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Reading a recommended “post” yesterday put me into a funk. The diary itself wasn’t bad (and the diarist is an obviously thoughtful person who meant no bigotry and is obviously not a bigot and was merely trying to make a point), but it triggered something in me that has had me depressed for a whole day now.

I stayed away for a day, yet I’m still blue. So I thought I’d just put my thoughts down.

I’ve always felt very secure in my “Muslim-hood” if you will. I live in probably the most conservative suburbs of Chicago, and haven’t seen anyone say anything rude/bigoted to me. My wife also reports no one has ever said anything to her. We both look obviously Muslim (my wife wears a scarf).

At my job, as several hundred of us huddled around the one TV in the cafeteria on September 11, 2001, and as we comforted each other, I expressed some guilt (as a Muslim)… and my coworkers genuinely questioned why I would feel the need? It was just a bunch of crazy people. They really didn’t look down on Muslims or even Islam.

It was such a good feeling, despite the awful events of that day.

But the Muslim haters have been working pretty hard over the years to re-train the very open and friendly minds of my fellow citizens. And their evil propaganda affects even the most thoughtful, big-hearted, well read and (when it comes to my rights) uncompromising people I’ve ever known: Daily Kos users.

My insecurities started when you would see repeated posts on the front page “defending” Obama from the “charge” of being a Muslim. I knew the intent behind them, and don’t hold it against anyone, but still it put me on notice like it had never before.

Then Muzikal203 really crystallized it in her last diary (regarding Park51): The fact that this is even a debate and that being a Muslim is now a SMEAR is very disheartening.

But the diary yesterday was an eye opener – it headlined: Welcome to Kansas, care to live under Sharia?

I get it – the writer was trying to show some snark. But a statement in the diary really struck me: “I have to say, every day, I'm so grateful that I will never ever live under Sharia.”

The last one was also snark, I presume. But the underlying theme (understood by the audience and writer) was – hey sharia is one of the worst thing in the universe.

Why is sharia bad? Because it is associated with the heir apparent of communism: Islam—the new existential threat to America and all red blooded Americans should hate it.

Well let me tell you something. I practice sharia. I try to follow my interpretation of the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace and blessings of God be upon him) sayings as much as I can. I try to see how they apply to my society and the time I live in and try to follow it as best as I can.

Nearly everyone has their own opinion on what “sharia” means. Everyone agrees that sharia changes over time. For example, Muslims weren’t given rules about securities arbitrage 1400 years ago. So they came up with a set of rules to regulate them, based on the Quran and the Prophet’s sayings.  Everyone also agrees that the Quran is the #1 source of Islam. Right after most repeated/memorized verse in the Quran “ayat al-Kursi” (which describing the greatness of God) it says the following:

Let there be no compulsion in religion

(Surah 2, verse #256)

Originally posted to happenstance on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 04:41 PM PDT.

Also republished by Muslims at Daily Kos and Spiritual Organization of Unapologetic Liberals at Daily Kos.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Peace happenstance, I hope your funk lifts. (8+ / 0-)

    It makes me sick that people can take the potential for good (religion) and use it to spread hate and fear.

    2012 bumper sticker: GOP = Greed.Oppression.Poverty

    by Barbie02360 on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 04:48:30 PM PDT

  •  Suckiness is relative. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Suckier than where?

    Let us resolutely study and implement the resolutions of the 46th Convention of the Democratic Party!

    by Rich in PA on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 04:54:17 PM PDT

  •  We generally use sharia to mean the legal system (4+ / 0-)

    rather than the ethical system.  So if you practice sharia, that's fine, but it's also a legal system.  And what distinguishes legal systems is that they're compulsory.  

    Once that's understand, any of us should be glad we don't live under sharia qua religious legal system.

  •  I'm sorry that you are experiencing this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, imfunnytoo, skrekk

    but I'm not sure that I understand what you are trying to say. I think it's true that most people here at Daily Kos would not want to live "under" Sharia law, whatever that means, or any other religious law. They react to right-wing hysteria over the possibility not by saying that we wouldn't mind living under Sharia law, but that it's ridiculous to think that we ever will.

    Your diary seems to indicate that you seek to apply Sharia in your own life, and I would bet that 100% of the people here at Daily Kos would think that you are absolutely within your rights to do so, and we celebrate that America gives you the right to do so (so long as your interpretation of Sharia doesn't involve infringing on anyone else's rights).

    But the "rubber meets the road" so to speak when you get into the question of whether "we" who are not Muslims should apply the principles of Sharia in some way in the wider society. I assume that you don't think that we should, anymore than you think that we should adopt the Levitical laws in the wider society. If so, I don't see what the issue is. We agree: Sharia is good for private citizens in their private lives, not good for the governance of our wider society.

