing a headscarf sits down in the bus beside you it would be perfectly acceptable for you to think, "oh furfuxake, not another bloody Muslim, probably an ISIS sympathiser".

Nope, that is not what I (for one) am saying.

> I assume, taking this attitude a step further you would see nothing wrong in making sure "those sort of people" weren't offered a job in your company or a candidacy for MP by your constituency conservative party?

You assume wrongly.

> Have I got that right?

Nope, you have got it very wrong.  (And likely quite deliberately so.)

We are supporting the right to criticise *religions*, that is, to criticise an *idea* *system*.

That is *not* the same as a right to harass people in public nor to discriminate against people in employment. 

It's really not a hard distinction to grasp unless you're trying very hard to conflate the two.

2
Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> It's not an ideology,

Oh yes it is.  It has variants, yes, but there is enough commonality amongst mainstream variants of Islam to regard it as an ideology.

> It undermines your claim that you aren't bigoted and just want to discuss Islam in a sensible and reasonable manner if the first thing that you do is mischaracterize it to make it easier for you to kick it.

I have not mischaracterised it.  But I note your attempt to disallow discussion of Islam as an ideology.

3
Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> There are religious twists too as I suspect you know, kurd tribes going back to the Iranian Kurds, ottoman or Persian empires, Sunni and Shia etc...  So it's not just territory. Many generations of long seated bitterness too. 

Your initial examples of 'religious twists' are actually territorial twists (Kurdistan, Iran, Ottoman and Persian empires), then you just throw Sunni/Shia into the mix for good measure coz everyone's heard of them!!

Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> So, to put it another way . "If you don't like me saying, writing and doing things designed to personally offend you can just go back home to your own country". Has it occurred to you that most Muslims would find this sort of behaviour rather offensive?

Has it occurred to you that we all must accept public debate regardless of whether we regard it as "offensive", and that one cannot censor other people just by claiming that what they are saying is "offensive"?

3
Ian W - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> I personally found that places like Kuwait, Bahrain etc.. that were much more tolerant have become more hard line despite western influence. It's as though through the internet they can't stop western influence anymore and it's one last gasp at controlling people. 

I'd argue that it started long before the internet. My father worked in the middle east in the 70's (Saudi (didnt like), Kuwait (loved), Bahrain (nope), Iran (loved), UAE (just after independence / formation, bit of an odd place). All except the UAE are now much more religiously dominated than then, especially Iran, and this happened a long time before the internet.

Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> I personally found that places like Kuwait, Bahrain etc.. that were much more tolerant have become more hard line despite western influence. 

Ever wondered if it might be because of western influence. 

1
summo on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Ian W:

> I'd argue that it started long before the internet. My father worked in the middle east in the 70's (Saudi (didnt like), Kuwait (loved), Bahrain (nope), Iran (loved), UAE (just after independence / formation, bit of an odd place). All except the UAE are now much more religiously dominated than then, especially Iran, and this happened a long time before the internet.

But something changed. In the 90s many cities had black flag areas where it wasn't wise to go alone, you might get robbed and a kicking, but you wouldn't have your head cut off on YouTube. Then fuel went on the fire, bush and Blair for certain; but also internally influenced too. 

Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> Toby pointed to Syrian Kurds fighting to expel ISIS from their territory.

Actually, Toby pointed to a range of things, and my reply was more general than specifically Kurds vs ISIS. 

> I hope you have a better understanding of astrophysics!

Oh look, snide remarks!  Well, you and Toby seem to have a rather limited understanding of ideologies. 

1
summo on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> Ever wondered if it might be because of western influence. 

Western meddling. Yes possibly. The West has a chequered past when you look at the roots of many western oil companies that started there; where they charged a huge fee for their expertise. The Uks oil industry in Iran for example. 

Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

>  but you wouldn't have your head cut off on YouTube. 

Has anybody ever had their head cut off on YouTube in the Gulf states or Iran (apart from maybe state-sanctioned judicial executions).

Post edited at 14:18
birdie num num - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

<Have I got that right?>

No, you've got it totally wrong.

summo on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> >  but you wouldn't have your head cut off on YouTube. 

> Has anybody ever had their head cut off on YouTube in the Gulf states or Iran (apart from maybe state-sanctioned judicial executions).

Nope. But there have been a few shootings. 

The New NickB - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Ian W:

I have a school friend who lives in Kuwait with his wife and two sons. He loves it. He did move from Wigan, so I guess it wouldn’t take too much to impress. He is a white, CofE type Christian.

The New NickB - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Not at all.  It's precisely because of that that I'm aware of how much science (of international standard) is being done in Islamic countries.  Very little. 

I was thinking more of Yunus, al-Shatir etal, but you twist it any way you like.

1
Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> Nope. But there have been a few shootings. 

Summo, you're hilarious, let's go for a beer and leave them all to argue it out on the internet!

PeterM - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to ripper:

The tories believe the UK is a 'Christian country' so  it's no surprise at all and not news....

Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to The New NickB:

> I was thinking more of Yunus, al-Shatir etal, but you twist it any way you like.

But if you have to resort to pointing to Islamic scholars 700 years ago isn't that actually an indictment of Islamic scholarship today?

And note that my remarks were in the present tense (e.g. "It's precisely because of that that I'm aware of how much science (of international standard) is being done in Islamic countries.").

1
Ian W - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to summo:

> But something changed. In the 90s many cities had black flag areas where it wasn't wise to go alone, you might get robbed and a kicking, but you wouldn't have your head cut off on YouTube. Then fuel went on the fire, bush and Blair for certain; but also internally influenced too. 

THis reminds me of warnings i got from workmates when i said i was going to Morocco on holiday-  a predecessor of mine had been robbed at knifepoint; but then again he had been a bit silly by following some likely local up an alleyway because"my uncle has a shop up here, much cheaper". You wouldnt do that in Leeds or Newcastle, why should it go any better in Tangier?

1
The New NickB - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I’m not resorting to anything. It’s not a competition. It’s just interesting that Islamic Scholars developed the heliocentric view which Copernicus eventually built upon, whilst Europe stood still for a millennia.

L Pefa on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Oh come on, it's not a difficult concept that, for example, communism is a highly harmful idea system when it dominates a country. 

Is it now?

Would you like to have a little chat about that and capitalism?

Communism (socialism) has worked wonders in the countries where the workers took control. 

I don't want to derail this thread about Tory bigotry but I won't have nonsense like that bandied about, so if you like start a new thread and we can discuss this matter there. 

3
neilh - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Pefa:

For the life of me I am struggling on that one on Communism ( and not its variants where the concept is grabbed by some form of tyrant).

Can you run through the countries you are thinking of.

L Pefa on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Your capitalist Liberal democacies tell me did they help Muslim majority countries that were pretty secular and progressive like Nassers Egypt, Gaddafi Libya or Assad Syria?

Did your capitalist Liberal democracies support the progressive Sukarno in Indonesia or Mass murder 1/2 million Muslim leftists using Muslim extremists?

How about when the progressive leader of Muslim Iran won the democratic election in 1953 did your capitalist Liberal democracies support the moderate progressive Muslim or put a tyrant in charge?

Or Afghanistan in 1980 did the great Liberal rule of law peace loving democracies support the progressive secular Muslims trying to free women from Islamic extremists or did they build the largest Muslim extremist terrorist army the modern world has seen to defeat secular moderate Muslims?

You see the systems you extol are the ones who Foster, nurture and spread the very extremist forms of Islam you abhor. 

And defeat and crush the moderate progressive forms of Islam throughout the world by using the extremists. 

Can't believe I need to point this obvious fact out. 

2
L Pefa on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to neilh:

No i don't want to derail this thread.

I'm making my presence felt that is all, but I'm more than happy on a thread about that topic. I've been through it all a million times before. 

2
TobyA on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Exactly.  Fascist, intolerant ideologies tend to be aggressive and intolerant towards other version of those fascist intolerant ideologies.

I've been doing a thought experiment of trying to imagine two ideologies (fascist and intolerant or otherwise) trying to fight. But its tricky: I keep coming up with two giant snakes with evil looking eyes fighting, but obviously that's only symbolic.

But are you saying that British, French and US special forces have been training the SDF, and they haven't noticed that the SDF is fascist and intolerant? Or we don't care that they are fascist and intolerant? The RAF was providing air support to this fascist and intolerant group until just weeks ago. I think I should be really upset if we are training, arming and giving air support to a fascist group!

And I still want to know what ideology led to British imperialism and are you and me still driven by that ideology? Does it still shape how we view the non-us "other"? And if not, why not? How did we escape those ideological bounds in a way that Muslims have not and seemingly cannot according to your thesis?

1
Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to The New NickB:

> It’s just interesting that Islamic Scholars developed the heliocentric view which Copernicus eventually built upon, whilst Europe stood still for a millennia.

First, the al-Shatir model was not heliocentric.  It was an improvement on the ancient Greek models, but still geocentric.     Second, it's unclear whether Copernicus had read al-Shatir.

But, more basically.  Yes, Europe did indeed stand (close to) still for a millennium.   It then was dominated by a repressive and intolerant Christian religion.  Since then, through the Reformation and the Enlightenment, we're no longer in hock to Christianity and science has improved steadily and hugely.

Meanwhile, the Islamic world has stood still in the 700 years since the time of al-Shatir.  That's my point! Thus your examples really make my case for me. 

Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> Is it now?

Yes.

> Would you like to have a little chat about that and capitalism?

Sure.  Communism is a disastrously bad way to run a country.  The liberal democracies that are basically-capitalist and with a welfare state are not perfect, but are a vastly better way to run a country than other systems that have been tried.

Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> And I still want to know what ideology led to British imperialism ...

Imperialist ideology!

> ... and are you and me still driven by that ideology?

Not really, no.  Do you want to invade other countries? I don't.

> How did we escape those ideological bounds in a way that Muslims have not and seemingly cannot according to your thesis?

These conversation would go a lot better if you didn't continually put words in my mouth.   Did I say that Muslims cannot escape their ideological bounds?

Nope, I didn't say that.  Indeed, one of the most hopeful things is that there is a groundswell of critical thinking and apostasy spreading across the Islamic world, as people can use the internet to spread ideas.

And such people look to Western liberals and Western intellectuals for support.  

And you know what, often the response from the supposedly "progressives" and the people who think of themselves as "liberal", is "ooh, you Islamophobes!, you can't say that, it's offensive! You brown people should just submit to your religion, it's your culture, stay in your lane".

2
The New NickB - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

It’s more that you are missing the point. Hence the Chartres / Newton reference. Enough from me on this, it is all rather off topic.

2
Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to The New NickB:

> It’s more that you are missing the point.

No, I fully get your point.

700 years ago the Islamic world was a better place for scholarship than Christian-dominated Europe.

Nowadays, the secular West is a vastly better place for scholarship and science than the stood-still-for-700-years Islamic world. 

Ramblin dave - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

And do you think that this is what Baroness Warsi is talking about when she talks about Islamophobia in the Conservative Party? Or do you think she's talking about the people saying that "Muslims should be banned from public office" or that they would never vote for Sajid Javid because they "don't want a Muslim running the country"?

1
Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

>  The liberal democracies that are basically-capitalist and with a welfare state are not perfect, but are a vastly better way to run a country than other systems that have been tried.

Let's not forget that our wealth depends on people in far-away places getting paid extremely low wages. Your 'basically-capitalist' world also includes some of the poorest countries. People tend to forget that when painting a rosy picture of capitalism.

1
Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

>  Indeed, one of the most hopeful things is that there is a groundswell of critical thinking and apostasy spreading across the Islamic world, as people can use the internet to spread ideas.

Read up about pan-Arab secularism and Mossadegh in Iran. Apostasy came and went long before the internet. Western meddling played a big part in its demise. Your idea that the Islamic world has been incapable of critical thought for centuries is just plain, bigoted bollox. 

4
MonkeyPuzzle - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> And you know what, often the response from the supposedly "progressives" and the people who think of themselves as "liberal", is "ooh, you Islamophobes!, you can't say that, it's offensive! You brown people should just submit to your religion, it's your culture, stay in your lane".

Everything up to the last sentence is probably fair caricature in some instances. The last sentence has been pulled from your rectum.

1
Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> Let's not forget that our wealth depends on people in far-away places getting paid extremely low wages.

I actually don't think it does, no.  Yes, we outsource making stuff to places like China since the wages there are low, but we'd still be a rich country if everything was made in Western countries paying Western wages.   For one thing, people here would be being paid those wages. 

1
Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> Your idea that the Islamic world has been incapable of critical thought for centuries is just plain, bigoted bollox. 

Incapable? No, that's not a word I used.  What I have said is that Islam has successfully repressed reform. 

1
Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> Everything up to the last sentence is probably fair caricature in some instances. The last sentence has been pulled from your rectum.

So what is the explanation for -- in the eyes of Western "progressives" -- people from Muslim backgrounds not being allowed to criticise Islam?

A few days ago, Sean O'Grady, associate editor of The Independent, wrote:

"Rushdie’s silly, childish book should be banned under today’s anti-hate legislation. It’s no better than racist graffiti on a bus stop. I wouldn’t have it in my house, out of respect to Muslim people and contempt for Rushdie, ..."

And yet Rushdie comes from an Indian and Muslim background, being born into an Kashmiri Muslim family.  If that sentence of mine has no merit,  what is a White person like O'Grady doing telling an Indian ex-Muslim whether or not he can write critically about Islam? 

2
The New NickB - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> No, I fully get your point.

> 700 years ago the Islamic world was a better place for scholarship than Christian-dominated Europe.

> Nowadays, the secular West is a vastly better place for scholarship and science than the stood-still-for-700-years Islamic world. 

No, that wasn’t my point. It was a response to the preposterous idea that Islamic countries cannot be intellectually stimulating, based on the untrue assertion that none of the world’s top 200 universities are in Islamic countries.

3
MonkeyPuzzle - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> So what is the explanation for -- in the eyes of Western "progressives" -- people from Muslim backgrounds not being allowed to criticise Islam?

> A few days ago, Sean O'Grady, associate editor of The Independent, wrote:

> "Rushdie’s silly, childish book should be banned under today’s anti-hate legislation. It’s no better than racist graffiti on a bus stop. I wouldn’t have it in my house, out of respect to Muslim people and contempt for Rushdie, ..."

> And yet Rushdie comes from an Indian and Muslim background, being born into an Kashmiri Muslim family.  If that sentence of mine has no merit,  what is a White person like O'Grady doing telling an Indian ex-Muslim whether or not he can write critically about Islam? 

Trying to get clicks for his piece-of-shit clickbait web-paper. Sean O'Grady is not "progressives" but rather a faux-liberal foghorn and even he isn't telling Rushdie to "submit to [his] religion".

TobyA on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Imperialist ideology!

> Not really, no.  Do you want to invade other countries? I don't.

"We" invade Afghanistan, "we" invaded Iraq. Compare us to Switzerland or Mongolia and the UK doesn't seem to have totally given up the invading stuff bug quite yet!

> These conversation would go a lot better if you didn't continually put words in my mouth.   Did I say that Muslims cannot escape their ideological bounds?

You said the SDF and ISIS are alternative and conflicting versions of the same fascist ideology because Muslims make up both of them. You know what the ideology of Islam is, you keep telling us. It is one ideology, you keep telling us that also. So I just don't get how the SDF can be such a fundamentally different organisation to ISIS when, you assure me, the people who make up both organisations follow the same fascist ideology?

TobyA on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> What I have said is that Islam has successfully repressed reform. 

Who is "Islam"? But anyway, the conservative push back across the Muslim world is very easy to date to 1979, to the seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mekah and Islamic revolution succeeding in Tehran. So 40 years is hardly 700 years.

1
Eric9Points - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Nope, that is not what I (for one) am saying.

> You assume wrongly.

> Nope, you have got it very wrong.  (And likely quite deliberately so.)

> We are supporting the right to criticise *religions*, that is, to criticise an *idea* *system*.

> That is *not* the same as a right to harass people in public nor to discriminate against people in employment. 

> It's really not a hard distinction to grasp unless you're trying very hard to conflate the two.


I'll attempt to take all this back to the real world. The ex chair of the tory party had accused her own party of being islamsphobic. What she meant by that was not that the party didn't like the concept of Islam, they might, but that Muslims were being discriminated against in her party. She went on to give examples and folk here have provided some more.

Do you think that Muslims should be discriminated against because they follow a religion that you, and I for that matter, have issues with? If not then I'm sure you'll join me in condemning those members of the conservative party who are guilty of showing predjudice towards Muslims or any other group for that matter.

Eric9Points - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Has it occurred to you that we all must accept public debate regardless of whether we regard it as "offensive", and that one cannot censor other people just by claiming that what they are saying is "offensive"?


You're not sticking to the point.

The example given was not any part of a debate but an image specifically designed to offend Muslims. No one is suggesting that reasoned argument should be suppressed, just that one shouldn't try to start a fight with, or behave badly towards people just because they hold roughly the same views as a few billion other people but not you.

Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to The New NickB:

> It was a response to the preposterous idea that Islamic countries cannot be intellectually stimulating, ...

Are not, not "cannot". 

> ... based on the untrue assertion that none of the world’s top 200 universities are in Islamic countries.

Untrue? Then name the top universities in the Islamic world.

And my claim wasn't "based on" that alone, that's merely one symptom.

1
FactorXXX - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> The example given was not any part of a debate but an image specifically designed to offend Muslims. No one is suggesting that reasoned argument should be suppressed, just that one shouldn't try to start a fight with, or behave badly towards people just because they hold roughly the same views as a few billion other people but not you.

Almost thirty years to the day, the Catholic Church were trying to ban Madonna's song "Like a Prayer" on the grounds of blasphemy. i.e. they considered it offensive to their religion. 
Not sure where you stand on that, but by your logic, then it indeed should have been banned.
Ten years prior to that and "Monty Python's Life of Brian" was effectively censored and banned in many places in response to the Christian Church in the UK on the grounds of blasphemy, etc.  I assume you agree with that censorship and banning?
 

Eric9Points - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

There's a big difference between making a reasoned argument that is critical of a religion, whether it be in the form of a book, a song or even a painting and simply chucking out an insult designed to hurt and offend.

Surely you understand that. It's fine to say "I disagree with you because of x, y and z" but not fine simply stick two fingers up at someone and tell them that Allah phuqs pigs or the Pope phuqs little boys.

Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> There's a big difference between making a reasoned argument that is critical of a religion, whether it be in the form of a book, a song or even a painting and simply chucking out an insult designed to hurt and offend.

No there isn't, because if you disallow the latter then anyone can disallow the former simply be claiming that it is offensive to them. 

And humans always have used a variety of tactics to persuade other than "reasoned argument".  It's not ok if we can only pursue some arguments in terms that the other side dictate.

1
TobyA on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> No there isn't, because if you disallow the latter then anyone can disallow the former simply be claiming that it is offensive to them.

But where does it end? If A says to B: "I don't like you, I want to come round to your house and set fire to it when you are your family are in there" is that allowable? Is B not able to find that offensive? What if A even says: "I don't like you, I will come round to your house and set fire to it when you are your family are in there... I didn't mean it. Or did I? I didn't. Probably." Is nothing offensive enough to be banned?

1
Pete Pozman - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> If they're so intellectually stimulating why are there no universities in Islamic countries in the world's top 200 universities? Why is there almost no scientific research (of anything like international standard) in Islamic countries?  Why is the total number of books published in languages like Arabic and Farsi tiny compared to norms elsewhere?

Many years of brutal racist European colonialism might have had something to do with debasing a once flourishing Islamic civilisation. You'll have read all about that Coel but maybe not quite internalised it yet. 

1
Coel Hellier - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> f A says to B: "I don't like you, I want to come round to your house and set fire to it when you are your family are in there" is that allowable?

No, because that is a threat of violence. And that has always been regarded as different from free speech and the right to critique ideas. 

1
TobyA on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I want lots of things, but it doesn't necessarily mean that I will get them or act on those desires. Philosophically it's not a simple question. The "I will" version is more obviously a threat, but even there with the "only joking" conditioner, it's complex.

> And that has always been regarded as different

By who?

This was interesting https://hiphination.org/season-3-episodes/s3-episode-3-no-offense-mar-2nd-2019/ on rather closely related issues.

1
Thrudge on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to The New NickB:

> the untrue assertion that none of the world’s top 200 universities are in Islamic countries.

According to the Times Higher Education, Coel is correct.  There's a table here:

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/best-universities/best-universities-world

This site is a little kinder to your argument, listing three universities in Islamic nations amongst the top 200:

https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/world-university-rankings/2019

Two in Malaysia, one in Saudi.  Their rankings are fairly low - only one in the top 100, at number 87.  Given the number of Islamic nations, and the size of their populations, one would naturally expect more.  South Korea, a relatively tiny nation,  has seven in the top 200.  The Netherlands has nine.  What could possibly account for this discrepancy?  I think we can easily agree that race is irrelevant.  But religion is not.

2
Thrudge on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> I think it’s likely that the image would be universally offensive to Muslims.

I see, so all Muslims are alike?  Interesting is it not, that those on here who are so quick to shout 'bigot' when criticising people with anti-Islam views are so silent when a defender of the faith characterises all Muslims as being the same?

FWIW, I take a genuinely charitable view of that remark - I simply think you expressed yourself carelessly.  But if I or Coel were to make it, we'd be looking at the underside of the bigot stick.

>You may choose to define Muslim as having equivalence to ‘zealot’ but that tells us more about you than it does about Muslims.

That isn't my view, it's just a snide remark - presumably because you don't have a decent argument to present.  Which is hardly your fault, of course, as they are remarkably few in number and perhaps difficult to see, being so thin in substance.

> and it’s also far from a secret that such an image would be regarded as offensive to most Muslims. Indeed, that was the point of it. Selecting a known characteristic of Muslims and using that as the focus of a joke, or political attack, which has no other point to make beyond attacking that characteristic, looks pretty much like the textbook definition of anti Muslim prejudice to me. 

And the Gregg's Lord Jesus/sausage roll advert was presumably offensive to a great many Christians.  But oh, the laughs it got on here, including from me. Your Saviour is made of pig meat, and comical pig meat at that.  How many on these forums leapt to the defence of the Christians?  No one.  Including you. Some people want special treatment for Islam.  Lot's of us don't.  Hurty feelings don't cut it.  They're the price you pay for a free society.

> you appear to see criticism of this behaviour as some sort of fifth columnist activity hastening the rebirth of the U.K. as an Islamic state; and appear to be suggesting that I leave the U.K. and find an Islamic country to become a citizen of.

You're not a million miles away from comprehending my view, but I'd respectfully point out that you're missing some fundamentals. 

Firstly, in a free society, we all have the right to protest.  This right applies to Muslims as much as anyone else, and I would not have it any other way.  Offended by a cartoon?  More fool you, but protest away - your right to do so is important.  Try to change the law to ban offence to your religion? 

(https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/dec/01/muslims-demand-full-legal-protection-from-islamophobia).

Not acceptable.  Apply public pressure with flimsily veiled threats of, "You've just offended 1.4 billion Muslims" or "It will inflame tensions" as code for 'watch out, we've got bombs and knives'? Not acceptable. 

Regarding your emigration point, my view needs expanding slightly.  It is this: if you find a free society utterly intolerable, you are welcome to leave it.  No one will impede you.  This is not a prison, it is one of the most prosperous, enlightened and civilized societies ever to exist. Not liking it is fine.  Trying to overturn it is not.  Bon voyage.

1
Stichtplate on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Pete Pozman:

> Many years of brutal racist European colonialism might have had something to do with debasing a once flourishing Islamic civilisation. You'll have read all about that Coel but maybe not quite internalised it yet. 

Many years of brutal colonialism might have had something to do with it, but blaming Europeans might be a bit of a stretch.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottoman_Empire

1
Pete Pozman - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

Fair play  

Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

> Given the number of Islamic nations, and the size of their populations, one would naturally expect more [….] What could possibly account for this discrepancy?  I think we can easily agree that race is irrelevant.  But religion is not.

In your listing there is only one Scandinavian university in the top 100. What could possibly account for this discrepancy? I think we can easily agree that neither race nor religion are relevant!

Can we also agree that students and staff from Islamic countries are much more likely to be able to study/teach in an English-speaking environment than native English-speakers are in any foreign language! 

What you and Coel don't seem to realise is that universities don't just become centres of excellence because of their immediate environment, but because of their ability to attract talent from around the world. This is even one of the criteria they use to create those listings. Most of the highly-placed universities are in English-speaking countries. Does it follow that English speakers are more enlightened than other people? Or does it mean that an English-speaking environment facilitates universities in attracting talent from around the world. 

Mohammad supposedly instructed his followers to: 'Seek knowledge even unto China'. I know a Yemeni guy (devout follower of Islam) who did just that. Studied in China and then set up a software company there and married a local woman. Speaks fluent Mandarin, Arabic and English, just switches from one to the other. He told me that it's common for Yemenis to study in China as the two countries were very close back in the communist era of the 70s. 

Post edited at 22:45
1
Stichtplate on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> In your listing there are no Scandinavian universities in the top 100 either. What could possibly account for this discrepancy? 

The fact that Scandinavian countries have a combined population of 26 million might account for the discrepancy.

*population of Indonesia alone- 260 million.

2
FactorXXX - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> There's a big difference between making a reasoned argument that is critical of a religion, whether it be in the form of a book, a song or even a painting and simply chucking out an insult designed to hurt and offend.

I think it's fairly obvious that both Madonna and the Monty Python team knew full well that their products would be offensive/controversial.  In fact, Madonna stated about the song: "art should be controversial, and that's all there is to it".
On the other hand, Fabricant claims that he didn't know that it was Sadiq Khan being shagged by a pig and once he did know, apologised and deleted the relevant post on Twitter.
So, you could actually argue that Fabricant falls into your category of 'accidentally' offending someone (OK), but Madonna/Python fall into the category of deliberately setting out to offend (Not OK).

> Surely you understand that. It's fine to say "I disagree with you because of x, y and z" but not fine simply stick two fingers up at someone and tell them that Allah phuqs pigs or the Pope phuqs little boys.

I'm fairly that on UKC there have been plenty of jokes made about Priests shagging Choir Boys and subsequently using that as a reference to say how corrupt the Catholic Church is, etc.  I'm also fairly sure that no one bats an eyelid at such comments and just accepts it as being part and parcel of Free Speech within a modern UK.  Twenty/thirty years ago, such comments would probably have attracted criticism in much the same way that 'negative' comments about Islam currently get.
Are we really in a situation whereby we're adopting selective blasphemy laws and pretty much because a single religion demands it?
Islam, especially in non-Muslim countries such as the UK,  needs to adapt to the modern world and accept that criticism of it/having the piss taking out of it/being ridiculed/being lampooned, etc.  is perfectly acceptable.  The traditional Western Religions have had to adapt, why can't they?

