Malala Yousafzai, Teenage School Activist, Survives Taliban Attack

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At the age of 11, Malala Yousafzai took on the Taliban by giving voice to her dreams. As turbaned fighters swept through her town in northwestern Pakistan in 2009, the tiny schoolgirl spoke out about her passion for education — she wanted to become a doctor, she said — and became a symbol of defiance against Taliban subjugation.


On Tuesday, masked Taliban gunmen answered Ms. Yousafzai’s courage with bullets, singling out the 14-year-old on a bus filled with terrified schoolchildren, then shooting her in the head and neck. Two other girls were also wounded in the attack. All three survived, but late on Tuesday doctors said that Ms. Yousafzai was in critical condition at a hospital in Peshawar, with a bullet possibly lodged close to her brain.

A Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, confirmed by phone that Ms. Yousafzai had been the target, calling her crusade for education rights an “obscenity.”

“She has become a symbol of Western culture in the area; she was openly propagating it,” Mr. Ehsan said, adding that if she survived, the militants would certainly try to kill her again. “Let this be a lesson.”

The Taliban’s ability to attack Pakistan’s major cities has waned in the past year. But in rural areas along the Afghan border, the militants have intensified their campaign to silence critics and impose their will.

That Ms. Yousafzai’s voice could be deemed a threat to the Taliban — that they could see a schoolgirl’s death as desirable and justifiable — was seen as evidence of both the militants’ brutality and her courage.

“She symbolizes the brave girls of Swat,” said Samar Minallah, a documentary filmmaker who has worked among Pashtun women. “She knew her voice was important, so she spoke up for the rights of children. Even adults didn’t have a vision like hers.”

Written By: Declan Walsh
continue to source article at nytimes.com

118 COMMENTS

  1. If the moderate Muslims (whatever that means) don’t speak out against extremism for the sake of disagreeing with American foreign policy (and mistaking the two as binary opposites), I think I can deal with that. But if they don’t come out in full support of this heroic girl, championing her activism and courage, then there is no hope for Islam whatsoever. I know it won’t happen but I also hope I’m wrong.

  2. Why are these idiots so afraid of females?

    After all, they claim a prize of virgins in paradise; I bet in truth they don’t believe that bull dung, because they know that on arrival they wouldn’t have a clue what to do, so they’re faking it to impress their mates and mullas; bullies and phonies then; I thoroughly dislike both.  

    On the other hand given their present form they’d probably shoot the virgins!

  3. She is a genuine hero and this story is desperately sad. She stood up for what was right, the rights of women to an education and all that gives, life, economic freedom from male domination, the ability to make informed choices. The right for women to choose do something with their lives, and the right to be considered equals, fellow human beings and not objects for men to own. And her father, a teacher, is also brave as he has supported her – which must have terrified him as a parent.

     The taliban are a just a bunch of  inadequate bastards who are terrified that if girls get rights and the freedom to choose they would avoid taliban males like the plague. Thats what happens when you give inadequates guns and power.

    She is one of a long line of genuinely heroic muslim women whose bravery is never really celebrated enough anywhere. I’ve never seen her blog about the right to education for girls mentioned anywhere here for example, yet shes been writing it for a long while.

    She is the sort of woman this site should be celebrating, one that is trying to make a real difference.

  4. Few ‘westerners’ and most Muslims just don’t get it. Islam demands this behavior when there is a perceived ‘threat’ to the faith- perception being in the eye of the extremist. In Islamic terms killing the infidel is the prime duty, regardless. Only one solution- these (Taliban/ Al Qaeda/ Boko Haram/ etc) scum must be eliminated. The job should be done by the Muslim majority- but how?

  5. >“She has become a symbol of Western culture in the area; she was openly propagating it,” Mr. Ehsan said, adding that if she survived, the militants would certainly try to kill her again. “Let this be a lesson.”
    How is Mr. Ehsan not arrested for conspriracy or some similar charge?  I find it particularly disturbing that a criminal organization can have a spokesperson.  What a vile and disgusting group.  Lower then swine. 

    My hope is that this incident backfires on the Taliban in someway.  That instead of being intimidated, people rally against them. 

  6. I know what you mean. I’d really like to say something clever and meaningful about this sad affair, and the universe of difference between young Malala and the monsters who tried to end her life, but the only thing I can think to say is: Get well soon, kid; you’re the stuff legends are made of.

  7. Interesting point. Will the virgins be wearing burqas, or are there different rules in heaven? Will women suddenly be required to wear as few clothes as possible and shot if they don’t?

  8.  “She has become a symbol of Western culture in the area; she was openly propagating it,” Mr. Ehsan said, adding that if she survived, the militants would certainly try to kill her again. “Let this be a lesson.”

    So. That’s what Ehsan means by education; a shot in the head. It should be urged on him and all his followers to self-educate and make something of themselves…

  9. I can only add my  most sincere get well wishes for Malala and my utter, utter, disgust for people who would do such a thing.

    Where is the expressed outrage of those who lead in the “Moderate” Islamic Believer Community??????? 

    The sounds of silence are quite telling………….

  10. Totally agree – I’d go as far to say that the majority of people in Pakistan are more outraged over this despicable act of cowardice than they will ever be over a stupid video…

    I truly hope the application of medical SCIENCE helps her recover fully in the very near future.

    She is a shining example of what this world needs more of – heroic role models – and will hopefully turn many more of her compatriots against the sickness that is radical Islam.

    Get well soon, Malala, you truly are a shining star

  11. I don’t want to sound like an apologist, but if some of you would take the time to read English language online news papers in Pakistan for example, you will quickly find the vast majority of Muslims openly condemn the cowardly attacks by the Taliban and their cohorts.  Some are even actively demonstrating and protesting against these cowardly misogynist cavemen. One politician in Pakistan has gone as far to “appeal to the Ulemas to issue a fatwa against the attack”. Others have also put up a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.

    The bottom line is, there IS huge outrage against these types of atrocities against girls, women, people in general in the Muslim world. Unfortunately the Western press is slow to pick up on this outrage for whatever reason and the agenda they are pushing- all of which doesn’t help to dispel some of the popular  jingoistic notions held about the “religion of peace”  in today’s world. Don’t get me wrong, I still think any follower of religion suffers from a form of mental illness, but lets be fair and rational and not spout emotionally based nonsense based on preconceived ideas. jcw

  12. You mean like Christianity demands parents to kill disobedient children? Damn, most Christians don’t get it! Let’s remind them… I find it interesting how some non-believers on the one hand criticizes all the atrocities made in the name of religion while on the other hand ignores all the believers who aren’t fundamentalists. Do you know how ridiculous it is for you to define Islam and say “most Muslims don’t get it”. It’s almost as you like these fundamentalists. I guess, it hard for your brain to comprehend the fact that there are 1,7 billion Muslims out there who interpret the Quran and other scriptures in very different ways. Just as very few Christians believe in stoning disobedient children or adulterers to death.

  13. This story made me furious.  I have been trying to figure out why it got to me where previous ones did not move me to that extent.

    Perhaps it was the Taliban had no excuse of religion for hurting a 14 year old brave enough to expose their atrocities. They knew that was wrong.

  14. No, mr.’rgreen’, not furious. I’m just so sad for all the suffering children like Malala, having to grow up in what seems like never-ending warzones. Now Hitchens wise words come to mind with a new force,”Religion poisons everything”. Lets hope brave little Malala makes a full recovery from those head wounds – especially as her ambition is to become a doctor. Perhaps the RDF staff/et al can organise and send her father some sort of ‘medical aid’ for her convalescence. (If there was a young persons “Dawkins Medal”for Peace . . . .    

  15. In a background of world poverty and  resource shortages, perhaps we should be looking a which political manipulators  are supplying the brain-dead with money and modern weapons.  Guns and bombs,  do not grow on trees!

  16. I guess, it hard for your brain to comprehend the fact that there are
    1,7 billion Muslims out there who interpret the Quran and other
    scriptures in very different ways. Just as very few Christians believe
    in stoning disobedient children or adulterers to death.

    Is it hard for you to comprehend that the vast majority of the world’s 1.7 billion Muslims believe that their holy book is the literal, uncreated word of god, while only a comparatively tiny percentage of the world’s Christians could be described as bible literalists?
    If you can comprehend this, perhaps you might try to keep it in mind before you embark on any further Christian-Islamic whataboutery.

    There are, in fact, a whole host of issues about which you would be safe to say, “most Muslims don’t get it”,  the rights of women being just one, glaring, example. To acknowledge this is not ‘ridiculous’ in the least; in fact, to pretend otherwise smacks of willful self-deception.

