Better Representing Muslims: A Few Ideas

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Falterfire:

Aaaand the Bible includes a line about stoning gays to death and several about slaves. Should we really, truthfully, be tolerant of a religion that encourages the death penalty for homosexuals and the ownership of slaves?

The answer is no. For both religions. I'm waiting for my atheist protagonist game where all of the antagonists are religious crazies.

I'm not really following the arguments going on this thread.
I'm just wondering, was anyone else bothered by the frequent conflations of "Muslim" and "Arabic" in this article? Contrary to popular belief, only 20% of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world are actually of Middle-Eastern descent(link). 62% are from South-East Asia, to which the stereotypes cited in the article don't even really apply.

I find it ironic that the article's author is guilty of the very thing he's lamenting: painting all Muslims with the same brush.

Games don't really portray ANY religion well.

spunkgarglewiwi:

Blitzwing:
Because that's not their job, do you see all Christians coming out against the people that kill abortion doctors? If they aren't expected to come together in some unified front then why should Islam and anyway what would it accomplish? It would just be some pathetic show to shut bigots like you up.

Wow, so right from the start you are starting to call names. That's very uncool, but hey; I've learned when people resort to name calling, threatening or otherwise they automatically are admitting 'defeat'. Because they can not resort to a more respectful manner of communicating or just missing a (good) retort.

I call you what you are if you are going to call a faith backwards insulting the millions that follow it then that makes you a bigot plan and simple

Desert Punk:

Blitzwing:
snip

Well the big christian hanchos at least acknowledge their religion fucked up royal and apologized for it.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0003/12/sm.06.html

Miles, Pope John Paul II put it this way, "We forgive and we ask forgiveness." And with that, he led church leaders and followers in sweeping confession, seeking repentance for sins that may have been committed over the past 2,000 years in the name of the church.

They fell into seven general categories of wrongs which include, without being too specific, everything from the Crusades to the Inquisition, the forced conversions, to sins against women and anti- Jewish acts. It was a first for the church, which has only rarely and only in specific instances confessed errors in the past.

Edit: then again christian radicals arent bombing dozens of people daily these days...

So do Muslims

http://www.m-a-t.org/

http://kurzman.unc.edu/islamic-statements-against-terrorism/

http://www.islamagainstterrorism.com/index_english.htm

It's just that no one listens

RatherDull:
Games don't really portray ANY religion well.

They might not portray them well, but they aren't actively creating or maintaining negative stereotypes of Christians. Furthermore, Muslims in games and any media, seems to often take on more of an ethnic flavour than a religious. Some could argue that it is primarily racist.

James Joseph Emerald:
I'm not really following the arguments going on this thread.
I'm just wondering, was anyone else bothered by the frequent conflations of "Muslim" and "Arabic" in this article? Contrary to popular belief, only 20% of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world are actually of Middle-Eastern descent(link). 62% are from South-East Asia, to which the stereotypes cited in the article don't even really apply.

I find it ironic that the article's author is guilty of the very thing he's lamenting: painting all Muslims with the same brush.

While I understand your problem, the author did however, go to great lengths to convey that the current discourse in the west can not actively grasp the Muslim world. He criticised 'Arab' as a blanket word at the start. While I agree that it could be argued that criticising the language used to describe a phenomenon, without managing to escape that very language, is a major failure, I would only hold an academic to that standard, and not a games journalist on a website.

Blitzwing:
snip

This might be because there isnt a single head for a large number of muslims, instead its broken into smaller sects each with the same say, but the actions of the extremists speak louder than the condemnation of the others.

If there was a single Caliph and he said "No. fuck those guys, they are going to burn in hell for what they do." things people might see the extremists as what they are, a minority of fuckwads, instead of a representation of a whole religion.

Just my thoughts on the matter, no idea how it would pan out in reality though.

PromethianSpark:

RatherDull:
Games don't really portray ANY religion well.

They might not portray them well, but they aren't actively creating or maintaining negative stereotypes of Christians. Furthermore, Muslims in games and any media, seems to often take on more of an ethnic flavour than a religious. Some could argue that it is primarily racist.

I can recall a few games that reinforces the stereotype that Christians are intolerant of those who don't share their beliefs and are prone to violence.

RatherDull:

I can recall a few games that reinforces the stereotype that Christians are intolerant of those who don't share their beliefs and are prone to violence.

Care to name a few. Also, is it specifically about Christians being intolerant, or just white westerners in general?

Da Orky Man:

To be fair, the single largest area of the Western World, Latin America, gets arse-all presence in Al Jazeera and such either, despite a massive population of a smidgen under 600 million, larger than the population of America or the EU. This would be because Latin America doesn't really do much outside their own area, at least enough to garner much attention, similar to Indonesia. Both areas, though certainly Western and Muslim in outlook, have significant differences to their parent cultures that make the way they interact with others quite distinct.

I'm sorry, but if someone is arguing against a more nuanced depiction of Muslims and instead insists that we portray them as their stereotypes, because apparently those are accurate, then I feel that we should at the very least take the majority of Muslims (that is to say, the 60% or so of the world-wide Muslim population that lives in South-East Asia) and use them as the template.

To be clear, I'm referring to Therumancer there. And of course, it's not like you can really generalise the South-East Asian population, no more than you can Muslims in the Middle East. But, as I said right after the section you quoted, I was being facetious.

As for not garnering much attention? We're talking about a country that has good odds of becoming a world superpower in the course of this century. A country that is both the world's largest Muslim population and the target of a series of terrorist attacks from fundamentalist Muslims. A country that subsequently captured, tried, and gave the death penalty to these very same terrorists. It's also a country where young Muslim preachers, often very liberal and generally tolerant of the rest of the world, travel around the country being greeted with all the fervour and excitement of a rock star. Indonesia is fascinating, but of course it fails to fit the narrative the media loves to present about Muslims, so people tend to assume it just doesn't do much worthy of attention.

Zeckt:
I dislike these topics because people seem to be a little too afraid to discuss the points that Therumancer brought up. They were literally dancing in their streets when 9/11 happened, we can't say a thing about them without them literally forming mobs in their streets attacking our embassies, and they still refuse to denounce the part of their religion that teaches them to hate and wage war against Atheists. How can change ever happen if you can never get to the root of the problem that teaches the hate to begin with? How can we keep forgetting and forgiving these mobs and the parties celebrating our dead? if we did what they did we would have world war 3 because they would be so hypocritically offended. They hate us THAT much, they have no problem saying it continously yet we can never, ever do such a thing in return. If they are such good people, then may I ask why is that?

