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Why aren't we capable of self-criticism ?
8 September 2006 19:54
Here's a piece from Uri Avnery (again...) where he bashes the israeli left. It begs the question of why isn't the press in the arab world or our politicians capable of the same self-criticism ? I remember one exception when the Abu Ghraïb scandal hit the front pages, an egyptian journalist wrote that while the arab press was right to bash the US army, it was being hypocritical because their regimes did and were still doing far worse without so much as a peep from them.

Take another example, during the latest conflict, Haaretz and other israeli blogs were hammering hard on the israeli leadership and Tsahal, I've posted some here, but if you had the audacity to criticize Hezbollah, it was open hunting season on your sorry ass.

Last one : religion. If you try in anyway to reform our views on islam's place in our 21st century societies, you're a sionist in disguise or simply a kafir.

What's wrong with our societies ? How is it that a civilisation responsible for so much progress centuries ago, is now incapable of computing simple words like "reform" without interpreting it as "treachery" ?

8 September 2006 21:57
Chelhman, that is one of the biggest problems we face today, the Arab governments will not reform and democratize because the media cannot criticize and bring people’s voice to the front., still total lack of freedom of the press. What the Egyptian journalist said is right, and the policy of ONSOR AKHAKA DAALIMAN AW MADLOUMANE, is so widespread and strong amongst us. the biggest hurdle and insurmountable problem in my view is religion, like you said, as soon as you criticize or ask for just a moderation or clarification in any field, you are labeled a Zionist and kafir, and may get what the Sudanese journalist Mohamed Taha get last week. It’s becoming a joke but still stand today. I’m afraid the years are going to pass and nothing will change.
How come in every country in the world governments are brought down if they do not perform except in the Arab world? How the hell could that be? How the hell could the sons and the extended families of the governments’ elites in the Arab world the five % who hold all the wealth of these countries? How can a president, who should be elected by the people, remain 30 years as head of state? What the hell is all this? And I’m not even talking about what the islamists want to do if given a chance. Sorry for my French today, it’s all chelhman’s fault for bringing a subject that just drives you insane..
The Arab world without a serious look at itself and adoption of real democracy will be for generations the laugh of the world, and I’m afraid we already are knocking on that door.
We have to stop talking about all the stuff Arabs brought to human kind, because it seems to me for generations we stopped right there, yes, we have to go visit what Arabs left in Andalusia but let go and go back to invention and creativity and become the leaders we once were.
Thanks for good piece chelhman,
8 September 2006 22:15
hi chelhman

i totally agree with you here and would like to suggest a reply to the question "how come a civilisation that achieved so many great things in the past is now incapable of taking criticism on board and just won't accept to change in the slightest" (i rephrased it, hope you won't mind!). well, i think that the answer is in the question itself: we did many great things centuries ago so now we just.... rest on our laurels, taking our past achievements as a licence to just assume that we're right about everything and that we don't need anyone to teach us any lessons, the same way that we didn't need anyone when, centuries ago, we set out to conquering the world and inventing algebra and all the many other great things that followed. seriously, i think that the problem, for many of us, is that instead of viewing our glorious past as en encouragement to keep going and improving, safe in the knowledge that if we did it once, we can do it again, we just think "our ancestors have done all that great stuff, so i don't have anything left to prove to anyone". and while we keep ourselves busy with these self-destructive thoughts, other people, who don't want to end up like us, just roll up their sleeves and get down to business.... that's how countries such as china and india, which only a decade ago were getting laughed at, are now a source of inspiration to others (but funnily enough, not to us, since it seems that the harder those guys work, the lazier we're getting). anyway, chelhman, thanks for that wake up call.
9 September 2006 21:08
in short;
Insecurity and Laziness!

It's also a great strategy to keep the mass in a long heavy slumber. Face it or not, the 5% Almot suggested being on top and looting still, are those who benefit from this slumber period or state of the mass and not only that they (5%) contribute and conspire even to keeping the gag "order" as permanent as possible! The result, while they are filling our Brains with air, they are compiling $$$$$ for thier own!

Self criticism is the first step of reform. The USA is not to blame in the first place! Israel is not to blame for the Palestinian state in the first place. Let's clean and restructure our house first and foremost, then we'll have a solid foundation that will bring us respect once we sit face to face with them on the discussion table!
God is great, but Watch movie Kingdom of Heaven and listen to what Salahddin said when urgedto attck after his sister was killed by the bad guys...He waited and prepared and restored house before attacking! the Ponit here, is not necessarily attacking but sitting down on the table! Let's face it, it's not the will that counts in these times, though that of Arab leaders is more a mirage than a reality, we are not equipped (intellectualy, phisically..we're behind) and it's only by admitting this that we'll go forward. We have big mouths that utter stupidities instead of asking admitting failure!

