Moderates at the barricades?
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11-09-2010, 12:41 AM
 
RE: Moderates at the barricades?
Has anyone seen this yet?

The Los Angeles Times Wrote:"With the solemn day of September 11 upon us, I encourage everyone to take time for prayer and reflection," he added.

A number of Muslim organizations have planned observances for Saturday. The Islamic Center of Southern California scheduled an interfaith peace vigil and a community health fair in Los Angeles, with free medical screening to people of all faiths. Some non-Muslim groups also scheduled events designed to show solidarity with Muslims, including a Presbyterian church in Rolling Hills Estates that planned to read from the Koran on Saturday.

The timing was significant because Friday marked the first day after the end of Ramadan, a monthlong period of fasting and prayer for observant Muslims. The holy month coincided with the height of the controversy over the Islamic center in New York and prompted soul-searching for some American Muslims.

"I think as Muslims, we need to be a little more open, more engaged, part of this society, this American fabric," said Mohammed Faqih, an imam in Anaheim with the Islamic Institute of Orange County. Such engagement with the wider culture would lead to greater understanding and reduce hate, he said.
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11-09-2010, 03:53 AM
 
RE: Moderates at the barricades?
(10-09-2010 05:15 PM)TruthAddict Wrote:  http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-se...at-burnies

I think this piece does a wonderful job of explaining the impracticality of moderates going out and condemning radicals every time they pull off a new circus act. It only gives them more attention anyways.
I like Jon Stewart as much as anyone ... but I don't see this piece as offering any good reason for moderates to remain silent. If you don't give the radicals the attention they seek, they'll simply up the ante until you can't ignore them. Ignoring extremists is not a practical solution to terrorism.

If, on the other hand, the religious brethren of the radicals seek actively to distance themselves and to protest vigorously (not just with prayers and press statements) the actions of their radical counterparts, the power base of the extremists is reduced. If extremists can be isolated, they can be defeated. Saying little or doing nothing inevitably gives implicit support to the extremists.

I hate to play the 'Hitler' card, but this is exactly how he came to power. Moderates stood by and either said or did nothing, or actually participated in the deeds because of some misplaced sense of duty. Hitler used the underlying anti-semitism in Germany to get people to go along - it wasn't aimed at them, after all! This is a formula for demagogues - pick a scapegoat and let your program ride on its back.

The problem moderates of all faiths have is that they've opted to ignore all of the violent, aggressive parts of their sacred texts. They want to have their security blanket don't want to accept the violent activities within those very documents that moderates profess to believe underpin their faith. Their extremist counterparts embrace all the violence and evil perpetrated in their deity's name within those sacred texts and seek to put it into practice. When moderates do little or nothing to distance themselves from the deeds of the extremists, they're endorsing those deeds, however unintentionally.

Since their 'sacred' documents are the only 'evidence' of the existence of their deity, how can moderates justify picking and choosing only the parts they like?
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11-09-2010, 03:59 AM
 
RE: Moderates at the barricades?
(11-09-2010 03:53 AM)2buckchuck Wrote:  Since their 'sacred' documents are the only 'evidence' of the existence of their deity, how can moderates justify picking and choosing only the parts they like?

THIS.

(11-09-2010 03:53 AM)2buckchuck Wrote:  I hate to play the 'Hitler' card, but this is exactly how he came to power. Moderates stood by and either said or did nothing, or actually participated in the deeds because of some misplaced sense of duty. Hitler used the underlying anti-semitism in Germany to get people to go along - it wasn't aimed at them, after all! This is a formula for demagogues - pick a scapegoat and let your program ride on its back.

GREAT quote....BUT, unfortunately, you said Hitler. There's the unfortunate Godwin's law again.
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11-09-2010, 04:01 AM
 
RE: Moderates at the barricades?
(11-09-2010 12:41 AM)Soldieringon Wrote:  Has anyone seen this yet?

The Los Angeles Times Wrote:"With the solemn day of September 11 upon us, I encourage everyone to take time for prayer and reflection," he added.