Many Muslims do denounce the part of their religion that tells them to hate and wage war against atheists. Any given Muslim you are likely to meet will be one of those, for obvious reasons. If you travel to the majority of Muslim countries in the world, most communities will be absolutely accepting of you regardless of your personal beliefs. And the only reason I can think of for you thinking that change isn't happening within Muslim communities is that you are only watching media that refuses to report on that change which... is basically the main point of Rath's article.

I mean, for crying out loud, I'm an atheist and I've had perfectly sane conversations with members of "fundamentalist" militia groups without being shot or hacked to pieces. I have a friend that has actually interviewed high-ranking members of Hamas as part of his research into the group's dual role as terrorist organisation and elected government. Frankly, all of them seemed better at telling who their enemies were than a good few posters in this thread. Very few of their hatred are irrational, or even based in their religion. They're almost always political. Any hatred of the United States is because of actions the United States has taken in the area (whether it be supporting Israel, supporting the Taliban, a previous invasion, or possibly the current invasion). And, I should note, even the militiamen I spoke to were able to differentiate between the American people, who they generally liked, and the American military and government, who they didn't.

Zeckt:
I'm sick of watching the news and every time seeing some loon shock killing innocents in our countries and being too afraid to say anything about it without being labelled racist. How long can we play the "they are not all like that" card when the core of the religion continues to spread hate against innocent people yet they all refuse to denounce that? we have mosques that literally teach them that atheists are scum in our own back yard. I cannot respect any muslim who refuses to denounce that part of the qu'ran as they scare the hell out of me.

I... I really feel you need to actually go and meet more people. Not just Muslims, although that would certainly help. Travel in the Middle East or South-East Asia for a while. As much as I'd love to be able to convince you that the "core of the religion" is nothing like you describe, I don't think it'll be possible without you actually experiencing it for yourself. It sounds like your fear is just too ingrained and irrational to really break through.

Still, never let it be said that I'm a quitter! Let's put it this way. As another poster in this thread has said, the majority of Muslims live in South-East Asia. The negative stereotypes of South-East Asia are hopefully not quite as extreme and ingrained as the Middle Eastern ones apparently are, so hopefully you can approach that subject a little more easily. The main thing to remember about South-East Asia is that the Sufism tradition is really strong. Sufism itself is a little too complex to really sum up properly with one word, but suffice to say that there are lots of different permutations and it can be very individualistic, and you are unlikely to find too many men gunning for you for not believing the same thing as them.

Zeckt:
If they don't denounce it, the hate will continue to be taught to every new generation till our political correctness kills us. And I will continue to fear and distrust them. I think for good reason, considering they think so low of me for being godless and I did absolutely nothing to them.

Also, what about the fact that they continously form lynch mobs and attack known LGBT's simply because it goes against their religious teachings? why can't they live the way they want to without interference? it's getting to the point where being politically correct is costing innocent lives.

We're talking about a developing nation. Intolerance isn't exclusive to Islam, and as I've said before, there are problems within Islamic communities. Attacking LGBTs is something that happens in the heavily Christian parts of Africa and places like Papua New Guinea as well, and hey, happened in the West as well until fairly recently. It's bad, but it's not a universal problem in Islam. If you think it is, that's just more evidence that the suggestions Rath is making really need to be implemented, and quickly.

I respect your opinion Azahul but I simply cannot overlook the fact that thousands and thousands of them stormed embassies and murdered rampantly in the streets all over a book. We are not talking small numbers here, we are talking about ridiculous amounts of people crowding streets mobbing anyone of western origin, burning our flags and destroying property.

How can we show any respect to a society that goes that far over one book? one book to them is worth more then lives of people of our nations. You talk as if it is a select few, yet that was proof that the problem is far worse then that. I think its time they need to be worthy of the respect they DEMAND rather then raise pitchforks whenever anyone flips them the wrong way. Like it or not, their religion to this day teaches them to hate and wage war on atheists even if many of them denounce it it should not be there to begin with. Why are you so quick to forgive and forget how they spat on us immediately after 911? innocent people died, mothers fathers sons and daughters lost to their loved ones. And they LAUGHED at us in droves. You can overlook that, but I won't. What have they done to deserve our respect other then spit in our faces and demand it? Their society teaches to this day to repress women and hate LGBT's. I won't give in just because it's politically correct.

Yeah, lumping all the diverse populations into one is dumb. The same is done with Africa and to the lesser extent with Asia and Europe.

Xdeser2:
Totally agree with most of this article

But If I can be allowed one nitpick....the Redguard one isn't a good example, in the Elder Scrolls, Redguard culture has been explained like crazy in the lore, its nothing like the stereotypical "Arab" portrayal

Yeah, I never associated them with muslims or Arabs.
Aren't they basically people from desert regions, so wouldn't they dress in certain ways because of the climate?

Zeckt:
I respect your opinion Azahul but I simply cannot overlook the fact that thousands and thousands of them stormed embassies and murdered rampantly in the streets all over a book. We are not talking small numbers here, we are talking about ridiculous amounts of people crowding streets mobbing anyone of western origin, burning our flags and destroying property.

How can we show any respect to a society that goes that far over one book? one book to them is worth more then lives of people of our nations. You talk as if it is a select few, yet that was proof that the problem is far worse then that. I think its time they need to be worthy of the respect they DEMAND rather then raise pitchforks whenever anyone flips them the wrong way. Like it or not, their religion to this day teaches them to hate and wage war on atheists even if many of them denounce it it should not be there to begin with. Why are you so quick to forgive and forget how they spat on us immediately after 911? innocent people died, mothers fathers sons and daughters lost to their loved ones. And they LAUGHED at us in droves. You can overlook that, but I won't. What have they done to deserve our respect other then spit in our faces and demand it? Their society teaches to this day to repress women and hate LGBT's. I won't give in just because it's politically correct.

I'm curious about these mass celebrations you and Therumancer are a bit preoccupied with. I clearly don't watch the same news reports that you do, because my understanding of the post 9/11 reactions was that the Islamic world condemned it on a massive scale. For crying out loud, terrorist organisations condemned it. The Taliban condemned it. Hezbollah condemned it. The leaders of nearly every country in the Middle East and North Africa, with the major exception being Saddam Hussein, condemned it. That's a distinct lack of laughter. On top of that, I can find only a handful of cases of celebrations, all from Palestinians (who have non-religious reasons to hate the US, just to be clear), and for some of those it was later found that the people participating had simply been offered money/food to cheer and act excited for the cameras. In other cases, the footage used was stock footage of Palestinian celebrations over the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

The Arab Spring is a tricky case. It's a post-revolution environment. Those are almost never pretty. That isn't to say that I condone it, I certainly don't, but I fail to see how that kind of violence differentiates Muslims from any other group that have just won a violent struggle.