  •  For most people, their only exposure (8+ / 0-)

    to Sharia is hearing about things like honor killings and stoning gays to death. So that will color their perceptions.

    •  I think you mean, probably (4+ / 0-)

      their only exposure is hearing mainstream media's slant and spin and fearmongering about Sharia when they report on things like honor killings and stoning.

      Most people in America who are not Muslim have never had any direct "exposure" in their lives to Sharia, or to any aspect of Muslim culture and religion, I think.

      Antemedius | Liberally Critical Thinking

      by Edger on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 07:31:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You might find this interesting (13+ / 0-)

    On Keith Olbermann's show today his #3 segment was titled, "Fear, Inc" here is a brief description from tonight's Countdown diary by CityLightsLover

    Fear of Muslims has been bankrolled by some "lovely" folk. Nearly $42 million has been donated toward the stoking. Fake rallies & reports are funded to further stoke Muslim fear & hatred.

    Yup, some of the big names in conservatism have decided that making Muslims scapegoats suits their politic aims. Disgusting doesn't begin to describe it.

    Modern Conservatism isn't simply about them owning as much as possible; it's also about breaking anything they can't own.

    by ontheleftcoast on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 06:06:55 PM PDT

  •  When... (12+ / 0-)

    When people go off on Obama being Muslim I have at times merely replied "so what if he was?"

    I will say that sharia has a bad reputation because of how it is interpreted in particularly odious ways by the likes of the Taliban and the Wahabi. I can't say I'd be a fan of it in those forms. But I also have noted that there are plenty of Christian and Jewish groups with as odious interpretations of their own laws. I find religion in a rigid and in-your-face form to be offensive, whatever the religion. I feel pretty irritated when people get on the subway and start preaching. But I also have known many deeply religious people, including Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus, who felt no need to force their views on me and I always liked and respected them.

    Personally I wish more people of ALL religions followed the rule: Let there be no compulsion in religion

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

    by mole333 on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 06:14:11 PM PDT

  •  Interview (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Edger, happenstance

    I remember an interview where Obama replied an emphatic "No!" when he was asked if he was a Muslim. The tone of his voice implied that being a Muslim is a bad thing.

    I would have liked him to reply in a softer tone, "No, but so what if I was?"

    Why can't a Muslim be president? Or a Jew? Or a Hindu? Or an Atheist?  Or a Mormon?

    Just like the Bible means different things to different Christians, the Koran and Sharia Law means different things to different Muslims.

    As mole333 said, "Personally I wish more people of ALL religions followed the rule: Let there be no compulsion in religion."

    Come to think of it, if my Swiss Cheese memory serves me correctly, I remember a commentator years ago saying that the Koran and Sharia Law call for a Congress.  If that is indeed true, would those who object to Sharia Law propose abolishing Congress??!!  Just a thought to consider.

    "If being informed is the only prime duty of a citizen within a democracy, then being informed is, in fact, the most patriotic act." Hunter

    by KahluaKrazy on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 06:39:48 PM PDT

  •  Peace. (4+ / 0-)

    The whole "Obama is a Muslim!"  --- "Is not!!!" always bothered  me.  My response was: "So what?"

    I am more understanding of people's fear of Sharia law though, having experienced first-hand a closed fundie xtian community with the equivalent, and it most certainly was imposed top-down in an arbitrary and unfair manner.  I don't want to live in any society were religion is imposed by law, though I have no problem with people who choose to voluntarily go through arbitrage in a religious tradition instead of lawsuits in a secular court (now if a person faces expulsion from his/her community for refusing religious arbitrage, that's another matter altogether).

  •  problem is sharia is now a buzzword and means (6+ / 0-)

    something it was never intended to as it seems everyone is using the Koran for his own purpose.  Reading on the SBC's latest activities. I was amazed to discover CAMEL theology which is controversial in SBC circles today.
    In short the Christian uses passages from the Koran to persuade the Muslim to read the Christian scriptures.  However it is not for an honest exchange of ideas; instead the purpose is the conversion of the Muslim.  Never is the thought of the Christian converting entertained and it seemed to be intellectually dishonest at best, since the goal is to show the nonChristian how wrong he really is.
    Depressing times for all of us

  •  You make good points. Thank you for sharing (4+ / 0-)

    your thoughts.  All this anti-Islam stuff is just a bullying tactic to divide and marginalize with the aim of controlling public discourse.  We should never accept the arguments of bullies since they use fear and intimidation to motivate and nothing good can come from these negative emotions.

