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Last March, a Jewish cemetery near St. Louis was vandalized; hundreds of tombstones overturned. When the Muslim communities heard about it they got together, raising money to do the restoration. When it happened again near Philadelphia, the Muslims donated the remainder of the money and a few went over to help, along with people of ALL faiths, to do the restoration there.

This to me is the real Islam; I love all religions and don't have a favourite, but if I did it would be Islam just because of the profound peacefulness and peace-making at its essence.

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Your story, people helping people?

Reference: THE WEEK Magazine, March 10, 2017

4 Answers

+2 votes
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Best answer
Yes, religions in general are a very spiny matter, and, sadly enough, they have been misused and misinterpreted from their very beginnings on. Most are basing on patriarchal systems, which were created upon the social and technological progresses, alongside with agriculture and domestication.

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

The various Muslim and Islamic groups and sects did not vary so much from the ancient Jewish and Christian teachings - (even Buddhist, Hinduist and various other beliefs, philosophies or trends have more or less similar teachings) except for differences between monotheist, polytheist and philosophical views.

There are indeed many good and devoted people in every religion, but too much orthodoxism can easily degenerate into jealousy, hate-mongering and violence - against those, who do not correspond to their "standards" - whatever their beliefs, religions or philosophies.

All religions bear the traces of bloodshed, of wars, crimes, abuses and excesses committed in their name - by greedy or sick-minded persons, authorities, leaders or representatives.

Among many engaged humanitarian helpers and religious teachers or "caretakers", there will always be "black sheep" serving essentially their own ambitions for control, glory or wealth or that of political groups, leaders, dynasties or despots - whatever their religion or "non-religion".

Yes, altruism and concern about humanity and aid can come from any side:
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/02/israel-palestine-solidarity-equality-jews-arabs-rally.html

And religious interpretations can be distorted too easily into intolerant, violent rules:
https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/religion-and-belief-some-surveys-and-statistics/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nigel-barber/female-clergy_b_1738954.html

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Marianne, I was especially intrigued by the al-monitor link...it was a wonderful story...

I truly believe there is a natural inclination for us to help each other; and it is our FIRST instinct, very deep...

I once saw a comparison of deaths caused by religious forces vs. deaths caused from atheist motivations; the atheist toll was much higher. I don't really know what that means, but I wish we could stop killing each other for ANY reason.

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Yes, Virginia, and altruism, kindness, compassion and solidarity existed long before the great world religions came into being.

And sadly enough, "religious" violence was more motivated by personal interests, like conquest, wealth, glory and power, than a question of bringing peace and making people happy.

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

Additionally, many "religious" interpretations and rules are not so friendly with women ...


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Marianne, the way you put the word "religious" into quotes here is very astute, I feel.

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Lol - yes, I had often doubts regarding teachings, rules, hierarchies and roles - as defined in history and in different religions. As a little kid I observed that a majority of the regular "church goers" were women (I was told that there were more women than men - which seemed to be also the reason for polygamy - but many of our "childish" questions were not answered - "things were, as they were", but priests, authorities of all kinds and leaders were always men, while women were always in charge of secondary duties and chore tasks. And the "holy scriptures" (or rather their interpretations or recordings of orally transmitted information) were not so friendly with women - and why did Our Lord mainly "address" men, and why were women the weaker, sinful or silly elements or even a burden) ?

Well, if looking at the examples shown in rural regions or Mediterranean countries, things looked even worse; while women did all the cleaning, washing, cooking, nursing, childcare, and many other chore tasks, "responsible" men were standing around, on horseback or driving a tractor supervised women's work (unpaid work, of course) and took often long breaks on restaurant terraces, drinking, playing cards and discussing politics or making foul jokes about women (we were told so - lol).

Quite a few idyllic paintings show rarely the hard living conditions of women, but it is often evident that women are either "decorative" or "low skilled workers".

image

(Jules Breton)

Our French and German neighbours seemed to give women more freedom - really?

