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Woodrow
04-29-2010, 07:48 PM
The thread title is a question I often get asked in emails. PMs and direct conversation.

I will take this opportunity to explain in my own opinion which is not an "Official Stance" of the Forum and may not reflect the opinion of other staff members or the forum owners.

I see this section as being a very valuable feature of LI and one I personally find useful. Let me begin by stating what this section is not.

1. It is not a section to appease non-Muslims and provide them with the opportunity to promote their beliefs.

2, It is not a shooting gallery for us Muslims to use to bash the beliefs of others.

Violation of either of those statements are the most common reasons threads are deleted and infractions given.

The purpose of this section can be summed up in one word:

TRUTH

Truth in the concept of learning what we each believe and not what we each think the other person believes. We need to accept the fact we will have difference and we each need to learn to address those differences with fact and not with personal judgment about the character of the person.

This section is an opportunity for each of us to learn to disagree with others in a peaceful manner. We need to disagree based on fact, not our personal opinion about another.

Also keep in mind it is impossible to convert a person to another belief by proving their belief is wrong. There are over 4,000 named major religions currently in use. Of these there are also uncountable divisions, sects and denominations giving us many hundreds of thousands of religions. To prove any one religion wrong only says that one, some or none of the others are true. We can not prove we are right by proving somebody else is wrong. It is pointless to prove person A is wrong, we need to prove we are right. Bashing another person's belief is seldom if ever effective Da'wah. I would say it is more likely to encourage a person to become an atheist.

Let us all learn to disagree in peace and base our disagreements on facts, not emotional outbursts.
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glo
04-29-2010, 08:11 PM
Thank you for that clarification, Woodrow.

I have had many very useful and informative conversations in this section.
I have learned much about the beliefs and world views of those with other beliefs and none.

However, in my own personal view there are many, many very negative, even aggressive, comments made in this section - and most commonly (perhaps not surprising, given the membership of this forum) by Muslims against non-Muslim beliefs.

I may be biased in my perception - and if I am, please forgive me, I am only human after all ...
But it has been my experience that whilst mods are pretty vigilant when it comes to reinforcing rule No1, they seem to be quite lenient when it comes to reinforcing rule No2.

1. It is not a section to appease non-Muslims and provide them with the opportunity to promote their beliefs.

2, It is not a shooting gallery for us Muslims to use to bash the beliefs of others.
Perhaps I am too sensitive, but many threads and posts seem to be written with the very intention of ridiculing or attacking or bashing faiths other than Islam. :hmm:

I love the peaceful and respectful discussions, which are going on here, and they have been a real blessing to me.
I wish everybody shared your own attitude. This section would be a more peaceful and enjoyable place!

I feel extremely strongly that an understanding of other faiths and an acceptance of the fact that other people may have beliefs different to our own is central to a peaceful and harmonious community/society. That doesn't mean we have to agree with their beliefs!

I asked somebody from the ChristianMuslimForum how they managed to discuss a contentious topic such as Jesus' resurrection in their forum.
His reply was this:
There is no practical and honest alternative to agreeing to disagree, being able to disagree without it disturbing relationships is very powerful.

Thank you, Woodrow and others, for your continued input and effort into this section! :)
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Pygoscelis
04-29-2010, 11:59 PM
Originally Posted by glo
But it has been my experience that whilst mods are pretty vigilant when it comes to reinforcing rule No1, they seem to be quite lenient when it comes to reinforcing rule No2.

Perhaps I am too sensitive, but many threads and posts seem to be written with the very intention of ridiculing or attacking or bashing faiths other than Islam. :hmm:
And that some posters here post only for that reason, as if they were defenders of the faith on a mission to trash talk the infidels. Its to be expected though on a forum with a host and guest side. You'll find the same on the christian boards, and indeed on the atheist boards, and on political boards for that matter. Its human nature I think, to have an ingroup and have certain members of it lash out against outgroup members. I dare say its human nature.
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marwen
04-30-2010, 12:45 AM
I really find that section really important, and it must be in the core of an islamic forum, because I believe Islam is not intended just to a minority or just to muslims, Islam is addressed to all humans. And one of the values of islam is to talk with others and to discuss with them in a civilised manner the different arguments of each side :
{ادع إلى سبيل ربك بالحكمة والموعظة الحسنة وجادلهم بالتي هي أحسن} [_النحل: 125]
"Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance." 16:125 [Yusuf Ali Trans.]
It's good for muslims to see the opposite opinions and the arguments of non-muslims too.
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Woodrow
04-30-2010, 12:54 AM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
And that some posters here post only for that reason, as if they were defenders of the faith on a mission to trash talk the infidels. Its to be expected though on a forum with a host and guest side. You'll find the same on the christian boards, and indeed on the atheist boards, and on political boards for that matter. Its human nature I think, to have an ingroup and have certain members of it lash out against outgroup members. I dare say its human nature.
You do bring up a good point. There will most likely, always be some feeling of separation and there is some actual separation. This need not be a bad thing or even an issue. But, it does point out the need for all of us to do our best to disagree about issues without attacking the person.
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Ramadhan
04-30-2010, 03:48 AM
Originally Posted by glo
However, in my own personal view there are many, many very negative, even aggressive, comments made in this section - and most commonly (perhaps not surprising, given the membership of this forum) by Muslims against non-Muslim beliefs.
Maybe the muslims are only exposing the real truth of non-muslims beliefs, and that makes you feel uncomfortable?


I may be biased in my perception - and if I am, please forgive me, I am only human after all ...
But it has been my experience that whilst mods are pretty vigilant when it comes to reinforcing rule No1, they seem to be quite lenient when it comes to reinforcing rule No2.

Perhaps I am too sensitive, but many threads and posts seem to be written with the very intention of ridiculing or attacking or bashing faiths other than Islam. :hmm:
You are being too sensitive.
please read my above statement.

