Opinion

In the name of freedom, porn is trashing our lives

(RNS) After last month’s spectacle of armed policemen forcibly undressing a Muslim woman on a beach in Nice, France, I wrote a column titled “When did modesty become a dirty word?,” arguing the positive, Islamic case for modesty of dress and behavior for men and women.

The backlash was vociferous. I was accused of seeking to limit individual — and specifically sexual — freedom.

So is Islam against “freedom”? Does Islam regard sex as sinful? Far from it. The Quran declares celibacy to be an unhealthy man-made institution, and the prophet of Islam declared marriage as constituting half of one’s faith. He further described sexual relations between spouses as an act of virtue in God’s eyes.

But it is no secret that Islam disapproves of many practices of today, from premarital sex to pornography. Indeed, the Quran commands Muslims to shun indecency, whether committed openly or in secret. The prophet forbade exposing one’s nakedness to anyone other than one’s spouse or looking at the nakedness of others. The Quran further warns those who “love that immorality should spread” increase suffering in society.

These teachings may seem alien to a society in which 90 percent of boys and 70 percent of girls have viewed pornography, with 1 in 3 boys viewing it “too many times to count,” having begun at less than 10 years of age. Scientific research however, is rapidly catching up with Islamic teachings, confirming its warning that pornography is bad news for society.

Indeed, the effect of pornographic consumption on the perception of rape is just one among its many disturbing consequences. One study split 120 men and women into three groups: heavy (4.5 hours), moderate (2.25 hours) and no exposure to nonviolent pornography, over a six-week period. Thereafter, participants were presented with the case of a rape of a female hitchhiker. Males in the heavy exposure group recommended around half the jail time for the rapist as compared with the no-exposure group (49 months to 90 months, respectively); a similar significant difference was noted among women (77 to 143 months, respectively). The authors described this as the “trivialization of rape” and attributed its effect to the depiction of women in pornography as always sexually interested. The same study found that support for women’s rights declined in men, from 71 percent to 25 percent, between the no-exposure and heavy-exposure groups, respectively. The study further demonstrated that males in the heavy-exposure group displayed significantly greater sexual callousness toward women, as determined through questionnaires. Indeed, objectification of women has known dehumanizing effects.

It should not surprise us that many studies have demonstrated a causal connection between pornography and sexual violence. These studies show that pornography is not simply “boys being boys,” since never before in human history have young men been exposed to such unprecedented pornographic content, at the touch of a button.

The effect that this has on gender relationships is not negligible. Our social arenas are increasingly structured to satisfy male tastes groomed through pornography. Nightclubs often run themed nights in which women are depicted purely as sexual objects — “pimps ’n’ hoes,” “slag ’n’ drag,” “rappers ’n’ slappers” — resulting in what is now known as stripper-chic fashion for women. Nightclubs are also often caught out using the language and imagery of rape to attract their clientele. One U.K. club’s promotional video included a male student saying he was going to rape a woman. Another club’s promotional material included a man wearing a T-shirt reading “I was raping a woman last night and she cried.” Other clubs involve getting female students to stand on stage and strip.

Such extreme objectification has a natural link with not only harder pornography, but also with the “softer” forms, in which women are depicted as perpetually sexually interested.

Pornography results in greater pressure on women to conform to pornographic standards of dress, behavior and attitudes. It now dictates what men expect of women, and that expectation filters into advertising, night-outs and even relationships between children. The effect on couples is profound: In 2003, pornography use was found to play a role in more than half of divorce cases in the U.S. And we have not even touched on the extremely damaging effects of pornography on the actors and actresses themselves.

This trend admits of one exception, porn consumption in societies where female sexual attitudes, including dress, are enforced stringently through legislation (think Saudi Arabia or Iran) or social pressure. But while it is un-Islamic to use force as many self-styled “Islamic” countries do, porn does not shape the role of women in such societies as it does in liberal ones. 

All of the above is an example of how what we perceive as our personal freedom (to watch pornography in the privacy of our homes) has profound social effects on the world around us. This subsequent effect goes on to modify and alter the choices we make, despite thinking that we are doing so “freely.”

We must understand a simple truth: Freedom isn’t just about preventing coercion, but also about educating society as to the healthiest way to live, even if that be through willing self-restriction of freedoms. We wear seat belts, pay taxes, take exams, go to work, etc., all because we believe that these restrictions open up doors to further freedoms.

It is high time we grow up in the way we talk about freedom and acknowledge that freedom is a means to achieve a happy and peaceful society for all. It is not an end in itself. Our “free” choices are not made in a vacuum, but are made through our understanding about the choices on offer. Islamic teachings are not against “freedom” when legitimately exercised, but against the exercise of one’s freedom in a way that damages both individual and societal health or, as the Quran puts it, when the harm of a thing outweighs its benefit. Fourteen hundred years ago, the Quran warned that the spreading of indecent acts like pornography only results in pain and misery for society. Only now are we beginning to understand.

(Tahir Nasser is a 27-year-old physician and a regular contributor and commentator in British media. Find him on Twitter: @TahirNasser)

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  • What a load of nonsense. some of it is true, of course. But most of it is More religious prudery and sex obsession disguised as fears for society.

    “Our social arenas are increasingly structured to satisfy male tastes groomed through pornography.” It used to be if you were male or an older woman, or a not-pretty woman, you couldn’t be an airline steward. Even now, so much of the culture is directed towards satisfying the sexual needs of men– strictly speaking, heterosexual men. Islam is hardly a bastion of progressive thought when it comes to the position of women in society.

  • Legislating morality is absolutely destructive so though the writer is correct regarding the corrosive effects of porn, a drug war style response will collapse society. The answer is to provide free health care and counseling to one and all and to employ all according to their natural talents.

    Accomplished amd fulfilled people don’t seek out diversions to forget the pain and tedium of life.

    And we really need to reorient society from having a price tag on everything. Its an agreed upon tyranny that enslaves humanity.

    Those who crave mercantilism can gouge each other and leave the necessities of home, health, education and nutrition out of it.

    The real problem is not porn, drugs or guns. It’s the tyranny of money. And all the major religions have failed society for they ignore this vital fact and harp on the symptoms rather than the disease itself.

    Humanity is breaking under the demonic domination of the merchant class. Break that stranglehold and we really will have heaven on earth!

  • Interestingly ironic is that the nation with the highest percentage of weird freaky porn per capita, Japan also has one of the lowest crime rates in the developed world. Because your average Japanese person is intelligent enough to separate sexual fantasy from reality. Unlike self righteous fundamentalist Muslims, Christians and Jews.

    It’s telling that rape culture, sexual slavery and institutionalized sexual abuse is most prevalent among cultures which decry porn.

  • Spuddie do be careful not to confuse anecdote with data. They are not the same thing.

    Moreover the idea that only stupid people have their sexuality influenced by porn is quite naive. In fact, Japan has a population growth problem, likely related to pornography putting them off real women. Making love to their laptops means that they no longer have any taste for flesh and blood women; their youth are no longer interested in sex:

    “Young People in Japan Have stopped Having Sex – the Guardian”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/young-people-japan-stopped-having-sex

    “It’s telling that rape culture, sexual slavery and institutionalized sexual abuse is most prevalent among cultures which decry porn.”

    Evidence please.

  • I think all laws legislate morality fundamentally, by reflecting societal mores on right and wrong. What people mean when they say “no legislation of morality” is that we should not legislate on issues which are morally contentious in society, and I agree with that, for the simple reason that it does not work.

    Legislation is designed to catch out those exceptions who are in the minority and who break the social and moral norms of society. If everyone in society indulges in a vice, to legislate against it is meaningless. Legislation thus cannot reform society, but can only enforce an existing and accepted moral structure.

    Alcohol is a good example. Prohibition in the US catastrophically failed. Why? Because the US legislated against something for which the population still hankered after and which they had not been educated out of. Compare this to the abolition of alcohol in early Islamic society. By training the Muslims to renounce alcohol through his own example, the Prophet of Islam persuaded the early Muslims to renounce it themselves, without any legislation being necessary. Indeed, no law existed to ban alcohol in early society, yet to this day, the 10 most alcohol free countries in the world are largely Muslim ones, 14 centuries later.

    The same goes for smoking reduction in the UK. The UK embarked over a decade ago on anti-smoking educational campaigns and high taxes on cigarettes, and the % of smokers in society has decreased over the years greatly to its lowest %, such that smoking is rather unfashionable in UK society now.

    As for your point about money, I certainly agree. However, I would disagree with your statement that the major religions have not addressed the issue of how money is distributed in society. Wait for my next article and you’ll see how thoroughly Islam addresses inequalities and the effect of greed through a comprehensive economic system.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • “Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?” – The Guardian 2013

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/young-people-japan-stopped-having-sex

    ‘Aoyama cites one man in his early 30s, a virgin, who can’t get sexually aroused unless he watches female robots on a game similar to Power Rangers. “I use therapies, such as yoga and hypnosis, to relax him and help him to understand the way that real human bodies work.”‘

    Yes. Nothing wrong there!

  • “Spuddie do be careful not to confuse anecdote with data. They are not the same thing.”

    …said the person who is depending entirely on generalization and poor correlations Japan’s crime rate is about 10% that of the US. Pornography is fairly mainstream in their culture. Primary consumers are not youth, but largely salarymen, office ladies, and obatarians.

    “”Young People in Japan Have stopped Having Sex – the Guardian”

    Which means they are not committing rapes!

    Japanese culture is mercilessly isolating for reasons which are fairly unique to it. There is a lot to unpack there, which will take a while to explain. Short version is chauvenism in corporate culture and a social culture of forced obligation factor in heavily.

    “”It’s telling that rape culture, sexual slavery and institutionalized sexual abuse is most prevalent among cultures which decry porn.”
    ‘-Evidence please.’

    So what is ISIS’s position on porn?

    Shall we discuss Islamic workarounds with sex trafficking?
    http://www.dubaiforums.com/philosophy-dubai/temporary-marriage-islam-t45133.html

    “The Troubling Connection Between Modesty Culture and Rape Culture”
    http://time.com/3918215/modesty-culture-rape-culture/

    Purity Culture as Rape Culture: Why the Theological Is Political
    https://rewire.news/article/2013/10/22/purity-culture-as-rape-culture-why-the-theological-is-political/

    Reporting sexual assaults in Christian colleges bring s1utshaming tactics
    http://addictinginfo.org/2014/03/05/rape-culture-101-christian-colleges-call-women-liars-sinners-reporting-sexual-assault/

  • Well they certainly are not engaging in sexual assaults and rapes when they are doing that!

    So what kind of porn does ISIS read? After all they institutionalized sexual slavery and use gang rape as a tool of conquest.

  • “By training the Muslims to renounce alcohol through his own example, the Prophet of Islam persuaded the early Muslims to renounce it themselves, without any legislation being necessary. Indeed, no law existed to ban alcohol in early society, yet to this day, the 10 most alcohol free countries in the world are largely Muslim ones, 14 centuries later.”

    And that is why tourism in Dubai is so brisk as the only country in the Persian Gulf region where one can buy alcohol.

  • http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/liberty-positive-negative/

    People not seeing eye to eye on words like freedom and liberty has to do with the fact these words have definitions depending on what type of political philosophy a person has. It’s a spectrum really. At one extreme you have Communists, Fascists, and Theocrats who support big or maximal government who only subscribe to the positive deinfition. At the other extreme (which I support in full discourse) are Anarchist, Libertarians, and Utopians who support small or miniature government who subscribe to the negative deinfition.

    The concept also has overlap with things like self-ownership, the non-aggression principle, mala in se, mala prohibita, and public welfare offense laws. Basically, the article takes a nanny state approach to society on social issues. Westerners care more about good versus evil in Character Alignment than order versus chaos. Fascists, Socialists, and Theocrats have a zero tolerance policy for anything chaotic. They move the goal posts from non-aggression to ban anything even with a spurious correlation to potentially causing harm.

    The article also doesn’t distinguish between correlation and causation. It used the term causal link when correlational link is more accurate.

  • Islam is the religion of double speaks. A religion that means both peace and offensive warfare, freedom of religion and death to apostate/pagans/polytheists/idolaters, a religion of freedom and a religion of do what we say or we beat/kill you. The most hypocritical religion on earth! Obvious question: Where are all the pagan temples, synoguages, and churches from before the time of Muhammad in Saudi Arabia now?

  • In all fairness, that describes all monotheistic religions. How many pagan temples existed in Europe after 1100 AD. How many synagogues were left there after 1945? How many mosques remained in Spain after 1500?

  • Actually there are synagogues and churches through the middle East, north Africa and the Mediterranean, all of which was ruled by Muslims for around six centuries. The Greek islands are filled with pre islamic churches though the mosques that stood there for six centuries have all be razed to the ground.

    Islam is a religion that establishes peace. The difference between it and other religions is it recognises that sometimes one must engage in defensive war to attain peace, when others are hell bent on destroying freedom of conscience.

    “Permission to fight is given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged — and Allah indeed has power to help them — Those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly only because they said, ‘Our Lord is Allah’ — And if Allah did not repel some men by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft commemorated. And Allah will surely help one who helps Him. Allah is indeed Powerful, Mighty —” (Quran 22:40-41)

  • The article specifically addresses that:

    “It should not surprise us that many studies have demonstrated a causal connection between pornography and sexual violence.”

  • You ignored the Pagan temples. Also, The verse from the Quran you mentioned are abrogated by the verse of the sword.

    But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
    Qur’an 9:5

    Basically wage war against all the Pagans in the world until they convert is the gist of the above verse.

    On Offensive Warfare: These verses call Muslims to “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” Qur’an 9:29

    The following verses are taken from Surah 9, which is one of the very last chapters of the Quran to be revealed by Muhammad. Consequently, these newer verses abrogate all of the previous less aggressive verses that conflict with them. The following lists, without interruption, the most important verses that command Jihad against all unsubdued non-Muslims.

    Muslims are not required to keep treaties with pagans who have not upheld their part of the treaty, and Muslims are to give those pagans four months notice. However Muslims are required to keep treaties with those pagans who have upheld their part of the treaty until the end of the agreed upon time. After the treaties have expired Muslims are to make no more treaties with pagans and they are to subdue or kill those who do not accept Islam.

    Logan’s story short, offensive warfare verses are in Surahs 5 and 9 which abrogate previous verses of peace and/or defensive warfare. This in addition to various hadiths on the same topic.

    Also, Muslims speak of Jews and Christians as if they were the only non-Islamic religions in existence. Pagans, Manichees, Animists, Mandaeans, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, etc have also suffered Islamic invasions. But Muslims want to cherry pick Jews and Christian instead of talking about these religious groups.

    Some Pagan and other non-JudeoChrisitanIslamic houses of worship only exist in Muslims lands due to the impossibility of destroying them due to them being built out of stone. In Afghanistan it took lots of time and resources for them to do it, but they were especially determined to do as such.

    Also, your response ignore that I specified a limit to just Saudia Arabia, not all the Middle East and North Africa.

  • I was specifying that you were guilty of the correlation imlplies causation fallacy. The studies show a correlational link, but you saying they show a casual link doesn’t make that statement a fact.

  • That’s historically inaccurate as Muhammad himself instituted laws with corporal and capital punishment, so he didn’t set an example of not drinking. He madated who drinks gets flogged and after so many times executed. Sharia in all about punishment via beating and executing people. Hadith shows time and time again Muhammad ordering as such, so you argument that Muhammad just told people not to do so without punishment is false. Muhammad didn’t do any training beyond using beating, killing, and the threat of both to keep people in fear.