A number of Muslim organizations have planned observances for Saturday. The Islamic Center of Southern California scheduled an interfaith peace vigil and a community health fair in Los Angeles, with free medical screening to people of all faiths. Some non-Muslim groups also scheduled events designed to show solidarity with Muslims, including a Presbyterian church in Rolling Hills Estates that planned to read from the Koran on Saturday.

The timing was significant because Friday marked the first day after the end of Ramadan, a monthlong period of fasting and prayer for observant Muslims. The holy month coincided with the height of the controversy over the Islamic center in New York and prompted soul-searching for some American Muslims.

"I think as Muslims, we need to be a little more open, more engaged, part of this society, this American fabric," said Mohammed Faqih, an imam in Anaheim with the Islamic Institute of Orange County. Such engagement with the wider culture would lead to greater understanding and reduce hate, he said.
This excerpt doesn't address something important that was said in the article:
Quote: Now, nine years after the Sept. 11 attacks, some are wondering if moderate Muslims should have done more, long ago, to tell their story to non-Muslim Americans.
There is more within the article along these lines. This is what I've been getting at. For the few million 'moderate' muslims in the USA, it would be in their best interest to be very vocal in their denunciation of terrorist acts done in the name of islam. Had they done so on a consistent basis in the 9 years since the 9/11 attacks, much of this conversation would be unnecessary. Radical muslims would remain isolated and much less effective. The general weakness of the response by moderates has led to many people seeing all muslims as dangerous. Prayers and reflection doesn't get it done!! If you want the message to be heard, you have to do more than pray and reflect!! Those preaching hatred, bigotry, and violence are being heard ...
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11-09-2010, 04:07 AM
 
RE: Moderates at the barricades?
(11-09-2010 04:01 AM)2buckchuck Wrote:  
(11-09-2010 12:41 AM)Soldieringon Wrote:  Has anyone seen this yet?

The Los Angeles Times Wrote:"With the solemn day of September 11 upon us, I encourage everyone to take time for prayer and reflection," he added.

A number of Muslim organizations have planned observances for Saturday. The Islamic Center of Southern California scheduled an interfaith peace vigil and a community health fair in Los Angeles, with free medical screening to people of all faiths. Some non-Muslim groups also scheduled events designed to show solidarity with Muslims, including a Presbyterian church in Rolling Hills Estates that planned to read from the Koran on Saturday.

The timing was significant because Friday marked the first day after the end of Ramadan, a monthlong period of fasting and prayer for observant Muslims. The holy month coincided with the height of the controversy over the Islamic center in New York and prompted soul-searching for some American Muslims.

"I think as Muslims, we need to be a little more open, more engaged, part of this society, this American fabric," said Mohammed Faqih, an imam in Anaheim with the Islamic Institute of Orange County. Such engagement with the wider culture would lead to greater understanding and reduce hate, he said.
This excerpt doesn't address something important that was said in the article:
Quote: Now, nine years after the Sept. 11 attacks, some are wondering if moderate Muslims should have done more, long ago, to tell their story to non-Muslim Americans.
There is more within the article along these lines. This is what I've been getting at. For the few million 'moderate' muslims in the USA, it would be in their best interest to be very vocal in their denunciation of terrorist acts done in the name of islam. Had they done so on a consistent basis in the 9 years since the 9/11 attacks, much of this conversation would be unnecessary. Radical muslims would remain isolated and much less effective. The general weakness of the response by moderates has led to many people seeing all muslims as dangerous. Prayers and reflection doesn't get it done!! If you want the message to be heard, you have to do more than pray and reflect!! Those preaching hatred, bigotry, and violence are being heard ...

And I agree with you. I simply thought that the timing of the article was great, given the discussion. Where are the moderates at in any discussion though? Any time that there is an event of any religious or racial significance, the moderates are the ones NOT being heard.

but moderates don't tend to form groups. When groups form, they are of like minded individuals, who usually feel passionately about something, as we do about logic and reason. We base our lives around things like that. We formed a group and spoke up. We are not moderates in that sense.