And as for teaching to repress women and hate LGBTs... oh for crying out loud. I can't debunk this more thoroughly than I already have. Go and meet some Muslims. Spend time at your local mosque. Nearly all Muslims are regular people and hold views that are normal for their society. In the west, you're likely to find people just as liberal as anyone else. In developing countries, you're likely to find repressive societies not unlike the West a few decades ago. And even then, this repression of women and hatred of LGBTs is massively exaggerated. It exists, I don't deny that, I don't deny that it is a problem. But at the same time, I can recall having a delightful time with a taxi driver when I lived in the Middle East who spent most of his life being bounced back and forth between his two wives. His wives each had their own households, supported those households, and were quite clearly the dominant figures in the home. He was generally treated in a fairly jovial manner as someone that needed nearly as much taking care of as the children. On a broader scale, even most of the hard-line Muslim countries have female parliament members. Nowhere near enough, of course, but it's clearly not a blanket oppression. Better than that, in many cases it's an oppression that's beginning to crack.

Therumancer:

The point here is that getting people to come out and party in the middle of streets over anything is rough, you just don't generally see it outside of movies. We did see it there though, as an international/meta-cultural phenomena. Whether the number is actually 90% or not (that's actually just a guess from how it looked and was reported) the bottom line is that I treat any kind of suggestion that 9/11 and anti-western sentiment is from a small minority, or even estimates like 50%.

50% may seem like a small number compared to your 90% guess, but that is actually quite a large percentage of people who believe an attack on innocent civilians in a country that is not actively at war with you is justified. As you said though, the study does include a significant number of Muslims who aren't in the main areas of hostility towards America. I'd like to see those numbers revealed by country as I'd believe that some more peaceful regions that are US friendly (Indian Muslims, for example) would have skewed the data downwards a fair bit. They have to be careful doing that though, as this particular question can rally people to a cause and if you actually had a nation that was over 90% on that question then we'd begin singling out certain nationals.

Azahul:
The grey area is easy. The US often seems to forget that 9/11 was not an unprovoked act. Outside of the 7% that hold it as completely justified, you have a lot of very angry people across, well, the entire world when it comes to the US. In the Middle East, you have several prior invasions and the backing of groups like the Taliban and individuals like Saddam Hussein. And across the world you have all those problems with cultural imperialism and American companies running rampant. I'm, frankly, impressed at the 55% calling it unjustified.

An attack on civilians would have been condemned by their own prophet and that's speaking of a man who built an empire bent on conquering the world within just a few decades of its inception (from Medina to Spain in less than 100 years, no small feat). Many of us even have problems with the Dresden bombings and the bombings of Japan and those were countries who were actively at war with us. It takes a special kind of mindset to justify such an attack on non-combatants. The 55% need not surprise you when the study is worldwide and not region based. The numbers from Iran would differ greatly from the numbers from India or China.

I... really don't think that was the intention. "Qualified" seems to pretty clearly mean in the sense that a potential worker has the correct education and experience, and I think you're rather underestimating the intelligence of any interviewees that think that it's ok to answer "Yes" to that question while still holding the view that women are unqualified due to their gender.

What does "intention" have to do with anything? It's the effect that matters. It's great that you likely live in a country with significant efforts to establish gender equality but you have to understand that these are cultures where being a woman literally disqualifies you from certain jobs. Had they begun asking about specific jobs they would have found what appears to be a significant inconsistency arise. Imagine if you'd just gotten an affirmative to the previous question and then asked if they could be a cashier only to get a no because then men would have to talk to her as is not culturally acceptable in their society. "Of course being able to talk with customers to take orders and money is a requirement of being a cashier". If I were a store owner in a Middle Eastern culture with that kind of custom I would be unable to hire women in client-facing positions even if I wanted to.

To look at this kind of study an use it to shrug off Islamic culture's outright degradation and abuse of women is a great insult to all the women impacted by a very different reality that flies in the face of any such study.

I'd love to find out more about the intricacies of these studies. For example, how many of the surveyors were female? That number being significant at all could significantly skew results due to the customs I mentioned. In a culture where men don't usually talk to women, the kind of people who respond are already those who don't follow the local customs. They say that they did this in an unbiased way but I'd love to have access to regular footage of them performing the surveys and where they performed them. For example, did they go from house to house or did they do it largely in colleges or other such places? If there's anything I've learned from all the coursework I did in statistics, it's that surveys can be biased in three ways. The wording of the questions, the way survey collectors conduct the surveys, and the way that the sample is randomized. The absolute most important component is that the sample be random. You can even forgive the other two points of bias to a significant extent if the sample size is large and random enough. If the study is done right, then the numbers speak for themselves. Some people would say that interpretation is another area for bias but how the group performing the study interprets them is meaningless when the numbers stand firm.

If 90% of Muslims follow these "core beliefs" to the letter, then in the years I've spent in the Middle East and South East Asia I've managed to only encounter that final 10%. And that's not true. These beliefs exist, yes, and they're written down in the holy books, but they're not followed in just the same way Christians don't tend to follow ideas like women being made to serve men.

It is what Islam teaches, it is not necessarily what Muslims practice. These aren't only religious beliefs, but also legal beliefs as I've explained. There is a difference when a national religion has been established in a way that involves it in the legal process.

What makes you think Christians don't believe that women are to obey their husbands? I'd say the numbers of people who don't follow that is increasing but it's still a VERY common belief/practice. It is even regularly taught from the pulpit.

I don't know why your experience would be particularly relevant. What verse/belief that I presented would be something that would have impacted you? As I stated regarding the "fight unbelievers" verse, it's out of context despite being a controversial one. Did you go there shouting that there is no Allah or something like that to disprove the verse's acceptance. Were you a Muslim's wife for a time and did you mouth off more than three times? Are you a female who successfully drove a car around Saudi Arabia without being properly attired and having a male escort? Were you a ten year-old female whose father was attempting to entice a 40-year old wealthy man into marrying you or something?

I'm not sure how you'd really come across these things that largely happen behind the scenes.

I know exactly how I interpret each example. As kooky laws written down centuries ago in a different time and culture, laws that aren't applicable today. And I don't know very many Muslims that agree with any of them. And I'm not even sure what your point is here. Beliefs written in a holy book are not indicative of cultural homogeneity. Christians in sub-Saharan Africa are different from Christians in Romania and different again from Christians in the USA. Christians in any of these regions are hardly identical in their beliefs as well. Muslims are exactly the same.