1
Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> The fact that Scandinavian countries have a combined population of 26 million might account for the discrepancy.

United Kingdom has 17 universities in the top 100 for a population of 60 million

Scandinavia actually has 1 university in top 100 for a population of 26 million.

No Italian or Spanish universities in top 100.

Only 1 Russian uni in top 100.

Only 1 in central/south America

So no, the population size doesn't account for the discrepancy. However you'll see a strong link between English-speaking and good ranking!

Post edited at 23:11
1
charliesdad - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to ripper:

It seems we’re now in a position where any criticism of anyone/anything can be branded as a phobia or hate crime, and the act of naming it, makes it so; if you are offended by anything I say, then I’m guilty, with no need for you to provide proof of intent. 

Yes there are anti-semites, (and not just in the Labour Party).

Yes there are Islamophobes, (and not just in the Conservative Party).

But to say that ANY criticism of Jews/Judaism is anti-Semitic, and that ANY criticism of Muslims/Islam is Islamophobia is both absurd, and a dangerous attack on freedom of speech.

FactorXXX - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> So no, the population size doesn't account for the discrepancy.

Any idea what does then?

Stichtplate on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> United Kingdom has 17 for a population of 60 million

> Scandinavia actually has 1 for a population of 26 million.

> So no, the population size doesn't account for the discrepancy.

I'd agree, but I couldn't think of any reason why you'd pick on Scandinavia in the first place when illustrating why the entire Muslim world has failed to produce any educational institutes of note. Care to explain? (the failure or the comparison).

Edit: Seems even tiny Scandinavia has produced 30 uni's ranking above those of the world's combined Muslim nation's. Quite the discrepancy given Mohamed's enthusiasm for learning.

Post edited at 23:04
Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

Language goes a long way to explaining. See edited post.

1
Stichtplate on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> Language goes a long way to explaining. See edited post.

Pointing out a commonality is not the same as providing an explanation.

Some time some place - on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Pointing out a commonality is not the same as providing an explanation.

See my post at 22.25 about attracting talent.

Also don't forget that the vast majority of research papers must be published in English today.

And Muslim students are often encouraged to study in the West, but that deficit will not be made up by Western students choosing to study in Muslim countries. Language issues would be insurmountable for most people.

Stichtplate on 06 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> See my post at 22.25 about attracting talent.

...and why's that?

> Also don't forget that the vast majority of research papers must be published in English today.

...and why's that?

> And Muslim students are often encouraged to study in the West, but that deficit will not be made up by Western students choosing to study in Muslim countries.

...and why's that?

>Language issues would be insurmountable for most people.

We're not talking about most people, we're talking about the educational elite.

You aren't providing any explanations for the Muslim world's decline from global leaders in scholarship, architecture, science and literature, to having little global standing in education, science or the arts.

Edit: just to clarify, you're repeatedly pointing to the symptoms while refusing to consider the causes.

Post edited at 23:57
1
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

Expressing a view that an image of the Muslim mayor of London engaging in bestiality with a pig is a bit below the belt is paving the way to a Muslim state in the UK?

That may make perfect sense in your head, but when set down in print it’s an absurd non sequitur.

the rest of your post is just fallacy bingo, thrudge

False equivalence (depicting an actual living person engaging in bestiality is not the same as a pastry product being substituted for a historical figure)

Red herrings- show me where I said I support banning offending religions. You can’t, so the link is not relevant. 

Straw man- Because I expressed a view that being offensive just for the sake of it isn’t something i approve of, in any context, I am a “defender of the faith”? No, I’m not. I find the whole concept of organised religion offensive on many levels; and thought through criticism of religion is vital, of Islam especially. Posting pictures of famous Muslims with an implication they are engaged in a sex act with a pig isn’t thought through criticism though. 

That’s the difference, in my view- of course for free speech to mean anything it must include the right to give offence, and being allowed to shut down criticism merely by claiming offence is a dangerous situation. I agree with you on this. 

But the instances cited in the link were not examples of valid and necessary criticism of powerful institutions. I don’t think that free speech is a carte Blanche to be offensive as an end in itself; that’s just being a dick. Of course, I don’t think that this is a matter for the criminal law; but we are social animals, and sanctions are not simply legal. I don’t quite get an argument that says we should be allowed to be as offensive as we like, but then gets offended when people take offence. 

And your last point;  more fallacies- ‘if you find a free society offensive etc’- straw man again. And; you don’t get to unilaterally define what a free society is. I think we do live in such a society; and one where most people of all backgrounds are sophisticated enough to take intent into account when looking at offence. Where offence arises as a byproduct of legitimate criticism, i think most people can accept that. Where it’s just being offensive for the sake of it, or to pursue political gain, as Zak Goldsmith did, that will attract opprobrium.

Im comfortable with that, and reckon that a pragmatic balance is there. Perhaps those that don’t like living in a free country like this one, might find a different one somewhere else more to their taste....?

Thrudge on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> In your listing there is only one Scandinavian university in the top 100. What could possibly account for this discrepancy? I think we can easily agree that neither race nor religion are relevant!

The Times HE listing (and Coel's original point) referred to 200, not 100.  So we'll ignore your attempt to slant the data and look at the Scandanavian countries, as you suggest.  In that top 200, we have 4 in Denmark, 2 in Norway, and - oh dear - 5 in Sweden.  So that's 11, from a relatively tiny population.  What's the population of Islamic nations?  A billion or so?  Something else noticeable about Scandanavian countries is a Christian history and a modern overwhelmingly secular society.

> Can we also agree that students and staff from Islamic countries are much more likely to be able to study/teach in an English-speaking environment than native English-speakers are in any foreign language! 

Yes, we can, although your point eludes me.  Can we also agree that part of the reason for this is that the English speaking world has far more universities, and far more world class ones, than the Islamic nations?

> What you and Coel don't seem to realise is that universities don't just become centres of excellence because of their immediate environment, but because of their ability to attract talent from around the world. This is even one of the criteria they use to create those listings. Most of the highly-placed universities are in English-speaking countries. Does it follow that English speakers are more enlightened than other people? Or does it mean that an English-speaking environment facilitates universities in attracting talent from around the world. 

What you don't seem to realise (perhaps I'm being overly generous and should say 'are determined not to acknowledge') is that scholarship and science are hamstrung in Islamic nations compared to non-Islamic ones.  And being English-speaking is a red herring - I suspect lectures in Danish universities are given in Danish, lectures in Norway in Norwegian, and lectures in Sweden in Swedish.

> Mohammad supposedly instructed his followers to: 'Seek knowledge even unto China'. I know a Yemeni guy (devout follower of Islam) who did just that. Studied in China and then set up a software company there and married a local woman. Speaks fluent Mandarin, Arabic and English, just switches from one to the other. He told me that it's common for Yemenis to study in China as the two countries were very close back in the communist era of the 70s. 

A variant on the epically feeble "I know nice Muslims" argument.  As if anyone is going to be astonished that there are nice Muslims, or cultured Muslims, or well educated Muslims.  

And, if I may say so, it would be better for your argument if you didn't go down the road of 'Mohammed said', because some of the worst of Islamic scripture came from that very source.

Coel Hellier - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> Can we also agree that students and staff from Islamic countries are much more likely to be able to study/teach in an English-speaking environment than native English-speakers are in any foreign language! 

Why sure.  But there are plenty of non-English-speaking top universities in non-English-speaking countries. 

> What you and Coel don't seem to realise is that universities don't just become centres of excellence because of their immediate environment, but because of their ability to attract talent from around the world.

Why sure.  So if Islam really is so benign and intellectually stimulating and supportive of scholarship, why aren't Islamic universities beacons attracting talent from across the world?

Actually, if we look at the universities that there are in Saudi and the Gulf States, they attain the standing they do have by buying in talent using oil money.  There is very little home-grown scholarship.

Coel Hellier - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> But the instances cited in the link were not examples of valid and necessary criticism of powerful institutions.

But if we require the conditions "valid" and "necessary" then  anyone can shut down criticism by claiming that it is not "valid" or not "necessary". Who gets to decide? 

> I don’t think that free speech is a carte Blanche to be offensive as an end in itself

How about if the end is not being offensive for its own sake, but being offensive in order to maintain the principle that we should not shut down commentary merely because it is offensive?

I, for one, argue that things like Charlie Hebdo cartoons and JandMo cartoons are both a "valid" and indeed a "necessary" way of promoting the principle that Islam should not be regarded as sacred and beyond criticism, but should be open for critique (including by satirical and offensive means), just like anything else. 

Some time some place - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

It seems to me that we are talking in parallel. I'm explaining why English-speaking universities are way better represented than any other language group in those rankings, and you're asking me why there are so few universities from Muslim countries.

I've never been to a university in a Muslim country so can't answer your question. I imagine that some are stifled by religious dogma from the ruling class while others are much less so (although the fact that Riyad is one of the top ranked universities in the Muslim-world makes me wonder if this is the main issue).

Language is a almost certainly a big factor. Contrary to what you wrote, many universities in non-English speaking countries offer courses (especially post-graduate) in English. Maybe universities in the Muslim world don't offer this option as widely. 

Wealth is going to be a factor, as money attracts talent, although, given the relatively poor rankings of some European nations, obviously not as much as language. Africa has 0 universities in the top 200. Perhaps Riyad's wealth has compensated for other more negative factors.

The fact that Muslim students are encouraged to travel to study (by the Koran and by their parents) means that the top Muslim students will do just that. Ditto for teachers. 

Why aren't students/teachers from the anglosphere as willing to travel to Muslim countries? This isn't just because of language, but for a whole raft of cultural issues too. You know them as well as me. All those Home County freshers are going to be a bit out of their depth in Beirut or Cairo.

I get why you consider my supposed quote from Mohammad and the example of my Yemeni friend cringe-worthy, but it did perfectly illustrate the point I was trying to make ie. that Islamic culture actively encourages its followers to travel to study. This doesn't mean there's not shedloads of bullshit in the koran, but if you want to understand Islamic culture then you have to take a passing interest, just like the bible can tell you a lot about western culture.

Anyway you've had the easy job (asking questions) and I've had the difficult one (trying to answer them!). Enjoy your day!

Post edited at 08:27
1
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I pretty much agree Coel- I would consider things like Charlie Hebdo and J&M both necessary and valid. 

As to who gets to decide- it would be good if there was a clean, objective, robust way of determining this- I personally think thats impossible to achieve, and in the end the best we’ve got is the balance of society’s opinion. Most of the time I think it gets it right- it was clearly on the side of Charlie Hebdo,and in a previous generation, Salman Rushdie. 

That being the case, I agree it’s a principle that requires continually fighting for, and I support your efforts even if I would sometimes disagree on the detail.

but that’s why I get troubled when it looks like Free Speech is being used as a cover for people whose motivation is out of inherent prejudice and dislike rather than ideological differences. The examples in the link I gave looked to me like examples of this. 

I think such examples need to be called out, or else they risk damaging support for the underlying principle- there are many people who don’t share our view of the importance of free speech, and if they see it being used as a way to justify bigotry then the risk is that they turn against the principle in general 

Offwidth - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

I'm amazed intelligent people take any list of top Universities seriously. Such lists are made up of combination of disimilar statistics (so by definition are scientifically invalid). The world wide ones are designed to suit the big western institutions who wield huge endowment income and can always use this to vacuum the best minds in the world. 

Success in institutions of higher learning came much more with state power, wealth and stability than with absolute freedom of speech or religion (some freedoms are of course neccesary... but name a long term stable wealthy state or empire that didn't have this). Although the declining Ottomans did 'occupy' and terrorise arab states it was the post world war one break up of that empire and the fall out from the second world war that led to the richest muslim states deliberately being run by western puppets, and in the case of Saudi a nasty religious dogmatic variety that spurned and funded most of the worlds worst terror groups. The UK and the US most certainly didn't want any successful new muslim states as a competitor, just as they didn't want successful communist states. From the late middle ages to a few hundred years ago the muslim empires would have dominated any world University list, despite Islam. Coel's arguments about this subject are ignorant of the historical realities.

Post edited at 09:55
2
Thrudge on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> Expressing a view that an image of the Muslim mayor of London engaging in bestiality with a pig is a bit below the belt is paving the way to a Muslim state in the UK?

We have a long history of extremely offensive cartoons lampooning politicians going back at least to Hogarth and the particularly scathing Gillray.  Sadiq Khan is, in my view, a politician first and a Muslim second.  Sorry, no free rides for politicians with a Muslim pass.

> the rest of your post is just fallacy bingo, thrudge

No, it isn't.  Allow me to explain why.

> False equivalence (depicting an actual living person engaging in bestiality is not the same as a pastry product being substituted for a historical figure)

I'm obliged to concede that the two are not equivalent, and this is easily shown by comparison.  Jesus: the literal son of God, the Light of the world, the Soul and Saviour of mankind, a martyr for our sins, and our road to a redemption.  Khan: a politician.  You may lightly dismiss the offence to Christians (as I do) but we may not say that the offence is not real and profound - only that it's subordinate to a free society.  You appear to take the view that mocking a politician is a far greater moral offence, because that politician is Muslim and if we mock one Muslim we mock all of them.  It's not even an argument, it is simply untrue - although I'm sure Islamists would endorse that idea.

> Red herrings- show me where I said I support banning offending religions. You can’t, so the link is not relevant. 

I didn't say you support it, I said some people do.  This is factual, and therefore relevant.

> Straw man- Because I expressed a view that being offensive just for the sake of it isn’t something i approve of, in any context, I am a “defender of the faith”? No, I’m not.

Then I respectfully suggest that you stop going in to bat for Islam, because it makes you falsely appear to be a defender of the faith.  BTW, who gets to decide who is being offensive 'just for the sake of it' and who isn't?  It's a key question.  

> I find the whole concept of organised religion offensive on many levels; and thought through criticism of religion is vital, of Islam especially.

I'm sincerely pleased that we have an area of agreement.

>Posting pictures of famous Muslims with an implication they are engaged in a sex act with a pig isn’t thought through criticism though. 

I respectfully submit that that is an opinion, rather than a fact.  Fair enough, we're all allowed opinions.  And you may well be correct, perhaps it wasn't thought out.  But I'd not want to ban criticism simply because it hasn't been thought out.  Again, who gets to decide what has and has not been thought out, what criticism is allowed and what is not?

I think it's often overlooked that western societies, for all their niceties and civilities, are highly adversarial when it comes to their political and social institutions.  It really is rough.  And that is deliberate and necessary.  I'm with you in believing the cartoon to be offensive, but my response to that offence is, "Welcome to a free society".

> That’s the difference, in my view- of course for free speech to mean anything it must include the right to give offence, and being allowed to shut down criticism merely by claiming offence is a dangerous situation. I agree with you on this. 

Splendid.  Perhaps we agree on the basics more than we initially thought.

> But the instances cited in the link were not examples of valid and necessary criticism of powerful institutions.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, who gets to decide which criticisms are 'valid and necessary'?  It really is a fundamental question.  Is it noisemakers from CAGE?  The Aryan Brotherhood?  The Pope?  The Prime Minister?  Or is it no one?  I vote for the latter.

>I don’t think that free speech is a carte Blanche to be offensive as an end in itself; that’s just being a dick.

Yes, in those circumstances, it is being a dick.  I regard it as a small and necessary price to pay for freedom of speech.

>  I don’t quite get an argument that says we should be allowed to be as offensive as we like, but then gets offended when people take offence. 

I think you've introduced a very slight convolution here, which is easily simplified: being offended is fine.  Being offended that other people are offended (which I'm not, BTW) is also fine.  Seeking to prohibit offence to religions is not acceptable.

> And; you don’t get to unilaterally define what a free society is.

Nor did I attempt to define it - I described it.  A free society has freedom of speech, amongst other things.

> I think we do live in such a society;

Me too.

>and one where most people of all backgrounds are sophisticated enough to take intent into account when looking at offence. Where offence arises as a byproduct of legitimate criticism, i think most people can accept that. Where it’s just being offensive for the sake of it, or to pursue political gain, as Zak Goldsmith did, that will attract opprobrium.

Here, I'll ask you to imagine me playing my favourite record 

> Im comfortable with that, and reckon that a pragmatic balance is there. Perhaps those that don’t like living in a free country like this one, might find a different one somewhere else more to their taste....?

Indeed they might, but I wouldn't be one of them.  Not only do I like living in a free country, I'm happy to support its freedoms and speak in defense of them when religious pressure groups and their misguided hangers-on (not you, relax) seek to remove or restrain them.

Post edited at 10:58
1
TobyA on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

>   And being English-speaking is a red herring - I suspect lectures in Danish universities are given in Danish, lectures in Norway in Norwegian, and lectures in Sweden in Swedish.

This isn't particularly true these days. Plenty of courses will be taught in the local language, yes, but the use of English is very normal now because it allows students from all round the world to do the course. In Finland that I know best, to graduate from uni you have to pass both Swedish and English test - basically you have to be able to explain your thesis in those language.

Lots of non-Finnish speaking staff employed to teach at Finnish unis as well. My impression from going to conferences in the other Nordics was it  was very similar in there too.

Some time some place - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to TobyA:

Same in Switzerland and also becoming more common in France. If you want to rank high in university listings, adopting the English language looks like the best card to play. Seems to trump any other factor; the list speaks for itself! Academics from around the world coming together and communicating in a common language has got to have significant advantages, but unfortunately there will also be a stifling effect.

"For everything gained something is lost." - Some Greek dude.

Thrudge on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to TobyA:

Thank you, that's interesting.

Offwidth - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to TobyA:

Even some french institutions run courses in English to attract overseas income. I visited one of the top  Dutch institutions last year and all the STEM Masters seemed to be in English and there were moves to make quite a few undergrad courses to follow them. The institution was ranked well below many UK institutions in the world Uni rankings who I know would be delighted to have the facilities they had (often EU infrastructure grant based) and where it was immediately obvious that working conditions (offices, labs, workloads, freedom from mangement interferance, tenure etc) for permanent academic staff was way better than in the UK. World rankings are plain broken and the UK red bricks are being flattered in them (mainly as the good staff recruited in better times mostly haven't left yet)

Doug on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to TobyA:

I give occasional lectures at a few French universities & Grande Ecoles, mostly to MSc students. When I first started some 20 years ago it was just assumed I would lecture in French, but in recent years the invitation usually asks me to use English (I don't think my French has deteriorated). But I usually allow questions & discussion in French if that's easier for the students.

And going back to the ranking of universities, don't forget that in many countries most research is done in research institutes rather than universities. The organisation where I'm based is very productive in terms of publications, etc but we are not a university so would not even be considered for these tables

Offwidth - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Doug:

The UK used to have many world class reseach institutes as well. They are a shadow of their former selves due to cost saving and commercialisation. Unless something miraculous happens soon UK Universities are next to be hit this way, as we seem to facing a perfect storm: ... likely reduced fees (not properly compensated by different funding)  brexit (hitting research funds, staffing and students), mad immigration control for overseas students (who make the UK PLC a fortune and subsidise underfunding in teaching and research) ; idiotic focus on institutional competition and the crazy puboic market emphasis on the importance of the possibility of going bust (confusing and spooking all our stakeholders), expensive and disruptive subject based TEF (based on psuedo-intellectual bs); increased volume and quality of competition for english speaking  overseas students (now even France); investment in all in the wrong places (too much risky loan based shiny teaching buildings, too much central admin, inflated VC salaries disconected from real performance and too little on coal-face staff and major infrastructure equipment); worsening staff pay,  pensions, working conditions and academic freedom compared to other countries  (nearly all due to austerity and local management controls)

TobyA on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Doug:

My old institute in Helsinki ran a course each year at Helsink uni which was always in English, the students were a good mix of Finns, Erasmus exchange students and third country students doing their full degrees in Helsinki. 

Post edited at 13:18
TobyA on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Plenty of interest in Holland as a uni destination among my sixth formers and a few have already done it in recent years. We'll see what effects Brexit has on that!

Eric9Points - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But if we require the conditions "valid" and "necessary" then  anyone can shut down criticism by claiming that it is not "valid" or not "necessary". Who gets to decide? 

99% of the time people can easily tell the difference between legitimate criticism and offensive behavior. Occasionally there are incidents where the issue is not black and white but focusing on these to justify offensive remarks is clearly wrong.

> How about if the end is not being offensive for its own sake, but being offensive in order to maintain the principle that we should not shut down commentary merely because it is offensive?

One should not be offensive just for the sake of it in the same way as one should not beat a child just to make a point that you are free to smack children. Being offensive hurts people, you shouldn't do it unless you see no alternative.

But to descend from the ivory tower for a short while and get back to bigotry in the conservative party I see the Guardian published a shocking report on the subject this morning with a muslim claiming, amongst other things, that he was excluded from standing as a councilor in winnable seats and that he and a number of other dark skinned people had been quarantined at the same table at their constituency dinner. 

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/06/conservatives-prejudiced-against-islam-council-candidate

Coel Hellier - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> 99% of the time people can easily tell the difference between legitimate criticism and offensive behavior.

No, actually, that's not so.  If we asked a large number of people to put things in one of those two categories, there would be a lot of disagreement.

> One should not be offensive just for the sake of it ...

Ok, but how about if the end is not being offensive for its own sake, but being offensive in order to maintain the principle that we should not shut down commentary merely because it is offensive?

> Being offensive hurts people, you shouldn't do it unless you see no alternative.

That's a ridiculous standard. It means that anyone can shut down anyone else's argument, simply by claiming that it is offensive and offering a much milder alternative statement.

1
Coel Hellier - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Being offensive hurts people, you shouldn't do it unless you see no alternative.

Just to illustrate how ludicrous that rule is, let's examine your very next paragraph:

> But to descend from the ivory tower ...

Reference to "ivory tower" is unnecessarily offensive. It implies that people are out of touch.  You could have worded it without that phrase.

> for a short while and get back to bigotry in the conservative party ...

"Bigotry" in the conservative party? That's an unnecessarily loaded and offensive word.  You could have called it "marginally sub-optimal attitudes" within the conservative party.

> I see the Guardian published a shocking report ...

"Shocking"? To suggest that the Tory party's behaviour and attitudes are "shocking" is unnecessarily offensive. You could have suggested that their attitudes are "mildly perturbing".

> ...  and that he and a number of other dark skinned people had been quarantined at the same table at their constituency dinner. 

"Quarantined"? Now that's a loaded word, with strong connotations, and thus is unnecessarily offensive.   You could have said that those people had been "placed together at the same table". 

So, unless you want to be a hypocrite, I suggest you either take your own advice and avoid all unnecessarily offensive language in future, or re-think your prohibition on being  "unnecessarily offensive".

Edit to add:

And up thread you said:

> "The arse at the centre of the story was implying that all muslims are terrorists. I'd say that was Islamophobic."

Calling that person an "arse" is rather unnecessarily offensive is it not?  You could have referred to him as a "person".  And you're using "Islamophobic" as a slur, so that term is unnecessarily offensive. 

Then you said:

> "That's still a) Islamophobic and b) total crap in my view."

"Total crap"?  Was that wording necessary? Are you sure you couldn't have worded it in a less offensive way? 

I think we can pretty securely convict you of hypocrisy! 

Post edited at 15:03
7
Eric9Points - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Whatever Coel.

I see you didn't bother reading the article I posted. I assume real bigotry and discrimination is of less interest to you than philosophical debates on how it's ok to be rude to people and why they shouldn't get upset.

2
Coel Hellier - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> I assume real bigotry and discrimination is of less interest to you than philosophical debates ...

Your assumption is rather offensive is it not?    Hypocrite! 

6
Harry Jarvis - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> I see you didn't bother reading the article I posted. I assume real bigotry and discrimination is of less interest to you than philosophical debates on how it's ok to be rude to people and why they shouldn't get upset.

I think when one spends most of one's life in an ivory tower, real bigotry and discrimination are best left unexplored, for fear of finding unpleasantries. 

elsewhere on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

He said: > Being offensive hurts people, you shouldn't do it unless you see no alternative.

You said: > Just to illustrate how ludicrous that rule is

Which bit of  "unless you see no alternative" makes you think this a rule rather than the speaker's personal decision?

Coel Hellier - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

> Which bit of  "unless you see no alternative" makes you think this a rule rather than the speaker's personal decision?

It's the "you shouldn't do it" bit that sounds like a "rule". 

3
elsewhere on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> It's the "you shouldn't do it" bit that sounds like a "rule". 

Naturally if you ignore half a sentence you end up spouting rubbish to refute a straw man of your own creation.

1
Coel Hellier - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

> Naturally if you ignore half a sentence you end up spouting rubbish to refute a straw man of your own creation.

That's amazing from someone who quoted parts of a sentence in saying:

> Which bit of  "unless you see no alternative" makes you think this a rule rather than the speaker's personal decision?

So let's examine the full sentence, which is:

> Being offensive hurts people, you shouldn't do it unless you see no alternative.

Which means that: In any situation where you see an alternative to being offensive, you should not be offensive.

And that is quite clearly a "rule". 

It is not leaving it up to the speaker's personal decision. That would be: "If you see an alternative to being offensive, you can still decide to be offensive".

So you're the one "ignoring half a sentence" and "spouting rubbish".

2
Harry Jarvis - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> And that is quite clearly a "rule". 

It is clearly not a rule. A rule would state 'You must not ....'. 'You should not ... ' is advisory. 

On a different topic, given your stated dislikes of all things Islamic, do you think it would be a good thing if the Conservative Party were institutionally Islamophobic? 

Coel Hellier - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Harry Jarvis:

> It is clearly not a rule. A rule would state 'You must not ....'. 'You should not ... ' is advisory. 

This is getting into a pedantic side-track, but no, "should" also implies a rule. 

"should": "Used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone's actions". (OED)

> do you think it would be a good thing if the Conservative Party were institutionally Islamophobic? 

I'm not answering the question as posed because I refuse to regard "Islamophobia" as a valid concept. 

So, if the question is:

"do you think it would be a good thing if the Conservative Party were institutionally bigoted against Muslims people".

... then my answer is: no.

But if the question is:

"do you think it would be a good thing if the Conservative Party were institutionally opposed to many of the doctrines of mainstream Islam"

... then my answer is: yes. 

For example, I'd regard it as a good thing if the Tories were opposed to compulsory religion and opposed to blasphemy and apostasy laws, and if they opposed state/religion entanglement. 

1
Harry Jarvis - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> "should": "Used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone's actions". (OED)

> I'm not answering the question as posed because I refuse to regard "Islamophobia" as a valid concept. 

And yet the OED has this definition:

"Dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force."

So are you happy to insist on an OED definition when it suits your argument, and happy to discard when it goes against your argument? 

Coel Hellier - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Harry Jarvis:

> And yet the OED has this definition:  "Dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force."

Which shows why it's such a bad term.   Dislike of Islam (an idea system) especially as a political force is a very, very, very different thing from dislike of Muslims (people).