Also, you should know that there have been many muslim members who have been banned from participating in various threads in the "comparative religions" section.

In any case, I think this forum is a little too lenient towards the non-muslim members who have consciously used deception tactics and lies in their debates.
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glo
04-30-2010, 06:28 AM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
You'll find the same on the christian boards, and indeed on the atheist boards, and on political boards for that matter.
I completely agree!
If nothing else, my experience here in an Islamic forum has given be a very tangible understanding of what it must be like to be a 'minority religious group' in, say, a Christian forum. That's the beauty of our human experiences - the ability to consider our own feelings and reflect them onto the situation of others.
"If I feel like X as a Christian in a Muslim forum, perhaps Muslims feel the same in a Christian forum" ... hopefully that leads to 'treat others as you would like to be treated' ...

Thing is, I find those aggressive defenders of their cause (be they Christian, Muslim, atheist, political etc) unpleasant, whoever they are.
I also find them ineffective in their cause, because they tend to attract the trolls and turn away those who might be genuinely interested in a discussion ...


Its human nature I think, to have an ingroup and have certain members of it lash out against outgroup members. I dare say its human nature.
Well, just because something is human nature, it doesn't mean it's right or we should out up with it.
It is fine to have 'ingroup' and 'outgroup' members, they can even disagree with each other. But lashing out just isn't helpful ... :hmm:
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glo
04-30-2010, 06:41 AM
Originally Posted by naidamar
Maybe the muslims are only exposing the real truth of non-muslims beliefs, and that makes you feel uncomfortable?
I cannot truly say whether that is the case or not. Only God knows.

But it is an argument which could be made by people from any faith!
What do you think of your statement, if I turn it on its head?
Maybe the non-Muslims are only exposing the real truth of Islamic beliefs, and that makes Muslims feel uncomfortable?
Does that still sound reasonable to you? Or contentious? Or disrespectful? Or blasphemous?
How does it make you feel? Frustrated? Unconcerned? Defensive? Upset? Angry?
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aadil77
04-30-2010, 06:57 AM
hmm I feel I'm being addressed here, well I'll take the advice onboard
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CosmicPathos
04-30-2010, 09:18 AM
Originally Posted by glo
I completely agree!
If nothing else, my experience here in an Islamic forum has given be a very tangible understanding of what it must be like to be a 'minority religious group' in, say, a Christian forum. That's the beauty of our human experiences - the ability to consider our own feelings and reflect them onto the situation of others.
"If I feel like X as a Christian in a Muslim forum, perhaps Muslims feel the same in a Christian forum" ... hopefully that leads to 'treat others as you would like to be treated' ...

Thing is, I find those aggressive defenders of their cause (be they Christian, Muslim, atheist, political etc) unpleasant, whoever they are.
I also find them ineffective in their cause, because they tend to attract the trolls and turn away those who might be genuinely interested in a discussion ..


Well, just because something is human nature, it doesn't mean it's right or we should out up with it.
It is fine to have 'ingroup' and 'outgroup' members, they can even disagree with each other. But lashing out just isn't helpful ... :hmm:
Regarding the bolded part, why do you think so? It is RIGHT for a person to do what his nature is like. If his/her nature is opposite to what you think is right, you still cannot call that person wrong. Your nature is yours, their is theirs.
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Ramadhan
04-30-2010, 09:19 AM
Originally Posted by glo
Does that still sound reasonable to you? Or contentious? Or disrespectful? Or blasphemous?
How does it make you feel? Frustrated? Unconcerned? Defensive? Upset? Angry?
As long as the truth that non-muslims speak about and you have genuine interest in seeking knowledge about Islam , I do not mind, because then we can have a good civil discussion.

Remember, this is still Islamicboard

:)
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Ummu Sufyaan
04-30-2010, 10:00 AM
Originally Posted by naidamar
Maybe the muslims are only exposing the real truth of non-muslims beliefs, and that makes you feel uncomfortable?

You are being too sensitive.
please read my above statement.

Also, you should know that there have been many muslim members who have been banned from participating in various threads in the "comparative religions" section.

In any case, I think this forum is a little too lenient towards the non-muslim members who have consciously used deception tactics and lies in their debates.
i agree with this.

i dont condone Muslims bashing other faiths AS LONG AS -and sometimes (though not always, i will admit) -i feel this "bashing" of other faiths is in reply to certain members cunning and clever ways of attacking Islam.

im sick to death of some non-Muslims who come here looking or a fight and when they get one go off crying, holding up the victim card accusing us of rubbish like "not being able to handle people questioning our faith" or "are you that insecure about your faith" and other such rubbish (please! :exhausted)

far too many times i've seen it here, and it is truly annoying and sickening. we can see right through you people and dont take a bar of your trash and dont like being harassed and sucked up to through reps either when we prove you wrong so deal with it when we dont!

when are these trolls going to get banned! they would never in a million years allow us to approach debate in that manner on their own forums.
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Insaanah
04-30-2010, 10:07 AM
Originally Posted by aadil77
hmm I feel I'm being addressed here
It is quite obvious that this thread is now targetting and talking about members of this forum, in public, in their absence, which is disgusting, I think.

Anyone who has anything to say about any particular member, should be brave enough to say it to them, not imply or infer through words about them in front of others.

Originally Posted by naidamar
As long as the truth that non-muslims speak about and you have genuine interest in seeking knowledge about Islam , I do not mind, because then we can have a good civil discussion.
I don't venture often into this section, but recently, on the occasions I did, my patience (and I am normally a patient person) was tested to its limit. And I certainly believe that I should be able to respond appropriately and at an equal level to any comments that might have been made in whatever thread I was participating in, that I needed to respond to, without fear of what someone else might say about me (or anyone else for that matter) in public in another thread!

