Islam is part of Western civilisation

As the arguments about Western civilisation roll on, I’m struck by the assumption, seemingly shared by both sides of this debate, that the Islam and the Islamic world aren’t part of “Western civilization”.

Islam is an Abrahamic religion, standing in essentially the same relationship to Christianity as Christianity does to Judaism. That is, Islam claims to be the completion of the prophetic mission of Christianity, just as Christianity claims to represent the fulfilment of the promise of the Messiah to the Jews. In each case, the older religion rejects this claim [1].

These disputes have occasioned persecution and bloodshed right down to the present day, between and within the religions. On the other hand, all of these religions have promoted learning and encouraged acts of charity. However you weigh up the achievements, follies and crimes of Western civilisation, it is absurd to deny that all three of its major religions have shared in these things.

Ever since Muhammad claimed power as an armed prophet in the 8th century, Islamic states and rulers have been part of the European struggle for control of the Mediterranean and the countries around it. In this context, Muslims appear sometimes as the targets of crusades or the instigators of jihad (the two words have essentially the same meaning), and sometimes in alliance with (further distant) Protestants, such as Elizabeth I, against Catholics.

A striking effect of the exclusion of Islam is that courses on “Western Civilisation” reproduce the discredited notion of a “Dark Age” between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance. This period coincides almost exactly with the Islamic Golden Age, which carried the torch of Western civilisation for hundreds of years, giving us algebra, universities and much more.


fn1. In fact, Islam was long regarded by Christians as a new form of the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ, rather than as a separate religion

155 thoughts on “Islam is part of Western civilisation

  1. @woolanscat “There appear to be ‘interpretations’ in the West among Muslim scholars, but none published in any systematic way, presumably due to fear of the consequences. Thus, no Muslims can claim adherence to a different interpretation.”

    There appear to be? References for any claims? (Or are they based on your beliefs?) A muslim can claim anything they like, and they do! What sort of weird creature is this muslim that appears to inhabit your mind.

  2. Aled, human rights are everybodies business. In the last few days a Pakistani student killed his teacher for allegedly blaspheming against Allah and an Oz Somali women was convicted for female genital mutilation. We had a muslim Kenyan Somali os stifeny until recently who would never dream of setting foot in the country of her birth because of Islamist terrorism. Islam is sick, it hurts people including children, so surely only a monster wouldn’t care.

  3. Wow! I am speechless @hugo There is a saying/rule in Islam, if I remember correctly, that advises against reasoning with those who cannot reason

  4. Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves. Lord Byron

  5. By finding examples where individuals grievously hurt other people and use various rationalizations, manifestos, religions and ideologies as cloaks, frames or justifications, and then by imputing a substantial part of the fault generally to entire religions, ideologies and cultures, we could comprehensively condemn every culture, every civilization and indeed the whole human race.

    There is no large group which could escape condemnation on those grounds. Since the people of Western Culture, individually and en masse, behaved as they did in imperialism and colonialism, in WW 0 (The Napoleonic Wars), WW 1 and WW2, how can Western Culture possibly escape judgement unscathed? How can it claim to have any moral ascendancy over other cultures? Such a claim is quite spurious.

    Depending on our values (ultimately chosen individually but with cultural input), we may find good and bad parts in the values of every culture and/or belief system. Ideologies are belief systems too. Every culture is a “curate’s egg”, partly bad and partly good. To adopt an idea of the comprehensive moral ascendancy of any culture is to commence in deontological moral philosophy. This boils down to asserting to know the Absolute and perhaps even the “Mind of the Absolute”. Certainly, some religions do this; essentially the monotheistic religions.

    A Westerner asserting the moral superiority of the West is usually making a deontological moral philosophy assertion. How hard it is pushed, in practice, on to other people will determine whether it is a Fundamentalist religious or ideological position. There certainly appear to be some pro-Western religious or ideological Fundamentalists on this thread. It is highly ironic when Fundamentalism A seeks to critique alleged Fundamentalism B on fundamentalist grounds.

    In turn, the entirety of the Western and Islamic worlds or world-views are not, in either case, totally homogeneous and Fundamentalist. The more consequentialist ethics’ based idea of cross-tolerance of differences, including belief differences, appears extensively in both extant cultures, Western and Islamic.

    I repeat, any deontological assertion of a comprehensive cultural moral superiority is nonsense. Any consequentialist assertion of the relative “better-ness” of a given trait, like tolerance, which can manifest variously in various cultures is much more supportable. In cultural praxis, we must search for commonalities of values, not search for lines to use to divide people.

    Of course, paying heed to this argument would require that Western Supremacists could understand at least the rudiments of logic, moral philosophy and both philia, as brotherly and sisterly love, and agape “the highest form of love, charity”. And if they did they would not be Western Supremacists. There is always risk and there is always fear. To come down on the side of hate and rejection is to be dominated by fear and all this entails; among other things, a lack of courage.