Islamists created the term "Islamophobia" to deliberately conflate the two, and so try to disallow opposition to Islam.    We should not play their game. 

And by the way, "phobia" means "irrational fear", which is another reason why the term is invalid.  Dislike of Islam ... as a political force is not irrational!   It's rational and sensible! 

elsewhere on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> It is not leaving it up to the speaker's personal decision. That would be: "If you see an alternative to being offensive, you can still decide to be offensive".

"unless you see no alternative" also means when it is the only way to express your true opinion with as many other imprecise and sometimes contradictory interpretations as there are English speakers. I'm sorry to deviate from the Coel-centric zealot's view that only the blessed Coel has enlightenment on what other people's beliefs or statements mean.

> So you're the one "ignoring half a sentence" and "spouting rubbish".

Well it is the internet.

Post edited at 18:05
Some time some place - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> If they're so intellectually stimulating why are there no universities in Islamic countries in the world's top 200 universities? 

I've already discussed how Anglosphere universities manage to attract international talent through the simple fact that they operate in the English language. 'Internationalism' is one of the Times's 5 criteria in their ranking system, so obviously Indonesian, Arabic and Iranian universities are going to score low on this one. 

Doug put me onto another potential answer for your question this morning when he wrote that in many countries (outside the Anglosphere) research is done in institutes and not universities. Research is another of the 5 criteria used by the Times ranking system.

I typed 'research' and 'Iran' into Google and this is what came up.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Iranian_research_centers

As you can see Iran has a lot of research centers which are not universities.

Your assertion that scientific research in Islamic countries has "stood still for 700 years" is obviously bollox.

Eric9Points - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Which shows why it's such a bad term.   Dislike of Islam (an idea system) especially as a political force is a very, very, very different thing from dislike of Muslims (people).

So telling people on Twitter that everyone in Turkey is an ISIS sympathiser is wrong and definitely a belief that an elected politician should not hold.

Ensuring that muslim candidates only get offered unwinnable seats is wrong.

Seating people of different ethnicities apart from the majority white audience is wrong.

I'm glad we got there in the end.

Offwidth - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

It can be very different as most liberals minded people can support freedom of religion in a proper sense (without insulting nearly every believer) at the same time as standing up and protesting against the worst excesses of that religion. Reading your rants make me think you are plain dishonest in this respect and probably Islamophic.

The OED point is just sad.. Harry is right: you have a UKC history of chosing definitions that suit you and ignoring those that don't.

A conservative muslim on Radio 4 yesterday morning made the important point that institutional racism is an organisation issue. It doesn't mean most in the party are Islamophobic but it does mean formal complaints on this have not been dealt with fairly or consistently.

Post edited at 18:19
2
Coel Hellier - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> I've already discussed how Anglosphere universities manage to attract international talent through the simple fact that they operate in the English language.

Why sure, absolutely.  But then there are vast numbers of universities not in English-speaking countries that are in the top 200. So this is not an explanation of the absence of Islamic ones. 

> As you can see Iran has a lot of research centers which are not universities.

Why sure. But I made an assertion about *quality*, about how much research of international standard was being done.

> Your assertion that scientific research in Islamic countries has "stood still for 700 years" is obviously bollox.

No it isn't.  It's slightly exaggerated, yes (and the phrasing was a reply to Christendom having stood still for a millenium), but I stand by the claim that very little research (of international quality) is being produced by Islamic countries.

Coel Hellier - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> So telling people on Twitter that everyone in Turkey is an ISIS sympathiser is wrong ...

If he had said that then yes he would have been wrong.  (Though it's not actually what he said, is it?)

1
Coel Hellier - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Reading your rants make me think you are plain dishonest in this respect and probably Islamophic.

Up jumps the Islamist's well-trained poodle to claim that criticising Islam amounts to a "rant" and is likely "dishonest".

6
L Pefa on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> but I stand by the claim that very little research (of international quality) is being produced by Islamic countries.

They are certainly way behind the non-Muslim countries in R&D and mass production of a vast array of means to obliterate each other, everything else and the planet. 

PS. Which are of course to "International quality". 

The New NickB - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

You're just Tommy Robinson with a telescope!

7
Some time some place - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

>  I stand by the claim that very little research (of international quality) is being produced by Islamic countries.

If you're going to stand by your claim can you at least substantiate it?

FactorXXX - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> If you're going to stand by your claim can you at least substantiate it?

Lets turn that question around:
In recent times, what contribution have Islamic countries made in the fields of science, engineering and medicine?

1
Some time some place - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

I'm not claiming anything!

1
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

Yes, as should be clear from my reply to Coel I entirely get political satire through cartoons. Not sure what the political point in the Khan one was though. Perhaps you can explain it to me. 

Most of the rest of your post is just a slide into ‘I said/you said’ stuff, and of doubtful value to flog the dead horse further. People can read what we posted and make their own mind up, though I doubt many are paying much attention by now

the ‘going into bat for Islam/defender of the faith’ comment is mystifying though. You appear to be saying that i shouldn’t call out bigotry directed towards Muslims, because that would give support to their religion. I’m sure that’s not what you actually mean, because that would be bizarre; maybe you can explain more clearly. 

As to ‘who gets to decide’. Again I covered that in my reply to Coel. There is no easy and clear answer. In the end, it’s the Court of Public opinion, the balance of everyone’s views, and likely to be inconsistent and subject to change over time. And again, as I said to Coel, that’s why I object to your puritanical interpretation of ‘freedom of speech’. If it comes to be seen by enough people as something bigots use to justify their right to circulate their bigotry, then support for it could be undermined. I think we are far from the ‘natural equilibrium point’ for freedom of speech across societies, and its not a given that it will continue at its current extent. I entirely agree that there are forces that push for its restriction; currently I think they are seen as the exremists and they lack wide support. I’m wary about giving support to a narrative such people would wish to push, that unrestricted free speech will just be used as a cover to abuse people. If that gets traction, then the vital function it performs end up at risk. 

For clarity- that’s not at all an argument that we should never give offence to religious people, nor should we automatically accept a declaration of being offended as a cause to shut down debate. I’m entirely supportive of robust political debate. This is different to the incidents referred to in my link, and in other links that have been posted. I resent when this vital function of our society is hijacked by bigots. And I don’t consider calling such people out is ‘being a defender of the faith’, whatever that is. 

Post edited at 22:37
FactorXXX - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> I'm not claiming anything!

You're claiming that Coel's notion of Islamic countries being behind their counterparts in the fields of science, engineering and medicine, etc. are rubbish. 
Therefore, you must believe that those Islamic countries are actually contributing worthwhile research in those fields.
Thus the simple question: In recent times, what contribution have Islamic countries made in the fields of science, engineering and medicine?
Remember, you're the one defending the academic/research capabilities of those countries and the easiest way to defend them would be to provide evidence of their actual contribution.
By the way, did you actually click on any of the Links in the Wikipedia page you provided a link to?  I did and a lot were totally devoid of any information beyond a simple information page.

FactorXXX - on 07 Mar 2019
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs: 

> For clarity- that’s not at all an argument that we should never give offence to religious people, nor should we automatically accept a declaration of being offended as a cause to shut down debate. I’m entirely supportive of robust political debate. This is different to the incidents referred to in my link, and in other links that have been posted. I resent when this vital function of our society is hijacked by bigots. And I don’t consider calling such people out is ‘being a defender of the faith’, whatever that is. 

I think the perception by many, myself included, is that the Islamic religion has somehow manoeuvred itself into a position enjoyed by the Christian Church forty odd years ago. i.e. they could say something was blasphemous and you could be pretty sure that would result in the relevant authorities siding with them - 'Life of Brian' being a good example.
Thankfully, the nonsense of blasphemy was abolished in 2008 and should in theory apply to all religions.  For some reason, I don't think that is quite happening... 

L Pefa on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Lets turn that question around:

> In recent times, what contribution have Islamic countries made in the fields of science, engineering and medicine?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_and_technology_in_Iran

That took me 5 seconds of my tea break to find so I'm sure with a little more time taken much more could be revealed and that I must add is from a country crippled by US/Israeli sanctions for a long time.

Post edited at 00:08
3
Stichtplate on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> That took me 5 seconds of my tea break to find so I'm sure with a little more time taken much more could be revealed and that I must add is from a country crippled by US/Israeli sanctions for a long time.

Did you also spend just 5 seconds reading your link?

Global innovation index: 120th out of 143.

Technology achievement index: 45th out of 68.

Patents granted: 56th out of 60.

1
neilh - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Pefa:

Iranian engineets and mathematicans are well recognised intheir field. As an example there was that Iranian lady mathematician who passed away recently and it was global headline news. 

The issue is that a lot of the good ones look as though they immigrate to Western countries . She had moved to the USA .

Jim Al-Khalili is another example  His Dad being an Iranian engineer who emigrated .

So you can argue that the good ones get out 

Some time some place - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

> You're claiming that Coel's notion of Islamic countries being behind their counterparts in the fields of science, engineering and medicine, etc. are rubbish. 

Read through my posts and you'll see that I've never said that at all, just asked Coel to substantiate his own claim. 

The only thing I rubbished was Coel's claim that scientific research in Islamic countries has "stood still for 700 years". Given that Iran has a successful space program and leads important work into stem cell research (amongst other things) and that the Gulf states are also investing massively in science I think my point is valid.

While not wanting to start a debate on wider Middle East issues, why do you think that Netanyahu has pushed Trump to reimpose harsh sanctions on Iran? Because Israeli defence chiefs are extremely worried about Iranian advances in domestic weapon technology and want to inhibit scientific and technological research in the country. If the Israelis consider that Iran could threaten their own military capacity, we can take that as a reliable indicator that Iran has a formidable technological potential.

However, it is also undoubtedly the case that European/USA/eastern Asian science and technology achievements are considerably greater that those of the Middle East. This is largely due to their ability to attract talent from around the world, including those followers of Islam who many people in this conversation are so quick to disparage. 

(ps. Coel has since said he was exaggerating about the 700 year Islamic stand-still)

Coel Hellier - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> (ps. Coel has since said he was exaggerating about the 700 year Islamic stand-still)

Well the "700 year Islamic stand-still" since AD1300 was a direct reply to a comment about Islamic scholaship in AD1300 "... whilst Europe stood still for a millennia".  As such, yes it's somewhat exaggerated rather than fully literal.  

> ... just asked Coel to substantiate his own claim. 

The lack of Islamic-world universities in the top 200 *is* a substantiation of the claim.   Yes, such indicators are far from perfect, yes they are biased to English-speaking countries, and yes research is also done in institutes, but despite all that it's still a pretty good indicator! 

And pointing to web pages of research institutes in the Islamic world doesn't prove much on its own -- what matters is how many international-quality papers they are producing in international-repute journals and how much they get cited. 

On such indicators the entire Islamic world (1.2 billion people) is out-done by Israel (8 million people), to pick a provocative example. 

By the way, weapons technology is not the same thing as science, especially if one is largely copying weapons previously developed in the West. 

> Given that Iran ...  leads important work into stem cell research (amongst other things) ...

What are you basing such claims on?   Web pages resulting from puff-pieces produced by the Iranian press?  

> This is largely due to their ability to attract talent from around the world, ...

Ok, but why does the Islamic world not have that ability? 

Why, for example, is China a powerhouse of first-rank science and technological development, but the Islamic world not? 

Some time some place - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> What are you basing such claims on?   Web pages resulting from puff-pieces produced by the Iranian press?  

Here's an example from the US press:

https://mentalfloss.com/article/76349/what-iran-may-be-able-teach-us-about-stem-cells

1
Some time some place - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> On such indicators the entire Islamic world (1.2 billion people) is out-done by Israel (8 million people), to pick a provocative example. 

Provocative, yes!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Iranian_nuclear_scientists

Stichtplate on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> Here's an example from the US press:

Might be stretching it to describe mentalfloss.com as 'US press', but whatever. The article itself consists of an Iranian born scientist saying he's quite impressed with Iranian science. That the best evidence you can find?

2
Some time some place - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Might be stretching it to describe mentalfloss.com as 'US press',

Wikipedia: "Mental Floss is an American digital, print, and e-commerce media company focused on millennials. It is owned by Minute Media and based in New York City."

1
Stichtplate on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> Wikipedia: "Mental Floss is an American digital, print, and e-commerce media company focused on millennials. It is owned by Minute Media and based in New York City."

They don't print anything...

https://www.politico.com/media/story/2016/09/mental-floss-ends-print-edition-004786

Their current digital edition's lead article...

"17 signs that you'd qualify as a witch in the 1600's"

http://mentalfloss.com

You think they qualify as a valid source to support anything?

Some time some place - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

>The article itself consists of an Iranian born scientist saying he's quite impressed with Iranian science. 

Here are a couple of articles by a man with a reassuringly Western name! The first you can only read the intro without a subscription, but it still provides some information and opinion. The second will provide an insight into perhaps the principle reason why scientific progress is stifled in Iran. Interestingly the first was written before sanctions were lifted, and the second after they were re-imposed.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/09/feature-iranian-scientists-rely-ingenuity-and-smuggling-survive-sanctions

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/08/science-iran-languishes-after-trump-re-imposes-sanctions

ps I'm loving the fact that your comment has had 2 likes, but the article link has only been clicked on once, presumably by you!

Post edited at 13:26
1
Stichtplate on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> Here are a couple of articles by a man with a reassuringly Western name! The first you can only read the intro without a subscription, but it still provides some information and opinion. The second will provide an insight into perhaps the principle reason why scientific progress is stifled in Iran. Interestingly the first was written before sanctions were lifted, and the second after they were re-imposed.

Rather than looking at abstracts of opinion pieces I'd rather look at the stats.

Global innovation index: 120th out of 143.

Technology achievement index: 45th out of 68.

Patents granted: 56th out of 60.

> ps I'm loving the fact that your comment has had 2 likes, but the article link has only been clicked on once!

Yeah, but the link was originally yours, and has been read a total of 4 times now. 

Edit: in response to your edit. Why would you presume I'd click on my own link? By the way, are you going to address any of my points or just carry on ignoring them and just respond with more side stepping posts and unreliable sources?

Post edited at 13:43
1
Some time some place - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Rather than looking at abstracts of opinion pieces I'd rather look at the stats.

I assume you are aware of how the selective use of stats can be used to mislead, in this case to suggest that very little worthwhile scientific research goes on in Iran.

The second article I posted is really quite interesting if you are genuinely looking for answers as to why Iran struggles to reach its full potential in scientific research, but I don't think you are. 

> Yeah, but the link was originally yours, and has been read a total of 4 times now. 

Ok, my bad :/

Post edited at 14:01
Stichtplate on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> I assume you are aware of how the selective use of stats can be used to mislead. 

You assume correctly. The 3 statistics I've quoted were sourced from the UN. Personally, I'd regard them as more reliable than your chosen source of supporting evidence...

http://mentalfloss.com

> The second article I posted is really quite interesting if you are genuinely looking for answers as to why Iran struggles to reach its full potential in scientific research, but I don't think you are. 

The main thing stifling Iranian potential is government by a batshit crazy theocracy that's brought international pariah status on itself by supporting terrorists, pursuing nuclear weapons and murdering people for homosexuality and apostasy.

Jon Stewart - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But, despite that, the ideologies do have enough common aspects that we can fairly refer to the ideology as a whole.  The idea that "Islam" has no actual identity, no common characteristics, is not sensible -- it's yet another tactic for disallowing criticism of Islam by denying that there is a target to criticise.

No it isn't. Try this thought experiment:

Go into the Northern General Hospital and interview a Muslim consultant about a range of social and political issues. Ask them how society should be run, what constitutes moral actions, what the future should look like, that kind of thing. The head across the road into Burngreave and find the poorest, least educated Muslim family you can, and ask them the same questions.

Coel: will the common character of the "ideology" and "ideas set" of Islam give you a good predictor of their answers, as it must if it really is a consistent "ideology". Or will other social factors, namely money and education have swamped the "Islam effect" making it a very poor predictor of their beliefs?

L Pefa on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Did you also spend just 5 seconds reading your link?

> Global innovation index: 120th out of 143.

> Technology achievement index: 45th out of 68.

> Patents granted: 56th out of 60.

That from a country decimated by US/Israeli sanctions and a western backed invasion of thier country. 

For the past 2 to 300 years no other people have been able to compete with the western countries in barbaric ruthlessness as we butchered each other and anyone else who stood in our way toward stealing thier land riches and anything we wanted. 

No one comes near to our industrial carnage and theft which in the process has seen us develop the most horrific weapons of mass destruction and seen us use them happily and celebrate doing so. 

For the past 2 to 300 years the Muslim world has been a part of the chess game used by the so called "great powers", in which thier countries are invaded, split up, kept poor or seen western puppet-tyrants installed. This is not by accident as it keeps the western countries on top in every way. 

So to pluck one stat about the top 200 unis and remove it of all context by saying that is caused by a particular religion is not a backward comment but either a wilfully disingenuous one or an ignorant one. I am no fan of many Islamic rules in the more extremist countries but for those who vote for British imperialism to have an issue with them is ridiculous as they are both the same in thier barbarity. Indeed Thatcher loved the Mudjahedeen {Taliban} The British created the KSA and lately Cameron has used support of islamist terrorists to destroy Libya and Syria {with the USA etc} so for a Tory to have a go at thier own Islamic proxy armies of throat cutters is ridiculous as they support them all. 

What of the Christian indoctrination of Africa and Latin America? How many of their unis are in the top 200? Or what was being invented in China when it was being ruled and plundered by the west? Or in India during the Raj? Its difficult to learn and build when you are occupied or in a rubble strewn war zo e created by the countries with the top unis. 

You can't just remove all context and say "There you are that proves everything", as that is suspicious  you need to be balanced. I note Coel just skips by my initial comment as if it wasn't there precisely because I mentioned imperialism. 

It's the elephant in the room that won't go away, oh yes us Brits have become good lately at hiding it or sweeping it under the carpet as that which must never be said but the rest of the world, the victims of it are presented with it all the time even the fact that the west has supported extremist Islam and crushed moderate secular Islam for at least 100 years. 

Perhaps Coel and others that feel the same way about islam and they feel that way out of fear not hate is because subconsciously they know this elephant and think if I was a Muslim I would be pretty angry about all the imperialism and want some revenge,so let's ignore it, but that isn't a solution. 

What Coel says on apostasy, honour killings, treating atheism as a capital offence, killing LGBT and all the other backward crimes of Islam is admirable and courageous and I applaud him loudly for it but let us see the whole picture not just a wee bit and by doing so let us confront all crimes and backwardism in all its forms, our own included. 

PS. Socialism was fantastic and worked well in the USSR with excellent growth rates and cared for people working with each other and not against. Some other time we can discuss this. 

Pps. All majority Islamic countries spend on scientific research, parks, institutes and do invent things but because they are not on the same level as the G20 Western countries that plunder the world is no real surprise. How much has Islam contributed to the current terrible state of the earth and life on earth from "science and technology"? 

Post edited at 15:42
3
Coel Hellier - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Coel: will the common character of the "ideology" and "ideas set" of Islam give you a good predictor of their answers, as it must if it really is a consistent "ideology".

An ideology doesn't necessarily cover all possible questions -- for example, it doesn't have to predict the answer to "do you think that Liverpool or Man City will win the league? -- all that is required is that there is *some* set of ideas that have sufficiently similarity that they can be regarded as part of the same umbrella "ideology". 

For example, "communism" is an ideology, despite having many variants. Trying to deny that "Islam" has any identity, any commonality at all is just weird.    It seems to me just another tactic to try to disallow any criticism of "Islam", by denying that there is any such thing as "Islam". 

1
Jon Stewart - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Ok, but why does the Islamic world not have that ability? 

> Why, for example, is China a powerhouse of first-rank science and technological development, but the Islamic world not? 

I've heard this argument made a thousand times, but never really understood what point was being made. I don't think it's anything more than "this is evidence that Islam is bad". The main problem is that it's a bit like "Africa is bad" - the fact that Islam is a religion and Africa is a continent doesn't change the fact that both are a bloody massive proportions of the world's population, and neither one of them is going to cease to exist at any point in the next few hundred years. 

How do the stats on African achievements stack up? Any views on that?

To me, it's indisputable that liberal, secular, social democracy is a far superior way to organise government compared to an Islamic theocracy. Is this the argument behind the "look how badly Islamic nations do" statistics? If so, I completely agree. Are the best models for national governance to be found in Holy Books? No. And more strongly, is religion poisonous in government full stop? Yes. Is Islam particularly set up to support theocratic government? Yes I think so.

But does this mean it's a good idea in the UK, where there is absolutely no danger of turning to Islamic theocracy (or more broadly too much influence of the religion in the running of the state), to espouse the simplistic idea that "Islam is bad"?

You often talk about how you want to support moderate Muslim reformers - but the more you spend your time posting badly justified arguments about how the whole Islam is bad, the more you'll alienate your cause from theirs. I see it as a completely destructive, divisive, alienating view to say that "Islam is bad". That's not because I think religion should be protected from criticism, it's because the consequence of espousing that simplistic view are negative. Whereas you could potentially generate positive consequences from more intelligent nuanced arguments about how society should be run that don't operate along tribal dividing lines.

One more thought for you: what is the most dangerous "ideas set" in human history? What's caused ordinary people in their thousands to slaughter their neighbours? Tribalism. The view that "these people are my in-group and those are my out-group" is at the heart of every genocide in history. Wouldn't that be a better "ideas set" to target?

Post edited at 15:47
Jon Stewart - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> An ideology doesn't necessarily cover all possible questions

> It seems to me just another tactic to try to disallow any criticism of "Islam", by denying that there is any such thing as "Islam". 

That's because you haven't engaged with it, you've just given a weak and evasive answer. I said:

Ask them how society should be run, what constitutes moral actions, what the future should look like

If they're not the important questions that you think the "bad" Islamic ideology steers believers on, then tell me, what are?

Coel Hellier - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> PS. Socialism was fantastic and worked well in the USSR ...

Well that's a rather eccentric opinion! 

Coel Hellier - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> To me, it's indisputable that liberal, secular, social democracy is a far superior way to organise government compared to an Islamic theocracy.

Excellent!

> Is this the argument behind the "look how badly Islamic nations do" statistics?

Yes!

> If so, I completely agree.

Good.   And therefore it is entirely sensible to be "Islamophobic", defined as: "dislike of Islam as a political force". 

Of course you would *not* be "Islamophobic" under the other definition: "prejudice against Muslims".  

Which is exactly why the concept "Islamophobia" is so bad, it is a deliberate attempt to conflate these two very different concepts in an attempt to disallow criticism of Islam.

> You often talk about how you want to support moderate Muslim reformers - but the more you spend your time posting badly justified arguments about how the whole Islam is bad, the more you'll alienate your cause from theirs.

And yet I am largely taking my cue from Muslim reformers, of which Maajid Nawaz is one of the most notable in the UK today. 

"Maajid Nawaz Wants The Word “Islamophobia” Scrapped, Here’s Why"

https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/maajid-nawaz/maajid-nawaz-wants-the-word-islamophobia-scrapped/

> I see it as a completely destructive, divisive, alienating view to say that "Islam is bad". [...] because the consequence of espousing that simplistic view are negative

Well you're making a rather over-simplistic summary of what I'm saying, and then accusing it of being simplistic!

> Whereas you could potentially generate positive consequences from more intelligent nuanced arguments about how society should be run that don't operate along tribal dividing lines.

Yes, but in order to have such a debate we need to accept that Islam really is open to examination and criticism, and if we do that then we might indeed conclude that it is more harmful than beneficial.   The whole point of the term "Islamophobia" is to try to disallow that sensible discussion. 

1
Coel Hellier - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> ... If they're not the important questions that you think the "bad" Islamic ideology steers believers on, then tell me, what are?

I would think that if you did your test, you would find more commonality in your answers between different Muslims than you could if you compared, say, answers by Muslims with answers by atheists.

Of course there would indeed still be a range amongst Muslims, they of course do not all think alike.

Coel Hellier - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Just thought I'd post the Maajid Nawaz opinion here:

"The LBC presenter ripped into the The Muslim Council of Britain who have called on the Conservatives to launch an independent inquiry into allegations of Islamophobia within the party.

"It aired "serious concerns" that anti-Muslim bigotry had "poisoned elements of the party".

"But Maajid said the group had done its “fair share” to “contribute to the fear of Muslims” in Britain.

"And he wanted the word Islamophobia axed, and instead replaced with Muslimphobia to allow people to scrutinise the religion “like every other religion is scrutinised”.

"He said: “Islamophobia includes within it hatred of Muslims as a people and criticising and scrutinising Islam as a religion which is the right of every free-thinking human being anywhere in the world.

“So if I turned around and said that Islam today has a disproportionate problem with homophobia, with anti-freedom of religion stances and so on and so forth, chopping the hand of the thief - that's not Islamophobic that's talking about the doctrine of a religion that needs reform.”

"Maajid added: “Therefore let's change the word, let's stop using the word Islamophobia which lends itself to accusations of blasphemy when in fact everyone should have the right to blaspheme.

“Let's use instead the word Muslimphobia which is more accurate, because it's wrong to hate Muslims as a people or individual Muslims as persons but it's perfectly legitimate to scrutinise Islam as a doctrine.”

https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/maajid-nawaz/maajid-nawaz-wants-the-word-islamophobia-scrapped/

1
Jon Stewart - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I would think that if you did your test, you would find more commonality in your answers between different Muslims than you could if you compared, say, answers by Muslims with answers by atheists.

I think that an analysis of the answers from across society would show very strong effects of education (correlating with socio-economic status) and a much weaker correlation with atheist/christian/muslim. This is illustrated in the thought experiment by picking opposite ends of the socio-economic status measure within the all-muslims set - the attitudes would obviously be completely different and I don't think you're denying that. Incidentally I think that the set defined by uneducated+muslim would be quite a distinct group, with the attitudes I most want to see change.

The point, yet again, is that if it's views about society that you wish to change, you're targeting the wrong group: the group "all muslims" includes all those educated people whose attitudes aren't harmful. And it alienates them. I don't see why you'd want to tell Muslim university students who hold normal views completely compatible with secular values of tolerance and whatnot that their religion is a "harmful ideology". It's both inaccurate and insulting.

Can you acknowledge any problem with doing so, or is that beyond you (because it involves a climb-down)?

Post edited at 16:34
Stichtplate on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> That from a country decimated by US/Israeli sanctions and a western backed invasion of thier country. 

They were underperforming before the sanctions and what invasion are you talking about?

> For the past 2 to 300 years no other people have been able to compete with the western countries in barbaric ruthlessness as we butchered each other and anyone else who stood in our way toward stealing thier land riches and anything we wanted. 

You're showing a very poor grasp of history if you actually believe that.

> No one comes near to our industrial carnage and theft which in the process has seen us develop the most horrific weapons of mass destruction and seen us use them happily and celebrate doing so. 