  17. I don’t mean to be a buttinsky, but I believe that Person is wondering, as am I,  just how you know that the vast majority of the world’s Muslims and Christians believe what you say they believe. [citation needed]

  18. Gosh, such skepticism.

    Well, for the claim that the vast majority of Muslims believe the Quran to be the literal word of god, I would refer you here:
    The Quran (English pronunciation: /kɔrˈɑːn/kor-AHN ; Arabic: القرآن‎ al-qurʾān, literally meaning “the recitation”), also transliterated Qur’an, Koran, Al-Coran, Coran, Kuran, and Al-Qur’an, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be the verbatim word of God (Arabic: الله‎, Allah).
    This accords with just about everything I’ve read, heard or watched on the subject: as summations of Islamic belief go, I suspect that only the idea that there is no god but Allah and that Mohammed is his messenger could be considered less controversial.

    As for most Christians not being bible literalists, well, I could tally up the various Christian denominations that do not cling to the idea that the bible is literally true, until I get to more than half the 2 billion Christians on the planet.
    Here I go: Catholicism – 1.2 billion. Wow, that didn’t take long!

    Of course, you may have evidence contrary to these claims of mine. Please feel free to present it.

  19. Have you heard many reports lately of Christians stoning disobedient children or adulterers to death? 
    Me neither. 
    Have you heard many reports of Muslims emulating the example of their prophet by killing those who criticize Islam?  Me too.
    You object that Islam does not call for this? Well, a Muslim must emulate the one true messenger of the one true God, according to the Shahada declaration, which all must recite.
    There are many hadiths reinforcing these edicts.
    You object that Mohammad would not have killed, or attempted to kill this brave girl?
    Yes he would. In the biography which Muslims most trust, the ‘Sirat Rasul Allah’ by Ibn Ishaq, is the story of Asma bint Marwan. She was murdered; stabbed to death in her sleep,  along with her baby daughter, for expressing her opposition to the prophet based on the cruel slaughter of an old man named Abu Afak. Abu Afak proclaimed his opposition to the prophet on account of his murder of Al Harith’ which was why he was in turn also knifed to death in the night. 

    Of course Muslims could disregard these kinds of behavioural examples in the same way as Christians disregard the nonsense of Leviticus and Numbers. But Muslims, at least in the current era, are inclined to revere the memory of Mohammed, far more than any Christians would revere the goings-on in obscure old testament books.  

    There are far too many of these sadistic and bloody incidents in the life story of  Mohammed; far too many historic examples of Muslims following their founder’s examples, for there to be any doubt about the truly ruthless, conquest-seeking nature of Islam.

    Nothing could be more radical than Islam. To say ‘radical Islam’ is like saying ‘radical fascism’.
    Though of course there are Muslims who may be placed anywhere from fanatical to lapsed on a spectrum of observance.
     

  20. “the world’s 1.7 billion Muslims”

    I wonder when the number of supposed Muslims is going to surpass the number of humans on the planet. It might be a fast growing religion but everything has a limit.

  21. Can I just make an observation. There seem to be lots of people on this site that like to detail what muslims, christians, catholics etc SHOULD believe but they forget one simple fact. The god these people worship is a human invention. As such he can take any form they wish loosely based around their relevant holy book. 

    And as gods holy books are written by humans over time and changes in cultures, usually alongside great dollops of political expediency (eg the Koran seems to have evolved as Mohammed gained control over an increasingly large community), they are hugely inconsistent with bits to please all types of individuals.

    Some bits for example are fantastic – love thy enemies, give to the poor, woman are equal and should be treated with respect (in the koran) through to bits that are awful such as stone the unbelievers, hate gay people, women are inferior beings so you can beat them (also in the koran). So we have books that are totally inconsistent forming the basis of two of the worlds largest faiths. Making it impossible to consistently believe the whole thing.

    So there is no should about what folk should believe. They are inconsistent works of fiction and therefore like all works of fiction, open to personal interpretations. So nice, tolerant, educated believers have a lovely god whose prime role seems to be caring for our dearly departed on fluffy clouds till we die and rejoin them and being utterly charmingly, merciful and kind and couldn’t give a stuff about sexuality. The sort I’d love to believe in alongside santa and the easter bunny. Then we have the nasty intolerant bigots who have their favourite parts in the  old testament and have chosen instead to worship a misogynistic old bastard god that likes beating up gay people and burning anyone that refuses to believe in him. With of course an act of mass genocide in the form of Noahs flood. We make god in our own image in other words than find the relevant bits to suit.

    If you wish to have an example I’ve been writing UCAS refs recently. And that has included refs for muslim girls to go study medicine, engineering, chemistry, biology, dentistry and forensics with full support from their parents who want them to do well academically. Only some have worn hijabs, none have fasted if exams were imminent and all are confident and ambitious yet still muslims. And even if further down the line their parents ever wished to impinge on their daughters choices they won’t be able to. Cos they’d already have given them educations and financial freedoms.

    Yet in my last job just 9 miles away we were struggling and using the law as much as possible to protect our muslim girl students till they were at least 16 and watching them turn from happy 11 year olds into downtrodden 16 year olds terrified of  being wheeled off to Pakistan to marry much older men they’d never met. Even saw some move from school uniform hijab to full burkkha and utter misery when they did leave. Utterly inferior in the eyes of their parents. Same allah same koran different values, different lives, differently educated parents. 

    So there are and will be thousands of muslims disgusted by this – and I’m not sure how anyone can claim they are in the wrong religiously. And other muslim who won’t such as the inadequates who did this. Just as there are thousands of catholics disgusted by the actions of their church, thousands of christians who aren’t homophobic creationist loons and thousands of catholics on the pill. So there is no should unless there is a god and that is about as likely as the easter bunny. And that means there is hope for girls like Malala without the impossible task of getting rid of religion totally in one go.

  22.  I guess, it hard for your brain to comprehend the fact that there are 1,7 billion Muslims out there who interpret the Quran and other scriptures in very different ways. 

    Did you see Richard Dawkins’ interview with Muslim schoolgirls in an Islamic run school here in the UK? “Faith School Menace” was quite enlightening as to what Muslims are taught with regards to the Qur’an when it conflicts with science. The Qur’an trumps all else every time as it is the inerrant word of Allah. Richard was near apoplectic with disbelief that the teachers supported such a view.

    http://vimeo.com/14299817

    19 minutes 40 seconds.

  23. Some bits for example are fantastic – love thy enemies, give to the poor, woman are equal and should be treated with respect (in the koran) through to bits that are awful such as stone the unbelievers, hate gay people, women are inferior beings so you can beat them (also in the koran). So we have books that are totally inconsistent forming the basis of two of the worlds largest faiths. Making it impossible to consistently believe the whole thing.
    So there is no should about what folk should believe. They are inconsistent works of fiction and therefore like all works of fiction, open to personal interpretations.

    Except for the small issue of abrogation or Naskh (tafsir), where the more recent overrides the older if there is a contradiction.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N

    The problem being that the nicer bits of the Qur’an are the older bits, so abrogated by the nastier bits.

  24. As has been said already by Katy Cordeth, alphcat and others on here, you CANNOT just say “Koran = bad therefore ALL people who have had verses from it read to them = bad”.

    It’s absolutely ridiculous – it’s like saying everyone who has read Harry Potter books is now planning to jump off a skyscraper with a broom strapped to their arse, trying to play Quidditch…

    Don’t forget, most Muslims can’t read (not being rude, it just happens to be true, especially when you consider that women in many places aren’t ALLOWED to read and in case you hadn’t noticed, there are quite a lot of the fairer sex about).

    How many people in Pakistan do you honestly think can read and, more importantly, understand Classical Arabic?

    They have the Koran dictated to them (and/or translated into the vernacular) by power-crazed clerics who want nothing more than to use religion to keep hold of and gain more power.

    Exactly the same way that Christian teachings were used hundreds of years ago to do EXACTLY THE SAME THING.

    Exactly the same way that Shinto and Buddhism were used in the 20th century in Japan to do EXACTLY THE SAME THING.

    There are plenty of other examples.

    So when you see ‘thousands’ of Muslims ‘outraged’ by the goings-on in countries they’ve never even heard of, just remember it has more to do with brainwashing of the uneducated than it does ‘every Muslim is a psycho’…

    Yes, Islam has some sick stuff in it – of course it does, IT’S A RELIGION!! What are you expecting when you extract quotes from the Koran, a Mills & Boon novel??