Can we close this thread now? I think it's gone far enough.
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Woodrow
04-30-2010, 12:21 PM
Originally Posted by Insane Insaan
It is quite obvious that this thread is now targetting and talking about members of this forum, in public, which is disgusting, I think.

Anyone who has anything to say about any particular member, should be brave enough to say it to them, not imply or infer through words about them in front of others.



I don't venture often into this section, but recently, on the occasions I did, my patience (and I am normally a patient person) was tested to its limit. And I certainly believe that I should be able to respond appropriately and at an equal level to any comments that might have been made in whatever thread I was participating in, that I needed to respond to, without fear of what someone else might say about me (or anyone else for that matter) in public in another thread!

Can we close this thread now? I think it's gone far enough.
:sl:

I agree, it is time to close this thread. But not delete it. There is much said from various view points to give us ample things to think about.

I think one point has been strongly brought to air and that being, critique of a religion causes pain and brings out our defenses. Let us let things rest for a while and all think if our method of protecting what we cherish is effective or only brings about pain.

Perhaps one day this thread will be reopened, but for now much has been said that requires considerable thinking about attitudes and methods.
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Woodrow
05-12-2010, 12:33 AM
I am reopening this thread as time has passed and most of us should have had time to reflect upon what has been said and what needs to be added. Also, some members whose opinion I wish to read have requested the opportunity to reply.

So here is the Grand Re-Opening. May we all agree to disagree in peace without malice towards any person.
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Supreme
05-12-2010, 04:36 PM
This board seems to be teeming with thread with regards to Christianity, and not much else. Which is rather strange, for an Islamic forum. The infighting between the Abrahamics is kinda annoying, especially with all the "your scriptures copy my scriptures"/"your scriptures, though corrupted, reference and predict the coming of my prophet"-nonsense going on.

I wouldn't mind it so much if these threads were really devoted to learning new stuff, but the thing is: they are not.
As glo's post above demonstrates, they are all about figuring out the best way to attack the other's world view and convert them to one's own, with generally very limited success.
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Woodrow
05-13-2010, 06:02 PM
Originally Posted by Supreme
This board seems to be teeming with thread with regards to Christianity, and not much else. Which is rather strange, for an Islamic forum. The infighting between the Abrahamics is kinda annoying, especially with all the "your scriptures copy my scriptures"/"your scriptures, though corrupted, reference and predict the coming of my prophet"-nonsense going on.

I wouldn't mind it so much if these threads were really devoted to learning new stuff, but the thing is: they are not.
As glo's post above demonstrates, they are all about figuring out the best way to attack the other's world view and convert them to one's own, with generally very limited success.
A very good point Supreme:

I wouldn't mind it so much if these threads were really devoted to learning new stuff, but the thing is: they are not.
This is something I think we all need to be aware of and ask our selves before we post. Many people do not under stand the differences between Debate, argument, comparison, educating, defending or fighting.

It seems that a very large percentage of post are of the type "You are wrong and refuse to accept truth" variety. Rather than a simple statement of " I believe this, because......."

This leads to a feeling the section is the place to express hatred. Because this feeling, threads get so personal, discussions tend to become accusations not knowledge sharing.
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Hugo
05-14-2010, 11:24 AM
Originally Posted by Woodrow
This is something I think we all need to be aware of and ask our selves before we post. Many people do not under stand the differences between Debate, argument, comparison, educating, defending or fighting. It seems that a very large percentage of post are of the type "You are wrong and refuse to accept truth" variety. Rather than a simple statement of " I believe this, because......." This leads to a feeling the section is the place to express hatred. Because this feeling, threads get so personal, discussions tend to become accusations not knowledge sharing.
There is some value in what you say but its difficult to deal with as one cannot do all that much to control what people say and it probably is not a good idea to try. This issues for me are.

1. We all have beliefs of one sort or another but one cannot discuss, debate, argue, compare, educate, defend or even fight if one starts from a position that you alone have the truth because then there is nothing much to talk about only listen.

2. Popper in 1943 said “I believe that a reasonable discussion is always possible between parties interested in truth, and ready to pay attention to each other”. Perhaps this is where we should stand?

3. I don't think there is anything much off limits to what we can talk about but I do think we have to have some compassion and understanding that what a person says is how they feel even if it seem silly to us.

4. To me discussion falls apart when a position is defended with nothing more than dogma though I accept that it can be stated as a personal belief but not insisted on as some absolute truth. It feels oppressive to me to take that position, is it like that for you?

5. I don't in general things there is anything to be gained by insulting remarks but at the same time I don't see anything wrong by saying that an argument is weak or foolish or nonsense as long as we can explain.

One final remark, it is true that there are many posts where people refuse to accept the truth but if I may say so there is no monopoly on truth so your remark worries me as far as open discussion is concerned. One understands this is a Muslim Board but does that mean its only purpose is to proclaim Islam perceptions of truth as if there are no mother possibilities and it has to be accepted? I am not aware in the rules that this is the case but if it is I wonder at the real potential for learning here?
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Woodrow
05-14-2010, 03:00 PM
Originally Posted by Hugo
There is some value in what you say but its difficult to deal with as one cannot do all that much to control what people say and it probably is not a good idea to try.

While I agree with your point. I see the necessity in having a degree of control over how something is said. Along with limitations over what can not be said. Freedom of speech is good, but to maintain fluiidity and preventing chaos there does need to be restictions and limits.

Originally Posted by Hugo
This issues for me are.
Originally Posted by Hugo
1. We all have beliefs of one sort or another but one cannot discuss, debate, argue, compare, educate, defend or even fight if one starts from a position that you alone have the truth because then there is nothing much to talk about only listen.
That is true, and Yes, we do believe Islam is the only truth.

