On what is unacceptable:
It is a matter of principle – in any online community, of course there are going to be divergent views and occasionally, dubious and prejudicial statements. That’s part of the territory, and part of what is interesting about the internet.
However, when the owners of the site – the board, and the majority of the moderators see nothing at all wrong with consistently dubious and prejudicial statements about one particular religio-ethnic group, that is not part of the territory. That is a sign that the online community is very unwholesome.
I grant that there has been some evidence based arguments which take a particular neo-conservative view of Islam and its relation to western liberalism. It is not that which I question, nor the right for people to make informed arguments on these matters.
The problem is not one of free speech: on this board we cannot say anything. There are always limits. One could not assert, for example, that "The Dalai-Lama is a f*cking fascist" and expect that the basic right to free speech overrides all other considerations. And that anyone who has a problem with that has a problem with free speech. Such a statement would – rightfully – breach the standards of the board, and of the community, and be moderated.
With respect to Islam, and sometimes even “Muslim’s” such standards have basically been given up.
Here are some examples of the kind of statements which I think are categorically unacceptable.
I am not saying that now we should take up the ideas of BNP and get rid of immigrants. I believe that governments in Europe and South East Asian countries should simply outlaw the public worship of islam and ban it as a harmful ideology, just as nazism is banned in most civilized countries. I have no problem with muslims, but with the ideology which many of them either actively or pasively support. So people can stay, if they abide by laws, but islamic ideology should not be tolerated for the sake of all other citizens. They can worship whatever they want in private, but public propagation of islam including building of mosques should not be, in my opinion, allowed.
This is a bit like putting Nazis beside Israel and having Nazis cross the border. "We are Nazis but not the ones who killed the Jews. You can trust us Juden." Until the genocide is put right there can be no coexistence. They will do it again at the first opportunity
Ethnic Malays who apostatize have to give up the discriminatory privileges granted to them by their racist constitution because they are part of the conquering Islamic horde. Islam is like the exact opposite of dharma, they preach and practice discrimination, racism, warfare, ethnic cleansing and genocide.
how do you disregard the last thousand years of genocidal expansion by Islam? Or even the genocidal madness of the last 50 years? You are an apologist for a group more radical than the Nazi party. Millions are dead. Many just overt the border from Burma. I think your appeasement of the intolerant will lead to more murder. A book that actively promotes genocide does not deserve the protection of pretending to be a religion. Eventually you have to say no. Evil is evil and I will not stand for it even if it pretends to be nice today. Muhammad was a murderous monster. A genocidal general of an invading army of mercenaries that exterminated all it's opponents. To call that Holy is nuts. The man was a war criminal by today's standards.
There were nice Nazis too. Is there a point in there somewhere?
A genocidal and xenophobic ideology is innately dangerous. To apologize for that is unethical.
It's actually appropriate for once. Mohammed preached an ideology that made some people better than others, a sort of master race. This scared the elite who tried to have him assassinated. Hitler was jailed by the elite for a failed coup. For his time it was a protosocialist ideology with rule of law. Hitler was a National Socialist. It was better than a monarchy for it's peasant adherents who were his first power base. Hitler's first base was the brown shirts. Once in power he turned radical and his first act of genocide was against a tribe of "treacherous" Jews. Later it was scholars, poets and intellectuals. (Both did that one.)
Just to be clear the intolerant book is not the problem. The problem is speaking out against the intolerance and evil in it. I think you fear angering them so much that you feel you must appease them. I do not. It is so bad you could arguably put the word "religion" in quotation marks. I don't care how charming and nice some of it's adherents are. Genocide, thievery, murder and child rape are not things I generally associate with a religion. These things are unacceptable. You can't put enough lipstick on this pig to make it attractive to me after reading the source material.
The difference is Islam has world domination at its heart.
Can Islamic terrorism be defeated? If yes…how? If no…what should be done?