Any evidence as to the West 'happily celebrating' the use of 'weapons of mass destruction'?

> For the past 2 to 300 years the Muslim world has been a part of the chess game used by the so called "great powers", in which thier countries are invaded, split up, kept poor or seen western puppet-tyrants installed. This is not by accident as it keeps the western countries on top in every way. 

In that time period much of the Muslim world was dominated by the Ottoman Empire. Iran specifically was invaded by Russia and the Ottomans. Britain briefly occupied the West of the country in WW1 and withdrew completely post war.

> So to pluck one stat about the top 200 unis and remove it of all context by saying that is caused by a particular religion is not a backward comment but either a wilfully disingenuous one or an ignorant one. I am no fan of many Islamic rules in the more extremist countries but for those who vote for British imperialism to have an issue with them is ridiculous as they are both the same in thier barbarity. Indeed Thatcher loved the Mudjahedeen {Taliban} The British created the KSA and lately Cameron has used support of islamist terrorists to destroy Libya and Syria {with the USA etc} so for a Tory to have a go at thier own Islamic proxy armies of throat cutters is ridiculous as they support them all.

I didn't pluck one statistic about universities, I plucked three... all gleaned from your own link up thread. 

> What of the Christian indoctrination of Africa and Latin America? How many of their unis are in the top 200? Or what was being invented in China when it was being ruled and plundered by the west? Or in India during the Raj? Its difficult to learn and build when you are occupied or in a rubble strewn war zo e created by the countries with the top unis. 

China was ruled by the West??? Loads of stuff was invented in the Raj; off the top of my head... gin and tonic, pale ale kedgeree and dum dum bullets.

> You can't just remove all context and say "There you are that proves everything", as that is suspicious  you need to be balanced. I note Coel just skips by my initial comment as if it wasn't there precisely because I mentioned imperialism. 

You're so confused about basic facts of history that context is the least of your worries.

> It's the elephant in the room that won't go away, oh yes us Brits have become good lately at hiding it or sweeping it under the carpet as that which must never be said but the rest of the world, the victims of it are presented with it all the time even the fact that the west has supported extremist Islam and crushed moderate secular Islam for at least 100 years. 

You'll have to be more specific. You've just made a vast sweeping statement. If you're saying the West has meddled in Islamic countries then that's irrefutable. If you're saying all the ills of the Muslim world can be laid at the feet of the West, then that's just ridiculous.

> Perhaps Coel and others that feel the same way about islam and they feel that way out of fear not hate is because subconsciously they know this elephant and think if I was a Muslim I would be pretty angry about all the imperialism and want some revenge,so let's ignore it, but that isn't a solution. 

You not think this is a really prejudiced way to think about Muslims? That they're all really angry at the West for historical injustices as though "Muslim" is one huge aggrieved bloc of people seething at historical injustice? Speaking as an Atheist, an apostate, a fornicator, a carouser and an anti- monarchist, it'd be pretty weird if I were to spend my life in a perpetual huff with all the regimes, religions, governments and countries that have oppressed, tortured and murdered 'my people' over the years.

> What Coel says on apostasy, honour killings, treating atheism as a capital offence, killing LGBT and all the other backward crimes of Islam is admirable and courageous and I applaud him loudly for it but let us see the whole picture not just a wee bit and by doing so let us confront all crimes and backwardism in all its forms, our own included. 

If you could be a bit specific about 'our own crimes'. Worse thing I've done recently is snaffle the last 3 hobnobs in the pack.

> PS. Socialism was fantastic and worked well in the USSR with excellent growth rates and cared for people working with each other and not against. Some other time we can discuss this.

PS. Welcome back. 

> Pps. All majority Islamic countries spend on scientific research, parks, institutes and do invent things but because they are not on the same level as the G20 Western countries that plunder the world is no real surprise. How much has Islam contributed to the current terrible state of the earth and life on earth from "science and technology"? 

PPS. Hope they don't ban you this time Machine Elf.

Offwidth - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

China isn't really an 'academic powerhouse' as yet, except in volume. For getting close to the GDP of the US it has the one of the weakest academic performances (GDP weighted) in the 'developed' world. They do have a lot of institutions and churn out huge numbers of papers and grads. As for the development part of R&D it's also impressive (state driven) but a lot of the IP it is based on is stolen from other western countries. 

You continue to regard these world University lists as meaningful.. I think they are almost complete bs away from the top tens and even there they really measure institutional wealth... and that is mostly endowment based. China is probably better than it looks on these rankings (it looks terrible). The top ten try to buy the best academics from across the world and surprising numbers come from muslim countries.

One interesting point against some of the past higher Malaysian institutional world rankings is a story I was told that different Malaysian ethnicities were confused with overseas students at one census point and this led to them being placed them higher than they deserved.

Coel Hellier - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> The point, yet again, is that if it's views about society that you wish to change, you're targeting the wrong group: the group "all muslims" includes all those educated people whose attitudes aren't harmful.

But I am not targetting "Muslims" or "all Muslims", I am targeting ideas.  There are a lot of harmful ideas in Islam (if anyone wants an account, read Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book Heretic).  If particular Muslims don't share those ideas then great!  

Indeed, I've regularly pointed to one Muslim, Maajid Nawaz, who does not share them.  There are lots of others. But there are also many who do hold these ideas, and that's why it is important to criticise them.

1
Coel Hellier - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> China isn't really an 'academic powerhouse' as yet, except in volume. For getting close to the GDP of the US it has the one of the weakest academic performances (GDP weighted) in the 'developed' world.

What a weird couple of sentences!

"... except in volume"?  And China is not (yet) "developed" world (getting there). (For example, GDP/person is 4 times higher in Japan than China.) And ok, in GDP weighted terms it lags the West but that's expected for a developing economy.

And yes, comparing its science to the US it doesn't look so good, but the point is that it looks way, way better than the Islamic world. 

And it really is now a source of leading science and technological innovation in many areas. 

> You continue to regard these world University lists as meaningful.

They are far from perfect, and of course have their biases, but they do indeed mean something.

> China is probably better than it looks on these rankings (it looks terrible). 

Terrible compared to what?  The US? OK.  But it looks good compared to the Islamic world.

Post edited at 16:55
1
Jon Stewart - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But I am not targetting "Muslims" or "all Muslims", I am targeting ideas. 

This argument doesn't work. Ideas only exist in the minds of those who hold them. When I crititise the idea of racism I target all racists. They are the people who are the target of my comments, I'm not aiming my comments at the abstract Platonic idea of racism. When I criticise the idea (in a very loose sense of that word) of Christianity, I target all Christians: when I say God doesn't exist, if you believe he does then I am talking to you. And when you criticise Islam, you are targeting all muslims. They are the people to whom your comments apply. There would be no point in criticising an idea if it wasn't held by people - when you make any criticism it's the people and their behaviour that you ultimately seek to change.

> If particular Muslims don't share those ideas then great!  

Exactly, so if you want to make an accurate criticism of an idea or attitude, you have to draw the circle around those people who hold it as best you can, and aim your comments at the people inside that circle. You fail to draw the correct circle when you target the whole of Islam.

Post edited at 16:59
Coel Hellier - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> When I criticise the idea (in a very loose sense of that word) of Christianity, I target all Christians:

But that's not so! 

Suppose I said that the Christian God, a being who will burn people for eternity, just for behaving in a way that he made them to behave, is about the most vile monster imaginable.

No-one would say I'm "attacking" 2 billion Christians.

No-one would say that it was highly offensive and that I should not say it.

No-one would accuse me of "Christophobia".

No-one would bother pointing out that many Christians don't believe in that sort of god (which is entirely true, but it would be accepted that both the speaker and the listeners know that; it would be taken as obvious that I was attacking the versions of Christianity that do posit that sort of god).

Instead it would be taken as an acceptable and valid criticism of a theology and a religion. 

> Exactly, so if you want to make an accurate criticism of an idea or attitude, you have to draw the circle around those people who hold it as best you can, and aim your comments at the people inside that circle.

No I don't!  I can just criticise the idea!  I can just throw the criticism out into the ether, without specifying who does or does not hold the idea.   (Of course if no-one holds that idea, then I'm straw-manning, but so long as some people hold it then fine.)

So if, for example, I criticise Catholic doctrine on birth-control, I don't have to precisely delineate which Catholics do or do not agree with that doctrine -- of course many of them don't -- but I can still criticise Catholic doctrine on birth-control.  And we don't get all these silly attempts to disallow the criticism, that we get if one criticises Islam.  

1
Jon Stewart - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But that's not so! 

> Suppose I said that the Christian God, a being who will burn people for eternity, just for behaving in a way that he made them to behave, is about the most vile monster imaginable.

> No-one would say I'm "attacking" 2 billion Christians.

Because you didn't. You drew the circle around a subset of Christians who believe in God as a being who will burn people for eternity, just for behaving in a way that he made them to behave. You didn't say "Christianity is a harmful ideology" which would be attacking 2 billion Christians.

> No-one would say that it was highly offensive and that I should not say it.

> No-one would accuse me of "Christophobia".

I'm not saying those things to you. Please try to stick to responding to my position, as summarised above but here for convenience:

 "you've defined the group you oppose inappropriately, on tribal grounds and have included sets that don't warrant opposition, and not included other sets that warrant precisely the same opposition"...it's a more nuanced position than the facile strawman "you shouldn't criticise Islam, I think it's nice" 

> No-one would bother pointing out that many Christians don't believe in that sort of god (which is entirely true, but it would be accepted that both the speaker and the listeners know that; it would be taken as obvious that I was attacking the versions of Christianity that do posit that sort of god).

If you said "Christianity is a harmful ideology because the Christian God, a being who will burn people for eternity, just for behaving in a way that he made them to behave, is about the most vile monster imaginable" then that's  exactly what they'd point out!

> No I don't!  I can just criticise the idea!  I can just throw the criticism out into the ether, without specifying who does or does not hold the idea. 

I'm baffled. When you specify the target of your criticism as Islam, you are - by the irrefutable logic that ideas exist only in the minds of people - targeting the people who hold that idea, who are by definition, all Muslims. Your argument here makes absolutely no sense.

> So if, for example, I criticise Catholic doctrine on birth-control, I don't have to precisely delineate which Catholics do or do not agree with that doctrine

Because you've accurately specified the idea you disagree with! I don't understand what's hard to grasp here: when you specify the idea, you target the people who hold that idea - there's no extra specifying.

As it happens, with Catholicism, I would be more comfortable criticising the whole sect rather than specifying particular ideas or sub-sects that I find especially abhorrent. But with Islam, for pragmatic reasons, I think it's very unhelpful to generalise and make criticisms that apply to the whole of Islam because there are so many Muslims I don't want to alienate. Alienate those normal Muslims - which is what you do when you say "Islam is harmful ideology" - and you lose ground in changing society for the better.

I'll just go back to a pertinent question, as I always have to due to your evasive style:

> I don't see why you'd want to tell Muslim university students who hold normal views completely compatible with secular values of tolerance and whatnot that their religion is a "harmful ideology". It's both inaccurate and insulting.

Can you acknowledge any problem with doing so?

Coel Hellier - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Because you didn't. You drew the circle around a subset of Christians who believe in God as a being who will burn people for eternity, ...

No I didn't, I said nothing about any such subset, all I (hypothetically) said was:

"The Christian God, a being who will burn people for eternity, just for behaving in a way that he made them to behave, is about the most vile monster imaginable."

> You didn't say "Christianity is a harmful ideology" which would be attacking 2 billion Christians.

No it would not, it would be attacking an ideology!

> When you specify the target of your criticism as Islam, you are - by the irrefutable logic that ideas exist only in the minds of people - targeting the people who hold that idea, who are by definition, all Muslims.

But I'm targeting the *idea*, not the people. The whole point of a pluralistic free nation with free speech and open discussion of ideas is that we do not interpret criticism of ideas as an attack on people!   Unless we hold to that principle we cannot really have a pluralistic free nation with free speech and open discussion of ideas.

>>  So if, for example, I criticise Catholic doctrine on birth-control, I don't have to precisely delineate which Catholics do or do not agree with that doctrine

> Because you've accurately specified the idea you disagree with! I don't understand what's hard to grasp here: when you specify the idea, you target the people who hold that idea - there's no extra specifying.

OK, so you allow me to criticise "Catholic doctrine on birth-control", since that accurately specifies the idea I disagree with, and accepting that many Catholics won't hold that doctrine. 

So am I allowed to criticise "Islamic rejection of church-state separation", because I have accurately specified the idea I disagree with, and accepting that many Muslims won't hold that doctrine?

> I don't see why you'd want to tell Muslim university students who hold normal views completely compatible with secular values of tolerance and whatnot that their religion is a "harmful ideology". It's both inaccurate and insulting.

Views that are "completely compatible" with secular values of tolerance and whatnot are so far from mainstream Islam, that ok, I would not tell those students that *their* religion is a harmful ideology, but I would tell them that Islam is a harmful ideology, because are dominant, mainstream versions are NOT "completely compatible" with secular values of tolerance and whatnot.

Jon Stewart - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> No I didn't, I said nothing about any such subset

Specifying the idea is identical to specifying the set of people who believe it, because ideas only exist in the minds of people. When I criticise racism, I am criticising every person who holds racist beliefs. The abstract idea of an idea floating freely in the Platonic sphere and not attached to people is utterly useless.


> But I'm targeting the *idea*, not the people. The whole point of a pluralistic free nation with free speech and open discussion of ideas is that we do not interpret criticism of ideas as an attack on people!   Unless we hold to that principle we cannot really have a pluralistic free nation with free speech and open discussion of ideas.

Absolutely not. For a society with free speech, as people, we need to accept that our beliefs can be attacked.  I see absolutely no value in the non-distinction between someone criticising me for my beliefs, and someone criticising my beliefs while claiming it's not an attack on me. If someone says "I think secular liberal values are immoral and wrong" then that's calling me "immoral and wrong", because I behave according to secular liberal values. The reason someone would be criticising my beliefs would be to try to get me to change my beliefs and thus my behaviour. To criticise an idea is identical to saying to the people who hold the belief, this belief is wrong and you should change. If you're not saying to Muslims "your beliefs are wrong and you should change" then why are you saying anything about Islam? 

Are you saying you just want to criticise the idea of Islam but don't want anyone who believes the idea to change? What would be the point in that?

> So am I allowed to criticise "Islamic rejection of church-state separation", because I have accurately specified the idea I disagree with, and accepting that many Muslims won't hold that doctrine?

You're allowed to say whatever you like, within the bounds of acceptability inherent in the context, so here UKC terms. I'm pointing out why it's divisive and unhelpful in terms of consequences to aim your criticism at the whole of Islam.

Consider that there is a lot of anti-Muslim bigotry out there - the type that associates all Muslims with terrorists for example. And the type that's a form of racism: many people hate Muslims because they have different colour skin, wear different clothes and speak different languages to them. You will surely agree that this bigotry exists and is problematic for Muslims. So, do you want to be clear that you don't sympathise with these views, by being accurate about the ideas you think people should change? Or are these people allies, fighting the same anti-Islam cause?

> Views that are "completely compatible" with secular values of tolerance and whatnot are so far from mainstream Islam, that ok, I would not tell those students that *their* religion is a harmful ideology, but I would tell them that Islam is a harmful ideology, because are dominant, mainstream versions are NOT "completely compatible" with secular values of tolerance and whatnot.

Here, you're just displaying a lack of insight into the beliefs of many British Muslims. You say that dominant, mainstream versions are not "completely compatible" with secular values, but I'm still no further forward in understanding what it is that my friends and colleagues do that is incompatible. You might be right that they're in a minority, but it's a very significant chunk of British Muslims who work in the professions and study in universities. These are the people I'm advising you to stop alienating, because if you genuinely to want to see modernisation, it is these people who you need to be working with not against.

Do you think it is useful and accurate to describe these professional, educated people as "following a harmful ideology"? Or do you think it would be more helpful to learn more about what people believe, so you can display a commensurate level of insight and accurately specify the beliefs you think are harmful, rather than tarring a diverse population with single brush?

Post edited at 20:17
Coel Hellier - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Do you think it is useful and accurate to describe these professional, educated people as "following a harmful ideology"?

Yes, actually, I do. 

In a similar way I'd happily describe professional, educated Catholics as "following a harmful ideology".

If asked what is harmful about Catholicism I'd then give a list (unhealthy focus on sin and guilt; unhealthy attitudes towards sex; unhelpful focus on the next life, not this one; false understanding of morality; potential and actuality of corrupt conduct, such as covering up child abuse, et cetera). 

I wouldn't see anything wrong with saying that I saw Catholicism as a package as a harmful ideology, even if plenty of Catholics don't hold with some of the beliefs, or have similar criticisms. 

Similarly, I see Islam as a harmful ideology, and can then expound on the various aspects of that,  and I don't see anything wrong in saying that, even if plenty of Muslims don't hold to some parts of the ideology or have similar criticisms.

As for alienating "moderate" Muslims.  Well, if they're the sort of people who could be alienated by such criticism then they're not really moderates.  The genuine moderates see a lot of problems with Islam and want criticism as a means to reform.    Genuine moderates realise that good ideologies can only be improved by criticism.  And swathes from moderates to less-moderates can benefit from realising that there are plenty who reject the religion entirely and from listening to their criticisms.

For example, I see a lot of good in Western culture, and consider that it's by far the best culture the world has known. But that's largely a product of continual and ongoing criticism,leading to its improvement,  including criticism by those who see Western culture as overall harmful, such as our friend Pefa.  Western culture would be the poorer if people like Pefa were not there to savagely criticise it.

1
TobyA on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Trying to deny that "Islam" has any identity, any commonality at all is just weird.    It seems to me just another tactic to try to disallow any criticism of "Islam", by denying that there is any such thing as "Islam". 

Argggghhh.

Once again Coel tells everybody how he understands something, that this is only way to understand something, and anyone who understands it differently is wrong. As far as I can see neither Jon or anyone else is denying that there isn't some commonality of beliefs amongst Muslims, but that when people act, think and talk in such hugely different ways, clearly some very vague shared identity or practice or even belief clearly isn't very important amongst their possible motivations.

1
Jon Stewart - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Yes, actually, I do. 

Fine. I think your judgement is poor.

> In a similar way I'd happily describe professional, educated Catholics as "following a harmful ideology".

> Similarly, I see Islam as a harmful ideology, and can then expound on the various aspects of that,  and I don't see anything wrong in saying that, even if plenty of Muslims don't hold to some parts of the ideology or have similar criticisms.

As I said before, I'm more comfortable with describing Catholicism that way than Islam, for pragmatic reasons. Like you, I think that both religions are full of crap, some of which is harmful. This is because I don't see any particular harm or problems coming from lumping in those Catholics who actually ignore all the worst bits of their religion with those who actually believe the harmful bits. I do think there's a problem doing this with Muslims though, for the reasons I've already set out

You will surely agree that this bigotry exists and is problematic for Muslims. So, do you want to be clear that you don't sympathise with these views, by being accurate about the ideas you think people should change? Or are these people allies, fighting the same anti-Islam cause?

> As for alienating "moderate" Muslims.  Well, if they're the sort of people who could be alienated by such criticism then they're not really moderates.  The genuine moderates see a lot of problems with Islam and want criticism as a means to reform.    Genuine moderates realise that good ideologies can only be improved by criticism.  And swathes from moderates to less-moderates can benefit from realising that there are plenty who reject the religion entirely and from listening to their criticisms.

I think you're saying that you don't care if thousands of ordinary educated Muslims see you as aligned with the bigots - their views aren't important because they are part of the problem by not being sufficiently reformist. The only people you feel it would be helpful to have a good collaborative relationship with are the reformist activists like Nawas.

I think your judgement on this is extremely poor. You basically seem to think that people are going to change their minds by being insulted. If you call someone's sacred beliefs a "harmful ideology" even when they do nothing wrong, you're insulting them. It's a bad call.

> For example, I see a lot of good in Western culture, and consider that it's by far the best culture the world has known. But that's largely a product of continual and ongoing criticism,leading to its improvement,  including criticism by those who see Western culture as overall harmful, such as our friend Pefa.  Western culture would be the poorer if people like Pefa were not there to savagely criticise it.

This is disingenuous. "Western culture" - which is a slippery and ill-defined concept anyway - has not improved because people from outside it criticised it. Wilful misrepresentation of history to support a weak argument. Poor.

Coel Hellier - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> As far as I can see neither Jon or anyone else is denying that there isn't some commonality of beliefs amongst Muslims, but that when people act, think and talk in such hugely different ways, clearly some very vague shared identity or practice or even belief clearly isn't very important amongst their possible motivations.

And yet if someone draws a Mohammed cartoon, they get told "you've just offended 1.2 billion Muslims", as though they all think in lockstep, chanting in unison -- a la Life of Brian -- "Yes, we're all individuals".

And again, I'm criticising the ideas, if many people don't hold them, then all the better!

1
Eric9Points - on 08 Mar 2019
Coel Hellier - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I think you're saying that you don't care if thousands of ordinary educated Muslims see you as aligned with the bigots - their views aren't important because they are part of the problem by not being sufficiently reformist.

I've never said that their views aren't important or that I don't care about them.   I have said that if they are moderates then they will accept the validity of people criticising their religion. 

> If you call someone's sacred beliefs a "harmful ideology" even when they do nothing wrong, you're insulting them. It's a bad call.

As insults go in today's world, that's pretty mild.  And I don't accept that it's a bad call.  The drawbacks of not calling it a harmful ideology, in order to avoid "alienating" people, are worse for society.

> This is disingenuous. "Western culture" - which is a slippery and ill-defined concept anyway - has not improved because people from outside it criticised it

Sure about that? So Western culture has not at all being improved by criticism from such as Ghandi, to give one example?   

And yes, criticism from insiders is probably more valuable.  But if we ask reformers in the Islamic world what they want, what would help them, they do not say "please avoid upsetting and alienating people", they say please openly criticise Islam, because they want to normalize doing so. 

What would help them would be if criticising Islam were as normal as criticising Trump.  If drawing a satirical cartoon depicting Mohammed were as normal as a satirical cartoon depicting Trump. And no-one says, ooh, bad call to satirize Trump, you'll only alienate people. 

Jon Stewart - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I've never said that their views aren't important or that I don't care about them.   I have said that if they are moderates then they will accept the validity of people criticising their religion. 

And they would be much more likely to accept the validity of criticism if it was nuanced and didn't describe the whole of Islam as a "harmful ideology".

> As insults go in today's world, that's pretty mild.  And I don't accept that it's a bad call.  The drawbacks of not calling it a harmful ideology, in order to avoid "alienating" people, are worse for society.

Rubbish - false dichotomy. The alternative to describing Islam a "harmful ideology" is to be specific about the attitudes that are harmful. Obviously, this does not have drawbacks that are worse for society than those associated with being sloppy, inaccurate and insulting. 

> Sure about that? So Western culture has not at all being improved by criticism from such as Ghandi, to give one example?   

Yes I'm sure. I don't think there is a good definition of "western culture" and, not to do down Ghandi's influence, I don't think that, say US society (as an exemplar of "western culture") would be particularly different without him.

> And yes, criticism from insiders is probably more valuable.  But if we ask reformers in the Islamic world what they want, what would help them, they do not say "please avoid upsetting and alienating people", they say please openly criticise Islam, because they want to normalize doing so. 

So you say. I'm not convinced you really understand the reformist movement, rather, you listen to people you agree with like Hirsi-Ali and Nawaz. I suspect that there are many influential practising Muslims with much greater reach than those who appeal so much to right wing atheists.

> What would help them would be if criticising Islam were as normal as criticising Trump.  If drawing a satirical cartoon depicting Mohammed were as normal as a satirical cartoon depicting Trump. And no-one says, ooh, bad call to satirize Trump, you'll only alienate people. 

Back to making false comparisons (Trump represents an extremely narrow political viewpoint whereas Islam is extremely diverse), and back to the strawman that I'm supporting censorship. Poor.

1
Some time some place - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I see a lot of good in Western culture, and consider that it's by far the best culture the world has known. 

It must be nice being Coel!

4
Coel Hellier - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> And they would be much more likely to accept the validity of criticism if it was nuanced and didn't describe the whole of Islam as a "harmful ideology".

Maybe.  The optimal tactic in any given situation will depend on the situation and the personalities. I'm just saying that regarding Islam as a "harmful ideology" is a reasonable think to think and say.

[And, to reiterate, I think the same about many other ideologies, including Catholicsm, Scientology, Communism, fascism, etc.]

> The alternative to describing Islam a "harmful ideology" is to be specific about the attitudes that are harmful.

Which is a bit like saying that you should not regard Tommy Robinson and the BNP as having a "harmful ideology", but should only criticise specific attitudes they have, while trying to avoid saying anything that might offend them.

> Back to making false comparisons (Trump represents an extremely narrow political viewpoint whereas Islam is extremely diverse)

And yet Trump got votes from roughly half the voters, so a diverse range of people decided to vote for him.  Many voted for him based on liking some aspects of him while disliking others.  So maybe it is fair to compare Trump to Islam and (the more diverse) Trump voters to (the more diverse) Muslims? 

Coel Hellier - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

>> I see a lot of good in Western culture, and consider that it's by far the best culture the world has known. 

> It must be nice being Coel!

It certainly is!  I get to have a pretty cushy life overall, compared to what is/was typical in most times and places.

Which culture would you see as generally better than life in today's West?

Stichtplate on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Which culture would you see as generally better than life in today's West?

I wouldn't  bother staying up in anticipation of a reply.

1
Jon Stewart - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Which is a bit like saying that you should not regard Tommy Robinson and the BNP as having a "harmful ideology", but should only criticise specific attitudes they have, while trying to avoid saying anything that might offend them.

It's nothing like that. I'm making a pragmatic argument that it's poor judgement to espouse the generic "Islam is harmful" view on the basis that it aligns you with bigots and alienates those who've done nothing wrong. You keep responding as though I'm making a moral argument that offending people is wrong and/or shouldn't be allowed. I'm criticising your judgement on the consequences of using sloppy, generic arguments that lack nuance and insight. I've already given the reasons why this pragmatic argument applies to Islam but not elsewhere.

> And yet Trump got votes from roughly half the voters, so a diverse range of people decided to vote for him.  Many voted for him based on liking some aspects of him while disliking others.  So maybe it is fair to compare Trump to Islam and (the more diverse) Trump voters to (the more diverse) Muslims? 

No it isn't. The distinct arguments that apply to Islam include the fact that insulting people's sacred beliefs tends not to persuade them and to generate resentment; and that it is always wise to clear oneself from any conflation with bigotry. It's just a bad comparison.

Some time some place - on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Which culture would you see as generally better than life in today's West?

There must be thousands of cultures I will never know of. 