I agree that does limit what a person can speak about, but we do try our best to permit flexibility and allow a person to disagree with us and give alternative views. The problem usually occurs over how an opposing view is presented or perceived. This is an area of difficulty we all need understanding of to reduce the probability of unintentional insults.



Originally Posted by Hugo
2. Popper in 1943 said “I believe that a reasonable discussion is always possible between parties interested in truth, and ready to pay attention to each other”. Perhaps this is where we should stand?
Continuing with what I posted above. I would say that is a goal we should strive for and if successful, it would eliminate the above mentioned reply.

Originally Posted by Hugo
3. I don't think there is anything much off limits to what we can talk about but I do think we have to have some compassion and understanding that what a person says is how they feel even if it seem silly to us.
Understanding is the key. But first we need to identify what is meant by understanding and that understanding does not require or imply agreeing.

Originally Posted by Hugo
4. To me discussion falls apart when a position is defended with nothing more than dogma though I accept that it can be stated as a personal belief but not insisted on as some absolute truth. It feels oppressive to me to take that position, is it like that for you?
This could be a very interesting and beneficial thread in itself. What is truth to one person is usually seen as dogma to another. Until all of us come to an agreement over what is dogma and what is fact this will be a stumbling block.

Originally Posted by Hugo
5. I don't in general things there is anything to be gained by insulting remarks but at the same time I don't see anything wrong by saying that an argument is weak or foolish or nonsense as long as we can explain.
Insults seldom if ever prove a point and at best only reduce discussion to emotionalism, I agree fully with this statement and we all need to realize that no matter how vivid or sincere an insult is, it does not prove anything.

Originally Posted by Hugo
One final remark, it is true that there are many posts where people refuse to accept the truth but if I may say so there is no monopoly on truth so your remark worries me as far as open discussion is concerned. One understands this is a Muslim Board but does that mean its only purpose is to proclaim Islam perceptions of truth as if there are no mother possibilities and it has to be accepted? I am not aware in the rules that this is the case but if it is I wonder at the real potential for learning here?
I think the major issue to yourself and probably to all non Muslims is expressed in your sentence:

"One understands this is a Muslim Board but does that mean its only purpose is to proclaim Islam perceptions of truth as if there are no mother possibilities and it has to be accepted? "

The simple answer is yes. The issue is how can we keep this from becoming a barricade to you and other non Muslim members. I do not want this to be something that makes non Muslims feel unwelcome here. This is something we can use input from non Muslim members about.

Coexistence is possible and can even be productive. But, we still have a long way to go for all of us to have widespread peaceful disagreement.
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Hugo
05-14-2010, 07:41 PM
Originally Posted by Woodrow
That is true, and Yes, we do believe Islam is the only truth.
This perhaps gets to the heart of the matter and I have no issues with anyone who is willing to accept that it is mostly a matter of belief not absolute and indisputable fact. If this is understood then I think there is room for debate and discussion without the need for heat. I might offer some ideas here.

Truth - this is a hard idea to define and there are innumerable books that discuss it. Truth can be simply defined as a fact that has been verified or more loosely as meaning a statement is accurate. One must be aware that many great questions have no proof as such: the existence of God, why we are here, is there a creator, why is there a past and future and so on and although unanswerable we all it seems need to think about them and they are of course worth thinking about.

There is an old saying that a bell that has been rung cannot be "unrung", the very annoying problem with this is that once you know something, you cannot “unknown” it even if it turns out to be wrong. Often therefore truth is defined as the problem of being clear about what you are saying when you make some claim or other to be true.

Broadly speaking there are two strands of thought with regard to truth. There are the “absolutists” where they largely rely on dogma (someone tells you what the truth is) and the relativist that see truth as a changing quality. Typically the absolutist is happy in his own convictions and may not care or sympathise with those of others. So absolutism gives a sense of security and self-assurance (sometime spilling over into bigoted self-righteousness) whereas the relativist sees it as unthinking, irrational innocence.

Understanding - we all I suspect know what this means but perversely it is very hard to know when you have attained it. For example, Sherlock Holes was famously deductive but how many people really understand what it means to be deductive? One can of course learn a definition but understanding only comes when you use a concept not just memorise it, practice what you understand.

Fact - We use the idea of “fact” all the time; so what is a fact; how do you know when you have a fact? For example, if I say there is a thing called gravity is that a fact, if I say that 62% of students on the course passed is that a fact also? If I look at a fact like "gravity" (called a natural fact) and a fact like "62% of students passed in the May cohort" (called a nominal fact) - is there any differences between these two kinds of fact?

So is it possible to prove a fact; decide whether it is true or not. The answer is that I can find proofs of gravity and I can find proofs of the pass rate. Therefore, a fact can be independently checked in some way. Now for nominal facts you may find that some people will not accept your proof. To take a perhaps extreme example, suppose I say that the existence of God or Allah or Krishna is a fact then I might cite proofs and you might or might not find them convincing but I think you will see that such proofs are not falsifiable (put simply we cannot work out how to test the proposition) and clearly not accepted by all as true. Whereas gravity is always true, can be tested and cannot be ignored by anyone.

Nominal facts are important because they crop up all the time and we can in principle do something about them, change them in some way. For example: With a nominal fact I can ignore it, try to forget about it or just regard it as of no value (consider that we cannot do that with natural facts like gravity)

This last point is important because it means that what you do with a nominal fact, what actions you take is not fixed, it does not force you to do anything and any given fact may cause one person to do something and another the opposite.