    Also, those alcohol free societies, they all have Prohibition mandated by law. Just like I mentioned with the Sharia originating with Muhammad of do this or get beat/killed. Also there were centuries of Muslim conquest, so Muslim rule brought whole swathes of non-Muslims under Islamic law, unless they retread back to uncovered land.

  • Also, you ignored the positive/negative dichotomy in freedom/liberty.

    Negative liberty is the absence of obstacles, barriers or constraints. One has negative liberty to the extent that actions are available to one in this negative sense. Positive liberty is the possibility of acting — or the fact of acting — in such a way as to take control of one’s life and realize one’s fundamental purposes. While negative liberty is usually attributed to individual agents, positive liberty is sometimes attributed to collectivities, or to individuals considered primarily as members of given collectivities.

    The idea of distinguishing between a negative and a positive sense of the term ‘liberty’ goes back at least to Kant, and was examined and defended in depth by Isaiah Berlin in the 1950s and ’60s. Discussions about positive and negative liberty normally take place within the context of political and social philosophy. They are distinct from, though sometimes related to, philosophical discussions about free will. Work on the nature of positive liberty often overlaps, however, with work on the nature of autonomy.

    As Berlin showed, negative and positive liberty are not merely two distinct kinds of liberty; they can be seen as rival, incompatible interpretations of a single political ideal. Since few people claim to be against liberty, the way this term is interpreted and defined can have important political implications. Political liberalism tends to presuppose a negative definition of liberty: liberals generally claim that if one favors individual liberty one should place strong limitations on the activities of the state. Critics of liberalism often contest this implication by contesting the negative definition of liberty: they argue that the pursuit of liberty understood as self-realization or as self-determination (whether of the individual or of the collectivity) can require state intervention of a kind not normally allowed by liberals.

    Many authors prefer to talk of positive and negative freedom. This is only a difference of style, and the terms ‘liberty’ and ‘freedom’ are normally used interchangeably by political and social philosophers. Although some attempts have been made to distinguish between liberty and freedom (Pitkin 1988; Williams 2001; Dworkin 2011), generally speaking these have not caught on. Neither can they be translated into other European languages, which contain only the one term, of either Latin or Germanic origin (e.g. liberté, Freiheit), where English contains both.

    Imagine you are driving a car through town, and you come to a fork in the road. You turn left, but no one was forcing you to go one way or the other. Next you come to a crossroads. You turn right, but no one was preventing you from going left or straight on. There is no traffic to speak of and there are no diversions or police roadblocks. So you seem, as a driver, to be completely free. But this picture of your situation might change quite dramatically if we consider that the reason you went left and then right is that you’re addicted to cigarettes and you’re desperate to get to the tobacconists before it closes. Rather than driving, you feel you are being driven, as your urge to smoke leads you uncontrollably to turn the wheel first to the left and then to the right. Moreover, you’re perfectly aware that your turning right at the crossroads means you’ll probably miss a train that was to take you to an appointment you care about very much. You long to be free of this irrational desire that is not only threatening your longevity but is also stopping you right now from doing what you think you ought to be doing.

    This story gives us two contrasting ways of thinking of liberty. On the one hand, one can think of liberty as the absence of obstacles external to the agent. You are free if no one is stopping you from doing whatever you might want to do. In the above story you appear, in this sense, to be free. On the other hand, one can think of liberty as the presence of control on the part of the agent. To be free, you must be self-determined, which is to say that you must be able to control your own destiny in your own interests. In the above story you appear, in this sense, to be unfree: you are not in control of your own destiny, as you are failing to control a passion that you yourself would rather be rid of and which is preventing you from realizing what you recognize to be your true interests. One might say that while on the first view liberty is simply about how many doors are open to the agent, on the second view it is more about going through the right doors for the right reasons.

    In a famous essay first published in 1958, Isaiah Berlin called these two concepts of liberty negative and positive respectively (Berlin 1969).[1] The reason for using these labels is that in the first case liberty seems to be a mere absence of something (i.e. of obstacles, barriers, constraints or interference from others), whereas in the second case it seems to require the presence of something (i.e. of control, self-mastery, self-determination or self-realization). In Berlin’s words, we use the negative concept of liberty in attempting to answer the question “What is the area within which the subject — a person or group of persons — is or should be left to do or be what he is able to do or be, without interference by other persons?”, whereas we use the positive concept in attempting to answer the question “What, or who, is the source of control or interference that can determine someone to do, or be, this rather than that?” (1969, pp. 121–22).

    It is useful to think of the difference between the two concepts in terms of the difference between factors that are external and factors that are internal to the agent. While theorists of negative freedom are primarily interested in the degree to which individuals or groups suffer interference from external bodies, theorists of positive freedom are more attentive to the internal factors affecting the degree to which individuals or groups act autonomously. Given this difference, one might be tempted to think that a political philosopher should concentrate exclusively on negative freedom, a concern with positive freedom being more relevant to psychology or individual morality than to political and social institutions. This, however, would be premature, for among the most hotly debated issues in political philosophy are the following: Is the positive concept of freedom a political concept? Can individuals or groups achieve positive freedom through political action? Is it possible for the state to promote the positive freedom of citizens on their behalf? And if so, is it desirable for the state to do so? The classic texts in the history of western political thought are divided over how these questions should be answered: theorists in the classical liberal tradition, like Constant, Humboldt, Spencer and Mill, are typically classed as answering ‘no’ and therefore as defending a negative concept of political freedom; theorists that are critical of this tradition, like Rousseau, Hegel, Marx and T.H. Green, are typically classed as answering ‘yes’ and as defending a positive concept of political freedom.

    In its political form, positive freedom has often been thought of as necessarily achieved through a collectivity. Perhaps the clearest case is that of Rousseau’s theory of freedom, according to which individual freedom is achieved through participation in the process whereby one’s community exercises collective control over its own affairs in accordance with the ‘general will’. Put in the simplest terms, one might say that a democratic society is a free society because it is a self-determined society, and that a member of that society is free to the extent that he or she participates in its democratic process. But there are also individualist applications of the concept of positive freedom. For example, it is sometimes said that a government should aim actively to create the conditions necessary for individuals to be self-sufficient or to achieve self-realization. The welfare state has sometimes been defended on this basis, as has the idea of a universal basic income. The negative concept of freedom, on the other hand, is most commonly assumed in liberal defences of the constitutional liberties typical of liberal-democratic societies, such as freedom of movement, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech, and in arguments against paternalist or moralist state intervention. It is also often invoked in defences of the right to private property. This said, some philosophers have contested the claim that private property necessarily enhances negative liberty (Cohen 1991, 1995), and still others have tried to show that negative liberty can ground a form of egalitarianism (Steiner 1994).

    After Berlin, the most widely cited and best developed analyses of the negative concept of liberty include Hayek (1960), Day (1971), Oppenheim (1981), Miller (1983) and Steiner (1994). Among the most prominent contemporary analyses of the positive concept of liberty are Milne (1968), Gibbs (1976), C. Taylor (1979) and Christman (1991, 2005).

  • Also, here is why positive freedom/liberty is a contradiction in terms.

    Many liberals, including Berlin, have suggested that the positive concept of liberty carries with it a danger of authoritarianism. Consider the fate of a permanent and oppressed minority. Because the members of this minority participate in a democratic process characterized by majority rule, they might be said to be free on the grounds that they are members of a society exercising self-control over its own affairs. But they are oppressed, and so are surely unfree. Moreover, it is not necessary to see a society as democratic in order to see it as self-controlled; one might instead adopt an organic conception of society, according to which the collectivity is to be thought of as a living organism, and one might believe that this organism will only act rationally, will only be in control of itself, when its various parts are brought into line with some rational plan devised by its wise governors (who, to extend the metaphor, might be thought of as the organism’s brain). In this case, even the majority might be oppressed in the name of liberty.

    Such justifications of oppression in the name of liberty are no mere products of the liberal imagination, for there are notorious historical examples of their endorsement by authoritarian political leaders. Berlin, himself a liberal and writing during the cold war, was clearly moved by the way in which the apparently noble ideal of freedom as self-mastery or self-realization had been twisted and distorted by the totalitarian dictators of the twentieth century — most notably those of the Soviet Union — so as to claim that they, rather than the liberal West, were the true champions of freedom. The slippery slope towards this paradoxical conclusion begins, according to Berlin, with the idea of a divided self. To illustrate: the smoker in our story provides a clear example of a divided self, for she is both a self that desires to get to an appointment and a self that desires to get to the tobacconists, and these two desires are in conflict. We can now enrich this story in a plausible way by adding that one of these selves — the keeper of appointments — is superior to the other: the self that is a keeper of appointments is thus a ‘higher’ self, and the self that is a smoker is a ‘lower’ self. The higher self is the rational, reflecting self, the self that is capable of moral action and of taking responsibility for what she does. This is the true self, for rational reflection and moral responsibility are the features of humans that mark them off from other animals. The lower self, on the other hand, is the self of the passions, of unreflecting desires and irrational impulses. One is free, then, when one’s higher, rational self is in control and one is not a slave to one’s passions or to one’s merely empirical self. The next step down the slippery slope consists in pointing out that some individuals are more rational than others, and can therefore know best what is in their and others’ rational interests. This allows them to say that by forcing people less rational than themselves to do the rational thing and thus to realize their true selves, they are in fact liberating them from their merely empirical desires. Occasionally, Berlin says, the defender of positive freedom will take an additional step that consists in conceiving of the self as wider than the individual and as represented by an organic social whole — “a tribe, a race, a church, a state, the great society of the living and the dead and the yet unborn”. The true interests of the individual are to be identified with the interests of this whole, and individuals can and should be coerced into fulfilling these interests, for they would not resist coercion if they were as rational and wise as their coercers. “Once I take this view”, Berlin says, “I am in a position to ignore the actual wishes of men or societies, to bully, oppress, torture in the name, and on behalf, of their ‘real’ selves, in the secure knowledge that whatever is the true goal of man … must be identical with his freedom” (Berlin 1969, pp. 132–33).

    Those in the negative camp try to cut off this line of reasoning at the first step, by denying that there is any necessary relation between one’s freedom and one’s desires. Since one is free to the extent that one is externally unprevented from doing things, they say, one can be free to do what one does not desire to do. If being free meant being unprevented from realizing one’s desires, then one could, again paradoxically, reduce one’s unfreedom by coming to desire fewer of the things one is unfree to do. One could become free simply by contenting oneself with one’s situation. A perfectly contented slave is perfectly free to realize all of her desires. Nevertheless, we tend to think of slavery as the opposite of freedom. More generally, freedom is not to be confused with happiness, for in logical terms there is nothing to stop a free person from being unhappy or an unfree person from being happy. The happy person might feel free, but whether they are free is another matter (Day, 1970). Negative theorists of freedom therefore tend to say not that having freedom means being unprevented from doing as one desires, but that it means being unprevented from doing whatever one might desire to do (Steiner 1994. Cf. Van Parijs 1995; Sugden 2006).

    Some theorists of positive freedom bite the bullet and say that the contented slave is indeed free — that in order to be free the individual must learn, not so much to dominate certain merely empirical desires, but to rid herself of them. She must, in other words, remove as many of her desires as possible. As Berlin puts it, if I have a wounded leg ‘there are two methods of freeing myself from pain. One is to heal the wound. But if the cure is too difficult or uncertain, there is another method. I can get rid of the wound by cutting off my leg’ (1969, pp. 135–36). This is the strategy of liberation adopted by ascetics, stoics and Buddhist sages. It involves a ‘retreat into an inner citadel’ — a soul or a purely noumenal self — in which the individual is immune to any outside forces. But this state, even if it can be achieved, is not one that liberals would want to call one of freedom, for it again risks masking important forms of oppression. It is, after all, often in coming to terms with excessive external limitations in society that individuals retreat into themselves, pretending to themselves that they do not really desire the worldly goods or pleasures they have been denied. Moreover, the removal of desires may also be an effect of outside forces, such as brainwashing, which we should hardly want to call a realization of freedom.

    Because the concept of negative freedom concentrates on the external sphere in which individuals interact, it seems to provide a better guarantee against the dangers of paternalism and authoritarianism perceived by Berlin. To promote negative freedom is to promote the existence of a sphere of action within which the individual is sovereign, and within which she can pursue her own projects subject only to the constraint that she respect the spheres of others. Humboldt and Mill, both advocates of negative freedom, compared the development of an individual to that of a plant: individuals, like plants, must be allowed to grow, in the sense of developing their own faculties to the full and according to their own inner logic. Personal growth is something that cannot be imposed from without, but must come from within the individual.

  • It contradicts your thesis the porn turns people into rapists who sexual assault women. You’re having contradictory arguments in favor of why porn is bad. One arguments is that it causes people to forces women into sex and yet you’re arguing that it causes people to ignore women sexually. Isn’t that the biggest contradiction ever?

    Westerners have concepts like self-ownership means that people, their goods, and their services are their own and not owed to someone else. Your argument that porn people to not have sex violates this principle in that no one can ever owe sex to anyone else even if they’re married because there are laws against marital rape.

  • Anybody, regardless of religious viewpoint, who argues that viewing pornography is somehow beneficial or a neutral activity has flatlined their brain waves. Someone please point out any other nation besides Japan where this purported and anomalous neutrality is in evidence.

  • ISIS does not represent Islam. No matter how many studies I provide you seem unwilling to engage in evidence and prefer your own ideas about Japan rather than statistical papers.

  • This is a common misconception about the Quran that abrogation exists. It does not, except for internet warriors who have not read the Quran.

    In fact the Quran specifically explains such verses as relating solely to the context of the defensive war after Muslims had been thrown out of their homes. This is explained well here:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/are-peaceful-muslims-in-denial-about-their-religion-10084960.html

    “The Koran clearly states that it contains two types of verses: context-independent verses, and context-dependent verses. Context-independent verses are unambiguous and timeless principles which can be applied in every situation. Context-dependent verses are those that are specific to particular situations, and can’t be read in isolation. The Koran then goes on to condemn those who cherry-pick verses to suit their own selfish ends, and tells its reader to take all the verses together before coming to any conclusions.

    “Peace” is one of the literal meanings of Islam, and its ultimate aim. And as such, it explicitly teaches that there is no compulsion in matters of faith. Regarding war, it teaches that Muslims are only ever allowed permitted to fight defensively, stating that “permission to fight is given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged – and Allah indeed has the power to help them”.

    The verses that are often quoted by critics are, like those at the beginning, cherry-picked context-dependent verses. They were only applicable at a time when war had been openly declared against Muslims because of their faith. They were being driven out of their homes and routinely assassinated. “Fight them until there is no persecution and religion is freely professed for Allah”, says the Koran. But if they stop oppressing you, it warns, then remember that “no hostility is allowed except against the aggressors”. Verses such as these mention fighting “disbelievers” because the division of the two sides was one of belief – non-Muslims who were the aggressors, and Muslims, who were being killed for their acceptance of Islam.

    As for how Muslims should co-exist with peaceful people of other beliefs, the Koran couldn’t be clearer: “Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes”. For everyone else, it is taught that you should be kind and act fairly towards them.

  • If you look at the paper I linked to in that statement you will find the evidence for causation.

    All the best

  • In Islam there was and is no punishment for drinking alcohol. Hence there is none stated in the Quran. All commandments are contained in the Qur’an.

    Furthermore no one was executed for drinking.

