Ask a Shiite: Perceptions of America in the Middle East

This is the first installment of what will be a weekly column entitled Ask a Shiite. Our resident expert will be fielding questions of a philosophical, physical, and political nature in regards to Shiite Islamic belief and Middle East perception from his own eyes. Interested in asking a question? Send an email to alec.

Question: What is the overall effect of the Israeli / Palestinian conflict on Muslim perspectives of the United States role in the Middle East? And what is the general perception of America given the current political climate for Muslims?

Answer: The simple answer is that there is no difference on the US image in these circumstances except that the muslim sentiment and rage is building up and is giving us all the more reason to fight back. This question is kind of an easy one not too detailed. But I have still given a bit more of my opinion on this ‘topic’.

This Palestinians conflict has been going on for decades and as far as I know for sure, it will not end unless the Palestinians are given back Israel. Our opinion about the USA has been the same for quite some time. It creates wars between countries and has been backing up Israel since the beginning because of some conspiracy. Some of us who study this matter deeply, like me, believe that the USA and Europe are controlled by Freemasons and groups like that who want to bring about the New World Order. Thats why they are successful and some sort of religious reason is behind the occupation of Israel.

We believe that the Palestinian occupation is absolutely illegal and to tell the truth most of us cant understand how and why you actually support Israel. It seems to be like a no brainer to go against Israel, looking at how they were formed. A general sentiment has been created amongst the Muslims that they are being targeted by the west because Islam teaches us the most about standing up against oppression and because we do not want the American culture to be ‘imported’ into our community.

Now you might ask why do Muslims commit terrorism even though we say that we are the most peaceful religion? Well there are some Muslims who have different opinions and thats why we are not yet totally united as should be. Most of the terrorist attacks that take place areby a small sect called the Wahabbis. These people I can assure you have very messed up thoughts.

Their scholars are not exactly educated and are self proclaimed. They think they are doing the right thing but they are not because making a big decision like Jihad bis Saif (Struggle with the sword) requires a LOT of knowledge, experience and the matter needs to be thought out from many different perspectives with all the Islamic laws in consideration. This is not an easy job. There are only a few people in the world who have this ability. Some of them are Sistani and Khamenei. In fact I think these are the only ones who do have the ability.

So these terrorists are actually not even educated and their mental horizon is very narrow. They do not represent Islam and their ‘version’ of Jihad is flawed. For example, the 9/11 attacks were not jihad because killing travelers in jihad is not allowed, likewise todays civilian attacks are not allowed because women and children cannot be targeted and only those who openly come to challenge can be opposed back. Racism is not allowed in Islam so killing Americans because they are Americans is not allowed.

I read one of Usama bin Laden letter on a blog and it said that he targets American civilians because their tax money goes to killing Muslims. This is wrong because the Arab governments are the ones who actually invest in the USA, their oil money is stored in US banks etc. So why not target Arab countries?

Secondly during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (A.S) the enemy armies were surely built form tax money. So why did the Prophet also not target civilians? This shows that targeting Americans is wrong.

Now up until now the only Islamic government ever formed is the current Irani Government. It’s decisions are monitored by Ayatollah Khamenei. The only so called ‘terrorist’ group who opposes Israel rightfully is Hezbollah. One little proof: the Qur’an says that in jihad you attack them in the right manner and we will make you victorious. Its a promise. Now what is Hezbollah? A small group of highly motivated and trained militants who fought against one fo the worlds most powerful army and guess what? They won!

The Qur’an’s promise has been fulfilled. What are our Sunni brothers doing on the other hand? They have fought I think 5 wars and lost all of them. I dont really think thats jihad. Those wars were not thought out with Islamic guidance and so they lost.


[tags]perceptions of america, al-qaeda, middle east, osama bin laden, terrorism, israel, palestine, iraq, iran, afghanistan, mecca, military occupation, jihad, oil, united states, interference of the west[/tags]


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  1. Kit says:

    Thanks for the response, it’s good to be able to have a dialogue with those who have different viewpoints. I have some questions and comments:

    Some of us who study this matter deeply, like me, believe that the USA and Europe are controlled by Freemasons and groups like that who want to bring about the New World Order.

    Why do you believe the US and Europe to be controlled by Freemasons? The Freemasons are mostly Christian and Europe is mostly agnostic. The phrase New World Order is also interesting. This is basically what conservatives say about Muslims, is that they desire a New World Order, where Islam dominates the world. To be honest, I think that most Americans are pretty happy with the current world order, since the US dominates it, or at least that is the perception.

    most of us cant understand how and why you actually support Israel
    Perhaps I can explain some. After WWI, Britain controlled Palestine, having won it from the Ottoman Empire. After WWII, it was decided that Britain would leave Palestine. Given that a third of the population was Jewish, and after the atrocities committed against the Jews in WWII, it seemed as if a Jewish state would be a good idea. The majority of the land given to Israel was desert, and Jews made up 61% of the population, with more expected to immigrate. Of course, once the British left the Arabs all attacked Israel, and Israel won the war. So in the West, we look at this. Israel was attacked, and it defended itself against the attack.

    From that point on, the Arab nations tended to be pro-Soviet and Israel was pro-US. This is probably one of the most important reasons for US support of Israel. Note that once Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel, they started receiving massive amounts of money from the US. This was to boost the American presence in the Middle East against Russia. We supported countries that did not favor Russia, for better or for worse.

    Another reason we support Israel is because it is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. We in America like liberal democracies, and tend to support them. People in Israel mostly have religious freedom, and can do what they want.

    Also, many people look to the Camp David proposal of 2000, and the ultimate rejection of it by Palestinians, as an example of Palestine’s unwillingness to seek peace. Americans cannot accept the destruction of Israel, yet Palestinians often seem focused on that, especially since the rise of Hamas to power. Now that there is basically a civil war going on between Hamas and Fatah, it seems even less likely that Palestine could reasonably implement any peace accord. From the American perspective, it often seems as if Israel is trying to come to some peace, but the Palestinians just want to destroy Israel.

    Most of the terrorist attacks that take place areby a small sect called the Wahabbis

    It’s hard to believe that the majority of bombings all come from a small sect. There are bombings everyday in Iraq, it seems like if it were just one small sect they would all be dead by now. I respect that the majority of Muslims are opposed to terrorism, but it seems like Wahabbis are being used as a scapegoat here.

    Secondly during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (A.S) the enemy armies were surely built form tax money. So why did the Prophet also not target civilians? This shows that targeting Americans is wrong.

    This is an interesting point.

    A small group of highly motivated and trained militants who fought against one fo the worlds most powerful army and guess what? They won!

    What did they win? 1,000 Lebanese dead vs. 48 Israeli dead sounds like Israel got the best of it. It reminds me of the War of 1812 between America and Britain. America provoked a war with Britain and then nearly got destroyed, the White House was burned. It was proclaimed a victory by the American politicians of the time because they eventually got the British to leave.

    Those wars were not thought out with Islamic guidance and so they lost.
    Does this mean that God favors the Jews over the Sunnis? Seriously though, I don’t understand framing wars in a religious context. It seems silly, but then again I think almost everything religious is silly. It seems like people on both sides always say God is on their side, until they lose.

    Thanks again for answering the questions. Hopefully we can all profit from discussions and reduce the amount of mistrust and hate in the world today.

  2. Shia says:

    Thank You very much for your opinions and now I can start to understand your support for Israel.
    Let me answer with my Muslim, rather Shia Muslim, point of view. I will also be telling you about why Islam is not exactly a ‘religion’.

    Now I again have not done professional, university level research about Freemasons so that point of mine was just a suggestion. Now you said that muslims want to bring a new world order right? That is true. But it is not the type that you think it to be. It WILL be without force, and not the type which is being tried out nowadays. It will be when our hidden Immam Mahdi reveals himself to the world. The reason why I still believe that he will come after all these years is because the rate at which the prophecies of the event that would appear before his rise is alarming. I have already started preparing myself mentally and physically for his service. You dont need to worry about that, only that the whole world will accept with free will.

    On to Palestine. Many Arab jews were forced into Israel. I have witness accounts to back up my claim. So lets say 61% was jewish, then why was it that Palestine was chosen to be the jewish land? We dont min a jewish state. In fact we take Christians and Jews as our ‘Book Brothers’. That is they follow a book that was revealed at one point by God who we believe in.

    Secondly many Palestinians were forced out of their houses. Their houses to make it ‘legal’ were forcefully bought form them. Then lets say that Palestine was supposed to be the Israeli land, then why is it that land was taken away from other countries like Lebanon, Syria etc?

    You said that after the WWII atrocities Jews should be given a land, then why Palestine, why not Germany were it happened? If you wanted to stop torture on Jews then why give them a land of desert, why not something more worthy? Many Palestinians still have their house deeds to show that they are the rightful owners. A friend of mine told me that at least 20% of Israel is on illegal Palestinian land.

    Then you said that the British left and the Arabs came and attacked. IF the west was so concerned about a Jewsish state then why did Britain leave the Jews to defend themselves? Looking at todays habit of Britain and USA intervening in other people’s business why did they not fight against terrorism at that time?

    Next is about ‘liberal democracy’. Religious freedom? I live in the UAE whose government is kind of influenced by Wahabbis. I have religious freedom. All other religions are allowed to practice here. Iran allows religious freedom. Most middle eastern countries are Muslim if not all. The Quran has a whole chapter on religious freedom. Surah Kafirun if you want to know. In another place the Quran says that There is no compulsion in Religion. This means that you are free to choose which religion to follow. Just like immigration to other countries. You are free to choose which country to go to but once you do then you have to follow each and every one of their rules without challenging them.

    Next about the peace rejection. I do not know about it right now so I wont comment on it. In general my answer might be that the Palestinians do not want to give up their right of their country. Recently the Arabs proposed peace towards Israel but this time it rejected the offer. This political situation is very complicated. As you can see the civil war between Fatah and Hamas.

    We Shias have a prophecy that before the advent of the Imam, there will be killings of two types everywhere and the situation will be very complicated and no one would be able to solve it. So it will be the Imam who will solve it. The killings of the two types are white ones and red ones. The white ones being killings form diease (AIDS, anthrax, bird flu) and red ones being from oppression (guns, bombs etc). So I dont think that there will be any end to this Palestinian problem except for the Imams advent.

    You said that the Palestinians are bent on destroying Israel. I dont know about them but as far as I know, we want to drive out the illegal immigrants in Israel and take back what is rightfully ours. Maybe you didnt know but Israel breaks one of the most UN resolutions. Resolutions on land, weapons etc.

    About the wahabbis. Their ideology is being ‘transmitted’ into other people and those people are geting recruited very quickly. Thats why they arent dying. I dont call them Muslims as they hate the Prophet Muhammad’s (AS) family (AS). And YES almost ALL Muslims are against terrorism. The western media is presenting most Muslims as terrorists so this is no scapegoat thing.

    These wahabbis target not only non muslims but they target Shias as you can see in Pakistan and recently also Sunnis. In fact some years ago my cousin luckily survived a bomb attack in Pakistan. He kept moving towards the back of the people so that he could leave the Mosque quickly and go to his office. His story is an interesting one.

    Another one of my cousins STOPPPED a suicide bomber in Pakistan and I think he is the first one in Pakistan to have done so. He is going to go to Canada (asylum) because the wahabbis are threatening him for bearing witness in a terrorism court. Search for Ghufran Haider. He had an interview on CBC and Channel 4.

    Now about Hezbollah. Hezbollah’s goal is not to target civilians but to target the army. Now its missiles are so inaccurate that they land in Israel. And BTW plz check your facts. Much more than 48 Israeli SOLDIERS have been killed. We do not take killing 1000+ civilians as a victory. Hezbollah, a small group of militants, destroyed an Israeli warship, 50 out of 400 MaraKava(whatever they are called) tanks (which are one of the best in the world) and today Israel itself admits defeat. The israelis fought using precision guided missiles, but still missed and hit civilians (Qana massacre), it used jet fighter aircraft while Hezbollah had none of that and possibly no high tech gear at all.

    Now you might think that Islam is a religion. Well it is not exactly that. It is much more than that. It is defined in Arabic by the word ‘deen’ which is not translatable into English in one word. It actually means complete way of life. Islam controls every aspect of our life. Economics, War, Daily Life, Society etc etc. So in Islam politics and war do come under it. When you study it deeply, you will find out that if it is implemented and followed in the right way, it can be called the nature’s law as it fits human behaviour perfectly. As in my previous posts there are sexual laws and practical instructions and then there are ways of getting rid of poverty but as I said before they need to be followed properly to be effective.

    “Those wars were not thought out with Islamic guidance and so they lost.
    Does this mean that God favors the Jews over the Sunnis?”