I think the major issue to yourself and probably to all non Muslims is expressed in your sentence: "One understands this is a Muslim Board but does that mean its only purpose is to proclaim Islam perceptions of truth as if there are no mother possibilities and it has to be accepted? "

The simple answer is yes. The issue is how can we keep this from becoming a barricade to you and other non Muslim members. I do not want this to be something that makes non Muslims feel unwelcome here. This is something we can use input from non Muslim members about.
This is fine, you can proclaim Islamic doctrine and principles and I have no issue with that. The point if we are to be open is that you allow critical comment to be voiced and never assume that an answer is in some sense absolute and all critical comment can be refuted and so often we simply end a debate by agreeing to differ.
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glo
05-16-2010, 09:51 AM
Originally Posted by Supreme
I wouldn't mind it so much if these threads were really devoted to learning new stuff, but the thing is: they are not.
.
Originally Posted by Woodrow
A very good point Supreme

This leads to a feeling the section is the place to express hatred. Because this feeling, threads get so personal, discussions tend to become accusations not knowledge sharing.
With regards to learning about and understanding each other's faiths better, I think those threads which simply ask specific questions about other faiths and invite answers and explanations without then using those as an excuse for debate and argument, are the most successful and beneficial ones!
(I am thinking about the 'Ask questions of Christians' and 'Things is Islam I am curious about' (although that seems to have deteriorated into another debate thread recently ... :hmm:))

I have noticed that the forum sections which are intended for newcomers to learn about Islam, are very good at moderating new threads and/or posts. That way inappropriate posts and anything encouraging arguments or discord or confusion can be prevented by the mods.
Perhaps it would be useful to reintroduce at least some threads in the 'Comparative Religion' section, which are set aside to furthering our understanding of other faiths and worldviews; and which strictly discourage debate and arguments - if necessary with mod intervention.

Any thoughts?
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Hugo
05-16-2010, 01:28 PM
Originally Posted by glo
With regards to learning about and understanding each other's faiths better, I think those threads which simply ask specific questions about other faiths and invite answers and explanations without then using those as an excuse for debate and argument, are the most successful and beneficial ones! Any thoughts?
One understands this point of view but it also perhaps betrays a misunderstand as to what this medium of the Internet is. The author Jon Lewis points up a kind of paradox:

1. Dissemination of material over the Internet mainly sidesteps the censorship of states and companies. It's a place where the truth can emerge into the light.
2. The Internet is also a democracy of fools, where everybody's opinion is aired as though of equal merit: a cyberspace where the lunatic and the malicious weigh in at the same weight as the rational, honest, well informed and concerned citizen.

It follows that in general we simply do not know who is posting what and if they have any intellectual legitimacy to do so in that what is said comes out of careful study and questioning. So if I here ask a question about let's say prophet-hood in Islam there is no way for me to know if the answer comes from the ill-informed, the expert or the malicious. More often than not what we do read is copied from some other website with usually no way of knowing if it has any real quality or accuracy. As I have said elsewhere I use software to check postings so I know the source but not everyone can do that

That is why we must ask questions about what is posted not just accept any answer that is given - the process of questioning then allows us to see if the person really knows anything or not. I agree it is sad when the discussion is degraded by insults and innuendo but that is the price of a free board like this one. I am not suggesting a free for all and I know the role of the moderators is a very very difficult one but we must understand the medium we are using.

People who come to this board could be masquerading as Muslim, Christian or anything and can easily create discontent. However, we must not then create a conspiracy theory that any one who does not regard Islam as the truth is motivated by hate or are weak minded. The task as I see it is to disentangle the mad, the bad and the good in what is being said and that is a two way thing in that a non-Muslim may very well know a good deal about Islam and a Muslim might know a good deal about other religions and of course we have to be aware that any Muslim or Christian or what ever may be ignorant even about their own faith.
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Muhammad
05-16-2010, 03:02 PM
Greetings glo,

Whilst there may be some truth in your perception of the way this section is moderated, there is also much that is being overlooked.

Originally Posted by glo
However, in my own personal view there are many, many very negative, even aggressive, comments made in this section - and most commonly (perhaps not surprising, given the membership of this forum) by Muslims against non-Muslim beliefs.
The truth is that there have been "many, many very negative, even aggressive comments" made by both sides. But it's unfair to make the claim that most of the said comments are made by Muslims, and this would especially be the case if we were to consider the forum as a whole. Muslims have complained about the section too, and have felt very hurt and offended. Instead of trying to lay the blame on any one particular side, it's more important to answer the question of its purpose.

I may be biased in my perception - and if I am, please forgive me, I am only human after all ...
But it has been my experience that whilst mods are pretty vigilant when it comes to reinforcing rule No1, they seem to be quite lenient when it comes to reinforcing rule No2.
This is very subjective. On the one hand, if you come across a thread or two you find offensive, you will immediately assume the mods are not being vigilant enough, though people of other faiths might find them harmless. On the other hand, there may be many threads you think are harmless, though many Muslim members will find them offensive and think the Mods are not vigilant enough regarding those. So you see it's easy to feel the Mods are not vigilant depending on which perspective the person is coming from.

Perhaps I am too sensitive, but many threads and posts seem to be written with the very intention of ridiculing or attacking or bashing faiths other than Islam. :hmm:
And the exact same statement can be said by Muslims regarding threads/posts made about Islam.

Originally Posted by glo
I have noticed that the forum sections which are intended for newcomers to learn about Islam, are very good at moderating new threads and/or posts. That way inappropriate posts and anything encouraging arguments or discord or confusion can be prevented by the mods.
However, the moderation there has also been criticised for being too lenient, considering that certain non-Muslims have taken it upon themselves to respond to such newcomers and actually create confusion. Anyhow, the purpose of these two sections are completely different and they aren't quite comparable. The fact that Comparative Religion is by its nature open to people of very different understandings, discord and arguments are much more likely regardless of how well it's moderated.