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinder,_K%C3%BCche,_Kirche

When I was a little girl, I had no arguments, only many silly or uneasy questions - I suppose that such "rules" and mentalities, and wishing to understand, were one of the motives which inspired me to read, and to read more in my free time than what we were asked to read - lol.


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Hmmm...Marianne, I remember my god daughter having lots of your same questions in her own childhood, starting when she was about nine...

I NEVER questioned the status quo as a child, just assumed it was 'right.' Plenty of questions now, though! :sideways: 

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Lol - in our times, there were also many "taboo" themes and kids had to shut up, listen and learn - especially girls.

:blush::angel::):D

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Marianne you may already know...on the North American continent, a few aboriginal cultures were matrilineal, and Earth-centered. And there may be something about women more closely connected to the land...anyway, there are definitely gender differences, overall. You cannot of course predict about any one person, but overall...

I read a book once (THE CHALICE AND THE BLADE), a long time ago, that suggests cycles; that 7,000 years ago the peoples of Earth were generally more matriarchal. And that now, there is a trend toward better balance between the male and female perspectives...interesting to think about, anyway!

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Yes, I heard about matrilineal and about more egalitarian cultures (than patriarchy), considered to have been, somehow, "matriarchal":

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

https://en.wikipedihttps//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrilinealitya.org/wiki/Matriarchy

whereas, in matrifocal families, patriarchal systems can still prevail:

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


But opinions differ much. The "Chalice and the Blade" is interesting, and I missed out quite a few excellent reads, as in these times, I was focusing on work-related technological, scientific and biological domains, languages, etc. And although literature in English is widespread, our bookshops sell their translations in our own languages, i.e. our book-shops must order original versions in English, which involved waiting times of about one week or more (it was before the on-line access for everybody).

And there were all these congresses ...

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

The egalitarian systems show that they can reduce aggressivity and violence, but they also leave too many opportunities for less scrupulous "elements" and for aggressions by other, profit-oriented or hostile systems - whether from inside or outside. Sadly enough, "opportunity makes the thief".

http://www.paradisepost.com/article/ZZ/20100720/NEWS/100729371

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inside-the-criminal-mind/201608/do-criminals-desire-get-caught-0

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/extreme-fear/201005/top-ten-secrets-effective-liars


The "good example" will not be followed automatically by everybody, and also in egalitarian systems, rules and responsibilities need to be clearly defined and supervised, and every society has its more or less ruthless wrongdoers.

Furthermore, mentalities, beliefs, attitudes, resentments, grudges, as well as educational and personal background impregnation cannot be changed or evolve from one day to the other.

And we cannot "love or hate on command".



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Marianne, your assessment is remarkable, so very thoughtful!

I did not recall, but one of your links noted that Riane Eisler never used the terms 'matriarchal' and 'patriarchal' in her book; instead, 'partnership' and 'domination.'

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Yes, Virginia, I noticed that indeed; the subjects were about partnership and domination. But I doubt that violence and aggressive behaviours in "primitive" human cultures is more recent, as other primates taught scientific researchers quite different things - especially in the course of the last century (also regarding skills, strategies, logical conclusions and diet):

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_evolution/2012/10/chimpanzee_wars_can_primate_aggression_teach_us_about_human_aggression.html


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THAT was an interesting article, Marianne, and distressing too...especially interesting is perhaps the last sentence:

"Today, human biology, ecology, and culture interact in ways that allow humans to be the most violent, despicable beings on Earth—as well as the planet’s most compassionate, cooperative creatures."

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Yes, Virginia, "capable of the worst and of the best".


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Marianne, I just checked my Geneva clock...you are a night owl tonight, coming up on 1 AM for you!

+4 votes
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It probably is the mostly real Islam but I think you need to go over the Q'uran  some more and read the downsides to it. Especially the treatment of women and their thoughts on the death of the Infidels. These alone bother me and I'm glad I'm not religious as they all have a rotten core.