But when I see a devout Muslim in an Islamic country (and believe you me there aren't that many!) I think it must be nice to be them as well. Waking up every morning and just knowing that you've been born into the best culture the world has ever seen. Must be a nice feeling.

2
TobyA on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> And no-one says, ooh, bad call to satirize Trump, you'll only alienate people. 

Actually they do. All the time. Whether the partisan divide has become unbridgeable yet, and whether progressives or centerists need to try and reach out to Trump voters to bridge it, seems a pretty interminable debate on the US radio and podcast shows I listen to.

Post edited at 23:09
1
Thrudge on 08 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Well that's a rather eccentric opinion! 

Eccentric?  I've never seen 'batshit mental' spelt like that before.  What a polite fellow you are  ;-)

2
Thrudge on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

>  when you criticise Islam, you are targeting all muslims. 

Congratulations on parroting the dishonest Islamist line. Your brainwashing is complete. 

BTW, Maajid Nawaz disagrees with you. He offers this analogy: you can say smoking is bad, but it doesn't mean you're saying smokers are all bad people. 

And he's a Muslim, so you are required to immediately agree with him. If you don't, you're a racist and a bigot.

Tricky, eh?

2
Thrudge on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Coel, Coel, Coel - it's really not that difficult. You can criticise Christianity as much as you like, because that's a religion of white people (yes, yes, Jesus was an Arab, millions of Catholics in South America, but we all think of it as a white religion, so it is).

But what you're completely failing to get is that Islam is a religion of brown people, so you can't criticise it. Because that's racist. See?

3
L Pefa on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

> Eccentric?  I've never seen 'batshit mental' spelt like that before.  What a polite fellow you are  ;-)

Most people in the USSR voted in 1991 to keep it going and majority wish it was back but I don't suppose facts will get in the way of what you want to think. 

And why are you so terrified of Muslims ? Chill out, visit a mosque have a chat and a little prayer and try to find common ground between what you and they think. 

Post edited at 04:11
1
Stichtplate on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> There must be thousands of cultures I will never know of.

In other words "no Coel, I can't think of a culture I'd rather live in and on reflection my comment was a typical  knee jerk reaction due to liberal conditioning."

> But when I see a devout Muslim in an Islamic country (and believe you me there aren't that many!) I think it must be nice to be them as well. 

Really? When I come across devout practitioners of just about any faith (bit of a fondness for Quakers) I always feel a little sorry for them, having to go through life with such a warped view of morality and science.

3
neilh - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Pefa:

Have you been to Russia?

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

> BTW, Maajid Nawaz disagrees with you. He offers this analogy: you can say smoking is bad, but it doesn't mean you're saying smokers are all bad people. 

There is a problem with analogies. No two situations are ever identical; and the difference between them is usually important in relation to the point they are being chosen to illustrate. In this case, smoking is just an activity  people engage in, many reluctantly. Religion is often at the core of people’s identity, in a way that smoking status is unlikely to be for all but a small handful of people. People are mostly not just inert vessels for their beliefs, able to pour old ones out and new ones in at will; when it comes to matters of identity, people *are* their beliefs. If you say their beliefs are bad, that will be perceived as saying they as a person are bad.

of course, people hold beliefs that form their identity that are harmful and just plain wrong all the time, and calling them out on that is at times necessary, when those beliefs lead them to behave in ways that are harmful to others. It’s manifestly obvious that aspects of Islam fall into this category at times. I have no problem with this being pointed out , and accept that some hurt feelings are a necessary price to pay for opposing harm. But statements to the effect that Islam per se is a harmful ideology, without qualification as to what about it is harmful, and in what situations, are unhelpful in ways that Jon has already explained in detail and that I won’t waste time repeating here. 

Tl:dr- analogies are usually bollocks, and this one certainly is.

> And he's a Muslim, so you are required to immediately agree with him. If you don't, you're a racist and a bigot.

...said exactly no one, ever. 

Is it possible for you to make a single post without having to resort to absurd straw men? You’re coming across as a pound shop, UKIP-flavoured Bruce Hooker. 

Post edited at 10:37
2
Jon Stewart - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

> >  when you criticise Islam, you are targeting all muslims. 

> Congratulations on parroting the dishonest Islamist line. Your brainwashing is complete. 

> BTW, Maajid Nawaz disagrees with you. He offers this analogy: you can say smoking is bad, but it doesn't mean you're saying smokers are all bad people. 

> And he's a Muslim, so you are required to immediately agree with him. If you don't, you're a racist and a bigot.

> Tricky, eh?

Unfortunately, you don't understand the argument and are talking utter bollocks.

When you criticise Islam, you are talking about the beliefs of all Muslims. This is a simple statement of fact. This is what I mean by "targeting" not any negative sense of being unnecessarily nasty. This is abundantly clear from the context of the remark. 

I do not think that criticism of Islam is bigoted. I fully support intelligent, insightful criticism of Islam, and there is much of this to make. I have not accused Coel nor anyone of being bigoted. I have set out my position - the pragmatic argument about why it's preferable and more effective to be specific rather than general when criticising Islam, but this all went over your head, it seems. 

In future, if you want to respond, can you put in a bit more effort to understand at least the gist of what I'm saying, even if you fail to follow all the details? 

1
Jon Stewart - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> And why are you so terrified of Muslims ? Chill out, visit a mosque have a chat and a little prayer and try to find common ground between what you and they think. 

Personally I'd give the praying a miss, but otherwise yes, precisely. 

1
Offwidth - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I'd add some people regularly exaggerate Maajid's views for their own anti Islamic agenda. He is clearly fine with his own type of Islam as a muslim.

I suspect Coel actually is a bigot (or a high functioning autistic) as he is bright enough to see the limits of his own arguments and yet still pushes the boundaries. It's easy enough in religion, atheism or any moral philosophy to falsely claim a moral high-ground when people are unfairly getting hurt as a result: something that I see as clear dishonesty and dangerous hypocrisy (the reason I fell out with religion in the first place). Coel annoys me partly as he brings back bad memories of the moral hypocrits from three branches of Christianity that I faced in my youth.

Post edited at 13:40
6
Jon Stewart - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> I'd add some people regularly exaggerate Maajid's views for their own anti Islamic agenda. He is clearly fine with his own type of Islam as a muslim.

Indeed. From what I've seen, nawaz argues strenuously against islamist extremism, with great insight of course, but does not agree with Coel that we should "oppose the harmful ideology of Islam". 

Hirsi-ali is much closer to Coel. I think she's compelling, but I can't say I think much of the company she keeps! 

1
Offwidth - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I came to think anyone basing their life rigidly on ideology was a bit supect and very needy. Defining certainty on the human condition seemed doomed to failure.  The quite numerous converts from one ideological extreme to an opposite other were an unsurprising symptom of this (as reality will eventually bite but the need for certainty mostly stays)  and they will probably be some of the worst moral offenders. 

It seems to me anyone moral should "oppose the harmful ideology of Islam " (as some harmful ideology clearly does exist in Islam)... my issue is the clear nonsense of claiming this is should mean all of Islam, the general moral principles of which are believed by millions of good people.

2
Thrudge on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Unfortunately, you don't understand the argument and are talking utter bollocks.

Unfortunately (for you) I do understand the argument, but I reject your premise that to criticise Islam is an attack on all Muslims as people. It's a lame and over used tactic designed to disallow criticism.

> In future, if you want to respond, can you put in a bit more effort to understand at least the gist of what I'm saying, even if you fail to follow all the details? 

Faux intellectual superiority isn't going to cut it, I'm afraid. If you want insightful questions, I'll offer this one: when Christianity has been attacked in these forums (which has happened a lot) you have not defended it. You have never launched into the mental gymnastics required to conflate ideas with people, never claimed that to criticise Christianity is to criticise all Christians and thereby cause 'offence', and never sought to disallow criticisms on the ground that they are general rather then specific. Your defensive posture is reserved for Islam, and only Islam. Why is that?

3
Stichtplate on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> I suspect Coel actually is a bigot 

Unfair to label someone as such purely on grounds of suspicion, especially when that person has a public profile and posts under their own name on an open forum.

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Unfair to label someone as such purely on grounds of suspicion, especially when that person has a public profile and posts under their own name on an open forum.

Agreed. 

1
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 09 Mar 2019
2
Offwidth - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

It's a choice he makes and labelling others here is something he does regularly. My identity is also publicly obvious.

As an academic who has worked in institutional governance, student support and the unions I find his public stted attitudes as a fellow academic very worrying. He claims to have no bias in any of this but bigots always say that. If I were a muslim student on his courses or a muslim colleague and read what he said here I would be worried (and I know of formal complaints and staff disciplinary proceedings based on much less). Also this never ending tirade against islam is hardly great for the woeful diversity of this site... muslims form 5% of the UK population.

4
Offwidth - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

As someone here from when Jon arrived I've never seen him being inconsitent in the way you describe.  He will call out any religious crap and always refuse to tar all in that religion because of it. Your assertion is a figmanent of your Islamophobic imagination.

3
Jon Stewart - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

> Unfortunately (for you) I do understand the argument, but I reject your premise that to criticise Islam is an attack on all Muslims as people. It's a lame and over used tactic designed to disallow criticism.

I'm not attempting to disallow criticism. The argument, which you confirm you haven't understood, is that a more effective strategy if you want to see change is to make intelligent, specific criticism about the ideas that are harmful, rather than taking the banal and insulting line that "Islam is bad". 

You seem to think that I think it's a moral issue and I believe insulting people's religion is wrong - but only when that religion is Islam. This is because you haven't understood the argument correctly.

> Faux intellectual superiority isn't t going to cut it, I'm afraid. If you want insightful questions, I'll offer this one: when Christianity has been attacked in these forums (which has happened a lot) you have not defended it. You have never launched into the mental gymnastics required to conflate ideas with people, never claimed that to criticise Christianity is to criticise all Christians and thereby cause 'offence', and never sought to disallow criticisms on the ground that they are general rather then specific. Your defensive posture is reserved for Islam, and only Islam. Why is that?

All of the reasons for the argument I've made are given in great detail above. I've answered this very question directly, explaining why I'm more comfortable with insulting the beliefs of all Catholics, but not with all Muslims.

You think I've got some sort of special place for Islam  but that's because you haven't understood the argument - I really don't. 

1
Coel Hellier - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> When you criticise Islam, you are talking about the beliefs of all Muslims. This is a simple statement of fact.

And yet, when it comes to me criticising Catholic ideology you agree that the criticism only applies to the subset of Catholics who hold those particular views.

> I'm making a pragmatic argument that it's poor judgement to espouse the generic "Islam is harmful" view on the basis that it aligns you with bigots and alienates those who've done nothing wrong. You keep responding as though I'm making a moral argument that offending people is wrong and/or shouldn't be allowed.

Well, now, that really is interesting. Because I am *not* making an argument about pragmatic tactics in particular situations.  I'm making the argument that offending people by criticising Islam is not immoral and should indeed be allowed.   Thus, you're not disagreeing with me and I'm not disagreeing with you.  

As for pragmatic tactics in a given situation, well that would depend very much on the situation and the personalities involved.   I might indeed adopt very different tactics in a particular discussion with a particular Muslim (which is not what I'm doing here!).

And, I keep pushing the argument that criticising Islam is not immoral and should indeed be allowed because some, such as Offwidth, would want to disallow it.   He won't quite come out and openly say that, but his attitude to anyone who does say the things I do is clear.  He really thinks that criticism of Islam as a whole is not socially acceptable (and even borderline illegal, as he's said about my comments before). He's doing just what the Islamists want him to do.

> Nawaz argues strenuously against islamist extremism, with great insight of course, but does not agree with Coel that we should "oppose the harmful ideology of Islam".

Well, Nawaz obviously doesn't want to overthrow Islam entirely.  He is indeed a Muslim himself.  But he considers that the problematic nature of Islam is much more general that simply the Islamist extremists.  He regards Islam in general -- mainstream Islam -- as needing major reform. 

And he says that people are being prevented from having such conversations "because the "offence" defense is erected: "You can't say that because it's offensive"."

See, for example,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqdkE6tC4YE

Edit to add: And if you watch that video you'll see that Maajid Nawaz, as a reformist minded Muslim, accepts the validity of the viewpoints of Sam Harris, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Douglas Murray, who all take pretty much the same "Islam is a harmful ideology" line that I take.  Indeed, Maajid had a highly productive interaction with Sam Harris leading to their joint book.   That is a very different approach from the Offwidth one of wanting to disallow anyone from criticising Islam as a whole.

Post edited at 21:56
1
Jon Stewart - on 09 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> And yet, when it comes to me criticising Catholic ideology you agree that the criticism only applies to the subset of Catholics who hold those particular views.

What? There's no inconsistency here. If you talk about "Catholicism", this applies to all Catholics. If you talk about "the Catholic doctrine of not using johnnies" this applies to the subset of Catholics who believe in the doctrine of not using johnnies. What is the confusion?

> Well, now, that really is interesting. Because I am *not* making an argument about pragmatic tactics in particular situations.  I'm making the argument that offending people by criticising Islam is not immoral and should indeed be allowed.   Thus, you're not disagreeing with me and I'm not disagreeing with you. 

That's right. We're really not that far apart - I'm just irritated every time you make sloppy generalised statements that are insulting to ordinary Muslims because I think it's pointless and counterproductive.

> As for pragmatic tactics in a given situation, well that would depend very much on the situation and the personalities involved.   I might indeed adopt very different tactics in a particular discussion with a particular Muslim (which is not what I'm doing here!).

Now I think we are getting to the nub. When I read your comments, I think "if my mate Shireen was reading this, she'd be insulted and she'd think you were a total bell-end who hasn't got the faintest clue what her faith was about". Shireen, as you can probably guess, is a normal, educated British Muslim of Iranian decent who holds absolutely none of your "harmful beliefs" about censorship or apostates or homophobia or any of that. Yet she's a devout Muslim who goes along with at least some of the traditions like fasting at Ramadan. I don't know how many Muslims read UKC, especially these kind of threads, some may well do. I don't know if you teach Muslim students who might hypothetically read what you post on here. Let's say you do - when they read your simplistic views, they'll think "what a bell-end - he goes on as if he knows something about Islam, but he sounds like a right-wing crackpot who's never met a Muslim in his entire life. Not going to take one of his courses, the guy's a pillock of the highest order". I'm afraid it's unlikely they'll think "that's insightful criticism of Islam that will help modernise the faith" - because you don't have the insight to make useful criticism.

Because you're posting political views in public, I would advise you to consider where you position yourself. Personally, I want to be positioned alongside Shireen and all the other normal educated Muslims, because she's intelligent and good-natured and I respect her. I don't want to insult and alienate her (not that she reads UKC, but it's public, she could do). Conversely, I don't want to be positioned alongside Thrudge, because he's a reactionary prat who can't follow an argument correctly. I am happy to insult him. You've chosen to align yourself in quite the opposite way, which I see as an error of judgement - but I have no desire to curb your freedom to do so.

> And, I keep pushing the argument that criticising Islam is not immoral and should indeed be allowed 

And I agree with that part. The problem is that when I point out that the "criticism of Islam" you defend includes the type of reactionary tripe posted by Thrudge, and much worse, you won't acknowledge that you would be better off being more careful with your language and distancing yourself from it. It would be better for you if you did and it would be better for public discourse about Islam in general. The fewer people who descend into the tribal us-and-them attitudes of Thrudge (or the outright bigotry and racism seen elsewhere), the better. I think the reason you won't acknowledge this isn't that you really think it's better to be simplistic and insulting than to be nuanced and accurate, it's that you refuse in all circumstances to change your position even a tiny bit. Once you've said something, it becomes your own dogma.

> Well, Nawaz obviously doesn't want to overthrow Islam entirely.  He is indeed a Muslim himself.  But he considers that the problematic nature of Islam is much more general that simply the Islamist extremists.  He regards Islam in general -- mainstream Islam -- as needing major reform. 

Great - and he articulates that view very well. He uses language like "regressive medievalist interpretations" to define accurately who he is criticising, and gives good reasons for his criticism. What I'm objecting to is banal, generalised bashing ("criticism" is too elevated a term when there is no actual content) of Islam that is insulting to all Muslims. 

Post edited at 23:07
2
Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> There's no inconsistency here. If you talk about "Catholicism", this applies to all Catholics. If you talk about "the Catholic doctrine of not using johnnies" this applies to the subset of Catholics who believe in the doctrine of not using johnnies. What is the confusion?

You seemed fine with me saying:

"the Christian God, a being who will burn people for eternity, just for behaving in a way that he made them to behave, is about the most vile monster imaginable."

So how about:

"Anyone who wrote a book as vile and immoral as the Koran is not a fit role model for the modern world". Is that OK?

> I'm afraid it's unlikely they'll think "that's insightful criticism of Islam that will help modernise the faith" - because you don't have the insight to make useful criticism.

First, I don't agree that anything I've posted is "simplistic" (though others are of course entitled to do that). And you're right, most of it is not even an attempt to make "insightful criticism of Islam that will help modernise the faith", most of it is prior to that discussion, it's simply trying to maintain the idea that we should be allowed to have such discussions, and not have them shut down as "offensive". 

And I fully agree that there are plenty with much more insight into that faith (Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ali Rivzi, Maajid Nawaz, etc).

All I'm doing is maintaining the legitimacy of such criticism. It's revealing the amount of push back I always get.  If people responded with "why of course we can criticise Islam just as we do capitalism or communism or whatever" then I'd say fine and stop.  But usually there is a whole lot of push back that doesn't explicitly outlaw criticism of Islam, but hedges it about with so many conditions and limitations that it comes close to disallowing it. 

It's notable that, for example, those criticising Brexiters in quite disparaging ways (which is seen regularly here) don't get such pushback about their tactics. 

> Personally, I want to be positioned alongside Shireen and all the other normal educated Muslims, because she's intelligent and good-natured and I respect her.

And I'm happy to be positioned as following Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ali Rivzi, Maajid Nawaz, et al. 

> The problem is that when I point out that the "criticism of Islam" you defend includes the type of reactionary tripe posted by Thrudge, and much worse, ...

I don't accept the argument that says "if X says it, and X is a bad person, then we should not say it".  Even bad people can get things right.  

The Rotherham et al scandals were allowed to continue by people thinking:  "The idea that Muslims can be sexual predators is the sort of thing that Tommy Robinson and the EDL say.  Therefore we should not say or think it; we have to turn a blind eye".

> I think the reason you won't acknowledge this isn't that you really think it's better to be simplistic and insulting than to be nuanced and accurate, ...

No I don't think that.  What I do think is that we shouldn't allow the response "what you're saying is simplistic and insulting" as a tactic that effectively amounts to "you should shut up entirely".

> ... it's that you refuse in all circumstances to change your position even a tiny bit.

Well, again. tactics I'd adopt when discussing in person with a Muslims may well be different. 

Here, I really am only defending one thing: the right to criticise Islam, without it meeting micro-examination of tactics and tone in an attempt to disallow it (examination to *rebut* it is fine). 

> What I'm objecting to is banal, generalised bashing ("criticism" is too elevated a term when there is no actual content) of Islam that is insulting to all Muslims.

I agree that there is little content to the "bashing", we never get that far! I really am only defending the right to criticise, not expounding on the actual criticism.   

And, by the way, I note your "... is insulting to all Muslims" as though they all think alike, even though up-thread you were suggesting that Muslims have so little in common in the way they think that we can't really even talk about them as a whole. 

Edit to add: And you've just used the "... is insulting to all Muslims" trope one paragraph after praising a Maajid Nawaz video where he explicitly says that the "... is insulting to all Muslims" trope is being used to shut-down necessary debate and reform within Islam. 

Post edited at 08:53
2
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Coel, I don’t have time to make a detailed contribution to this today; but I’ll give you one example of where your analysis is simplistic. 

The Rotherham et al scandals were allowed to continue by people thinking:  "The idea that Muslims can be sexual predators is the sort of thing that Tommy Robinson and the EDL say.  Therefore we should not say or think it; we have to turn a blind eye".

I think its likely i have a better understanding of this, as my work intersected with it. I can’t say for certain that the ethnicity of the perpetrators had no impact at all on the way that services responded; but the assertion you appear to be making, that this was the primary reason for the inadequacy of response, bears no relation to what I saw. It was much more complicated than that. 

I don’t think that picking up on this one aspect of the situation, stripping it of its wider context and exaggerating its importance, and then pressing that into service as a tool to use in a pre existing argument, is a constructive or helpful thing to do.

This is not at all to say the issue should be suppressed. The ethnicity of the perpetrators was starkly obvious, and the Pakistani heritage communities of the former mill towns of north England should be engaging in some pretty deep soul searching over how a substantial minority of them came to behave like this, and were enabled to continue with the behaviour. 

But to be honest, far from that being beyond discussion, along with a similarly simplistic ‘services failed’ narrative, without any deeper insight into why this failure happened, it’s  about the only aspect of this that does get discussed. 

Post edited at 10:13
1
Offwidth - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

There is a massive report on the highly complex reasons behind what went wrong in Rotherham and you are almost as guilty as Coel in being simplistic about it.

https://www.rotherham.gov.uk/downloads/file/1407/independent_inquiry_cse_in_rotherham

I don't see any explicit damning of the community. There is nothing on Islam being to blame.

Post edited at 10:41
3
Jon Stewart - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> You seemed fine with me saying:

> "the Christian God...So how about: "Anyone who wrote a book as vile and immoral as the Koran is not a fit role model for the modern world". Is that OK?

They're both OK, but I would advise some caution in where and when you say either. And I think you make bad judgements regarding where and when you say the latter. Covering old ground here, I refer you to my previous posts:

You're allowed to say whatever you like, within the bounds of acceptability inherent in the context, so here UKC terms. I'm pointing out why it's divisive and unhelpful in terms of consequences to aim your criticism at the whole of Islam.

Consider that there is a lot of anti-Muslim bigotry out there - the type that associates all Muslims with terrorists for example. And the type that's a form of racism: many people hate Muslims because they have different colour skin, wear different clothes and speak different languages to them. You will surely agree that this bigotry exists and is problematic for Muslims. So, do you want to be clear that you don't sympathise with these views, by being accurate about the ideas you think people should change? Or are these people allies, fighting the same anti-Islam cause?

As it happens, with Catholicism, I would be more comfortable criticising the whole sect rather than specifying particular ideas or sub-sects that I find especially abhorrent. But with Islam, for pragmatic reasons, I think it's very unhelpful to generalise and make criticisms that apply to the whole of Islam because there are so many Muslims I don't want to alienate. Alienate those normal Muslims - which is what you do when you say "Islam is harmful ideology" - and you lose ground in changing society for the better.

> First, I don't agree that anything I've posted is "simplistic" (though others are of course entitled to do that). And you're right, most of it is not even an attempt to make "insightful criticism of Islam that will help modernise the faith", most of it is prior to that discussion, it's simply trying to maintain the idea that we should be allowed to have such discussions, and not have them shut down as "offensive". 

This is the exact same strawman Thrudge has attempted. When I say that by targeting the whole of Islam your comments are divisive and unhelpful, that's not "shutting down" anything as "offensive". Every time I respond to your posts, I amplify your view. This "shutting down" nonsense seems to be the go-to defence (or rather counter-attack) when there's disagreement. There's no "shutting down" going on. I'm saying, "feel free to continue making your simplistic and unhelpful remarks, but you should be aware that you're damaging rather than helping your cause". And I don't think you've addressed the point, rather you make irrelevant noises about "being free to make legitimate criticism" when you're just being advised to sharpen your criticism in order to make it more effective.

> All I'm doing is maintaining the legitimacy of such criticism. It's revealing the amount of push back I always get.  If people responded with "why of course we can criticise Islam just as we do capitalism or communism or whatever" then I'd say fine and stop. 

On UKC you can post strong anti-Islamic sentiment along the lines of "Islam is a global threat which we must fight" - and when you align yourself with that view, you'll get push back from me for the reasons I've detailed at enormous length in this thread. Note, by the way, that anything that could be construed - even unfairly - as anti-semitic is immediately removed from UKC and, as the great defender of freedom of speech, you don't seem so aroused in these cases...so that actual cases of "shutting down debate" pass by without comment the giving an appearance of false motive, but hey ho.

> I don't accept the argument that says "if X says it, and X is a bad person, then we should not say it". Even bad people can get things right.  

You should probably have noticed that there's a bit more to my argument than that. I'm advising that you highlight where there is daylight between your "legitimate criticism of Islam" and anti-Muslim bigotry.

> The Rotherham et al scandals were allowed...

I'm advising that you make your comments more specific, accurate and nuanced so that they won't be conflated with bigotry and don't divide people along tribal lines by taking the simplistic and banal line that "Islam is bad". There is no link between improving law enforcement and making badly judged comments about Islam on the internet. You are clutching at straws.

> No I don't think that.  What I do think is that we shouldn't allow the response "what you're saying is simplistic and insulting" as a tactic that effectively amounts to "you should shut up entirely".

Again - you don't have to shut up entirely. You could just sharpen your comments so that they weren't simplistic and insulting. But you can shut up if you want to.

> Here, I really am only defending one thing: the right to criticise Islam, without it meeting micro-examination of tactics and tone in an attempt to disallow it (examination to *rebut* it is fine). 

Same strawman again: "attempt to disallow". Where? And the rebuttal is that you choose the wrong circle around which you draw those who are the target of your "criticism". Why is it better to make remarks that will alienate normal Muslims who don't do anything wrong, rather than be specific about the ideas that cause harm in our society? I still haven't seen any justification.

> And, by the way, I note your "... is insulting to all Muslims" as though they all think alike, even though up-thread you were suggesting that Muslims have so little in common in the way they think that we can't really even talk about them as a whole. 

It's just a simple statement of fact. If you say "Islam is a harmful ideology" then that's obviously insulting to all Muslims. I'm not making any unfair generalisation.

> Edit to add: And you've just used the "... is insulting to all Muslims" trope one paragraph after praising a Maajid Nawaz video where he explicitly says that the "... is insulting to all Muslims" trope is being used to shut-down necessary debate and reform within Islam. 

He says a bit more than that. 

Post edited at 10:52
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no_more_scotch_eggs - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

I apologise profusely Offwidth. I’ll make sure that my next post on the subject is at least 159 pages long. 

1
Offwidth - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Sarcasm aside you don't need 159 pages to point out where the Pakistani community was found to have had major causal fault in that report. These were criminals and plenty of previous major abuse scandals included groups of criminals from similar but non-muslim backgrounds, including the catholic related cases where the church was sometimes explicitly culpable (for failing to respond to complaints and worse still for covering-up).