Perhaps it would be useful to reintroduce at least some threads in the 'Comparative Religion' section, which are set aside to furthering our understanding of other faiths and worldviews; and which strictly discourage debate and arguments - if necessary with mod intervention.
But where would we draw the line between "furthering our understanding of other faiths" and promoting faiths other than Islam?

Peace.
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Woodrow
05-16-2010, 03:25 PM
I think one thing we all can do is to make a sincere attempt to learn to disagree with posts, without making it a judgmental issue about the writer. In other words avoid personal insults of any member. Everybody needs to use the report button when they feel a post is offensive and not try to "correct" the poster. The report button really does work. It may seem slow and does not give immediate gratification, but the over all result is usually effective.

Simple guidelines:

1. Do not feed trolls
2. Do not insult others over disagreements
3. Make us staff people work, use the report button
Reply

glo
05-16-2010, 04:14 PM
Originally Posted by Hugo
It follows that in general we simply do not know who is posting what and if they have any intellectual legitimacy to do so in that what is said comes out of careful study and questioning. So if I here ask a question about let's say prophet-hood in Islam there is no way for me to know if the answer comes from the ill-informed, the expert or the malicious. More often than not what we do read is copied from some other website with usually no way of knowing if it has any real quality or accuracy. As I have said elsewhere I use software to check postings so I know the source but not everyone can do that
That is true.
If what you are after is the scholarly explanation of Islam then perhaps an Internet forum such as this is not the best place at all. I would rather buy a book from a reputable source or study the teachings of Islam by some other way.

My reason for being here is different. I would rather understand the Islam which is in the hearts and minds of those who follow it. In that sense I am very happy with hearing and understanding people's personal views and explanations.
Perhaps there is a difference between the 'written Islam' and the 'lived Islam'.
If there is I am more interested in understanding the latter than in the first.

As for the lengthy copied and pasted posts from apologetic sites, I rarely read them. (For the reasons given above - I want to understand how individual Muslims think and feel, not what official Islamic sites say. If I wanted to do the latter, I would read a book on the topic ...)
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glo
05-16-2010, 04:29 PM
Originally Posted by Muhammad
Greetings glo,

Whilst there may be some truth in your perception of the way this section is moderated, there is also much that is being overlooked.

The truth is that there have been "many, many very negative, even aggressive comments" made by both sides. But it's unfair to make the claim that most of the said comments are made by Muslims, and this would especially be the case if we were to consider the forum as a whole. Muslims have complained about the section too, and have felt very hurt and offended. Instead of trying to lay the blame on any one particular side, it's more important to answer the question of its purpose.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Muhammad.
I completely agree that my post only represents my own personal perception and that it is biased. I said so myself at the time.
There is of course a different view, which is probably held by many Muslims.
I guess it is the role of the mods to tread the fair line between those opinions ... :)

However, the moderation there has also been criticised for being too lenient, considering that certain non-Muslims have taken it upon themselves to respond to such newcomers and actually create confusion. Anyhow, the purpose of these two sections are completely different and they aren't quite comparable. The fact that Comparative Religion is by its nature open to people of very different understandings, discord and arguments are much more likely regardless of how well it's moderated.
I think it is a good idea to have those sections, which aim to inform newcomers about Islam, heavily moderated.

But if we are talking about the Comparative Religion section as a section were people learn about each other's faiths and understand the different beliefs and wordviews (as Woodrow and others seem to suggest), rather than a section which allows or even encourages discord and hateful messages, then perhaps the purpose of the two sections aren't so different at all.
Could the aim of both be to peacefully share information and broaden the understanding of each other, without stirring up hatred, confusion or intolerance?

Another suggestion might be to split the CR section into two subgroups: one simply for information exchange and questions without debate, and another for debate and refutation?

But where would we draw the line between "furthering our understanding of other faiths" and promoting faiths other than Islam?
That's a tricky one, and something for the mods to decide.
My argument would be, how can we even begin to relate to people of other faiths and communicate with other, if we cannot even sit down together and begin to hear about what the other believes? :hmm:

Peace.
Reply

جوري
05-16-2010, 08:01 PM
Originally Posted by Muhammad

But where would we draw the line between "furthering our understanding of other faiths" and promoting faiths other than Islam?

Peace.
My experience is that no effort is actually made by most of the christians on board to understand Islam.. they already have all the answers and they have received their answers at the hands of like minded individuals who I dare say never opened an Islamic book in their life with a neutral intent or intent to abridge and reconcile differences .... I point your attention to a topic as an ex. one of many of course, started by our dear friend glo, 'about Muhammed and Islamic practices' Where she has gleaned from her 'reading of the Quran' a thorough read of course that pilgrimage is a 'muhammed practice' for there is no mention of it in the Quran, forgetting in the process apparently that there is more than 23 verses and a chapter so entitled..

How should the Muslims on board in your opinion view that? an attempt to understanding our faith? thorough research? ' mere inquisition' or again more intellectual dishonesty?
It isn't the first of its kind for certainly what is hidden from sight is richer still.. I am rather glad the mixed female section is closed at that.. though somethings in there would have been better made public for folks to understand better the type of individuals who are truly the proverbial wolves in sheep's clothing!

:w:
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Woodrow
05-16-2010, 09:09 PM
Originally Posted by τhε ṿαlε'ṡ lïlÿ
My experience is that no effort is actually made by most of the christians on board to understand Islam.. they already have all the answers and they have received their answers at the hands of like minded individuals who I dare say never opened an Islamic book in their life with a neutral intent or intent to abridge and reconcile differences .... I point your attention to a topic as an ex. one of many of course, started by our dear friend glo, 'about Muhammed and Islamic practices' Where she has gleaned from her 'reading of the Quran' a thorough read of course that pilgrimage is a 'muhammed practice' for there is no mention of it in the Quran, forgetting in the process apparently that there is more than 23 verses and a chapter so entitled..