    Any punishment for it was given in his capacity as the political ruler of the state of a nation in which most people did not drink alcohol, not as God’s prophet, since there is nothing in Islam which prescribes punishment for it. As such, this is not legislating morality but rather enforcing an existing moral structure that already exists. We do the same with all kinds of drugs including marijuana, ecstacy, heroin etc. Alcohol is a drug too, only our society makes a social exception of it.

    In short, there is no punishment in Islam for alcohol consumption.

  • Relevant?

    I conducted cross-cultural studies on 49 primitive cultures distributed throughout the world and was able to predict with 100% accuracy the peaceful and violent nature of these 49 primitive cultures from two predictor variables: a) the degree of physical affectional bonding in the maternal-infant relationship; and b) whether premarital adolescent sex was permitted or punished. There were 29 peaceful and 20 violent cultures in this study sample. There is no other theory or data base that I am aware of that can provide such a prediction of peaceful or violent behaviors and that can relate such findings to specific sensory processes and brain mechanisms of the individual.

    Perspectives On Violence: James W Prescott, Ph.D.

  • ISIS is the apotheosis of religious based repression and violence we have at the moment. They represent the worst extreme of religious enforcement of morals and its utter hypocrisy. Plenty of religions have or had their own version of them.

    My ideas about Japan are based largely from personal experience and a great deal of exposure. One article or stats would hardly do the subject of their isolation culture justice. I did not feel the need for a long winded explanation there. But the gist of it is that Japan is a culture where porn is ubiquitous, some of it truly violent and weird stuff (you can’t quantify weirdness in media) but crime rates are far below most developed countries.

    Here is another anecdote you will take issue with. When Turkey had its few moments of democracy between military dictatorship and islamicism in the late 1970s it became the first Muslim nation to produce commercial grade pornography (shot on exhibition level film stock using professional crew and actors). It is one of the few Muslim majority countries where producing and selling porn is legal.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/She_is_Such_a_Woman
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornography_in_Turkey

    Anti pornography movements typically associate themselves with autocratic politics.

  • Sephardic Jews are an “endangered species” in the Middle East outside of Israel since 1947. Their exodus towards Israel and the US was one of the largest after WWII.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_exodus_from_Arab_and_Muslim_countries

    Tahir, Stephen, I think you both miss or avoid an important thing about scriptures. They usually bear little direct relation to actual practice of a given religion. If one was to look only at scripture you would think Judaism was genocidal and autocratic, Christians were entirely anti materialist pacifists and Islam was egalitarian. None of which is true in practice by the majorities in those faiths.

  • I for one was gob smacked when i first heard the statistics regarding porn readership.
    I always regarded watching porn as something for men who basically couldn’t obtain a healthy relationship in the real world. hence i regarded it as a problem for the fringes of society.
    How wrong i was.
    What i found most disturbing was the sheer volume men expose themselves to. How realistic are their expectations then when they DO engage in a relationship with a woman? pretty unrealistic and undoubtedly will have an impact on our society at large.
    Not to mention violent pornography. Other studies seem to show a progression to violent pronography with time and exposure.
    Not to mention child pornography which has exploded in recent times.
    What a disturbing time we live in.

  • tourism is dubai is brisk but with regards to behaviour in the society outside ones own home/apartment behaviour is heavily regulated. especially with regards to sexual behaviour and alcohol consumption in the public domain.
    It is not a free for all culture or society that you are depicting

  • Pornography, lewd shows, and all related things, have devastating effects on the society. Unfortunately supporters of this type of freedom don’t want to see them, while it destroys their society around them. In next few years when affects of this devastation will become more obvious, then will they be ready to take the blame?

  • It’s also not as repressed as their neighbors. Regulation still means legal access where it is banned in ones home nation.

    For example, gambling and prostitution are heavily regulated in Nevada yet remain major draws to tourists.

  • “Not to mention child pornography which has exploded in recent times”

    Considering the huge legal repercussions in owning it, viewing it, or even posting it online, I wonder where you get the idea of child pornography being expanded in recent times. Internet enforcement is rather severe on the subject. If anything since the slow demise of porn on physical media, you would find far less of the stuff.

  • Regulation is used where it is useful to regulate and where studies have proven that regulation may curtail a particular problem. e.g. sugar tax in the UK, smoking tax and banning of advertisements. Severe curtailment to access of alcohol to the general public in stores is one way Dubai regulates the negative and harmful effects on its society.

    I would agree with the author that evidence presented in the form of these statistics make a strong argument for, at the very least, a major regulation drive to ensure access to children is prohibited and forms such as violent porn are completely banned.
    If not just ban porn altogether.
    I shudder to think how many men are watching it right now.

  • … yea… because gambling and prostitution contributes positively to our societies world wide. Not.

  • You know the article lays the blame on Muslim immigrants, right?

    “One possible explanation is that, on average, people from the Middle East have a vastly different view of women and sex than Scandinavians have.”

  • True. But repression enforced by religion is far worse. It enables some of the worst behavior society has to offer, but denies everything or pretends it doesn’t exist. 🙂

    The funny thing about gambling is how wildly unprofitable it is when it is easy to find legally. Atlantic City is dying economically (worse than usual) because of competition in upstate NY, Yonkers, and PA.

    Pornography is the same. Internet piracy, free sites and file sharing have taken out much of the personal consumption market. Leaving broadcasting as a primary revenue source.

  • On Abroagation

    Arabic:مَا نَنسَخْ مِنْ آيَةٍ أَوْ نُنسِهَا نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِّنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا أَلَمْ تَعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
    Transliteration: Ma nansakh min ayatin aw nunsiha na/ti bikhayrin minha aw mithliha alam taaalam anna Allaha aala kulli shay-in qadeerun

    Shakir: Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?
    Qur’an Text/Transliteration 2:106

    The Meaning of Naskh
    Ibn Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas said that,

    (Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh) means, “Whatever an Ayah We abrogate. Also, Ibn Jurayj said that Mujahid said that,

    (Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh) means, “Whatever an Ayah We erase. Also, Ibn Abi Najih said that Mujahid said that,

    (Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh) means, “We keep the words, but change the meaning. He related these words to the companions of `Abdullah bin Mas`ud. Ibn Abi Hatim said that similar statements were mentioned by Abu Al-`Aliyah and Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi. Also As-Suddi said that,

    (Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh) means, “We erase it. Further, Ibn Abi Hatim said that it means, “Erase and raise it, such as erasing the following wordings (from the Qur’an), `The married adulterer and the married adulteress: stone them to death,’ and, `If the son of Adam had two valleys of gold, he would seek a third.’

    Ibn Jarir stated that,

    (Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh) means, “Whatever ruling we repeal in an Ayah by making the allowed unlawful and the unlawful allowed. The Nasakh only occurs with commandments, prohibitions, permissions, and so forth. As for stories, they do not undergo Nasakh. The word, `Nasakh’ literally means, `to copy a book’. The meaning of Nasakh in the case of commandments is removing the commandment and replacing it by another. And whether the Nasakh involves the wordings, the ruling or both, it is still called Nasakh.

    Allah said next,

    (or Nunsiha (cause it to be forgotten)). `Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas said that,

    (Whatever a verse (revelation) do Nansakh or Nunsiha) means, “Whatever Ayah We repeal or uphold without change. Also, Mujahid said that the companions of Ibn Mas`ud (who read this word Nansa’ha) said that it means, “We uphold its wording and change its ruling. Further, `Ubayd bin `Umayr, Mujahid and `Ata’ said, `Nansa’ha’ means, “We delay it (i.e., do not abrogate it). Further, `Atiyyah Al-`Awfi said that the Ayah means, “We delay repealing it. This is the same Tafsir provided by As-Suddi and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. `Abdur-Razzaq said that Ma`mar said that Qatadah said about Allah’s statement,

    (Whatever a verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten) “Allah made His Prophet forget what He willed and He abrogated what He will.

    Allah’s said,

    (We bring a better one or similar to it), better, relates to the benefit provided for the one it addresses, as reported from `Ali bin Abi Talhah that Ibn `Abbas said,

    (We bring a better one) means, “We bring forth a more beneficial ruling, that is also easier for you. Also, As-Suddi said that,

    (We bring a better one or similar to it) means, “We bring forth a better Ayah, or similar to that which was repealed. Qatadah also said that,

    (We bring a better one or similar to it) means, “We replace it by an Ayah more facilitating, permitting, commanding, or prohibiting.
    The Meaning of Naskh
    Tafsir ibn Kathir

    Allah doth blot out or confirm what He pleaseth: with Him is the Mother of the Book.
    Qur’an 13:39

    And when We change (one) communication for (another) communication, and Allah knows best what He reveals, they say: You are only a forger. Nay, most of them do not know.
    Qur’an 16:101

    They ask thee concerning the Spirit (of inspiration). Say: “The Spirit (cometh) by command of my Lord: of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you, (O men!)” If it were Our Will, We could take away that which We have sent thee by inspiration:then wouldst thou find none to plead thy affair in that matter as against Us,-
    Qur’an 17:85-86

    By degrees shall We teach thee to declare (the Message), so thou shalt not forget, Except as Allah wills: For He knoweth what is manifest and what is hidden.
    Qur’an 87:6-7

    Now for the Hadith

    The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) abrogated some of his commands by others, just as the Qur’an abrogates some part with the other.
    Sahih Muslim 003:0675

    Al-Bara’ b. ‘Azib reported: This verse was revealed (in this way): “Guard the prayers and the ‘Asr prayer.” We recited it (in this very way) so long as Allah desired. Allah, then, abrogated it and it was revealed: “Guard the prayers, and the middle prayer.” A person who was sitting with Shaqiq (one of the narrators in the chain of transmitters) said: Now it implies the ‘Asr prayer. Upon this al-Bara’ said: I have already informed you how this (verse) was revealed and how Allah abrogated it, and Allah knows best. Imam Muslim said: Ashja’i narrated it from Sufyan al-Thauri, who narrated it from al-Aswad b. Qais, who narrated it from ‘Uqba, who narrated it from al-Bara’ b. ‘Azib who said: We recited with the Prophet (may peace be upon him) (the above-mentioned verse like this, i. e. instead of Salat al- Wusta, Salat al-‘Asr) for a certain period, as it has been mentioned (in the above-quoted hadith).
    Sahih Muslim 4:1317

    Anas b. Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) invoked curse in the morning (prayer) for thirty days upon those who killed the Companions (of the Holy Prophet) at Bi’r Ma’una. He cursed (the tribes) of Ri’l, Dhakwan, Lihyan, and Usayya, who had disobeyed Allah and His Messenger (may peace be upon him). Anas said: Allah the Exalted and Great revealed (a verse) regarding those who were killed at Bi’r Ma’una, and we recited it, till it was abrogated later on (and the verse was like this):, convey to it our people the tidings that we have met our Lord, and He was pleased with us and we were pleased with Him”.
    Sahih Muslim 4:1433

    Sa’id b. Jubair reported: I said to Ibn Abbas: Will the repentance of that person be accepted who kills a believer intentionally? He said: No. I recited to him this verse of Sura al-Furqan (xix.): “And those who call not upon another god with Allah and slay not the soul which Allah has forbidden except in the cause of justice” to the end of the verse. He said: This is a Meccan verse which has been abrogated by a verse revealed at Medina: “He who slays a believer intentionally, for him is the requital of Hell-Fire where he would abide for ever,” and in the narration of Ibn Hisham (the words are): I recited to him this verse of Sura al-Furqan: “Except one who made repentance.” (see also Sahih al-Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 285)
    Sahih Muslim 43:7173

    said to ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan (while he was collecting the Qur’an) regarding the Verse:– “Those of you who die and leave wives …” (2.240) “This Verse was abrogated by an other Verse. So why should you write it? (Or leave it in the Qur’an)?” ‘Uthman said. “O son of my brother! I will not shift anything of it from its place.”
    Sahih Bukhari 6:60:53

    They had a choice, either fast or feed a poor for every day..” and added, “This Verse is abrogated.”
    Sahih Bukhari 6:60:33

    That he heard Ibn ‘Abbas reciting the Divine Verse:– “And for those who can fast they had a choice either fast, or feed a poor for every day..” (2.184) Ibn ‘Abbas said, “This Verse is not abrogated, but it is meant for old men and old women who have no strength to fast, so they should feed one poor person for each day of fasting (instead of fasting).
    Sahih Bukhari 6:60:32

    “For those who can fast, they had a choice either fast, or feed a poor for every day,” (2.184) was revealed, it was permissible for one to give a ransom and give up fasting, till the Verse succeeding it was revealed and abrogated it.
    Sahih Bukhari 6:60:34

    ‘Ata said: Ibn ‘Abbas said, “This Verse, i.e. the Statement of Allah: “..without turning them out..” cancelled the obligation of staying for the waiting period in her dead husband’s house, and she can complete this period wherever she likes
    Sahih Bukhari 6:60:54

    This Verse:–“Whether you show what is in your minds or conceal it..” (2.284) was abrogated
    Sahih Bukhari 6:60:68

    A man from the companions of Allah’s Apostle who I think, was Ibn ‘Umar said, “The Verse:– ‘Whether you show what is in your minds or conceal it …’ was abrogated by the Verse following it.”
    Sahih Bukhari 6:60:69

    In Surat al-Muzzammil (73), the verse: “Keep vigil at night but a little, a half thereof” (2-3) has been abrogated by the following verse: “He knoweth that ye count it not, and turneth unto you in mercy. Recite then of the Qur’an that which is easy for you” (v.20). The phrase “the vigil of the night” (nashi’at al-layl) means the early hours of the night. They (the companions) would pray (the tahajjud prayer) in the early hours of the night.
    Abu Dawud 5:1299

    Ibn ‘Abbas said: When the opening verses of Surah asl-muzzammil (lxxiii.), were revealed, the Companions would pray as long as they would pray during Ramadan until its last verses were revealed.
    Abu Dawud 1:1300

    Women who are divorced shall wait, keeping themselves apart, three monthly courses; and then said: And for such of your women as despair of menstruation, if ye doubt, their period (of waiting) shall be three months. This was abrogated from the former verse. Again he said: (O ye who believe, if ye wed believing women) and divorce them before ye have touched them, then there is no period that ye should reckon.
    Abu Dawud 12:2275

    Yahya related to me from Malik from Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr ibn Hazm from Amra bint Abd ar-Rahman that A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Amongst what was sent down of the Qur’an was ‘ten known sucklings make haram’ – then it was abrogated by ‘five known sucklings’. When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, died, it was what is now recited of the Qur’an.” Yahya said that Malik said, “One does not act on this.”
    Al-Muwatta 30 3.17b

    Yahya said that he heard Malik say, “This ayat is abrogated. It is the word of Allah, the Blessed, the Exalted, ‘If he leaves goods, the testament is for parents and kinsmen.’ What came down about the division of the fixed shares of inheritance in the Book of Allah, the Mighty, the Exalted, abrogated it” …
    Al-Muwatta 37 5.4bb

    It was narrated that ‘Aishah said: “Once of the things that Allah revealed in the the Qur’an and then abrogated was that nothing makes marriage prohibited except ten breastfeedings or five well-known (breastfeedings).” (Sahih)
    Ibn Majah Vol. 3, Book 9, Hadith 1942

    Now for historical evidence from early history

    According to Ali, the fourth Rightly-guided Caliph, knowing the difference between abrogating and abrogated verses will save you from being damned.

    Ali [‘Ali ibn Abi Talib]said to Abdul Rahman “can you differentiate between abrogating and abrogated verses” Abdul Rahman said, “no.” Thereupon Ali said “Thou art damned and causeth others to be damned.”