I dare you to say this exact paragraph within a populated Muslim establishment in pretty much any of the Islamic nations. "What do you think of these Qur`anic verses," "I interpret them as kooky laws written down centries ago...". If dealing with American Muslims, they very well may agree with you thanks to the integration into our culture but you'd likely get offense in the same way Christians would be offended. I wouldn't anticipate violence though. If dealing with Indian Muslims your speech may be angrily tolerated or you may be physically removed from the establishment and taught a lesson out back. I fear for your very life at the blasphemy you've spoken in say, Iran. Either at the hands of the locals or even the government itself.

Let's not even get started on apostasy, an automatic death sentence in nearly every Islamic nation, both locally within the culture and legally.

What's interesting is that people like you project their own sensibilities onto these very different cultures. You think that just because you and I believe these verses to be archaic that these other countries would too. But that's not the case. They're several decades behind us at least and that's only assuming that they're progressing our way thanks to the distance diminishing force that is the internet.

A question you should ask is what would happen in most Muslim cultures if you were to walk into the street and burn a Qur`an. Yes, you'd be stupid for doing something like that in any culture. But the ability to offend Islam is not present at all.

For all my studies and interactions with peaceful Muslims. I've very much wanted to consider Islam peaceful. But that would be a lie. Islam is incompatible with pluralistic ideals and Western culture without significant revisions. The current movement to make it out to be peaceful is to counteract the very real and very wrong persecution of Muslims by Americans who are quick to stereotype individuals around them. I understand this motivation. I understand wanting to do anything to protect innocent people who don't deserve such discrimination and even persecution. But the way to do that isn't to lie about something. It's to come down hard about prejudice, something that is intrinsically evil.

For goodness sake, I feel like I'm talking in circles. The article is saying that we don't represent Muslims in a way that accurately depicts the reality. Given that we almost only depict Muslims as terrorists in our video games, there's no way Rath can really be wrong in that respect. No one is saying that there aren't deeply embedded problems in a lot of Islamic cultures. What is wrong is presenting these cultures as all the same, with the same beliefs, and that's all I'm trying to argue.

Meaning we don't depict Taliban forces like they're just charging troops with kittens and candies? Perhaps the Al Qaeda forces in video games should be secretly trying to get into tickle fights.

The issue isn't that Muslims are being misrepresented. It's that the groups that aren't extreme or militant aren't relevant to the stories we see them in. The groups being represented are entirely apt but by no means make up the normal Muslim.

I do wonder how a game would go over regarding a main character who is Muslim but is also American. To see those two qualities conflict while fighting militant Muslisms overseas. It's certainly ripe for dialogue but I don't know how Americans would recieve it.

This is by no means a universal reality. It certainly isn't universally followed or believed. It's only even fully practiced in a bare handful of countries, and even famous examples like Iran do not follow their religious dogma in law exactly.

Right. This is why I'm specifying that I do not believe the context of that verse to be what people assume it is. I thought it may be beneficial for you and me to discuss this as we're likely in agreement here. As long as individuals do not directly insult Islam or publically practice their faith, they're generally safe. Those verses in context generally refer to other nations who are militant and is the grounds for taking over another nation to impose Sharia law moreso than harming the individual. This is what people confuse when they think of spreading Islam by the sword. They (people who have not studied Islam) believe that terminology means that they demand people convert or they kill them. That is not (or should not) be the case. It's an overall spreading by military conquering which may still be upsetting but certainly has a different opponent than the individual. Individual entities within an Islamic nation are then only confronted for doing something contrary to Sharia law.

Right, I'm cutting up this paragraph because I think it's critical to our disagreement here. You are correct in that, theoretically, this is supposed to be what the denominations teach. The reality is that even preachers rarely teach a lot of the examples you cited, and the reality for individual Muslims and their beliefs vary dramatically. And above all, if it isn't what Muslims actually believe, it's fundamentally irrelevant. What's the point in harping on about something as indicative of a culture if the majority of that culture doesn't believe in it?

Because it's part of their laws. Sharia law is a derivative of Qur`anic passages and the specific Hadith source that the relative school of law adheres to. Western criticism and political pressure has made their enforcement of these laws a lot more difficult but only on cases that catch the public eye. Men are legally allowed to treat their wives that way as well as to allow those marriage practices and it's fairly common in the bedouin societies still. Add that to commonly know practices like female circumcision and being a female in an Islamic society can be quite the hard knock life.

I really don't think you are. You're judging an imaginary religion that only exists within the Western psyche as a result of what the media has presented to us. Islam as this monolithic entity divided into only two big sects (Shiite and Sunni) all believing in those fundamental precepts you laid out is nothing more than a myth. Actually go and explore the culture sometime. It is a lot of fun, eye-opening, and will hopefully rid you of this misconception that modern Muslims still act like medieval Christians.

No, I am judging the actual letter of their laws that are often criticized by other nations when particularly egregious examples surface.

Have you actually studies the Islamic faith and the resulting Sharia law? It honestly sounds like you're projecting your Western culture onto other cultures. Essentially, you're doing the same thing you think I'm doing. Just in the other direction.

Not exactly. I'm taking exception to you calling them "mainstream beliefs", when the reality is so much more complicated and convoluted.

A mainstream belief is an orthodox/accepted belief. Particularly one that has found its way into law. Tell me, in a Sunni nation, what do you think the law has to say about someone who blasphemes? Do you believe that there is no such law that regards that or do you know full well that it exists and how extreme the punishments can be? I mean, hell, these are nations that cut off the hands of thieves regardless of the extent of the theft as long as they're repeat offenders (two, for example). Why? Because the Qur`an says to. We are literally looking at a theonomistic religion that is in the seat of power over several nations. That makes a difference.

The 5 schools of law (4 Sunni, 1 Shi`ite) take commands of the Qur`an and their respective hadith source and literally rate each command from outright demand to recommended but not compulsory. It's typically a 5-point scale that even rates brushing one's teeth (Muhammad had a habbit of brushing his teeth with a root and so the action has been considered righteous and therefore given a religious/legal rating. I forget the rating but I don't believe it was compulsory like not drinking or eating pork are).

bjj hero:
Youve never met a muslim who sleeps around, shaves their beard, drinks beer etc? Not everyone follows everything in their religion. Probably because religion is a personal thing. Unfortunately the ones that adhear to the craziest stuff usually make the press. There are lots of muslims who want nothing like Sharia law governing them as it would conflict with their beliefs and lifestyles.

Not in an Islamic nation where Sharia law would fine, imprison, kill them for doing so if the locals didn't exact "justice" first. In the US? Sure. Please remind me which games show American Muslims at all, let alone in a negative light?

Falterfire:
Aaaand the Bible includes a line about stoning gays to death and several about slaves. Should we really, truthfully, be tolerant of a religion that encourages the death penalty for homosexuals and the ownership of slaves?