People that form groups get heard, and usually tend to fall on one side of an issue or the other, almost never in the middle. They are not moderates.

the moderates on the Koran burning are at home getting on with their re-runs of Survivor and CSI Miami, because they don't care enough to talk about this sort of thing.
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12-09-2010, 08:52 AM
RE: Moderates at the barricades?
Hey.

Generally speaking, there seems to be a large interfaith response to this. Seems to poke a couple holes in the "moderates never speak out" theory.

Does anyone have a link for that Daily Show clip that will work in Canada?

Hey, sosa.

Quote:were are the "liberal" christians and muslims protesting against their brothers? thats what I want to know.

I already posted this link, but they're right here.

And Soldieringon's LA Times article is great.

Hey, 2buckchuck.

What sort of vigorous protest techniques do you suggest/envision?

You invoked Hitler! Whatever. I don't give a shit about Godwin. To me, what your example illustrates, is that extremist demagoguery functions the same in any setting, not just within religion.

Years ago, some of my colleagues and I developed an idea called the Z Effect. Simply stated, when a cultural group perceives (noting that it only has to be a perception) a threat (either internal or external) more of the membership will gravitate towards extremism in an effort to protect their identity. The idea is that more aggressive lines are drawn in the sand to prevent even tertiary ideas (that generally speaking are unimportant in day to day life) from eroding away or succumbing to the threat. Thus people under threat become a heightened version of whatever they already are.

What is of note is not that extremism exists. It will always exist. There will always be extreme positions on a belief spectrum and the majority will always occupy the centre. What is of note is that when a culture is undergoes the Z Effect, the number of people occupying the extreme edge, or gravitating towards the extreme edge, increases. This represents a fundamental shift in the internal power dynamic of that group. As the extreme's population increases, their power increases, as does their ability to affect change. Eventually (if the threat is not escaped, neutralised, or dismissed as hullabaloo), a tipping point is reached and they gain enough power to take over.

The other thing to note is that the reaction of the moderates is always the same. This is not some great failing of the moderates, but the simple political reality that exists during such a shift in power.

I think a powerful example of the Z Effect in action is the United States over the last 9 years. They have perceived an external threat and in response, the US population has gravitated towards the extreme of the American identity. If you speak of the role of the US in the situation that led to 9/11, if you don't support the troops, if you don't support draconian security laws, etc, etc, you open yourself so serious reprisals by the extreme. The threat of reprisal is very real because the extreme's power in the US has increased dramatically since 9/11. This is why they have been allowed to act so impudently and why, aside from parody, no great public outcry has occurred.

Other contemporary responses to the Z Effect include: Wahhabi Islam, The Taliban, The Quebec Separatist Movement, the American Tea Party, The Evangelical crusade against Evolution in the classroom, the secular crusade against creationism in the classroom, North Korea and every right-wing nationalist anti-immigrant movement in Europe.

If we denounce Islamic moderates for not taking to the streets in mass to stop the spread of Sharia law and terrorist attacks, then we should denounce American moderates for not taking to the streets in mass to stop the enactment of the PATRIOT ACT and the invasion of sovereign nations under the guise of a War on Terror (an Orwellian idea that is meaningless. An attack on a concept can never end: see War on Drugs, War on Poverty). The fact is that in both cases, there has been protest. Has it been enough to stop the extreme? No (That doesn't occur until the extreme takes a step too far beyond their power, the moderates reach their own tipping point and take the power back). Is it because moderates are lazy? No. It's because this is just how this sort of thing functions. Every time.

The fact is, the moderates are the only ones that will ever change things. The extreme will not fight itself. If the extreme collapses, it's membership will revert to the centre of the spectrum. If they are attacked from without (as in regime change) the power of the Z Effect will increase. If the extreme from the other end of the spectrum fights them, then they only increase their power if they succeed. Imam Rauf, the man behind the Mosque near the WTC site said in a CNN interview (and this is a paraphrase) "The war is not between Islam and Christianity. The war is between moderates everywhere and extremism." Moderates don't need to be denounced. They need to be supported.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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12-09-2010, 03:48 PM
RE: Moderates at the barricades?
Lots of good points, Ghost. Well written. Thanks.
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12-09-2010, 05:36 PM
RE: Moderates at the barricades?
yes, very good.
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13-09-2010, 02:27 AM
 
RE: Moderates at the barricades?
(12-09-2010 08:52 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, 2buckchuck.