  •  I fear religion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but I don't fear Islam more or less than any other one.

    And, in truth, I don't really fear religion in general. It's just that in the hands of someone determined to apply it to nefarious purpose, it has great power. If there were something else equally powerful, I'm certain I'd fear it equally.

  •  Sorry, no. (0+ / 0-)

    How can I respect someone who subscribes to a religion that denies my very personhood?

    It's not different for mormons, hardcore evangelicals/dominionists, roman catholics, ultra-orthodox jews, etc.

    What differentiates islam from the other abrahamic religions is that there is no identifiable portion of islam that is welcoming and affirming of LGBT people. In xianity and judaiism there is a significant body of work advocating for the inclusion of and respect for LGBT persons. There are individual sects that practice inclusion and ordination of openly LGBT candidates. There are local faith communities that are welcoming and affirming. There is no such thing in islam.

    So I say to you the same thing that I say to people in all those other categories: If you support your religion with your "time, tithes, and talents" (which means financial contributions and service) you support the suppression of my civil rights.

    I know people are going to call me an islamophobe--but I don't care. The facts speak for themselves. I don't respect any belief system that denies my very humanity. It doesn't matter how much you like LGBT people. It doesn't matter that there are groups of LGBT muslims. As an institution, islam is as anti-LGBT as mormonism, roman catholicism, and large swaths of conservative protestantism and judaiism.

    (That sound you are hearing is a paradigm being shifted at Warp Factor Infinity using no clutch.)

    by homogenius on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:16:44 PM PDT

  •  Great diary. (12+ / 0-)

    as-salaamu alaikum, I saw the diary yesterday and felt the same way, as I do every time I see negative references to Muslims, Islam, or Shari'ah.  I commented in that diary something to the effect that I knew that particular diarist didn't mean offense by it, but does hurt, nonetheless.

    The change in attitudes toward Islam and Muslims from right after 9/11 to now is immense, and it is the product of a concerted campaign of Islamophobia bankrolled and pushed on the American people by a specific set of people.  There was a great diary on these people today, with a link to the pdf report detailing who these people are.

    Most Kossacks, as I'm sure you know, are open minded and do not sink so low as to blame all Muslims for 9/11, or for terrorism in general.  There are Islamophobes here...just check out any of my diaries.  But they are few, and for that I'm grateful.  As a result of this campaign, though, it is becoming more and more "normal" or "acceptable" to reference shari'ah as a negative concept, with the general consensus being that it means allowing a system like that of Saudi Arabia or Pakistan.  People don't understand the tribal influences in those places that have severely effected interpretations and mixed shari'ah with tribal customs going back to pre-Islam days.  To them, its all monolithic, and its all shari'ah.

    Anyway, good diary, and I'm glad you spoke out.  I hope members here will think a little harder before using shari'ah in a diary, even as snark.

    PS: thank you for bringing up the Obama thing!!  I've thought that so many times, but never did do a diary on it.  It is insulting to "defend" Obama from charges of being a Muslim, simply because there is nothing wrong with being a Muslim.  He's not...but it wouldn't matter if he were.

    Terror has no religion.

    by downsouth on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:35:42 PM PDT

  •  Nice post, and I'm glad to see this morning (5+ / 0-)

    that it didn't attract the knee-jerk negative comments overnight I might have anticipated.

    I posted very similar sentiments to yours in two comments to the Rec-List diary you cite (and, as you do, I assumed no ill-intent on the part of the diarist)...

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 06:39:25 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for your response to the diary, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Martha, happenstance, poco

    which, if memory serves, was not only rec-listed but rescued.  I looked at it, shook my head, and walked out.

    If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

    by dirkster42 on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 11:43:23 AM PDT

    •  there was literally one protest comment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco, dirkster42

      by someone named daud. It had 2 recs. The original diarist response had dozens.

    •  As the diarist (5+ / 0-)

      I realize how people feel.  And, I tried to respond thoughtfully to those who were upset.

      My point wasn't that Sharia was some evil - in fact at many points, I tried to address that wasn't the point at all.

      I was saying that conservatives had run on a concept of what Sharia was - they had defined the term and thrown a lot of baseless attacks at it, and instead, they instituted policies which boiled down to everything they were saying negative about another faith.

      It's really hard to try and address a point such as that.   In that case, a sitting governor had used - repeatedly - claims that he would "never allow Sharia" to become law in Kansas.  He had used it as a boogeyman.   I wasn't trying to put down the concept of Islamic law, I was trying to put down his words where he used it as an epithet to enforce policies which were far more radical then anything he had accused any of islamic belief of.

