Saturday, March 26, 2011

Homegrown Terrorism and Deradicalization

Just google the terms "homegrown terrorism" and "violent radicalism" and you will see how seriously law enforcement and intelligence agencies are taking the threat of young Western Muslims becoming radicalized to the point that they either travel overseas to engage in militant Jihad or prepare to carry out acts of terror within  their own countries.

There seem to be two broad approaches to the problem. One is to minimize or pay little attention to the belief system of the radical, and only put him or her on the radar screen when there is evidence they are actually planning a terrorist operation. This seems to be the general principle of law enforcement agencies, and theoretically fits in well with the American ideal that you can believe anything you want as long as you don't disobey the law. The second approach, adopted by the current administration with the appointment of radicalization czar Professor Quintan Wiktorowicz to the National Security Council, includes engaging Muslim  scholars such as Dr. Tawfik Hamid, whom I have written about here, to deradicalize the belief system of young Muslims. The idea seems to be that moderate Muslims are to show extremist Muslims how they understand Muhammad, the Quran, and Jihad all wrong.

I have a problem with both approaches. My objection to the first is that belief is important, with one's system of belief laying the groundwork for action to come. The reason I could never be enticed in a thousand years by a FBI sting operation to set off a bomb in Times Square or bring down an aircraft with explosives hidden in my underwear is that there is nothing in my belief system allowing me to do that. If I believed it was a noble thing to do that would gain me the pleasure of Allah, it might be a different story.

My problem with the second approach is that when it comes to the Quran, the Hadith, and the Ghazawat or wars of Muhammad, the extremist wins every time. Anyone well-versed in Ilm Al Sharia, or Islamic law, will laugh at Dr. Hamid's protestations that the Quranic exhortations to kill Al Mushrikun, the unbelievers, only referred to the unbelievers of Muhammad's day because the Quran uses the definite article the unbelievers. The definite article is the default article in Arabic grammar; even a simple proverb like "Patience is a virtue" becomes "The patience is a virtue" in Arabic.

Here's a radical approach to deradicalization. The irreducible conviction of every Muslim, radical or moderate, is that Muhammad Rasoul Allah, Muhammad is the Prophet of God. That is either true or false. If it is true, we should all convert to Islam and become Muslims - you and I, Hilary Clinton, Charlie Sheen and Lady Gaga included. If it is not true, we should all exert considerable effort to present historical and moral evidence to the Muslim Ummah that Laysa Muhammad Rasoul Allah - Muhammad is not a Prophet of God (something I did here and in the following dozen or so posts). Were we to be successful, that might make the deradicalization of radicalized young Muslims much more effective.

The predictable and immediate response of many people to my suggestion above is that it is both impractical and impossible - Muslims, they say, will never abandon Muhammad. I think that is a condescending attitude that underestimates the intelligence of still-believing Muslims. We as non-Muslims, after all, have reached the conclusion that Muhammad was not a Prophet of God, and many thousands of ex-Muslims have done the same. Why should we assume we and they are more intelligent and capable of critical thought than those who still believe?

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like it, but then shouldn't we take the same approach with Christianity, Judaism, or any other belief system that has, is, or could potentially result in followers citing their belief system to justify violence or oppression?  There are are plenty of examples of both Christianity and Judaism being used today to justify the mistreatment of people.   

And what should be considered sufficient proof?  For example, contemporary logic tells us that the story of Noah's Ark couldn't possibly be true, yet many Christians still accept it at face value.  We know that the Earth isn't 6000 years old, yet many Christians argue that it's true.  

I'm afraid any evidence used to prove that Muhammad wasn't a prophet would serve only to convince those who already knew it, just as presenting any evidence proving that many of the stories in the Bible are illogical does.

A better strategy in my opinion would be to come up with a plan to slowly and strategically phase out the Abrahamic faiths all together.  It could be argued that the stage is set for this to happen, if not that it's already happening unintentionally.

