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The claim in the Obama quote you object to is that he was not a leader of Muslims in general, in the same way that Jim Jones (from your above comparison) was not a leader of Christians in general, but rather a leader of a Christian cult which most other Christians would recoil from. Jim Jones was a Christian and a leader, but not a Christian leader.

I'm confused by your point. One is only a Muslim leader if one is leading the majority of Muslims?

Edit: Was bin Laden a leader in accord with Islam?

Edited by Trebor
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I'm confused by your point. One is only a Muslim leader if one is leading the majority of Muslims?

My point is that the term "Muslim leader" can be used in several different ways, and I think it's pretty clear from the context of Obama's statement that he meant that Osama was not a mainstream leader in the Islamic religion.

Edit: Was bin Laden a leader in accord with Islam?

I do not know, but I see no reason to play the no-true-Scotsman game with Osama's Islam creds. The point is that this question is irrelevant to the issue of whether he is widely regarded by Muslims as a leader of their faith in general.

Edited by Dante
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Okay. So bin Laden was not a Muslim.

And when some individual Christian murders an abortion doctor, he's not really a Christian.

There are people who claim that there are almost no real Christians in the world, because none of them lives up to the teachings of Christ. It sounds like you want to use a concept of "muslim" that excludes the millions of people who call themselves muslims, read the Quran regularly and try to follow their interpretation of what it means, go to the mosque every Friday, say a prayer five times a day, fast during Ramadan, try to avoid paying interest, and so on. If so, that's fine. When I say muslims do not lie, I am simply pointing out that these millions are not any more prone to lying than the millions of so-called Christians who go to church regularly, respect their pastor, think that the bible is holy and try to follow their interpretation of it, say a prayer at night and before a meal, and so on. My point is that all those so-called muslims are no more prone to lying than all those so-called christians.
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So, it was regretful (just regretful?) that he existed, and people should be rather indifferent to his now non-existence?

Thats not what I said. I just dont think that everyone gets to get all decked out in their moral finery and mount their own personal moral high horse because the U.S. intelligence and armed forces succeeded in doing a job well done.

People should not be indifferent, but to take delight and revel in the situation is to forget the fact that bin Ladens exist in the real world, outside the context of a happy ending movie script. The fact that he existed, and needed to be killed in the name of justice is a somber fact about reality, a reality that persists after this particular and brief soundbite in time.

Thats not to say Im not happy hes dead, and especially about the way it happened. I just think a somber, forward looking sort of reflection about the nature of evil is warranted rather than a collectivized orgy of flag waving.

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My point is that the term "Muslim leader" can be used in several different ways, and I think it's pretty clear from the context of Obama's statement that he meant that Osama was not a mainstream leader in the Islamic religion.

I suppose that is true, but it merely confuses things. Islam is a specific religious ideology (just as is Christianity, just as communism, just as capitalism). The nature of the ideology is not determined by what the majority of it's so-called followers hold it to be, but by reference to the ideology itself — what it holds as well as what it would lead to in practice. Islam is not a religion of peace regardless of Obama's (among many others') declaration and willful blindness. In this sense, the leaders of an ideology are those who act to lead most consistently towards the logical outcome of the ideology.

I do not know, but I see no reason to play the no-true-Scotsman game with Osama's Islam creds. The point is that this question is irrelevant to the issue of whether he is widely regarded by Muslims as a leader of their faith in general.

Same issue and problem. Do we identify Objectivism as the philosophy that most people who claim to be Objectivist hold it to be? Is it merely a numbers game?

*** Mod's note: Split separate topic. sN ***

Edited by softwareNerd
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There are people who claim that there are almost no real Christians in the world, because none of them lives up to the teachings of Christ. It sounds like you want to use a concept of "muslim" that excludes the millions of people who call themselves muslims, read the Quran regularly and try to follow their interpretation of what it means, go to the mosque every Friday, say a prayer five times a day, fast during Ramadan, try to avoid paying interest, and so on. If so, that's fine. When I say muslims do not lie, I am simply pointing out that these millions are not any more prone to lying than the millions of so-called Christians who go to church regularly, respect their pastor, think that the bible is holy and try to follow their interpretation of it, say a prayer at night and before a meal, and so on. My point is that all those so-called muslims are no more prone to lying than all those so-called christians.

But Christianity cannot be practiced consistently, and so by its nature there can be no "real Christians" in the sense that to the extent to which they are consistent with it, they will soon be dead. The best one can do is be a hypocrite, accepting the Christian ideology, yet not act on it consistently, always called upon to act more consistently on the ideology. But they are still Christian, to varying degrees of consistency, if they hold Christianity as true and ideal, as a proper ideology which should be followed.

