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Wild On Jiddah? Islamic Justice
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Post Wild On Jiddah? Islamic Justice 
Drinking, dancing earn lashings

A Saudi judge sentenced 20 foreigners to receive lashes and spend several months in prison after convicting them of attending a party where alcohol was served and men and women danced, a newspaper reported. The defendants were among 433 foreigners, including 240 women, arrested by the kingdom's religious police for attending the party in Jiddah, the state-guided newspaper Okaz said. The foreigners, who have not been identified, have the right to appeal.


So much for the religion of love, peace, tolerance and non-violence...

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thrice, let us not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Religious fundamentalism is bad news. Puritanical Christians have demonized these same activites (drinking; dancing), but I don't hear you condemning Christianity as a religion of intolerance and violence.

People whose interpretation of religious doctrine supports this kind of fascism are bad, bad, all bad. No argument from me on that. But there are peaceful, soulful, kind, and gentle practicing Muslims all over the world. You just don't hear about them in a news story every day. Islam is not the enemy in and of itself. Let us be clear.

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True, Dora. The main difference I see is that I am not seeing any Christians, anywhere in the world, who are assembling religious courts, sending around religious police officers to arrest people, and horsewhipping and putting people in prison for violating their religious beliefs. We have seen that in numerous Muslim countries. Theocracy is part and parcel of Islamic belief, and that is clearly stated in the Koran.

And yet I will grant you that Christians have indeed behaved this way- but it was 500 years ago, and we have wised up some since then. One big criticism of Muslim nations is that they live in a manner similar to the Middle Ages. This kind of behavior and social structure in the year 2007 is entirely compatible with that description.

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thrice wrote:
True, Dora. The main difference I see is that I am not seeing any Christians, anywhere in the world, who are assembling religious courts, sending around religious police officers, and horsewhipping and putting people in prison for violating their religious beliefs.


True, we aren't seeing that in this century. But we HAVE seen it from Christians. And there are Christians out there to this day who would have it be this way again, if they had the choice. Thank God for the ACLU!

Wink

(ok, ok, that one was just to rile you up.)

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Dora,

So what you're saying is, Christianity is just as bad for what they may or may not have done 500 years ago as Islam is for what they are doing today?

On that basis, all us white folks, regardless of income, need to make checks out now to Prince, Michael Jackson and every other "person of color" we know, because 100 years or more ago, someone in our past was probably a slave-holder...

Of course, the form of religion I practice has very little connection to the sins of Christianity, real or imagined....

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Craig, if you'll read what I wrote, I said that the religion in question is not to blame. It's those who interpret it in a way that justifies violence, oppression, and militancy. As far as I know, Christians today are using the same instruments, symbols, and texts to practice their faith as they were in the Dark Ages (cathedrals, The Bible, priests, etc.). The difference is in the interpretation and practice.

See what I mean?

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True, we aren't seeing that in this century. But we HAVE seen it from Christians. And there are Christians out there to this day who would have it be this way again, if they had the choice. Thank God for the ACLU!


Yes, Dora, the ACLU is partially responsible for preventing Christian theocracy. And so are the vast majority of peaceful, tolerant Christians like myself who want no part of it.

But the big difference, Dora, (not to echo the tone of a past poster), is this:

In a violent fundamentalist society, the true zealots would kill every member of the ACLU they could find as heretics and non-believers, and no one would dare speak against it. Is that not a chilling contrast?

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thrice wrote:

But the big difference, Dora, (not to echo the tone of a past poster), is this:

In a violent fundamentalist society, the true zealots would kill every member of the ACLU they could find as heretics and non-believers, and no one would dare speak against it. Is that not a chilling contrast?


I don't know what you're contrasting it with, but yes, it is chilling.

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I am contrasting strong and vitriolic criticism of people you disagree with,

versus killing them.

That is quite a chasm.

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thrice wrote:
I am contrasting strong and vitriolic criticism of people you disagree with,

versus killing them.

That is quite a chasm.


Yes, and I obviously favor the former over the latter. I'm also glad that the vast majority of Christians seem to do the same. My point is simply that there are times in Christian history when that wasn't the case, and there are many millions of Muslims alive today who also favor the former over the latter. So, to me, to say that Islam = bad, Christianity = good is awfully black and white and not really based in any sort of sense of history or the complexities and nuances of the current reality.