If you want to read and know about people helping people? Just watch the news on all the fires in California again. Read how the communities help each other and the donations that come through to help the poor people driven from their homes. To me? That's people helping people.

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Rooster, your words remind me of the reason I myself was atheist for thirty years, from the age of 13...and that worked just fine for me, even though I eventually did become devotional...

Yes, the terrible fires...and people DO come forth to help each other in tragedy.

+3 votes
by

There are many good Muslims, but every religion has its fanatics. 

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That is very wise, Kninjanin, yes it is certainly true that all the religions have their fanatics.

+3 votes
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Of course there are good Muslims, but what bothers me is that at this stage of Islam's history, there are still too many fanatics and still too many Muslims that hold beliefs that are inimical to the ideals of Western democracy, particularly with regard to the treatment of women.

The problem, to oversimplify it, is that Islam has not yet had its Enlightenment.

Bill Maher puts it quite well in this discussion with Charlie Rose.


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Hi O'Tink, I appreciated the link, as I do not see much of that...and I do know that both participants (Bill Maher, Charlie Rose) put much thought into their commentary...

One "fallacy" I think I see is for example when Maher says "Pew did a poll and 82% (or something like that) of Muslims believe..." - as if a majority could determine the essence of a religion...not so, in my understanding...

...because one huge problem with religion is that people commandeer it to justify their own cultural nuttiness, their own lack of love; and (to me) it does not matter how many do that, it is not true religion, the majority does not determine the rules. Rather, religion opens us to the mystery of life. In other words, I think both Maher and Rose have missed it here...

* * *

btw I find it interesting, your suggestion that a whole religion could experience an Enlightenment; such as the Renaissance in Europe? Maybe as time goes on you could parse that out a bit!

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@ Virginia,

"...as if a majority could determine the essence of a religion...not so, in my understanding..."

Well here, we seem to be talking about theory vs practice, and I think Maher was more concerned about the latter, because in many countries, large majorities of Muslims condone violence in practice against apostates, women, homosexuals, cartoonists who draw pictures of Muhammad, etc.

And why shouldn't a whole religion undergo an Enlightenment?  It happened with Christianity.  Yes, there are still a few Christians in the US who bomb abortion centers or commit other acts of terrorism, but it nevertheless is true that in the US, a random Muslim is over 12 times as likely to commit an act of terrorism than a non-Muslim, so even here in the US, some enlightenment is necessary.

 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/03/13/yes-the-media-do-underreport-some-terrorist-attacks-just-not-the-ones-most-people-think-of/?utm_term=.29d101bd8230

In the above article, it says, "In total, there were 89 attacks committed by different perpetrators in the United States during the five-year period we examined. Between 2011 and 2015 in the United States, Muslims perpetrated 12.4 percent of those attacks.”

That’s quite remarkable, since Muslims in the US comprise less than 1% of the population. That means a random Muslim is over 12 times as likely to commit an act of terrorism than a random non-Muslim.
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O'Tink, it may be a difference in perception here...because I would never accept someone who bombs an abortion center as anything to do with Christ, nor a Muslim who condones violence against homosexuals as anything to do with Muhammad. They try to commandeer the name, in an effort to justify their own illness.

imo, you cannot be a Muslim or a Christian just by proclaiming your authority as such. You must walk the walk. And terrorists are not random Muslims. Jihad has a completely different meaning, it is a basic principle of life, and it is found in all religions.

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Well ok, Virginia, perhaps we can agree on the terms 'nominal Christian' or 'nominal Muslim,' based on what the people in question call themselves.

The fact is, a randomly chosen nominal Muslim in the US is over 12 times as likely to commit an act of terrorism than a randomly chosen nominal non-Muslim.

Or, to put it your way, a randomly chosen nominal Muslim is much more likely to not be a real follower of Muhammad than a randomly chosen nominal Christian is not to be a real follower of Christ, using terrorism as a criterion. Of course, there are many other criteria as well, such as treatment of women, homosexuals, etc., and as Maher correctly pointed out, the nominal Muslims come up very short in those regards too.
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O'Tink, what I would just add here...is that the nominal 12:1 ratio does not say anything at all about an individual person who comes face to face with you on the street, who is dark in complexion.