  6. By finding examples where individuals grievously hurt other people and use various rationalizations, manifestos, religions and ideologies as cloaks, frames or justifications, and then by imputing a substantial part of the fault generally to entire religions, ideologies and cultures, we could comprehensively condemn every culture, every civilization and indeed the whole human race.

    Some people don’t understand why “special pleading” is a problem. It’s… it’s actually the same mistake as magical thinking: “X occurs with Y”, without looking at the other three quadrants, checking out rates and correlations.

    I think our education system could do with more lessons on what the human brain is bad at, where our intuitions go wrong.

  7. There was a time not so long ago when most of my colleagues on the left took it for granted that religion is a whole lotta reactionary crapola. What has changed? Is my mistake listening to lefties who were born and raised under Islam, such as the Iranian workerist communist, Maryam Namazi? Should I learn to appreciate the killing of apostates, and gays, the subordination of women sharia law etc. Should I also be smooching the Christian Right?

  8. No doubt about it, the crucial moment of conception occurs with Averroes during the twelfth century AD.

    Averroes, in turn, was informed by an incredible tradition of Islamic civilisation deep thinking, from Persia to Cordoba over four hundred years. Maimonides, a Jewsih philosopher who lived in Islamic Spain, was another influence of that era.

    From here we move to Aquinas and newly explained Aristotelianism and Neo Platonism, then the Renaissance and then the ferocious clash of recycled ideas that was the Reformation.

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

  9. Ibn Al Khatib is too modest. On the likely chance that he will not return to comment for distaste of the rampant Islamophobia present at this thread, I will include his wiki, since obviously his hands are little shaky to include, himself.

    Obviously, at this time his hands are a little shaky, you may conjecture as to why.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_al-Khatib

    Perhaps we should include this remarkable individual, Avicenna, who must be the grandfather of much following in his footsteps:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_al-Khatib

    Thus ends our guide to the perplexed for today, Iwill allow readers time to consider Galileo and Descartes, from this point.

    https://books.google.com.au/books?id=RX7UAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA110&lpg=PA110&dq=guide+to+the+perplexed+galileo&source=bl&ots=SXQ-HWdobZ&sig=ACfU3U0zZQuF1CRzQRt7nyPjeX0868BTMQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiQqvDJ16HhAhXQQ30KHf5tDZUQ6AEwCXoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=guide%20to%20the%20perplexed%20galileo&f=false

  10. Julie Thomas says March 26, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Julie, thanks for the Harrison link, admittedly a cut above the usual churn of religionist apologia on that chumbucket of an ABC site so generously funded by all of us to favour against the odds a band so few, so happy-clappy few.

    Let’s cut by the religionist chasings and go straight to the bottom line, in this case also Harrison’s bottom line:

    And it follows that it is not just long-gone cultures that can play this role, but also those that we encounter in the contemporary world. Knowledge of our own cultural traditions can be deeply enriched by perspectives gained from knowledge of other cultures. As the great comparative linguist and religionist Max Mueller succinctly put it (in the idiom of his time), “he who knows one, knows none.”

    Cultural traditions enriched? Yes to that. Perspectives gained from other cultures? Yes, definitely. But hang on, Mueller’s “he who knows one, knows none”? This does not mean that to know the one you must forced to become something other, must be swamped by the other, immersed in the other, drowned by the other, by arbitrary misgovernment decree rapidly effecting a dilution, dissolution, and loss of oneself altogether. FCS! Who’s gonna care about the traditional football, meat pies, kangaroos, and state hospitals?

  11. Once upon a time indigenous australians cared greatly about “traditional football, meat pies, kangaroos”, about their `state offered everything’. And then your forefathers came, Svante! Yes, they arrived by boat.

  12. Ikonoclast says March 27, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    “in WW 0 (The Napoleonic Wars), WW 1 and WW2, how can Western Culture possibly escape judgement unscathed? How can it claim to have any moral ascendancy over other cultures? Such a claim is quite spurious.”

    The religionists did it. Who crowned Napoleon? You will not deny the religionist spruiking imperatives on all sides of WW1. You cannot deny that religionist imperatives factored heavily in WW2; don’t mention AH.

    After the west was won riding on the back of the printing press, religion also played a big part on any social stage. It could still routinely command respect and have commands respected long after Voltaire. Religion casts a long shadow. Nowadays through the distorted peculiarities of constitutional hangovers, insider politicking at the margins, and retrograde government agencies such as Defence putting it to routine use, religionists may command some $50 billion or so per year from a disinterested disengaged disinformed or downright hostile current majority of Australian taxpayers. But that is as far as it goes, for the resident population generally got over the religionist tripe. Religionist’s power had been on a downwards steepening trend up until the immigration crises, a ponzi migration scam it has latched onto gladly, come one come all now seeking to hang together and not hang separately.

    Refer Steven Weinberg, who really said it all:

    “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion.”