I'm not sure why any other religious text/belief negates the severity of another. That'd be like someone getting onto you for murdering someone and you say, "But Stalin murdered millions" as some kind of justification for your actions. At best, you can only make claims against both rather than justifying one evil by showing another.

The Christian Bible includes two covenants. One is called the old covenant, one is called the new covenant. They're both set up like suzerain treaties (between a feudal lord and his subjects) with seperate stipulations and all. Christians have sometimes used old covenant passages to justify actions they've taken or want to take but that doesn't make them right in doing so. There's a reason why Christianity as a whole does not practice theonomy. Because there has even been debate of including the Hebrew Bible at all since its laws and stipulations no longer apply to adherrents of the New Covenant. A non-trivial number of Christian verses firmly seperate itself from the old covenant counterpart by establishing while the original covenant was for only one nation's blessing above other nations, the new covenant is intended to be open to all. According to Christian theologists and apologists, this accounts for the significant shift in the warlike nature of God where the original treaty pit His "people" against the rest of the world whereas all the world is not potentially His "people" in the new covenant.

That's how you arrive at verses in the new covenant like:
Hbr 8:7 If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it.

and

Hbr 8:13 When God speaks of a "new" covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.

This is why Christians do not stone blasphemers and why Gideon goes through so much effort to pass out small pocket new testaments. Christianty lost its way for awhile, when the popeship meant being an emperor moreso than a religious leader. But it's been getting back to its roots of love for some time now. Christianity and Buddhism, two very peaceful religions. Judaism and Islam, not so much.

So pointing to Judaic covenant stipulations as being Christian tenents is inaccurate. If you want to show Christanity's stances that are difficult for westerners to swallow you're only area of action would be in the condemnation of homosexuals and the inferior status of women in their texts.

Lightknight:
It takes a special kind of mindset to justify such an attack on non-combatants. The 55% need not surprise you when the study is worldwide and not region based. The numbers from Iran would differ greatly from the numbers from India or China.

Thats not just muslims though. The IRA got considerable funding from the USA. The money and arms was used, for the most part, on civilian targets. People can justify some nasty stuff for a cause and a braveheart-esque plucky under dog story. Equally there are currently drone strikes killing people without a uniform, who are members of no army, often unarmed and no court has seen evidence onf their wrong doing. There are plenty of none muslim white folks who see these killings as pay back. That mindset isnt looking so special anymore.

Lightknight:

bjj hero:
Youve never met a muslim who sleeps around, shaves their beard, drinks beer etc? Not everyone follows everything in their religion. Probably because religion is a personal thing. Unfortunately the ones that adhear to the craziest stuff usually make the press. There are lots of muslims who want nothing like Sharia law governing them as it would conflict with their beliefs and lifestyles.

Not in an Islamic nation where Sharia law would fine, imprison, kill them for doing so if the locals didn't exact "justice" first. In the US? Sure. Please remind me which games show American Muslims at all, let alone in a negative light?

It happens in those muslim nations too. You think none of them drink? No one has an affair? No one has sex unwed? It happens behind closed doors. Its like saying no one takes drugs in the west because its against the law and they send you prison.

As too your question, why does everyone have to be american? You see very few muslim charecters that present any more than target practice. That was kind of the point of the article. Even the Prince of Persia was a white American.

Aren't the characters in Prince of Persia (even though it's fairly fantastical) supposed to be Muslims? I feel like a good portrayal of Islam in games could come in one of two ways.

1) Just sort of do a, "He's Muslim, deal with it yo" sort of thing. Make it a part of his/her character without reducing it to "flavor" or making it his/her defining characteristic.

2) Make the game about Islam. This could be done in a lot of different ways, but I think that some games have already done this pretty good. Crusader Kings II did this pretty well with a whole set of expansions focused on the Muslim Empires of Africa and the Middle East, and from what I remember, the new Medal of Honor handled the cultural turmoil of the region quite well in the earlier missions.

Also, concerning the Redguard... They're not Muslim. Not at all. Africa was full of pre-Islam societies, and the later ones such as pre-Islam Mali dressed like the Redguards to protect from harsh desert climate.

I know a handful of Muslims from school, and most of them just get uncomfortable and kind of try to half-defend things that seem "weird" or "bad" from a Western perspective. The pork thing, for example. A friend of mine (Muslim) basically tried to convince me that pork tasted bad and was bad for you, and that's why Muslims don't eat it. I don't buy it, but there's nothing wrong with him defending his beliefs.

Furthermore, when people call upon specific examples from, say, Afghanistan or Iran of fundamentalist Islamists saying things like "Death to America" or burning the stars and stripes, they tend to forget that those people are the Middle Eastern analogues to staunchly conservative Baptist fundamentalists or the sort of flag-waving jingoists that suddenly cropped up in the mainstream following 9/11. They /don't/ represent the majority, but with Feminism, Christianity, Bronies, and just about any other "group", the most extreme minorities are often the loudest, or at least the most widely publicized.

bjj hero:
Thats not just muslims though. The IRA got considerable funding from the USA. The money and arms was used, for the most part, on civilian targets. People can justify some nasty stuff for a cause and a braveheart-esque plucky under dog story. Equally there are currently drone strikes killing people without a uniform, who are members of no army, often unarmed and no court has seen evidence onf their wrong doing. There are plenty of none muslim white folks who see these killings as pay back. That mindset isnt looking so special anymore.

The drone strikes are "supposed" to be targeting enemy combatants/terrorists. Hopefully 50% of the US doesn't think that innocent casualties are a good thing, but any justification would generally be along the lines of believing that the US made a mistake if it didn't get the target rather than actually targeting civilians.

I'm sure we have our radicals/racists who want Muslims gone. I just don't believe that it is half and I don't believe that a drone strike killing a dozen civilians on accident is equivalent to 9/11 in which the purposeful attack on civilian landmarks murdered thousands. At least the Pentagon was a military establishment, tragedy though it was. But the twin towers? It had no point but to kill civilians. I would say that a purposeful drone strike killing known non-combatants would be equivalent in mindset of the terrorists the program is supposed to target. I hope if that happens that we'll see the appropriate people held accountable.

Lightknight:
It happens in those muslim nations too. You think none of them drink? No one has an affair? No one has sex unwed? It happens behind closed doors. Its like saying no one takes drugs in the west because its against the law and they send you prison.

Yes, it happens behind closed doors. Why? Because the culture around them would punish them for it because they are not tolerant. Which is the whole point. An intolerant religion is not a peaceful religion. In America, Baptists are against drinking. Nevermind verses where their very own Lord and Savior turned water into wine and had it served to already drunk partiers in a wedding party, they believe it's an absolute sin (and in claiming thus also call their Lord a sinner who also led others into sin, haha). Yet Baptists know full well not to acknowledge each other when they see each other at the liquor store. If it becomes common knowledge, then there may be some discrimination against the other person. But certainly not murder or violence. This is not the case in Islam. There is no winking eye at sin. Not culturally. Apostates and those who would lead Muslims to other faiths or disbelief have a very real fear for their lives.