    “Although the companions of Muhammad are reported to have discussed naskh, and even to have disagreed over the abrogation of a particular verse, references to the generation of the companions in the naskh literature are relatively infrequent.

    Ibn Salama, al-Nasikh wa ‘l-mansukh (Cairo 1315/1899), 142-3, where `Ali and Ibn ‘Abbas disagree over the abrogation of Quran 4:94; `Ali maintained that the verse was abrogated by Quran 4:115 and 4:48, while Ibn ‘Abbas held that it remained muhkama.

    “The number of verses that are considered to have been abrogated increased dramatically between the eighth and eleventh centuries (al-Zuhri mentions 42 abrogated verses, al-Nahhas 138, and Ibn Salama, 238), at which point an upper limit seems to have been reached (Ibn ‘Ata’iqi identifies 231 abrogated verses, and al-Farsi, 248).
    – “al-Suyuti (d. 911/1505) recognised only twenty [20] instances of true abrogation and Shah Wali Allah (d 1762) reduced that number to five [5].

    “these figures are mentioned in Ernest Hahn, ‘Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s The Controversy over Abrogation (in the Qur’an)

    Ibn al-’Ata’iqi, on the other hand, while citing 231 instances of abrogation, appendixes the phrase wa fihi nazar, indicating doubt or uncertainty to his discussion of twenty-six verses.”

    …..

    – “There is also considerable disagreement over the scope of abrogation within the Qur’an itself. At one extreme, there were apparently certain people who argued that ‘the Qur’an does not contain either an abrogated or an abrogating verse’.

    (“Ibn Salama, p. 26; cf. Al-Nahhas, pp 2-3”), these people, according to Ibn Salama, ‘have deviated from the truth and by virtue of their lying, have turned away from God’. (“Ibn Salama, p. 26)

    At the other extreme were those scholars who maintained that any narrative, positive command, or prohibition in the Qur’an may be abrogated.” (“Al-Nahhas, pp. 2-3”)

    According to Ibn Salma , those who reject abrogation have deviated from the truth. Once again, its improtant to note at the time of the caliphate, some scholars (particularly a preacher from Kufa, Iraq) were banned from explaining and preaching the Qur’ān by early ‘ilmic authority figures because of their ignorance of the principles of naskh.

    You’re forgetting the verses are from completely different Surahs as Surahs 5 and 9 were revealed just before the death of Muhammad around two years after the conquest of Mecca when there was no real Pagan threat anymore and Muslim hegemony had been established. The verses we revealed in chronological order: verses commanding pacifism, verses permitting defensive warfare, verses mandating defensive was radars, and verses mandating offensive warfare. Your argument is to ignore this chronological order and above evidence to say since pervious verses say one thing, the position never changed, which it actually did.

    Also, Muslim conquests are a historical fact of an explosion of Muslim land grabs after Muhammad’s war of unification of the Arab peninsula. His conquests of the whole Arab peninsula was way more than could be purely devensive. Also, there is the history of Muslims conquests of the Indian subcontinent as an explicit example of offensive warfare in Islamic history. It would always better to be a Muslim under Hindu/Sikh rule than a Hindu/Sikh under Muslim rule.

    When you understand abrogation, you understand what drives Islamic terrorism and extremism. This has led some apologists to flatly deny they are even aware of such a concept existing within Islam. Some have even attempted to create their own methods in choosing which verses apply to today’s world.

    One such example of this is the reversal of the truth; it is the obscure and baseless claim that the Medinan verses are read only in an historical and non-legal context, while the less violent Meccan verses are universal commands.

    This in itself is not a negative thing, but when they try to pass this off to non-Muslims as authentic Islam and claim this is widely accepted by Islamic scholars, while never attempting to rectify the alleged misconceptions with their co-religionists, it is nothing more than deceptive propaganda.

    Furthermore, theologically this claim makes zero sense. It contradicts several sahih hadith, and Qur’an 5:90-91 which prohibit the consumption of Alcohol and gambling, are Medinan verses.

    Prior to the revelation of these verses, there were no prohibitions against intoxicants and games of chance. So when is the last time you have heard Muslims claiming drinking alcohol and gambling is permitted in Islam today?

    Example: the abrogation of the being no compulsion in religion

    Allah says: “There is no compulsion in religion”, meaning: do not force anyone to embrace Islam, because it is clear and its proofs and evidences are manifest. Whoever Allah guides and opens his heart to Islam has indeed embraced it with clear evidence. Whoever Allah misguides blinds his heart and has set a seal on his hearing and a covering on his eyes cannot embrace Islam by force…hence Allah revealed this verse. But, this verse is abrogated by the verse of “fighting…Therefore, all people of the world should be called to Islam. If anyone of them refuses to do so, or refuses to pay the Jizya they should be fought till they are killed. This is the meaning of compulsion. In the Sahih, the Prophet said: “Allah wonders at those people who will enter Paradise in chains”, meaning prisoners brought in chains to the Islamic state, then they embrace Islam sincerely and become righteous, and are entered among the people of Paradise.
    Tafsir Ibn Kathir (unabridged)

    Another example: the verse about in long towards peace

    This has been abrogated by the “sword verse” [Q. 9:5]’
    Surat Al-‘Anfāl (The Spoils of War) 8:61
    Ibn Abbas in Tafsir Ibn Abbas and Tafsir al-Jalalayn (Suyuti)

    It is the consensus of the scholars of this Ummah that if part of the religion is Allah’s and other part is not, fighting must go on until the entire religion is Allah’s”.
    Ibn Taymiyyah, ‘Governance According to Allaah’s Law in Reforming the Ruler and his Flock’

    “Jihad and the rifle alone. NO negotiations, NO conferences and NO dialogue.”
    Join The Caravan, p.9
    Imam Abdullah Azzam

    “So, if the fighting stops, the disbelievers will dominate, and fitnah, which is Shirk (polytheism), will spread.”
    Join The Caravan, p.20
    Imam Abdullah Azzam

    Yet another example: abrogation of fight those who fight you

    this stipulation was abrogated by the verse of barā’a, ‘immunity’ [Q. 9:1], or by His saying [below]:
    Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow) 2:190
    Tafsir al jalayn (Suyuti)

    (And fight in the way of Allah those who fight you,) Abu Al-`Aliyah said, “This was the first Ayah about fighting that was revealed in Al-Madinah. Ever since it was revealed, Allah’s Messenger used to fight only those who fought him and avoid non-combatants. Later, Surat Bara’ah (chapter 9 in the Qur’an) was revealed.” `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said similarly, then he said that this was later abrogated by the Ayah
    The Command to fight Those Who fight Muslims and killing Them wherever They are found
    Tafsir Ibn Kathir

    On the verse of the sword cacelling all duties of peace to non-Muslims (put then some verses later the Jizya alternative is given to Jews and Christians (and maybe Magians/Zoroastrians and Sabians/Mandaeans also))

    Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said,
    I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayer and pay the Zakah.

    This honorable Ayah (9:5) was called the Ayah of the Sword, about which Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim said, “It abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolator, every treaty, and every term.” Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas commented: “No idolator had any more treaty or promise of safety ever since Surah Bara’ah was revealed.
    This is the Ayah of the Sword
    Tafsir ibn Kathir

    You’re argument ignores the proof I found in the Hadith and Tasfirs which are over a thousand years old.

  • You miss the point. Regulation is a far cry from a ban. Where some vice is banned, people will gravitate to areas where it is legal. Even if heavily regulated.

    The link between violent porn and actual violence is about as anecdotal and assumptive as the link between violent films and actual violence. It is something assumed but not borne put in legitimate study of the subject. The cathartic effect of fantasy is well documented through the ages.

  • Ahh yes a Google scholar! Copying and pasting passages from the internet (without attributing the writing) is not scholarship and cannot replace it.

    I have spent my life studying Islam in depth and know well the points you have raised. They almost all fall into one of two camps:

    1. Abrogation of a previous commandment from the Torah or Gospel, by a new commandment of the Quran. The Quran considers itself a fulfilment of their message, but more complete. Hence the prophet of Islam would follow Jewish law when a matter arose for which the Quran had not yet given guidance.

    2. The application of one verse in one scenario and another verse in another. This does not constitute abrogation but constitutes the rules of interpretation as laid down by chapter 3 verses 8-9 of the Quran on the topic of muhkam and mutashaabihat verses. Ie: what contexts are different teachings applicable. Ie: you have been taken in by a mistranslation of the term as abrogation. This is what Ali (ra) was referring to when he said that without knowing which verses are applicable in which contexts, one is misguided.

    For a thorough demonstration of the falsity of abrogation theory, read the article found below entitled ‘The Purity of the Holy Quran’

    http://www.reviewofreligions.org/date/1907/10/

  • http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Main_Page

    You are ignoring the various Hadith quotes I used to supplement my argument. Also, I gave quotes from various Tasfirs and Scholars on the topic.

    There are other topics that could be brought mentioning honor killings especially of apostates and homosexuals.

    Also, you do realize Ahmadis are considered a fringe sect compared to mainstream Sunni and Shia Islam? It like claiming Christianity teaches something based on what Unitarian Universalists interpret it. It is a huge retcon to say the nineteenth century interpretations out of thin air are how a person who lived in the sixth and seventh centuries was meant to be interpreted, not all the other prior historical sources you discounted.

  • This specific refutation of the abrogation of pervious scriptures theory.

    Many modern apologists assert that abrogation does not exist within the Qur’an itself, but that the abrogation mentioned in Qur’an 2:106 and Qur’an 16:101 refers to the Qur’an replacing directives given in the Taurat and Injil.

    Although this understanding has already been shown to be in error by Ibn Kathir’s commentary here, let us take a look at these verses in context.

    And when We change (one) communication for (another) communication, and Allah knows best what He reveals, they say: You are only a forger. Nay, most of them do not know.

    Say: The Holy spirit has revealed it from your Lord with the truth, that it may establish those who believe and as a guidance and good news for those who submit.

    And certainly We know that they say: Only a mortal teaches him. The tongue of him whom they reproach is barbarous, and this is clear Arabic tongue.

    (As for) those who do not believe in Allah’s communications, surely Allah will not guide them, and they shall have a painful punishment.
    Qur’an 16:101-104

    According to Islam, the Book of Musa was revealed from Allah to Moses (not via the Qur’an’s “Holy Spirit” which is Jibreel, an Angel). The Gospels which the Qur’an talks about were written by people who were there, or revealed in visions from Allah etc. Again no angels were involved with the revelation of the previous scriptures. So verse 16:101 is clearly talking about Muhammad and the revelation of the Qur’an after talking about abrogation.

    Those who disbelieve from among the followers of the Book do not like, nor do the polytheists, that the good should be sent down to you from your Lord, and Allah chooses especially whom He pleases for His mercy, and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace.

    Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?

    Do you not know that Allah’s is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and that besides Allah you have no guardian or helper?

    Rather you wish to put questions to your Messenger, as Musa was questioned before; and whoever adopts unbelief instead of faith, he indeed has lost the right direction of the way.
    Qur’an 2:105-108

    Verse 2:106 in context is clearly talking about those who questioned Muhammad about his contradictions, hence the revelation regarding “abrogation”. This has nothing to do with the “previous scriptures” either. So far its abrogation within the Qur’an itself.

    Looking at verse 2:136, Allah says there is no distinction between the previous messages.

    Say: We believe in Allah and (in) that which had been revealed to us, and (in) that which was revealed to Ibrahim and Ismail and Ishaq and Yaqoub and the tribes, and (in) that which was given to Musa and Isa, and (in) that which was given to the prophets from their Lord, we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit.
    Qur’an 2:136

    Since Isa never wrote a book, we can infer that Allah is talking about the Injil, and Musa; the Taurat. Why would Allah “make no distinction” between them if he had abrogated parts of it? Surely he would have seen fit to mention “except the parts we have substituted”?

  • I can think of one pagan temple still extant in Europe: the Pantheon in Rome. But that one was turned into a Christian church beginning in the 600s, so it illustrates the point.

  • Your choice of the gender neutral word spouse obscures Islamic homophobia. I would give Hadith quotes of commands on the topic, but I will do it later, but all kill the gays countries are currently Muslim. (Christian Uganada almost made it not so, but they passed a jail the gays for life law instead.)

  • Got a link to that wall-o-text? Something which allows for further research and corroboration for the accuracy of the citations.

  • The bans aren’t on modesty, but on specific coverings. There are two ways to define modesty by how an outfits isn’t nude and how an outfits isn’t nude. This leads to the possibility of an outfit being one defintion of modest, but not the other. Basically, how much skin an outfits covers versus how decent an outfit is considered are the two definitions.

    Westerners do believe in modesty or we wouldn’t have any indecent exposure laws. It’s just that modesty, like all virtues, is subject to the Golden Mean. This in effect means that nudity and burqas, due to being extremes out of line with the Golden Mean of modesty are both banned.

    Back to the two definitions of modesty: Open blouses? Bikinis? Bare Shoulders? Insert any other outfit that some cultures have considered modest and other ones didn’t. But you only seem to think Islamic civilization is the only one that ever valued modesty due to all cultures not sharing the extreme cover everything defintion of modesty you want everyone to hold.

  • There are commandments in the Hadith in Sirat as well, so your argument that the only commands are in the Quran are false. Islam is a religion where most of it commands are found in Hadith actually.

  • There is an order of evidence weight in Islam that you clearly have not come across. It is that Quranic statements are weighted the most, with the practice of the prophet coming next and then the Hadith. If a Hadith clearly contradicts the Quran or practice of the prophet, it is discarded. As for Tafsir and sayings of scholars, they have no weight at all if they stand in contradiction to the Quran.

    The verse of Naskh and Mansookh are only applicable to commandments of previous religions as I have already stated. See the article I linked. The verse itself refers to an ‘ayah’ being abrogated which also refers to a ‘sign’ and not just a verse. Indeed, what would be the point of abrogating a verse to only bring ‘The like of it’ as a replacement.

    Finally, Quranic verses cannot be interpreted in contradiction to each other according to the Quran itself and numerous Hadith. This is explained in 3:8-9 which I have already referred you to.

    If you read the article I linked you will find the issue of abrogation analysed in depth, rather than the cursory attention I can give it here.

  • It is very telling of the beauty of the teachings of the Qur’an that the only objection you can raise is to try and rip out passages from the Qur’an so that you don’t have to face them in your assessment of Islam.

    The theory of abrogation is based upon believing that the Prophet of Islam was a liar and taught only loving teachings whilst persecuted and taught war-like teachings when he attained independent political authority in Medina.

    The problem is that such historical revisionism is undermined by the facts. They forget that the declaration “there is no compulsion in religion” (2:255-258) came about after he attained political rule, as did the teaching that fighting is only permitted against aggressors (2:192-195) and that fighting is forbidden against those who seek peace (4:89-92).

  • Porn has been around since forever. The only people it seems ot have devastating effects on are the porn obsessed, sex and purity obsessed, and the religiously obsessed.
    for those of us who are healthy in our attitudes towards sex, it doesn’t seem to present a problem.

  • So is Christianity. “Love the sinner and hate the sin” being the very best example, followed closely by “The old testament is for oyu, the newtestament is for me.”