    You did not get my point. My point is that when under correct Islamic guidance a muslim nation fights jihad, it WILL win. In that war none of the sides were right I guess but that does not mean that they dont win wars at all. It means that there will be wars like normal and there will be victories like normal but if you are doing the war with the intention of fighting oppression and fighting for justice, for humanity then you are guaranteed to win. Of course you need to avoid that war as much as possible and be generous and be patient. The war that Islam wages is one that is the type which anyone would out of logic and the human want of freedom.

    Yes even I wish that our differences can be brideged and that we understand each other better.

    Thank You

  3. […] Perceptions of America In The Middle East: Just Ask A Shiite. […]

  4. alec says:

    Wow, that was fascinating. I can’t believe something worthwhile actually originated from my blog. Good for me!

    A couple things I’d like to discuss:

    Kit, you said “Perhaps I can explain some. After WWI, Britain controlled Palestine, having won it from the Ottoman Empire. After WWII, it was decided that Britain would leave Palestine. Given that a third of the population was Jewish, and after the atrocities committed against the Jews in WWII, it seemed as if a Jewish state would be a good idea. The majority of the land given to Israel was desert, and Jews made up 61% of the population, with more expected to immigrate. Of course, once the British left the Arabs all attacked Israel, and Israel won the war. So in the West, we look at this. Israel was attacked, and it defended itself against the attack.”

    So you moved from the Jewish population being a third to 61%. In actuality, the breakdown of Palestine was roughly 30 percent Jewish and 70 percent Arab (60 percent Muslim / 10 percent Christian) in 1945, even given the fact that Palestine served as a defacto Jewish refugee camp during the war.

    Our Shiite friend: I completely agree with you about the location of a Jewish state. I’ve always said that my opposition to the creation of the ‘Jewish’ state (shudder) was it’s location — has no one fucking seen Laurence of Arabia? There was a huge legacy of Europeans screwing over the indigenous brown people in the Middle East, and this tradition was remarkably continued by putting a bunch of over-armed fanatics plop in the middle of their territory. Couldn’t we have just given the Zionists Utah or Zimbabwe???

  5. J-Ro says:

    As an American Jew, I am also in agreement about the location of the Jewish state. Putting it where it is currently located was a stupid idea, and has caused nothing but violence ever since. However, what do you see as a resolution? Do you think Palestinians would be satisfied with a Palestinian state? Or will nobody be satisfied until Isreal packs up and leaves the region?

    Also, what do you think about the political roots of terrorism? You say that most terrorists are from a radical sect, and don’t represent the views of most Arab Muslims. However, even if most Muslims don’t perform terrorist acts, there seems to be tacit approval of their methods and goals among the larger Muslim community, or at least that is the perception in America. Is there, in fact, approval of terrorist acts among Muslims? Why don’t people speak out loudly against terrorism if there isn’t this approval? Lastly, do you think solving some of the political issues in poor Muslim states (eliminating poverty, helping build strong governments, easing the situation with Isreal) will help curb terrorism?

  6. alec says:

    J-Ro: I don’t know who you are addressing, I’ll tackle a couple of the questions. My philosophical (or ideal) situation is divorced from my pragmatic reasoning. Ideally it would have been great if all the Jews in the world just moved to the US, and it’s a shame more wasn’t done before and during the Holocaust to allow massive immigration to America. In the words of Chomsky (paraphrased), “the Jews already have a homeland, it’s called New York City”. But alas we can’t live in hypothetical parallel universes, so you have to hunker down and deal with the reality at hand. Israel is here to stay.

    I think a majority of Palestinians would be happy with a two-state solution just as a majority of Israeli’s would. But, and this is a big but, there are powerful factions in both camps that won’t be happy until there is a greater Palestine or greater Israel (hint — religious and nationalistic wackos who are as likely to shoot each other as they are to shoot their sworn enemies). The Palestinian one has grown since nothing has been done really to make the daily lives of Palestinians better, to the point that Hamas won the last elections. I would never condone Palestine terrorism, but I would explain it as a symptom of poverty, political disenfranchisement, and living under 40 years of Israeli occupation, much as one may explain 9/11 as the blown of unwelcomed American intervention in the Middle East. The other side of the coin is the settler problem and the emergence of the ultra-Orthodox Jews under the hybrid of nationalism and religion. Liberals would see striking similarities in the vocal ultra-religious minority in Israel who somehow managed to hijack the national dialogue, just like the evangelical conservatives in America.

  7. Ian says:

    Freemasons? Prophecy? The coming of the Imam? And Hezbolla’s minor rocket-aiming problems?

    I’m very interested in Middle-Eastern views on the U.S., but could we get them from someone who isn’t insane? I mean, there are lots of valid points here but it’s surrounded by a lot of crazy crap.

  8. alec says:

    Ian: Well, it’s obviously easy for us to be skeptical or condescending, but there are clearly a lot of ignorances that run both ways. I would disagree with his freemasons and prophecy points, but I wouldn’t disagree with his points about Hezbollah. While in my opinion, they weren’t successful in their operations because of Allah or Jihad, but because as he said, they were a group of highly maintained and driven individuals. School teachers and civil servants with 1950’s era weapons being able to repel arguably the best military in the world is a testament to Hezbollahs organizational capabilities.

  9. Douglas says:

    Well doesn’t the location of Israel currently correspond to what is written in the Torah? I think that is why that region was chosen. The land was seized and attacked numerous times in history. I think Palestine is not a true nationality. The land changed hands so many times, the people living there at the time were displaced citizens of other nations. Nations that did not want them.

  10. Roger says:

    There is a fundamental problem here and that is that what Shia said “You are free to choose which country to go to but once you do then you have to follow each and every one of their rules without challenging them.” If that is true, then why is it that Muslims in general have had the hardest time assimilating into the cultures of the countries to which they immigrate? If that is true, then aren’t the laws of the country you go to above any religious laws?

    That is the difference between the western view vs the muslim view which is that the west offers religious freedom but only to the degree to which it does not violate the basic human rights (life, liberty, speech, etc.) of all others. When you have a religion that believes it’s edicts are above ALL law then we have a problem. such as honor killings, terrorist acts in the name of jihad, etc.

    Final thing, please don’t read any of those retarded things about Freemasons and the New World Order and such. The fact of the matter is, Americans would never fall under the will of any such organization even if it existed. Look at how many Americans are opposed to their own president and government. We know our government doesn’t always play nice but a global conspiracy machine it is not.

  11. slx says:

    Some information about the foreign relations of Israel:
    After the creation of Israel after WW2, France was the primary supporter of Israel, until they decided that the goodwill of their ex-colony Algeria was more important. Then Russia provided, among other things, armed support before the 1967 war (probably due to the large number of Russian jew migrants to Israel). That changed when after that war the relations between Israel and (sovjet-leaning) Egypt remained tense. Only from that point onward has the US been the chief supporter of the state of Israel.

  12. Nar says:

    That’s kind of a jerky thing to say, especially when this whole dialog is about understanding different points of view.

    It’s fairly well documented that our country was founded by Freemasons, and that they continue to exert an influence on the country (I mean, look at a map of DC), so even though the Shia may subscribe to a belief that is obviously muddled and without any distinct answers, we might as well listen to him (or her) and not discount those opinions as “crazy crap.”

    And I don’t even pretend to know anything about “the coming of the Imam,” or any of this other stuff. I’m just reading, learning, etc. This person is obviously not insane, as the argument is thought-out and reasonable and doesn’t ONCE bring up Nazi UFO technology.

    Let’s be nice! We wouldn’t have to have this discussion at all if we were a nicer species.

  13. xinhoj says:

    The Israelis should’ve done what Northerners in Florida and North Carolina have been doing for quite some time…just move in, drive up the property values, and force everyone to move out ’cause they can’t afford to pay the taxes!

    Seriously, they should’ve just let them come into America (had not FDR died, I think he could’ve convinced the country to go along with it if it had come along with explicit details about the concentration camps), and then the Palestinians could’ve built Jerusalem up as a big religious destination, and made money off the pilgrims/tourists. Step 3, profit!

  14. Uzair says:

    @J-Ro: Check out CAIR’s “Not in the name of Islam” petition, which has been signed by over 750,000 Muslims.

    Also, printed condemnations of terrorism by Muslim leaders:

    Or just search Google for ‘muslims denounce terrorism’.

    The conspiracy theorist’s view of why you haven’t already been exposed to all the denunciations is that the pro-west media focuses only on stories that depict Islam negatively, whether to further Bush’s agenda or to boost ratings.

    @Douglas: do you not see the irony of your statements? Displaced people are *exactly* what the Jews that descended upon Palestine in the 30s and 40s were. That alone does not make either the Jews or the Palestinians right.

    @Roger: mate I don’t know if you’ve been to Israel, but it could equally be argued that there isn’t freedom of religion in Israel. Try visiting Jerusalem while Muslim and see what happens. As for whether your government is, in fact, run by the Freemasons…it sounds unlikely, but given what’s been going on the last few years (w.r.t. election scandals, nepotism, corruption, etc.) it’s not that hard to make a case that there’s *some* sort of conspiracy there.

  15. yortuk says:

    Douglas: it says right there in the Torah that the Israelites took the land from the Canaanites and other natives by a process of unprovoked invasion and genocide. So you certainly can’t claim they had it first. And you can’t blame the arabs for taking it away, since it was the Romans who most recently dispersed the jews from the region.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “true nationality”. The place has been ruled by various empires for a long time, so no, it wasn’t well established as a nation. But it’s clear that the Palestinians (by whatever name) are traditional inhabitants of the region.

    I read somewhere (I think it was Wikipedia) a claim that in the year 1900 there were only five thousand jews in the Palestine region. The Zionist movement was just beginning at that time, and jews started immigrating peacefully. But as their population grew, tensions increased. This is what set up the events at the end of WWII.

    Prior to all that, there were apparently large populations of jews living peacefully throughout the middle east. Now they’re mostly stuck behind a wall with their backs against the sea.

  16. Shia says:

    Thank You very much for all your questions. Your questions give me an opportunity to spread the True Word of Islam. Most people think that it is a radical and extremist religion but well in my opinion its not.

    To J-Ro:
    As a resolution I really dont know. If the politicians can come to a solution, which highly unlikely, then thats good and I will be happy, but otherwise I can’t see any solution for now except as I said earlier the Hidden Imam (AS)’s advent. You might think that I am superstitious and I believe in this just because my parents told me about it but I believe in it because of several other logical reasons.

    Maybe the Palestinians would be happy about their own state but I am not sure. In my opinion (which does not count as I am not an expert), if the illegal immigrants in Israel leave, then I think the war and violence would end.

    About terrorism. If Islam had allowed illegal terrorism, I would have left the religion long back. The answer is a plain NO. Islam does not support terrorism and it in fact commands us to stand up against it. Now can you define and explain to me what you mean by terrorism specifically related to Muslims? If terrorism is defined as fighting for your rights or defending yourself or doing what basic human instinct would tell us to do then yes even I am a terrorist and every human on this planet is a human being. The situation in Israel is taken like this amongst the Muslims. Someone comes to your house, kicks you and your family out and then occupies your house. Then you try to take back what is rightfully yours but the occupiers call your fight as terrorism.

    As far as the approval of terrorism amongst Muslims goes, I dont think that you are right. If you are talking about well disciplined groups like Hezbollah then yes there is very popular support for them. But almost everyone I know thinks that Al Qaeda are nut cases. Killing Prisoners of War is something which is unimaginable but Al qaeda do it against the clear laws of Islam. Whereas Hezbollah fights only against the army and treats its POWs well. The reason for this is that they are very very close to Islam and they try their best to follow it as accurately as possible. Killing and torturing a few POWs like al qaeda and guantanomo ‘bayists’ like cowards will not give Hezbollah anything. It would only increase the perception of its members that they are deviating form Islam.

    Roots of terrorism? This type of terrorism has been going since the death of the Prophet Muhammad (AS). The wahabbis are the same type of people who started this type of terrorism 1400 years ago. These terrorists have had a similar ideology since the beginning. Their thoughts and interpretations of Islam are crooked and their flaws can be EASILY pointed out. The Prophet Muhammad’s (AS) progeny was tortured through the ages.

    This type of ideology has been carried down since the beginning. But in todays world the no. of its followers is quite low but still effective. So the general Muslims population does not support terrorism at all inf act condemns it. The reason why we dont speak out is because we dont have the power of media. We dont have the same type that people in the west have. The western media portrays a image os Islam as it likes. It really makes you think that Islam is the terrorist religion and so all Muslims support terrorism and actually are terrorists themselves. Whatever media we have is hushed down my by the dominance of the western media and nothing gets out. Whatever so called ‘moderate’ views are shown of muslims are very messed up. The are another form of extremism, only this time the opposite.