What sort of vigorous protest techniques do you suggest/envision?

Similar to those of the extremists ... sans the violence. Comparable to MLK's protests for civil rights.

(12-09-2010 08:52 AM)Ghost Wrote:  You invoked Hitler! Whatever. I don't give a shit about Godwin.

So why bring Godwin up?

(12-09-2010 08:52 AM)Ghost Wrote:  To me, what your example illustrates, is that extremist demagoguery functions the same in any setting, not just within religion.

I agree. So?

(12-09-2010 08:52 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Years ago, some of my colleagues and I developed an idea called the Z Effect. Simply stated, when a cultural group perceives (noting that it only has to be a perception) a threat (either internal or external) more of the membership will gravitate towards extremism in an effort to protect their identity. ...snip...

If we denounce Islamic moderates for not taking to the streets in mass to stop the spread of Sharia law and terrorist attacks, then we should denounce American moderates for not taking to the streets in mass to stop the enactment of the PATRIOT ACT and the invasion of sovereign nations under the guise of a War on Terror (an Orwellian idea that is meaningless.

OK - I don't disagree with that. We should have. In the 1960s, there was all sorts of activism on the parts of the mainstream, although the so-called "silent majority" claimed they were actually communist-inspired extremists. I'm pretty sure most on this board don't remember much about that. Today, the silent majority seems to be disinclined to break its silence, despite what I think are compelling reasons to do so.

(12-09-2010 08:52 AM)Ghost Wrote:  An attack on a concept can never end: see War on Drugs, War on Poverty). The fact is that in both cases, there has been protest. Has it been enough to stop the extreme? No (That doesn't occur until the extreme takes a step too far beyond their power, the moderates reach their own tipping point and take the power back). Is it because moderates are lazy? No. It's because this is just how this sort of thing functions. Every time.

I think that's no excuse. And I maintain, you've provided no meaningful argument to justify the relatively modest efforts of muslim moderates to separate themselves from the terrorists. It's in their own self-interest, at least here in the USA. The same goes for christian moderates, who should distance themselves from the fundy flakes.

(12-09-2010 08:52 AM)Ghost Wrote:  The fact is, the moderates are the only ones that will ever change things.

History suggests strongly that this is far from a valid generalization. Your belief in this is not evidence that it's true.

(12-09-2010 08:52 AM)Ghost Wrote:  The extreme will not fight itself.

Obviously. One extreme of a polarized society fights the other extreme, and in the process, if that battle turns into civil war, each extreme demands the moderates choose ... if you're not with us, you're against us. A classic example is the civil war between the Reds and the Whites in Russia after the Bolshevik revolution. Which, btw, is a fine counterexample to your assertion that moderates are the only ones able to affect change.

(12-09-2010 08:52 AM)Ghost Wrote:  If the extreme collapses, it's membership will revert to the centre of the spectrum.

I'd be interested to see if you can provide an example of that.


(12-09-2010 08:52 AM)Ghost Wrote:  If they are attacked from without (as in regime change) the power of the Z Effect will increase. If the extreme from the other end of the spectrum fights them, then they only increase their power if they succeed. Imam Rauf, the man behind the Mosque near the WTC site said in a CNN interview (and this is a paraphrase) "The war is not between Islam and Christianity. The war is between moderates everywhere and extremism." Moderates don't need to be denounced. They need to be supported.

You seem to have historical perspectives quite different from mine. I'm not actually denouncing moderation at all, so I decline to accept that mis-characterization of what I'm saying. I'm saying that as societies polarize and extremists take control, moderates are caught between them and forced to choose. That's what history reveals to me. What allows extremists to take control is when moderates remain on the sidelines, saying little or nothing, doing little or nothing, and hoping to avoid being forced into choosing.
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