    “Many people do simply awful things out of sincere religious belief, not using religion as a cover the way that Saddam Hussein may have done, but really because they believe that this is what God wants them to do, going all the way back to Abraham being willing to sacrifice Isaac because God told him to do that. Putting God ahead of humanity is a terrible thing.”

    “I have a friend — or had a friend, now dead — Abdus Salam, a very devout Muslim (Co-recipient of 1979 Nobel in Physics and actually a super devout Ahmadi, a minority persecuted by muslims as not muslims etc. Pakistani govt even defaced his grave. S), who was trying to bring science into the universities in the Gulf states and he told me that he had a terrible time because, although they were very receptive to technology, they felt that science would be a corrosive to religious belief, and they were worried about it… and damn it, I think they were right. It is corrosive of religious belief, and it’s a good thing too.”

    “Some people wonder why Weinberg seems so determined to refute claims that the world is the work of a benevolent designer. The answer he gives is that “on balance the moral influence of religion has been awful.” Weighing the jihads and crusades against evangelical campaigns to end slavery, Weinberg concludes religion has done humanity more harm than good. He has no interest in maintaining “a constructive dialogue” between science and religion. Weinberg asserts provocatively, “One of the great achievements of science has been, if not to make it impossible for intelligent people to be religious, then at least to make it possible for them not to be religious.” ”

    https ://ffrf.org/outreach/awards/emperor-has-no-clothes-award/item/11907-steven-weinberg
    https ://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Steven_Weinberg
    http ://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/weinberg.html

  13. AleD says March 28, 2019 at 6:23 pm – mentions land of my traditional forefathers, kangaroos, and boats.

    Before flight all comers came by boat. I note you ducked mention or substitution of current ponzi migration caused multiple state hospital crises (to mention just one of numerous).

  14. As long as there is a universe, existence and human beings, there will be questioning of origins, destination, value and meaning.

    So many contingencies, so much ontology ro episteme, so any unknown gnomes and known ungnomes.

  15. I left Australia 25y ago because it seemed that people cared only about football, meat pies, and kangaroos (and John Howard). I had not at that time met anyone who cared about state hospitals. This stuff is just superficial culture; here in the UK, you can substitute football (the other kind), pubs and fish & chips (with vinegar…). It took me some time and much reading (especially Durkheim, Geertz, Elias, Ong) and observation during travel e.g. in US, Mexico, Brazil, eastern / central Europe, … and Western Europe, to learn to see ‘deep culture’. The deep culture of all those places is Christian-based (with some exceptions) and, today, more-or-less rule-of-law based, as well as having some notion of human rights. More than that: a culture of universities, science, and separation of church and state. You can go to a poor part of Brazil (I do often) and see a university just like any in Australia, except half the students can barely afford a beer.

    What keeps societies functioning (in their usually dysfunctional way – as we see today in most of the West) are these deep structures. The shallow stuff sometimes has deep roots as well – e.g. English football is a replacement for religion and tribe for many people.

    Islam has to be seen in the same two ways as any other major religion: in its theological form (the way its traditional version wants to view itself, i.e. ahistorically), and culturally/historically. There are at least two major versions alive in the world today: the political/ideological, found in the Muslim majority countries, also in some places in the West; and the personal / spiritual (which may be anywhere). One of the problems with discussions about things like Shari’a, apostasy, blasphemy, women’s rights, terrorism and so on is that it in its popular form (i.e. the generally useless fake discourse on TV, press etc) might be directed at any ‘Muslim’, when in fact it needs to be directed at the political/ideological system and supporters of the political-ideological project. For this reason we have the completely stupid word ‘Islamophobia’, coined by the the media illiterati that helps destroy any intelligent discussion. But intelligent discussion is being had, rather among the numerous intended reformers/modernisers of Islam (e.g. these sorts of people – https://muslimreformmovement.org), philosophers and proper students of culture (including people like Holland).

  16. Quick internet search ‘cut and paste’ jobs, littered with/camouflaging the same fixed ideas, embellished with a few ‘big’ words (Frankenstein’s monster text). Incoherent. Offensive. Shouldn comments like these be allowed?

  17. AledD, Channel 4 in Britain did an undercover investigation of 12 London mosques. They have an audio-visual record of imams saying:

    – homosexuals must be murdered
    – apostates should be killed by crucifixion
    – Muslims must create a state within a state then takeover Britain
    – Muslim girls who refuse to wear the hijab from age 10 must be beaten
    – pre-pubescent girls are ready for marriage
    – the Jews must be killed
    – women are intellectually inferior
    – etc …

    Even London Central Mosque, which outwardly promotes interfaith dialogue and regularly hosts politicians, teaches the above.