    Religion is a massive problem on this planet, radical religion doubly so. But let’s not assume that because most religious lunatics are Muslims that most Muslims are religious lunatics.

    We are supposed to be better than that.

  25. >It’s absolutely ridiculous – it’s like saying everyone who has read Harry Potter books is now planning to jump off a skyscraper with a broom strapped to their arse, trying to play Quidditch…

    Well, not quite.  I know of not one incident where someone jumped off a building because of Potter but I can name more then a few incidents where people did crazy things because of the Koran. 

  26. Which proves my point.

    Not everyone has done the broom dance and not everyone has flown a plane into a skyscraper either.

    It’s the ‘everyone’ part that is important…

    And yes, there are more than a few incidents on a daily basis throughout the world perpetrated by moronic islamic fantatics – the point that I (and others) on here are making, is that it doesn’t therefore automatically follow that ALL Muslims will fly into a skyscraper if they pass their flight exams.

  27. But no one has done the broom dance…

    Look, I don’t know what it says in the Koran and I don’t care.  Nor do I particularly care at the moment what evil things the xtians did centuries ago.  Nor would I claim that all muslims are psychotic killers. 

    What I will say is that Islam appears to be an inferior belief system to anything else in the modern world.  I’ll use Saudi Arabia as exhibit A.  When I say Saudi Arabia, I mean the whole effin country. 

  28. >This story made me furious.  I have been trying to figure out why it got to me where previous ones did not move me to that extent.I agree.  One of the reasons it made me so mad was because this attack was designed not only to kill the individual but also to intimidate the larger community.  “Let this be a lesson.”Also, it was an attack on education in general.  On a science based website, I suspect many here take that personal.  I did.  Also, the fact that the Taliban has a spokesperson that defended and tried to legitamize the action.  “We shot an unarmed 14 year old shool student but it’s really OK.  Here’s our spokesman to explain.”  Sick. 

  29. And yes, there are more than a few incidents on a daily basis throughout the world perpetrated by moronic islamic fantatics – the point that I (and others) on here are making, is that it doesn’t therefore automatically follow that ALL Muslims will fly into a skyscraper if they pass their flight exams.

    It isn’t just about those that perpetrate the action. Of course not ALL Muslims will carry out the dastardly deeds…it’s about the support for the dastardly deeds being carried out in the name of Islam too.

    But first we must define what it means to be Muslim. This is my point on many of these Muslim bashing threads. Anyone can apply a label to themselves or even to others, but that means nothing. We need to decide what being a Muslim actually is, then we can get down to the nitty-gritty of what is what. As it stands, my position is that if one does not accept the Qur’an as the inerrant word of Allah, it is hard to justify ones faith as that of Muslim.

    I agree that the same principle could apply to all faiths, and perhaps it should. I was watching the movie, ‘The God Who Wasn’t There’,…again… in which this point is made, and it is a valid one. We have discussed it on this forum on a number of occasions….http://old.richarddawkins.net/article…

    Can a person claim to be of a faith they choose to cherry pick from just because the nastier aspects don’t line up with the morals and principles held by most right thinking person in the world of today? Can a religion be a religion if the embarrassing parts of the texts are ignored by some, but not all? 

    Anyone that believes that the holy texts are correct in advocating that those outside their faith are fair game for the death penalty, just because they are outside their faith, are nasty pieces of work regardless of whether each of those people would carry out the task themselves or would prefer not to get the hands dirty by letting the full on nutters do it for them.

  30. Totally agree – when I first heard about this, I wasn’t quite sure whether to be angry, upset, or just sink into a fit of depression at the evil in this world.

    To make it even worse, the Talitubbies are vowing to finish the job once she is out of hospital.

    If there was ever anything that showed the pathetic weakness of political Islam, then it is the fear and obsession they have for a fourteen year old girl who has the temerity to think for herself and the audacity to want to make the world a better place.

  31. Ignorant Amos you’ve missed the central point of my post which is that these books are not written by god cos he doesn’t exist! They are written over time by people with differing political agendas and are therefore inconsistent and not really real. So people choose what to take from them like all fiction. So if a nice tolerant person is reading the bible/koran they are not obliged to take on board the nasty bits cos it isn’t real. They can make of it what they will. Likewise if a nasty person reads it they can ignore the mercy bits cos it still isn’t real.

    And even if a nice person does take on board the nasty bits following any nice bits, they can still say that it is largely open to interpretation and they will reinterpret it to fit. And in a way they are right cos the whole thing is built on a fictional character anyway and we can attribute whatever traits we like to fictional characters. So though you may or may not be right about what you think they should be reading,  unless you think these books were penned by god it makes no difference at all. It comes down to choice and opinion and most people will fit the book to their life not the other way round. 

    God is a human invention and people chose to worship what they admire and find/interpret from the books stuff to support that.

    For most people their religion is filtered and moderated through their culture and upbringing. Educated people are generally tolerant and treat women well. They tend not to be homophobic or creationists or sexists or vicious in general. So educated male muslims can actually have educated, equal daughters and wives that they value as much as their sons. I teach muslim girls like that and know muslim women who would never consider themselves secondary to men.

    Primitive ignorant inadequates will have daughters/wives they mistreat, will be homophobic, sexist, racist and nasty. But that will hold true whether they are muslims, chrisitan or atheists. And one religion  can differ wildly from one part of a city to another and one school to another. I’ve taugjht in schools like that as well and seen terrified submissive muslim women. And a pakistani friend has told me the difference between Islamabad and the rural villages is unimaginable in terms of womens rights.

    And you forget one other simple fact, most believers don’t have a clue what is in their holy books anyway. I was raised as a catholic, I haven’t a clue what people are talking about half the time when they accuse me of believing certain things. Easter and christmas and lent and thats about it. With no real understanding of why.

    And if you still won’t accept what I’m saying than bear this in mind. Malala is a  genuine hero. She is an absolute star, and was a real voice for the rights and aspirations of women in a primitive world. The people that shot her, the taliban are inadequate moronic, brain dead, cowards. But she is a muslim and so are they. Yet they have no qualities in common at all!

  32. Yes, I agree. As far as I am concerned those that carry out the acts of hatred are no worse than those who support and encourage them in the shadows.

    And your point about ‘true Muslims’ (which is the same for all religions) is equally valid.

    Anyone who follows any religion to the letter (with a few exceptions, such as the Jains) is going to, by default, be a stark-raving (and dangerous) lunatic.

    But you have to ask yourself whether they are dangerous because of their religion, or if they choose to be religious because it gives them justification for their nascent lunacy.

  33. They are sick, and this story one of the most depressing, and worse because it isn’t just confined to the Pakistan/Afghan border. Just today over in Mali there are reports that more primitive inadequate muslim males targetting women, getting them to cover up and more frighteningly making lists of unmarried pregnant women with a view to punishment.

    On a lower level there were the threats and abuse heaped on female athletes that came to the olympics by the Afghan taliban. They too were brave women.

    And the depressing story goes on and on wherever primitive, inadequate men have gained guns and power. That still doesn’t mean all muslims are like that. Even if they should be.

  34. JD & IA – I think any apparent disagreements I’ve had with you guys on here this evening have been more a question of semantics (in the sense of what we mean by ‘all muslims’).

    I now realise where you are coming from – you can’t be a true muslim unless you eat the whole cake.

    Perhaps I should have originally said ‘you can’t assume that all those who CLAIM to be true muslims are sociopaths…’ Eating but one slice of the cake of insanity does not necessarily make one religiously obese.

    In which case, we are singing from the same hymn sheet… in a manner of speaking… :-)

    And I get the points you are trying to make about Islam being a special case.

    Even if 30% of the 1.2 billion Catholics in the world actually believe in transubstantiation (I’ve just checked this and apparently it is about 30%, hence the edit from 20%), it is highly unlikely that they will all suddenly launch a hate campaign against confectionary makers for covering the body of their beloved Jesus in chocolate…

    However, if 30% of Muslims actually believe that all the world must be conquered for Allah and that the infidels must be converted, enslaved or killed, then we truly do have a problem…

    …but at least we’ll still be able to eat Kit-Kats whilst we work out how to solve it…

  35. Ignorant Amos you’ve missed the central point of my post which is that these books are not written by god cos he doesn’t exist! They are written over time by people with differing political agendas and are therefore inconsistent and not really real. So people choose what to take from them like all fiction. So if a nice tolerant person is reading the bible/koran they are not obliged to take on board the nasty bits cos it isn’t real. They can make of it what they will. Likewise if a nasty person reads it they can ignore the mercy bits cos it still isn’t real.