    The solution you presented could come to use in Afghanistan. Iraq needs patience amongst its factions and the US to leave. There is a ‘theory’ that it is the USA who are making the sectarian violence in Iraq. No one wheres a placard on his chest saying I am a Shia. Almost all of us Shias believe that Muqtada al Sadr is a US agent. While there is Ayatollah Sistani in Iraq telling Shias to be patient, Muqtada comes up and says no plz fight people its martyrdom! Muqtada is not even CLOSE to the level of Sistani. Most Shias in the world follow Sistani. Muqtada is not even an expert in Islamic knowledge. In Pakistan, they need to stop terrorism by stopping the spread of the ideology in its tracks. That will be VERY hard work.

    I hope I have answered your questions J-Ro

    Alec has pointed out some very good points. Israel even today does not confirm its borders. An education minister suggested that Israeli children should be given Israeli maps with 1967 borders. He was VERY strongly criticized. Even today Israel has this want for more and more land as it likes.

    Ian: CRazy crap like? Maybe you dont understand my point because I know of stuff that you dont.

    TO Alec: You have given me quite a hard question which is frequently asked and I will most probably have to get help from other people so that I dont go wrong. I hope you dont mind.

    You said that Hezbollah did not win because of Allah. Well thats kind of illogical. how can something happen wihtout the permission of the One who Created what is and did happen and take place and will take place? In our advanced levels, Allah is not some kind of Deity as is perceived by many people. He does not exist physically as that ould contain Him in something which would make Him need space which would make Him unworthy of being God. He is unimaginable. Hezbollah’s victory was becasue of His divine Will.

    To Douglas: Maybe you have forgotten that the Torah has been corrupted and practically no one knows the original version. We wouldnt have minded the Jews coming for pilgrimage to Palestine. Why resort to terrorism and take compete control?

    To Roger: I would like to know what ‘problems’ Muslims have in going to wetern countries. I used to live in Canada and had no problems. I got used to it. Its just that those type of people dont know the correct response one should give to a situation in terms of Islamic law.

    Even Islam has and supports basic human rights and I can point out openly where the west does not give the protection and rights that Islam does. Even Islam is opposed to terrorist acts and honour killings and barbaric acts and cultural violations of human rights. So whats the difference and whats your point? Maybe you are trying to say Islam does all those acts. I dont think that you would say that if you knew more abut Islam.

    Islam’s system of governance is one which is complex, closely integrated with the society and for the betterment of the future. It might look hard and oppressive but it pays off ofter some time. Not like in the west where laws are made based on the ‘top’ of the situation without any depth. And when some problem arises they start changing rules.

    To Nar: I dont understand what you mean by “the Shia may subscribe to a belief that is obviously muddled and without any distinct answers…” I dont why you think that Islam is ‘muddled’ adn without distinct answer? Can you please elaborate a little so that I can understand your point.

    Uzair thank you for your post. You have helped me in my purpose.

  17. Tom says:

    Fascinating and very informative discussion. I’m so glad to read something that doesn’t try to boil terrorism down to “they hate our freedoms”. All cultures try to deal with seemingly irreconcilable worldviews: Enlightenment-style pragmatic, cold, rational ideas, and on the other hand, religious, semi-rational, semi-mystical beliefs. All cultures struggle with individuals who murder large numbers of people for what seems like inscrutable reasons, and, depending on the current political/religious emphasis on that issue of the electorate and politicians, what to do with murderous people: whether to 1. commit them to a hospital or prison to separate them from society, 2. execute them, or 3. re-elect them to public office. The resolution of many of these conflicts may depend not so much on the pragmatic reasons behind current conflicts in existence (land, beliefs, oil), but on individuals’ ability to let go of the anger felt for past transgressions, some of those transgressions having been committed centuries or millennia ago.

  18. John says:

    Shia, you wrote : “Now about Hezbollah. Hezbollah’s goal is not to target civilians but to target the army. Now its missiles are so inaccurate that they land in Israel. And BTW plz check your facts.”

    Your words leave me bewildered.
    About accuracy –
    For the past month, dozens of Kasam mortar shells have been accurately hitting the Israeli town of Sderot. Sderot is the biggest town lying close to the Gaza strip, and as such is the main focus of hezbollah’s firing endeavours. Dozens. Every day. For the last 4 weeks.
    Yes, it is true that the Kasam is not the most accurate bomb known to man, but considering that its effective distance is no greater than a few miles, an error of up to a few hundred feet is what we are talking about. Thus, i can assure you, the hundreds of bombs landing on Sderot and nearby villages, were aimed there.

    regarding hezbollah’s target –
    On every occasion, and for every eager listener, hezbollah’s chiefs are more than happy to explain that they do not differentiate between Israeli soldiers and innocent citizens. Why? because they believe that Israeli citizens are all soldiers by defenition of being an “occupying” people.
    This is not new, it is and has been Hezbollah’s guiding principals ever since the organization has been founded.

    There’s an air of demagogy and misdirection in your words.
    I suggest you take your own words to heart, and check your facts.

  19. Sophist says:

    Someone once said
    “Islam is the best religion with the worst followers”
    No disrespect meant to any other religion, I wish to highlight the latter part of the quote.

  20. Jason says:

    Be careful reading too much into what is written by this Shia guy.

    First point: Muslims are taught, as part of Islam, a practice called “dissembling” which is used for the purpose of defending their religion. Essentially it is a kind of white lie, from their perspective. From my perspective, it is not innocent at all. It is done to advance the agenda of enlarging the umbrella of Islam control in the world. They lie to try to make Islam appear non-threatening, friendly, welcoming, and wonderful, in the hopes that they can find more followers.

    Examples of this are:

    – Saying Islam is a religion of peace, when in fact the Koran says literally to “kill the unbelievers wherever you find them.”

    – Saying wahabbis are a “small group” when in fact the 22 Million, not a small number, of Saudis are 100% wahabbis (and btw they are flush with trillions of dollars in cash). The 22 million figure does not include the 5.6 million resident foreigners.

    – Trying to further paint wahabbis as an insignificant sect by saying the don’t “love Muhammad’s family.” Well, they do love Muhammad; the Saudi flag itself contains the script “There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”

    – Saying there is religious freedom, when in fact, by Koranic law, no Muslim is free to leave their religion, ever. Note how Saudi Arabia lists its population (including the 5.6 million resident foreigners) as 100% Islamic… how free is that? Liars.

    Dissembling in action looks like this: long winded answers to simple yes and no questions. Watch now as the Shia tries to refute what I have said with his dissembling.

    Second: Muslims say they are “brothers” with other “people of the book.” That may sound great, if you are a Christian or a Jew. But what if you are someone who does not accept a book that tells you a) people should be put to death for working on the sabbath; b) selling your daughter into slavery is OK (Exodus 21:7); c) young people who misbehave should be stoned to death; d) Noah fit 10 billion species on one boat… if you don’t believe that crap, if you are an atheist, the Muslims spit on you or, worse, rape you, and their holy book tells them to kill you; sometimes they do that too. They save their brotherhood (for what it’s worth) for people who, like them, believe in ridiculous fake gods that do not exist.

    Religion of peace? No. Religion of dissembling.

  21. AlvinBlah says:

    I think it’s also worthwhile to support that not all Muslims are terrorists with a parallel.

    Skinheads and factions of the KKK have been considered domestic terrorists, or to have committed acts of terrorism as cited by the FBI. Now the white supremacy draws much of it’s logic from religiously drawn rationale, and they consider themselves Christian.

    However, they’re not Christian in practice, they do not receive wide support, when the acts are extreme enough they’re widely reported. But although they use a Christian and often nationalistic point of view they are not acting in the best interests of a faith or nation.

    I think it’s easy being so far from the actual environment that most of our news services distill the information in a very misleading light, and I don’t think its intentional, but a byproduct of the system to see an entire world region through such a narrow lens.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of downtown Jerusalem on the major news outlets that don’t depict some act of violence.

    Anyway, I think that it’s not a perfect parallel, but a reasonable example of a violent fringe group in the U.S.A. that is not representational of the entire nation.

  22. Jason says:

    Direct quotes from the Koran:

    Kill disbelievers wherever you find them. If they attack you, then kill them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. (But if they desist in their unbelief, then don’t kill them.) 2:191-2

    Have no unbelieving friends. Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them. 4:89

    Slay the idolaters wherever you find them. 9:5

    Those who submit and convert to Islam will be treated well. (Those who don’t submit will be killed. See previous verse.) 9:6

    Treat converts to Islam well. (Kill those who refuse to convert. See 9:5) 9:11

    Believers must fight for Allah. They must kill and be killed , and are bound to do so by the Torah, Gospel, and Quran. But Allah will reward them for it. 9:111

  23. alec says:

    I’m not one to limit free speech, but I do not appreciate comments that are debasing or meanspirited towards the conversation we’re trying to foster.

    John: I agree that there’s some discrepancies about Hezbollah’s actions and Shia’s comments. I think in the Middle East, Hezbollah is painted as a Palestinian liberation movement that is standing up against Israel. While I honestly think Hezbollah has the right to confront Israel militarily, I don’t think they have the right to target civilians. Ever.

    That being said, how many Lebanese civilians were killed last summer compared to Israeli civilians? It was about what? Approximately 10 Israeli civilians killed and 500 Lebanese civilians? So 50 to 1? While people in the West have an overwhelming concept of Islamic terrorism focusing on civilian attacks, don’t forget the actions of the American or Israeli military. People in the Middle East are reminded by their media as much as we are about the perpetrators of indiscriminate violence, except to them, it’s us.

  24. Shaun Apple says:

    Community Publishing

    Gay marriage in Iraq.

  25. alec says:

    By the way, I wrote a lengthy piece recently about the perception of terrorism and actual support for terrorists in the Middle East and among American Muslims:

    Those who think that Muslim countries and pro-terrorist attitudes go hand-in-hand might be shocked by new polling research: Americans are more approving of terrorist attacks against civilians than any major Muslim country except for Nigeria…

    The survey, conducted in December 2006 by the University of Maryland’s prestigious Program on International Public Attitudes, shows that only 46 percent of Americans think that “bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians” are “never justified,” while 24 percent believe these attacks are “often or sometimes justified.”…

    Contrast those numbers with 2006 polling results from the world’s most-populous Muslim countries – Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. Terror Free Tomorrow, the organization I lead, found that 74 percent of respondents in Indonesia agreed that terrorist attacks are “never justified”; in Pakistan, that figure was 86 percent; in Bangladesh, 81 percent… Our surveys show that not only do Muslims reject terrorism as much if not more than Americans, but even those who are sympathetic to radical ideology can be won over by positive American actions that promote goodwill and offer real hope.

  26. Anonymous says:

    “Another reason we support Israel is because it is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. We in America like liberal democracies, and tend to support them. People in Israel mostly have religious freedom, and can do what they want.”

    Quote from 1st reply,
    Please read the right history books, by that i mean read between the lines.
    USA has been the major SUPPORTER OF ANTIDEMOCRATIC (all the dictatorships over south america and a lot of other countries had CIA hands, money, military decisions, weapons all over it) regimes all over the world…
    Don’t by the propaganda bullshit…

  27. DAVID says:

    I believe i know what would work. Let the world have true freedom to worship as they wish. Who are we to tell our neighbors how to worship. The three main religions of the world all believe in the same GOD, do they not? I wonder what GOD is thinking, watching his children kill each other off. Shame on all of us. I am a christian from CANADA and i believe that is the way most of us see it here.

  28. Mike says:

    A religion is any systematic pattern of belief about the supernatural. Islam counts. Moreover, while there are, regrettably for them, Muslims who let their religion invade every facet of their lives, this fact makes Islam neither anything other than a religion nor a particularly special religion, as you can easily find groups professing most any faith who let their superstitions consume them.

    By the bye, Shia, it doesn’t really make sense to call the Israelis ‘illegal immigrants.’ Yes, it’s a potent spin to put on the issue, but it’s a gross oversimplification, (since many settled legally by any standard; and since the British colonial power in Palestine exercised its rights in disposing of its land as it chose–regrettable though its methods of attaining that land had been) and it overlooks a full half of the moral complexity involved… the Israelis have been there more than a generation now; it is their home; children have grown into adulthood and had children of their own. If Palestinians wanted them gone, they would have done well by a little foresight and then a little haste, because it isn’t their land only anymore, and will never be again. What’s most dangerous about the situation is that well-meaning but misguided people on all sides of the issue disregard the peril of the situation because they expect a supernatural solution. If Jesus or the Mahdi or the Messiah is going to come and make it all right again, then no matter how much we foul up the situation, it’s probably all part of God’s plan; indeed an all-out war might be just the thing to call Him (or His emissary, depending on your superstition of choice) down out of the clouds.

    Like you, though, Shia, I too am waiting for a millennium that will probably never come: I look forward to the day when human beings grow up enough to set aside our petty pretenses of understanding and the fouled leftovers of our barbaric past and grow up, as a species, to our real potential. I’m waiting for the end of religion.