  • Deuteronomy 13:6-10King James Version (KJV)

    6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;

    7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;

    8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:

    9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

    10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

  • Banning doesn’t work. It just supports and encourages criminality.
    The real solution to the problems sometimes presented by porn and sex is responsible sex education. But guess who opposes that? Religious people who are obsessed with what other people are doing with their genitalia.
    You need only look at the highly religious southern states, with their high rates of teen pregnancy. Porn consumption is highest in sex obsessed Utah, the most religious state of all. There have been articles on these very pages about pastors obsessed with porn. These aren’t Unitarians, these are Baptists.

  • The real solution to the problems sometimes presented by porn and sex is responsible sex education. But guess who opposes that? Religious people who are obsessed with what other people are doing with their genitalia.

    You need only look at the highly religious southern states, with their high rates of teen pregnancy. Porn consumption is highest in sex obsessed Utah, the most religious state of all. There have been articles on these very pages about pastors obsessed with porn. These aren’t Unitarians, these are Baptists.

  • Even if every Muslim in the world were a Quranist (aka a Qur’an only Mulism), which is less than 1% of Muslims in our timelines, Islam would still have problems due to the controversial verses in the Quran.

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/index.htm

    Within Islam the two largest sects are the Sunnis (up to 90%) and Shi’ites (approx 10-20%). Together they make up almost the entirety of Islam. However, there is a small heretical group who are collectively known as “Qur’anists” (also referred to as Quraniyoon, Ahle Quran, or hadith rejectors). They reject the Hadith (oral traditions) and the Sunnah (example) of Muhammad, an integral part of Islam, and are viewed by mainstream Islam in much the same way as the Jehovah’s Witnesses are viewed by mainstream Christianity (i.e. Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox etc).

    The Qur’anists have a major dilemma on their hands. Indeed, it is one of the reasons why reforms to Islam are an impossibility. The Qur’an alleges that it is entirely composed of Allah’s commands, not Muhammad’s, yet the Qur’an itself orders Muslims to obey the Messenger.

    He who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah: But if any turn away, We have not sent thee to watch over their (evil deeds).
    Qur’an 4:80
    If you do not know what the Messenger had ordered, then this is impossible. The Qur’an also commands Muslims to follow the Messenger’s example, yet the only place this example is established is in the Sunnah. Without the Hadith, you cannot know Muhammad. Without knowing Muhammad, there is no Uswa Hasana. If you doubt the Hadith you are doubting the entirety of Islam. If you reject the hadiths, then you are in-turn rejecting Islam by going against the orders of the Qur’an and are therefore apostate/murtad/kafir (whichever may apply). Ultimately, to remain faithful to Allah and the Qur’an, the hadiths cannot be rejected.

    Islam means submission (contrary to popular belief that it means peace), and more specifically it means submission to the will of Allah. What is the will of Allah, one may ask. Qur’an-only Muslims would have us believe that the Qur’an clearly defines what exactly Allah’s will is. But this is not the case.

    For one thing, the Qur’an is full of contradictory verses and commands; sometimes commanding believers to seek out and kill pagans (Qur’an 9:5), other times commanding Muslims to leave pagans to practice their polytheistic religions in peace (Qur’an 109:1-6). Without the Hadith there would be no Abrogation, the Qur’an can then be interpreted in multiple ways. The pacifist can decide to take from it a peaceful message by deliberately ignoring or twisting violent verses whereas the sadist can easily interpret a violent message by focusing on such verses as are found in Surah 9. Both Muslims could be selectively justified by the Qur’an because of its contradictory messages from Muhammad-in-Mecca versus Muhammad-in-Medina.

    To be a Qur’anist requires a good deal of faith and a considerable lack of theological common sense. If one rejects the Hadith (ie. Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud), the Tafsir (ie. Ibn Kathir, Ibn Abbas, al-Jalalayn, Maududi), and the History (ie. al-Tabari, Ibn Sa’d, al-Waqidi, Ibn Ishaq), then the entire historical context of the Qur’an, along with any proof of Muhammad’s existence, is lost. It simply becomes an ancient Arabic document of rambling, repetitive, and often-times confusing, statements and commands. The reader is left with such questions as “Who wrote this and why?” and “Who is Abu Lahab, and why are he and his wife going to be tortured?” and “Why don’t these stories match the ones found in the Bible?” and “Who is ‘Isa?” The Qur’anist is ultimately a monotheist who creates their own religion based on a 1400-year-old nonsensical Arabic document.

    The often-leveled charge by the obscure Qur’an-only sects that “Sunni’s and Shi’ite’s are following a deviant form of Islam by introducing these man-made books,” is laughable and the epitome of hypocrisy, considering most of the narrators of hadith are the very same people who passed down the Qur’an itself. The first Muslims (Sahabah- companions of Muhammad, which include all four Rightly Guided Caliphs) who partook in the Hijra to Medina, were not Qur’an-only Muslims. The generation of Muslims that followed the death of Muhammad (the Tabi’un) were not Qur’an-only Muslims. And the generation of Muslims that followed them (Tabi’ al-Tabi’un) were not Qur’an-only Muslims. Recording and sorting through these narrations in written form was little more than codifying and clarifying already existing beliefs. To suggest that adhering to Muhammad’s sunnah constitutes a deviation from pure Islam is ludicrous.

    These Qur’an only “Muslims” reject the Hadith, a fundamental aspect of Islam, simply due to it highlighting the immoral truths of Muhammad, early Islam and its numerous laws. They may deny this as the reason behind their rejection of Hadith, but this fact is proven by many Qur’anists who alternatively accept Hadith as a historical source but dismiss it as a religious one. Furthermore they reject anything about Muhammad which they claim “contradicts the Qur’anic description of him”. This approach is intellectually dishonest and logically unfeasible. Either the Hadith are a valid source of information for Muslims or they are worthless. You cannot pick and choose which bits you want to keep and which bits you want to throw out when the good and the bad all originate from the same sources.

    We sent them) with Clear Signs and Books of dark prophecies; and We have sent down unto thee (also) the Message; that thou mayest explain clearly to men what is sent for them, and that they may give thought.
    Qur’an 16:44

    The message (Qur’an) is explained and elaborated upon by the Prophet. Preserving the message (Qur’an) also requires preserving the Sunnah which explains the message, as the previous verse states.

    Whatever Allah has restored to His Messenger from the people of the towns, it is for Allah and for the Messenger, and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, so that it may not be a thing taken by turns among the rich of you, and whatever the Messenger gives you, accept it, and from whatever he forbids you, keep back, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is severe in retributing (evil)
    Qur’an 59:6

    This verse asks Muslims to follow everything Mohammad gives them, and abstain from everything he forbids. That means they are commanded by Allah to follow the Sunnah.

    Islam without the Hadith and Sunnah of Muhammad is like Buddhism without the Buddha or Christianity without the Christ; it is not possible. Therefore, all of the controversial hadiths mentioned here have to be accepted by Muslims as a part of the history of Islam, just like the Qur’an. Moreover, even if this Qur’an-only approach were to be somehow accepted by the mainstream, we are still left with the problem that the Qur’an itself permits:

    Hatred of Homosexuals
    Lying
    Pedophilia
    Polygamy
    Racism
    Religious discrimination
    Slavery and Rape
    Terrorism
    Violence against women

    I will go into detail on the topics at a later date.

  • “Tahir, Stephen, I think you both miss or avoid an important thing about scriptures. They usually bear little direct relation to actual practice of a given religion.”

    And there in is the problem– you might say, in a nut shell. Teehee.

  • Now I have a little bit of time to deal with this. Below was written a response to Gail dines, very active in the anti-pornography movement, who wrote a very similar essay about the evils of pornography that was published in the salt Lake city Tribune. It was yet another column that didn’t actually deal with the problem, but instead, substituted anti-porn and anti-sex hysteria for any kind of a rational approach. She cemented her lack of credentials in my eyes with her equally vapid comments about neo-liberalism, a movement which seeks to blame the modern democrats for slavery and jim crow.

    Here’s what I wrote then:

    The morals police are at it again, for our own good, of course.

    I know lots of people who look at porn often. Not one has had the slightest desire to rape, kill, or maim. I look at porn often. I have never once raped anyone, male or female. Might this be far more correlated with education or class than porn usage? Or even something as simple as social, familial, and community networks?

    Utah has the highest porn consumption per capita in the nation. One might think it suffers from a
    plethora of the problems that the author has listed. But somehow, I don’t think it does. But of course, the religiouslature thinks it does because the Mormon church thinks it does. And controlling sex is a primary sexual outlook– outlet?– for conservative religion.

    But let’s look at what is probably the real cause of these rather startling statistics. The author mentions it, almost in passing, almost as if she were saying: intellectual honesty forces me to say this, but please don’t mention it to anyone.

    “In the absence of a comprehensive sex-education curriculum in many schools, pornography has
    become de facto sex education for youth.”

    Well, whoopsie! The pornographic cat just got out of the morality bag, or vice versa.

    Don’t teach kids comprehensive sex education. Mythologize, pathologize, and sinnerize sexuality, and if you can get away with it– as they used to do in this country, and still do in most Muslim countries– criminalize it. And make sure you tell kids that the only acceptable sexual activity is one man and one woman within the bonds of holy matrimony ONLY. Reduce the totality of sex education to JUST SAY NO, because that always works. That’s why southern religious states have the highest rates of teen pregnancy: JUST SAY NO just means no contraception, no useful knowledge, and no thought.

    HOWEVER…

    While you are busy not doing anything else that’s practical, be happy to show them violent images on TV and in the movies, and call it wholesome family entertainment. (NB: Did that get factored into your citations, Mr. Nasser?) But scream bloody murder if a buttock, breast, or weenie shows up. The violence we see daily probably has nothing at all to do with the violence in our culture. And don’t do a thing about the casual misogyny that permeates out culture, and especially, conservative religious cultures, like urine in a wino’s mattress. The violence against women has absolutely nothing to with that. Women are there to serve men. God said it, I believe it, and that settles it. You can believe six impossible things before breakfast if you have sex-obsessed conservative religion as morals police.

    And in a similar vein, whatever you do, do not show gay couples living happily together. That only promotes homosexuality. Be sure to extra pathologize that, and perhaps criminalize it if you can. That way, when young people get AIDS because you have told them there is no hope for a normal life, you can say cheerfully, “well, the wages of sin! Ya know?” The very same thing you can say to a 16 year old girl whose life has been irrevocably limited because she got pregnant. Wages of sin, ya know?

    There is more wrong with this article than I have the time to deal with right now. I’m going to go
    look at some porn, and then I’m going go out and not rape anyone. In fact, I’m going to check in on some elderly friends of mine. Because porn obsesses me so much that I can’t do anything productive.

  • The Qur’an does not permit hatred of homosexuals, lying (are you insane – it forbids lying more than any other ethical system), paedophilia (you’re frankly foul), racism (have you read the Last sermon of the Prophet), Religious discrimination (again, pure lies, the Qur’an commands Muslims to “be kind and equitable” to those of other faiths who do not fight against muslims for their faith), slavery and rape (utterly wrong; Islam forbids making anyone a slave and rape was punished by the Prophet of Islam with execution), Terrorism (clutching at straws), violence against women (Islam provided rights to women Western society only dreamt of 150 years ago, including inheritance, property, maintenance, vote, self-determination, consent at marriage, right to divorce etc).

    You are simply lying. And not very well, at that.

    And no, I am not a Qur’anist. But all Muslims know that the Qur’an has greater reliability than the hadith.

  • Wiki Islam is an islamophobic website which deliberately mistranslates the Arabic and deliberately omits key words, statements of the Quran and totally ignore s early islamic history. That you cite this as your source is only proof of your total lack of education.

  • This. Absolutely. And the effect it is having on girls is appalling. A large number of women I know felt that they were pressured (either by an individual or social expectations) to partake in sexual experiences far before they would have chosen too.

    And it is only getting worse, with many girls now being talked into giving oral sex to boys long before they have full intercourse, and boys “passing around” girls who have a “reputation” for being “good” at that sort of thing. Some of the girls I’ve represented in the youth courts (I am a criminal barrister by trade) have opened up about the sorts of relationships they are in, and they appear to be purely exploitative, often with boys who are several years older than them.

    I recall attending house parties as a 15 year old where there was a particular girl who was only invited because she was “good for it”. Kissing this girl was called losing your “Katie virginity” (n.b. I’ve changed her name here), and boys would compete to see how far they could get with her in a particular evening. I don’t think the average person realises just how much damage the porn industry is having on our children.

    I should add, the damage is equally as apparent in our boys/men, just in different ways, such as forming healthy relationships later on in life.

  • I’m not sure anyone is suggesting that without access to porn no one would ever rape/sexually assault people. But then maybe I’ve missed something.

  • You are exaggerating the argument here . The author was linking porn to sexual violence.

    The author was:

    The authors described this as the “trivialization of rape” and attributed its effect to the depiction of women in pornography as always sexually interested. The same study found that support for women’s rights declined in men, from 71 percent to 25 percent, between the no-exposure and heavy-exposure groups, respectively. The study further demonstrated that males in the heavy-exposure group displayed significantly greater sexual callousness toward women, as determined through questionnaires. Indeed, objectification of women has known dehumanizing effects.

    It should not surprise us that many studies have demonstrated a causal connection between pornography and sexual violence.

  • There’s no real logical content in your reply. Islamophobia is just a buzz word to label critics of Islam. The Arabic isn’t translated by them, but translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali for the Quran translation they quote and Saudi government websites for Hadith translations.

    You didn’t provide proof against the arguments, but you were arguing against the source which is a fallacy in logical terms,

    Islam is the only major world religion that does not allow its followers the freedom to change faith. According to Shari’ah laws (extracted from the Qur’an and Sunnah), apostates of Islam must be sentenced to death. This has led to former Muslims often being persecuted, abused and killed. This treatment of apostates is not simply down to the issue of state-enforced religion as some may suggest. As you will find out on this page, the violence or threats of violence against apostates in the Muslim world usually derives not from government authorities but from family members and individuals from the Islamic communities themselves, who operate very often with impunity from the government. This point is further emphasised by the persecution and murder of former Muslims which has now become evident in many non-Muslim societies across the globe.

    According to Islamic laws, non-Muslims in Islamic lands should be subdued and be treated as dhimmis (second class citizens). They should be coerced and intimidated to convert to Islam, through special humiliating taxes like Jizyah imposed on them. Following Prophet Muhammad’s example, this has been taking place throughout Islam’s history. While Muslims demand for concessions in non-Muslim countries, non-Muslims are systematically persecuted, terrorized and ethnically cleansed from Islamic lands.

    In 2008 alone, there were 2,204 separate documented incidents of Islamically motivated violence which led to death. In total there were 10,779 deaths and another 18,213 critically injured. That is more people killed each and every year in the name of Islam, than in all 350 years of the Spanish Inquisition combined. More than 29 people are killed in religiously motivated attacks every single day at the hands of Muslims. If you spend just one short hour reading through some of the news articles compiled on this page, there would have been another one to two deaths attributed to Islam and countless other incidents involving beatings, rapes, abductions, forced conversions, desecration of non-Muslim buildings, etc.

    Homosexuality is considered to be one of the worst sins in Islam and one of the greatest crimes punishable under Islamic law. The Prophet Muhammad not only condemned homosexuality but even the “appearance” of homosexuality (effeminate men and masculine women). With the rise of the Islamic population amongst historically non-Muslim societies, also comes the rise in persecution. For example, while Muslims comprise just 2% of the total British population, they commit 25% of all anti-Homosexual crimes. However, this ongoing and increasing persecution of homosexuals by Muslims around the world, rarely makes the mainstream news. Thanks to the Internet, those of us who search can find many news items that would otherwise be lost.

