. . . here's an example
We are constantly told Islam means "peace". However, as Dr Mark Durie explains it means something quite different:~
While there is a link in Arabic between salam, a word often translated ‘peace’, and Islam, the real connection is found in the idea of safety. The word Islam is based upon a military metaphor. Derived from aslama ‘surrender’ its primary meaning is to make oneself safe (salama) through surrender. In its original meaning, a muslim was someone who surrendered in warfare. Thus Islam did not stand for the absence of war, but for one of its intended outcomes: surrender leading to the ‘safety’ of captivity. It was Muhammad himself who said to his non-Muslim neighbors aslim taslam ‘surrender (i.e. convert to Islam) and you will be safe’.
The start of the entry for s-l-m from Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon
Nevertheless the authorities, disingenuously in my observation, maintain that Islam does indeed mean "peace" and is a peaceful religion. But if so why should the Police expect violence when difficult questions are asked of Muslims? I mean if Ms Southern were to go into a Christian part of town and challenge people on some aspects of Christianity that she found troubling nobody would expect any problems would they? Even from "highly religious" Christians - you know, the ones who have dedicated their whole lives to closely following God - like Nuns and Bible teachers and ordained ministers.
So there seems to be a serious level of self deception when the Police say that Islam is peaceful while they act on their real belief that these people should not be challenged or they will probably get violent. Despite the talk, by their actions the Police obviously believe the latter to be the truth.
So I like the following video for several reasons:
- it encourages respectful dialogue which can build relationships and diffuse tension & misunderstanding. The interviewer encounters problems both with a language barrier and with the varying intelligence of the Muslims he meets - everyday problems;
- It identifies the opportunity to identify genuinely open Muslims who are pretty happy to discuss contentious issues, but as Mr Navabi shows;
- it also helps us identify the Sharia compliant among our new friends and see for ourselves their closed minded intransigence;
- it also demonstrates someone reasoning about a better Idea and hopefully, use common ground which may lead eventually to gently challenging our new friend about the person of the prophet.
Note how one man believes completely in Sharia and that it is appropriate for Mr Navabi to be put to death for leaving Islam. Note how this man takes the opportunity to try to bring the apostate back into the fold (exactly as Dr Durie explained, he offers a way to have "peace") by shouting him lunch for a chat and even gets his brother the Sheikh to talk to him. In the end though, the Sharia instructions for death for the apostate remain supreme.
Note also the excuses proffered for taking offence at criticism of the prophet or Sharia by comparing such to mocking one's mother. The point seems to be lost that while I may indeed be temporarily hurt when my mother is insulted, it is entirely up to me how I choose to respond and violence is by no means the unavoidable answer - at least for a thinking person.
This does not seem to weigh at all in these Muslims' calculations though. So for this I can't help but think much less of these men. They place themselves on the same level as a dumb dog that simply has to bite if its tail is stood on. This is demeaning to their dignity as men. Furthermore what may be justifiable criticism from my perspective could be taken as severe mocking by them. How do I know where the line is? I am aghast that Muslims would follow a prophet who had sex with a little girl. yet my Muslim friend is angry at my protestations and punches me in the mouth. Things have only gotten worse. This seems to be the major reason our governments are doing all they can to silence any criticism of Islam rather than encourage genuine, mature public discussion.
Consider also if were we to change the object of severe criticism from the prophet to something such as "the Jews". A group which, based largely on religious superstition, is widely reviled and stigmatised in the Muslim community. Why is such bigotry & hatred acceptable to so many Muslims while genuine fact-based criticism of Islam is taken as an insult? Why the obvious double standard? If the authorities don't allow us to talk to them about such issues how can this help us all live together?
This isn't dialogue and the sooner some of us realise that some Muslims take seriously the teachings of their Faith to fight those who criticise the prophet & kill apostates then the sooner we'll be able to engage in meaningful communication. That would be really worthwhile dialogue.
If only our governments trusted their people and if only those religious leaders responsible for formal dialogue engaged in really meaningful dialogue on the real issues of substance.
Asking Muslims If We Can Criticize Islam - Sydney, Australia with Armin Navabi (18 minutes)
Armin Navabi - Director of Media at Pangburn Philosophy - goes to Lakemba in Sydney, Australia to ask Muslims if it's okay to criticize Islam.