  29. Jon says:

    “This person is obviously not insane, as the argument is thought-out and reasonable and doesn’t ONCE bring up Nazi UFO technology.”

    No, the prophecy stuff is pretty insane. Nazi UFO technology seems socially trivial for you to deny, because not many people subscribe to it; you won’t have to defend yourself against Nazi UFO technology apologists. But people do subscribe to the prophecy stuff, and that’s pretty much the only reason you don’t call it crazy.

    By definition, religious texts must be interpreted. For every bit of wisdom you’ll find, there’s a bit of monstrosity or inanity. The argument, “They’re not real Muslims,” really doesn’t hold much water. Who is and who isn’t a real Muslim depends on who you ask, not some objective, demonstrable reality. Until we get rid of this fantastical gewgaw posing as rational argument, we’re not going to get very far. Sorry to be blunt about it.

  30. Seann says:

    Shia, I would like to ask for your opinion on this text:

    I should be clear that I am not asking directly for your opinion of this in relation to Islam – although feel free to include it 🙂 – but specifically, do you feel this is an adequate representation of the life and cultural world that many people in the Arab lands inhabit? Why or Why Not?

    Thank you. Keep up the good work m8,

    – Seann

  31. Tyrell says:

    While this discussion is interesting, I noticed Shia mentioned Iran as a nation close to Islam. If Islam is a tolerant and free religion, then why do people who escape Iran talk about how horrible it is there and how hard it is to get out? How come obscure laws of Islam are enforced by law? Laws against killing, stealing, etc… are common sense because people are hurt. But laws against wearing certain clothing, girls being alone with boys, listening to certain music, is totally unjustified.

    I really don’t beleive Iran is a shining example of being close to the Islamic beleifs you speak of.

  32. eli says:

    I found this discussion on reddit. It’s really sad how Israel is now perceived by many Westerners. The story of it’s founding, for an American Jew like me, is a point of pride. We were sentenced to extermination – by Nazi gas chambers, by Inquisition, by Russian pogroms, and even by latent American anti-semitism.

    Our history is one of diaspora. We were thrown from our home before Islam’s Prophet was even born. For centuries we were massacred and tortured for our beliefs. When my grandparents emigrated to Israel from a displaced persons camp in Germany after the war they made what I believe should be regarded as a historic return to the only homeland that existed for them.

    Without being too condescending, I want to comment on Shia’s general intellectual posturing. I get the sense that many Muslims find this kind of socratic questioning of the logic of Israel’s very existance to be a righteous and provocative kind of discourse. (Freemasons? Skull and Bones? DKE? Keg stands?) Ahmadinejad speaks with almost exactly that same kind of sophmoricism – so does Pat Buchanan. People who don’t practice a constant and rigorous reexamination of their beliefs are in danger of being lied to by Imans, ideologically perverted think tanks, evangelical preachers etc. For example, I regard Israel’s recent escalation in Lebanon as reprehensible. But I also recognize that from a certain perspective, they live in a permanent state of fear because their neighbors, not unlike a bloodthirsty Russian mob or an Alabaman lynch mob, are comprised of a substantial number of astonishingly misguided and gullible actors. And these people behave irrationally.

    Reasonable people can argue about the peace that we pray will some day visit our mutually shared and beloved region. We all want it. We must learn to coexist. But I believe our only chance will come when Muslim nations (and this one as well) offer children serious educations that teach them about the modern world in which we all ACTUALLY live. Honestly, Freemasons? Are they kidding?

  33. Michael says:

    Wow. This is the first intelligent conversation that I have seen between a Muslim and a non-Muslim. Thank you so much. I hope that soon you will have another blog page with another topic of discussion.
    Briefly about Israel: I don’t understand how anyone can say that they don’t know why the State of Israel should be where it is. Just read their holy book. Abraham was specifically told be God to go to Palestine. Isaac, Jacob lived there. Then the slavery and exile in Egypt for 400 years — back to Israel under the leadership of Moses and Joshua. The kings lived in Jerusalem, build palaces and the Temple to YHWH. There is only one place where the Jewish temple is allowed to be built – that is in Jerusalem. Exile to Babylon. 70 years later – the Jews start returning. They establish a country there until the Romans conquer them. They are exiled again by the Romans. This exile lasts longer that the previous ones. During this exile the Arab Palestinians move in. Please notice that (i) the whole Jewish history is tied up with the land of Israel, (ii) their religion is tied irrevocably with Jerusalem, (iii) they were there before the Arabs.

    WWII and the British: The British were cowards at this time – trying to appease everyone (much as they initially tried to appease Hitler). They made a huge mess in the middle east (most of their other colonies fared better, but colonization was a huge disaster for the conquered countries all around the world). They did set up a Palestinian state. It is called Jordan. The British government did the MINIMUM that they could for Israel and abandoned it to its fate (just look at the crazy map with borders that Israel was supposed to have. No country can survive like that). Read the book “Exodus” by Leon Uris. It is the best way to see things through an Israeli’s eyes. You will then really truly understand why they are in Israel.

    USA supporting liberal democracies … such hypocrisy. It needs a whole book written about it.
    — from Canada!

  34. c-dog says:

    Freemasons? Here’s a more plausible conspiracy theory. How about oil companies!

    Without oil, conflict in the Middle East becomes irrelevant. All this conflict is fueled by economic interest. Israelis, Palestinians, Shiites, Sunnis, all used as pawns in a game for power and control over oil.

    Oil is blood for the cities of the industrialized world, without fuel, millions will starve, just as cells will die in living tissue without blood. Our entire way of life has become dependent on oil for food production and distribution.

    Bush overthrew Saddam solely to keep Iraq’s oil under the influence of major US-backed oil corporations, who are closely affiliated with the Saudis (and the UAE). But when Saddam was in power, there was a delicate balance of power in the region, with Saudi Arabia and Iran, both hostile, extremist regimes, held in check by a ruthless strongman.

    With Saddam gone, the entire region will destabilize, and either outcome (Iran or Saudis victorious) is bad for the US, and bad for the rest of the free world. We should have put Saddam back in power but its too late now!

    Our only hope is to develop superior alternative energy sources and thereby destroy the hegemony of oil which is a sickness that has poisoned the world and compromised the free world.

  35. yortuk says:

    @Michael: It’s ridiculous to go back thousands of years for an excuse to displace people who’ve lived there for hundreds of years. And a little ironic, considering those Palestinian arabs are likely closer genetically to the ancient inhabitants than are most diaspora jews.

    It’s also dishonest to claim Palestinians only moved in after the jews were forced into exile by the Romans. A number of different groups lived in the region, alongside the jews, from well before the time of the Romans. And as I mentioned previously, the Israelites were hardly the first people to occupy the region.

    It’s totally understandable that jews would feel an affinity for the place, but that hardly justifies forcing others out.

  36. majo says:

    To say that the Jews have a “homeland” as a modern-day group of people is absurd. By that logic, I should feel some kind of deep connection to Italy, even though nobody in 3 generations of my family have lived in any of those places. Give me a break. There are more Jews in Manhattan than there are in Israel anyhow. I agree with the person who said it before: tourism to Israel would have been a MUCH better idea than mass migration.

    As far as Muslims standing up against terrorism…where are all the Muslim anti-terrorism “million man marches” whenever there’s a suicide bombing? Just wondering.

  37. Javbw says:

    Thanks to the letter writer and all the commentaries. The comments in this thread (as well as the ideas presented) show how many different opinions are out there. keeping civil is great!

    there are a couple things I’d like to point out about the state of the US and Britain after WWII:

    Shia said “Looking at todays habit of Britain and USA intervening in other people’s business why did they not fight against terrorism at that time?”

    SOmeone touched on this, but I wanted to expand on it.

    After WWII, Britain was pretty much dead. it was on life support of goods from America. They gave up their territories that required presence to support, probably because a) there was a swing of sentiment away from being an empirical Conquerer and acting like the enemy they just defeated, but it was probably more of an ulterior motive just to bring able bodied men home, and reunite families and help rebuild. Britain at that point was fighting for it’s very survival. Fighting for itself, not someone else. It pulled away from it’s imperialistic tendencies because it was focusing on rebuilding. Having nowhere to put all of the Jews that were homeless, along with the *extreme* feelings over the death camps, the allies made the irrational decision to stick them down where they were “originally from”.

    America before world war II was isolationist. WWII took millions of people far way to defend places many of them couldn’t find on a map. It changed the life of every single american – from rations to jobs to the basic fact that families disappearing. I have 7 relatives who fought in WWII. After WWII there were two major super powers – Russia and the US – who distrusted each other. Right after the war, the Americans wanted nothing to do with anything. EVERYONE wanted to be home and out of a war. that’s when the “baby boom” in the US happened – a large surge of kids being born when husbands and boyfriends returned home. My Mother is one of them. During this time, Mistrust of the soviets turned to hostility, and the cold war began – and that single thing has clouded our thinking ever since. US policy up until the late 90’s put the middle east in the perspective of how they helped or hurt our fight against the Soviets. We gave Israel (and later egypt, as stated earlier by someone else) money and weapons to increase our presence, not because we really cared about them, to a point, but because their enemies were being supplied by the soviets. Korea, Vietnam, helping the Jihadists in Afghanistan, and partially the first gulf war were all influenced by this. This meddling in affairs was because when it really came down to it, the US was protecting itself from Russia. and people helping Russia were our enemies. Seeing how we poured money into Egypt and later saudi arabia, Kuwait, Iraq (when fighting iran, supplied by the soviets), as well as those lovely stinger missiles which turned the tide for the Afghanistan fight, this illustrates my point completely. I’m pretty sure at that time, however unlikely, if Israel went pro-Russia, we would now just be getting on good terms with them. Americans were afraid of nuclear holocaust, not some people on the other side of the globe with no real impact on the US.

    The US in the new millennium is at a crossroads. All of our cold war infrastructure is somewhat in place, but we are not seeing the large opposing “enemy” any more. Our reaction to the fall of the Soviets led us into a false sense that the world is safe. That lead to the decline of Intelligence and military preparedness through the 90’s. That led us to underestimate the threats we knew about, and not find out about the majority of them – leaving us open to a 9/11 style attack. Throughout the next 20 years, we are going to go through the transition of being the lone world power facing “big red” to having to deal with small unknown combatants and being a member in the global stage. Our reaction to 9/11, the invasion and later bungling of Iraq, and probably other missteps to come are the unfortunate side effects of our change. But hopefully we will pull through this and be perceived more of as a friend than a foe to the middle east.

    On a different note, I’d like to mention a sentiment of my friend, and one that also resonates with me, as far as the israeli conflict goes.

    Whatever argument there was about Israel being an “illegal state” is no longer valid – they won the wars to prove it. All nations are formed in this method, however hostile and “wrong” it is. The map is drawn by those holding the pen – Israel may have been an illegal state, formed because of a bad idea by tired powers just wanting to unload them somewhere, but as soon as they were attacked, which they have been several times, they fought and won their sovereignty. The 1967 war really put that pressure on, and they withstood it. They want, currently hold, and are willing to defend to the death that particular area, so it is theirs until they sign a peace treaty giving part of it away, since the repeated attempts to retake it have failed. I’m not saying israel is on the side of good or bad, or that their internal or foreign policies are good ones. I’m not informed enough to talk about that. but they hold the land, and is a recognized country by a vast majority of the world. That makes it theirs. I hope their enemies spend more time taking a hard look at using a pen at the negotiation table rather than their unsuccessful and lately feeble and misgided use of force. It is so misguided, that it has caused the rift between Fatah and Hamas. The same countries that recognize israel also pay money to help out the palestinians, and their withdrawal of funds from the Hamas led government is a big indicator that the world’s governments seem to have this view too – we want to help, but your place is at a negotiation table, not flinging homemade rockets randomly at israel. I Firmly believe that nothing the Palestinians would ever be able to muster could expel Israel, just looking at what they have done so far. Even the “loss” that Israel suffered recently did nothing to redefine it’s borders.

    Thanks for letting me ramble on, and I thank (sincerely) everyone for their views. you can’t solve a puzzle until you look at all the pieces.

    I just hope things work out for the best through compromise in the end, for all of us.

  38. Jeff says:

    I enjoyed reading your views on this topic and have 1 small question: if Muslim nations do not want U.S. culture imported, then why do so many Muslims seek education in the U.S., why do so many Muslims immigrate to the U.S., and why do many Muslim nations have such a large expatriate workforce (primarily Saudi Arabia)?

  39. Errol says:


    I want to think you for this discussion. I find it very interesting to read this discourse, because I don’t know much about it. Not being part of any of the affected parties, I don’t think I can even make an informed decision. I find it a very difficult, possibly impossible, problem to find a solution to.

    If the native Americans in North America decide that they were unfairly treated and manipulated, and demanded 50% of their land back, would the North American population happily concede? Not at all.

    For me to say there is an easy solution between the two cultures would only show more of my ignorance.