    I find that offensive, and I find the collusion by much of the modern Left both offensive and treacherous. The doco is here:

    ***vimeo.com/19598947

  18. Jacinda Arden, who donned the hijab in Christchurch, spat in the face of the progressive Iranian women who are tortured and jailed for removing the hijab, including Maryam Shariatmadari:

  19. As an equal opportunity progressive anti-theist atheist, I saith unto you that Christianity also stinks. It is remarkable that we ever got over slavery:

  20. Hugo,
    It is exactly becasue Judaism, Chritstianity and Islam are very very stinky, a few minor moverments in each one as exceptions, that Islam is part of the west, as the headline proclaims. When Judaism stinks we all stink with it. When Christianity stink we all stink with it. When Islam stinks we all stink with it.
    You can say that you do not belong to them because you are an atheist or a humanist. That is like disowning your family. Those others are your cousins whether you like them or not, distant cousins perhaps. But, still cousins. If someone were your cousin you would in most cases not want harm to come to them let alone harm them yourself.
    You were certianly wish that they would grow up and quit making such asses of themselves. You might even try to help them along that path. If you wanted to help them you would have to actually read what they find so intoxicating and use those same words to deprogram them.
    It would be a somewhat dangerous game. In many Muslim countries it would be so dangerous I not only would not do it I would not expect anyone else to do so either. But in the west there is some what more room to manuver in a respectful discussion or debate if you would prefer to call it that. Therefore there is a greater possibiltiy that a person could have a deprogramming effect on a misguided Muslim not only through ones words but also through ones behavior. It is possible. I have seen testimoniials of people who have left the misguided Muslim scene just as I have seen testimonials of those that have left the White supreamacy scene.
    Non Muslims who can debate false Muslims on their own terms can create real* Muslims who have a proper understanding of what submission to the will of God really means. These Muslims, such as the Ahmadyaans, can be the shock troops, or vanguard, of a better (less wrong) Islamic revival. Islam has been around for almost 1500 years. During this period Muslim scholars have come to many different answers about the same ethical questions. (That should remind you of nutritionits……eggs are bad for you, no eggs are not bad for you, yes it turns out that eggs are not bad you after all except when they are bad for you…….) They Whahabbi (salfist) Muslim wannabee can are guilty of cherry picking thier sources. None the less I suspect that victories will be few and far between for those who wish to engage Muslims in debatte using the words of the Quran itself to reform them. People do not like changing their minds about things that they have invested in. But the dividends of such verbal battles could be greater than can be seen with the naked eye. I doubt that most Muslims have ever really had to defend their beliefs against a trained humanist.

    Oh but one of the reasons that there is a debate about whether or not Islam is part of the west is due to the immigration of many Muslims in to what we consider western countries. I consider this a very challenging question. We certianly can not treat Muslim refugees as enemy combatants and shoot them for trying to “invade” our countries. On the other hand I do not think that nations should be compeled to let anyone in to their country who wants to come in. Nations are like life boats in that they have an environmental carrying capacity. We may not know exactly what that carrying capacity is and we do not want to find out. Yet on the other hand those in the west also have to consider what if the shoe was on the other foot. What would we want the Muslim countries to do if their geography provided the life boats? A person could also wonder if there any value to setting an example when it might not be considered anyways if the case came up.

    What should have happened is that every country on the planet should have been able to develope a quality of life good enough to discourage the residents of any country from wanting to immigrate, except for uncommon exceptions, life two people from different coutries meeting on vacation and wanting to get married. The conservatives that I know say Amen to that those refugees should stay where they are and fight to make their own country a better country “just like we did”. Yet those conservatives are so myopic that they consider the fighting that they did to create an empire on the bones of the weak as a victory that they deserved. Furthermore they are completely clueless as to how the capitalist rulers of the western world have sabotaged the efforts of developing countries right and left. The sanctimonious attitudes of conservatives about the quality of life in industrialized countries are totally unjustified.

  21. Oh I guess that I should mention why it is important to see everyone as your distant cousin. Because this Christian teaching (I forget if this is in the Quran) that we should treat everyone as we treat ourselves or as our own brother or sister is unrealistic. That is to high of a bar to set for ethical behavior. But treating everyone as our (first)cousin is a realistic goal.
    When political passions become heated people kill their cousins all the time. They even kill their brothers some times. But most of the time we are usually pretty nice and forgiving to our cousins.
    We may not finance their life styles but we usually do not try to sabotage them either. I have never been in this situation but I would think that when cousins come in to direct economic compitition they usually try to reach some kind of understanding in which both of them survive.

  22. one other small point. many iranians who wish to immigrate have intertwined reasons. One is to live in a country with a flourishing economy. But a second is to escape the oversight religous police of Iran. I personally think that Iranian asylum seekers should be given preferential treatment by any country that recieves their asylum application. Hint HInt Hint.

  23. @ Hugo

    Jacinda A is blameless.

    Moreover NOTHING much can be inferred from your cut and paste photograph and comment. It is just the experience of a person. I can cut and paste the exact converse of this experience, witnessed by another woman.