    No I don’t think I did miss the central point at all. You and I know that it is not real. That’s because we are non believers. Unfortunately, adherents to religions and their scriptures believe that the texts are from their god. That is the problem.

    And even if a nice person does take on board the nasty bits following any nice bits, they can still say that it is largely open to interpretation and they will reinterpret it to fit. And in a way they are right cos the whole thing is built on a fictional character anyway and we can attribute whatever traits we like to fictional characters.

    Now you are missing the point I’m making. In Islam it is not permitted to pick and choose as is the want of the individual…to do so risks death as an apostate…because that is built into the fabric of the religion and until such times as it catches up with reality, nothing will change. There is certain minimum requirements to being an Atheist, all I’m suggesting is that there is certain criteria to be filled before labelling oneself as Muslim, otherwise the whole thing is pointless. A Volkswagon Beetle driver cannot claim membership of the Ferrari Owners Club regardless of how much they yearn to be.

    So though you may or may not be right about what you think they should be reading,  unless you think these books were penned by god it makes no difference at all.

    But it does make a difference, particularly as it is those Muslims with the most influence that are deciding, not me.

    It comes down to choice and opinion and most people will fit the book to their life not the other way round.

    Clearly that is not the case or we would not be having this discussion.

    God is a human invention and people chose to worship what they admire and find/interpret from the books stuff to support that.

    Clearly that is not the case or we would not be having this discussion.

    For most people their religion is filtered and moderated through their culture and upbringing. Educated people are generally tolerant and treat women well. They tend not to be homophobic or creationists or sexists or vicious in general. So educated male muslims can actually have educated, equal daughters and wives that they value as much as their sons. I teach muslim girls like that and know muslim women who would never consider themselves secondary to men.

    And by virtue, these educated male Muslims are defying the edicts of their religion and are thus considered apostates and no longer Muslim…that is my point…and as they are no longer Muslim in my opinion, any criticism of Islam does not apply.

    And you forget one other simple fact, most believers don’t have a clue what is in their holy books anyway.

    No I don’t, but it is a non sequitur. What matters is what they believe and what they think is in their holy books. On another thread I was describing why the majority of Christians think Jesus was a carpenter. There is no reference anywhere in the Bible that Jesus was a carpenter so it matters not whether a Christian has read the book or not…still, millions of Christians believe the lies.

    I was raised as a catholic, I haven’t a clue what people are talking about half the time when they accuse me of believing certain things. Easter and christmas and lent and thats about it. With no real understanding of why.

    So in what way did you deserve the label Catholic? And that’s my point.

    And if you still won’t accept what I’m saying than bear this in mind. Malala is a  genuine hero. She is an absolute star, and was a real voice for the rights and aspirations of women in a primitive world. The people that shot her, the taliban are inadequate moronic, brain dead, cowards.

    And where in anything I’ve posted have I stated anything different?

    But she is a muslim and so are they. Yet they have no qualities in common at all!

    And yet these fellow Muslims seemed to think otherwise. Why is that do you think? I see the Pakistani government has issued a Fatwa against the Taliban who shot the wee girl…there’s irony for you.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl

  36. Hear, Hear!

    Telling quote from that article though:

    “Sceptics, however, fear nothing will change, noting the handful of tiny public demonstrations on behalf of Yousafzai have been dwarfed by the huge, violent protests that greeted the YouTube trailer for the blasphemous Innocence of Muslims film last month.”

    “One human rights activist said that while there was “a great big moderate majority” in Pakistan but “it never speaks up”.”

  37. “One human rights activist said that while there was “a great big moderate majority” in Pakistan but “it never speaks up”

    Exactly. This is what also astounds me too. How do they know there is a great big majority of ‘moderate Muslims’ if they never speak out? What is a ‘moderate Muslim’ when they are at home? Is it someone that denies parts of the Qur’an? Or is it someone that just doesn’t talk about it?

    https://sites.google.com/site/

  38. ‘Moderate’ is a great word – it can mean absolutely anything you want it to…

    ‘I only drink in moderation’…

    ‘The country can expect moderate economic growth in the coming year’…

    ‘We can expect moderate winds across the UK this weekend’…

    ‘The mole on my left thigh is only moderate in size’…

    What do any of those statements MEAN????

  39. As far as that table is concerned, I would have to agree – no Muslim would agree to all the points on the moderate side of the table…

    However, as the website it appears on seems to be a right-wing front and none of its members are actually Muslims, I’m not sure it’s admissible as evidence in court…

    Or is that a double bluff? :-)

  40. My, my – what a robust faith that Taliban-brand Islam must be!  Anyone can tell, just by looking at Ms. Yousafzai, that she is the greatest threat to Islam in the whole wide world, ever.  The threat was so great that not even Allah could take care of it.  Only fully-bearded Taliban males with guns were up to the task.

  41. One of the distressing things about radical Islam and its determination to subjugate women is that in Afghanistan both the Taliban and the Karzai regime both support Shari’a law, including whipping women who do not fully cover their heads. It would be pretty bleak for a woman living there.

    The essential problem is the subjugation of women is so well established, that it just seems natural to the entire population. We have to think back in our own culture when we treated women similarly. If we could grow out of this barbarity, over centuries, then so can they. In our culture lots of people still think it is their religious duty to beat up gays or at least make their lives as miserable as the law allows. They consider this activity a positive religious virtue. That’s the sort of level of thinking in Afghanistan.

    We need a global declaration of human rights and human equality to legitimise governmental efforts to thwart those who would deny them. Whipping people should be illegal no matter that they did. We have to figure out sanctions that will punish those doing the cruel deeds without hurting the general population.

  42. I heard several CBC radio news reports today. Pakistan is furious about this attack. It is the thing people are discussing.  This may turn out to be the stupidest thing the extremists have ever done, totally discrediting themselves, perhaps to some extent even in their own eyes.

    The image of armed men attacking a little girl on a bus is so cowardly and so brutal, it makes you want to hang draw and quarter them.

    Terrorism in the long run has to fail.  It is so obnoxious it eventually unites everyone against it.

  43. If it was posted by anyone Muslim, it was Muslim women against Sharia. My point was that the list would indeed be the criteria for a moderate Muslim to espouse to, but would be impossible and still retain the label Muslim….anything less is a compromise. How many of the 23 or so points does a Muslim need to submit before being one or the other.

    So you are right about the word ‘moderate’….it is subjective and directly proportional, to a full-on, wide-eyed, slavering radical giving up just one point on the list makes one a ‘moderate’. 

  44. I think the original point stated by myself and others still stands though.

    In summary:

    You cannot paint over a billion people as terrorists or sub-human, just because there are parts of their religious teachings and culture that encourage them to be so, or because you can’t get them to agree on everything on an arbitrary list of conditions.

    If that were the case, then at least two thirds of this planet would be terrorists, as most religions have horrific bronze age sentiments.

    We all agree that Islam, because of the way the Koran is written, interpreted and disseminated, is a bigger existential threat than Jainism or Wicca, but that still does not mean you can assume that ALL Muslims want to kill the non-believers and established a caliphate.

    Yes, many more people support the terrorists than are willing to actually get themselves killed, but that still does not make a majority.

    It is these two groups that should be targetted, not those who just want to get on with their lives in peace and quiet. Otherwise you run the risk of alienating them too and creating a bigger problem.

    All religion is bad. Not all religious people are bad.

  45. Richard Dawkins prides himself in challenging all Muslims he ever shares a platform with, by asking them one question. Moderate or Radical, the question is, “What is the penalty for apostasy?”….he knows the answer, he just wants someone in the Muslim world to deny it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    A religion that advocates the death penalty for those that want to leave is nasty, those that adhere to such stuff are nasty….those that don’t, are not following the edicts of the prophet and have excluded themselves from membership. The figure of 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide includes the multitude of nominal Muslims…the nominal Muslims, or moderates if ya like, don’t count when I’m discussing the evils of Islam and its adherents, the real Muslims don’t count them, so why should I?

    Lets hear it from the horses mouth…http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7OYRk... read it anyway, providing the translation is accurate.

    Hopefully, one day the Muslim faith will have caught up with the other faiths and nearly all adherents will be nominal followers in name only, a time when those wacko’s are so marginalised by the rest of the clique that they are almost negligible. A time when the religion is on the verge of self imploding. Christianity took 2 millennia and the dilution of the nonsense to 38,000+ flavours, Islam is lagging by about 6 centuries, lets hope modern technology helps speed the process to reason before modern technology helps the fuckwits do for us all.