    I am very much interested in understanding your viewpoint: a completely different country, a completely different culture. You must forgive some of my North American counterparts. 🙂 There are a few that believe that someone who believes in a ‘god’ cannot possibly be rational or worth listening too. And yet we are so biased in our own westernized, affluent culture, we cannot believe that we too are subjective.

    From your posts, you seem to be a person willing to understand another’s viewpoint, while a lot of the posts I see in response to you are just looking for more reasons to shoot Islam down, Israel down, religion down, etc. Do not let them dishearten you, continue with your posts. In my mind, they are no different than the american christian fundamentalists they enjoy criticizing. And thus you understand my biases and weaknesses. I am not American, I am Canadian, and it takes a lot of effort for me not to be arrogant towards them. Often I fail, and am no better. But I have talked with and know many Americans, atheist AND theist, willing to understand and learn from another. They understand that they don’t know the other culture, or the other person, and thus cannot make the damning judgements that others so love to do. From them, I am reminded of my own accusations and intolerance, and must exercise humility and grace.

    I do not know many muslims, only a few, but none from another country. So your posts are interesting to read. I know I cannot fully understand your position, my worldview and environment is just so different from yours, but I am eager to hear a voice not from the north american media, nor from someone who knows nothing about Islam or your country (but yet feels fully qualified to critique it). 🙂

    So continue on. There are a few questions some have brought up that I would like to hear answers to, and because of my warped view of your culture, I know some of my biases need to be straightened out.

  40. An excellent book to find and to read is titled The Rape of Palestine. (It is only available used) It details the history of Palestine from about 1900 until 1938. It is a fabulous book.

    In the beginning, Arabs looks forward to the Jews coming to Palestine. The Jews were famous as Bankers and Financiers. They would help bring wealth to the Middle East.

    You also had the Zionist Movement in Europe, whose purpose was to simply buy land for a Future State of Israel, facilitating the return of Jews to Palestine. This plan was working, even if quite slowly.

    Now we come to World War One, The Victory of the WWI Allies over the Central Powers, which included the Ottoman Empire.

    British views regarding the Jews have been marvelously confusing. there were many factions. It is important to know that in the British Empire there was a strong anti-Jewish religious faction, blaming the Jewish people for the murder of Jesus at the hand of the Romans at the prodding of the romanized Jewish political leaders.

    Also some Jewish religious ritual has some surface similarity to the Catholic Mass, although in a different language. Some people thought that this ritual was actual a satanic mass.

    Others in Britain claimed that the British were descendents of the ten lost tribes of Israel, and that this explained why the British Empire was so successful. I told you it got weird.

    Hitler and others after WWI blamed Jews for the financial ruin of Europe.

    So as I noted, when the British took over Palestine, there were several British factions. One wanted to provoke bad feelings and the Jews regardless. Others wanted to help the Zionists.

    One famous British tactic is to maintain control over their colonies by pitting factions against each other.

    There are many many details to this. But suffice it to say that both sides succeeded to some degree. The Zionists got a viable population in Palestine, and the Anti-Jews succeeded in stirring up the population against them.

    Then we have WWII, the Partition of Palestine into various Countries, the discovery of Oil in the Middle East, and other things which set the stage for the mess we have now.

    But remember, in the beginning, the Arabs welcomed the Jews, until someone else poisoned the well. These poisoners of goodwill fear the family reunion of the sons of Abraham into a powerful nation. They would prefer that the family remain torn asunder.

  41. Rob says:

    Wow… This is by far the most fascinating discussion I have read for quite some time now.

    @Shia: Thank you for sharing your views. As Errol said, it is enlightening to read the honest opinion of someone on the flipside of things. Even if I do not agree with some of them, discourse is the first step to understanding, and understanding each other’s cultures is imperative if our respective societies are to avoid a prolonged state of avarice towards each other. I have looked for something such as this very discussion online for some many months now, and this is the first I have found. We need more like this. Please do not be too offended by the ignorant posters – I can assure you that most Americans are much more thoughtful than they, and would like for nothing more than to see these conflicts resolved in a peaceful manner, and soon!

    @Jabvw: Excellent analysis!

  42. Shia says:

    Alright now I will try to answer your questions and points of view again.

    To John:
    Qassam rockets. You know Hezbollah are from Lebanon and the Qassam rockets come from Palestine. There are two different ideologies that we are talking about. Hezbollah is not in a state of war right now and it does not use Qassam rockets.

    Secondly can you please give me a clip or something of that sort showing Hasan Nasrullah saying that Israelis should all be killed. Hezbollah had so many rockets and so much support from Iran that if it had wanted it could have ‘sprayed’ rockets over Israel. How many people did Israel kill using precision guided and laser guided missiles? 1000+ civilians whereas Hezbollahs toll doesnt even reach 50. They are true mistakes using Katyusha rockets. In fact USA and Israel make more ‘mistakes’ than anyone else.

    Your accuracy is critically flawed. You can not differentiate between the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas.

    To Sophist:
    Yes my fath has quoted that saying a lot in family meetings. Even I agree to that but not totally. It depends on who you are looking at. Most muslims around the world are quite messed up I say. But not all. Messed up in the sense, their behavior. Thank God all these people dont support terrorism.

    To Jason:
    Your research or whatever you did is CRITICALLY flawed. Why would I want to be a hypocrite and use dissembling tactics to bring people to my religion when hypocrisy is not allowed in Islam.

    As mentioned before our points of view and opinion do not get across properly. You do ersearch on your won and make conclusions without even asking an Islamic expert about your findings.

    1. you have not read the whole verse. You have ‘cut’ out a part of that verse. This verse is used very often to falsely defame Islam. Try to understand what the Quran says. We claim so often that the Quran does not contradict itself. There is a verse in the Quran which translates to: There is no compulsion in religion. This verse is very clear but if you read the other verse you quoted it means something else if read completely.

    2. 22 million out of 1.3 billion muslims is not a big number. Secondly the wahabbis are actually Salafis who are similar but they dont go doing false jihad all the time.

    3. Maybe you were not good in school. I said that the wahabbis dont love the Prophet’s FAMILY. You can go check the facts they dont love the Prophets family. ALL muslims say that There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger. Its not exclusive to Saudis or wahabis. Secondly you might say that if the love the Prophet then why not love his family? If you check the Ahadith, the false companions started disrespecting and disobeying the Prophet when he was nearing his death and in daily life they used to be jealous of the Prophet’s family.

    3. Read Surah Kafirun. There is complete religious freedom. If you dont ‘beleive’ in Islam from your heart then you are not a Muslim and you have informally and spiritually left Islam and thats all that matters. It is obvious that the Quran will not allow people to leave it. But when you dont believe in it then you have left it and no one can force you to believe in it. BTW Saudi Arabia does not represent the Shias. They have their own sec and its quite messed up.

    The reason we have to give long answers is so that you can understand our point of view completely. If I give basic yes/no answers then you can easily misunderstand our point.

    As quoted above Muslims do not represent Islam and their behavior is going worse because of the ethnic culture that surrounds them. I am not talking about all Muslims. All those things that you said we do are false and thats all a blatant lie. Give me AUTHENTIC sources which claim that.

    To AlvinBlah:
    What is quite right.

    To Jason:

    Here are some authentic translations of the Quran. I will quote their translators who are one of the best in the world.

    [Shakir 2:190] And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.
    [Yusufali 2:190] Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.
    [Pickthal 2:190] Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors.

    For the second one you have not read the verse that precede it. The verse refers to the hypocrites who left the Prophet to get heir belongings from Makkah and then never returrned. They wanted the Muslims to also go back to Paganism. Its a lng story but in short this verse does not refer to non Muslims of today.

    [Shakir 9:6] And if one of the idolaters seek protection from you, grant him protection till he hears the word of Allah, then make him attain his place of safety; this is because they are a people who do not know.
    [Yusufali 9:6] If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.
    [Pickthal 9:6] And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the Word of Allah, and afterward convey him to his place of safety. That is because they are a folk who know not.

    Your quote was totally messed up. These are authentic experts transalating the Qur’an. you can see that that this verse is proof that we do not kill non Muslims for the heck of it in the way you think so.

    [Shakir 9:11] But if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, they are your brethren in faith; and We make the communications clear for a people who know.
    [Yusufali 9:11] But (even so), if they repent, establish regular prayers, and practise regular charity,- they are your brethren in Faith: (thus) do We explain the Signs in detail, for those who understand.
    [Pickthal 9:11] But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then are they your brethren in religion. We detail Our revelations for a people who have knowledge.

    Shakir 9:111] Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the garden; they fight in Allah’s way, so they slay and are slain; a promise which is binding on Him in the Taurat and the Injeel and the Quran; and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Rejoice therefore in the pledge which you have made; and that is the mighty achievement.
    [Yusufali 9:111] Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur’an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.
    [Pickthal 9:111] Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.

    I have no idea what about what you are trying to do. You just take the word of some illiterate person in the expectation that I am not going to bother quoting the correct translations.

    Whatever you said uptill now was a big lie. We do not sell our daughters, we do not kill non Muslims but in fact treat them well so that they can see the truth of Islam.

    To Alec:
    Yes Hezbollah does not have a right to kill innocent civilians or even civilians who are guilty before judging them and trying them. It is as I said before unintentional mistakes that Hezbollah did that led to the deaths of Israeli civilians. Even I am sorry for those deaths. Maybe you didnt know it but Hasan Nasrullah came on TV and admitted that we made a mistake and killed an innocent Israeli child and believe it or not he prayed for her on TV with the whole crowd.

    Whichever Muslim thinks that terrorism is allowed in Islam is wrong and I am quite sure that they have not done proper research in Islam and so say that terrorism is alright. These people do not represent Islam. Or maybe the people who conducted the poll meant that terrorism is standing up for your rights under the banner of Islam.

    To Mike:
    Islam is not exactly a religion, its defined in Arabic as a ‘deen’. Please find out more about it to understand what I am talking about. Islam doesnt beleive in stuff blindly. A book was written by Ayatollah Baqr as Sadr (a very high level scholar, a genius) and it proves the existence of God logically, scientifically and philosophically. The book is called The Revealer.

    Religion needs to be there. Its like this. You have a machine made by someone. Now you want to operate it. The creator of the machine knos everything about, how it works, how it would work etc etc. Who would you rather refer to in operating the machine. The creator, some 3rd party people or would you just go about it yourself and end up messing up the machine. I would go with the creator whose customer support is very good. Similarily for us the Qur’an is the instruction manual of this universe sent to us by the Creator, the Prophet Muhammad is the initial delivery and person and his progeny (the 12 Imams) are the long term support so that when a new situation arises with time, they know how to handle it. The reason why I have chosen Islam as the method of going about this universe is that the Quran is a living miracle. It has so many scientific fats in it. Those facts could not have been discovered by a person in the desert (Prophet Muhammad). Some kind of divine info was given to him. So this miracle is what makes me believe in Islam.

    To Jon:I dont think you are right in saying what you said. It IS a demonstrable reality. We will be discussing about the differences between Shias and Sunnis for next week. The only two sects in Islam that are logically even worth considering are these two. This is because mot of the other sects started up much later, while a general law and stuff was already prevalent in the Muslims. They made up their own interpretations of Islam and yes they can be proven wrong. These new sects basically imply hat everyone before them were wrong which is kind of illogical. Their ‘experts’ are nothing compared to true
    Shia and Sunni experts. They are all self proclaimed. The most influential Sunni Islamic University is in Egypt called the Azhar University recognizes Shias as muslims. So basically it is absolutely possible to prove that apart from Shias and Sunni, the rest of the ‘Muslims’ are deviants.

    To Seann:
    I am really sorry but I will have to take some time to study the text you gave me with a friend and make my answer up. If you would can you please give me your email address so hat I can give you my answer. If you feel that I am trying to hide something from the readers by giving you a private answer then I will post it up over ehre so that everyone can read it. This is just what I felt after what people like Jason talked about me. I hope you understand.

    To Tyrell:
    The laws in Iran are, if not all, mostly Islamic. The depth of Islamic laws is such that it prevents major problems from arising in the future. I used to think that Hijab was just of no use and just implemented for the heck of it. But when I studied it, I found out just how necessary it is for a society to be successful. Hijab is priceless. Today Hijab is paying off for the Irani women. All the things that you mentioned, are actually genuine Islamic laws and you will only get their essence when you study them in detail. I am not trying to evade your argument but this place is just not right for this kind of argument.

    To eli:
    I agree with you on the torture part. But you are not alone. We Shias have been tortured since the death of the Prophet. Yes eve today since 1400 Shias have been under constant threat and torture. Even today in Iraq you can ee it. In some Arab countries we are not allowed to openly practice our beliefs.