    So basically, you’re the one lying for Islam, with your arguments for Islamization of the West where all Western countries become Islamic Republics and/or Emirates with Sharia law in place.

  • For articles from a more neutral website, Wikipedia.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_critics_of_Islam
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Islam
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Islamism
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Twelver_Shi%27ism
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Wahhabism
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Muhammad
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_Quran
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadith#Criticism_and_debates

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_former_Muslims
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostasy_in_Islam

    Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian-American convert to Protestant Christianity who founded the pro-Israel web site Arabs for Israel and stated that “Islam is more than a religion, it is a totalitarian state”. She is also the author of Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror.

    Magdi Allam, an outspoken Egyptian-born Italian journalist who describes Islam as intrinsically violent and characterised by “hate and intolerance”. He converted to Catholicism and was baptised by Pope Benedict XVI during an Easter Vigil service on March 23, 2008.

    Zachariah Anani, a Baptist Christian and a former Sunni Muslim Lebanese militia fighter. Anani said that Islamic doctrine teaches nothing less than the “ambushing, seizing and slaying” of non-believers, especially Jews and Christians.

    Anwar Shaikh (1928–2006) was a Pakistani-British author who converted to Hinduism and wrote several books critical of Islam.

    Sabatina James (born 1982) is a Pakistani-Austrian author and convert to Roman Catholic Christianity who was meant to undergo an arranged marriage with her cousin but escaped and started a new life.

    Walid Shoebat, a convert to Christianity and a former member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation who took part in terrorist attacks against Israeli targets. He stated that “Secular dogma like Nazism is less dangerous than Islamofascism that we see today … because Islamofascism has a religious twist to it; it says ‘God the Almighty ordered you to do this.’ It is trying to grow itself in fifty-five Muslim states. So potentially, you could have a success rate of several Nazi Germanys, if these people get their way.”

    Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of an Hamas founder, a former Israeli spy, and a convert to Christianity. He has written Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices.

    Majed el-Shafie is an Egyptian-Canadian convert to Christianity who was tortured and condemned to death for apostasy in his fatherland. He is the president and founder of One Free World International (OFWI), a human rights organization.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali (born 1969), Somali-born Dutch-American writer and politician. She has focused on the rights of Muslim women, saying that “they aspire to live by their faith as best they can, but their faith robs them of their rights.”

    Salman Rushdie (born 1947), Indian-British novelist and essayist. His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses (1988), was the centre of a major controversy.

    Ali Sina, strong critic of Islam, which he left, and the founder of Faith Freedom International, which he describes as a grassroots movement of ex-Muslims.

    Taslima Nasrin, Bengali/Bangladeshi ex-physician turned feminist author. She is an atheist and a severe critic of Islam and of religion in general who describes herself as a secular humanist.

    Nyamko Sabuni, Burundian-Swedish atheist, served as the Minister of Integration and Gender Equality (Sweden, 2006–2013) and advocated to ban the veil, as well as establish compulsory gynecological examinations for schoolgirls to guard against female genital mutilation, stating, “I will never accept that women and girls are oppressed in the name of religion”, and declaring it is not her intent to reform Islam but only to denounce “unacceptable” practices. She has received death threats, requiring 24-hour police protection, for her views.

    Irfan Khawaja, professor of philosophy, former head of the Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society (acronymized as “ISIS” but not to be confused with the terrorist organization ISIS).

    Maryam Namazie, Iranian-born human rights activist, Communist, atheist, the leader of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, and a Central Committee member of the Worker-communist Party of Iran, wishing the overthrow of the current Iranian regime.

    Ibn Warraq, secularist British author born in India and raised in Pakistan, intellectual, scholar and founder of the Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society and a senior research fellow at the Center for Inquiry specializing in Qur’anic criticism.

    Wafa Sultan, Syrian-American psychiatrist who has pointed out that the Muhammad said: “I was ordered to fight the people until they believe in Allah and his Messenger.” Sultan has called on Islamic teachers to review their writings and teachings and remove every call to fight people who do not believe as Muslims. Dr. Sultan is now in hiding, fearing for her life and the safety of her family after appearing on the al-Jazeera TV show.

    Turan Dursun (1934–4 September 1990), Turkish scholar and writer. He worked as a Shi’a cleric before becoming an atheist during his study of the history of monotheistic religions. Dursun was assassinated outside his home in Istanbul.

    Yahya Hassan (born 1995), Danish poet of Palestinian background who has attracted attention and stirred debate about Islam’s place in Denmark based on poetry he wrote which was critical of Islam.

    Ehsan Jami (born 1985), Iranian-Dutch socialist politician.

    Fariborz Shamshiri, one of the authors of the Rotten Gods website and an Iranian blogger.

    Robert Spencer (born 1962, a Melkite), American author and blogger best known for his criticism of Islam and research into Islamic terrorism and jihad.

    Brigitte Gabriel (born 1964, a Maronite), survivor of the sectarian Civil War in Lebanon (1975–1990), lived in Israel some time before moving to the United States, where she is an author, activist, and journalist. Gabriel founded the American Congress for Truth and ACT! for America.

    Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (born 1957, Copt) is an Egyptian-born US resident best known as a key figure in the production of the Innocence of Muslims, an anti-Islamic video which was blamed by the Obama Administration for the 2012 Benghazi attack, an accusation that has been disputed by some and termed deliberately deceitful by others.

    Zakaria Botros (born 1934 a Copt), Egyptian priest who has worked in Australia and is best known for his critiques of the Qur’an and other books of Islam. Al-Qaeda has put a $60 million bounty on his head.

    Raymond Ibrahim (born 1973, a Copt), born in the United States to Egyptian immigrants, is an American research librarian, translator, author, and columnist. His focus is Arabic history and language, and current events.

    Pamela Geller (born 1958), American conservative author, blogger, commentator, and political activist.[45][46] She is Jewish and has described herself as “a proud, fierce Zionist”.[47] Her blog is Atlas Shrugs, the title of which is eponymous with an Ayn Rand novel.[45][48] She is a co-founder of SIOA with Robert Spencer, along with whom she is one of the best-known critics of Islam in the United States today.
    Daniel Pipes (born 1949), son of Jewish immigrants from Nazi-occupied Poland, is an American historian, writer, and political commentator. He is the president of the Middle East Forum.

    Bat Ye’or (born 1933), Egyptian-British writer and political commentator. She is from a Sephardi family, whom she was displaced with by the Suez War of 1956. Bat Ye’or has authored a fair number of works on the subject and coined the political neologism “Eurabia”.
    David Horowitz, American writer and policy advocate, founder and current president of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, founder of Students for Academic Freedom.

    Geert Wilders, Dutch politician and non-Jewish Zionist of agnostic views, wrote the short film Fitna and has campaigned to ban the Qu’ran in the Netherlands because it conflicts with the Dutch laws and calls for violence in general.

    Benny Morris, Israeli historian who views the Israel-Palestinian conflict as a facet of a global clash of civilizations between Islamic fundamentalism and the Western World, saying that “There is a deep problem in Islam. It’s a world whose values are different. A world in which human life doesn’t have the same value as it does in the West, in which freedom, democracy, openness and creativity are alien.”

    Phyllis Chesler (born 1940), American writer, psychotherapist, and professor emerita of psychology and women’s studies. In more recent years, Chesler has written several works on such subjects as antisemitism, Islam, and honour killings. Also, she has discussed the failure of organised Western feminism to address Islamic oppression of women due to the former’s alliance with leftist currents.

    David Yerushalmi, Orthodox Jew, is an American lawyer and a political activist who has been called the driving law behind the anti-sharia movement in his country.

    Debbie Schlussel (born 1969), Orthodox Jew of Polish pedigree, is an American-born attorney, film critic, conservative political commentator, and a blogger.

    Henryk Broder (born 1946), Polish-German journalist, author, and TV personality.

    Howard Bloom (born 1943), American author, atheist, Jewish Zionist, sociologist, and public relations professional in the music industry.

    V. S. Naipaul (born 1932), Nobel prize-winning, Trinidadian-born British novelist of Hindu heritage, who claims that Islam has had a “calamitous effect on converted peoples”, destroying their ancestral culture and history.

    Ole Nydahl (born 1941), also known as Lama Ole, is a Danish Lama and a convert to the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.

    Ashin Wirathu (born 1968), Burmese Buddhist monk, and the spiritual leader of the anti-Islamic movement in Burma.

    Sita Ram Goel (1921–2003), Indian activist, writer, and publisher who was critical of both Muslim and Christian influence over India. He had Marxist leanings during the 1940s but later became an outspoken anti-communist. A one-time atheist, he became an observant Hindu and in his latter career adhered to Hindu nationalism.

    Ram Swarup (1920–1998), independent Hindu thinker and prolific author. His works took a critical stance against Christianity, Islam and Communism.

    Nirad C. Chaudhuri (1897–1999), British writer and man of letters born in Kishoreganj, then part of Bengal in British India. He was sympathetic to the right-wing Hindu nationalist movement.

    Arvind Ghosh, Indian-born American scholar, writer, and publisher of Hindu affiliation and Bengali origins.

    The above list contains various ex-Muslims who became enlightened about the true Fascist nature Islam, so they left the religion. That you completely castigate all criticism as ignorance is proof of you wanting to Islamize the West where non-Muslims are the minority and their rights are legislated into non-existence by the Islamic regimes which you want to set up.

  • Even if you were to ignore IS, there are a dozen or so countries with the same laws.

    The death penalty for homosexuality has historically been implemented by a number of regimes world wide. It is currently still extant in a fairly small number of countries or parts of countries, mostly or all due to sharia law. De facto death penalties may apply, for example the Washington Post said that in Iraq “The penal code does not expressly prohibit homosexual acts, but people have been killed by militias and sentenced to death by judges citing sharia law.”

    Mauritania
    Sudan
    Northern Nigeria where several states have adopted sharia law
    Yemen
    Saudi Arabia
    Qatar
    Somalia where several southern states have adopted sharia law
    Iran
    Islamic State
    There is legal dispute whether the law of the United Arab Emirates allows for the death penalty for homosexuality.

    Those are just the ones with the death penalty as opposed to extreme non-death punishments for homosexuals in other Islamic countries.

    Islam v Democracy

    Ali Khan states that “constitutional orders founded on the principles of sharia are fully compatible with democracy, provided that religious minorities are protected and the incumbent Islamic leadership remains committed to the right to recall”. Other scholars say sharia is not compatible with democracy, particularly where the country’s constitution demands separation of religion and the democratic state.

    Courts in non-Muslim majority nations have generally ruled against the implementation of sharia, both in jurisprudence and within a community context, based on sharia’s religious background. In Muslim nations, sharia has wide support with some exceptions. For example, in 1998 the Constitutional Court of Turkey banned and dissolved Turkey’s Refah Party on the grounds that “Democracy is the antithesis of Sharia”, the latter of which Refah sought to introduce.

    On appeal by Refah the European Court of Human Rights determined that “sharia is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy”. Refah’s sharia-based notion of a “plurality of legal systems, grounded on religion” was ruled to contravene the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It was determined that it would “do away with the State’s role as the guarantor of individual rights and freedoms” and “infringe the principle of non-discrimination between individuals as regards their enjoyment of public freedoms, which is one of the fundamental principles of democracy”.

    Islam v Human Rights

    Several major, predominantly Muslim countries have criticized the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for its perceived failure to take into account the cultural and religious context of non-Western countries. Iran declared in the UN assembly that UDHR was “a secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition”, which could not be implemented by Muslims without trespassing the Islamic law. Islamic scholars and Islamist political parties consider ‘universal human rights’ arguments as imposition of a non-Muslim culture on Muslim people, a disrespect of customary cultural practices and of Islam. In 1990, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, a group representing all Muslim majority nations, met in Cairo to respond to the UDHR, then adopted the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.

    Ann Elizabeth Mayer points to notable absences from the Cairo Declaration: provisions for democratic principles, protection for religious freedom, freedom of association and freedom of the press, as well as equality in rights and equal protection under the law. Article 24 of the Cairo declaration states that “all the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic shari’a”.

    In 2009, the journal Free Inquiry summarized the criticism of the Cairo Declaration in an editorial: “We are deeply concerned with the changes to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by a coalition of Islamic states within the United Nations that wishes to prohibit any criticism of religion and would thus protect Islam’s limited view of human rights. In view of the conditions inside the Islamic Republic of Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria, Bangdalesh, Iraq, and Afghanistan, we should expect that at the top of their human rights agenda would be to rectify the legal inequality of women, the suppression of political dissent, the curtailment of free expression, the persecution of ethnic minorities and religious dissenters – in short, protecting their citizens from egregious human rights violations. Instead, they are worrying about protecting Islam.”

    H. Patrick Glenn states that sharia is structured around the concept of mutual obligations of a collective, and it considers individual human rights as potentially disruptive and unnecessary to its revealed code of mutual obligations. In giving priority to this religious collective rather than individual liberty, the Islamic law justifies the formal inequality of individuals (women, non-Islamic people). Bassam Tibi states that sharia framework and human rights are incompatible. Abdel al-Hakeem Carney, in contrast, states that sharia is misunderstood from a failure to distinguish sharia from siyasah (politics).

    Islam v Freedom

    Blasphemy in Islam is any form of cursing, questioning or annoying God, Muhammad or anything considered sacred in Islam. The sharia of various Islamic schools of jurisprudence specify different punishment for blasphemy against Islam, by Muslims and non-Muslims, ranging from imprisonment, fines, flogging, amputation, hanging, or beheading. In some cases, sharia allows non-Muslims to escape death by converting and becoming a devout follower of Islam.

    Blasphemy, as interpreted under sharia, is controversial. Muslim nations have petitioned the United Nations to limit “freedom of speech” because “unrestricted and disrespectful opinion against Islam creates hatred”. Other nations, in contrast, consider blasphemy laws as violation of “freedom of speech”, stating that freedom of expression is essential to empowering both Muslims and non-Muslims, and point to the abuse of blasphemy laws, where hundreds, often members of religious minorities, are being lynched, killed and incarcerated in Muslim nations, on flimsy accusations of insulting Islam.

    According to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every human has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change their religion or belief. Sharia has been criticized for not recognizing this human right. According to scholars of Islamic law, the applicable rules for religious conversion under sharia are as follows:

    If a person converts to Islam, or is born and raised as a Muslim, then he or she will have full rights of citizenship in an Islamic state.

    Leaving Islam is a sin and a religious crime. Once any man or woman is officially classified as Muslim, because of birth or religious conversion, he or she will be subject to the death penalty if he or she becomes an apostate, that is, abandons his or her faith in Islam in order to become an atheist, agnostic or to convert to another religion. Before executing the death penalty, sharia demands that the individual be offered one chance to return to Islam.

    If a person has never been a Muslim, and is not a kafir (infidel, unbeliever), he or she can live in an Islamic state by accepting to be a dhimmi, or under a special permission called aman. As a dhimmi or under aman, he or she will suffer certain limitations of rights as a subject of an Islamic state, and will not enjoy complete legal equality with Muslims.

    If a person has never been a Muslim, and is a kafir (infidel, unbeliever), sharia demands that he or she should be offered the choice to convert to Islam and become a Muslim; if he or she rejects the offer, he or she may become a dhimmi. Failure to pay the tax may lead the non-muslim to either be enslaved, killed or ransomed if captured.