In combating ignorant intolerance of Islam you are making out the Muslims who do not follow their culturals practices to be the norm. I admire the desire to combat people who would hate or fear their Muslim neighbor without justification but I must disagree their culture is all secretly American culture and it's just that their not brave enough to speak out. Yes, they do exist but do not mistake them for the majority.

As too your question, why does everyone have to be american? You see very few muslim charecters that present any more than target practice. That was kind of the point of the article. Even the Prince of Persia was a white American.

Because the games are marketed towards Americans who make up the most significant amount of the target market. The games we're talking about with militant Muslims are nearly all from the American perspective and so the best way to do this, if you're going to do it, would be from an American Muslim's perspective. I mean, how meaningful would it be to show an American Muslim being mistreated by his comrades despite doing everything right? That's how you help with racism and staggered representation. The whole point is to make them reflect on being treated that way internally. Having something in common with the protagonist would be key to thae internalisation of such a theme. Making the character American from a recognized city would be that easily obtained common ground.

I know I won't change anyone's opinion here but I am a proud practicing patriotic Pakistani Muslim.

I looked through this thread earlier and found someone quoting two passages from the Quran, saying they aren't consistent.
There is no inconsistency, you have to keep in mind the context of the Ayat. Before it was revealed, Muslims weren't allowed to fight against anyone at all, no matter how much they were mistreated or even tortured, look up what happened in Al-Taif or before the migration to Abyssinia. Even after the first Muslims escaped to Madina and kind of had a state, that state was not allowed to go to war in any condition. This Ayat was revealed when they were finally allowed to fight. What it is saying is if anyone fights the Muslims, we are allowed to fight but are to cease immediately as soon as they do.

Now as for games, everyone agrees that we need more diverse characters, right? Why not Muslims?

And another thing, don't talk about Muslims as if we can't make games on our own. WE can and we have. Iran has a God of War like game called Garshap, Pakistan has made the most complex cricket game ever with Cricket Revolution and personally I intend to go into video game development myself from Pakistan. I am planning to make a game for my Final Year Project in Computer Science too. What I will ask from the international audience is to not just dismiss games because they come from Muslim countries, or talk from a Muslim or any foreign point of view (I think some Americans probably passed on Witcher or Metro because of that).

And from American developers, if you want Muslim villains, give them proper character and if you want to put Muslim countries in games at least do some research on them. Black Ops 2 had Arabic in Lahore, no one speaks Arabic in Lahore, my mother is from Lahore, some Lahoris don't even speak Urdu properly and use Punjabi. Modern Warfare 2 had Arabic in Karachi, I live in Karachi and no one speaks Arabic. And ISI does not have a full scale uniformed army. And where exactly did a flood come from in Lahore? Karachi I could understand because we border the sea and our sewage system sometimes works above capacity, not Lahore's. And why would the ISI be shooting people using drones when that is something that they are very clearly against when America does it? And don't you think any higher ups of that guy would notice, the Pakistani top army brass would have that ISI leader killed if they learned of his plans.

The most accurate recreating of Karachi in a game was in Doorfighter, I could actually recognize some of those places, Memon Masjid, Empress Market, Natives Jetty even the traffic jam at Sadder. And then they go to a slum(Kachi Abadi in Urdu) and people are wearing toops(Arabic clothes) and looking like Arabs while speaking in broken Urdu. Why?
And the same game compares traffic violation to treason on the loading screen. Are you serious? Treason has a death penalty in many countries and traffic tickets are paid in Pakistani currency based on what average Pakistanis earn, 1000 rupees is $10 to you but a lot to us.

If it wasn't for that stupid level in Black Ops 2, I would have really really wanted Raul Menendez to be a Pakistani-American programmer whose family gets killed in a drone attack and he goes out for revenge. I do think there are hints in the story that this was the original version of the character.

I won't be coming back to this thread, I don't want to make myself angry.

Stephen Wo:
Aren't the characters in Prince of Persia (even though it's fairly fantastical) supposed to be Muslims? I feel like a good portrayal of Islam in games could come in one of two ways.

1) Just sort of do a, "He's Muslim, deal with it yo" sort of thing. Make it a part of his/her character without reducing it to "flavor" or making it his/her defining characteristic.

But then I think it's a positive portrayal in name only. I think it should be a defining quality of the individual but one that moves them to save lives and be honorable in their actions. The Qur`an is remarkably kind towards to the weak, the poor, and has a lot of focus on hospitality for travelers. While Islam is not tolerant of other faiths and several practices, it is generally benign otherwise to foreigners who don't throw their beliefs in the faces of Muslims.

2) Make the game about Islam. This could be done in a lot of different ways, but I think that some games have already done this pretty good. Crusader Kings II did this pretty well with a whole set of expansions focused on the Muslim Empires of Africa and the Middle East, and from what I remember, the new Medal of Honor handled the cultural turmoil of the region quite well in the earlier missions.

I've wondered why we don't have more. Islamic tradition has a ton of lore that would be great in games. I do see it poking out here and there but not nearly as often as it deserves. I'm also regularly astounded that their philosopher Al-Farabi doesn't get more mention in society. I think there's a clear western bias against Arabic culture and that's disappointing considering the scale of their contributions to the world in trade and pursuits of higher learning.

Also, concerning the Redguard... They're not Muslim. Not at all. Africa was full of pre-Islam societies, and the later ones such as pre-Islam Mali dressed like the Redguards to protect from harsh desert climate.

Eh, I'd disagree. Their weapons (scimitars), names and garments are Arabic in design and their homelands are desert. There is no other culture that would possibly fit all that criteria.

I'll point out that Northern Africa is Muslim. When I mention that Muslims had already formed an empire and invaded Spain within 100 years of Muhammad's establishment of the faith, that's only after they'd already marched across Northern Africa. Take Morocco for example. It's Arabic name is "The Western Kingdom" and the religion is Islamic (98.7% Muslim, to be specific). This was the country from which the Muslim Empire launched it's very successful invasion in 711 into Spain and they were not pushed back until 1492 (the same year and by the same King and Queen who sent Columbus west, to give you a frame of reference of how long they were in Spain). As such, Northern Africa is very much Muslim. So it is not correct to claim that they're North African and therefore not Muslim. It is also directly incorrect to say that they are not Arabic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_world

Interestingly, I've always considered the Kajiit to be Middle Eastern too. Perhaps the Bedouin. Maybe a diaspora era Jewish considering their nomadic status and the way the other people treat them.