    My point is that fine the Jews need a homeland they will get it but why kick out people form their home to make your own home? You want to got to Israel as in the Torah then do that no probz but why kick out families form their homes? I dont think that is justified. Someone was telling me that approximately 20-40% of Israel is built on private land. We dont mind coexisting but the way Israel was made was not built with coexistence in mind.

    Lets say that Palestine is an area where many groups lived. So if you want to move you do so legally not by kicking out its inhabitants just because your ancestors lived there. If that is done none of todays modern are accurate.

    To Javbw:
    I wanted to point out that Israel still does not define its borders. And please be patient until true Jihad starts. Its going to be much more intense than Hezbollah’s victories. Please do not think that I am being an extremist. True Jihad is such that enemies convert to Islam just by loking at the soldiers non ruthless behaviour and the martyrs bravery.

    To Jeff:
    By American culture I am talking about the negative one like free sex. The people go to the USA because as you suggested for education and a better standard of life. Many people like me go t the west to increase Muslim influence over there and try to show the real image of Islam not the one presented by the media.

    Thank you very much everyone for your compliments. If someone disagrees with me then it is either:
    1. You misunderstood me.
    2. My point did not get across as it had no depth and it is quite hard writing it out.
    3. I made a mistake as I am not an expert in this matter.
    4. Some other reason that my lack of knowledge has created.

    I will most probably not writing any more responses to the comments because I have to work on next week’s questions which is thanks to Alec very hard and tricky, possibly dangerous.

    Seann, I will give you a reply on your question as soon as possible. If it is a bad representation of Arabic life then most probably it refers to Bedouins or primitive life which is almost non existant or then the whole article is wrong. I live in Dubai and the life over here is amazing.

  43. Thomas T. says:

    On religious freedom in the U.A.E.:

    I have spent a year in that country and that is more than enough to contradict what Shia says. There is very limited religious freedom there compared to the non-Muslim rest of the world, even though it may be more than is typically allowed in some other Muslim countries.

    When I was there last in 2000, there were two Christian churches in Dubai attented mostly by the Western expatriate population, which constituted maybe 5% of U.A.E. residents. Needless to say, there were no synagogues.

    Indians constituted about 60-70% of the population but they wouldn’t even dream about erecting a Hindu temple in that country. After all, in Islam the Hindu religions are considered paganism and that can’t be allowed. Even though some Indians were third generation residents in the country.

    Of course, no religions other than Islam are allowed to proselytyse. Of course, conversions from Islam to another religions are unheard of, just like in any other Muslim country in the world, with the possible exception of Turkey maybe.

    You need a very narrow world view to call this setup an example of religious freedom.

  44. Shia says:

    I live in the UAE. I am still right here. Hindu temples are there. I just called up a Hindu friend of mine to re confirm and there are 5, yes 5, major temples and other smaller ones. Maybe they werent there when you came here. Maybe you didnt see them. But that doesnt mean that you spread lies about me. Religious freedom is over ehre but protests, marches and other mass gatherings are not allowed as the government does not want to be politically active I guess. In Islam polytheism is not allowed but letting others worship whatever they want is allowed. If you think that the UAE is a country that suppresses other religions and other countries are more ‘free’ in terms of religion then I can say that the other countries are very very free compared to other non-muslim countries in the world.

  45. Shia says:

    To Erroll and any one else interested in more knowledge.

    If you want I might be able to arrange for an Islamic expert or some kind of representative to meet you In Canada, USA, Australia or UK (where ever you live). It is quite hard to get my point across by writing so maybe if you are more interested you can meet a Muslim face to face and clear all your doubts.

  46. Resident of Dubai says:

    Dear Thomas T.

    I don’t know how wrong you can be, I have been living in Dubai since I was 5, and if there is anything here, it is Religious freedom, and as for your comment

    “attented mostly by the Western expatriate population”

    That comment is wrong, although I am not a Christian, but from what I have come to know (inspite of being a non-Christian) is that in the Chuches, the sermons that your priests give are given in not only English but in other languages as well such as Hindi, and I think Malyalam (a South-Indian language) as well, and I think one or two other lanuages as well etc. thus proving that only “Westerners” do not attend the Church gatherings.

    And as for Hindus, I think they have temple or something of some sort in Jumeirah I believe , and this was told to me by an Indian friend of mine, and as for Sinagogues, I really don’t have much idea since I don’t really have any friends who are Jewish.

  47. Shia says:

    I dont think that there are any Jews over here. I might be wrong. As it is the population is very small over here. As you can see from the person above, your and Jason’s biased and uneducated, narrow minded attempts to defame Islam wrongly have been thwarted. While the rest of the people are trying to understand my point of view and I theirs, you come and give false information that is obviously not wanted.

  48. Rick says:

    As a non-religious, average white American guy, I can say with certainty that I don’t care for Israel. I’m not Jewish so I don’t have a religious/cultural connection and I’m not a crazy fundamentalist Christian so I don’t have that connection to it.
    I’m just someone who sees this foreign country that isn’t particularly friendly, that was formed by outsiders by taking land from those already living their, that seems to have too much influence in my country and that creates turmoil which has international repercussions and drags us down into it. I don’t see any conspiracy or “plots” but I do see this place that offers me nothing whatsoever causing me trouble and problems… I don’t like it. I say let Israel take care of itself and let the U.S. stay away. We owe them nothing and should not allow their concerns to influence our policies even 1%

  49. The Descent into Blog Nihilism

    Hello Blog World! Another successful week of the ol’ blog-o-rehea and man, look at what it gave us! Probably the greatest conversation on PBH (a true Happy Memorial Day!) followed closely by the first installment of Ask a Shiite. Anyway, I&#8217…

  50. AlvinBlah says:


    No to be sure, I have no place to cite this fact, but I was talking with my folks over this, and they were saying that one of the reasons that the USA continues to back Israel is from the large numbers of Americans that have immigrated to the nation. My Mom was saying that Americans have more relatives that live in Israel than any other foreign nation.

    Now again, I can’t back this up, just what my Mom told me, however if true, would help to explain why the U.S.A. is still so tied to helping Israel, and how the welfare of the country directly affects many American families. I know more than a few people whose families have relatives in Israel, and at least two people I knew in high school went to study abroad in Israel.

    Now, I personally don’t advocate for the the country and many of my gut sympathies lie with the Palestinians, but if Americans have so many familial ties in the region, it really changes the likelihood that the U.S.A. will withdraw support, and helps to explain why the U.S.A. has continued to support even in the face of growing Middle Eastern animosity.

    But I think someone with better Google-fu than I should confirm or deny my claim.

  51. J-Ro says:

    Shia, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I think a lot of the problems people here are having is due to perception, which is exactly what your original post was about. It is increasingly hard to separate fact from perception these days. I personally have never been to the Middle East, and while I do know a few Muslims, they are also Americans and we rarely have discussions about these issues. Most of my perception of terrorism is influenced by the Western media. While I try to get my news for reputable sources, and I try to do my research online, there is all sorts of disinformation out there, making things hard.

    That said, I find it disheartening when you say people will not be happy with a two-state solution in Isreal/Palestine. At this point, as some other posters have pointed out, it is useless to talk about who was right and who was wrong when Isreal was created. As I said above, I don’t agree with the methods, but I like to think about political realities. The reality is: Isreal is in the Middle East to stay. There are too many people, and Isreal has too powerful allies, to ever be completely destroyed or uprooted. How many Palestinians, or Muslims in general, think this way?

    Of course there will always be factions who won’t be satisfied, but I believe that if Palestine were to become a functioning country, and the pressures of poverty and homelessness were relieved, these fringe factions advocating the destruction of Isreal wouldn’t seem as attractive to the common Muslim. They would lose converts and become less powerful. Do you see that happening? That is what I mean when I talk about the roots of terrorism. Not the historical roots, or the religious roots, but the political roots. What drives a person to blow themselves up in a crowded market? Certainly there is some element of fringe religious zealotry there, but I think a large part of it comes with the fact that the young men who are doing this feel trapped. There are no jobs, no money, and no chance of escape from their situation. Suddenly, martyrdom sounds like a more attractive option. So, if there were less poverty and more opportunity, I think terrorism and other revolutionary resistance activities would decline. Content people to not kill themselves or participate in revolutions. What do you think about that?

    As for terrorists vs. resistance, that again is a problem of perception. I try to define terrorists in a strict sense of asymetrrical warfare. Terrorists are the people killing innocents on purpose. They are the ones using suicide belts to blow up restaurants, markets, buses, and such. Terrorists are the ones firing rockets into Israeli towns. Resistance fighters are the ones attacking the Isreali and US army. There definitely is a difference, and I think most Americans understand that difference even if they don’t want to admit it. The US government loves to brand all sorts of organizations as terrorist, because it really gets people’s blood flowing.

    Now, you hold up groups like Hezbollah as resistance groups, not terrorist groups. Take a look at There are a ton of terrorist acts that are attributed to Hezbollah, acts where mass numbers of innocents were killed. While *some* of these deaths *might* be collatoral damage, as you suggest, there is no way that all of them were. It is the perception in the West that the general Muslim population, while not quite condoning the acts, doesn’t shed a tear when say, a Jewish temple is bombed. There is a general perception that most Muslims think, “Ah, they deserved it.” Do you think that perception is accurate?

    Now, your examples of religious leaders praying for dead Isreali children is very interesting. Does this happen regularly? Do you go to the Mosque and pray every week for innocents killed by evil terrorists? You say that we don’t hear louder condemnations or terrorism from Muslims because they lack the media exposure to get their message out. How come thousands protest in the streets in support of Palestine but we don’t hear about the same kinds of mass protests against terrorism?

    It would seem to me that this condemnation of terrorism would be a top priority for Islam in general. America is dangerously close to basically declaring a de-facto war on Islam. There is widespread mistrust, disinformation, and ignorance about Muslims in America and other Western states. Why, then, isn’t countering these misperceptions a top priority of Muslim leaders? One would think they would like to avoid conflict by seriously pushing to portray Islam in a positive light. It is hard for me to believe the only reason this isn’t happening is lack of media attention. What are your thoughts on this?

    In general, this discussion is beyond facinating. I hope you keep this up in the future, I’d love to hear answers to other questions.

  52. […] With all that in mind, take your 15 spare minutes (14 now) and read this article: Ask a Shiite: Perceptions of America in the Middle East […]

  53. John_P says:

    I also find this dialog to be incredibly interesting.

    And I share the view of J-Ro and others who ask why the Muslim world in general seems to do little to dispel the perception that terrorism is more or less acceptable, and question how what you claim is the dominant view on violence has so little influence on the general Muslim population.

    As an example, in a recent survey of nearly 60,000 Muslim Americans, 15% of those between the ages of 18-29 responded that suicide bombings can often or sometimes be justified in the defense of Islam. 7% reported a favorable view of al Qaeda. In addition, fewer than half were willing to admit that Muslims carried-out the attacks on 9-11.

  54. alec says:

    On suicide-bombing and Muslims perspectives:

    Yet the poll actually showed only 8 percent of US Muslims said suicide bombing can be justified with 83 percent saying suicide bombing can never be justified. Says Hussein Ibish, “I can almost guarantee that the overwhelming majority who were asked the suicide-bombing question were thinking about Palestine—not Iraq or America. They’re not willing to say it’s never OK because they think Palestinians have no other options. They’re wrong, but that’s what they think. It’s exactly the same kind of statistic you’d get if you asked young Israelis about torture, demolition of villages, assassinations—they’d say yes because they know the Israelis have done it but loathe to say it’s wrong. I’m sure, knowing the Muslim community, that if you resolved the occupation in Palestine, that number would go very close to zero.”

    I don’t think suicide bombing is ever excusable (I’m actually a pacifist regarding most situations, so I’d say the same thing about American civilian killings, etc.). However, from the conversations I’ve had, the perception for those in the Middle East is that suicide bombing is one of the only means to successfully resist Israel. That is, the reality is that one cannot have normal or traditional military confrontations with Israel — they are just too strong and too powerful. Further, many see the Israeli occupation as it’s own brand of terrorism. What you don’t see in the Western media, but do in the Middle Eastern media, is the consequences and hardships endured by Palestinians everyday. These include but are not limited to people dying from easily curable illnesses because of lack of medical supplies (still not allowed to be exported to Palestine since the Hamas elections/international boycott), the inability to travel anywhere (Israeli roadblocks and checkpoints), the separation wall, and the general ruthlessness/terrorism of Israeli settlers on Palestinian land (every year, there’s an estimated two to three thousands acts of violence, destruction, and trespassing committed by Israeli settlers on Palestinian neighbors). I’m much more likely to see a video of an Iraqi woman being stoned in the American media; conversely one would be more likely to see a video of an ultra-Orthodox Jew throwing stones at Palestinian school children in the Middle East.