    The fact that there are women against hijab, does not say anything about those who are for it: You may want to review your propositional LOGIC and existential quantifiers).

  24. Of course you seem to prefer citing those who are against it. Why? Is this confirming a potential bias?
    Surely every muslim woman should be heard. Can you tell why you have a preference for the ex muslim women?

  25. What is this absurd moral panic about Islam, and the hate speech against Muslims, that is occurring on this blog? It is disgraceful. It pays no attention to the proportionate facts. It’s a case of pointing to a splinter in an opponent’s (moral) eye when there is wooden beam in one’s own (moral) eye.

    Since 9/11, there have been about 120 people killed by Islamic extremists in the United States, and approximately triple that number in Europe and the United Kingdom, combined. That’s about 500 Westerners in round numbers. In approximately the same period, it is estimated that Western led wars have killed more than 4 million Arabs and Muslims.

    Four million versus 500 and they are the bad guys? The proposition is ludicrous. The West must first stop murdering Arabs and Muslims in such massive numbers. This is the best way to de-escalate the tension.

    For the record I am white, agnostic and leftist. Real leftists and thinking agnostics understand that it is capitalists, white supremacists and racists who are leading the war against Muslims. The West has very possibly damaged itself irrevocably by doing this. Our moral authority is in shreds. We barely had any before anyway considering the facts of imperialism and colonialism. Our civil and economic strengths have also been shredded by this war. It has been the height of inhumanity and idiocy. If the West falls over this it will have been entirely self-inflicted.

  26. Ikonoclast says:

    Since 9/11, there have been about 120 people killed by Islamic extremists in the United States, and approximately triple that number in Europe and the United Kingdom, combined. That’s about 500 Westerners in round numbers. In approximately the same period, it is estimated that Western led wars have killed more than 4 million Arabs and Muslims.

    Lord Haw Haw would be proud of you, Ikonoclast. The great majority of those 4 million Arabs and Muslims (if that is the correct figure) have been killed by their brethren. Minority groups like the Yazidis have been raped and slaughtered although you blithely airbrush that out of your histiography.

    You also fail to draw a distinction between disgust for a religion and hatred of the people caught up in it. One may reasonably and sensibly hate Scientology but feel compassion for those caught up in it. Ditto Islam and Christianity.

    The Left has no business defending religion. Marx would be turning in his grave.

  27. Again, for the sake of balance, let me point out that I think that Islam will eventually (be forced to) moderate itself once Islam is relegated to the backseat just as with Christianity in the West. Islam is not unique and of course some cultures and individuals within it are already liberalised.

  28. @Hugo
    “for the sake of balance”

    But you are attacking a balanced analysis with your personal (and frankly uninteresting, unbalanced) opinion. How does that work?

  29. “The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.” Aldous Huxley

  30. Hugo, you seriously need to get a sense of perspective, mate. The idea that Jacinda Ardern wearing a hijab at a memorial ceremony is somehow an endorsement of Iranian fascist thuggery is ridiculous. Do you honestly believe that there is no difference between somebody choosing to do something and somebody being forced to do it? I would have thought the idea of freedom of choice; freedom of conscience, is at the core of what people think of when they talk about the ideals of Western civilisation.

    To look at it another way: what is the difference between a fascist thug harassing a woman for choosing not to wear a hijab, and a fascist thug harassing a different woman for choosing to wear one? I would say there is no meaningful difference at all.

  31. Ikonoclast, the idea that there is a Western-led “war on Muslims” is garbage, and by saying so you are perpetuating lies designed to promote division and hatred between people, and making common cause with violent extremists.