With a clean slate, the next step would be to fill the spiritual void by introducing a new religion that accounts for our current knowledge and understanding of the world, and designed to be "scalable" to account for information that may come to light later. 

Anonymous said...

Even if there was no religion, there would still be war. If the palestinians were secular athiest people they would still be fighting the israelis.

If islam is so evil and quran says kills infidels..why didnt the muslims finish of the jews in spain? why didnt they kill them all when they ruled al-andalus and jerusalem.

Most of the conflicts today has nothing to do with religion.

""Noah's Ark couldn't possibly be true, yet many Christians still accept it at face value. We know that the Earth isn't 6000 years old, yet many Christians argue that it's true""

Bible says the whole world was covered with water, a massive flood.

Islam says small area was flooded, not the whole earth, bible is unscientific. Bible says god produced a rainbow as a promise never to destroy the earth by a flood, so there was no laws of physics or rainbows before the flood?

Indeed many christians believe the earth is 6000 years old, again unscientific while islam accepts science.

"and strategically phase out the Abrahamic faiths all together."

only 2% of the world are athiest.

Greenforest said...

To the commenter at March 27, 2011 12:02 AM:

You claim "only 2% of the world are athiest."

1. It is not clear that that is true; you provide no evidence.

2. It is not relevant in any case. (If you want to insist on relevance though, I would point out that most scientists are atheists or agnostics.

You wrote: "If islam is so evil and quran says kills infidels..why didnt the muslims finish of the jews in spain? why didnt they kill them all when they ruled al-andalus and jerusalem."

See Qur'an 9:29. Those who weren't killed were subjugated and heavily taxed by Muslims. Still, they were killed by Muslims in pogroms from time to time. Also, as today, Muslim authorities or vigilantes could kill anyone deemed to have criticized or "insulted" Islam or Muhammad. Also, the dhimmis were subject to a long list of restrictions. Should they violate such restrictions, they could be killed.

As for the Muslims today in the case of Palestine, such as Hamas and the majority of Palestinians who elected them, there seems to be two groups. One wants Jews to be conquered and ruled under the dhimma. The other wants to slaughter them and/or "drive them into the sea."

Greenforest said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greenforest said...

(continuing)

"islam accepts science"

It does? It accepts evolution?

And does "Islam" accept the scientific study of religion such as Islam itself?

Also, where is the scientific evidence that the moon was split during Muhammad's lifetime? (as claimed in Qur'an Sura 54, and see the major commentaries such as Ibn Kathir, Al Jalalayn, Ibn Abbas, and others)

Where is the scientific evidence for the existence of jinns?

These questions could go on and on.

Anonymous said...

""It does? It accepts evolution?""

many athiests/secular people dont accept evolution. Many other do.

Just because muslims believe adam and eve did not have parents or evolved from ape-like creatures doesnt mean they dont accept science or technology.

""And does "Islam" accept the scientific study of religion such as Islam itself?""

yes many muslim scholars/scientists/philosphers argued about god who created god how did he come to be etc.. criticism of islam and asking questions and pondering is accepted.

If i remember correctly there was a hadith in which prophet mohamed said, 'seek knowledge, even to china' meaning at that time china was so far away traveling was costly etc..

================
"Where is the scientific evidence for the existence of jinns?"

well thats an interesting topic. I enjoyed this video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDaKzQNlMFw

god has told us about jinns; christians claim satan is a fallen angel while muslims believe satan is a jinn a being made from smokeless flame/fire.

jinns are like humans they have free will ...they sleep they die they marry etc..

now the quran is not a book of science but it is scientific, in that any verse related to science doesnt not go against scientific FACT.

So quran says jinn can see us but we cant see them. From the research i done i suppose maybe they're in the 4th dimension?

That video link above suggests how a 4th dimension Entity would interact with 3th dimension.

Science is about constant research, argueing , discovering etc..
so if the quran talks about jinn, it is upto to us to research, not just sit down and accept it.