    I think the other reason is that the Israeli military has not and continues not to be the most accurate war machine. Despite having advanced technology originating almost entirely from the United States, most of their recent conflicts have ended up with a higher number of dead civilians than combatants. The last war in Lebanon is an excellent example, where approximately 500 Hezbollah fighters dying, compared to over 1000 civilians and up to 1 million people made into temporary refugees. Fairly though, I envision that if Hezbollah or Hamas had access to the same equipment that Israel did, it would be just as ruthless, if not more. In general, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict has not been kind to civilians on either side.

  55. Mahesh says:

    Hi there

    I Have been following some of the comments here and its been very interesting to see the various views about Islam and about whether it does or does not want to establish a new order.
    Th only example i can give is that of my own country India:
    We were invaded by successive waves of islamic conquerers starting from Mahmoud of Ghazni in the early 11th century to the Delhi Sultanates and finally to the mighty Mughal empire that ruled all of India breaking up just before the coming of the British.
    Whatever they say do not beleive it it is deception. At the end of the day the main duty of each and every follower of the Prophet is to Extend the Dar Al Islam and reduce the domain of the Dar Al Harab. Their attude can be easily summed up by the words of the Imam of the Jama Masjid (Delhi Mosque among the oldest and largest in India) as recently as early 2007: “We ruled this land for 900 years. Insha’ Allah we shall do so again”
    Initially they will be the majority in your nations as well. But give them a few years and you too will know their conquest to your sorrow.
    The only thing that keeps Islam down in India now is the fact that they know that the majority hindu population will stop at nothing including wholesale slaughter and genocide to prevent another 900 years of opression.

  56. Seann says:

    I am patient, so please feel free to post your response to the article here. I do have another question for you though, somewhat related:

    Dubai has been described quite adamantly as “Las Vegas, on Crack.” It is considered a town of Eastern Freedom & Western Vice. In Dubai, Sharia doesn’t so much rule life as respectfully bow down beneath the desires of the rich.

    Do you feel that there is a possible conflict in viewpoint due to the fact that you live in Dubai, rather than a more representative location in the middle east such as Amman, Beirut, Damascus, Mecca, or Tehran?

  57. Javbw says:

    @ Shia

    thanks for the response – this letter is getting many many replies, thanks for reading all of them. the major point I was commenting about was not mentioned in your reply. I would like a reply on these 4 points.

    1) I was wondering what you thought about the US foreign Policy Revolving around the soviets, not around the middle east from 1950-1995. did any of that information help you in understanding the historical motives of the US, or was it all just old history you already knew?

    2) sorry for the tone of this comment, but your response of “just wait for the true Jihad to start” sounds rather similar to the Christian’s “just wait ’til Jesus shows up” – both are never really going to happen and is a silly thing to say in a political argument. It is up to us humans to work this out. The closest thing to divine intervention in military terms I can think of is the “divine wind” that helped Japan beat the superior Russian navy back in the late 1800’s. So I’d go talk to some Shintoists and Buddhists, maybe they can help out somehow. But even then the “Spirit warriors” (perverted shintoism) of Japan in WWII didn’t get much help – Counting on victories merely because “God is on our side” is what led to their defeat – once the tide of battle (at Midway) shifted them into a defensive posture, they ended up justifying ridiculously stupid strategic plans by merely saying that their fighting spirit would make them win, no matter the situation. I do not think a Typhoon will sweep israel away, nor the influence of anyone’s imaginary friend, no matter how much of the planet believes in him. The ludicrous position of the now extinct “sprit warrior” sounds EXACTLY like what you are saying to me right now – “We have no real physical plans for success, and are not going to really try to think this through anymore, since fighting didn’t work, but somehow it will work out without us having to lift a finger”. That will never, ever happen. ever.

    speaking of the imaginary friends – I know that you referenced the christians as book buddies – I wonder how many of them pray for a resolution to this issue – and I’m sure they are not praying for Israel to disappear.

    2 ) Forcefully trying expel Israel when it’s opponents were at it’s strongest (by far) in the late 60’s failed, then mounting a worldwide terror campaign failed… mounting suicide bombers failed… trying to pull israel into a protracted land battle failed… trying to persuade the world that Israel should be removed (somehow?) failed… so are we to the point where the palestinian supporters are just gong to sit back, watch the Palestinians wander in a quazi-terriroty condition with poverty affecting 2/3rds of them, hoping for a “jihad” to magically come and solve the issue? All the while western powers pay for their government (and their chief source of employment for the palestinian citizens) and give them additional money just to eat? Because that is *exactly* what that sounds like is happening right now. The actions of men created this issue, and the actions of men are going to have to solve it. Hesbollah spends its money fighting israel, not helping palestinians. Time for some compromise, and to get this settled.

    And again, I’m not pro-israel, I’m just looking at it form the point that they hold the land and trying to take it back with force failed. Thats how the borders for every single country on Earth are made. So time to accept that Israel exists, and to get on with ernest negotiations. Because their is no real other options.

    3) Israel seems to have well defined borders as anyone. Googling “Israel borders” results in one million eight hundred thousand links to articles in google Most of them having to do with the ever expanding state of israel from it’s inception in 1948? until the 1967 war(s?) where it basically tripled in size. So yea, I think they have every well defined borders – defined not only by their original size, but also by the pieces that they seized and currently hold when they were attacked in 1967. is pretty much what people think “Israel” looks like, and what it’s borders are. It is, for the most part, it is the defacto standard for everything available to the world. The current “loss” by the Israelis in lebanon was not even inside their own country. I’m sure the borders fluctuate a bit from year to year, but I’m pretty sure those fluctuations could be contained in that thin purple outline on that map. I think it is very peculiar to say that their borders are “undefined” – They seem very defined by everyone else, even to the point where papers, TV shows, books, and millions of web sites are set up to discuss how they were made. Actually it seems more than peculiar, it seems to be an action in the same thread as above – ignoring the issue, hoping it solves itself. admitting that Israel has defined borders means admitting that israel exists, and also admits that they have control over that defined area. Well they have it, they exist, and they have control. so again, time to step up and solve this issue, not merely assume that it will be swept away. forty years hasn’t done much of any thing to that map. Another Forty years of the same action will not result in anything either. the UN and US will continue to pay money to support people who have been basically written off by their own supporters, because compromise with someone they do not like is not possible. What if the UN and the US didn’t Pay? We are certainly not obliged to. But we do. I don’t sit and hope some solution will magically feed people and help their government, some of my tax dollars are feeding people over there right now.

    3) in 1967 you had Syria and Egypt attack Israel, resulting in their loss and eventual gain of Land by israel. Since then, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Libya, Iraq (occupied), Afghanistan (Occupied) are all now aligned with western powers, with the remainder of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon pressured by the UN and by the fact that the US is next door in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and the gulf waters, and Iran is doing it’s best to annoy the UN with continued comments about the non-existance of the holocaust and it’s nuclear program, while simultaneously messing with the US through backing (part of) the insurgency in Iraq, Similar to the way it is backing Hezbollah against Israel. I’m referring to the governments of these countries, not their citizens motives. I’m pretty sure the common Iranian isn’t too concerned with a nuclear program, they just want to get on with their lives.

    With that being said, The last attack that had even a chance was the 1967 wars. it was a well planned, coordinated attack by two governments *extremely* well armed with the latest equipment from the Soviets. They almost got what they wanted, but Israel had some luck and turned it around.

    There is no large scale government looking to invade Israel anymore. pretty much everything done since then has been at a negotiation table if it got anywhere. Your statement of “Hezbollah had so many rockets and so much support from Iran that if it had wanted it could have ’sprayed’ rockets over Israel.” seems rather odd, since that is what it looked like what it was doing as it fled deeper into lebanon. And that didn’t really change any of the borders then either. Note that map in #2 has a clearly labeled area for “Palestine.” Israel and it’s supporters do not pretend that it doesn’t exist, nor wish for it to disappear. It’s not even labeled a “territory” or “disputed” or anything.

    How on earth is a larger conflict with Israel going to take place, somewhat peacefully through a magical jihad as you suggest in your response to me, or through the more likely brute strength option, when the players seem no longer well equipped, or even motivated to do so? the UN went looking for 450 million for money to help starving Palestinians in 2006. The UN and the US also helps pay for the palestinian government’s operation – when they they lowered the amount of money due to Hamas’ stance that Israel be destroyed, their government was paralyzed.

    when the players do not even have enough money to buy food for their citizens without asking, let alone TOTALLY DEPENDENT on a handout from the western powers to run their little government, what hope do they have of actually uprooting israel?

    They are a current member of the UN, and were invited to join OECD . I’m sure Britain was pissed off that the US was eventually considered a country by everyone else, but but they now recognize that the US exists. Look at the recent south park episode – Britain trying to invade and take back the US now is laughable. This is a similar issue to what China is going to have to do someday, when they finally accept Taiwan is now a separate country.

    I guess #3 is summed up with… with nothing happening really over 40 years, when is this idea that Israel will magically disappear through wondrous supernatural efforts going to die and the real resolution of this issue be taken up by the Palestinian supporters in ernest? When will it become obvious to the Palestinians and their now much smaller base of supporting countries that there will also be a Israel?

    Israel obviously recognizes (at some level) the fact that there will be a Palestinian state. You should do the same.

    4) You had mentioned that that Israel lost 50+ tanks in their invasion into Lebanon going after Hesbollah.

    Tanks make crappy urban platforms. the US lost a couple of Abraham tanks taking Bagdad, it doesn’t surprise me to see Israel lose tanks in an urban environment. It is why the us does not patrol Bagdad with the big tanks currently. They are for flat, wide open areas, free to move around and fire. Take a look at a Japanese anime called Gasaraki to see their fictional answer for an urban mechanized combat platform – made just to destroy enemy tanks in cities. this issue is so well known… they make a “cartoon” about solving the problem.

    I guess Israel wasn’t paying too close attention then. Guess thats why the commander of the fighting forces recently resigned.

    Thanks for your continued responses, and I really do look forward to your responses on these 4 things. But please remember any time people are having a discussion on how to solve real world problems, ones affecting millions of lives, bringing a faith based answer into a real world discussion is never, ever going to help anything. Please try to stick to coming up with and discussing real world solutions for real world problems. I don’t try and pin my hopes on the Flying Spaghetti Monster ( ) on magically coming down to earth with midgits(sic) and pirates to solve the United States’ issues, or the global issues in the world. Nether should you.


  58. Shia says:

    This will surely be my last round of answers. I hope you can all understand. I have to start next weeks answer and look at Seann’s request.

    To J-Ro:
    You have raised a valid point. But the truth is yes we do protest against these terrorist attacks. But there are just so many that we surely cant protest against them all. When some thing major happens, we do protest. You said that we say ‘Ah, they deserved it.’ Yes many of us do say that. But you need to see what we implied. We mean that the British or Israeli government for instance deserved it. They deserve to feel how it does when families are killed, when parents dont return home etc etc. We of course dont support the terrorist act itself and we feel sorry for the families involved. And maybe you didnt know it but while we say they deserved it, we also have this STRONGER feeling of anger towards the terrorists. I am not joking or making this up. But at times for example my mother gets so angry with these terrorists that she starts swearing at them.

    I want to tell you that practically all Muslims except bribed ones say that Israel is illegal and it has to go. The difference between us Shias, so called moderates and between the terrorists is how to go about it. We say dont kill civilians but they make up lame excuses. You might not believe it but Hezbollah and Iran strongly condemn the 9/11 attacks. On the other hand the terrorists support it and try to justify it. The number of these protests is kind of less, because of the reasons given above and whatever there is, it is played down by the media and our media is well a shame.

    As for martyrdom I dont think that it is because of the poverty. Maybe this is the case with the Palestinians but not with Hezbollah. The members of Hezbollah are, if you meet them, very good people, a pleasure to be with. They are not in poverty, they are educated etc etc. Its the Islamic spirit of standing up against oppression that keeps them up and attracts them to martyrdom.

    Now you gave me a list of terrorist attacks. Can you list out the valid ones. For example Hezbollah carried out the first suicide bombing against a US barracks which led o the death of 241 marines. This is NOT a terrorist attack. The US shot down an Irani civilian aircraft by ‘mistake’ and that was not called a terrorist attack. WHY? Can you please sift out the TRUE terrorist attacks by Hezbollah which did not result for collateral damage.

    We Muslims are trying to get this image of terrorism of us. We condemn the terrorist attacks and I am not surprised to find you not knowing them. Its VERY frustrating fo us Muslims that we do not have good media and then the western media openly and totally blocks of our good image. I want to ask you, why doesnt the USA try to get the image of a bad nation off it? I want to ask you why I do not see any protests when a terrorist act is carried out by the US? I want to ask you why a US soldier killed in Iraq or a bombing in London is called a sad tradegy but a mass murder of innocent civilians in Iraq or the torture of innocent people in Guantanamo Bay called a statistic?