  32. Hugo,
    I think that those attacking your comments are reading too much in to them. Or they are cherry picking your comments. I do not think that Islams or Muslims should get a pass just becasue they are under attack form western Imperialists.
    Wahabbi (Salafist) Islam is the 3rd most dangerous force for evil on the planet, after US imperialism and Israeli imperialism (which one should actually see as a subset of US imperialism). interestingly the
    leaders of the Saudi Government are the bitches of the Israeli leadership so one could even almost say that there is only one powerful force for evil in the world, US imperialism. I use the word almost because of the possibilty that Wahabbism would exist at all if it were not for the support that it has recieved from Saudis. Unfortunately I think the answer now is that Wahabbism has taken on a life of its own. Destroying the Saudi ledership would no longer destroy Wahabbism. It would greatly weaken it though.
    That brings me to the point in which I want ot provide my take on how to combat Wahabiism in the west. First of all those combating Wahabbism should see US imperialism, Zionism, and Wahabiism and interintwined snakes. US imperialsim is the papa and the mama. The children are capitalist fundamentalism, christian fundamentalism, zionism, and Islamic fundamentalism, and white sumpremacy. It is all one big evil family. Of course if one looks one can find Asian, and African supreamists as well. Racism is tribalism on steroids and tribalism has always been part of humanity.
    But I also think that to what ever extent non white supreamism exists part of it at least is a response to attack.
    So now I have reached a more tactical level of dealing with these ideological pathologies. My assertion is that seperation of Church and State is a BAAAAAAD idea. Leftist should not misinterpret that as saying that freedom of religion should be curtailed. Here in Germany people are free to worship as they see fit. But there is an official Church-Government connection. Religion classes are taught in PUBLIC schools not just private schools. Islamic classes have recently been added to mix in some of those areas in which there are large numbers of students from an Islamic family background.
    To me it is obvious that it is a role of government education not only to teach reading and writing. It should of course also teach how to think. And another crucial role of government education is socialization. Children have to be taught how to live in a large society in which many people will not reach the same conclusions that they do. Children have to be taught what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. In many cases their parents do not know how to teach them this. There is no licencing test that one must take before a person becomes a parent.
    Of course giving a government such a responsiblity is a double edged sword. If the levers of institutional power in society are controled by warped leaders pathological ideas will spread even faster than if governments did not exersice this function. That has also happened many times. So basically we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Choose your poison.
    I chose goverment action rather than government inaction. With out good leadership societies and eventually humanity will fail. Inaction is no action. No action is rarely good leadership. Of course the leaders may very well fail anyways. But at least they deserve the chance to try to do the right thing.
    Therefore I think that religion should be taught in the public schools, that would include teaching Islam.
    Not only that I think that public school attendance should be mandatory!!
    But I have not forgot about power checks and balances. If there are parents who are opposed to what is being taught to public schools they should be free to try to counter the teachings of the public schools not only by telling their children what they think. They should also be allowed to send their kids to private schools after public school hours.
    But even private schools have to be subject to monitoring by the state. Free speech is really really important. But it is not absolute.

  33. Hugo,
    Even thought the issue of free speach is not directly related to whether or not islam is part of the west. I want to give use myself as an example of going over the free speech line because free speech is intimately connected to freedom of religion.
    I have been writing that the military leaders of the USA should certinly be, and the military leaders of Australia should probably be burned alive by their subordinates if these leaders do not burn themselves alive first. That is clearly a call for violence. I can not imagine that there are some people who would not think that such a call is over the line and should be censored. I personally think that in a debate about my comments I can show that such people are complete idiots. But none the less I can understand that some people would be uncomfortable with the idea. It is ultimately a judgement call.
    But I think that if a person supported censoring my comments fully understood all of the arguements on both sides most would eventually come around to not censoring.
    On the other hand if I were to call for the burning of heritics or homosexuals I would have clearly gone over the line. Sadly there are not only people in the world but leaders in the world that are truely convinced, or at least pretend to be truely convinced for politcal reasons that heritics or homosexuals are just as evil as people who lead wars of aggression.

  34. Hugo, you seriously need to get a sense of perspective, mate.

    Well, yeah, I was just having some fun with that comment.

  35. Tim Macknay,

    The West does bear great responsibility for what has happened in the Middle East. It does no good being in denial about it. In fact, such denial makes matters worse and further alienates those with whom we would attempt to reconcile.

    But I can see it’s a waste of time writing further on this blog. Thanks for making that clear to me.

  36. Ikon, Take no notice of Tim Macknay.

    He is sometimes ok. but here the effects of brainwashing are all too apparent.

  37. Hugo’s comment “Well, yeah, I was just having some fun with that comment.” inspired my review of this thread. It takes one to know one. We’re all cousins here! If I have offended or misquoted happy to be corrected. This thread is NOT a joke and especially not to deny your comments you invoking “some fun with that comment” at
    MARCH 31, 2019 AT 5:50 AM
    ***
    Hugo!…”Islam is sick,” [ -ism ]
    ***
    Ikon corrects you …”and then by imputing a substantial part of the fault generally to entire religions, ideologies and cultures, we could comprehensively condemn every culture, every civilization and indeed the whole human race.” Yes. See further…
    ***
    Colin Street educates you Hugo… “Some people don’t understand why “special pleading” is a problem. It’s… it’s actually the same mistake as magical thinking:”…
    ***
    And then you Hugo show you don’t even consider Ikon or Collin by posting magical thinking –  … “Is my mistake listening to lefties who were born and raised under Islam, such as the Iranian workerist communist,” . Colin take it away… “so you need to understand ““X occurs with Y”, without looking at the other three quadrants, checking out rates and correlations.” Hugo your tar brush extends willy nilly and ad infinitum one quadRANT at a time. 
    ***
    Svante and Julie get it… ” As the great comparative linguist and religionist Max Mueller succinctly put it (in the idiom of his time), “he who knows one, knows none.” and svante next comment” The religionists did it.”. (Thanks for the Weinberg refs svante).
    ***
    Ibn Al Khatib… tries to tell you not to be so knowing… “so any unknown gnomes and known ungnomes.” … the ungnomes… Excellent. Lmao!
    ***
    wolandscat. .. shows you are popular Hugo – somewhere…”in its popular form (i.e. the generally useless fake discourse on TV, press etc) might be directed at any ‘Muslim’”.