      I had written that diary a few days before, and had tried to repeatedly think of how I could sum up Brownback's hypocrisy more correctly.   I tried to label it as such in the intro.

      And, if you check my comments in it, I repeatedly responded to Islamic posters by trying to point out that I wasn't trying to bash their faith, but the way a politician had used it as a boogeyman.

      I can understand the issue.

      I just don't know, honestly, if I could have addressed it without using it in that way; because it's very hard to talk about the greatest sins of a politician when you cover it for them.  


      Having Hope and using action to give people hope are different things. Make a difference for someone.

      by Chris Reeves on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 02:51:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I actually could see your intent, (4+ / 0-)

        and thought it was good.

        I just thought the framing was, well, hard to get around.

        If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

        by dirkster42 on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 03:25:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dirkster42, happenstance, poco

          I've updated my diary, even though it's old to reflect that.

          It's really hard to try and address things like Brownbacks claim and fearmongering without using the terms.

          But I honestly feel sick at my stomach that it harmed other people.   That really, really wasn't my intent ;(

          I've T/R the diary here, and PM'd the author.  

          It's just one of those where words fail me.  If I couldn't make the difference clear enough that it hurt people, then I'm just really heartsick over thinking I did the exact reverse of what I was trying to get across ;(

          Having Hope and using action to give people hope are different things. Make a difference for someone.

          by Chris Reeves on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 03:29:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Redefining a word to change a faith (0+ / 0-)

    Very large religions, like Islam, Christianity, etc. all have certain key concepts.   But they can be interpretted wildly different.  

    If I were to get together a David Koresh following Christian and some folks from the local United Methodist, they would have zip to really say to each other.

    The same is largely true with Islam.   There are more then a billion followers and hundreds of interpretations.

    The problem that they face is that because of a few, there has been an ongoing effort to change the context of their faith to make all seem the same.  

    Because that broad spectrum exists, conservatives and commentators have made hay of redefining words and meanings and changing the way people think about the religious beliefs of those who are islamic.

    I've diaried that many here in the US have used fear and concern to terrorize people into the horror that "Sharia" will come and get them.   They do so without informing anyone of the nuance, stances, etc. they just use it to scare people, when what they are playing at rivals what they are doing.

    The concern for Islam is that the radicals/loons manage to soak up more time then loons manage to absorb more air time.

    That's not to say there aren't radicals and loons who are Christian or fake Christian, and while I haven't met any, I'm sure there are some nutty Bhudists and Confucianism isn't really a faith but a philosophy but I'll be there are some nuts there too.

    I admit, as an aetheist, the only big concern I have with any faith is the crucible that determines a faith.  A faith is a faith as long as you can quit.    If you can decide to not follow that faith any longer and leave of your free accord, then it is a faith, because it is based on your honest belief.

    When there is ever a mechanism to harm or shun people who leave a 'faith' it stops really being a faith, and becomes a cult.   Because then you can't be sure whether or not people practice that belief system because they really believe in it, or because they are afraid of their situation if they were to leave.

    MOST more liberated islamic organizations do allow the 'free door'.   The ability to pass through the crucible of faith through belief.  

    But as long as there is a large group who is sucking up airtime who manages to demand pox and death warrants against those who leave (see Salmon Rushdie), it becomes a problem for all Islamics, not just those who believe in such things.

    Imagine if the Roman Catholic Pope were to come out and say "those who stop being catholic should be stoned!"   It would be a pox on that religion... and because of it's size and presence in other areas of the world, it would hurt all of Christianity in many areas.

    That's the foe that faces Islam now.  A few large and public leaders and activists have managed to turn a faith into a cause centered around them and their concepts and they've allowed others to define the words for them.. because there isn't enough public knowledge the other way.

    The Islamic World NEEDS a "Martin Luther" moment, that tacking to a church door a list of rights by a major leader that says: This is NOT what Islam is.

    Because as terrible as it is for all of those who practice their faith as a matter of love, hope and peace without it, too many will define their faith for them, and they will do so only in the most negative terms possible.

    Having Hope and using action to give people hope are different things. Make a difference for someone.

    by Chris Reeves on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 02:19:46 PM PDT

  •  We shouldn't be grateful for religious freedom? (0+ / 0-)
    But the diary yesterday was an eye opener – it headlined: Welcome to Kansas, care to live under Sharia?

    I get it – the writer was trying to show some snark. But a statement in the diary really struck me: “I have to say, every day, I'm so grateful that I will never ever live under Sharia.”

    The last one was also snark, I presume. But the underlying theme (understood by the audience and writer) was – hey sharia is one of the worst thing in the universe.

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