3
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Yes. For the avoidance of doubt: I do not think that men from Pakistani heritage are innately more inclined to commits sexual crimes against children than men from any other ethnic background. It seems tragically evident that in whatever context adults have access to other people’s children in contexts where they are functionally hidden from outside society, a proportion of them will use the situation to abuse children. This includes in Catholic Churches, football clubs and other sports groups, and children’s homes. It just happened that the toxic combination in northern mill towns included nighttime economy works who were predominantly Pakistani heritage. 

and this was only part of a wider picture, much of which doesn’t seem to stoke discussion on forums in the way it perhaps should. The whole issue becomes just a tool for people to pick the bits they want to use on whatever political argument they are making. 

2
Jon Stewart - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> And I fully agree that there are plenty with much more insight into that faith (Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ali Rivzi, Maajid Nawaz, etc).

I suggest you should listen a bit more closely to Maajid, since you consider him on your side:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EqSuNewrQs

He's pretty good at separating what he sees as harmful ideology from the whole of Islam.

1
Stichtplate on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> It just happened that the toxic combination in northern mill towns included nighttime economy works who were predominantly Pakistani heritage. 

Firstly, what’s so toxic about Northern mill towns? I’ve lived in them most of my life and haven’t noticed any marked toxicity. Secondly I’ve worked shifts the last 25 years and haven’t noticed any interest in underage girls from my co-workers. In fact, if a colleague suggested arranging a ‘party’ with vulnerable adolescents the most likely response would be a good shoeing and a 999 call. Admittedly I haven’t worked in fast food but there seems to be a marked absence of rape gangs cantered on the local McDonald’s or Kentucky. Thirdly, this type of offence is far more widespread than just Northern mill towns. Fair point on Catholic and care home abuse scandals but those cases typically involved a small handful of linked individuals, not scores of workmates and extended family members.

2
Offwidth - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

Cherry picked distorted memes. The report is there in the link and the most important factors are in the summary... most importantly local services were nervous about perceived racism which led to failures in investigation but the claimed faith of the criminals was not found to be an issue (just the opposite ...in their faith terms they were in criminal gangs commiting clear mortal sins) and in this case the local community beyond some of its council leaders was not regarded as especially culpable and the imans were often helpful (when they were eventually approached to help). There are plenty of major social problems that have been identified and reported on in British muslim communities, some of which are discussed in the report (more ethnic linked than religious).

Post edited at 12:11
4
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Was that aimed at me?

for someone that spends a lot of time pointing out how the tone of this place is off putting to newcomers, you don’t half quickly go to the ad hom option, and the nuclear one at that 

I’ll leave you to it.

1
Some time some place - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier: 

> As for pragmatic tactics in a given situation, well that would depend very much on the situation and the personalities involved.   I might indeed adopt very different tactics in a particular discussion with a particular Muslim (which is not what I'm doing here!).

People, unless you're particularly into tactical debating with someone who regards 'them' (Muslims) and 'us' (UKC readers) as two separate entities, there is really very little point in continuing this discussion.

5
Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> People, unless you're particularly into tactical debating with someone who regards 'them' (Muslims) and 'us' (UKC readers) as two separate entities, there is really very little point in continuing this discussion.

If that was aimed at me then it's a dishonest way of misrepresenting what I said.

It is the case that, on this thread, I'm not having a one-to-one discussion about Islam with a Muslim.  What I'm doing is discussing how to conduct public discourse with mostly non-Muslims. 

Offwidth - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Just the opposite. I agree with what you said last. My post was about those blaming Pakistani religious heritage for Rotherham.

I've never had an issue with robust debate amongst regulars, my biggest complaints have mainly about how those who are new to the site sometimes get badly treated (often against clear site rules). I do think the forums are too negative and aggresive (more women would help) and will admit yet again that I'm sometimes guilty... this is not so serious in my view as treating new posters well.

More importantly on the subject of this thread I am also very concerned about how 1/20th of the UK population who are highly under-represented on UKC (compared to the numbers I see climbing) might be encouraged to join UKC given the nasty misrepresentation of their faith on such threads. This is as much an issue for the site owners as it is in wider society and of course the Islamophobic will falsely claim any controls are about curtailing their freedom of speech. I have no concerns about any evils in any religion being exposed here but those negatively labelling the whole muslim population on UKC I think should be warned and if they don't change be banned.

Post edited at 12:46
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Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> When I say that by targeting the whole of Islam your comments are divisive and unhelpful, that's not "shutting down" anything as "offensive".

OK, agreed, you are not attempting to shut things down. Others are (e.g. Offwidth, and in the wider community more generally).

> I'm saying, "feel free to continue making your simplistic and unhelpful remarks, but you should be aware that you're damaging rather than helping your cause".

OK, so your opinion is that the line I take is counter-productive.  I don't agree with your assessment.  Obviously different people can have different subjective impressions on this.

> Note, by the way, that anything that could be construed - even unfairly - as anti-semitic is immediately removed from UKC and, as the great defender of freedom of speech, you don't seem so aroused in these cases.

Well, as it happens, I am unaware of such things. It may be that I don't read those threads.   (Though, of course, what is allowed on UKC is not the same as what is acceptable and legal in wider society, UKC is entitled to be more restrictive.)

> Same strawman again: "attempt to disallow". Where?

For example, use of the concept "Islamophobia" is an "attempt to disallow" criticism of Islam!   Which is where I started on this thread.

And, again, while I am replying to you, my comments are not necessarily about you.  You're asking about my motives, so I am replying to you, but that doesn't mean I think that *you* are the one trying to shut down debate. 

> Why is it better to make remarks that will alienate normal Muslims who don't do anything wrong, rather than be specific about the ideas that cause harm in our society? I still haven't seen any justification.

The justification is this: there is a tendency among some (not necessarily you) to regard any criticism of Islam as unacceptable, and to regard it as "Islamophobic" -- a term designed to disallow criticism of Islam.  The justification for criticising Islam per se (as opposed to specific doctrines of Islam) is to reject and flout that taboo. 

Offwidth - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Have you ever spoken to a single muslim face to face about this subject? I've never seen any identified muslim reponding to any of your posts here (just those of us liberals you have libelled in return for our impertinence to disagree with you, by falsely and deliberately claiming that we are "well trainded by Islamists").

Post edited at 12:53
1
Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> If you say "Islam is a harmful ideology" then that's obviously insulting to all Muslims.

As I see it, it's such a mild statement by the standards of debate on most other topics (Brexit anyone?), that it should be something that everyone can deal with without getting upset or offended.

There are, in the UK, many "cultural Christians" who sing carols at Christmas and go to church weddings, but don't believe in any of the theology while still regarding themselves as "Christian" in some sense. 

There are -- I hope -- also many "cultural Muslims" who have a shared cultural background and identity but who don't believe in all the harmful aspects of the religion.  Maybe your friend is one of those (I don't know her of course).

If such a person encountered someone saying that "Islam is a harmful ideology" then I hope they might respond with "Yes, much of it is, and that's why I don't believe or accept swathes of it".  They should at least accept the validity of someone calling the religion "harmful", just as everyone accepts someone saying that about capitalism or communism.

It may be that Christianity is (for the most part) a grown-up religion where Christians can accept people saying such things and it's not a problem. It may be that Islam is less of a grown-up religion and that Muslims still have a problem with encountering such attitudes.  Maybe they need more  handling with kid gloves than Christians do. (You may be better placed to assess that than me.) But can't we hope that we could get to the position of everyone being part of the grown-up debate, where encountering people who strongly disagree is just normal? 

1
Some time some place - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> It is the case that, on this thread, I'm not having a one-to-one discussion about Islam with a Muslim.  What I'm doing is discussing how to conduct public discourse with mostly non-Muslims. 

So how would you change your "tactics" between discussing anti-Islamic discourse with a group of Muslims/non-Muslims, and with a single Muslim.

Also, what is your justification for changing "tactics"?

1
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

Ok thanks for clearing that up - looks like I grabbed the wrong end of the stick... 

1
Jon Stewart - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> The justification for criticising Islam per se (as opposed to specific doctrines of Islam) is to reject and flout that taboo. 

That's fairly clear, thanks. In my view, this has to be balanced with:

- how much the blanket criticism rings true (it doesn't, I see no evidence that my muslim friends are following a "harmful ideology")

 - aligning with bigots, who see Muslims as a threat (either because they are genuinely mistaken about what Muslims believe and do, or because they're outright racists who are just frightened of people different to them)

 - alienating people you want to co-operate with.

I don't think any good you're potentially doing with your taboo-busting delivers a favourable balance, which is why I think you should consider the down-sides more carefully.

> As I see it, it's such a mild statement by the standards of debate on most other topics (Brexit anyone?), that it should be something that everyone can deal with without getting upset or offended.

I think you lack an understanding of what people's religious identity means to them. If you expect people to react similarly when you criticise their political views on a single issue, as to when you attack the very foundation of their identity, then you've just got a very poor understanding of people. To put it bluntly, I'm not really criticising your politics, I'm criticising your social skills.

> There are -- I hope -- also many "cultural Muslims" who have a shared cultural background and identity but who don't believe in all the harmful aspects of the religion.  Maybe your friend is one of those (I don't know her of course).

It's obvious just from the quiet existence of normal British muslims that they don't believe in all the harmful aspects of their religion! The people that believe all the harmful aspects of their religion (and ignore the rest) are ISIS, and you know full well that all Muslims are not ISIS. Your understanding of what Muslims believe is really poor and inaccurate, and yet you choose to spend your time mouthing off about Islam on the internet. Why not leave it people who know what they're talking about?

> If such a person encountered someone saying that "Islam is a harmful ideology" then I hope they might respond with "Yes, much of it is, and that's why I don't believe or accept swathes of it".

That hope is misplaced because you fail to appreciate how people build their personal identity on foundations of sacred beliefs.

> Maybe they need more  handling with kid gloves than Christians do. (You may be better placed to assess that than me.)

I'm basically saying that they do. The reasons I'd suggest are that I think British Muslims' religion is more deeply embedded in their lives and personal identity than it is for British Christians (particularly the weddings and christenings types). They're in a different boat, part of which is also being an ethnic minority, and one that suffers bigotry. There are lots of social factors that differentiate what it's like to be a British Muslim to being a British Christian. I'm saying that you don't gain anything by ignoring all these social factors and expecting Muslims to behave the same as unreligious "cultural Christians". 

As with all questions about politics, I ask myself the question, "what type of society do I want to live in?". I gave up long ago on the idea of a genuinely secular society in which religion played no role or didn't even exist. Now I think about ways that we can best get along and enjoy the most positive outcomes we can achieve. If this means displaying a little bit of social sensitivity about someone's misguided religious beliefs, then OK I think it's silly, but I'm happy to play along for the sake a better society to live in. Specifically, one where we're not afraid of people because we perceive them to be different to us. A non-tribal society.

I think the way you go out of your way not to display such sensitivity contributes to a worse, more tribal, more divided society, which is why I bother responding to your posts.

> But can't we hope that we could get to the position of everyone being part of the grown-up debate, where encountering people who strongly disagree is just normal? 

We can hope that, but you're being unrealistic. I agree with you that in my rationalist worldview, it's silly to be insulted when someone says that your entire religion is harmful, because it's silly to follow the religion in the first place. But as I keep saying, I'm making a pragmatic argument about how to avoid deepening division in society, not a moral or intellectual argument about what's right and wrong. And I consider that pragmatic argument to be of great importance given what is going on in the society I live in.

Post edited at 13:58
1
Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> So how would you change your "tactics" between discussing anti-Islamic discourse with a group of Muslims/non-Muslims, and with a single Muslim.

My "tactics" -- when discussing with an individual Muslim -- would depend on the situation, our relationship to each other, the past history of our interactions, their personality and attitudes, et cetera. 

I could say the same about discussing Christianity on here versus with an individual Christian face to face.

Isn't all of that entirely normal?

Some time some place - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Isn't all of that entirely normal?

I'm trying to understand. 

Why change when you have an individual Muslim in front of you, or a group including Muslims on a discussion forum?

Maybe if you listed some of your "tactics" used in each case with an explanation of why you use/don't use them, it would help.

Post edited at 14:46
5
TobyA on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

You didn't answer the question somewhere above, have you ever discussed these issues with someone who considers themselves to be Muslim?

Your idea of Islam as an "ideology" just seems incredibly simplistic and deterministic compared to how people who have some sort of belief that they sort of share with others actually get on with their lives.

Like Jon says, this is almost a social skills or empathy question. I imagine that even for some people who have no faith at all but come from a Muslim family, if you say "Islam is harmful ideology" to them they're at best going to think you're rather odd and likely a bigot.

3
Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> It's obvious just from the quiet existence of normal British muslims that they don't believe in all the harmful aspects of their religion!

Well first, sure, they don't believe in *all* the harmful aspects of their religion, but if you meant they don't believe in *some* of the harmful aspects of their religion then your claim is a non sequitur. 

For example, British communists largely live lives harming no-one, and yet have beliefs that, if implemented, I would consider to be harmful.

Similarly, to take another extreme, most of the 1 million facebook followers of Tommy Robinson are likely doing no harm to anyone and just getting on with their lives.  That does not mean that all their beliefs are benign.

> Your understanding of what Muslims believe is really poor and inaccurate, ...

That might be your opinion; I think you're reading into me a lot of things that I have not said.  (Have I ever said that British Muslims hold beliefs that are indistinguishable from ISIS?)

> That hope is misplaced because you fail to appreciate how people build their personal identity on foundations of sacred beliefs.

Well, first, plenty of Christians *would* respond along those lines.  Indeed, it would be a very common response. 

Second, you're arguing that they base their personal identity on sacred beliefs, at the same time as arguing that many of them don't hold those beliefs. (Indeed, up-thread I was told that there was so little belief in common to different Muslims as to make it not even sensible to talk about Muslims as a group.)

Third point: *political* identity can also be important to people.  Indeed political/cultural identity underpins the Brexit debate. 

> I'm basically saying that they do [need more handling with kid gloves.]

OK, fair enough!   Ayaan's response to that was along the lines (can't remember the exact quote) that that means you don't respect them as equals, equally able to respond in a mature and adult manner.  Maajid also talks about "bigotry of low expectations", when people expect less of those from a Muslim background. 

Stichtplate on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Just the opposite. I agree with what you said last. My post was about those blaming Pakistani religious heritage for Rotherham.

Well you were replying to me and I made no mention of nationality or religion with regard to grooming gangs. My point was that it is disingenuous cite occupation (night economy workers) or geographic region (Northern mill towns) as risk factors determining membership of paedophile rape gangs. Prosecutions have been brought against gangs in, what 20, 30? instances stretching from Scotland to the South of England. What’s more, the majority of categories of night economy workers have not been implicated in these sorts of crimes. 

Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> You didn't answer the question somewhere above, have you ever discussed these issues with someone who considers themselves to be Muslim?

Yes, though not very often. 

> Your idea of Islam as an "ideology" just seems incredibly simplistic and deterministic compared to how people who have some sort of belief that they sort of share with others actually get on with their lives.

"Ideology" = "a system of ideas and ideals, ...".   It's not a bogey-word!    There are lots of good ideologies!  Democracy is an ideology, so is the idea of human rights. 

Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> Why change when you have an individual Muslim in front of you, ...

Do you *really* need an explanation of that?  Are you some sort of sociopath with so little understanding of how humans interact that you need an explanation?

Is it really news that how humans might interact will depend on "depend on the situation, our relationship to each other, the past history of our interactions, their personality and attitudes, et cetera". 

Can you really not grasp that how I interact with someone depends on the situation: whether they're a friend, whether we're out climbing, whether we''re in a discussion forum, whether they are a student that I'm tutoring, or whether I'm replying to some anonymous idiot on the internet? 

Sorry, but your question is an idiot question.

TobyA on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

But you seem to think that some singular religious ideology is the central and driving motivation of people who consider themselves Muslims. So back to where we were some days ago: you said Islam is a fascist and totalitarian ideology (I'm on a phone so can't check back easily, so forgive me if that wasn't your exact wording), an ideology that was shared by ISIS fighters and the SDF/YPG fighters (including the women's brigades presumably) who have been fighting ISIS. If the Muslims of ISIS and the Muslims of the SDF share the same fascist and totalitarian ideology, and ideologies are so central in determining people's actions, why are they fighting each other?

1
Jon Stewart - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Well first, sure, they don't believe in *all* the harmful aspects of their religion, but if you meant they don't believe in *some* of the harmful aspects of their religion then your claim is a non sequitur. 

I mean that what they believe in does not cause them to act harmfully in a way which I seek to discourage. All the muslims who fall into this subset are people I don't want to insult and alienate, because I see doing so as causing unnecessary division.

> Similarly, to take another extreme, most of the 1 million facebook followers of Tommy Robinson are likely doing no harm to anyone and just getting on with their lives.  That does not mean that all their beliefs are benign.

If someone's a follower of TR, I suspect that they do act in ways which I consider harmful. This doesn't apply to all followers of Islam, but it does apply to all Islamists, and conservative Muslims. I would seek to draw my circle around those people who I think hold harmful beliefs (that is, beliefs that make them act in ways I consider harmful), and then to target my criticism at this group.

> That might be your opinion; I think you're reading into me a lot of things that I have not said.  (Have I ever said that British Muslims hold beliefs that are indistinguishable from ISIS?)

Not quite - you seemed unsure whether my friend Shireen "believed all the harmful parts of her religion" so I pointed out that of course she and thousands like her don't as that would make them indistinguishable from ISIS.

> Well, first, plenty of Christians *would* respond along those lines. 

And? Christianity is more watered down and they're more chilled out about attacks on their beliefs. Great.

> Second, you're arguing that they base their personal identity on sacred beliefs, at the same time as arguing that many of them don't hold those beliefs.

I'm arguing that they base their personal identity on sacred beliefs (those they pick and choose from Islam), at the same time as arguing that the beliefs they pick and choose from Islam aren't the harmful ones. It ends up this way because they've been educated in a liberal democracy - those Muslims brought up in a conservative Islamic environment take on many more of the harmful ideas.

> Indeed, up-thread I was told that there was so little belief in common to different Muslims as to make it not even sensible to talk about Muslims as a group.

No, I said Islam wasn't a single ideology.

> Third point: *political* identity can also be important to people.  Indeed political/cultural identity underpins the Brexit debate. 

Oh come on. This is another of your really weak arguments - you're honestly comparing the psychology of being a Muslim, which is cemented by the clothes you wear, the food you eat, your daily routines, and provides your moral framework, and which has surrounded you from birth and which surrounded your parents and grandparents from their birth, to believing the UK should leave the EU? This is not a valid point.

> OK, fair enough!   Ayaan's response to that was along the lines (can't remember the exact quote) that that means you don't respect them as equals, equally able to respond in a mature and adult manner.  Maajid also talks about "bigotry of low expectations", when people expect less of those from a Muslim background. 

Maybe there's a grain of truth in that. I respect people most who can justify their beliefs in a way which is compelling to me, and religious people - be they Muslims or any - cannot do this. In this respect, I don't see them quite as equals with whom I can have a truly meaningful debate. But that doesn't in any way support the idea that it's better not to show social sensitivity, and insult people by making simplistic and inaccurate statements about their sacred beliefs. Quite simply, it would be better if I did not do that, so I generally don't (or at least I don't promote doing so as some kind of moral high ground).

1
Some time some place - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Sorry, but your question is an idiot question.

Maybe I'm an idiot, but like I said I'm trying to understand.

I'm not interested in tactical debating and I'd quite happily say anything I've posted on here to the person's face.

So another idiot question: Why would you say things on here to Muslims that you wouldn't say to a Muslim's face? 

2
Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> But you seem to think that some singular religious ideology is the central and driving motivation of people who consider themselves Muslims.

<rolls eyes> Why do people always, always put words into my mouth and accuse me of things I've not said and don't think (to then be followed by claiming I'm simplistic and naive for thinking them)? 

> So back to where we were some days ago: you said Islam is a fascist and totalitarian ideology ...

Well, many mainstream versions of Islam *are* fascist and totalitarian ideologies!

Now, can you please note the difference between the above two paragraphs.   The second statement is about an idea system, an ideology.  The former statement is about people and their motivations.  If you think there is a neat and simple relation relation between those two then you are being naive and simplistic. 

All along I've been clear to distinguish between idea systems (which should be open to criticism and attack) and people (which is rather different).  It's not me who is continually trying to conflate the two things. 

> If the Muslims of ISIS and the Muslims of the SDF share the same fascist and totalitarian ideology, and ideologies are so central in determining people's actions, why are they fighting each other?

(1) There are different versions of Islam; and (2) religion is not the only factor. 

For comparison: Trotsky and Lenin fell out.   They held to different versions of a "fascist and totalitarian ideology", and their actions were indeed heavily influenced by their ideologies.  Fascist and totalitarian ideologies often descend into factions that fight each other; that's in their nature. 

[NB Nothing I've just said is directly about the SDF and their views, it's just making a point about factionalism in fascist and totalitarian ideologies.]

Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> So another idiot question: Why would you say things on here to Muslims that you wouldn't say to a Muslim's face? 

I've not said anything here that I would not say to a Muslim's face in the right circumstances.  For example, if I were invited to a discussion forum specifically to discuss these issues and was asked to present an atheist's criticism of Islam then I'd happily say all of these things. 

I say these things here on UKC because, again, "Off Belay" and "The Pub" are forums set up for discussions of this sort, amongst other things.  (And people needn't read then if they don't wish to.)

But, if a hijab-wearing woman approached me in the street and asked if I knew the way to the train station I would not say anything that I've said in this thread. It would simply not be appropriate.

And I really am baffled that you seem to struggle to grasp this rather obvious concept, about what one says depending on the circumstances and situation.

1
Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I mean that what they believe in does not cause them to act harmfully in a way which I seek to discourage.

But, as I've just said to Toby, the relationship between someone's beliefs and what actions are then motivated by those beliefs is complex.  That's one of the reasons I want to maintain a clear distinction between people and ideas.

> This doesn't apply to all followers of Islam, but it does apply to all Islamists, and conservative Muslims. I would seek to draw my circle around those people who I think hold harmful beliefs ...

Whereas I could envisage lots of conservative Muslims and Islamists *not* actually acting in harmful ways, and just getting on with their lives and loving their families.  Indeed, I'm willing to bet that there are large numbers of such people in the Islamic world. 

The ideas I see as harmful, especially when they become prevalent. That does not mean that everyone who holds those ideas is performing actions that harm people. 

> Not quite - you seemed unsure whether my friend Shireen "believed all the harmful parts of her religion" so I pointed out that of course she and thousands like her don't as that would make them indistinguishable from ISIS.

Well not really. There's plenty of harmful variants of Islam that are not ISIS and that disagree with ISIS on much.

> you're honestly comparing the psychology of being a Muslim, which is cemented by the clothes you wear, the food you eat, your daily routines, and provides your moral framework, and which has surrounded you from birth and which surrounded your parents and grandparents from their birth, to believing the UK should leave the EU? 

The cultural and political identity that underpins attitudes than then might lead someone to support Brexit, yes, they are akin to those aspects of the religion.  

(And plenty of people who regard themselves as Muslim don't necessarily dress any different, eat any different, or have different daily routines.  And haven't you just said that people like Shireen *don't* get their moral framework from Islam, because they were "educated in a liberal democracy"?)

Some time some place - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Just to let you know, for the past week you have said the following things to Muslim climbers in Iran, Jordan, Palestine, Morocco, Turkey, Kuwait etc... (and of course the UK). These climbers often look to the Western climbing scene for inspiration. I've climbed with people from all of these countries and can assure you that none of them are anywhere near as dogmatic or intolerant as you have proved to be during this discussion. Have you ever visited any of these countries?

This is not exhaustive and I may have missed the worst, but you get my point.

"The evidence worldwide seems to be that having Muslims as a majority of the population is usually harmful for freedom and for the political, social and intellectual life of the country. 

"Anyone who accepts Western liberal-democratic Enlightenment values *should* be opposed to Islam, or at least many of the mainstream versions of Islam.

"Nowadays, the secular West is a vastly better place for scholarship and science than the stood-still-for-700-years Islamic world.

"What I have said is that Islam has successfully repressed reform. 

"If they're so intellectually stimulating why are there no universities in Islamic countries in the world's top 200 universities?

"It's the ideology -- the lack of acceptance of pluralism, the idea that one ideology is right and should be imposed, and that dissent from or speech against that ideology cannot be tolerated."

1
Jon Stewart - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But, as I've just said to Toby, the relationship between someone's beliefs and what actions are then motivated by those beliefs is complex.  That's one of the reasons I want to maintain a clear distinction between people and ideas.

I don't think the distinction is well-defined or useful. I'm not a behaviourist, I don't go all the way with this one (I think consciousness is crucial in any description of people), but I am a consequentialist. If someone holds a belief that does not affect their actions, i.e. has no consequences, then I am absolutely not interested in that belief. If something only exists as an idea in someone else's mind, then I have no reason to discuss it.

The only ideas I care about are ones which have consequences, and consequences come about by people acting on beliefs. As such, ideas are absolutely not separate to people: they're a good way to collect together many actions, because they can be a unifying causal entity. I don't criticise the idea of racism because of its qualities as an idea. I criticise racism because if you hold racist beliefs you will commit racist acts (however small) or simply stand by while others do. The "cash value" of ideas is actions by people, so I don't see any reason that making a distinction between ideas and people and their actions is helpful. When I criticise racism, I am criticising racists.

Do you think it would be helpful if I were to stop criticising racists, and concentrate instead on the idea of racism?

> Whereas I could envisage lots of conservative Muslims and Islamists *not* actually acting in harmful ways, and just getting on with their lives and loving their families.  Indeed, I'm willing to bet that there are large numbers of such people in the Islamic world. 

As a consequentialist, I can't envisage it. We both agree that Islamists make terrible governments, and people suffer as a result. So the quiet Islamist family are bringing up their children with shitty beliefs that maintain the Islamist regime in their society and will perpetuate the suffering. Harmful beliefs have harmful consequences. Now I will agree with you that even my normal liberal muslim friends hold beliefs that I consider, let's say, suboptimal from my consequentialist perspective. But I think the same about almost everyone, including myself if I'm honest.

> The cultural and political identity that underpins attitudes than then might lead someone to support Brexit, yes, they are akin to those aspects of the religion.  

I think the characteristics are entirely different and this point makes no sense to me.

> (And plenty of people who regard themselves as Muslim don't necessarily dress any different, eat any different, or have different daily routines.  And haven't you just said that people like Shireen *don't* get their moral framework from Islam, because they were "educated in a liberal democracy"?)

I think (guess) that people like Shireen view their moral framework as part and parcel of their identity as Muslims. That's not to say I believe that they really get their moral framework from the Koran - they're reading the same Koran as ISIS after all. This is why if I was to say to Shireen "your religion is a harmful ideology" I would expect her to feel that I was undermining her moral character, which would be really insulting at a very deep level. And so I wouldn't do it.

Post edited at 16:59
1
Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> Just to let you know, for the past week you have said the following things to Muslim climbers in Iran, Jordan, Palestine, ...