    [ And apologies wolandscat for many of my prior peer groups / family lapping up Howard – I try still to sway them but there lack of world view, and lack of immersion in other cultures, and there unseen primal fear, is very sticky ].
    ***

    Hugo, your next one off cherry pick “undercover investigation of 12 London mosques” has some real data. Any secret recordings of say of pentecostals for “balance”? Have you or channel 4 reported on this… 
    “A 2012 report in Architects Journal dot com also noted that the majority of mosques in Britain are not purpose-built structures: 

    “There is no definitive figure for how many mosques there are in Britain today, although the best estimate is in the region of 1,500. Of these, approximately 200 are purpose-built, the rest being either converted houses or other non-residential conversions.

    “Bierley predicts that there will be 40,080 churches in England by 2020. 

    “The YourNewsWire dot com article is meant to enflame fears that Muslims in London are starting to outnumber Christians, and that Christians (or their culture) will soon be displaced — but thanks to poor research and cherry-picked numbers, it gives a false impression of Britain’s current reality.the actual number of churches increased between 2008 and 2013 and is expected to continue between 2013 and 2020. Why is this? The answer comes in two broad ways. There are 600 more Pentecostal churches in the UK than 5 years ago”.
    snopes dot com/fact-check/london-closes-500-churches-opens-423-new-mosques/

    And “However, Channel 4 News was forced to issue an on-air retraction during the same bulletin after Izzadeen’s solicitor stated that he was alive and serving time in prison.[9]”. Wikipedia. 

    “Channel 4 News is as rooted in The Propaganda Model as any other corporate news programme, and its claim of scrupulous objectivity and fierce independence is a myth.” 
    bsnews dot info/whats-wrong-channel-4-news-part-three/

    Trying to sway us Hugo, saying there are some baddies out there? Drone strikes? Trump or our own anning? One data point hugo. Then you bash christians.
    ***

    Curt Kastens puts is nicely here [ not so later – to paraphrase – “burn ’em” ] “You can say that you do not belong to them because you are an atheist or a humanist. That is like disowning your family. Those others are your cousins whether you like them or not, distant cousins perhaps.” …
    …”of people who have left the misguided Muslim scene just as I have seen testimonials of those that have left the White supreamacy scene.”
    ***

    You too Hugo are my brother cousin tribe government.

    “A widely quoted Bedouin apothegm is “I am against my brother, my brother and I are against my cousin, my cousin and I are against the stranger”
    wikipedia Bedouin#Society

    Just like civilisation generally. JQ entitled this piece “Islam is part of Western civilisation” and vice a versa. We in the ‘west’ say … blood is thicker than water. And we in the “west” aren’t beying a bit if fueding over a perceived incorrect marriage.

    “Those involved in the feud were descended from Ephraim Hatfield (born c. 1765) and William McCoy (born c. 1750).”
    wikipedia Hatfield Coy_feud
    ***
    AleD, thanks for this…
    “The fact that there are women against hijab, does not say anything about those who are for it: You may want to review your propositional LOGIC and existential quantifiers).”. ..
    … “Of course you seem to prefer citing those who are against it. Why?”
    ***

    Hugo, are you aware one of our cousins, a worshipper whose family member was killed in the nz mosque called for us, as he is, to forgive to perpetrator? Our cousin.
    ***

    And Ikon too… “What is this absurd moral panic about Islam, and the hate speech against Muslims, that is occurring on this blog?” Because people go straight to personal bias and forget to append and think about “-ism “.
    ***

    Hugo : “although you blithely airbrush that out of your histiography.” Lmao Hugo!
    We are all cousins…
    Crusades… 196 years 1M to 3M killed and;
    …”were fought for a variety of reasons including the suppression of paganism and heresy, the resolution of conflict among rival Roman Catholic groups, or for political and territorial advantage.” Wikipedia. 
    ***
    Oops. Is religion involved here? “Since Indonesia has taken control of West Papua in 1963, the population of West Papua has recorded more than 100,000 unnatural deaths. The administration of West Papua has been called a police state”.
    ***

    Tim Macknay says: “To look at it another way: what is the difference between a fascist thug harassing a woman for choosing not to wear a hijab, and a fascist thug harassing a different woman for choosing to wear one?” Excellent logic reversal.
    ***

    Agree Tim,  as tricky is this dialogue, Ikon too, being too assertive: “and making common cause with violent extremists.”

    ***
    Curt, am I cheerypicking? …”most dangerous force for evil on the planet, after US imperialism and Israeli imperialism”. Citation please.
    And aren’t “Racism is tribalism on steroids and tribalism has always been part of humanity” our cousins? Sort of negates the comment.
    ***

    Curt please! “be burned alive by their subordinates if these leaders do not burn themselves alive first.” Use the  mirror with “we are all cousins” I am sending Hugo.
    ***

    Hugo and all, this line inspired me to write this mini review comment: “Well, yeah, I was just having some fun with that comment.”