    To John P:
    I say that suicide bombing is allowed in very rare circumstances. In Islam suicide is murder of yourself so not allowed. Killing innocent civilians again a MAJOR sin. But in certain circumstances suicide bombing is allowed but only against military targets. We have this system of leadership in Shiaism called Taqlid. When Hezbollah carried out the bombing against the US barracks, as far as I know all the the Islamic leaders endorsed it and allowed it. It is generally not allowed but in very specific cases it is. These Islamic leaders are not ‘bribed’ ones. They devote their whole life to the Islamic knowledge. Their houses and lifestyle is very basic but they command millions.

    To Alec:
    I am quite sure that much less than 500 Hezbollah fighters were killed. I think it was around 50 or less.

    To Mahesh:
    The people who ruled India were not Shias in fact those mugals terrorized Shias in sectarianism. The final revolution will be one where people will accept it willfully and with freedom. It will not be like the one that you think.

    To Seann:
    I will be sitting down with my riend tomorrow and looking at your question.

    Thank You and please understand that this will be my last reply on this thread unless it is something critical.

  59. Errol says:


    “But please remember any time people are having a discussion on how to solve real world problems, ones affecting millions of lives, bringing a faith based answer into a real world discussion is never, ever going to help anything.”

    Hi Javbw,

    I would disagree with the above statement. I am not muslim, nor do I believe the same things he does, but his faith is what is integral to him. We are trying to understand the Shiite perspective, his perceptions and what he believes.

    His ‘faith based answer’ is a real world discussion, because if the majority of the Shiites believe as he does, then we should gain a better understanding of both sides.

    A lot of problems arise because we don’t want to understand the other person. We want to make the decisions for them because we believe we know them and what’s best for them. Politicians have been doing that for years and it still doesn’t work.

    If you wish to rid the world of religion, that’s as practical as wishing for the spaghetti monster. It isn’t going to happen any time soon. 🙂 So for now, it is best to understand what the other side believes, and work within that. If their core belief is peace, then maybe we can begin to formulate a solution from that. You can’t implant your belief and moral system in them, and even if you could who’s to say it’s better?

    However, Shia himself doesn’t believe there is a solution, he did say:

    “If the politicians can come to a solution, which highly unlikely, then thats good and I will be happy, but otherwise I can’t see any solution for now except as I said earlier the Hidden Imam (AS)’s advent.”

    and I can see the frustration you may have with that because that’s basically giving up on the human race. You say “It is up to us humans to work this out”, and so I would think that you believe humans CAN work this out. Who’s to say your belief in humans is correct? Maybe it IS impossible.

    Ironically, if you ask me, if they WERE to sit back and just wait for true Jihad, and if Israel were to sit back and just wait for the Messiah, that would solve the problem. 🙂

  60. Bill Compton says:

    Hi Jim. Photos i received. Thanks

  61. alec says:

    Civilian Israeli’s in 2006 Summer War:

    43 dead
    4,262 injured
    33 seriously wounded
    68 moderately wounded
    1,388 lightly wounded

    Israeli Military:

    120 dead
    400 wounded

    Lebanese Civilians:

    1,187 dead
    3,600 wounded

    Lebanese Military:

    46 dead
    100 wounded


    250 reported by Hezbollah, More than 500 estimated by Lebanese officials,~500 estimated by United Nations, 600 estimated by IDF, 440 identified by Israel and up to 700 estimated by Amidror. More than 700 claimed by Lebanese sources.

  62. javbw says:

    @ Errol –

    I’m not for the removal of religion. My parents are very religious, and it is the foundation – a belief structure – that helps most of the planet live their lives. However, those guidelines are for helping YOU live your life – if you are going through hard times or have problems, they provide you with guidance and support how YOU solve the issues. If you have the chance to steal something, your religious guidance helps you make the decision that stealing is wrong. if you are in a dispute, they way you solve such disputes are helped along with those principles. I am an atheist, but I look at that aspect of religion as a wonderful and necessary part of existence. I have no problem with people believing whatever they wish to believe. It is the same choice I was given. However, if I’m dying of thirst in a desert, my faith will not magically supply me with water – the solution to my problem. It may however give me the mental fortitude to make the hard decision and trudge north for 40 grueling miles to where I think water is – the solution requiring the action of men.

    There is a BIG difference between hoping my faith, beliefs, personal guidelines, solves my issues, or gives me the fortitude to actually solve my problems. Saying you hope a magic jihad will solve everything is the same a hoping water shoots out your ears when you are dying of thirst in the desert. both will never, ever happen. I’m sure Shia could quote out many great passages having to do with making decisions, and solving issues, in some form or another.

    “Ironically, if you ask me, if they WERE to sit back and just wait for true Jihad, and if Israel were to sit back and just wait for the Messiah, that would solve the problem”

    That’s a great solution – another 2-3 generations of people growing up in poverty, continuing down the path for more destruction and persecution, while their supporters sit idly by, while the UN and US’ money continues to keep them alive and fed, still being the continual scapegoats for Iran and Hesbollah.

    I think they should step up and start *solving* this issue, instead of making sure it drags on for another 100 years.

  63. Errol says:


    Hi Javbw, I’m sorry for making assumptions about you.

    Shia is trying to show us his perspective, and since I’m not Muslim, I want to understand a bit of where he is coming from. It may help us understand something we don’t understand about the Shiite faith, which is a lot of things in my case.

    The process of searching for a solution should involve learning everything you can about the other party. Currently, people quibble so much about who’s fault it is, who has a greater right to whatever, etc, but it’s not getting us anywhere.

    Are you married? If you were in a heated argument with your wife or husband, and s/he makes some inane remark about his/her feelings, and you say “that’s not important now and is silly, so don’t bring it up”, that would get you in a heap of trouble. Well, it would get ME in a heap of trouble. 🙂

    If I were to say to you “Humans, figure it out? That will never happen. We’re a violent species and you are silly to believe that we can coexist.” It’s not going to get us anywhere because we will argue about that instead of a solution.

    You may argue that I sit here and try to ‘understand’ people, that millions are dying in the process. But there is never a quick fix to situations like these.

    “That’s a great solution – another 2-3 generations of people growing up in poverty, continuing down the path for more destruction and persecution,”

    Who said that they have to continue down the path for more destruction and persecution? The way that Shia describes his true Jihad, it doesn’t have anything to do with destruction. It doesn’t have anything to do with killing. At least from how I understand things. 🙂

  64. J-Ro says:

    Thanks for your reply Shia. Trust me, I believe you when you say most Muslims condemn terrorism wholeheartedly. Again, it is a problem of perception. It seems there is a “silent majority” (an old Nixon term) of people who condemn terrorism and wish it would stop, but for whatever reason don’t make their voices heard, just as there is a silent majority in the US who feels awful that innocent Iraqis are dying and being tortured. We try our best over here to get the word out. Websites count Iraqi deaths, article decry torture, and organizations work for fair treatment. But as I’m sure you are beginning to understand, the distances are vast and our perceptions of each other are incredibly distorted. As we all know, without understanding, there will never be peace. And that means understanding between Isreal and Palestine, the US and the Middle East, Shia and Sunni, etc…

    Best of luck to you! I hope you’ll have another round of question and answer over here sometime and I hope one day we can meet as friends.

  65. Javbw says:

    @ Errol –

    Yea, you are right – I came down kinda hard on generic religion in my second post. This was because it was given as a blanket nameless fix-it-all for the problem. “Just wait! The water will come! Where it has never come from in modern recorded history, and not likely to come from ever, it will come! Just you wait!” is not a good response for a lengthy response repeatedly suggesting to recognize, compromise, and work together. Heck, even if Shia said something along the lines of “we’re working on it [as a people, religion, movement etc], and we admit it’s gonna be really hard, but were gonna go there and attempt to have Israel pack up and leave in a manner never seen before” at least shows that they want to take some responsibility and make some action.

    It would have been the same as if he told me he was folding 1000 paper cranes to have his wish granted. I’d go off on paper cranes.

    “sit back and just wait for true Jihad” = do nothing, because the magic jihad will happen “sometime” . Nothing = continue on current path. Current path = more despair for the palestinians.

    I’m still waiting for that predicted “end of the earth” Maybe the magic jihad and the Ghostbusters II predicted end of the earth on Valentine’s day 2016 will happen on the same day. all the previous “magic Jihad” dates, and similarly “end of the world” dates have come and gone with nothing doing. At least Ivan Reitman came up with a day to look forward to.

    I say none of this to belittle Shia – maybe I’m just pointing out things from a point of view that isn’t that prevalent and well discussed. But when having a discussion back and forth with others, such as trying to define a majority of Hesbollah’s attacks as not terrorism, but giving me the magic Jihad flippant response to me, well, it tells me he isn’t really interested in discussions – merely attacking facts. It was easy to correct that person quoting incorrect and mistranslated passages, but claiming that their borders are not well defined, and having 1m websites that pretty much negate that, I get no response. No Hesbollah map to quote me? No response to the UN money supporting the palestinians? no response to the complete and utter strategic failure of all attacks against Israel? The tactical gains are not anything to write home about either. I would love to be refuted, or pointed towards alternate sources of information that he feels comfortable with in their quality that aren’t merely “magic Jihad” talking points.

    Throwing out a blanket statement that Wikipedia is wrong with nothing to show why isn’t a good place to start. That person produced a list – where is his sources? The information being presented is distillation of the common knowledge of the **western world** ! He dismisses it in a sentence with no rhyme or reason. no articles or similar list of what he thinks is right. ab-so-lute-ly nothing. Trying to ignore easily found historical information isn’t either. Most of the things I want to talk about isn’t the “low hanging fruit” of a racist windbag trying to merely misquote crap and attack him for his race, place of origin, or so forth. I have no beef with Shia as a person, or the tenants of his religon. I know a few people from Iraq, Afghanistan, and some other eastern countries. Wonderful people.

    This is merely a person put into the bad position of defending his religion from some haters, and saying his mind without being able to back it up with facts or reasoned talking points, just the “magic jihad” option for when the tough questions start coming. I’m just hoping that’s not how he solves his personal problems and challenges.

    I’m looking for the critical thought, reasoning, and meaningful discussions. And that’s not really happening here.

    I’ll be looking elsewhere now.

    BTW : Thanks for the back n forth Errol – The world needs more people like you ^_^

  66. […] have spoken about terrorists earlier and the same applies over here. They think they are doing Jihad but the fact is that they are not. […]

  67. […] Ask A Shiite: Perceptions of America in the Middle East with 17,694 unique hits — A university student in the UAE writes a piece on the perception of […]

  68. krishna says:

    hi sshia i was wondering if you believe in evolution???

  69. Malgoodrich says:

    I have been interested in the Middle East for a while, and this is a very good discussion on the relationships between the Muslims and the West. I would like to make some comments about how people should view religion and politics. Just because a country claims to be religious does not necessarily mean that they hold to the tenets of that religion. The burka (sp) is a good example of this, the burka is not required as a piece of religious clothing, rather that is a culturally created piece of clothing. Sub sects of Islam, more fundamental sects, require the burka.

    Peoples’ views of cultures and history depends a great deal upon where they learned about their culture and history. Shia, you said that the common view is that the US government is controlled by Freemasons, and other secret organizations, I have read about other accounts of people believing this in the middle east. People should not look at this and think it is crazy, they may be ignorant of the US history, but that is because of how they learned about the history of the US. Without access to primary sources of historical evidence, any conjecture can be made to be ‘real’. History is not a series of facts, but a series of interpretations of facts based off of our biases about any given subject. Hezbollah attacks a Israeli army barracks, Israelis and the United States see this as a terrorist act, many Muslims, especially those in Lebanon, see this as military act, other countries around the world see it as a legitimate attack from one military group to another in defense of their land. The only “western” countries that recognize Hezbollah as terrorists is Israel and the USA, other countries do not recognize Hezbollah as terrorists.

    I think that the great Jihad could us some explaining also, I do not think that Shia meant in any way that this would come completely from the behest of God, driven only by God, and enforced only through God. In order for a Jihad to happen it would require people to work together, and would require a building up of power. And it would need to subscribe to many of the core tenets of the Koran, honor and respect to others, even the enamy. Umar the Great, the second Imam (?), was a person who lived up to the tenets given out in the Koran. A Great Jihad would not be a force driven by God, it would be driven by people, under the guidance of a code of honor, that was dictated to men by God.

    I am not sure how much of this makes sense, but here it is. My personal biases include being American, Alaskan, male, under 30, and being educated at a liberal arts college.

  70. A.... says:

    AS a shiite muslim, I should add something. You mentioned that Khamenei and Sistani have the right to call jihad or ddecide on large religious matters. I dont know too much about sistani, but that idea IS RIDICULOUS and very flawed. Khamenei is not a religious scholar but a digusting individual more closely related to the worst of dictators than a religious figure. ( Notice anything in the recent Iranian elections and the aftermath?)

    You seem like a smart person, please research this stuff more before publishing your opinion. Thank you


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