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If you feel that Christian fundamentalists are no longer this violent or unreasonable, try moving South, or to Dassel, MN. Although the Lutherans in Dassell have not resorted to violence, they do a wonderful job of ostracizing those who don't believe as they do.

We still, in this country have religious people of all walks of life that scream horrible things at women entering Planned Parenthood clinics. We have parents trying to ban books from public libraries because they differ from the religious upbringing they wish their children to experience.

On a darker note, there is the large church and related business funded by Tony Alamo who has been charged with child abuse for ordering the beating of some of both his and his followers children. He has taken "wives" as young as 14 by telling their parents it was God's will, and they would be damned if they opposed his desires.

I wish we did not have any examples to cite, but by making this a simple "us vs them" fight or debate, it is too easy to delude ourselves into feeling superior and blameless.

Muslims are not innately violent any more so than are Christians or Jews. Those who use their leverage and influence to twist the minds and teachings of Islam, however are no better than common thugs, as our their counterparts in other religions, and they should be treated accordingly.

Back to the case you mentioned, though, did these foreigners know the "rules" of the society in which they lived? Were they aware that such behavior would not be tolerated? If they did know this, why did they choose to behave as they did? Just as we would condemn a man who committed polygamy in the US, why should other nations not enforce their own rules in their own country? Yes, by our standards the punishment is grossly out of proportion, but when you move to a foreign land, you had best learn their rules and abide by them, or move somewhere else.

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The example I cited was not about the social behavior of religious people. It was an example of a society whose government, legal system, and religious laws are one and the same.

We've exhaustively discussed how First Amendment rights protect obnoxious speech, regardless of who it comes from. That is a secular law, not a religious one. Secular law has also dealt with Tony Alamo, and will likely be quite happy to throw him back in prison on the first opportunity. He certainly receives no special protection from anyone who can really help him, other than the lawyers he can afford from duping his followers into giving him money.

I have been reading the Koran, and will read it more. I am struck by the overt distain and mocking references to Christians and Jews, and the particular hatred expressed for Jews in particular in the book. After reading some of those passages, it's no longer surprising to me that Muslims will not tolerate a Jewish homeland in their midst. Clearly they consider Jews to be troublesome vermin, and they are not to be negotiated with. I found it troubling, and very interesting. While many blame faulty interpretation for Muslim violence, I found many hostile passages to be perfectly clear to anyone and not needing much interpretation to justify aggression.

I am unclear in the Jiddah arrests if the foreigners involved were residents or tourists. As for knowledge of the laws, who knows? What is known is that there is a notorious double standard in Saudi society for behavior, in which rich playboys are allowed to raise all the hell they want in private, and the strict Sharia code is for peasants. Maybe somebody decided to make a point in this mass arrest. We shall see.

As for the Lutherans in Dassell, I concede them the right to associate or not associate with anyone they wish. There are many in the world who would not associate with me for who I am and what I believe in, and I will not miss their company. When it comes to foreigners respecting the laws of their new nations or places they visit, our society errs to the side of respecting others beliefs, as the Muslim cabbies at MSP will learn. Our society and laws rarely intervene unless some objective harm can be demonstrated, such as wife beating or female circumcision. They are perfectly free to practice their religion here, and live by it provided they don't harm others. That is quite different from the approach taken by their homelands.

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I do agree that the Saudi government and religious establishment play fast and loose with rules depending on who breaks them. They also have some damned odd behavior for being our ally...but that's another discussion altogether. I will have to find myself a copy of the Koran.
I've known kind and gentle Muslims, but there does seem to be a large number of crazies as well.

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I just Googled "Koran", and found many sites that had the entire text online. Of course, it would be easier to read in a book, but it gets the job done.

And yes, I too have known a number of very nice Muslim people. I have had very few conversations with Muslim women, as they always seem to be kept in the background. But most of the men have been gentlemanly and clean living, other than a nod and wink approach to the legal system many seem to share- but that is not uncommon in lots of societies.

I honestly think that living in societies with less stringent rules takes the hard edge off some beliefs. I could be wrong, but I doubt that many would choose to leave here and go back, but that may have more to do with individual temperment than beliefs. There was likely a personality type among other immigrants that chose to come here, rather than remain in the status quo in Europe or wherever, also.

Who knows? I can't speak for them, but I suspect that "modernized" Muslims living here for generations are probably like Christians and Jews who read about stoning adulteresses in the Bible. We adhere to what makes sense, and shake our heads at the rest. At least I'd like to think so.

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