Thursday, May 24, 2007

Most Muslims are moderate, but ...

There is an old joke about the Pope landing in Paris and being asked if he was planning to visit nightclubs by the Press. The Pope responded with ``Are there nightclubs in Paris?", whereupon the next day the newspapers blared, ``Pope asks if there are nightclubs in Paris.'' A somewhat less funny situation has arisen with a so-called study of American Muslims which concludes that 1 in 4 young American Muslims say that suicide bombings are alright under certain circumstances. Here is a link to an odious article on the subject. I would like to know what was the question that was asked from which this conclusion was drawn. In fact the very sentence ``American Muslims are generally moderate and well-assimilated, especially when compared to Muslims in Europe and the Middle East.'' is itself quite odious. What does it mean to be `moderate' and `well-assimilated'? Does it mean that one can bull-shit at parties about music and literature and drink beer and hold a cigarette? As opposed to being pious and restrained and adhere to a dress code that one's culture may dictate. An old friend of mine once said that he has many friends who are `progressive' Muslims, and when I demanded a definition, someone else at the table said that that is one that behaves as Hindu! This is the tyranny of the mainstream discourse. In any case, I direct the interested readerof this blog to several articles at Sujaiblog. Another friend once said that the resistance in Palestine would have been no different if the oppressed there had been Milenisian frog worshippers. In other words, the national question there has nothing to do with Islam.

11 comments:

Sid said...

Maybe the following monograph can perhaps answer your question as to what is a "moderate muslim"
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG574/

Anant said...

Thanks for the pointer. However, I was being ironical. I don't really want to get into the trap of discussing what is a moderate Muslim or what is an extremist. This could apply to anyone, so why single out Muslims.

gaddeswarup said...

You may find this artcle interesting:
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/05/23/polls/index.html
It will take a few clicks to get to the article but it is free. I am in USA now trying to finish my last paper. Not enough time for cut and paste but whenever my head aches from mathes I try to divert myself by looking at blogs.

Anant said...

Dear Swarup,

The link seems to have disappeared. In any event, here are best wishes for what you are calling your last paper. I sure hope you will change your mind!

Best regards, Anant

gaddeswarup said...

It still works on my computer after cut and paste. It is possible that one may need to register but the registration is free. Andrew Leonard also writes at Salon off and on about India, I saved the article and can send you by mail if you are interested.
By the way, do you also write articles at other sites? I noticed some at Lokrajsangathan.
Regards,
Swarup

Anant said...

Dear Swarup,

Thanks for the message and, yes, I do write at LRS. Please send me the article by, or even better, please cut and paste it into the comments section here for other readers.

Thanks.

Anant

gaddeswarup said...

From Glenn Greenwald's "Large number of Americans favor violent attacks on Muslims"
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/05/23/polls/index.html
"he hysteria over the Pew poll about American Muslims continues unabated, with the focus now on the finding that while 80% of American Muslims oppose attacks on civilians in all cases, 13% said they could be justified in some circumstances. The "discussion" illustrates some standard failings of our political discourse.
......
The University of Maryland's highly respected Program on International Public Attitudes, in December 2006, conducted a concurrent public opinion poll of the United States and Iran to determine the comparative views of each country's citizens on a variety of questions. The full findings are published here (.pdf).
One of the questions they asked was whether "bombings and other types of attacks intentionally aimed at civilians are sometimes justified"? Americans approved of such attacks by a much larger margin than Iranians -- 51-16% (and a much, much larger margin than American Muslims -- 51-13%):"
There are many links in the article which do not come through in cut and paste.
P.S. If you send your e-mail address, I can send the entire article.

Anant said...

Dear Swarup, Abi,

Thanks for your efforts and help with this article. Here is another excerpt from the same article:
The reality, though, is that it is almost impossible to conduct a poll and not have a sizable portion of the respondents agree to almost everything. And in particular, with regard to the specific question of whether it is justifiable to launch violent attacks aimed deliberately at civilians, the percentage of American Muslims who believe in such attacks pales in comparison to the percentage of Americans generally who believe that such attacks are justifiable.

Pretty amazing!

Anant

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