  46. We need to awaken those so-called moderates to what barbaric savagery they are actually supporting by counting themselves as muslims.
    1.7 billion or whatever is the total global strength of the ummah, and that figure is used to bully the UN and western govs into complying with their demands, such as the current attempt to instate sharia law on all of us with blasphemy laws.
    The moderates are as complicit in all this as are the real muslims.

    And Roedy, you said:
    ” We need a global declaration of human rights and human equality to legitimise governmental efforts to thwart those who would deny them”

    Sure enough and so we do. We have had one since WW2, but the islamic countries opted out: http://www.un.org/en/documents

    The Islamic version subjugates all rights to sharia; effectively nullifying them.

  47. I’m always intrigued at how the rational thinker responds to the assertion by Christians when being criticised about the god of certain parts of the buybull, that that is not their god, with the reply of that’s the “No True Scotsman Fallacy”. But when it comes to the subject of Islam, in contavention of the evidence, most Muslims are moderate and don’t believe or follow the edicts of Allah….the Allah of certain parts of the Qur’an is not their Allah….no such thing as the equivalent fallacy in Islam I guess.

    And Roedy, you said:
    ” We need a global declaration of human rights and human equality to legitimise governmental efforts to thwart those who would deny them”

    I’m left wondering how governments would go about that thwarting given Roedy’s attitude to all things military.

  48. A quick question – if the 1.6 billion (I love the way this number goes up and down like the Assyrian Empire) includes the ‘nominal Muslims’, how many of that 1.6 billion do you think are the ‘real’ ones?

    Again, I’m not really disagreeing with much of what you are saying, but I am curious to know how big you think the problem is…

  49. A quick question – if the 1.6 billion (I love the way this number goes up and down like the Assyrian Empire) includes the ‘nominal Muslims’, how many of that 1.6 billion do you think are the ‘real’ ones?

    I honestly don’t know, but neither does anyone else. Given the religion of peace’s penchant for violence, the lack of condemnation from the hierarchy within the religion, and being a person of reasonable thought, I’ve decided to err on the side of caution. Perhaps its the military training in me.

    Again, I’m not really disagreeing with much of what you are saying, but I am curious to know how big you think the problem is…

    Well it’s a big enough problem so as to make it into the international news on a daily basis…the fact that it is a problem at all, makes it too big a problem for me, and why should there be a gamble to be taken when it is peoples freedom we are considering? 

    As sceptics, we are unhappy about the problem of AGW and the deniers. If I’m wrong about AGW being greatly influenced by human activity, the consequences are way less than the consequences of disregarding the issue completely as just a lot of media hype.  When the Muslim question is finally answered it might just be too late also. 

    Having lived through 4 decades of minority groups terrorising the majority, doing it with the succour provided by the moderates who JUST supported the ideals, content that some lunatic was doing the dirty work, I’m really not happy with the ‘moderate’ label, no. Disavow the crap of the religion, or yes, get tarred with the same brush as the arseholes. The sooner the disavowing starts the better…we might be seeing a bit of it happening in Pakistan over this issue we are presently discussing.

  50. I agree wholeheartedly with what you say.

    For me, there aren’t really 1.6 billion muslims anyway (as almost half of them are below the age of 18).

    How many of the remaining adult muslims are fanatics?

    I guess it doesn’t really matter, because the problem is not 100 muslims or 100,000,000 muslims – the problem is Islam itself.

  51. This cute and courageous girl is probably going to be Taliban’s nightmare soon.  Taliban is going to pay for their stupidity and savagery sooner or later.  Hopefully ASAP!

    Interestingly, Taliban shoots a girl, who according to their savage religion and mentality, is the weak and inferior gender:  Men are superior and only men can get education not women.

    Taliban must be arrested, brought to west and placed in a prison controlled by only  female officers,  some lesbian some straight some bi-sexual.  Taliban must be informed of the sexual orientation of their formidable officers first.  If they do any wrong move, our female officers should beat the hell out of them.  This should continue for the rest of the animals’ lives, and the news should be spread throughout Islamic countries.

    Yes, I know.  I am fantasizing and being very silly, and I may appear to be trying to be funny to some. If so, please do not think so. This fantasy just feels goooood!!!  And, at least I am expressing what I feel for this young girl as a human being, and how I hate religious savagery.  I wish my fantasy could be realized at least in Pakistan/Afghanistan although I know it is highly unlikely.  

    I apologize to my fellow like minded in this blog for not talking rationally. I am just very emotional/angry.

  52. Your emotions in this are perfectly understandable – I think the majority of people who visit this website feel the same way.

    I actually like your idea of ‘the punishment fitting the crime’ though… if they commit sick crimes against women, who they think are inferior, why shouldn’t they be locked up and punished by women?

    We could make them shave their beards and wear make up and dresses as well…

    And change all their names to Loretta or Sharon…

    :-)

  53. “In Islam it is not permitted to pick and choose as is the want of the individual…to do so risks death as an apostate…because that is built into the fabric of the religion and until such times as it catches up with reality, nothing will change”

    Ignorant Amos, they may well not, in theory, be permitted to pick and choose – but then we come to the huge problem that like most holy books it is totally inconsistent. It was written ad hoc by a man whose circumstances changed to deal with those changing circumstances. So we have lots of muslims fighting about which bits are consistent and which not!

    Like the simple issue of how women should dress – the basis of which is both males and females should dress modestly! What does that mean? In Pakistan a bit of a headscarf, in Indonesia anything really, in Saudi full burkha and so on. And all muslim men seem to ignore the obvious fact that they should also dress modestly so if a burkha is what the Imams have deemed the minimum for modesty  in a particular society then men also should be wearing one. But they aren’t.

    If you are right therefore, muslim men in areas where the burkkha is considered modest for women should be being beaten for not also wearing it. They aren’t – therefore they shuld risk death as it is written into the fabric of the religion.

    Women cover your jewels – does that mean hair and face or something else? A muslim colleague told me it was literal, written inot the koran at a time when a lot of warring left a lot of widows who were being mugged for their jewels. Who knows who is correct but she’s living a very good life by taking her defintion – a life that would lead to death in Afghanistan or rural pakistan and to nothing at all here.

    Malala and her father consider themselves muslims  and would wish to remain so. How they define that is their business, but it is very different to the definition of the taliban. Thousands of muslims in pakistan are up in arms about it and issuing fatwas against the taliban. They would also consider themselves muslims. The issue is not what somebody calls themselves it is do they respect the human rights of others! If they do, if they are not misogynist, homophobic, anti science, kill the infidel warmongerers wishing to impose their views on the state than what they believe is fine by me.

  54. “The essential problem is the subjugation of women is so well established, that it just seems natural to the entire population. We have to think back in our own culture when we treated women similarly.”

    We don’t have to look that far back. We’re very smug here in not beating women or not being as bad as the taliban and thankfully we aren’t.  BUT one thing the Jimmy Saville case has highlighted is that cultural low level ill treatment of women went on as normal until the sexual harassment act in 97. People seem to be shocked that women were groped at the bbc yet that was the norm in most workplaces and schools up until the 90s. With nobody to complain to and a general attitude of its just a bit of fun get over it. On a far worse level girls being abused by gangs of men in Rochester were ignored until last year. Rape convictions are difficult to get. You can’t be too smug when women aren’t considered by everyone to be equal yet.

    And it isn’t a unique feature of religion. It is a primitive feature that religion has capitalised on but it crosses all boundaries. Which is why there can be enlightened muslim men and women here and arrogant taliban style atheists over there. It isn’t a religion problem it is an inadequate people bullying problem.

    “In our culture lots of people still think it is their religious duty to beat up gays or at least make their lives as miserable as the law allows. They consider this activity a positive religious virtue. That’s the sort of level of thinking in Afghanistan.”

    Sadly it is. But again, sadly it is not just religious thing, that is just one excuse for bad behaviour. I know christians and muslims with no attitudes at all to homosexuality other than some people are gay so what. And I know homophobic atheists. And the same with sexism.  
      

  55. Absolutely it is not just a problem with Islam – but the problem here, though, is that whilst there will always be bad people in all cultures and religions, it is rare to find such a widely-held set of beliefs and rules that not only allows for such barbaric (in modern terms) behaviour, but actively encourages and enforces it.

    That is what makes Islam unique in the 21st century.