I'm not saying that all Muslims (nor that all Christians, or any other group of individuals) lie all the time about everything.

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Thats not what I said. I just dont think that everyone gets to get all decked out in their moral finery and mount their own personal moral high horse because the U.S. intelligence and armed forces succeeded in doing a job well done.

I don't think that only those who are the best, most upright, upstanding, can appreciate, legitimately and validly, the fact that bin Laden has been killed. In a sense, as Americans, this is one case in which we are all in this together. (No, not everyone, but most everyone, generally.)

People should not be indifferent, but to take delight and revel in the situation is to forget the fact that bin Ladens exist in the real world, outside the context of a happy ending movie script. The fact that he existed, and needed to be killed in the name of justice is a somber fact about reality, a reality that persists after this particular and brief soundbite in time.

I do not see the problem with taking delight in bin Laden's death, given the context. Certainly there are more "bin Ladens" out there, and the death of this one doesn't mean that all of our worries are over, but this is something positive in a country that has come to accept life under siege (as opposed to fighting the enemy and defeating him). Dr. Drew said something like, "It's not over, don't gloat, don't get cocky, but I think this is a sign that we can finish this if we put our minds to it."

Thats not to say Im not happy hes dead, and especially about the way it happened. I just think a somber, forward looking sort of reflection about the nature of evil is warranted rather than a collectivized orgy of flag waving.

I don't see it as either-or. Celebrating bin Laden's death doesn't mean that there is no "somber, forward looking" reflection. But it's hopeful and positive.

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Aren't the inconsistent followers that notice the contradictions the ones that don't matter in that they can practice in "peace", but it is the few that are willing

to die for consistency that make the difference that you read on the "headline news".

Are the ones that declare jihad giving a bad name to Muslims who are not consistent with their ideology, or are the inconsistent majority of Muslims

giving a bad name to the ones that become martyrs through violence? Diluting the religion in a way.

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It is not true that Muslims lie as a rule. When it comes to such things, my muslim acquaintances are just as upstanding as the next guy. Also, there are a lot of Muslims who despise bin Laden and other Islamic terrorists, and fear that muslim terrorists like him make it harder for them (i.e. peaceful muslims) to live their lives in a non-muslim society.

The talk about Taqiyya is overdone. Often on the forum someone will ask if it is okay to lie in some circumstances. Objectivists will often answer that honesty does not demand that one truthfully tell a murderer where he can find his victim. Since religious edicts tend to be much more absolute, Taqiyya simply lays down an exception. Instead of making a general statement that honesty is contextual, it lays down a specific context where one may lie. Contrast this with the Christian story of Peter denying Jesus which can be read as a lack of moral courage. Instead, Taqiyya gives more practical advice: you can hide your views and your faith to protect yourself.

It does not follow that Muslims in general are liars any more than it follows that Objectivists are for their own belief in the contextual nature of whether it is right to lie.

Lying is not the same as dishonesty, of course. One can lie, in a certain context, and be completely honest.

If honesty is taken to be "true to reality, all of reality," then, if a murderer is asking where his intended victim is, one can lie (to protect the intended victim) and be completely honest. One is being "true to reality." One is being true to the fact that the intended victim has a right to life and that the murderer's intention is wrong, and one acts accordingly, true to the facts of reality. This (lying in self-defense or defense of someone's rights) is no different than using force in self-defense. It would be wrong to hold that one has a right to life, but that it's wrong to defend and protect one's life, whether by the use of force or by lying.

Contrast this with the murderer, who after having murdered someone, flees but is eventually caught. Sure, he can and likely will lie, but his lying is dishonest.

Given that Islam is not a religion of peace but a totalitarian ideology on a crusade for world domination, with death or submission for infidels, then lying to one's enemies as a Muslim is comparable to the murderer lying to the police.

I do not think the talk about taqiyya is overdone. I think it's the opposite. It needs to be talked about and understood.

Edit: added a needed "that"

Edit: removed a comma for clarity

Edited by Trebor
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Aren't the inconsistent followers that notice the contradictions the ones that don't matter in that they can practice in "peace", but it is the few that are willing

to die for consistency that make the difference that you read on the "headline news".

The radicals are the movers, the moderates follow.

Are the ones that declare jihad giving a bad name to Muslims who are not consistent with their ideology, or are the inconsistent majority of Muslims

giving a bad name to the ones that become martyrs through violence? Diluting the religion in a way.

Islam is a total-state religion and does not recognize the propriety of a separation between church and state. If I understand your question, I'd say, again, that the moderates or the inconsistent majority give a "bad name" to the consistent ones.

I know that Dr. Peikoff gave an answer to a similar question in one of his podcasts, but I cannot find it right off. If I remember, he said that it's the radicals that set the course of history. Once they do, once they act, the moderates are irrelevant.