That video....it would be nice if it was done by a muslim, but probably its done by an athiest. I understood alot about jinns from that video(even though it was not about jinns but about 4th spatial dimension).

who ever made that , used science to show how things would be different in 4th dimension.

http://tesseroid.blogspot.com/

so if a muslim scientist believed in jinns it would be nice to have done the above.

Remember the quran talks about big bang, but there are other theories such as string theory. there are many things we could not find out due to limits of science.

Here is a favourite of mine..science in quran.

"He has made the two seas to flow freely (so that) they meet together:
Between them is a barrier which they cannot pass"
(55: 19-20)
http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Books/MB_BQS/default.htm

Greenforest said...

There's no evidence that jinns exist. Yet the Qur'an and the Sira even say that Muhammad preached to some jinns. Surely this is myth.

There's no evidence the moon was split during Muhammad's lifetime.

If you are open to questioning these things that's a good attitude to have, but let's be realistic. Also, you could take that same attitude toward polytheistic gods, leading you to wonder whether they exist.

Anonymous said...

Did you watch the video? what did u think of it? some said in comments it was creepy when it mentioned 4th dimension 'Entity'.

So you see when its science/maths and theories used to explain 4th dimension and even suggest an entity might live/exist in 4th dimension and how 'it' would interact with us in 3rd dimension... i mean nobody says take your bullshit away from me.

some accept it, some ask questions etc..its science its new ideas etc..

But oh..if its Quran that suggests jinn or other entities living next to us thats just myth...legends no scienctific basis to that.

Well the above video is the best i could find that explains to me about 4th spatial dimension. I believe in jinn 100% but i would still try to prove it scientificaly if i could or conduct research.

It might be myth for you, but it is fact for me. But we both agree that we can research it and discover not necessarily about jinn but about other dimensions and parrarel universes and maybe build some machine in the future to find out if something living exists! :P

Believing in god/jinn/angels/last day of judgement does not stop me from using a computer or taking medicine or accepting science and technology.

As a young person i wondered aboug jinn and how they can see us but we cant see them as the quran says. I thought they were like magical creatures having some cloaking device or something. Until i watched that video, and when in that video it said '4th dimension ENTITY' i immediatly thought of JINN!

Anonymous said...

"There's no evidence the moon was split during Muhammad's lifetime."

I thought about that before, there is a hadith which says that the moon was split in half and then joined together.

Now to prove this, i would say take close up photos of the moon or take geologists to the moon and see what they say.
===================
Was Moon Really Split in Half?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5FZb-GoaAc

If the moon did split in half then the hadith is right and authentic, if not the hadith is false.

either way it doesnt affect islam in any way.

"If you are open to questioning these things that's a good attitude to have, but let's be realistic."

yes, i like debates athiest vs muslim debates this is my best

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlaEPERULhc&playnext=1&list=PL1E6EBBB5D43E5B77

the quran many times says to ponder and think. Islam accepts science and scientific FACTS, not theories.

For instance quran talks about big bang. Big bang is a theory like string theory or m-theory etc..

Once its scientific fact then i think muslims can gloat see it was in the quran all along :p

"Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe? 21:3"

And the firmament, We constructed with power and skill and verily We are expanding it. 51:47

I understand how athiests feel, I too was shocked to find some people (christians) believe that the earth is around 6000 years old, i mean i believe in many conspiracy theories, like liquid water and life on mars due to evidence

but evidence clearly says earth is not 6000 years old but they believe that because the bible says so. Well in this case the bible is unscientific, and if it is unscientific then how can it be the word of god. Where as islam/quran accepts science and accepts that the earth is billions of years old.

Now earth NOT being 6000 years old is not scientific theory but FACT.

Do you use arabic numerals? well muslims came up with it. Do you use algebra ? islam/muslims came up with it.

I think that proves islam/muslims do accept science.

Greenforest said...

"Did you watch the video? what did u think of it? some said in comments it was creepy when it mentioned 4th dimension 'Entity'."