The point being, we humankind must relate with each other on an individual, face-to-face basis, one by one. I know you will see what I mean...we are, each one of us, living loving yearning breathing people, not statistics.

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Virginia, I agree that statistics don't tell you about a particular individual, but they do tell you about risk.

And even though a majority of people in a high-crime neighborhood wouldn't harm me, I still would be cautious about going into such a neighborhood.


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O'Tink, I watched the whole video, the whole half hour...because I did not know that was happening. Of course I knew of the vulnerability of adolescent girls...but not in this particular context, where the vulnerabilities of a religious culture were used against them. Even wearing the sacred Sikh symbols, to gain the trust of the children.

With one of the troubled youngsters in my life, I learned there is NOTHING you can say to prepare the child. I talked to her, she understood and she loved and trusted me...and then when a car slowed to ask for directions, she just ran right up to them, total trust. (She was fine, it was right in front of me and in a small community...just the concept that there was absolutely nothing I could do to teach her.)

* * *

Late edit: btw, I also do not go alone into communities where I know I will be profiled with racial hatred, or high crime either. And although I have gone many times, it was always with close friends who were integral parts of those communities.

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Hi Virginia,

Yes, indeed too much trust on the part of young girls is something these predators take cruel advantage of.

I was particularly struck by this BBC video because it shows how this particular criminality on the part of nominal Muslims in England is not directed solely at the former colonists, but against people of color as well, in this case the Sikhs. And I'm sure the nominal Muslim perpetrators can cite the Quran for justification.

http://raymondibrahim.com/2008/12/14/are-slave-girls-in-islam-equivalent-to-animals/

And I was not surprised that the scandal was hidden; cover-ups are common in Europe and, to a lesser extent so far, in the USA.

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Yes, O'Tink...your comment about the criminals of colour exploiting young women of colour...that I feel is right on the mark. I learned a comparable lesson in Iowa. In that non-profit to benefit women after prison, the Quakers were early and strong supporters. They referred me to a book called THE NEW JIM CROW, and you O'Tink are so diversely informed it would not surprise me if you had heard of it. The author, an African-American attorney, attempts to make the point that the latest USA racial discrimination is prison.

Before reading, I was prepared to accept her thesis; but after her book I realized that the exploitation is non-discriminatory, and equal-opportunity. All the perpetrators need is a vulnerable population (in this case the poor), they don't really care about the ethnicity. So here with Jim Crow, as with the Sikhs, it is just that colour disproportionately fills the vulnerability profile.

It may aggravate the situation if colour is part of the disadvantage, as the possibility that British police were slower to react because the victims were Sikh...but the vulnerability is the only criterion the perpetrators are really interested in.

image

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Quite true, Virginia.  :(

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O'Tink, if you get the chance...do look at my Q on Internet potential? I do not recall the # of hits for the Sikh-Muslim documentary, but might efforts such as this video perhaps put enough pressure on all concerned - the perpetrators as well as the (possibly) reluctant police - to tip the situation over into resolution?

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@ Virginia, I did. Yes, the Internet can shame PC bureaucrats into some action, but the attention has to be sustained. Otherwise the bureaucrats will just hunker down and ride out the storm, and then go back to non-business as usual.

I felt so bad for that poor teacher in Green Bay, who had given the last full measure of devotion for 12 years, only to be betrayed by those stinking, rotten administrators who couldn't care less about anything except their perks. The American Nomenklatura.

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With the schoolteacher, I heard one of the (s-r) administrators quietly try to justify herself, something implying "given the homes these children come from, what else can you expect?"

So the administrator sits safely in her office, removed from Kristen's day-to-day, and makes the inane decisions for which Kristen takes the consequences...I am glad you posted that video, O'Tink! 

I did not realize it was QUITE that bad.

...