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Commentary by Iowahawk: American Pride is Back Out of the Closet!

First paragraph:

As much as I am now embarrassed to admit it, if you had asked me 48 hours ago whether Osama Bin Laden would ever be brought to justice I would have probably answered "no." Like many Americans I had all but abandoned hope that we would ever capture or kill the 9/11 mastermind, and had resigned myself to the idea he would die an old man thumbing his nose at us from some comfortable cave in Waziristan. Well, I can happily report that I completely underestimated the skill, courage, and perseverence of America's military. And, almost as happily, I can report that I also completely underestimated the capacity of America's erstwhile "peace community" for turning on a dime and embracing the kind of all-American xenophobic flag-waving bloodlust they only recently decried. So today I stand proudly with my new friends of the formerly antiwar left in a mindlessly jingoistic salute to President Obama for an extralegal military assassination well done.

Read the whole thing.

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I realize I am late to this discussion but, Trebor, the burden of proof is on you in this one. If you want to claim that bin Laden and his ilk were following the "true" version of Islam, it's up to you to use the Quran and various other Islamic sources to show why.

Softwarnerd's point is not one that is easily ignored. It is impossible to be a fully consistent Christian, because faithfully following (or at least believing in) parts of the Christian religion necessarily mean that you ignore or fail to follow others. The same is true of Islam. If you choose to follow the violent parts of the Quran, you are ignoring other parts that preach peace. When bin Laden points to "slay them wherever ye find them," a whirling Dervish in Turkey might point to "there is no compulsion in religion."

There is a theory, advocated by famed anti-Islamic activist ibn Warraq, that the violence of the different parts of the Quran depend on whether Muhammad was in Mecca or Medina when they were "revealed" to him. In Mecca, where he did not have much of a following and was at the mercy of the authorities, the suras are largely peaceful. In Medina, where he developed a following, they are more violent. I admit to not having studied this matter in detail myself, but I suspect you haven't either.

The statement "Islam is a total state religion" is true, only insofar as it has been practiced as such in certain parts of the Islamic world in certain parts of its history. As it is with Christianity. In other times and other places, both religions have coexisted peacefully with other religions in a pluralistic society--as in modern Turkey. Even with the "Islamist" party in power, there are no government-sanctioned massacres or increased taxes against religious minorities. It's also worth noting that even with a large number of Muslims nominally supporting religious government, it is not practiced in most of the Middle East with anything approaching consistency. Islam unambiguously bans the consumption of alcohol and yet, to my knowledge, the only countries that completely ban it are (I think) Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya (for now), and Sudan.

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I realize I am late to this discussion but, Trebor, the burden of proof is on you in this one. If you want to claim that bin Laden and his ilk were following the "true" version of Islam, it's up to you to use the Quran and various other Islamic sources to show why.

What would you take as proof?

Softwarnerd's point is not one that is easily ignored. It is impossible to be a fully consistent Christian, because faithfully following (or at least believing in) parts of the Christian religion necessarily mean that you ignore or fail to follow others. The same is true of Islam. If you choose to follow the violent parts of the Quran, you are ignoring other parts that preach peace. When bin Laden points to "slay them wherever ye find them," a whirling Dervish in Turkey might point to "there is no compulsion in religion."

With nothing else, I would think that just that in itself, your own statement, would be sufficient to prove that Islam is not a religion of peace. Consistent with Islam, a follower can be either peaceful or violent ("slay them wherever ye find them"). It's optional.

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According to Islamic doctrine, the later Suras in the Quran abrogate the earlier, peaceful ones. This has been established from early in Islam's history.

That's a matter of interpretation that not every Muslim agrees with. I don't think that every Christian must stick to what the early Roman Catholic church taught.

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What would you take as proof?

A well-reasoned argument that uses the original sources and offers reasonable counterpoints to alternative interpretations of said sources that have prevailed at different periods of history--and still prevail in some places today.

With nothing else, I would think that just that in itself, your own statement, would be sufficient to prove that Islam is not a religion of peace. Consistent with Islam, a follower can be either peaceful or violent ("slay them wherever ye find them"). It's optional.

Well, hold on a second. I never said Islam is a religion of piece. That's western liberal hogwash. I just reject the notion that you can say "Islam," as such, is a violent ideology--because the word "Islam" does not name a single ideology but, rather, dozens of competing and mutually-exclusive ideologies that all claim to be the correct interpretation of the religion revealed by Muhammad. As far as I'm concerned, bin Laden and my former boss from Turkey are both Muslims. My boss was very observant and followed all the strictures that he thought his religion placed on his own actions, but he was one of the nicest people I have known in many years and had no ill-will towards non-Muslims.