A very good example, Khadija gave is India and China! They kept quiet for sometime and now thier actions speak louder than thunder! An example, The Americans are crying over jobs going to India and china...Outsourcing is not a figment of the imagination it's real butthe chinese and India worked their butts off to get the contracts they are getting! and we're not talking just customer service here, the best and cheapest health service is now in India nd thialand...documentaries shown on US networks are the best proof of a Rich nation, admitting the failure of its health system...

The Arab World better follow suit should they want to be taken seriously and they should drop the Nakhwa ala Lakhwa!

Lastly, As an individual I'm doing my part and speaking with the very people that the 5% want us to alienate as Koffar and show them the other side of a muslim/arab...and that we did great things and we're willing to learn! in order to keep up...I'm willing to learn and try other things and adopt/adapt new strategies! I'm also willing and do admit we're behind, way behind, and committed to the intellectual and scientific catching up I have to do...for that's the only way I'm gaining respect from my very Own-Self! and that takes care of the other respecting me and my deeds!

Religion is not a stamp one stick on his head and watches at all times. It's much more than that! I don't have to tell you I'm this or that, my actions will! And let's face it,our actions are pitiful and not representative of the religion we presume to embrace! Every body growing facial hair now can claim to be an Imam and issue a Fatwa! istead of grinding and working to make themeselves better Human beings...this is the kind of ideas we're opposed to!
I spoke once to an Imam about mixed marriages and He told me that it is Harram and quoted me a verse from the Quran that I finished for him! I told the man, that my asking was proof of respect for him and proof that I was willing to learn something that makes sense to me and the world as we know it now...that I heard the same Answer from from my grand father who was told the same thing by his ancestors...My point was never made; or rather The Imam in question didn't want to hear me out! The man is considered to be an expert, hence the title, yet he's sitting on his butt reading the same verses I read, and he's in complete isolation from the actual reality doing nothing but preaching the same lessons he learned some years ago...I call that Laziness and insecurity! I can read the Koran myself and even interpret most of it! Why do I need an Imam who's threatened by my ability to read the verses and doing nothing to show me that he knows better for me to respect him more!
I hope I didn't drift way from the topic!
9 September 2006 22:39
Hi everyone,

You all hit right on target. I have nothing to add except the fact that I believe we're sinking deeper into some sort of autism. Most of the progress being paraded in the newspapers is economical but the mentalities are still frozen or worse : slumbering deeper into a comforting but deluded self-righteousness.

A few years ago, I was hoping that the diaspora would be our "renaissance", seeing as they are living in progressive societies. But the opposite is happening, since 9/11 they're retreating into a kind of "identity bunker" when they cut themselves off from a much needed well of knowledge and enlightenment.

They're not entirely at fault of course, they're being drawn from one side by an ugly ideology well-known to us by now, and being pushed away by their host countries because of that very same ideology. But somehow I thought by taking the best of both worlds, as you and I seem to have done, it would have been possible like Yani said to prevail with merit. Silly me.

Anyway, thanks khadija81, Almot and Yani for participating in the debate.
11 September 2006 16:58
Hi Chelhman and all !

This is a qts I asked to myself several times .... I really don't know what we can't have a calm discussion related to our religion...I think that the biggest problem of Islam is ignorance. When 90% of Muslims will be educated we could then try to have a better understanding of our religion !

I believe that ignorance is prejudice, the biggest one that could exist for a culture, a religion !

In all this site, I really appreciate the board in English, the discussion are mainly calm which is not the case in the others posts !!

Nice week Smiling Smiley

12 September 2006 05:20
We appreciate your stopping by and welcome!...hope you visit often. Sometimes it gets hot here tooSmiling Smiley but we try to keep it agree-able! There's definitely some learning going on here. Chelhman, Krim and Almotanabi are regular(s) who should be congratulated for keeping this corner going! I learn a great deal from these guys!
12 September 2006 17:23
thank you Winking smiley

I am getting a look each time I can...
18 September 2006 19:26
Just an article following the controversy about the Pope's faux-pas, it underlines what we have been discussing here. The arab press quoted in the article has not dared use that, to launch an internal debate, instead they've towed the party line which is "every critic is a conspiracy against Islam".