    That is why I say all religion is bad, Islam doubly so – because whilst most religions are bad purely because they encourage people to believe in ridiculous, life-wasting nonsense and ignore the wonders of the real universe, Islam is also bad because it encourages humans to behave towards each other as if they are still living in the 7th century.

    Not all Muslims follow-up on this encouragement – as i’ve mentioned before, the world would be in a right mess if they did – but that doesn’t mean that Islam is not a special case.

    Also, you comment that the Koran was written by one man – it wasn’t, it was written (and re-written) many years after the death of this one man, by many people with many different political agendas.

  56. Ignorant Amos, they may well not, in theory, be permitted to pick and choose – but then we come to the huge problem that like most holy books it is totally inconsistent. It was written ad hoc by a man whose circumstances changed to deal with those changing circumstances. So we have lots of muslims fighting about which bits are consistent and which not

    For the second time, Islam has this base covered in the doctrine of abrogation…http://http://www.meforum.org/1754/peace-or-...

    “Classical scholars argued that anyone who studied the Qur’an without having mastered the doctrine of abrogation would be “deficient.” Those who do not accept abrogation fall outside the mainstream and, perhaps, even the religion itself. The Ahmadiyah sect, for example, today concentrated in Pakistan, consistently rejects abrogation because it undercuts the notion that the Qur’an is free from errors. Many Muslims consider Ahmadis, who also see their founder as a prophet, to be apostates.”

    We had a ‘nice’ UK Muslim on this forum by the handle, Tanweer, not seen him lately, he was of the Ahmadiyah sect…and he was persecuted by ‘moderate’ UK Muslims.

    If you are right therefore, muslim men in areas where the burkkha is considered modest for women should be being beaten for not also wearing it. They aren’t – therefore they shuld risk death as it is written into the fabric of the religion.

    Oh ffs, are you for real? Muslim women covering up is supposed to be about the men. It is supposed to be about  ‘f’itnah’ . 

    “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (Qur’an 33:59)

    Who polices the rules in Islamic theocracies? Sharia is applied subjectively and by men. 

    But maybe you’ve not seen how the eejits dress?  The men do indeed dress ‘modestly’ when it is ordained… http://www.missionislam.com/fa

    Women cover your jewels – does that mean hair and face or something else?

    Where is it from? I need context. I know what it means literally, for it to men something else it needs context.

     

    A muslim colleague told me it was literal, written inot the koran at a time when a lot of warring left a lot of widows who were being mugged for their jewels. Who knows who is correct but she’s living a very good life by taking her defintion – a life that would lead to death in Afghanistan or rural pakistan and to nothing at all here.

    I’m sure you are making a point, I’m just a bit slow in getting it…women covering up is quite explicit…“draw their head coverings over their chests” (Qur’an 24:33), and to “cast their outer garments over them when outdoors” (Qur’an 33:59). How ambiguous do you think that is?

    Malala and her father consider themselves muslims  and would wish to remain so. How they define that is their business, but it is very different to the definition of the taliban.

    That is the point. It’s not just their business is it? It effects everyone. There were other victims in the shooting of this poor wee girl on that bus. The point about literalism when considering holy texts is all, especially when major sections of that religion will resort to violent terrorism to impose that literalism.

     

    Thousands of muslims in pakistan are up in arms about it and issuing fatwas against the taliban.

    Yes they are, but don’t kid yerself that its because they’ve suddenly decided that the Qur’an is wrong. They were all clamouring for the head of a movie maker a couple of weeks ago don’t forget. This incident is as much about politics as it is about religion…even the Pakistanis don’t want the Taliban about them. http://www.ndtv.com/article/wo

    The issue is not what somebody calls themselves it is do they respect the human rights of others! If they do, if they are not misogynist, homophobic, anti science, kill the infidel warmongerers wishing to impose their views on the state than what they believe is fine by me.

    Of course the issue is about what one calls themselves…that’s the whole point I’m making. You are being ridiculous now.  

    The labels that one applies to oneself, or is applied by others, is what defines us and our place in the world.

    If  they are not misogynist, homophobic, anti science, kill the infidel warmongerers wishing to impose their views on the state, they are by default, not following the Qur’an, which makes them kafir ….http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kafir

    Kufrul-Istibdaal: Disbelief because of trying to substitute Allah’s Laws. This could take the form of:

    Rejection of Allah’s law (Sharee’ah) without denying it.

    Denial of Allah’s law and therefore rejecting it, or…

    Substituting Allah’s laws with man-made laws. 

    Allah says: Or have they partners with Allah who have instituted for them a religion which Allah has not allowed. [Soorah Shuraa(42), Ayah 8] Allah says: Say not concerning that which your tongues put forth falsely (that) is lawful and this is forbidden so as to invent a lie against Allah. Verily, those who invent a lie against Allah will never prosper. [Soorah Nahl (16), Ayah 116]

    These are their own rules…not mine remember?

  57. “That is why I say all religion is bad, “

    Agreed all religion is bad as an idea, but not all religious people are – many are tolerant and absolutely fine! And atheism is good and enlightened as a concept but not all atheists are – some are as just as bad as their religious fundamentalist counterparts! It does come down to individuals and cultures and even age. 

    You are right about the fact some countries epitomise Islam at its worse and where that culture has taken hold. But countries where that has taken hold were/are often impoverished or with poor  education or war torn or all three. And most have complex political histories. If it hadn’t been Islam it would have been something else equally vicious. That is the nature of inadequate bullies with guns, they move in to take power and fill a vacuum just as the RC church did when the British left Ireland. 

    At the end of the day Malala is a shining beacon, and I suspect at this point in her life would also like to be considered a good muslim. And I can’t help thinking it is far better to look to all the people rising up in revulsion over this and see it as a good sign rather than point to their holy books and say the taliban were right.

  58. BUT one thing the Jimmy Saville case has highlighted is that cultural low level ill treatment of women went on as normal until the sexual harassment act in 97. 

    And there’s me thinking the whole Jimmy Saville debacle is about the abuse of under-age children… paedophilia. 

  59. I have written pretty much the same as you have there in previous posts – not all religious people are bad, not all atheists are good, it’s as much culture as it is religion, education is the answer, Malala is a star, those rising up against this in Pakistan should be encouraged (as should we)…

    So we are in agreement.

    But I still stand by the statement that Islam is a special case, because in many parts of the Muslim world, you simply don’t get to choose which parts to believe. Not if you want to avoid being stoned to death, anyway.

    You say that countries where ‘Islam at it’s worse has taken hold’ are often the most war-torn, impoverished and uneducated, but you fail to recognise the elephant in the room…

    The West developed DESPITE Christianity, not because of it, thanks to the Enlightenment and advances in Secularism and Science.

    Let’s hope something similar happens in the Muslim World, before it’s too late.

  60.  That is the nature of inadequate bullies with guns, they move in to take power and fill a vacuum just as the RC church did when the British left Ireland.

    Behave there now…I thought you said you were a teacher of education. Stop making up your own history please. Catholic Christianity was well established in Ireland centuries before the British arrived.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H

  61. Malala is coming to the UK for treatment now – by Air Ambulance paid for by the UAE.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/worl

    Let’s hope she gets well soon.

    UPDATE: She has arrived in Britain and is being treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

    The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has a recently-opened major trauma centre specialising in both gunshot wounds and head injuries.

  62. “Behave there now…I thought you said you were a teacher of education. Stop making up your own history please. Catholic Christianity was well established in Ireland centuries before the British arrived”

    I’m more than well aware of that fact Ignorant Amos and wrongly assumed you’d realise that. What I was referring to was the fact that in post colonial Ireland it became much more than just the majority religion, it exploited the confusion that often follows independence and imposed what was virtually a catholic theocracy for years. It even expunged the  non catholics involved in fighting for the Republic from the historical record. If you disagree with that analysis fine but please don’t pretend you didn’t know that was what I meant.  And I teach chemistry not eduction so technically I’m a teacher in education not of education.

    “For the second time, Islam has this base covered in the doctrine of abrogation…http://http://www.meforum.org/1754/peace-or-…”

    And for the third or fourth  time, I do not disagree with that fact, but that is not the point I’m making – do you not understand?

    The point I’m making is that whatever the imams, popes or priests come up with, it is only as relevant as how much notice people take of them and how much they prefer to put their own spin on it. Most people ignore huge swathes of their holy books and huge swathes of the teachings of their immans, popes, pastors etc.