What I don't agree with is that the Redguard were portrayed badly for any reason other than them being foreigners in this particular game. EVERY Elder Scrolls game has the same element where the other regions not being the center of the game are treated badly. This is because they're constantly at war with each other. The Nords hate dark elves, for example.

I know a handful of Muslims from school, and most of them just get uncomfortable and kind of try to half-defend things that seem "weird" or "bad" from a Western perspective. The pork thing, for example. A friend of mine (Muslim) basically tried to convince me that pork tasted bad and was bad for you, and that's why Muslims don't eat it. I don't buy it, but there's nothing wrong with him defending his beliefs.

Yeah, I've run in this too. I recall one of my friends saying that he was eating and tasted some odd meat and spit it out before realizing that it was pork. That he didn't like it. Hehe, there's no debating that pork is bad for you though :p.

Furthermore, when people call upon specific examples from, say, Afghanistan or Iran of fundamentalist Islamists saying things like "Death to America" or burning the stars and stripes, they tend to forget that those people are the Middle Eastern analogues to staunchly conservative Baptist fundamentalists or the sort of flag-waving jingoists that suddenly cropped up in the mainstream following 9/11. They /don't/ represent the majority, but with Feminism, Christianity, Bronies, and just about any other "group", the most extreme minorities are often the loudest, or at least the most widely publicized.

This is a valid point to make. That the Middle Eastern examples of Islam are the staunchest or most conservative Islamic cultures. But considering the size of the region, the population and the governments who enact Sharia law, you certainly can't call them a minority of Islam. It is the very seat of the religion and is only contained by the borders at which Sharia law does not pass. The Middle East is the example of Islam being in authority and that's scary. So pointing out that the Middle Eastern examples of Islam as just being one expression would be a little like people pointing out the RCC as just one expression of Christianity despite the fact that it makes up 1.2 billion members compared to all of protestantism's 590 million. Yes, there are other expressions and yes, most of them are less strict culturally, but that doesn't negate what the Middle Eastern examples are or even that they're the orthodox group. It's amazing that Bah`ai grew out of Islam.

Fortunately, humans assimilate into the cultures in which they're immersed. It's a basic human survival mechanism. As such, a Muslim who migrates to the US or India or the UK is often found to have very different beliefs in a few years as long as they become involved in their community. That Boston bombing is a scary example of that failing to happen.

It is very brave of you to speak up here. I appreciate being able to see your response to this, thank you.

Arif_Sohaib:
I looked through this thread earlier and found someone quoting two passages from the Quran, saying they aren't consistent.
There is no inconsistency, you have to keep in mind the context of the Ayat. Before it was revealed, Muslims weren't allowed to fight against anyone at all, no matter how much they were mistreated or even tortured, look up what happened in Al-Taif or before the migration to Abyssinia. Even after the first Muslims escaped to Madina and kind of had a state, that state was not allowed to go to war in any condition. This Ayat was revealed when they were finally allowed to fight. What it is saying is if anyone fights the Muslims, we are allowed to fight but are to cease immediately as soon as they do.

This is exactly correct and what I've been trying to mention regarding Islam being against attacking people who are non-combatants. There are specific ways to treat people of other faiths but at worst it's usually something like a special tax in trade and general discrimination. Not wanton murder. This is why I was shocked that around half of the Muslims surveyed seemed to think that the 9/11 attack had some merit.

The Muslim Empire also adopted a mission to spread Sharia law by the sword. I have been interested in the exact justification of that. I doubt that Spain had been attacking them in North Africa when they invaded them in 711. They seem to have adopted that practice super early.

May I ask what particular expression of Islam you follow? Sunni, Shi`ite, other?

Now as for games, everyone agrees that we need more diverse characters, right? Why not Muslims?

There are a lot of Muslims in games. Why not friendly Muslims should be a more apt question. The problem at hand is they only portray you guys as hateful war hungry monsters with kitten fur socks instead of real people with hopes and dreams and compassion for the innocent.

Joking aside. Muslim lore is remarkably rich. I'd like to see more Arabic settings in general and not just Prince of Persia/Aladin stuff.

And another thing, don't talk about Muslims as if we can't make games on our own. WE can and we have. Iran has a God of War like game called Garshap, Pakistan has made the most complex cricket game ever with Cricket Revolution and personally I intend to go into video game development myself from Pakistan. I am planning to make a game for my Final Year Project in Computer Science too. What I will ask from the international audience is to not just dismiss games because they come from Muslim countries, or talk from a Muslim or any foreign point of view (I think some Americans probably passed on Witcher or Metro because of that).

It would be great to start seeing some legitimate Muslim-made video games making it to the big time over here. Good luck on your efforts!

Metro 2033 was one of my very favorite games. I look forward to picking up Last Light soon. If you make a good game that's worth playing, rest assured that the majority of us don't care where you're from.

And from American developers, if you want Muslim villains, give them proper character and if you want to put Muslim countries in games at least do some research on them. Black Ops 2 had Arabic in Lahore, no one speaks Arabic in Lahore, my mother is from Lahore, some Lahoris don't even speak Urdu properly and use Punjabi. Modern Warfare 2 had Arabic in Karachi, I live in Karachi and no one speaks Arabic. And ISI does not have a full scale uniformed army. And where exactly did a flood come from in Lahore? Karachi I could understand because we border the sea and our sewage system sometimes works above capacity, not Lahore's. And why would the ISI be shooting people using drones when that is something that they are very clearly against when America does it? And don't you think any higher ups of that guy would notice, the Pakistani top army brass would have that ISI leader killed if they learned of his plans.

Haha, exactly! If they're going to do it at all, they need to do it right.

I won't be coming back to this thread, I don't want to make myself angry.

That's unfortunate. You've provided the best insight on the topic yet. A real benefit to the conversation. Most prejudice is born out of ignorance and you diminish that with your presence.

Lightknight:
The drone strikes are "supposed" to be targeting enemy combatants/terrorists. Hopefully 50% of the US doesn't think that innocent casualties are a good thing, but any justification would generally be along the lines of believing that the US made a mistake if it didn't get the target rather than actually targeting civilians.

I'm sure we have our radicals/racists who want Muslims gone. I just don't believe that it is half and I don't believe that a drone strike killing a dozen civilians on accident is equivalent to 9/11 in which the purposeful attack on civilian landmarks murdered thousands. At least the Pentagon was a military establishment, tragedy though it was. But the twin towers? It had no point but to kill civilians. I would say that a purposeful drone strike killing known non-combatants would be equivalent in mindset of the terrorists the program is supposed to target. I hope if that happens that we'll see the appropriate people held accountable.