Calling someone a Muslim tells me nothing about what they think is the proper role of religion in public life. Even many Muslims in the Middle East drink alcohol and visit prostitutes. Had we been having this conversation 1000 years ago, you might be telling me that Christianity is inherently impossible to separate from the state, whereas Islam has a streak of tolerance and relative progressivism.

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According to Islamic doctrine, the later Suras in the Quran abrogate the earlier, peaceful ones. This has been established from early in Islam's history.

According to some interpretations, yes. This is ibn Warraq's view. There are many Muslim clerics, however, who would disagree. Neither you nor I are in a position to call them wrong. Once again, we are left with the conclusion that Islam is as Islam does, according to the interpretation of each person practicing it.

Edited by The Wrath
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In regards to consistency in Islam:

Seperation of Church and State

"So how are Muslims to approach the modern trend of separation of religion and state? The basic belief in Islam is that the Qur'an is one hundred percent the word of Allah, and the Sunna was also as a result of the guidance of Allah to the Prophet sallallahu allayhe wasalam. Islam cannot be separated from the state because it guides us through every detail of running the state and our lives. Muslims have no choice but to reject secularism for it excludes the law of Allah."-Dr. Jaafar Sheikh Idris (Bold Mine)

Islam Vs. Secularism

"There is no doubt that secularism contradicts Islam in every aspect. They are two different paths that never meet; choosing one means rejecting the other. Hence, whoever chooses Islam has to reject secularism. In the following, we go in the details of explaining why. "-AlJumuah [The Friday Report], vol III, no. 10.

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In regards to consistency in Islam:

Seperation of Church and State

"So how are Muslims to approach the modern trend of separation of religion and state? The basic belief in Islam is that the Qur'an is one hundred percent the word of Allah, and the Sunna was also as a result of the guidance of Allah to the Prophet sallallahu allayhe wasalam. Islam cannot be separated from the state because it guides us through every detail of running the state and our lives. Muslims have no choice but to reject secularism for it excludes the law of Allah."-Dr. Jaafar Sheikh Idris (Bold Mine)

Islam Vs. Secularism

"There is no doubt that secularism contradicts Islam in every aspect. They are two different paths that never meet; choosing one means rejecting the other. Hence, whoever chooses Islam has to reject secularism. In the following, we go in the details of explaining why. "-AlJumuah [The Friday Report], vol III, no. 10.

You are citing opinions. For every cleric you can find that holds this view, I can find one that disagrees.

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Calling someone a Muslim tells me nothing about what they think is the proper role of religion in public life. Even many Muslims in the Middle East drink alcohol and visit prostitutes. Had we been having this conversation 1000 years ago, you might be telling me that Christianity is inherently impossible to separate from the state, whereas Islam has a streak of tolerance and relative progressivism.

You are citing opinions. For every cleric you can find that holds this view, I can find one that disagrees.

A christian cleric who acts consistently in assigning abortion as murder, and takes the next step in seeking justice by murdering the abortion doctor

is a christian who acted consistently. A Muslim cleric who decided that Muhammad is not to be depicted and sought justice through murder is a Muslim

acting consistently. Those are the ones that matter, the consistent ones. The radical ones. I wonder what the clerics that disagree with the exampled

clerics would label them under.

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A christian cleric who acts consistently in assigning abortion as murder, and takes the next step in seeking justice by murdering the abortion doctor is a christian who acted consistently...Those are the ones that matter, the consistent ones. The radical ones. I wonder what the clerics that disagree with the exampled clerics would label them under.

Your first statement is wildly untrue. The Bible is littered with verses that forbid killing, taking vengeance, etc. The whole point is, Christianity (and Islam) is not an integrated philosophy, but a religion based on a text that contradicts itself. The Christian who chooses one side of the contradicting passages is no more or less consistent than the Christian who chooses the other. Certainly, the Christian in your example is more radical than the other, but it is simply ignorant to claim that he violates no Biblical scripture when he "takes the next step."

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A well-reasoned argument that uses the original sources and offers reasonable counterpoints to alternative interpretations of said sources that have prevailed at different periods of history--and still prevail in some places today.

You are citing opinions. For every cleric you can find that holds this view, I can find one that disagrees.

Well I think its important to stop looking at ancient texts, interpretations of sources, and historical trends and start looking at reality, the world as it is right now. Whatever nice things the sacred prophet had to say about peace is not worth considering at this point. The poison has spread. Polling moderate muslims will not erase that fact.

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According to some interpretations, yes. This is ibn Warraq's view. There are many Muslim clerics, however, who would disagree. Neither you nor I are in a position to call them wrong. Once again, we are left with the conclusion that Islam is as Islam does, according to the interpretation of each person practicing it.

Which makes it subjective and irrational.

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