How should the Muslims on board in your opinion view that? an attempt to understanding our faith? thorough research? ' mere inquisition' or again more intellectual dishonesty?
It isn't the first of its kind for certainly what is hidden from sight is richer still.. I am rather glad the mixed female section is closed at that.. though somethings in there would have been better made public for folks to understand better the type of individuals who are truly the proverbial wolves in sheep's clothing!

:w:
:sl:

Keeping this more general. You bring up a very good point and that is the problem of non-qualified people attempting to teach about Islam. Few if any do so out of malice. But, it is a problem no matter the reason or intent or who by. For this reason we do out right forbid discussions of fiqh. I do not know what is the best solution. Some thoughts come to mind:

1. Forbid any posts that give any indication of teaching. (Well I immediately disagree with that)

2. Permit answers/teaching only by verified Islamic Scholars (That would be best but is not possible nor practcal)

3. The best practical solution I can think of is to limit the explanations and teachings to members approved by the admins to do so. The logisttics may be insurmountable, but I feel that is something we should look into.
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جوري
05-16-2010, 09:40 PM
Originally Posted by Woodrow
:sl:

Keeping this more general. You bring up a very good point and that is the problem of non-qualified people attempting to teach about Islam. Few if any do so out of malice. But, it is a problem no matter the reason or intent or who by. For this reason we do out right forbid discussions of fiqh. I do not know what is the best solution. Some thoughts come to mind:

1. Forbid any posts that give any indication of teaching. (Well I immediately disagree with that)

2. Permit answers/teaching only by verified Islamic Scholars (That would be best but is not possible nor practcal)

3. The best practical solution I can think of is to limit the explanations and teachings to members approved by the admins to do so. The logisttics may be insurmountable, but I feel that is something we should look into.
Or you can get a scholar on board at least once a week? forum needs at least one person like Ansar Al 'Adl or have the topics he covered indexed for easily accessibility .. nonetheless new questions always arise and I think it would be an incredible benefit to get a scholar on board for the Muslims at least.. It takes a while to get a question answered through Islamonline or similar sites..

:w:
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Woodrow
05-16-2010, 09:56 PM
Originally Posted by τhε ṿαlε'ṡ lïlÿ
Or you can get a scholar on board at least once a week? forum needs at least one person like Ansar Al 'Adl or have the topics he covered indexed for easily accessibility .. nonetheless new questions always arise and I think it would be an incredible benefit to get a scholar on board for the Muslims at least.. It takes a while to get a question answered through Islamonline or similar sites..

:w:
:sl:

That is something we have been working on. We have had several respected scholars come on unidentified to most members. But, sadly they soon discovered they could not put in the time required and soon left. There has been an ongoing search for a resident scholar, but so far none have shown any desire or having the time to take on the responsibility to be our resident scholar. It is a very difficult role to handle when so often the conversation is active. Inshallah at some point we will find a scholar who is qualified, able and willing to join and stay with us.
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Skavau
05-17-2010, 04:42 AM
Originally Posted by Muhammed
The truth is that there have been "many, many very negative, even aggressive comments" made by both sides. But it's unfair to make the claim that most of the said comments are made by Muslims, and this would especially be the case if we were to consider the forum as a whole. Muslims have complained about the section too, and have felt very hurt and offended. Instead of trying to lay the blame on any one particular side, it's more important to answer the question of its purpose.
Well, most of the negative and aggressive comments do come from Muslims also from my perspective as well - and like glo said, take heart as it is likely an issue of demographics much more than it is tendencies. I have seen it function and be glaringly obvious much more on other forums (such as various Catholic forums and other Islamic Forums) I have been on. The problem is in many respects is this forum is being used not just for inter-religious dialogue, but it is also being used to talk about atheism, morality and metaphysics. Whilst I am sure you have no problem with those topics (and I do not either), I am sure it is skewing the direction of this section.

Indeed, I think the same thing impacts the Clarifications on Islam, where many people don't clarify things in Islam so much as they begin debates (which I am guilty of participating).
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جوري
05-17-2010, 04:52 AM
Originally Posted by Skavau
(such as various Catholic forums and other Islamic Forums) I have been on. .
Why not be a member of those forums then if the air here isn't sensible to your sensitivities?
chances are if you take a reasonable portion of any given population they're in all likelihood to be presented in whatever forum you visit in terms of insights, articles and variations on point of views.. if you feel the aggression here is precluding from a useful dialogue, then you can go to another of those Islamic forums and be handled with the kid gloves you desire while dispensing with your own brand of insults 'under freedom of expression' on the side!

all the best
Reply

Skavau
05-17-2010, 05:06 AM
Originally Posted by τhε ṿαlε'ṡ lïlÿ
Why not be a member of those forums then if the air here isn't sensible to your sensitivities?
I was using the various catholic forums and the Islamic forums as examples of where it is much worse than on here.

chances are if you take a reasonable portion of any given population they're in all likelihood to be presented in whatever forum you visit in terms of insights, articles and variations on point of views.. if you feel the aggression here is precluding from a useful dialogue, then you can go to another of those Islamic forums and be handled with the kid gloves you desire while dispensing with your own brand of insults 'under freedom of expression' on the side!
I don't. This place is generally much more mild than many other places. And I don't "dispense" with any insults on here. This forum has the right to prohibit freedom to insult as it is not run by a government, but by a private group of individuals. I have run chatrooms with that ideal as well myself.
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جوري
05-17-2010, 05:11 AM
Originally Posted by Skavau
I was using the various catholic forums and the Islamic forums as examples of where it is much worse than on here.
I misread what you have written then give your opening statement ''Well, most of the negative and aggressive comments do come from Muslims also from my perspective as well ''
I don't. This place is generally much more mild than many other places. And I don't "dispense" with any insults on here. This forum has the right to prohibit freedom to insult as it is not run by a government, but by a private group of individuals. I have run chatrooms with that ideal as well myself.
Ok for the first half of your comment, but the latter part is rather subjective!



