Syria militants spreading Islamophobia
Press TV, Friday Nov 1, 2013
A senior Iranian Sunni cleric says foreign-backed Takfiri militants operating inside Syria are spreading Islamophobia across the world, Press TV reports. In an interview with Press TV on Thursday, Molavi Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi described the militants fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as “extremist deviants.”
“By resorting to violence and extremism, not only do Takfiri insurgents stir hatred within the Muslim world but they also turn non-Muslims against Muslims,” he said.
The cleric said these groups seek to monopolize Islam by categorizing everyone else as non-believers. He further called on all Takfiri groups to accept rationalism and the true teachings of Islam, and renounce violence and extremism.
Religion and Philosophy:
a relation of harmony or confrontation?
Tal’at Radwan (Almuslih.org)
Almuslih (Arabic for ‘The Reformer’) aims to maximize the exposure and distribution of journalism and analyses promoting progressive thought in the Arab Middle East and the Muslim world.
There are many who have promoted the scourge of conformity as something that is socially advantageous, while it actually constitutes calcification, that is, a conformity even with natural, societal or political phenomena that are harmful to mankind.
It is philosophy alone that rescues mankind from this scourge. Religious institutions, on the other hand, consistently promote this conformity, for the believer of whatever religion sees his faith as absolutely true, whereas other faiths are absolutely false.
Moreover, within one religion a plurality of denominations vie with each other, each faction raising the flag of its own rightness and the error of the others.
Thus the followers of religions and of their various denominations have brought about the phenomenon of ‘psychological ghettos’ – despite the fact that they live in a single society – since they refuse to adopt a philosophical mindset founded upon the rejection of fixed certainties, and the re-examination of inherited cultural values.
Nor do they consider to what extent their culture is in harmony with the concept of freedom whose pillars were set down by the philosophers on the basis of the separation between the religious belief of a person (that is, his individual freedom) and the imposition of his faith and denomination upon others.
Had this separation been achieved, we would now be avoiding the current disaster of religion being crammed into politics, economy, science and literature.
Ability to employ the quality of wonder
The true beginning of the emergence of philosophy was the human mind’s ability to employ the quality of wonder.
For it was wonder that gave birth to the love of questioning and thus set the path towards demolishing conformity. ….
While philosophy insists upon establishing the pillars of relativism, religions work towards the establishment of absolutes.
With respect to this absoluteness we find the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) adopting similar positions concerning womankind.
In antiquity we have Genesis III,17: “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you”, and in the New Testament we have Peter I,3: “You married women, be submissive to your own husbands” and in the latest (Islamic) period (as the late Bayyumi Qandil termed it) we have: “men are a degree above them” [Qur’an II,228], with one man equal to two women in bearing witness and, in matters of inheritance, “to the male the equivalent of the portion of two females” [Qur’an IV,11]….
So we see that the Abrahamic faiths deal with women on the basis of an absolute position, rather than the relative position that philosophy calls for.
While the language used by the philosophers among themselves is one of objective criticism – something which led over generations to the development of philosophical schools – the language of takfir is the weapon of a writer who relies upon religious authority.
The Arabs have never produced a philosopher in the proper scientific meaning of the term, not even in the person of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) whom the Arabs class as a philosopher despite his attempts to harmonise faith with philosophy.
Evidence of this is the way that the Muslim religious priesthood held all philosophers to be zindiqs while others, more charitably, wrote them off as ‘short sighted’.
“They have set up their religious leaders and scholars as lords, instead of GOD. Others deified the Messiah, son of Mary. They were all commanded to worship only one god. There is no god except He. Be He glorified, high above having any partners. Quran, Al-Tawba 31
Philosophical reflection differs greatly from religious reflection. In philosophical reflection you find nothing that is considered the subject of worship, or any area or any specific image that is sacralized. Philosophy alone sets us off from the barbarous, savage folk.
The civilisation and cultural level of a people is in direct proportion to how far sound philosophizing is distributed in it.
A man who lives without engaging in philosophy is like one who keeps his eyes shut, making no attempt to open them.
I believe that this metaphorical shutting of the eyes inflicts a severe anaemia upon the ability to experience the wonder that the true philosopher enjoys, and from which questions on the nature of existence become generated. Aristotle was right when he wisely remarked:
It was through the feeling of wonder that men now and at first began to philosophize.