Or, rather, I've said them on an open internet discussion forum. 

> I've climbed with people from all of these countries and can assure you that none of them are anywhere near as dogmatic or intolerant as you have proved to be during this discussion.

You are welcome to your opinion but you are misusing the words "dogmatic" and "intolerant" .  I am neither.  Having and expressing opinions is not the same thing.

Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> If someone holds a belief that does not affect their actions, i.e. has no consequences, then I am absolutely not interested in that belief.

But human  psychology is complex.  It's not as a simple as "people who believe X do Y".  Rather, of people who believe something, some fraction will act on it in some situations, and maybe not in other situations, and some of them won't act on it regardless, et cetera.

So ideas are important, but it's never as simple as a one-to-one correspondence with actions.   Again, this is partly why I make the distinction between ideas and people.

> I criticise racism because if you hold racist beliefs you will commit racist acts (however small) or simply stand by while others do.

I don't think it's as simple as that.   Rather, it increases their propensity to behave in such ways, yes, but no part of the justification for arguing against racism depends on there being a one-to-one correspondence between beliefs and actions. 

You would not, I presume, accept testimony that some racist people are not actually acting in racist ways as reason to stop arguing against racism -- and quite rightly, because, overall, the attitude does increase the propensity to racist behaviour and thus the overall prevalence of the racism does increase the overall prevalence of racist actions. 

> That's not to say I believe that they really get their moral framework from the Koran - they're reading the same Koran as ISIS after all. This is why if I was to say to Shireen "your religion is a harmful ideology" I would expect her to feel that I was undermining her moral character, which would be really insulting at a very deep level.

Would you be willing to say to her: "I don't think you get your moral framework from the Koran -- you're reading the same Koran as ISIS after all -- I think you get your moral framework from your upbringing in a liberal democracy"?

Jon Stewart - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> So ideas are important, but it's never as simple as a one-to-one correspondence with actions.   Again, this is partly why I make the distinction between ideas and people.

> I don't think it's as simple as that.   Rather, it increases their propensity to behave in such ways, yes, but no part of the justification for arguing against racism depends on there being a one-to-one correspondence between beliefs and actions. 

I'm not arguing a one-to-one correspondence. I'm saying that the cash value of ideas is actions.

> You would not, I presume, accept testimony that some racist people are not actually acting in racist ways as reason to stop arguing against racism 

Like the Islamist example, I don't believe it's right to say that they're not acting in racist ways. In the hypothetical case of a person who internally holds racist views, but they don't influence his behaviour, then that's fine, they can carry on having racist thoughts. I don't have a problem with the idea when it's not accompanied by actions - it's none of my business what people think, but it is my business what people do when that has consequences in society.

I think you're wrong about this distinction between ideas and people. I've heard this line given as if it's some kind of irrefutable axiom of morality, and by people I don't trust. The one who springs to mind immediately is that insipid imbecile Dave Rubin.

So, just to examine this distinction:

Do you think it would be helpful if I were to stop criticising racists, and concentrate instead on the idea of racism?

> Would you be willing to say to her: "I don't think you get your moral framework from the Koran -- you're reading the same Koran as ISIS after all -- I think you get your moral framework from your upbringing in a liberal democracy"?

If push came to shove, yes. But it's not the kind of conversation we normally have!

Some time some place - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Or, rather, I've said them on an open internet discussion forum. 

This explains why you consider my previous question idiotic! Be aware that the disconnect that exists in your brain between the words you type and the people who read them does not exist in real life. Even though they are not in front of you, you are communicating with real people. And even though you are speaking to hundreds of people, you are saying those words to each and every one of them. 

> You are welcome to your opinion but you are misusing the words "dogmatic" and "intolerant" .  I am neither.  Having and expressing opinions is not the same thing.

"I consider that [Western culture] by far the best culture the world has known". Your lack of doubt in the all-time supremacy of Western culture, despite having no experience of thousands of past/present cultures is dogmatic.

"Anyone who accepts Western liberal-democratic Enlightenment values *should* be opposed to Islam". This demonstrates intolerance.

3
Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I think you're wrong about this distinction between ideas and people. I've heard this line given as if it's some kind of irrefutable axiom of morality, and by people I don't trust.

Surely thus distinction is the basis of pluralist democracy?  We can go hammer and tongs at the opposition's ideas and policies without that being interpreted as an attack on their persons.

[In a banana republic the President would interpret any dissent as an attack on him personally, and so send the army round to arrest the opposition leader.]

This distinction is also the basis of moderate and reformist Muslims' critique of religion.  E.g. Maajid's "No idea is above scrutiny and no people are beneath dignity".  

Or Ali Rivzi's "The left is wrong on Islam. The right is wrong on Muslims".  

"They were both conflating “Islam” the ideology and “Muslim” the identity. Islam is a religion; it’s a set of beliefs, a bunch of ideas in a book. It's not human. Muslims are real, living, breathing people, and to me, there's a big difference between criticizing ideas and demonizing human beings."

"Neither side was making that distinction. On the left, people were saying that if you have any criticism against Islam, then you were a bigot against all Muslims. On the right, it was like, there are a lot of problematic things in Islamic scripture, so everyone who is Muslim must be banned, or profiled, or demonized. Both sides weren't making that distinction between challenging ideas, which has historically moved societies forward, and demonizing human beings, which only rips societies apart."

https://www.vox.com/conversations/2017/7/7/15886862/islam-trump-isis-terrorism-ali-rizvi-religion-sam-harris

See also: https://quillette.com/2018/07/28/liberals-have-compromised-on-their-own-values-an-interview-with-ali-a-rizvi/

Jon Stewart - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Before I read that, will you answer the bloody question?

Or at least say why you think the question is unfair, or something.

2
Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> Be aware that the disconnect that exists in your brain between the words you type and the people who read them does not exist in real life. Even though they are not in front of you, you are communicating with real people.

Which doesn't alter the fact that there are appropriate contexts and situations in which to say things and non-appropriate ones. 

For example I above made a comment about the Christian concept of God -- this is, after all, specifically set up as a discussion forum -- but I would not walk into a church during a Sunday service and shout it out.  It would obviously be inappropriate.  

I'm still baffled that you don't get this distinction. 

> Your lack of doubt in the all-time supremacy of Western culture, despite having no experience of thousands of past/present cultures is dogmatic.

No, you are wrong to interpret any expression of an opinion as exhibiting a lack of doubt.  Carefully considered opinions backed by evidence, and open to argument, are not "dogmatic".

> This demonstrates intolerance.

Nope, you're simply wrong. Being opposed to something and vocally opposing it is not "intolerance".  The whole basis of Western democratic pluralism is that we can argue against each other's ideas while still tolerating them (meaning, we accept each others' right to hold them and to vote appropriately). 

To be "intolerant" of such ideas would be to want them censored by the state, or to otherwise try to disallow people from holding or expressing them. 

Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Before I read that, will you answer the bloody question?

Oh, ok!

> Do you think it would be helpful if I were to stop criticising racists, and concentrate instead on the idea of racism?

I think you should do both. There is benefit in criticising the idea of racism, and there is benefit in criticising racist *acts* and people who perform racist acts. 

When it comes to people who hold racist views but don't much act on them, and so are not harming people day to day, then yes I do think it is likely tactically better to focus on the idea of racism rather than on the person. 

In the same way, I'd much prefer to focus criticism on the idea-system of Islam rather than on your friend Shireen (who I don't know, but who may be a lovely person who would never harm anyone; even if she holds some beliefs that I deplore; and no, I don't think that we can conclude from the fact that she harms no-one that she holds no beliefs that might, in others, cause them to do harm).

Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Just thought I'd quote from the Ali Rizvi piece a bit more on the people vs ideas distinction:

"Look at it this way. Do you know Jewish people who eat bacon? Almost all of my Jewish friends eat bacon. Now, does that mean that Judaism is suddenly okay with bacon?

"This is the difference between religion and people. You can’t say, hey, I have a lot of Jewish friends who eat bacon, so Judaism must be okay with pork. It doesn't make sense. So when I say that most Muslims I know are very peaceful and law-abiding, that they wouldn't dream of violence, that doesn't erase all of the violence and the calls for martyrdom and jihad and holy war against disbelievers in Islamic scripture. Most of my Muslim friends, both in Pakistan and here, had premarital sex and drank alcohol too. That doesn’t mean Islam allows either of those things.

"The hard truth is there is a lot of violence endorsed in the Quran, and there are other terrible things, as there are in the Old Testament. But there are more people in the world — even if it’s a minority of Muslims — who take their scripture seriously. It’s dishonest to say that violent Muslim groups like ISIS are being un-Islamic."

https://www.vox.com/conversations/2017/7/7/15886862/islam-trump-isis-terrorism-ali-rizvi-religion-sam-harris

Jon Stewart - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I think you should do both. There is benefit in criticising the idea of racism, and there is benefit in criticising racist *acts* and people who perform racist acts. 

OK thanks. We're talking past each other a bit here, because I'm not saying it's better to target people rather than to target ideas. I'm saying that by criticising an idea, you are criticising all the people who hold the idea.

So, if I criticise racism, my criticism applies to, and is aimed at, all racists. If I criticise veganism, I am criticising vegans. And when you criticise all of Islam, you are criticising all Muslims. 

Ali Rizvi and the others operate on this premise that they are criticising ideas and not people, and that makes what they're saying not unkind towards those who hold the ideas. But I'm not convinced that the distinction actually means anything. Rizvi isn't actually putting forward anything rigorous, he seems to be saying "I don't like it when people on the right demonise muslims...and I don't like it when people on the left demonise those who criticise Islam" - which is fine. But what he says relates to "demonising" that is, unfairly painting someone to be evil when they are not. He doesn't provide a justification for this mantra "you can criticise ideas without criticising people" - and I'm not convinced there is good justification.

It reminds me an awful lot of "hate the sin, love the sinner" which is a weak and illogical excuse for Christian homophobia. When you really examine what's being said, it turns out that it's just weasel words to shirk responsibility. Either criticise the idea, and be honest that you think that the people who hold the idea are wrong, and so you're criticising them. Or don't criticise the idea, because you don't think the people holding it are doing anything wrong. This "it's the idea, not the people" line seems to me to be a get-out clause for people who want to criticise people's beliefs but don't want to deal with the reality of criticising the people who hold them. It's a cake-and-eat-it philosophy, and I don't think it stands up.

On the other hand, I'm quite content to say to all the Islamists and conservative Muslims, and Catholics who believe that condoms cause AIDS, and racists, and homophobes, "your ideas are shit, and so are you. Go f*ck yourselves". I don't need to hide behind weasel words, because I've taken sufficient care to accurately target the people I'm attacking. And I am attacking them, because their ideas are shit. I don't need to make a distinction.

Post edited at 19:58
2
Jon Stewart - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Just thought I'd quote from the Ali Rizvi piece a bit more on the people vs ideas distinction:

> "Look at it this way. Do you know Jewish people who eat bacon? Almost all of my Jewish friends eat bacon. Now, does that mean that Judaism is suddenly okay with bacon?

I think he's making quite a weak argument. If you asked those Jews, is Judaism suddenly OK with pork? they'd say, "no I'm being naughty and unjewish". 

However, if there were loads of jews, including rabbis and whoever else actually claims to interpret jewish scripture, all sitting around eating bacon and claiming it was perfectly jewish, then yes, that means that Judaism - in that particular sub-sect - has suddenly become OK with bacon.

> It’s dishonest to say that violent Muslim groups like ISIS are being un-Islamic

Indeed it is. They're being very Islamic, in an ISIS way. Similarly, liberal muslims whose values coincide with liberal democratic values are also being Islamic, in their own wishy-washy way. Neither is them is the "true Islam" - the fact that they'll both tell you they're following Islam as Allah intended just demonstrates that Islam isn't a single ideology.

1
L Pefa on 10 Mar 2019

In reply

I think its all fair and correct to say most Muslims in the UK don't agree with ISIS but many do have views which do not fit in with the general concensus in the UK on certain matters. 

I have been on many British Facebook forums in which the only mention by British Muslims about Rotherham type situations was for them to say the girls should not have been in that situation. Thereby blaming not the perpetrators but society. 

Here is one other example-

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/apr/11/british-muslims-strong-sense-of-belonging-poll-homosexuality-sharia-law

Signed,

Devils advocate. 

Some time some place - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier

> For example I above made a comment about the Christian concept of God -- this is, after all, specifically set up as a discussion forum -- but I would not walk into a church during a Sunday service and shout it out.  It would obviously be inappropriate.  

> I'm still baffled that you don't get this distinction. 

Because you're using extremes. Saying almost anything during a church service would be inappropriate. "The evidence worldwide seems to be that having Muslims as a majority of the population is usually harmful for freedom and for the political, social and intellectual life of the country." Would you say that to one of your Muslim students? Or a Muslim you met in a bar? This place is just as public.

> Carefully considered opinions backed by evidence, and open to argument, are not "dogmatic".

You have no evidence about the vast majority of cultures past and present you are comparing Western culture to.

And of course I can argue that your belief is unfounded, it's a free country, but that doesn't exclude you from being dogmatic in your view.

> To be "intolerant" of such ideas would be to want them censored by the state

Intolerance can operate on an individual level. I think it's fair to say that you are intolerant of Islam.

3
Coel Hellier - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> Would you say that to one of your Muslim students?

No.

> Or a Muslim you met in a bar?

Not unless they explicitly started and invited the discussion.

> This place is just as public.

Being "public" is not the issue, it's whether the situation is appropriate for such a discussion. 

> You have no evidence about the vast majority of cultures past and present you are comparing Western culture to.

I do have evidence.  You don't have to have lived in a culture/time in order to have evidence about it.

> Intolerance can operate on an individual level. I think it's fair to say that you are intolerant of Islam.

Again, you are misunderstanding or misusing the concept of "intolerance".  I believe in religious freedom -- including the right to hold to and espouse Islam -- so am not intolerant of it.  

But I also believe in free speech and the right to openly criticise Islam. Doing so is not "intolerance".  Intolerance is trying to prevent (note, *prevent*) someone being a Muslim by legal sanction or physical force or similar suppression. 

Some time some place - on 10 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Being "public" is not the issue, it's whether the situation is appropriate for such a discussion. 

A bar is a totally appropriate place for such a discussion as is a place of learning. The internet is really quite a bleak place for exchanging ideas. Maybe you simply feel more confidant in your ideas when sitting in front of a computer than when facing a fellow human being. 

> I do have evidence.  You don't have to have lived in a culture/time in order to have evidence about it.

You have evidence that enables you to conclude that Western culture is by far the best the world has ever known!? Please share.

> Again, you are misunderstanding or misusing the concept of "intolerance". 

>  Intolerance is trying to prevent (note, *prevent*) someone being a Muslim by legal sanction or physical force or similar suppression. 

Intolerance: unwillingness to accept (note *accept*) views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one's own. (Google definition)

8
Stichtplate on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> A bar is a totally appropriate place for such a discussion as is a place of learning. 

Good luck convincing any devout Muslims that a bar is an appropriate place to hold discussions. Have ever met an actual, real life devout Muslim?

> You have evidence that enables you to conclude that Western culture is by far the best the world has ever known!? Please share.

Modern day Western culture allows your average citizen greater freedom of self expression, freedom from hunger, poverty, disease, the greatest opportunity for self development and the widest access to education of any system the World has yet seen. Evidence for this? People vote with their feet. How many are willing to risk their lives for a chance of life in the West as opposed to the handful running in the opposite direction?

> Intolerance: unwillingness to accept (note *accept*) views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one's own. (Google definition)

 30 years on from Midnight's Children the debate within today's Muslim community, courtesy of BBC Asian network, highlights intolerance a little more implacable than Coel's particular brand.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FTEMHP4t9c

L Pefa on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Evidence for this? People vote with their feet. How many are willing to risk their lives for a chance of life in the West as opposed to the handful running in the opposite direction?

A group of countries which is part of an empire that is above international law and does what it wants to who it wants when it wants and is in control of the world is going to be much wealthier than the rest-including the countries it turns into rubble- so will naturally attract most people in the world for purely financial reasons. 

PS. Literacy rates in the USA are pretty bad. 

Coel Hellier - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> A bar is a totally appropriate place for such a discussion as is a place of learning.

As I've already tried to explain to you several times, the situation and ones relationship with the other person is also relevant,  not just the place.  

> Intolerance: unwillingness to accept (note *accept*) views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one's own.

If simply disagreeing or considering ideas to be harmful is sufficient to make one "intolerant", then you're being just as "intolerant" in your comments to me.  And all Remainers are intolerant (they consider Brexit to be harmful).  Which makes the whole concept rather meaningless. 

So, sorry, I'm sticking to the idea that being "intolerant" means being unwilling to accept the *existence* of views, and so wanting them censored or suppressed by legal or social sanction.  

So, I'm not intolerant: I support freedom of religion including the right to be a Muslims and to promote Islam. 

Yes, I criticise the religion and consider it harmful but that does not make me "intolerant" unless it also means that all Labour voters who consider Tory-party polices to be harmful are "intolerant". 

Now, if we're asking who here is actually intolerant, in the sense of wanting suppression and censorship of views, that would be Offwidth. 

Offwidth - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Sure, but for clarity I'll repeat my views with reasons so that you can ignore them again (and claim I'm trained by Islamists) when I next try to defend the postion of moderate muslims.

I think the views you portray here are both inflamatory to a good proportion of our population for no useful gain and very bad for improving the terrible diversity of the site in respect of potental future muslim posters ... who form 1/20th of the UK population  (incidently both issues, if known, would raise concerns at your work... one reason I've ended up defending staff in disciplinary cases for much less clear-cut "breaches of social media policy"). This is a web forum and the owners set the rules. It is not a public place. So yes I'd like your ideological anti-Islam views, expressed in ways specifically designed to pick a fight (with the usual suspects) to be subject to a warning and if ignored to lead to a ban. In contrast, where aspects of a branch of Islam (or any other religion) have caused clear harm I would actively encourage UKC posts on the subject, especially from you, as you sometimes spot issues earlier than they appear in the mainstream press. I deplore Islamists in particular, who have led to mass mayhem and murder, largely funded from countries who are supposedly UK and US allies (for the sake of arms sales and oil).

I have no issues with what you think (your perogative) or what you do on your blog (which ironically is much more measured than the worst you say here.. showing you are a coward) or in any public place, where you will be subject to the normal limits of UK law (which from the CPS advice and from case history clearly does not permit absolute freedom of speech). I think the UK law is, if anything, a little too restrictive at times.

Post edited at 09:01
8
Stichtplate on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> A group of countries which is part of an empire that is above international law and does what it wants to who it wants when it wants and is in control of the world is going to be much wealthier than the rest-including the countries it turns into rubble- so will naturally attract most people in the world for purely financial reasons. 

The West is an empire? Who's the emperor then? China seems a better fit for your description but doesn't attract very many migrants.

> PS. Literacy rates in the USA are pretty bad. 

Yes they are... when compared to the rest of the West. Not when compared to the rest of the world though.

Stichtplate on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> Sure, but for clarity I'll repeat my views with reasons so that you can ignore them again (and claim I'm trained by Islamists) when I next try to defend the postion of moderate muslims.

Moderate Muslims don't need defending, nobody but the most ridiculous, knuckle dragging asshats have any issues with them or their religious stance.

> I think the views you portray here are both inflamatory to a good proportion of our population for no useful gain and very bad for improving the terrible diversity of the site in respect of potental future muslim posters ... who form 1/20th of the UK population

On reading Coel's posts, most moderate Muslims I've known would simply sigh and move on. Moderates, of whatever ilk, aren't especially flammable.

> (incidently both issues, if known, would raise concerns at your work... one reason I've ended up defending staff in disciplinary cases for much less clear-cut "breaches of social media policy"). This is a web forum and the owners set the rules. It is not a public place. So yes I'd like your ideological anti-Islam views, expressed in ways specifically designed to pick a fight (with the usual suspects) to be subject to a warning and if ignored to lead to a ban.

You keep getting asked this but I can't recall you ever answering... any other religions you'd like to see a ban on criticising on ideological grounds?

>In contrast, where aspects of a branch of Islam (or any other religion) have caused clear harm I would actively encourage UKC posts on the subject, especially from you, as you sometimes spot issues earlier than they appear in the mainstream press. I deplore Islamists in particular, who have led to mass mayhem and murder, largely funded from countries who are supposedly UK and US allies (for the sake of arms sales and oil).

Rightly or wrongly, lots of people see fairly mainstream norms within Islam as harmful, gender segregation and Halal slaughter methods for example. Are these aspects to be placed beyond criticism for fear of causing offence?

> I have no issues with what you think (your perogative) or what you do on your blog (which ironically is much more measured than the worst you say here.. showing you are a coward) or in any public place, where you will be subject to the normal limits of UK law (which from the CPS advice and from case history clearly does not permit absolute freedom of speech). I think the UK law is, if anything, a little too restrictive at times.

Yet you call for a ban???...

So yes I'd like your ideological anti-Islam views, expressed in ways specifically designed to pick a fight (with the usual suspects) to be subject to a warning and if ignored to lead to a ban.

1
Coel Hellier - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> ... when I next try to defend the postion of moderate muslims.

I don't agree that you are defending the position of "moderate" Muslims.    Moderate Muslims have no problem with criticism of the religion, indeed welcome it since they also have criticisms of their religion.

Maajid Nawaz, an *actually* moderate Muslim, re-tweeted a  JandMo cartoon depicting Mohammed in order to deliberately flout the taboo on doing so, because he regards that taboo as unhelpful and as preventing reform of Islam. 

You, however, say that such things should not be done, out of "politeness" was your excuse.  By that you mean "politeness" to the less-moderate Muslims, since the moderate ones would have no problem with it.

> ... and very bad for improving the terrible diversity of the site in respect of potental future muslim posters ...

What I've said is no worse than (likely much milder than) what is routinely said on this forum about, for example, Brexit and Brexiters.    I don't see you complaining that that makes it a hostile site for potential posters. 

Why is that? Is it that you think less of Muslims, you have lower expectations of them? So that Brexiters should be expected to just deal with it, whereas Muslims should not be, and need special handling with kid gloves?

> ... or what you do on your blog (which ironically is much more measured than the worst you say here.. showing you are a coward)

Ooh! So saying things openly here under my real name means I'm a "coward"?    And I have openly re-published Charlie Hebdo covers etc on my blog.   (And for that I've been complained about by the Pakistani net censors; I'm proud!)

But anyhow, thanks for openly stating that you want censorship of views about Islam that would be mild and routine if uttered about most other topics.  You are indeed doing the Islamists' work for them.

1
Offwidth - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

I am unhappy with any religion being singled out as being blanket worse than others. I have no issue at all with all religion being critisised at the same time (its all 'fairy stories' etc). Quite a few moderate muslims and moderate jews I know feel very much under increasing pressure in the UK the last couple of years; do you actually speak to any?

Gender segregation is most certainly not a mainstream UK muslim norm (except in worship). Halal slaughter is but frankly in comparing slaughter methods we are talking about small lesser degrees of neccesary evil (unless we all convert to vegetarianism).

Yes I call for a ban of general Islamophobic rants whilst supporting outing specific bad things being done in the name of any religion. Such general Islamophobic rants would be questionable or even a disciplinary issue  in most modern organisations (much to Coels ire), and are bad for improving the diversity of this site.

Post edited at 17:19
5
Offwidth - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

How do you know about what moderate muslims think, when you don't seem to talk to any?

I absolutely support the right of what you and Maajid did with the cartoon. Thats a choice in a free country. I still feel news media also have a right to make up their own mind to censor on the grounds of politeness (hardly uniquely applied to images of Mohammed). It's called editorial freedom.

Regarding muslims and brexiteers as being equivalent, is utterely bizzarre to most liberal minded people: it is equating faith with poliltical opinion. Sadly, its not unexpected from you as you have never had any sensitivity to people of faith.

Yes you are a coward being far ruder here (to the extent of libel with liberal minded people who disagree with you) than on your blog. Charlie Hebdo cartoons are legally trivial in comparison.

Yes I see your repeated blanket singling out of all Islam for criticism as Islamophobia. Moderate liberal views are what Islamists fear most as it dampens flames rather than stoking them.  People actually doing the best work for Islamists are western politicians who make dubious legal decisions they can use as propaganda.

Post edited at 17:43
6
Coel Hellier - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> How do you know about what moderate muslims think, ...

I listen to them.

> Regarding muslims and brexiteers as being equivalent, is utterely bizzarre to most liberal minded people: it is equating faith with poliltical opinion.

So one's an opinion and the other's an opinion. 

> Sadly, its not unexpected from you as you have never had any sensitivity to people of faith.

And it seems that many -- including you -- are equally lacking in sensitivity to Brexiters! 

> Yes you are a coward being far ruder here (to the extent of libel with liberal minded people who disagree with you) than on your blog.

That's rich coming from you!

> Yes I see your repeated blanket singling out of all Islam for criticism as Islamophobia. Moderate liberal views are what Islamists fear most ...

Moderate liberals don't see the Islamist-invented concept of "Islamophobia" as valid.

4
elsewhere on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Were the crusades an invention of the  Islamists?

Was Islamic conquest of and expulsion from Spain an Islamist invention?

How about intercommunal violence during and since partition in 1947?

Did Islamists invent the imprisonment of the Uighurs?

The idea that religious/territorial conflicts and hatreds around them is an Islamist invented concept is silly.

Post edited at 20:10
1
Jon Stewart - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Moderate liberals don't see the Islamist-invented concept of "Islamophobia" as valid.

I'm not sure that's true.

I don't think it makes any material difference whether you describe someone spitting at woman in a hijab in the street and shouting "terrorist" as Islamophobia or Muslimphobia, as Nawaz suggests. In either case it would mean "hatred of muslims". 

I understand the argument that the term "Islamophobia" has been used to discredit legitimate criticism of Islam as bigotry. Fine, not all accusations of bigotry are fair. I don't really see however, why, if an unfair accusation is made, it's better to say "Islamophobia is an invalid concept" rather than "my comment wasn't bigotry because...".

Let's just switch across to the term "antisemitism", which is used extremely frequently not to discredit legitimate criticism of Judaism, but legitmate criticism of the Israeli government - which given your objections to discrediting political views as bigotry you must be absolutely sickened by. Given that these accusations are rife, shall we say also that the concept of antisemitism is invalid? 

If the principle applies in one case, why not in the other? 

Post edited at 20:21
Coel Hellier - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

> The idea that religious/territorial conflicts and hatreds around them is an Islamist invented concept is silly.

Did anyone claim it was? 

Nice strawman you're burning.  Very imaginatively constructed! 

2
elsewhere on 11 Mar 2019

> Moderate liberals don't see the Islamist-invented concept of "Islamophobia" as valid.

So you don't claim the concept of hating Muslims is an Islamist invention?

