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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Setting the record straight

I just want to set a couple of things straight: I am not taking every opportunity to criticize Islam, nor am I an Islamophobe (and yes, I am aware that Faithfreedom.org exists, thank you very much, so stop forwarding its link to me). I am just pointing out the issues that I think deserve to be debated in our Islamic culture and I welcome anyone's opinion who can actually give me an argument or show me where I am wrong. And no, "Cause God said so" doesn't cut it! And yes, I will continue pointing to the things that I believe to be wrong in the Islamic ideology and not point to the positive stuff. My goal is to neither defame nor defend, but rather to fix. To reform. To clean up the mess that those clerics -who do nothing but encourage their followers to accept instead of think and analyze- put the majority of the Muslim world in. Despite Popular belief and logic, pointing to the good stuff doesn’t make the bad stuff go away, nor does it excuse it. Fix the bad stuff, then point all you like to the good stuff, ok? I know it may sound completely arrogant; I know that I may not be the best candidate or advocate for Islamic reform; and I know that I don’t have all the answers nor will I be able to change the whole world. But I am fed up with the way things are and I am willing to give it shot. I am willing to talk about it. I am willing to point at the things that we all know are wrong and say “That ain’t right!” I may not know all the solutions but I can identify the problems and that’s a place to start from. I may not be able to change the world but I will be pretty damn stoked if I can get 10 people to change their minds or at least open them to other possibilities and think things over. You know? Stop repeating that Islam is a word that comes from peace, and that the only problem Islam has is the misconceptions of the ignorant west. You know it’s not true. Islam means submission, and while the west has its wrong misconceptions about it, it still has its share of problems, whether in the sharia, the people practicing it or in the Islamic culture as it is known today. It’s time to stop pointing fingers, stop making excuses, or point to other religions and cultures and say “They do it too!” or “Look at the problems they are having, is that any better?” The fact that there are other people doing wrong things doesn’t excuse the wrong things you do. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. Break Time is over people. We have serious problems and we need serious people to solve them in the Islamic world. And yes, I am talking to you! Offer arguments, propose solutions, join the debate, and help out, or shut the fuck up. There are enough dickheads out there making the Islamic people look bad as it is, they don’t need your help defending them. Ok? And if you do defend them, take a cold hard look to what exactly you are defending first. You are not defending Islam or Muslims, you are defending those who have made a possible terrorist suspect in the whole world out of you. They are not doing you any favors, so stop defending them and stop condoning them. They are the ones- not the west, not the Jews, and not the Christians-who are giving you and your religion a bad name. Put the blame where it belongs! It’s time to clean the house people… Who is with me?


At 4/28/2005 02:55:00 AM, Anonymous Ayman said...

*standing ovation*

At 4/28/2005 04:31:00 AM, Blogger gatorbait said...

Sam, this mackarel snapper is with you.


At 4/28/2005 04:34:00 AM, Blogger Louise said...

Right on, Sandmonkey. The numbers of people like you need to grow - substantially. The thing that most concerns me is the failure of the mainstream Muslims to condemn the extremist behaviour and rhetoric. This failure amounts to tacit approval of it.

But I also understand how the fascist elements have such a strangle hold on the mainstream. Fear of being branded or outcase acts as a very powerful motivator to keep your mouth shut, especially when there is so much negative stereotyping of Muslims in the West. Who wants to be shunned and outcast from one's group when the world around you is so hostile to you. It's a classic double edged sword.

But slowly and surely those Muslims who are speaking out against the fascist elements in their own communities are gaining strength. You are one of them, Sandmonkey. Godspeed to you and give us more blogs please!!!

And thank you for confirming what Islam means. I had always understood it means submission. I don't know where this notion that it means "peace" came from.

For those who wish to intimidate and oppress The fact that it means submission tells us all something about the powerful hold it has on people the meaning of the word is a great tool .

At 4/28/2005 04:48:00 AM, Blogger Louise said...

Oops. Didn't proofread.

outcase = outcast

And the last paragraph is too screwed up by cutting and pasting, so let me just rewrite it:

"For those who wish to intimidate and oppress, the meaning of the word can be a powerful tool."

Let me add too, that I see so many parallels between what is happening in the Muslim world right now and what happened in the West in the early modern era - the reduction of the power of a corrupt religious hierarchy and absolute monarchies; the emergence of science, free thought and humanism, and the great technological advances that those three thinks enabled; and eventually the triump of the common people through the slow and painful development democratic institution.

Because the West has blazed a trail, I think it's going to be easier for the Muslim world to achieve the same thing. The global reach of Western technology and the use of English as a common global language are enough to give you the tools to achieve things comparatively quickly. So far, there is no competing ideology with as powerful tools that can mount any sort of challenge.

At 4/28/2005 06:01:00 AM, Anonymous Peter-Australia said...

Just a follow up from your article from yesterday about the "rape" sheik. Today he is backpedalliing as hard as he can. Said that he shouldn't have said what he did and apologised but then went on again about womens clothing. Though saying that the risk was not from "men of faith" but other men.
Still think he is pretty weak and his comments today were a cop out in my opinion.
I tell you I would much prefer is see girls in attractive clothing than a burka. Still not going to try and jump on them though.

At 4/28/2005 06:02:00 AM, Anonymous Hellme said...