    Try this as a mirror to your “fun” Hugo;
    “No, I won’t take a joke because racism isn’t funny Racist jokes aren’t about humour: they are killing our community. With every joke you remind your mates that this person, me, is different; that I’m not like you, writes Andrea Ho.”

    “It’s been blown out of all proportion. I mean it was meant as a joke. Occasionally you have to have jokes that aren’t quite in good taste, that’s all.”
    abc dot net.au /news/2013-05-30/ho—racism/4723212
    ***

    In the movie “Watchman” The Comedian/Edward Blake says: “You know, mankind’s been trying to kill each other off since the beginning of time; now, we finally have the power to finish the job. ” And “It’s all just a [ expletive ] joke.”
    ***

    Oops. D r o n e s. Worth repeating AleD; 
    “The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.” Aldous Huxley
    ***

    The end?
    “He was giving voice in a rock ‘n’ roll setting to the Oedipus complex, at the time a widely discussed tendency in Freudian psychology. He wasn’t saying he wanted to do that to his own mom and dad. He was re-enacting a bit of Greek drama. It was theatre!”
    Ray Manzarek”
    genius dot com/The-doors-the-end-lyrics
    ***

    It is not the end cousins. Thanks and forgiveness to all…

    ***
    AleD – Yes! “The evidence that many here get is still that the earth is flat. Disappointing but as expected.”

    Discuss…

  38. @Tim Macknay

    To look at it another way: what is the difference between a fascist thug harassing a woman for choosing not to wear a hijab, and a fascist thug harassing a different woman for choosing to wear one? I would say there is no meaningful difference at all.

    Given the hijab is, in an objective sense, a patriarchal symbol that marks out women as different and inferior to men, I see a huge difference between compulsion to wear and not wear the hijab.

    Nonetheless, if a “fascist thug”, to quote you, is harassing a woman about what she wears then I agree with you that in that context there is no meaningful difference.

    The Iranian woman (Maryam Shariatmadari) who criticised Ardern in the tweet I pasted above has a valid point. Although my comment was over the top, Ardern’s decision to wear the hijab will undoubtedly be used by Iran’s religious police to keep women in their place.

  39. KT2,
    Hugo,
    Yes you are interpreting Hugo’s comments in the worst possible way. My interpretation of what Hugo is saying comes down to, I have spent a lot of time studying the religions of the world and the only reasonable conclusion that I think that a person should come to is that for the most part they all suck.
    Because these religions permote distorted views they cause delusional thinking in many of those that do not recognize the errors that they are incorporating in their world view. Most religous people are not asses. But that they succeed in becoming more or less human is a credit to themselves NOT to the religions that they belong to. Furthermore religions are very dangerous insitutions becasue they encourage people to do really stupid and barbaric things. Of course poeple who are not religous do really barabaric and stupid things as well. The stupid and barbaric behavior of the non religous must be challanged as well. The arguements used to challange non religous people will certianly be a different set of arguements The actions that a person would use to challange the stupid or barbaric behavior could also be different in each case depending on what the expected response from the those that you would hope to change would be.

    Hugo, if you are not satisfied with my interpretation of what you are saying please feel free to correct me.

    Oh, and now one thought on being my cousin. Being my cousin means that I cut you some slack.
    It also means that I do not sabotage your legitimate efforts to improve you life. Being a cousin means that if your house burns down is flooded out and I live in a house with a spare bedroom you could stay at our house for a couple weeks. If I do not have a spare bedroom you can sleep in the livingroom for a couple nights. It does not mean that I have to support you.
    More importantly if my cousin tries to drive drunk and I try to take the car keys away from my cousin and my cousin pulls a knife on me, if I have a gun I am going to shoot my cousin and not feel a bit of regret for my actions what ever the outcome. Cuting people slack has its limits.
    The worst line that a person,cousin or not, can cross is to plot and wage a war of aggression.
    People who have engaged in such behavior over and over and over again do not by any means deserve a quick and painless death. That would be alloying them to espace responsiblity for their behavior. Such people have inflicted slow and painful deaths on large numbers of people. Even subjecting them to such a death still allows them to escape justice to some extent because they can only die once.
    Executing homosexuals is really barbaric behavior. But the people who do so are under the false impression that they are protecting public morals when they do so. We can see the results of a loss of public morals when we look almost anywhere in the modern world. But it is especially true of the USA as it is the nation that leads this race to the bottom. So there is a mitigating circumstance to the barbaric behavior of the Muslims that support the execution of homosexuals.
    There are no mitigating circumstances to plotting and waging wars of aggression, only aggrevating circumstances. Which nations in the world today are wagging wars of aggression? Why?
    The anwsers to those questions leads me to support my call for burning those who bear the most resposibility for these policies.

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