    And given the imams etc are in a way deciding what to do based on their own political spin and ideas who can actually say whether they are right or wrong. Someone else could jut as easily come along and find something else in the Quaran to interpret abrogation differently or point to when it was written or by whom to negate it. If they weren’t scared of having their heads blown off anyway.  

    It comes down to  a lot of people trying to impose their own ideas on a work of fiction – and who has most power. It’s meaning can be changed on a whim cos it was written on a whim. Even the unambigous bits can be changed on a whim if they don’t suit. It’s not a science book or even a coherent fairy story it is a jumble made up to control a changing community! So you and they can say here is the ‘should’ but nobody is required to take it as fixed.

    “Who polices the rules in Islamic theocracies? Sharia is applied subjectively and by men. “

    Yep not arguing – Islamic theocracies are abusive and wrong. But I’m not talking about islamic theocracie but ordinary muslims and their experiences and beliefs. And there is the  fact that brave women are fighting against that everyday in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and beyond yet still call themselves muslims!  They are clearly interpreting things differently. And even sharia is applied inconsistently.

    If  they are not misogynist, homophobic, anti science, kill the infidel warmongerers wishing to impose their views on the state, they are by default, not following the Qur’an, which makes them kafir ….http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kafir

    Yes in theory. My point is that a hell of a lot aren’t homophobic, misogynistic, anti science, kill the infidels. Lots are the opposite yet are happy to be muslims. So what is your explanation for them?

    And in reality lots of atheists are homophobic, misogynists wishing to impose their views. Those traits are a feature of some people – they may be a part of religion but they’re not exclusive to it nor a definite feature of religious people.

    “I’m sure you are making a point, I’m just a bit slow in getting it..”

    That doesn’t surprise me really. So lets make it clearer. The point is she is a muslim, considers herself a good one. But she has decided how to interpret her book ignoring your ‘should’ and the imams ‘should’ and making up her own ‘should’. Her take is that the interpretation that jewels meant hair came later and the original rule was literally cover your jewels lest you be robbed. The point is she is probably just as right as the imams you’ve listed. She’s just found a different bit she likes better and put a spin she likes better on it. That is religion after all – made up to suit no matter what you or the imams say.

    “women covering up is quite explicit…“draw their head coverings over their chests” (Qur’an 24:33), and to “cast their outer garments over them when outdoors” (Qur’an 33:59). How ambiguous do you think that is?”

    Very unambigous on paper but in reality there seem to be hundreds of ways to do it. In one school alone that ranges from hijab and loose trousers thru to barely there skirts with loads of variations in between. Indonesian and Turkish friends wear what they like. Some pakistani friends cover their heads loosely some don’t, Iranian and Iraqi friends wear hijab and others locally go round in a full burkha. So which of them has got it right?  Perhaps you need to go tell them what they ‘should’ be wearing as you’ve clearly missed your calling as an imam. 
      
    .

  63. She is coming to the UK for further treatment.

    There is now a petition in her name – accesible from the bbc news website sorry I haven’t the link – calling on the Pakistani govt to ensure fair education for all girls. If anyone could post the link that’d be brilliant.

  64. Perhaps between the two of you, we might finally find out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin… :-)

    Seriously, guys, we all think the same thing about 99% of this and any disagreements are really a matter of semantics and emphasis.

    I can appreciate both sides of this argument, as I wrote a few posts back.

    Can’t we just agree that religion is always bad (some worse than others) and people can also be bad, depending on how they interpret that religion? In addition, people can be bad without religion.

    Almost all Christians today would ignore Matthew 15 Verse 4… If they were ‘true’ Christians, there would be millions of children killed by their parents every year…

    Does that mean that there are no true Christians in the world? Does someone want to tell the Pope that?

  65. Ignorant Amos the funny thing is that I actually agree with much of what you say about what people ‘should’ believe currently if they wish to logically  be considered Muslims today. If that is what the leadership currently require than yes. And usually agree with and am impressed by  90% of what you usually write as I only ever contribute when I disagree.

    And I agree with everything said about life in countries that have become muslim theocracies – they are hell.  However my point remains that whilst life is crap in rural  Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan or wherever, that doesn’t mean I can find any middle class Birmingham Muslims with middle class university aspirations for their daughters who are remotely the same, nor are their daughters. Their daughters are aiming as high, if not higher than their non muslim counterparts and will never be forced to do much against their will beyond their maths homework. Many of their parents have actively fled here to avoid sharia and their mothers are just as qualified as their fathers! Many are obsessed with human rights and the rights of women in their own religion elsewhere.

    Yet just down the road in a different school I will find a completely different Islam. Muslim girls  whose parents will fit the stereotype and who are at risk of being shipped off to Pakistan for marriage to some elderly old git. Whose parents won’t value their education or rights and who will abuse them. But in those schools it isn’t just the muslim girls whose lives are crap.

     Those people all exist and even if you state they are not all proper muslims that is what they call themselves.

    The other fact is that Malala’s bus was full of girls going to school. All sent their by their parents. The talibans view of how girls should live had not stopped them either.

  66. As already requested on another thread, please do not take threads off-topic with comments about the Disqus system or the site in general. Our technical team have already made it known that they are working on replacing Disqus. Until their work is complete, there is nothing any of us can do about it.

    We would also remind all users – even some of our longstanding ones – that the requirement for civil discussion applies to all. Rather than taking the time to edit one of the longer comments recently posted here to remove all the Terms-of-Use-breaking incivility, we have simply deleted it.

    The mods

  67. “Look, Alphcat, I understand that you are championing the feminist perspective and good on ya, but don’t sacrifice yer cause on the alter of common discourse”

    Actually I’m not and I assume the comment is patronising. However you cannot deny that currently Islam works on the subjugation of women, cos those subjugating them are inadequate bullies and cos at some points the authors of the holy book were inadequate bullies! So whilst it is both  women and men who are fighting back the women are the ones with a highter profile at present as they are the ones who braved attacks to run in the olympics or go to school. The men who helped are just as brave.

    As for feminist perspectives elsewhere on this site, which I guess you also are referring to. I’m disappointed that I had to. And less impressed with the whole place than I was, but that is life.

  68. And usually agree with and am impressed by  90% of what you usually write as I only ever contribute when I disagree.

    Ditto! Which is the whole point of commenting I guess.

    However my point remains that whilst life is crap in rural  Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan or wherever, that doesn’t mean I can find any middle class Birmingham Muslims with middle class university aspirations for their daughters who are remotely the same, nor are their daughters. Their daughters are aiming as high, if not higher than their non muslim counterparts and will never be forced to do much against their will beyond their maths homework. Many of their parents have actively fled here to avoid sharia and their mothers are just as qualified as their fathers! Many are obsessed with human rights and the rights of women in their own religion elsewhere.

    And that’s all very commendable. What are they doing about it? It’s a bit like the hypocrisy of a contraceptive taking Roman Catholic who says nothing out loud about the Popes view on condoms in Africa…it is killing people, but as long as it’s not me, who cares.

    Yet just down the road in a different school I will find a completely different Islam. Muslim girls  whose parents will fit the stereotype and who are at risk of being shipped off to Pakistan for marriage to some elderly old git. Whose parents won’t value their education or rights and who will abuse them. But in those schools it isn’t just the muslim girls whose lives are crap.

     Those people all exist and even if you state they are not all proper muslims that is what they call themselves.

    I’m struggling now…it is all about how the religion is practised. Someone who ticks C of E on a census form is not C of E unless they practice being C of E, that must be apparent to anybody. But what is important here is what the religion itself says….an RC that breaks the rules on contraception is still an RC…there is no penalty for using contraception other than a bit of disdain. A Muslim that breaks the rules of Islam is out on their arse, furthermore, the penalty doesn’t stop at being out on yer arse, many wish it were, the penalty is death. That is the ‘Law’ and it is practised all over, even in the UK. 

    The other fact is that Malala’s bus was full of girls going to school. All sent their by their parents. The talibans view of how girls should live had not stopped them either.

    The Taliban are extremists in an extreme faith, I will grant that, but if you look at what the scholars think…

    “Contemporary Islamic Shafi`i jurists such as the Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, Shi’a jurists such as Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, and some jurists, scholars and writers of other Islamic sects, have argued or issued fatwas that either the changing of religion is not punishable or is only punishable under restricted circumstances, but these minority opinions have not found broad acceptance among the majority of Islamic scholars.”

    …and the polls…

    “According to the survey, majorities in Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Nigeria would favor changing current laws to allow stoning as a punishment for adultery, hand amputation for theft and death for those who convert from Islam to another religion. About 85% of Pakistani Muslims said they would support a law segregating men and women in the workplace.”