The answer is yes. How? I did mention previously some of the strategies that we must adopt to combat this peril. This can be summed up thus: The world must identify Islam as its number one enemy; wage an unrelenting media campaign exposing the barbaric nature of Islam. At the same time, military operations should continue to eliminate the terrorists who want to murder us. Meanwhile, we must reward the vast majority of the not-so-good Muslims for discarding the violent parts of the Qur’an. They should be asked to compile a new version of the Qur’an which will abandon all those murderous and hateful verses. Needless to say, the Qur’an will then only be a few pages thick. But, this must be done. And I can assure that this will be a litmus test for those who preach to be ‘moderate’ Muslims and claim that all those verses preaching violence against the non-Muslims are contextual and should not be currently acted upon. This strategy is known as carrot-and-stick approach. The funny part is: This method always works, and it will work this time too. The cost to adopt such measures will be a fraction of billions of dollars that is now wasted only to save Islam and give it a new life. The world should go after Islam—it will be cheap and fruitful. Muslims desiring to migrate to Western countries from Islamic Paradises must sign a declaration in their migration forms that they are not Islamists, do not support Pan Islamism and that they would be immediately deported if they are found to be the supporters of any such Islamic groups. If they become citizens of non-Muslim countries they must be warned that their citizenship will be revoked if they are found to be advocating world Islamism and are engaged in preaching the conversion of non-Muslims into Islam. Converting to Islam should be made illegal or those who desire to convert to Islam must get approval from security authorities. After all, in all the Islamic Paradises, leaving Islam and converting to another religion is a serious offence, sometimes punishable by death. We must play this game of Islam. We must get even and tough on conversion to Islam. This is a bit harsh, no doubt. But desperate times require harsh measures. These steps worked fantastically well in keeping the communism away from the USA and Western Europe. It will work again, believe me.
Not arguments, but consistent metaphorical associations which are prejudicial and demonising in the extreme. In the extreme.
Not only are those statements allowed to stand, they seem to be taken by the majority of posters and moderators as ‘honest and true’ speech. There is the sense that it takes a certain kind of moral courage to speak out about these matters, and bravely denounce the ‘utopic, liberal, multicultural fiction’ that Islam ought to be tolerated.
On my own position:
To put my cards on the table, I am currently teaching a course on the sociology of terrorism. It is particularly focussed on the events of 9-11 and what has followed. I do not have specialist knowledge on most of these matters – for example, I do not read Arabic, and I am not well grounded in Koranic hermeneutics. Notwithstanding those limitations, my current job requires that I am engaged in a lot of academic literature, particularly on the political, ideological and sociological elements of this subject – to which the threads have been mainly addressed to. This includes for example, the question of Islamic jurisprudence and its relation to secular liberalism – a topic at the heart of these ‘debates’ which have just been incredibly ill informed.
I read literature from all perspectives – including the western neo-conservative perspective and the extremist Al Qaeda perspective.
I don’t claim and haven’t claimed to have any extra authority on the topic, but when I have suggested links to literature which is very relevant, they have been dutifully ignored.
The point is that it is basically impossible for me to bring in well grounded arguments – or even refer to the kind of real debates which are taking place on these matters - because we are not in the sphere of argumentation.
It is impossible for me to draw any other conclusion than that a reasonable and fair minded inquiry is really not taking place.
I have shown the two threads to other academics in the field, and they are simply appalled.
On why I am leaving:
As a matter of principle, if those kinds of statements are acceptable to owners, moderators and members of Dharma Wheel - tacitly or otherwise – than it says a great deal about the standards of the community.
I am asking you all to seriously consider what kind of standards you think should be set.
I am asking you all to consider how you think Buddhism should represent itself, and what kind of role you play in representing it.
If, after some consideration, there is consensus that nothing is wrong – then so be it. That is where we are at. I am happy to leave quietly on the basis that this place is not for me.
If however, you see that something is clearly wrong – please speak up and let it be known that you wish for a forum which does not allow blatant prejudice to stand unaccounted for.