Addendum: To comment on your observation, it is a mere ratio issue.. out of all the Christians here we can collectively note that only two perhaps are as they claim, Eric and pouring rain, out of the Jews we have had on board, perhaps Rav and Boaz, out of the sikhs perhaps Avar Allah Noor stood out as genuine seekers of dialogue and honest exchange.. I am yet to find an atheist to be a decent representative of the group albeit some are more zealot in my eyes than others,-- if you have a group of ten vocal people to represent one religion as opposed to 100 vocal people to represent another, your mind might perceive incorrectly that well it is the Muslims that are behind all the aggression. Truth is this is an Islamic forum and you are bound to find the majority of members here Muslim- ten percent of ten doesn't equal numerically ten percent of 100, even if the percentage remains the same!




all the best
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Supreme
05-17-2010, 12:34 PM
You have to remember that most non-Muslims here don't actually care whether they pertain to your list of 'genuine seekers'- your indignation with regards to other members is irrelevant to the topic at hand and only further serves to prove the hostile nature this board is notorious for.
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Hugo
05-17-2010, 12:49 PM
Originally Posted by Supreme
You have to remember that most non-Muslims here don't actually care whether they pertain to your list of 'genuine seekers'- your indignation with regards to other members is irrelevant to the topic at hand and only further serves to prove the hostile nature this board is notorious for.
This is a subjective comment as it seems to me you or me in general cannot know what any one is here for and what exactly is a 'genuine seeker' and how would you vet such individuals? One gets the feeling reading your remark that there is a kind of conspiracy going on collectively with those who don't actually care? But whether we like it or not that is the nature of the the Internet and it cannot be bypassed unless the board sets up a vetting and membership scheme but then who want to be in a club where everybody agrees with each other all the time?

When it comes to hostility then anyone who comes here regularly knows those who think hostility is a form of argument and usually it shows itself in offensive personal remarks or remarks directed toward a persons faith so its easy to spot - but I am happy to leave that to the moderators to manage. From a posters point of view it is best, though sometimes difficult not to respond in kind when goaded because then any reasonable discussion disintegrates and the thread is lost.

My own view is that we let the moderators remove obviously offensive, racist or clearly untrue materials as best they can and when necessary impose sanctions on the perpetrators but even then they must be given some leeway as no ones judgement is perfect. One final point, I have no issues with posts that seek to clarify or refute or call into question the credibility of any individual as long as it's based on what they have said and nothing else (because in general we don't know anything else)
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Pygoscelis
05-17-2010, 02:38 PM
I only come into this comparative religion one and the world events one, because I feel those are forums in which Muslims are either expressly seeking outsider views (comparitive religion) or are dealing with the real world at large (world events). The other sections I really do view as a bit of a virtual mosque and I don't tread in there since my views are often polar opposite to the dogma. But in here you're going to have to deal with kafir views and even views like mine that often go directly opposed to Islam, otherwise there is really no "comparative". If you want to engage the non-muslim community and get non-muslim views (and you invited us all here by opening a section with this title on a public board), be they from other religions or from atheists, you're going to have to accept this and roll with it. You'll also have to accept that most of us are curious about Islam and came here to learn about it but have no wish to convert and also will not accept all factual claims on their face. If you tell us you believe X then we will note that there are muslims who believe X (which can be quite eye opening sometimes) but we won't necesarily extend that to all muslims (we go to other forums too where muslims beleive Y) and we won't necesarily accept any statements beyond those of belief.

This forum is infamous for the hostile attitude of some of the muslim members, but those members are very little in number. And as I said above, such people can be found on pretty much any board. I know catholics on catholic boards like that, atheists on atheist boards like that, conservatives on conservative boards like that (one that notoriously and relentlessly attacks muslims), and liberals on liberal boards like that. Its more a function of ingroup/outgroup (and attacking the outgroup to connect with the ingroup) than anything else. It also flows form the perception of ingroup members that since mods will agree with their views they can present them with more hostility than the outgroup members and not get moderated. As for the outgroupers, you'll sometimes see baiting (raising issues to rile people up) but you hardly ever see direct personal attacks (that only seems to come from ingroupers).
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جوري
05-17-2010, 02:59 PM
Originally Posted by Supreme
You have to remember that most non-Muslims here don't actually care whether they pertain to your list of 'genuine seekers'- your indignation with regards to other members is irrelevant to the topic at hand and only further serves to prove the hostile nature this board is notorious for.
Why must I remember that? It is as relevant to me as the comment above is relevant to you although obviously on some level it must be so devastating to be under so much false pretense and not have it take hold of others!

all the best
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جوري
05-17-2010, 03:02 PM
btw I find it strange that the two replies I posted to Hugo have disappeared without so much as a mention!
This is exactly the sort of disrespect of the members that the Muslims here dislike.. you must remember that in the beginning and the end this is an Islamic forum-- made for a particular purpose, not to appease the incessant unending drivel that some seem to think reflects on others yet for some strange reason are exempt from applying to their own person and their own doctrine!

:w:
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جوري
05-17-2010, 03:06 PM
Originally Posted by Pygoscelis
I only come into this comparative religion .
You have missed something in the title.. since comparative religion means just that, and frankly you have no religion to compare and by your own admittance don't care for the 'virtual mosque' we are pretty much familiar with your 'polarized views' hammering it in for four years is not bound to change matters any least of which when you make positively no effort to enter the virtual mosque to learn of the religion of those you're views are so against and it seems to pop and repeatedly on any topic where some minimal understanding of Islamic beliefs crop up!

all the best
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