    According to sharia theory, conversion of disbelievers and non-Muslims to Islam is encouraged as a religious duty for all Muslims, and leaving Islam (apostasy), expressing contempt for Islam (blasphemy), and religious conversion of Muslims is prohibited. Not all Islamic scholars agree with this interpretation of sharia theory. In practice, as of 2011, 20 Islamic nations had laws declaring apostasy from Islam as illegal and a criminal offense. Such laws are incompatible with the UDHR’s requirement of freedom of thought, conscience and religion. In another 2013 report based on international survey of religious attitudes, more than 50% of Muslim population in 6 out of 49 Islamic countries supported death penalty for any Muslim who leaves Islam (apostasy). However it is also shown that the majority of Muslims in the 43 nations surveyed did not agree with this interpretation of sharia.

    Some scholars claim sharia allows religious freedom because a sharia verse teaches, “there is no compulsion in religion.” Other scholars claim sharia recognizes only one proper religion, considers apostasy as sin punishable with death, and members of other religions as kafir (infidel); or hold that sharia demands that all apostates and kafir must be put to death, enslaved or be ransomed. Yet other scholars suggest that sharia has become a product of human interpretation and inevitably leads to disagreements about the “precise contents of the Shari’a.” In the end, then, what is being applied is not sharia, but what a particular group of clerics and government decide is sharia. It is these differing interpretations of sharia that explain why many Islamic countries have laws that restrict and criminalize apostasy, proselytism and their citizens’ freedom of conscience and religion.

  • Spuddie, I find it a little difficult to accept your comparison with Japan – a country having “low crime rates” can be as a result of many things, and doesn’t necessarily mean that people are having healthy sexual relationships and/or are not sexually assaulting one another. When we talk about sexual offences in particular, we have to be aware that countries define “sexual assault” differently from one another – here in the UK rape was legal within marriage until 1991 after all. Also, if you look at the statistics in relation to convictions alone, it would appear that the UK is suddenly having an epidemic of sexual assaults. In fact it is mostly the result of a change in social attitude, and in turn a changing in the way we police and persecute such crimes. Women are finally being taken more seriously when they make complaints, and we have a far more sensitive and appropriate approach to dealing with victims of sexual assaults, allowing more victims to feel comfortable enough to come forward. I appreciate Wikipedia is the root of all evil when it comes to genuine research, but I do find it interesting that when I was having a little dig for information about the Japanese criminal system (which I know little to nothing about) this Wikipedia page on “groping” came up:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groping

    “In Japan, men who grope women in public are called chikan (痴漢, チカン, or ちかん); and the term also describes the act itself. Crowded trains are a favourite location for groping and a 2001 survey conducted in two Tokyo high schools revealed that more than 70% of students had been groped while traveling on them.[4] As part of the effort to combat the problem, some railway companies designate women-only passenger cars during rush hours.[5][6][7] While the term is not defined in the Japanese legal system, vernacular usage of the word describes acts that violate several laws. Although crowded trains are the most frequent targets, another common setting is bicycle parking areas, where people bending over unlocking locks are targets. Chikan is often featured in Japanese pornography.”

    By the by, I do see what you’re saying about the link between religious fundamentalism and sexual abuse – that by frightening people into chastity we may in fact be doing more harm to their sexual and mental wellbeing. I think that boils down to an underlying problem of “choice” – where individuals feel they don’t have choice or the freedom to act in a particular way it is only natural, in some respects, to “act out” and want to do the thing you are forbidden from doing. Add to that the huge amount of power that people in religious hierarchies are often afforded and you create an environment which is fertile for that sort of abuse.

    But I don’t think what you are saying is necessarily at odds with the idea that, similarly, by young people consuming material which is so clearly a skewed version of sex involving degradation and the objectification of women, they end up absorbing some of that behaviour and not having a balanced and healthy idea about what sex is/can be. Can’t both things be true? Sexuality is an incredibly complex thing – so too much the factors which effect it.

  • Really? David Yerushalmi and Debbie Schussel are ex-Muslims? And Walid Shoebatshitcrazy is cited as a credible source? This is what happens when you paste walls of text. It makes you look less credible.

  • You have to read the link list of critics for who is what category.

    Former Muslims (Nonie Darwish to Fariborz Shamshiri)
    Converts to Other Religions (Nonie Darwish to Majed el-Shafie)
    Ex-Muslims No Religionists (Ayaan Hisri Ali to Fariborz Shamshiri)

    Christians (Robert Spencer to Raymond Ibrahim)
    Jews/Zionists (Pamella Geller to Howard Bloom)
    Dharmic/Indian Religionists (V. S. Naipaul to Arvind Ghosh)
    No Religionists (Theo Van Ghogh to Alvin Tan)

  • “by young people consuming material which is so clearly a skewed version of sex involving degradation and the objectification of women, they end up absorbing some of that behaviour and not having a balanced and healthy idea about what sex is/can be”

    The big problem with a lot of the criticism of porn is mistaking cause for effect. Where sex education is absent, when parents are reticent to talk about the subject to youth, porn winds up being the major source of information on the subject. Something it is not suited for. Adults turn to it either as a cathartic fantasy or as a weak substitute for a lack of human connection. It doesn’t degrade human sexual interaction, it is a symptom of one already degraded.

    Porn is fantasy. Adults know this. Adults are the intended consumers of porn. Children should not be viewing it. But if they are, it is the parents role to explain that it is unrealistic fantasy.

    I am extremely skeptical of claims that youth are motivated by culture to any degree where it affects their judgment or cognition. Most of the times it is merely scapegoating for the subtext issues within families. In this case parents failing to talk frankly, honestly or openly to children about sex.

  • I don’t have to read the link, that’s my point. I know exactly who Yerushalmi and Schussel are. So when I saw their names in a list you named as ex-Muslims, I knew to stop reading.

  • Is it porn that is doing this, or a highly sexualized culture where tits and ass are used to sell everything? Where are this girl’s parents, and what kind of values are they teaching her? Is she getting only “just say no” in her sex education classes, or does she even have them?

    There are a large number of factors that figure into many social problems. Trying to find simple solutions to complex problems rarely works, and often makes the problems worse.

  • Don’t leave out Ted Shoebat, walks bat-shoe crazy son, who hates anybody and everybody, with extra special venom reserved for gay people.

  • Also a good deal of what Sasha is discussing is not a new development either or can be blamed on “new permissive culture”. The only difference being that people are more frank about what goes on and more willing to prosecute for sexual misconduct than they used to be. Typical “we were less naughty in the good old days” fiction.

  • Ben, I can’t help you if you don’t like facts or evidence. Most of what you have written is in response to stuff I never wrote, as a result of your prejudices about me being Muslim kick in, with all the baggage that carries in your mind.

    Have a good day.

  • I have no prejudices about you being a Muslim. As a perusal of my comment history will show, I am frequently defending Muslims from the attacks of the True Christians (TM), as often as I am defending other Christians from their attacks. My interests are and always will be about dominionists of any religion. So you are wrong there.

    My prejudices are not kicking in. Are yours? The studies that claim a “causal connection” are highly questionable, to my mind. I don’t doubt that there may be “a” causal connection, but I sincerely doubt it is “the” causal connection. But that’s just two degrees in sociology and another in public health speaking.

    What you wrote about was a claim about the detriments of porn. I rarely find people complaining about porn who are not conservative religious people that seem to take an abnormal interest in other people’s sex lives or porn viewing habits. The same anti-porn campaign has been very active in Utah, citing many of the same studies. You know what is really funny about that campaign? The guy in the legislature who is sponsoring anti-porn legislation admits that HE HAS A REAL PROBLEM WITH HIS PORN VIEWING. It seems to be very similar to the homosexual hating homosexuals who hide out in the church, seeking to control my life because they cannot seem to control their own.

    Ted Haggard, anyone? Or a certain virulently andtigay AFA spokesman who couldn’t say no to a simple, direct question about his possible homosexuality? Or a host of others? Projection: it’s not just for movies.

    I very much like facts and evidence. There are three inconvenient facts– three at the very minimum– left out of those attacks on porn, which lead one to question what is ACTUALLY going on:

    Utah does not have a rape culture, if I may stretch the meaning of that term, but it has the highest porn consumption in the country. Gail Dines, another anti-porn warrior, admitted that sex education might well be the answer to the problem, though she was careful to hide so radical and sensible a proposition. You have to wonder why. YOU referenced the higher incidence of rape in Scandinavian cultures, omitting to mention that it can be laid primarily at the feet of muslim immigrants. I wonder how much porn they are watching, and how that interacts with basic misogyny and violence against women? We’re right back to sex-obsessed religion again. That seems to be where the actual problem lies. It’s not Swedish men raping Swedish women. (And for the record, I’m not blaming all Muslim men for it either, or islam itself, for that matter)

    My whole point was that studies establishing a link between porn and sexual violence are looking for the lost silver dollar at night under the lamppost, because that’s where all the light is. As a sociologist and a scientist, at least in my former life, I don’t believe that simple answers provide much information about complex problems. I brought up the issue of sexual obsession and repression among religious conservatives, who are as opposed to responsible sex education as they are opposed to people they don’t approve of having sex they also don’t approve of. I brought up articles at RNS about conservative pastors having porn obsessions; these weren’t Unitarians, were they?

    I brought up a culture that is steeped in violence, so much so that our gun problem puts us on the same level as Mexico, Honduras, and South Africa. That sure makes us a shining city on a hill, doesn’t it? Mass murder is considered family entertainment in our holy culture. It usually merits a PG rating at the movies, but show a vajayjay or weenie and its an R or X rated movie. Doesn’t that tell you something about multifactorial causes versus simplistic explanations that feel good?

    you know what I didn’t bring up?

    Are the studies claiming a causal link between porn and sexual violence against women also studying religious expression/repression of sexuality. Are they studying pre-existing tendencies towards violence, however that may be defined? Are they factoring in misogyny and connection to social networks (and i’m not referring to facebook)? Are they studying people like Mormons in Utah?

    Rape as a means of terrorism and subjugation, as it is in Africa– exactly who is Boko Haram again, and what did they do? Are they viewing massive amounts of porn, or can we look elsewhere?

    Child brides among Muslim and FLDS fundamentalists. Great attitude towards women. And children.

    The huge amounts of gay porn freely available, which somehow doesn’t prompt a rape culture among gay men. If porn has such a deleterious effect on society, where are all of the studies showing the existence of a severe rape problem among gay men? It’s another simple fact: men are raised and trained to expect sex; it’s one factor in the easy availability of sex in the gay male subculture. Women are raised and trained to say no, at least not without a ring and a promise. That doesn’t please some men. Might it make them angry, especially if the fantasies of easy women available in porn don’t match their reality and needs?

    The depiction of women in porn matching the somewhat softer in degree depiction of women in popular culture: you’re here for the pleasure of men, baby.

    This is just a portion of what I could write on the subject. Please don’t tell me I have preconceptions about you because you are a muslim. That’s YOUR fanatasy. And please don’t tell me I’m not interested in facts; quite the contrary.

    What I am not interested in is ideology masquerading as facts, let alone masquerading as concern. As a gay man, I see way too much of that offered up as an excuse for a desire to control other people.

  • Absolutely outstanding reply. Rape and objectification were around and encouraged long before porn became commonplace. Porn is not totally benign, I will admit, but it not “trashing society”. People have been saying this since ancient times but our problems involving murder and abuse are usually at the hands of criminal and political sociology.

    The porn problem can be solved by education and not censorship. Utah as an example is very anti-porn but is at the top of the list in porn consumption. Fanatical groups such as ISIS are very anti-porn but engage in the sex slavery trade of CHILDREN (< 14 years old). The catholic clergy covered up child rape for years despite shunning sexual contact and believing it only exists for procreation reasons.

    Porn although it can be exploitative, give very unrealistic expections (that's why its called fantasy and has actresses in it, ie like a movie), it is not the huge threat to society being made out in the article.

  • I think where we are disagreeing is that I believe that there must be “some” impact on our young from the proliferation and availability of porn. As with most human interactions, our sex lives are incredibly complex and nuanced. I don’t believe any one thing can be blamed for sexual abuse/rape/an imbalance in sexual relationships. I agree with all you say Spuddie, in relation to some of the other underlying problems (sex education in particular being absolutely fundamental). And I would love for parents to have that conversation with their kids about what porn is and what a healthy sexual relationship might look like.

    There appears to be an agreement between many that exposure to sexual activities at too young an age can be damaging – hence our legal age of consent and the fact that pornography is “meant” to be confined to those aged 18+. I too am of the view that if the only exposure our young people are having to sex is through the videos their friends think are worthy of sharing, or the content they happen across during an inquisitive internet search, then this may contribute to an imbalanced and unhealthy view of sex/sexuality/consent.

    So perhaps you are right – that pornography is a symptom of a larger problem. But I think it is also reasonable to imagine that to some degree it is cyclical – that the one encourages the other.

  • Thank you.

    I get so tired of of moralizing busybodies cherry picking evidence (or their bible) to support their pre-existing prejudices, and expecting the rest of us to share their outrage and join their agenda.

    The dead giveaway was his turning my original posting into an anti-Muslim screed. The word was mentioned– ONCE. But nothing I said in that sentence wasn’t true. Sexuality is criminalized in most Muslim countries, as far as I know: man and wives in marriage only, and Allah forbid someone even THINKS something isn’t strictly halal. (THat’s a Muslim joke, mr. Nasser. If you were Jewish, I would have said kosher. But it’s not an anti Muslim joke.) As a gay man, It’s why I will no longer visit Muslim countries, and I like to travel.

    And I notice he hasn’t responded to my second posting at all. To evidenc-y for the man who demands evidence.

    Your last sentence is the perfect iteration of the problem. It may possibly be a threat to society; that remains to be seen. But what it definitely is, is a huge threat to people obsessed/frightened/fascinated with sex.

    as a gay man, I know that it is exactly the same thing as the obsession with homosexuality. Somehow, the thought of two weenies or two vajayjay’s together threatens the entire social order, when in reality, it only threatens the people who can’t stop thinking about it.

  • Here are my replies to your above statements. I won’t carry the discussion further. You are most welcome to reply to my comments (of course):

    1) “I rarely find people complaining about porn who are not conservative religious people that seem to take an abnormal interest in other people’s sex lives or porn viewing habits.”

    So? Perhaps that is because religions engender notions of sexual behaviour that are antithetical to what pornography stands for and what effect it has. What is the point here? Your statement has no bearing on whether porn is harmful or not.

    2) “The same anti-porn campaign has been very active in Utah, citing many of the same studies. You know what is really funny about that campaign? The guy in the legislature who is sponsoring anti-porn legislation admits that HE HAS A REAL PROBLEM WITH HIS PORN VIEWING.”

    Again, what is your point? So a man who has an obsession with watching porn understands the harms of watching pornography. I would imagine he would be best placed to sponsor anti-porn legislation. Certainly better placed than someone who has never watched porn.

    3) “Utah does not have a rape culture, if I may stretch the meaning of that term, but it has the highest porn consumption in the country.”

    Anecdote does not = data. Please provide some evidenced scientific studies demonstrating that significant pornography consumption is harmless. Your perception of Utah is irrelevant.

    4) “You have to wonder why. YOU referenced the higher incidence of rape in Scandinavian cultures, omitting to mention that it can be laid primarily at the feet of muslim immigrants.”