Post edited at 20:48
Coel Hellier - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> In either case it would mean "hatred of muslims". 

A "phobia" is actually an "irrational fear", not a "hatred".   That's part of what is wrong with the term.

And I know you don't accept my distinction between ideas and people, but I'm sticking to it!   People like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ali Rivzi are critical of *Islam* (the idea system) precisely because they see it as harmful to *Muslims* (people, *their* people, with whom they feel an affinity).

If we trace the concept back (as best we can), the term "Islamophobia" first came into regular use regarding Khomenei's Iranian revolution, when those within the Iranian population who were opposed to the revolution got called "Islamophobic" in the sense of "why are you so afraid of Islam?, there's nothing to be afraid of!". 

(It was only later that the Runnymede Trust popularised the term  in the UK by mixing that concept up with bigotry towards immigrants.)

Well, just recently, an Iranian female lawyer has been sentenced to 33 years in jail for advocating human rights, including defending women who had defied the requirement to cover their hair in public.  

*That* is that there is to be afraid of about Islam!  But there is nothing "irrational" about such fears! 

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/03/iran-shocking-33-year-prison-term-and-148-lashes-for-womens-rights-defender-nasrin-sotoudeh/

> Given that these accusations are rife, shall we say also that the concept of antisemitism is invalid? 

A "Semite" is a person (one of the Semitic peoples, not an idea.  To be anti-Semitic is to be against people (regardless of their ideas).       

Sorry, but I really am sticking to this people vs ideas distinction!

Now, if people want to use phrases such as "anti-immigrant bigotry" or "Xenophobia" rather than the invalid "Islamophobia" then fine, then they'll be making a valid argument. 

2
Coel Hellier - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

> So you don't claim the concept of hating Muslims is an Islamist invention?

Nope.  I'm claiming that the term "Islamophobia" -- deliberately conflating two very different things (bigotry towards people vs criticism of ideas) -- is an Islamist invention. 

See my comment just above this one.  See all my earlier comments about "Islamophobia" up thread. 

Edit: or read someone like Maryam Namazie: 

"In Iran, Saudi Arabia or IS, critics of religion are faced with accusations of blasphemy and apostasy; here they are accused of “Islamophobia.”

"Accusations of Islamophobia are used to scaremonger people into silence rather than out of any patronising “concern for minorities” – as if “minorities” do not need or have the right to criticise religion and the religious-Rightwing. [...]

"What is really being said when Charlie [Hebdo] is accused of Islamophobia is that criticism of Islam and Islamism are forbidden, blasphemy laws are required to protect “Muslim” or rather Islamist “sensibilities” and that, therefore, threats and actual murder of critics is perfectly legitimate – whether in Paris or beyond."

https://maryamnamazie.com/charlie-hebdos-mohammed-cartoon-was-not-islamophobic/

Post edited at 21:06
1
elsewhere on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Nope.  I'm claiming that the term "Islamophobia" -- deliberately conflating two very different things (bigotry towards people vs criticism of ideas) -- is an Islamist invention. 

> See my comment just above this one.  See all my earlier comments about "Islamophobia" up thread. 

As usual only the blessed Coel knows the one truth of what a concept means to a whole range of people. 

Did you have any kind of fundamentalist upbringing explaining why on every political/religious topic you can proclaim the one truth?

5
Mr Lopez - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> If we trace the concept back (as best we can), the term "Islamophobia" first came into regular use regarding Khomenei's Iranian revolution, when those within the Iranian population who were opposed to the revolution got called "Islamophobic" in the sense of "why are you so afraid of Islam?, there's nothing to be afraid of!". 

Source?

Some time some place - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> So, sorry, I'm sticking to the idea that being "intolerant" means being unwilling to accept the *existence* of views, and so wanting them censored or suppressed by legal or social sanction. 

I've already  given you the Google definition, here's the Cambridge definition: "disapproving of or refusing to accept ideas or ways of behaving that are different from your own". I hope we can agree that this describes your stance on Islam.

So at least try to argue that we shouldn't be tolerant with Islam, that would be an honest approach.

If we all start making up our own definitions it becomes impossible to have a rational discussion.

6
Coel Hellier - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

> As usual only the blessed Coel knows the one truth of what a concept means to a whole range of people. 

It is a fact that the term is used in both of the different ways that I state.  It is a fact that it has the history that I describe.

It is a fact that  dictionary entries for the term include both meanings. 

Now you, personally, might only intend one of the meanings, and you might be clear in your mind which it is, but different people will use it differently -- and that's part of the problem with the term.

Some time some place - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Modern day Western culture allows your average citizen greater freedom of self expression, freedom from hunger, poverty, disease, the greatest opportunity for self development and the widest access to education of any system the World has yet seen.

It also gives us the highest suicide rates in the world, chronic use of anti-depressants, the institutionalisation of elderly people, obesity, loneliness, exclusiveness, homelessness, reliance on benefits, cultural narcissism and celebrity culture.

> People vote with their feet. How many are willing to risk their lives for a chance of life in the West as opposed to the handful running in the opposite direction?

They also vote with their lives. European suicide rate = 15.4/100,000. Eastern Mediterranean = 3.9/100,000.

Welcome to paradise!

Coel Hellier - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> I hope we can agree that this describes your stance on Islam.

<shrug> Since you are refusing to accept my ideas that makes you -- by your own definition -- just as "intolerant", which means the word ends up meaning very little. Everyone agrees with some ideas and disagrees with others. 

> So at least try to argue that we shouldn't be tolerant with Islam, that would be an honest approach.

Nope, we *should* be tolerant of Islam.  Muslims *should* be able to openly espouse their beliefs.   The alternative, denying religious freedom, is much worse.

"Religious toleration is people allowing other people to think or practice other religions and beliefs." -- https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_toleration

1
elsewhere on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> It is a fact that the term is used in both of the different ways that I state.  It is a fact that it has the history that I describe.

> It is a fact that  dictionary entries for the term include both meanings. 

> Now you, personally, might only intend one of the meanings, and you might be clear in your mind which it is, but different people will use it differently -- and that's part of the problem with the term.

It require a strangely fundamentalist outlook to see a problem with different people using a term differently as being enough to make a term invalid. It is the norm that people think in different ways. It's strangely fundamentalist to think everybody should think the same way when diverse thinking is the norm. 

Why are you so fundamentalist that your way of thinking is the right way?  Why do appear to you think you have special insight rather than what looks like a special lack of insight into the diversity of how people think and an appreciation they might know something?

It's the sort of fundamentalism about knowing whst is right associated with cults (political, religious, nationalist etc).

Post edited at 22:00
Some time some place - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Good luck convincing any devout Muslims that a bar is an appropriate place to hold discussions. Have ever met an actual, real life devout Muslim?

Where I live the bars are full of Muslims. My job involves training Muslims to become mountain guides and securing funding for Muslim climbers to compete in the Olympics.

1
Coel Hellier - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

> It is the norm that people think in different ways. It's strangely fundamentalist to think everybody should think the same way when diverse thinking is the norm. 

Why sure. And who here has said that everyone should think the same way? 

[Did you see my comment just above, for example, that different people should be allowed to promote very different religions?]

But, where people think differently, isn't it helpful that we use language which conveys the different meanings?  Wouldn't that help communication?

1
elsewhere on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Why sure. And who here has said that everyone should think the same way? 

> [Did you see my comment just above, for example, that different people should be allowed to promote very different religions?]

> But, where people think differently, isn't it helpful that we use language which conveys the different meanings?  Wouldn't that help communication?

Not if every word can be dismissed as invalid because somebody somewhere used it in a way you do not approve of.

Post edited at 22:12
Jon Stewart - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> A "phobia" is actually an "irrational fear", not a "hatred". 

The suffix "phobia" is technically incorrect when it's used to mean a form of bigotry, but's it's part of modern language. Surely "homophobia" is actually an "irrational fear of the same" - but that's the word for bigotry against gays. I don't think there's any mileage in quibbling over etymology - it's of no practical importance.

> A "Semite" is a person (one of the Semitic peoples, not an idea.  To be anti-Semitic is to be against people (regardless of their ideas).       

Yes, but again, it's etymologically nonsense - antisemitism is hatred of Jews, not semites. All these terms aren't rigorous in their construction, they're just the words we use and we know what they mean. Bigotry against muslims is real and a problem, so we need a word for it. It makes no practical difference whether we call that bigotry "Islamophobia" or something else. 

As I said, when there's an unfair accusation of bigotry, can't the accused defend themselves by explaining why what they said wasn't bigotry. That's what I do every time someone conflates my criticism of the Israeli government with antisemitism. But that's actually very easy and well justified because I've targeted my criticism correctly and haven't said anything that applies to all Jews...

> Sorry, but I really am sticking to this people vs ideas distinction!

Well yes, but I didn't get very far understanding how  "I think Islam is harmful ideology, but I'm not criticising Muslims as people" makes sense, when"I think fascism is a harmful ideology, but I'm not criticising fascists as people" sounds like an absurd apology for fascism. Any chance you could clear that up?

> Now, if people want to use phrases such as "anti-immigrant bigotry" or "Xenophobia" rather than the invalid "Islamophobia" then fine, then they'll be making a valid argument. 

This is quite interesting, because here you actually *do* seem to be trying to use etymological quibbles to invalidate the very concept of bigotry against Muslims. It's a little bit sinister. When someone implies that all Muslims are terrorists, that's not to do with them being immigrants, so the terms you suggest don't describe it - it's to do with them following Islam. So the concept "Islamophobia" is meaningful - but it would make no difference if it were renamed "Muslimphobia". Are you deliberately trying to go a step further than Nawaz and actually whitewash the concept of bigotry against Muslims out of public discourse, or do you support Nawaz's idea of "Muslimphobia" - and if you do, why didn't you suggest that above?

Post edited at 22:05
Some time some place - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Since you are refusing to accept my ideas that makes you -- by your own definition -- just as "intolerant", which means the word ends up meaning very little. 

I've posted dictionary definitions, not my "own definitions". That was you!

So am I intolerant of your intolerance? It's a good question.

I've encouraged you to express your views in an honest way. I've encouraged you to discuss them face-to-face with Muslims rather than just on UKC. I've tried to understand your point of view. I have not told you: "You are simply wrong". I have contested your ideas for sure, just I would contest the existence of any god, but I don't think I have refused to accept them.

But for sure we are now in the realm of nuance!

2
elsewhere on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Why sure. And who here has said that everyone should think the same way? 

And yet you certainly write like you can proclaim a word is invalid with no insight that others might have good reason to think differently and no insight that your opinion has special value only to you. That's a very fundamentalist certainty as a way of thinking.

Post edited at 23:12
1
Stichtplate on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> It also gives us the highest suicide rates in the world, chronic use of anti-depressants, the institutionalisation of elderly people, obesity, loneliness, exclusiveness, homelessness, reliance on benefits, cultural narcissism and celebrity culture.

> They also vote with their lives. European suicide rate = 15.4/100,000. Eastern Mediterranean = 3.9/100,000.

> Welcome to paradise!

Where’d you rather live then?

Have you considered that if the time and place you live is about the best humanity has come up with and you’re still chronically unhappy, then options for improving your situation might seem that much more limited?

1
Stichtplate on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> Where I live the bars are full of Muslims. My job involves training Muslims to become mountain guides and securing funding for Muslim climbers to compete in the Olympics.

Really? The bars are full of devout Muslims.

edit: just looked at your profile. Lot of call for Muslim mountain guides in North London?

Post edited at 00:20
Some time some place - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to Stichtplate

> Have you considered that if the time and place you live is about the best humanity has come up with and you’re still chronically unhappy, then options for improving your situation might seem that much more limited?

And have you considered that the factors I listed create more unhapiness than can be compensated for by the factors you listed. For someone who prefers stats to rhetoric, I think you'll agree that the numbers I posted are quite significant .

Coel Hellier - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

> And yet you certainly write like you can proclaim a word is invalid with no insight that others might have good reason to think differently ...

I see how you jump from me expressing and defending my opinions to me having "no insight" into why others think differently.   

You're effectively acting as you accuse me of acting.

Some time some place - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Really? The bars are full of devout Muslims.

3 things:

I've drunk alcohol with Muslim locals in Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt and Algeria...

Bars serve non-alcoholic drinks.

I have never suggested that Coel should only converse with "devout" Muslims. 

Post edited at 07:30
elsewhere on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I see how you jump from me expressing and defending my opinions to me having "no insight" into why others think differently.   

The lack of doubt expressed in you writing prompted me to wonder if you were born into fundamentalism or if you are a convert to fundamentalism. It's quite striking the way you communicate your faith in the truth of what is just your opinion about the validity of a concept.

That faith and absolutism  with no equivocation and no uncertainty is very reminiscent of fundamentalists and how they communicate.

1
Coel Hellier - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Surely "homophobia" is actually an "irrational fear of the same" - but that's the word for bigotry against gays.

But isn't the underlying idea that the reason they are bigoted against gays is that they have an irrational fear of them, perhaps a fear that they themselves might be gay?

> Bigotry against muslims is real and a problem, so we need a word for it. It makes no practical difference whether we call that bigotry "Islamophobia" or something else. 

But it does matter!  First, words and connotations do actually matter.  That's why activists try hard to "control the narrative".  That's why the opposition invent terms such as "bedroom tax" and "death tax".  That's why people invent the terms "pro-life" and "pro-choice", that's why it matters that swathes of SJW academia are trying to re-invent the word "violence" such that speech is also "violent".

Second, it matters because "Islamophobia" **is** also used to slap down those criticising Islam.   And thus reformist Muslims within Muslim communities get labelled with the label for "bigotry against Muslims", and criticism of Islam gets treated the same as bigotry against Muslims.   When people like Maajid Nawaz get labelled "Islamophobic" then we cannot just accept the word in the sense you take it.

And, again, the term "Islamophobia" was invented and defined to have this ambiguity.  It's an activist construction. 

> As I said, when there's an unfair accusation of bigotry, can't the accused defend themselves by explaining why what they said wasn't bigotry.

Agreed, but then it's ambiguous what the accusation is!

OED: "Dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force."

OK, so  "Dislike of Islam as a political force" is "Islamophobia".  The Oxford English Dictionary says so.  So both you and I are Islamophobic under that definition, as are large swathes of secular-minded moderate Muslims and ex-Muslims.  

I think Brexiters missed a trick when inventing "Remoaners". They should have gone for "Brexitphobia" and "Brexitphobes"!   

> Well yes, but I didn't get very far understanding how  "I think Islam is harmful ideology, but I'm not criticising Muslims as people" makes sense,  [...] Any chance you could clear that up?

The point is, if I put the emphasis on Islam the ideology, then I'm allowing that large numbers of Muslims might not agree with the ideology, and might agree about its flaws. I'm leaving room for them to agree with me, and thus I am not attacking *them*.  

If I say "Muslims are bad people", then I make no such allowance.  I'm directly attacking *them*. 

For example, Ali Rizvi regards himself as a "Muslim", by culture and background, but does not believe the theology, he's an atheist.  He identifies with Muslims (and so would regard "Muslims are bad people" as an attack on him) but abhors much of the theology and ideology (so would agree with me that *Islam* is harmful. 

I continually make this distinction, but then people try hard to interpret me as attacking people, and accuse me of simplistic assumption as to what people do and do not believe -- when the whole point is not to make such assumptions and just criticise certain ideas!

> This is quite interesting, because here you actually *do* seem to be trying to use etymological quibbles to invalidate the very concept of bigotry against Muslims. It's a little bit sinister.

Not at all!   Of course there is bigotry against Muslims as people!   My "etymological quibbles" are all about distinguishing that from fair criticism of the religion, the ideology! 

But yourself in the shoes of Alexander Solzhenitsyn -- highly critical of communism, but not hating Russian people (*his* people).  Indeed hating communism *because* it harms *people*.

Now put yourself in the shoes of Ayaan Hirsi Ali or similar, highly critical of *Islam* because it harms *her* *people*!

I really am baffled that people are so resistant to this distinction!  It just shows how good a job the Islamist spindoctors have done with the term "Islamophobia".  Sigh!    

4
Coel Hellier - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

> It's quite striking the way you communicate your faith in the truth of what is just your opinion about the validity of a concept.

Otherwise known as having an opinion and defending it, just like others on the thread! 

You're just as guilty.

1
elsewhere on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Otherwise known as having an opinion and defending it, just like others on the thread! 

> You're just as guilty.

I don't dismiss many concepts as invalid  when I disagree with them. There's some validity in most ideas good enough to be  commonly held.

Stichtplate on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> 3 things:

> I've drunk alcohol with Muslim locals in Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt and Algeria...

Good for you. I grew up in a pub in the North and have spent a fairly large amount of time in pubs in the North. Areas with large Muslim populations, and I can count my Asian drinking buddies on the fingers of one hand. What's more, in nearly 50 years of Northern pub based experience I've never seen any customers dressed in hijab, burqa, abaya, niqab or thaub despite it being fairly commonplace to see people dressed in this manner out and about. Frankly, I'm not surprised.

it was narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever believes in Allaah and the Last Day, let him not sit at a table where wine is being drunk.”

> Bars serve non-alcoholic drinks.

Yes they do but most observant Muslims wouldn't be seen dead in one and even if they didn't drink there'd be considerable stigma attached to anyone seen exiting a pub by friends and rellies. In a lot of communities up here everyone knows everyone and people in tight knit communities do love to gossip. Have a quick Google and you'll quickly get a flavour.

https://www.ummah.com/forum/forum/family-lifestyle-community-culture/islamic-lifestyle-social-issues/318281-going-to-the-pub-to-eat

https://www.reddit.com/r/islam/comments/2j584r/are_you_not_allowed_to_go_to_pubsbars/

....and the more moderate Muslim's viewpoint.

https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/wdbk9z/going-to-the-pub-as-a-muslim

> I have never suggested that Coel should only converse with "devout" Muslims. 

No, but it was in a line of conversation about offending devout Muslims and you were replying to my post where I specified 'devout Muslim'.

Forgive me if I find your claims a little far fetched, but when you say... "Where I live the bars are full of Muslims." Where exactly is this?

Offwidth - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I fully recognise what you are saying and most of what your use of these words means. I do not understand the motivations of why you say it and why you worry about (usually incorrect) etymology so much, in the face of the damage your polemic can do to ordinary muslims nor understand it could put muslim users off this site.  It is always possible for you to describe your definitions of these words and when you do the intelectual differences you describe are clearer but you still appear Islamophobic to me in its normal meaning in politics. So either you are a bigot playing Islamophobic games or inadvertantly locked in some inhumane intellectual obsession that leads to zugzwang in respect of the subject.

Your academic arrogance and hypocrisy is really sad ...ordinary people who care about the subject would probably need to go on a full lecture course to understand your political linguistics and you critise the audience and have the nerve to blame 'SJW' for redefining words....you listen to muslims on the internet and won't debate with a range of them face to face...you care so much you spend weeks, often ranting, on UKC on threads that often end up down the pub and die but you won't debate in an academic setting with subject experts... you claim a moral high ground and yet use libelous insults when someone disagrees with you.

1
Coel Hellier - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

> I don't dismiss many concepts as invalid  when I disagree with them.

And I've not critiqued the concept of "Islamophobia" just because I disagree with it -- I've made a clear and concrete argument that it is two very different concepts joined together to try to give the impression that they are much the same thing. 

Stichtplate on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

> In reply to Stichtplate

> And have you considered that the factors I listed create more unhapiness than can be compensated for by the factors you listed. For someone who prefers stats to rhetoric, I think you'll agree that the numbers I posted are quite significant .

I think mental illness and suicidal ideation are a little more complicated than you imply. It's well known that in wartime in the West suicide rates plummet. To take your implied correlation between levels of happiness and suicide at face value, you'd have to conclude that war and threat of imminent death makes people happy.

Back to the factors I listed; out of  freedom of self expression, freedom from hunger, poverty, disease, opportunity for self development and access to education.... which do you suggest we should ditch to make people happier?

Offwidth - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to Some time some place:

I've drunk alcohol with numerous moderate muslims (on 4 continents now) on the one hand and on the other have been held at machinegun-point by a very angry soldier in an airport toilet in Riyadh whilst I tipped my gift for my wife - a bottle of whisky you couldn't easily get in India - down the loo (several of us were incorrectly told at Heathrow we could carry it, as although we would land briefly, we would not due to leave the plane). Devout muslims are more common than devout Christians but the range of views within their common beliefs in the same Abrahamic god seems no different to me.

Coel Hellier - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

> ... in the face of the damage your polemic can do to ordinary muslims

The idea that any such discourse causes "damage" is an Islamist one (or an SJW one; though SJWs and Islamists are pretty much in cahoots these days).

Such discourse can only be helpful overall.  Good ideas only benefit from scrutiny; and if ideas wilt under scrutiny then they are bad ideas.

And if you think what I've said is a "polemic" then you need to get out more -- or adjust your position of adopting very different standards for Islam than for everything else.

> and won't debate with a range of them face to face...

The "won't" is untrue, I've never said that.

> you care so much you spend weeks, often ranting, on UKC 

You mean "small proportions of my time over weeks".  And no,  it's not "ranting".

> but you won't debate in an academic setting with subject experts...

Again, you're inventing things.

> ... you claim a moral high ground and yet use libelous insults when someone disagrees with you.

Pot, kettle, black.

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Jon Stewart - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> But isn't the underlying idea that the reason they are bigoted against gays is that they have an irrational fear of them, perhaps a fear that they themselves might be gay?

No. It's supposed to mean "fear of homosexuals" and it's etymologically nonsense. The etymological argument with respect to any of these words is utterly without merit.

> But it does matter!  First, words and connotations do actually matter.  That's why activists try hard to "control the narrative".  That's why the opposition invent terms such as "bedroom tax" and "death tax". 

I get the idea, I just don't agree that it matters. I think this whole "Islamophobia is invalid" argument is a waste of time. I would be perfectly happy to go with Nawaz's "Muslimphobia" if it caught on, it would mean the same thing.

> Second, it matters because "Islamophobia" **is** also used to slap down those criticising Islam. 

Yes, just like "antisemitism" is horribly abused to falsely accuse people of racism when they're criticising policies. We just deal with it, we don't say "antisemitism doesn't exist" because that would rightly get is in lots of trouble. If Nawaz successfully gets us to call Islamophbia "Muslimphobia" nothing will have been achieved. I just think that you're working on a pointless aim that has no consequences.

> The point is, if I put the emphasis on Islam the ideology, then I'm allowing that large numbers of Muslims might not agree with the ideology, and might agree about its flaws. I'm leaving room for them to agree with me, and thus I am not attacking *them*.  

This is where your lack of understanding leads you to define your target inappropriately. You don't know what Muslims believe - it's simply not possible that ISIS and Shireen believe in the same ideology. It's just evidently ridiculous. Shireen doesn't "disagree with the ideology of Islam", she's a devout Muslim! Yet you draw your circle around all Muslims - those who follow Islam - and include her. You've made the wrong judgement. Then, because you know that you don't actually want to criticise Shireen because she sounds perfectly normal and reasonable and doesn't believe in any rubbish you think is uniformly held by all Muslims, you have to say "no, no, I'm not criticising Shireen as a person, I'm criticising her ideology". But then you can't say what it is in her ideology that's wrong - you start going on about freedom of speech and apostates and homophobia, when Shireen doesn't believe any of that.

It's not in your gift to say "well Shireen isn't a proper Muslim then - she doesn't believe in (my version of) the ideology of Islam - she's just a cultural Muslim". She'll tell you, "yes I bloody am!".

The root of our disagreement is that you simply don't know what Muslims believe in. You listen to commentators with an anti-Islamic agenda, and think that their reading of the Koran is universal to Muslims, when if you opened your eyes and saw how people behave, and listened to people, you'd see that you're getting a distorted picture because you're only hearing one side of the story.

It isn't that Hirsi-Ali et al don't have a point, they do. It's just that it's not the only point.

> If I say "Muslims are bad people", then I make no such allowance.  I'm directly attacking *them*. 

Well at least we agree it's a bad idea to say this, in this way!

> I continually make this distinction, but then people try hard to interpret me as attacking people, and accuse me of simplistic assumption as to what people do and do not believe -- when the whole point is not to make such assumptions and just criticise certain ideas!

And that's what you fail to do when you make simplistic blanket statements about the whole of Islam. You're not targeting the ideas specifically enough to make meaningful criticism. Because your targeting (and we can say "of ideas" if you like, it doesn't matter) isn't sufficiently sophisticated and accurate, you alienate normal Muslims, which is a negative consequence that wouldn't occur if you put more thought into your comments.

> Not at all!   Of course there is bigotry against Muslims as people! 

In fairness, I didn't really believe that's what you were doing intentionally, you just left yourself open to that assumption because you seemed to want to water down bigotry against Muslims to bigotry against foreigners generally. It's a good example of an ambiguity of sloppiness or underlying bigotry - something you're a real master of!

> I really am baffled that people are so resistant to this distinction!  It just shows how good a job the Islamist spindoctors have done with the term "Islamophobia".  Sigh!    

I don't care if we say "Islamophobia" or "Muslimphobia". There are no meaningful consequences.

Post edited at 11:04
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Offwidth - on 12 Mar 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

"The idea that any such discourse causes "damage" is an Islamist one (or an SJW one; though SJWs and Islamists are pretty much in cahoots these days)."

It's common in organisations public and private as you well know. Critisising specific evils of Islam wouldn't be an issue, blanket blaming of all Islam would. There are limits in law that we have discussed many times.

"Such discourse can only be helpful overall.  Good ideas only benefit from scrutiny; and if ideas wilt under scrutiny then they are bad ideas."

When applied to blanket blaming of Islam this is clap-trap only believed by the Islamophobic and/or extreme liberatrians.

"And if you think what I've said is a "polemic" then you need to get out more -- or adjust your position of adopting very different standards for Islam than for everything else."

One in 20 of our citizens believe in Islam. Amongst liberal thinkers your views are very unusual. It is you that needs to get out more and debate and see how it makes the those people respond. Nearly all would share your valid concerns on Islamism and other excesses attached to the religion.

"> and won't debate with a range of them face to face...The "won't" is untrue, I've never said that." 

Easy enough to prove.. unlike my disciplinary case work, its not going to be confidential.

"> you care so much you spend weeks, often ranting, on UKC   You mean "small proportions of my time over weeks".  And no,  it's not "ranting"."

Small? I think most independent viewers would regard both of us as borderline UKC addicts and the difference between us is the vast majorty of your posts are on this subject.

"> but you won't debate in an academic setting with subject experts...Again, you're inventing things."

Again easy enough to prove.. a blog isnt an academic debate.

"> ... you claim a moral high ground and yet use libelous insults when someone disagrees with you.  Pot, kettle, black."

Why don't you be specific, since you love your definitions. I checked my view with a lawyer friend when you said I was "well trained by Islamists".

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