What makes you think such an Entity, if it exists, is the kind mentioned in the Qur'an and traditions as jinn? Couldn't someone with a different belief interpret this as something else?

"Now earth NOT being 6000 years old is not scientific theory but FACT."

And what do you suppose has been happening on this planet during this time? Scientists estimated that life has been evolving here for 3 to 4 billion years.

"Do you use arabic numerals? well muslims came up with it. Do you use algebra ? islam/muslims came up with it.
I think that proves islam/muslims do accept science."

Most people in the modern world accept at least some science. The question is, where science and religion come into conflict, which will people accept?

Anonymous said...

"What makes you think such an Entity, if it exists, is the kind mentioned in the Qur'an and traditions as jinn?"

Well isnt it obvious?, i believe the Quran to be fact, so its possible these entities could be the jinn. Since the Quran says they can see us but we can see them.

But ofcourse they could be different beings than that mentioned in quran, or there could be no entities at all. I will still accept science if the entities are not jinn for example.

My point earlier was its all about research science and discovering. If the quran says something, you ponder and think and research it just like any science subject.

If an athiest/scientist says i believe in 4th dimension and entities probably mocked but not ridiculed. But if muslim/believer in god says i believe in existence of other beings, then he/she ridiculed and told to accept science and not myth.

"The question is, where science and religion come into conflict, which will people accept?"

In my case both. No problems with Islam and science both compatible with each other.

some people like jews/christians/muslims believe in adam and eve created by god, that does not stop them functioning in society or hinder them in any way.

evolution needs to be researched further, its like choosing string theory or big bang thoery or multi-verse theory etc.. I have not made up my mind yet. But I believe god created adam and eve and they did not evolve from ape-like creatures..

Science is changing, something fact today might not be tomorrow.

But if we compare Bible vs Quran. Bible is clearly unscientific in many ways example : earth 6000 years old

i watched a video online where some christians were asked about 6000 year old earth, they were asked about the fossils and dinosaurs etc.. they believed Satan put those fossils on earth to decieve the humans.

Clearly unscientific, not rational or logical.

celltech said...

@Greenforest

Reg. "There's no evidence that jinns exist. Yet the Qur'an and the Sira even say that Muhammad preached to some jinns. Surely this is myth.

There's no evidence the moon was split during Muhammad's lifetime.

If you are open to questioning these things that's a good attitude to have, but let's be realistic."


The existence of such things as Jinn, or the question of God being able to split the moon, are not open to scientific verification, obviously. When we read these things, like descriptions of heaven, afterlife, attributes of God etc. it is obvious that this can not be proven.

But God does also speak of earthly things, that can be verified scientifically. I think it is important to make a distinction between these two.

I am frequently amazed over the gullability of people who are impressed with this "cabon-dating" myth, where we have the masses believing that this is somehow scientific, when the very nature of the entire (non)science of carbon Dating, demands that it can not be scientific.

A test anyone can perform to get an idea of how unscientific the masses really are...ask people to explain to you the meaning of the word "LOGIC". Chances are you'll not even recieve one correct answer.

A is not non-A.

Anonymous said...

What the Quran-bashers Don’t Want You to Know About the Bible

http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/03/what-the-quran-bashers-dont-want-you-to-know-about-the-bible/


The Understanding Jihad Series: Is Islam More Likely Than Other Religions to Encourage Violence?

http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/03/the-understanding-jihad-series-is-islam-more-likely-than-other-religions-to-encourage-violence/

Anonymous said...

This is one of the dumbest posts I have ever read. Maybe try going outside and talking to a few people who live in the real world.

Anonymous said...

Muslim calender also has 29,30 or 31 days in each month,12 months in each year and exactly 365 days in a year.
The world does not take more days to revolve around the sun for a muslim calender.
So nobody is using the pagan calender.
GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT CUZ THERE ARE PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO WOULD ONLY THINK "WHY MUSLIMS WOULD USE SOMETHING PAGAN?"