    …even educated computer literate Muslims have a penchant for the nonsense…

    http://www.sunniforum.com/foru

    The Taliban dickheads are just being extreme extremists in this instance, but Islam is extreme to begin with.

  69. “And that’s all very commendable. What are they doing about it?”

    As teenagers they’re doing what they can with limited experience of the world – they’re arguing constantly with people about whether muslims should behave like that. One of them is running the students amnesty  group. It isn’t much but they are kids and they aren’t directly effected. Some of their parents fled their countries for speaking out. One of my friends runs a refuge for women fleeing arranged, sorry forced, marriages.

    But at the end of the day that isn’t the issue we’re arguing about. They could equally say what are you doing about it? Or Richard Dawkins for that matter?  Or point out that it is far easier to change things from within the system cos people are more likely to listen to those they percieve as their own. Or that people leave religion slowly and its better to tackle the education and human rights issues first and allow them to drift away that way rather than with a bullet through their heads.

    But as you’ve asked I’ll ask you, what are you doing about it? What is Richard Dawkins doing about it?

  70. Actually I’m not and I assume the comment is patronising.

    I really hope you don’t assume it as patronising, it was sincerely meant and as a compliment ta boot.

    However you cannot deny that currently Islam works on the subjugation of women, cos those subjugating them are inadequate bullies and cos at some points the authors of the holy book were inadequate bullies!

    I wholeheartedly agree with just one caveat…not all those doing the subjugating these days are inadequate, and dare I say, ignorant bullies. That is what both angers and astounds me.

    So whilst it is both  women and men who are fighting back the women are the ones with a highter profile at present as they are the ones who braved attacks to run in the olympics or go to school. The men who helped are just as brave.

    While I don’t disagree with any of that, my remark was at the use of the emotional inclusion of the subject in this particular discourse as I deemed we were arguing about the definition of what it was to be classed a Muslim.

    As for feminist perspectives elsewhere on this site, which I guess you also are referring to. I’m disappointed that I had to. And less impressed with the whole place than I was, but that is life.

    Well I wasn’t, but since you mention it, I still think you were wrong , but the subject under discussion was applicable to a feminist point of view and which was extremely valuable. 

  71. “It’s a bit like the hypocrisy of a contraceptive taking Roman Catholic who says nothing out loud about the Popes view on condoms in Africa…it is killing people, but as long as it’s not me, who cares.”

    But a lot of catholics do speak out. And RCism should help you understand my point. Catholics in England don’t give a flying monkeys what the pope says about homosexuality, contraception, marriage, divorce etc. They don’t let his rule impinge on their lives at all yet in the third world its killing people daily. That is how religion is – filtered thru culture and different depending on where its being practised.

  72. “A Muslim that breaks the rules of Islam is out on their arse, furthermore, the penalty doesn’t stop at being out on yer arse, many wish it were, the penalty is death. That is the ‘Law’ and it is practised all over, even in the UK.”

    In parts of the UK. But in others no! We’ve heard of RE teachers being beaten up for teaching about other religions and at the same time have lots of muslims taking RE to A level and showing utmost respect for other faiths. I go out with muslim friends who quite happily drink. All my muslim female friends are divorced and all bar one initiated that divorce. It isn’t that simple or straigthforward by any stretch of the imagination.

  73. “Well I wasn’t, but since you mention it, I still think you were wrong , but the subject under discussion was applicable to a feminist point of view and which was extremely valuable.”

    Valuable?  That really didn’t come across from you if  I’m honest. I was expressing an opinion as a female. And it is actually an opinion held by many females young and old, mainly because of the effects they see it having on women including themselves. And the effects on  men as well, after all the most telling thing was the fact that so many of the men there said their attitude and understanding of women came from a magazine for men by men - not from actual women! What does that actually say about them? My understanding and opinions of men comes from men!

    If you think I’m wrong try starting with Caitlin Morans book, she expresses it far better than I could. I think you just might be open minded enough to do so,then again  that might be hopeless optimism based on your previous posts.  And then maybe then you’ll be open minded enough to look around you see what is really happening. And try googling sexism plus atheism and see that I’m not actually alone in my views. From the likes of PZ Myers amongst others. When I linked to it, the post was removed tellingly.

    Anyway you’ve reminded me of my sheer disillusionment with atheism and total disillustionment with its owner. From hero to zero. So I’ll just have to think of something else to call my disdain for religion and lack of belief. Good luck with this site.

  74. But what is the difference in a non practising Catholic and a Protestant? If a person isn’t following the doctrines of the faith, are the ex-Catholic, Muslim, whatever…it is the practising part that is important, that is my point. This is the point I’m making…can a person be classed as a member of a certain faith if they do not, for whatever reason, fulfil the requirements of being a member of that faith? Can we define what a Muslim is before we go forward?

    The difference between a non-practising RC and a non-practising Muslim is the death penalty, regardless whether it is imposed or not is irrelevant to the discussion.

  75. In parts of the UK. But in others no!

    I thought Sharia was universal…whether acted upon or not?

    I go out with muslim friends who quite happily drink.

    I don’t doubt it, but is it against the rules? Is it un-Muslim to drink alcohol? Apparently it is indeed, which means your friends are apostates, which means that whatever they might call themselves, they are not Muslims. The rules aren’t mine, they are Islamic rules, they are the rules of the Muslim faith.

    All my muslim female friends are divorced and all bar one initiated that divorce.

    Divorce is not against the rules, khula is not against the rules either, so I’m not getting the point here.

    It isn’t that simple or straigthforward by any stretch of the imagination.

    Some of it is and some of it isn’t…I’m trying to get a handle on it. I have a few questions…

    What does it mean to be an apostate? 

    “Apostasy in Islam is commonly defined in Islam as the rejection in word or deed of one’s former religion (apostasy) by a person who was previously a follower of Islam.

    What constitutes apostasy?

    “According to Islamic law apostasy is identified by a list of actions such as conversion to another religion, denying the existence of God, rejecting the prophets, mocking God or the prophets, idol worship, rejecting the sharia, or permitting behavior that is forbidden by the sharia, such as adultery or the eating of forbidden foods or drinking of alcoholic beverages.”

    I can’t make it any clearer than that…if I’m missing something here I’d love it for you to clear it up for me. It is what it is, not what those who disagree with me want it to be. 

  76. Signed.  And I don’t usually sign petitions.  This case made me angry and depressed and I frankly felt powerless.  So signing the petition was the only action I could take and I thank you for posting it. 

  77. Yes.  So did I.  In addition to our support this way, we have great journalists who are spreading the news around, and sensitize people around the world.  Lets wait and see.

    My feeling is also very strong about this, as I used to be a non-observing Muslim in my teen years.  Many many many years ago in an Islamic country, where apoptosis is punished by death.  This girl is much more contagious than I was, when I turned an atheist as a teen.  This is why she is one of my major heroes.  Her being a girl makes her even more than a hero, an exceptional one.

  78. I hope you don’t leave the site – I have similar views to your last paragraph (and agree with much of what you’ve said these past few days), although my comments earlier seem to have been censored for some reason (as were those of Amos). So much for freedom of expression.

    If you do go, best of luck in the future and thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

    To be honest, it’s all a little depressing :-(

    But at least Malala seems to be improving, which is the most important thing, I guess.

  79. I doubt that Taliban will let her go.  It is likely that they will try to kill her to prove they keep their word.

    It would be very helpful that she stay in the West, get education, and keep her activism.  Other other hand, she can be more effective by staying in her country and keep risking her life, but I feel uncomfortable with this thought.

  80. Hahhah! Yousaid:
    ” ‘Women cover your jewels – does that mean hair and face or something else?’

    Where is it from? I need context. I know what it means literally, for it to men something else it needs context.”

    At first, I saw that as (jewels) “to men means something else”. ^_^
    Steve
     

  81. A reminder, please, that our Terms of Use require comments to remain on the topic of the OP and not to wander off in other directions.

    This thread is about Malala Yousafzai – please keep all comments here focused on that.Thank you.The mods

  82. Malala has become an icon for some of us, or is perhaps, becoming one.

    Even Pakistani journalists are writing startling revolutionary articles in Pakistani journals as a result.

    Sanity and humanity is breaking out in the unlikeliest places. This could be big. Let’s keep signing the petition for her cause of education for all. See the recent thread on this.

    http://www.pakistantoday.com.p

    http://www.pakistantoday.com.p

    Thanks to Dr Bob.

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