I would have liked to see an article in the arab/muslim press analysing the violent reactions twice recently : on the prophet's cartoons and on this one. What happened to just sueing for defamation instead of shooting and burning churches and flags ?

24 September 2006 23:04
AngelThank you Yani, for been so open minded.Often I thought of making a simple comment regarding this issue, but I always feared being chased out of the Forum and asked to miind my own business..
Therefore I seldom discuss religion with my muslim friends , just to avoid any trouble, since they are adamant with their attitude : I am RIGHT, and YOU are wrong... PEACE
24 September 2006 23:20
Gabriella, you won't have any problems with us here. It's an open forum that's what I like about it.
25 September 2006 02:43
Hi Gaby, Chelhman and All,
IT's your place Gabriealla, as well as ours and anybody elses' far as we're open an welcoming, I beleive we'll move forward...The way I see it, we don't have a choice!

re.The pope's views...I said few things under another thread that our dear Almot started!I think the response of leaders of other faiths was more efective than threats or.... Later I'll post a letter by the Jewish religious leader in Jerusalem to Alquardawi!

Ramadan Mobarak
25 September 2006 09:32
Why aren't we capable of self-criticism ?
In order to answer this question dear chelhman, we have to go back and analyze some processes: how brains are shaped in the arab world ? the importance of religion in "shaping" brains ? the role of political systems in cultivating ignorance ?......etc......
So if you are telling to the people that the truth is in the holy book so why should they keep doing some brain storming in trying to understand things. So in the early stgaes of nucleation and growth of brains, many windows of opportunities are somehow closed. SElf-criticism means asking questions and to try to answer them using logic and common sense (and any question). There is no absolut truth, every individual should work and think and discuss and be open to all cultures, religions, sciences etc in order to be able to ask questions about his own ways of looking at things.
I think we had a similar discussion with Almot some months ago......
I just came back from Egypt which I visited for the first time, I had a nice meeting I met lovely people but I am still .............. ?????????????????????????????????????
25 September 2006 22:47
Hi Krim,

I agree on your remark about brains in the arab world. But if you take a look on this forum on the french-speaking section, most of the participants have been educated in Europe, they react the same way as someone from an arab or muslim country.
So, one might argue, that it's not so much the environement but the level of penetration of religion in every aspect of a muslim's life that is the decisive factor.

I'm just brainstorming here but isn't the comprehension of the religion itself, that is the root cause of the problem. The original message is actually encouraging the pursuit of knowledge but muslims spend their time seeking that knowledge in the Kuran but nowhere else.
From experience, when I discuss anything with my cousins, they keep quoting me hadiths to articulate their thought, where I keep quoting what I have learnt in books, encyclopedias, documentaries...etc.

There's a saying in latin : Cave ab homine unius libri (Beware of anyone who has just one book), it illustrates what you said about the truth being in the holy book and therefore why look elsewhere.

The Ulemas should re-explain the original message to the muslim community, encouraging them to go back to the way things were at the beginning : seeking and spreading knowledge. All they do these days is issue useless fatwas on legal matters that are usually within the jurisdiction of nation-states so that no head of state really cares or fatwas reinforcing the sentiment of victimization.
26 September 2006 08:58
I am not giving any judgement on Islam. I am focusing on the fact that kids in their early stages become hostages of a kind of perrot learning which is a barrier for all processes of emancipation in thinking, learning. The killer for curiosity and innovative thinking.
I wish kids can first learn languages, math..... and then when they are mature tackle Coran. may be smart muslims will be produced in masses.... and the world will witness the great Islam.
Actually Islam´s reputation is suffering from this kind of perrot type muslims. Yallatif
27 September 2006 18:57
Hi everyone,

I'm adding something here posted by a Yabiladian (Andi Espoir) in the french forum. It's a chat session with Tariq Ramadan, interesting questions and responses :

28 September 2006 13:11
Following our debate, here's a very interesting critic on our media. There's a paragraph on preachers like Al Qardawi who, according to the author, do nothing to enhance the debate but instead spread ignorance :

28 September 2006 14:57
Tarik Ramadan is talking about a very interesting point which the literalistic reading. This is a major problem we are facing in any discussion about Islam. If we go deep in such discussions, we have to adress the issue of universality in time and space. I think, he is touching the heart of the problem.
What should a muslim living in Finnland do in the period of Ramadan ? Sunset......??..
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