    This is laid at the feet of Muslims out of xenophobia. The reality is that Sweden has an artificially high rape rate (for details why, read this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19592372). I was wrong to point out Scandinavian countries’ higher rape rate. In reality, their rape rate is much lower than it is made out to be because of the legal procedures involving recording of rape/sexual violence incidents, as compared with other countries. In addition, there have been serious questions raised about Swedish women and false rape allegations, though no systematic data has been collected (https://www.thelocal.se/20110415/33232) The image of the swarthy Muslim male beast raping innocent white women has great resonance in the collective European psyche, no matter how false and deluded it is, and it does feature in racist stereotypes. I would not be surprised if rape reporting/prosecution is higher against Muslims than others in Sweden. I find it strange that in other European countries, Muslims make up a higher percentage of the population, but the rape rate is lower:

    Sweden Muslim population: 2% (149,000 total)
    Sweden 2008 rape per capita rate per 100,000: 46.6 (4,269 total rapes)

    Greece Muslim population: 3% (310,000 total)
    Greece 2008 rape per capita rate per 100,000: 2.0 (214 total rapes)

    Switzerland Muslim population: 4.3% (323,000 total)
    Switzerland 2008 rape per capita rate per 100,000: 8.6 (648 total rapes)

    Why is it that Muslims who go to Sweden are uniquely prone to raping women, as opposed to Muslims who go to Greece. Doesn’t make any sense to me.

    Similarly, it would be strange for rape rates to increase in a country uniquely. Sweden’s murder rate in 2011 (something which is very difficult to falsely report) was 0.86 in 2011, much lower than it was in the 1990’s when Sweden had a much lower Muslim population.

    5) “My whole point was that studies establishing a link between porn and sexual violence are looking for the lost silver dollar at night under the lamppost, because that’s where all the light is. As a sociologist and a scientist, at least in my former life, I don’t believe that simple answers provide much information about complex problems.”

    Your statement is meaningless. Studies that find a link between porn and sexual violence have, time and time and time again, found that link because it DOES exist. Your beliefs about simple answers is also irrelevant to the discussion. Facts exist whether you choose to believe them or not.

    6) “Are the studies claiming a causal link between porn and sexual violence against women also studying religious expression/repression of sexuality. Are they studying pre-existing tendencies towards violence, however that may be defined? Are they factoring in misogyny and connection to social networks (and i’m not referring to facebook)? Are they studying people like Mormons in Utah?Rape as a means of terrorism and subjugation, as it is in Africa– exactly who is Boko Haram again, and what did they do? Are they viewing massive amounts of porn, or can we look elsewhere?”

    You are totally missing the point. No one is saying that pornography is the only factor that increases sexual violence against women. There are indeed many. This article was about portnography though. Indeed, that isn’t even the main harm pornography has. It’s not like everyone who watches porn becomes a rapist (that’s not what the article is claiming). The link between pornogrpahy and rape CULTURE is different to becoming a rapist. Moreover, the effect of pornography on advertising, body image, clothing and fashion, sexual mores, family breakdowns etc etc etc. are also points that were made in this article, which you have totally failed to engage with.

    7) “The huge amounts of gay porn freely available, which somehow doesn’t prompt a rape culture among gay men. If porn has such a deleterious effect on society, where are all of the studies showing the existence of a severe rape problem among gay men?”

    Have a read – gay men suffer some of the highest rates of sexual violence around: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf

    Gay and bisexual men suffer more than double the incidents of sexual violence as compared to heterosexual men. See the executive summary on page 1.

  • Point 1) it is certainly relevant. Hyper religious people are always obsessing about sex. To claim that this is irrelevant ignores the obvious, and likewise has no bearing on whether porn is harmful or not. They also insist that my being gay is a threat to society, and for the same reason: GAWD doesn’t like it. It’s not true. It never has been true. Anti-gay religious hysteria has certainly been harmful to gay people.

    Point 2: HE has a problem with it. Lots of people don’t have a problem with it. See point 1. It’s called projection. As I said, it is about someone seeking to control his own behavior by seeking to control mine. I would no more put a religious ideologue in charge of anti-porn efforts than I would put a drunk, reformed or otherwise, in charge of alcohol.

    Point 3: what anecdote? It’s a known fact. My point was simply that a multi-factorial approach is obviously necessary. You’ve already assumed your conclusion. I haven’t.

    Point 4: lots of anecdotes. I see. Rape in Scandinavia by muslims is xenophobic. but hysteria about porn and its affects– not on all people, but on some people– is not sex phobia.

    Point 5 and point 6: I don’t deny the “link” exists, but the question is what else exists that explains it what else impacts it. “A” cause, but not “THE” cause. I was quite clear about that. I suspect that when you start your study by controlling for religious fundamentalism, sex phobic attitudes, and basic misogyny, a much different picture emerges. but I don’t know that, and neither do you. You didn’t address that, but continue to dismiss what I have to say as meaningless. Simple answers to complex questions. Just say no is the perfect example.

    Point7: unfortunately. No time to read it right now, so I can’t respond. But “intimate partner violence” is not necessarily the same thing as rape. And we know that males are far more likely to be abusers than females, which might explain your statement.

    And point for myself: your dismissal, as rude as it was, does not constitute a valid argument against what I had to say. I’m not arguing that the studies you cite aren’t true– they may or may not be. But I am not willing to declare, as you are, that they constitute the whole truth simply because it accords with my religious beliefs.

    but then, I’m a gay man. What could I possibly know of religion’s obsession with all things sexual?

  • True, I think all Abarahmic religions have problems, but Islam is the worst of the bunch. The Kalash/Nusritani people of Pakistan/Afghanistan (descendants of Alexander the Great who practice a fusion between Hellenism and Brahmanism/The Ancient Vedic Religion which evolved into Hindusim) are being persecuted by their Muslim neighbors.

    https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/sbox/the-inevitability-of-the-clash-of-civilization

    Islam is basically about spreading its barbarism across the whole world and destroying all non-Islamic civilizations.

  • I basically listed various critics of Islam with the ex-Muslims at the top of the listed. Nowhere did I say all of the people were ex-Muslims, just the people at the top of the list. If you looked closely at my grammatical phrasing you would have understood that.

  • I find the whole pointing out scripture to besmirch a faith thing, kinda silly. You have to look at practices. You have to look at how religion is used in political contexts.

    For example, Jewish scriptures taken in isolation paint such a harsh picture that Christians and Muslims equate the Old Testament with harsh draconian practices and laws. The commentaries, debates and oral histories which were omitted when the scriptures were imported into other religions paint a far different picture.

    Islam when placed into a democratic context, in a place which has no national identity linked with religion or race becomes as civilized as every other religion. American Muslim communities are largely peaceful and working/middle class. The Elmora neighborhood of Elizabeth NJ , where the Chelsea bomber lived is a very mixed community with Muslim, Orthodox Jews, Hispanic populations living right on top of each other. [The bomber’s own father tried to turn him in to the FBI, 2 years earlier]

    “Islam is basically about spreading its barbarism across the whole world and destroying all non-Islamic civilizations.”

    That also describes Christianity from the Fall of the Roman Empire to 1900. Imperialism and Colonialism left a wide swath of destruction in its path. How much political capital is made in the Middle East and North Africa out of being “Post-colonial” nations? Until 1979, it was this sort of nationalist gripe which formed the motivations for Middle East terrorists, not religion.

  • It depends where a religion is the majority. Religions say one in places where they weak and a minority and another things when they’re strong and a majority. Take the partition of India as an example. Mulism politicans said one thing about Pakistan during planning phase, but that whole thing about Hindu rights never really materialized.

    Civilizations (Islamic civilizations is a contradictions in terms though):

    Western civilization, comprising the United States and Canada, Western and Central Europe, Australia and Oceania. Whether Latin America and the former member states of the Soviet Union are included, or are instead their own separate civilizations, will be an important future consideration for those regions, according to Huntington. The traditional Western viewpoint identified Western Civilization with the Western Christian (Catholic-Protestant) countries and culture.

    Latin American. Includes Central America, South America (excluding Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana), Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. May be considered a part of Western civilization. Many people of the Southern Cone and Mexico regard themselves as full members of the Western civilization.

    The Orthodox world of the former Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavia (except Croatia and Slovenia), Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Romania.
    Countries with a non-Orthodox majority are usually excluded (Shia Muslim Azerbaijan, Sunni Muslim Albania and most of Central Asia, Roman Catholic Slovenia and Croatia, Protestant and Catholic Baltic states). However, Armenia is included, despite its dominant faith, the Armenian Apostolic Church, being a part of Oriental Orthodoxy rather than the Eastern Orthodox Church.

    The Eastern world is the mix of the Buddhist, Chinese, Hindu, and Japonic civilizations.
    The Buddhist areas of Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand are identified as separate from other civilizations, but Huntington believes that they do not constitute a major civilization in the sense of international affairs.
    The Confucian civilization of China, the Koreas, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam. This group also includes the Chinese diaspora, especially in relation to Southeast Asia.
    Hindu civilization, located chiefly in India, Bhutan and Nepal, and culturally adhered to by the global Indian diaspora.
    Japan, considered as a society and civilization unique to itself.

    The Muslim world of the Greater Middle East (excluding Armenia, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Georgia, Israel, Malta and South Sudan), northern West Africa, Albania, Bangladesh, Brunei, Comoros, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Maldives.

    The civilization of Sub-Saharan Africa located in Southern Africa, Middle Africa (excluding Chad), East Africa (excluding Ethiopia, the Comoros, Mauritius, and the Swahili coast of Kenya and Tanzania), Cape Verde, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Considered as a possible 8th civilization by Huntington.

    Instead of belonging to one of the “major” civilizations, Ethiopia and Haiti are labeled as “Lone” countries. Israel could be considered a unique state with its own civilization, Huntington writes, but one which is extremely similar to the West. Huntington also believes that the Anglophone Caribbean, former British colonies in the Caribbean, constitutes a distinct entity.

    There are also others which are considered “cleft countries” because they contain very large groups of people identifying with separate civilizations. Examples include India (“cleft” between its Hindu majority and large Muslim minority), Ukraine (“cleft” between its Eastern Rite Catholic-dominated western section and its Orthodox-dominated east), France (cleft between Latin America, in the case of French Guiana; and the West), Benin, Chad, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Togo (all cleft between Islam and Sub-Saharan Africa), Guyana and Suriname (cleft between Hindu and Sub-Saharan African), Sri Lanka (cleft between Hindu and Buddhist), China (cleft between Sinic and Buddhist, in the case of Tibet; and the West, in the case of Hong Kong and Macau), and the Philippines (cleft between Islam, in the case of Mindanao; Sinic, and the West). Sudan was also included as “cleft” between Islam and Sub-Saharan Africa; this division became a formal split in July 2011 following an overwhelming vote for independence by South Sudan in a January 2011 referendum.

    http://www.geertwilders.nl/index.php/94-english/1950-speech-us-11082015

    http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4674/geert-wilders-speech

    https://twitter.com/geertwilderspvv/status/734715429025927168

    Three links above give a reaction to the above list.

  • “Take the partition of India as an example. Mulism politicans said one
    thing about Pakistan during planning phase, but that whole thing about
    Hindu rights never really materialized.”

    Of course while we are on the subject it is good to note that Jinnah, Pakistan’s founder was as far from a devout Muslim as one got. A drinker who married outside the faith.The country has secular leadership for its existence. A corrupt one, but not a theocratic one. The problem being that the military always had a use for extremism for its political ends. Using them as proxies for grabbing more territory in disputed areas such as Kashmir. Behind every religious extremist movement are a bunch of political figures looking to benefit from their actions. Regardless of the religion.

    “Civilizations (Islamic civilizations is a contradictions in terms though):”

    I largely ignored the generalizations employed right after that as largely irrelevant to the discussion.

  • let’s go with this.

    The Qur’an does not permit hatred of homosexuals,

    And yet in virtually every fundamentalist Muslim country, gay people can be murdered by the state, or jailed indefinitely. If that’s not hate, I don’t know what is.

    Oh, it’s not hate. It’s love. Just like so-called Christians who will tell me how much they love me, but do everything in their power to make my life as difficult, unpleasant, dangerous, and expensive as possible, shutting me out of society and family.

    “Tahir, Stephen, I think you both miss or avoid an important thing about scriptures. They usually bear little direct relation to actual practice of a given religion.”

  • Islam used to be civilized. Were it not for Islam, the renaissance might never have happened, especially after the destruction of the Wrong Christians by the right Christians, aka the sack of Constantinople

  • No disagreement from me whatsoever.
    I think there may be some impact. Despite Nasser’s insistence to the contrary, I don’t deny “a” link. But I don’t think the evidence supports “the” link, not without investigating a lot of other factors. But I also think that this is where parents and responsible sex education must step into the gap.
    not surprisingly, I think the same thing is true about drug use. Yes, absolutely, drugs can cause problems, some drugs more than others, and for some people more than others. But I think history has also shown that the answer is not prohibition. I think it is possible to teach the responsible use of drugs. I’ve used a lot of them in my time, yet still maintained a successful career, a happy and productive life, and deep familial relationships. And that’s because I used them responsibly. When I was confronted with the possibility of going the “wrong” way, I didn’t– because I KNEW it wouldn’t be responsible.

  • I think you didn’t intend this for me. We’re in agreement. I’m well aware of the facts you stated.

  • In the way that Bangledesh is not trying to support Islamicists to further their national political ends, like Pakistan.

  • Thank you so much Tahir Nasser for well written article.
    Following part, which is about freedoms, is what I liked the most. You beautifully explained the importance of self-restriction of freedoms.

    “We must understand a simple truth: Freedom isn’t just about preventing coercion, but also about educating society as to the healthiest way to live, even if that be through willing self-restriction of freedoms. We wear seat belts, pay taxes, take exams, go to work, etc., all because we believe that these restrictions open up doors to further freedoms.”

  • or they don’t.
    Freedom is bondage. Bondage is freedom.
    If Nasser thinks porn is so bad, perhaps he ought not to watch it.

  • While I agree with you mostly, but you should take into account that while porn has been around since forever, but was not bombard on individuals via means like we have today, shoved through people’s throats and forced them to expose to it involuntarily, all in the name of freedom. There is absolutely no comparison with the past. Humans have certain natural sexual weaknesses, which are being exploited in today’s day and age via different means, and porn being also one of them. The negative effects of it are also well studied and documented and needless to say we see its affects around already.

  • Thanks for the agreement, but exactly how is porn being forced down anyone’s throat– apart from Donald trumps beauty contests.people watch porn because they want to watch porn. I don’t doubt that it has some deleterious effects, and I know what the research says. But I’m also pretty sure that the research doesn’t look into a lot of other factors. As Spuddie says elsewhere in this discussion, we have been at a point of degraded sexuality– whatever that might mean– for some time. Excessive Porn isn’t the cause, it’s the symptom.

    Until such issues as religious obsession with sex and cultural misogyny start getting getting factored into the research, it all sounds like the same anti-sex obsession to me. Lots of people look at porn on a regular basis. I look at porn on a regular basis. I and They are not out raping anyone, oppose misogyny, think that women should be treated the same as men.

    It’s one thing to say that porn has negative effect X on Y percent of the people who look at it. Thats perfectly acceptable, and quite possibly reflects reality. But if you are NOT asking the question why porn does not have effect X on (100-Y)% of the people who look at it, then you are not engaging in research, but moralizing propaganda.

    I hope this helps.

  • I didn’t ask for any help, thanks.

    I didn’t bring religion in anywhere, its you who seem to have problem with religion and morality, etc. since you are going back to them again and again to defend your stance. There is no need to bash religion and morality definitions.

    I simply pointed out that 1) porn does have visible effects on the society and it is only increasing 2) that your comparison of its availability in the past vs present is not correct.

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