BTW...'Islam' does not mean submission ('istislam') and it does not mean peace either ('salam').

I don't understand why it has to mean anything, but if you folks must know, it is actually derived from the word 'sal'lem' which means to 'give in', or 'aslem' (give in yourself) (the two words mean nearly the same thing, this is a common literary technique in Arabic, as in 'eth-hab honak' and 'ath-heb benafsak men hona' (go away vs. take yourself away from here).

For the Arabic reader: 'istaslem' which means 'submit to' is very different to 'aslem' because the first means 'stop resisting and give up' while the second word means 'consciously, voluntarily give in yourself'.

This is all based on readings of 'Taj el 3aroos.'

I personally don't care much for what it means.

At 4/28/2005 06:05:00 AM, Blogger Tom Dilatush said...

Right on, Sandmonkey!

At 4/28/2005 06:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude u r right on the dot...but one thing...we need to adhust the terminology to Muslim Reform...because Islam has always been same..muslims are the problem...good luck with the ten people...i think two would be enough for me!

At 4/28/2005 07:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"islam" means (giving one's self in), yes, which is submission.
'istislam' means surrendering.

At 4/28/2005 07:50:00 AM, Anonymous Hellme said...


Never thought of translating 'istislam' as 'surrender,' good point.

At 4/28/2005 09:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Maybe Irshad can help


At 4/28/2005 05:41:00 PM, Blogger J. Francis Lehman said...

You have my full support.

(Hopefully, we can also keep the American Christianists from taking pages out of your MidEast Islamists' playbook...)

At 4/28/2005 07:35:00 PM, Blogger Ron Larson said...

Good post SM. I think a phrase you are looking for is "Two wrongs don't make a right" (in regards to those who point out the faults of other faiths).

I have difficulty wraping my mind around counties such as Pakistan, KSA, Iran, and others who define themselves by their faith, versus nationality. Are they so bored that they have nothing better to do than obsess 24x7 about religion and what other people are doing? I can't just imagine wasting so much of my prescious time on the planet worring about what someone down the street thinks of God, or me.

To these extremist... get a life.

At 4/28/2005 08:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although the fungementalist Christians in the US aren't dangerous now...they are getting a bit wierd.

At 4/29/2005 11:12:00 AM, Anonymous Jeremy said...

What are the fundamentalist Christians about to do? Let's get a bit of perspective here. I'm stealing the following comment from Bill Maher. "We have our extremists and fundamentalists, too, I hear people say. Yeah, but America is a great country because our kooks and nuts are funny, not scary! They do things like accuse puppets on television shows of being gay because they're purple, and everyone laughs. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson think homo's burn in hell, but they don't suggest we drag Richard Simmons into the public square and cut off his head!"

At 4/29/2005 02:43:00 PM, Blogger Rancher said...

I'm with you, got your link on my Blog. I try and check your site out once a day because you enlighten me on what is really going on in Egypt.

At 2/17/2006 06:26:00 AM, Blogger Wade said...

This is of course spot on SandMonkey.

Unfortunately, though a couple of my educated muslim friends here in London think similarly, it seems like a tiny minority view among muslims even in the UK, let alone in muslim countries.

Any views or theories how that has come about? Any suggestions - apart fom your admirable Blog how things can be changed?

For what it's worth, I think one of the main culprets have been the left in the West. In an effort to appear non racist and multicultural they have bent over to accomodate muslim sensibilities in the West, and this has created a climate in which the moderate muslims have felt entitled and justified in being outraged at things like the cartoons. One of the worst offenders here is our own British Foreign Secetary Jack Straw
who is basically elected by the muslim votes in Blackburn.

Itsvery difficult for muslims to change as their religion has such a pwoerful effect on shaping their mind and vision of the world, but westerners are really making a tactical decision. and Ive a feeling that many are making the wrong decision.

At 2/17/2006 06:49:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are burning a cross in front of the danish embassy in Iran, and a Pakistani Iman have promised 25.000 $ and a car for the head of one of the cartoonist.
The world is shaking its head!

Islam is turning to be a fascist hipocrite religion?

Will normal islami followers act, or will islam forever be a terrorist religion, killing randomly in the world?

Is there an end to muslim madness, or is this the dawn of their religion?

Can the world ignore these hordes of religious rioters, leaving them alone in their world of hate and intolerance?

Can we leave innocent children to grow up under the oppression of a religion gone bad?

How do we free the world of this rising evil?

Will any moderate muslim answer, or just turn their heads as usual?!

At 2/17/2006 04:03:00 PM, Blogger doxRaven said...

Editorials in many European newspapers lay the blame for the cartoon row at the feet of extremists on either side.

On the one side you have the T-shirt wearing cartoon drawing ‘extremists’ on the other side you have machinegun wielding demonstrators shooting at effigies, placards with threaten of further 9/11s, intimidation of European citizens in the ME, and contracts written out by imams for the heads of the cartoonists.

Equating one with the other is part of problem and not addressing the problem.

The coincidental surfacing of further Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse pictures as well as the video of British soldier bashing youths, as well denying justice to prisoners held in Guantanamo, are ample sources for serious self examination by the West however, publishing cartoons of the prophet is not.

At 2/18/2006 01:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Touché !


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