You have justified the killing (whether you believe your justification Ill not judge) of people not in the military in an allied country, away from any war zone, without trial, jury, right to appeal. Along with anyone standing nearby as collateral damage. Personally I disagree but there will be people who believe in what you wrote. I would hope their are people being held accountable for errors but I seriously doubt we will ever see any trials from a drone strike.

Justifying attrocities against civilians is not a muslim thing. People do shitty things for ideology whether christian/catholic/muslim/free market capitalist/marxist/patriotism... I could go on. The IRA are catholic, they killed and maimed civilians attacking infrastructure on mainland Britain with funding and support from white, decidedly none muslim Americans amongst others. Someone felt justified to do this.

Looking at the twin towers it could be justified (wrongly in my opinion. I dont believe in killing to meet goals) as an attack on America as an institution, hitting commerce and the "centre" of American capitalism. The civilians were collateral damage, in a similar way the IRA and supporters felt the Manchester city bombing was legitimate and justified. That was an attack on a shopping district and there was no mention of Alah.

Before the twin towers the American government had no issue with its citizens funding the IRA.

Lightknight:
It happens in those muslim nations too. You think none of them drink? No one has an affair? No one has sex unwed? It happens behind closed doors. Its like saying no one takes drugs in the west because its against the law and they send you prison.

Yes, it happens behind closed doors. Why? Because the culture around them would punish them for it because they are not tolerant. Which is the whole point. An intolerant religion is not a peaceful religion...

You have to abide by the laws of the country you are in or face the consequences. Its why people smoke cannabis in bars in Amsterdam but not the US. Why Ill happily Jay walk in the UK, Why people dont drink outside in dry states. Some of the American laws and sentencing seem draconian from over here in Europe. In the US you get some awful reactions if you dont pay attention during the pledge of allegance or the singing of the national anthem, the horror caused by flag burning. Things that seem very alien to someone growing up in the UK. Its cultural differences.

Alcohol is easy to get in Pakistan, can be legally bought and consumed in Egypt and UAE. You talk about Muslim culture but as the article said its multiple countries split into multiple regions full of individuals and not one faceless group with the same mind and culture. There were women attending night clubs in Mini skirts under the Shah in Iran when they were unheard of in Britain, Spain was tolerant of other faiths under muslim rule when believing in anything but the bible would have you tortured and killed in Christian Europe. There are mulitple interpretations of any religion and it will vary from person to person. Culture and religion are not the same. Most people will let you get on with your thing if it doesnt affect them. The police and law dont always feel the same.

Lightknight:
Because the games are marketed towards Americans who make up the most significant amount of the target market. The games we're talking about with militant Muslims are nearly all from the American perspective and so the best way to do this, if you're going to do it, would be from an American Muslim's perspective. I mean, how meaningful would it be to show an American Muslim being mistreated by his comrades despite doing everything right? That's how you help with racism and staggered representation. The whole point is to make them reflect on being treated that way internally. Having something in common with the protagonist would be key to thae internalisation of such a theme. Making the character American from a recognized city would be that easily obtained common ground.

I agree it would be good but this is part of American culture I struggle to understand. In the UK we have TV shows with American protagonists, Belgian, Australian. TV made abroad and we screen it as is. In America this doesnt fly, networks feel the need to have to remake it replacing everyone with Americans. the Office and Top Gear spring to mind. If someone is human its possible to find that common ground without being from the same country. Having a family, caring for people and things, goals, interests hopes and fears make people relatable. You dont have to have an American to do this.

Lightknight:
50% may seem like a small number compared to your 90% guess, but that is actually quite a large percentage of people who believe an attack on innocent civilians in a country that is not actively at war with you is justified. As you said though, the study does include a significant number of Muslims who aren't in the main areas of hostility towards America. I'd like to see those numbers revealed by country as I'd believe that some more peaceful regions that are US friendly (Indian Muslims, for example) would have skewed the data downwards a fair bit. They have to be careful doing that though, as this particular question can rally people to a cause and if you actually had a nation that was over 90% on that question then we'd begin singling out certain nationals.

It's funny that you mention that, because you're basically agreeing with my main point. Indeed, with Rath's first argument. That Islam does not equal a predisposition towards hating the US. Your suggestion, that they should exclude any "peaceful regions" and just focus on those nations with, well, a history of war with the US... you clearly see that that would lead to different results. And it would. Not because the people being polled are Muslim, but because they have a history of violence with the US that would predispose them towards seeing that those actions are somewhat justify.

Note that even then, it's still "somewhat justified". We're only talking a small percentage that believe it's fully justified, and it's my view that regions like Palestine and Pakistan would massively skew those results due to the widespread distrust and history of fighting Americans and American allies.

Lightknight:
An attack on civilians would have been condemned by their own prophet and that's speaking of a man who built an empire bent on conquering the world within just a few decades of its inception (from Medina to Spain in less than 100 years, no small feat). Many of us even have problems with the Dresden bombings and the bombings of Japan and those were countries who were actively at war with us. It takes a special kind of mindset to justify such an attack on non-combatants. The 55% need not surprise you when the study is worldwide and not region based. The numbers from Iran would differ greatly from the numbers from India or China.

As I said a few posts back, nearly every country in the world with a predominantly Muslim population condemned 9/11, just as you say they should. Even terrorist organisations like the Taliban and Hezbollah condemned it. Iran, which you bring up, condemned the attacks on a massive scale.

This 55% number you're bandering around is misleading. Answering "somewhat justified" (another 20-something %) does not equal the same level of support that the 7% of "completely justified" responses indicate.

Lightknight:
What does "intention" have to do with anything? It's the effect that matters. It's great that you likely live in a country with significant efforts to establish gender equality but you have to understand that these are cultures where being a woman literally disqualifies you from certain jobs. Had they begun asking about specific jobs they would have found what appears to be a significant inconsistency arise. Imagine if you'd just gotten an affirmative to the previous question and then asked if they could be a cashier only to get a no because then men would have to talk to her as is not culturally acceptable in their society. "Of course being able to talk with customers to take orders and money is a requirement of being a cashier". If I were a store owner in a Middle Eastern culture with that kind of custom I would be unable to hire women in client-facing positions even if I wanted to.

First of all, these questions were phrased in the local languages. Now, in the context of an opinion poll of this sort, "qualified" pretty clearly means that they have the physical and mental capacity, along with the requisite skills and experience, to perform the job required. As we're talking about an experienced polling group with an in-depth knowledge of the regions they are conducting the poll in, I think it's best to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they actually know how to phrase their questions correctly.

Lightknight:
To look at this kind of study an use it to shrug off Islamic culture's outright degradation and abuse of women is a great insult to all the women impacted by a very different reality that flies in the face of any such study.

Never let it be said that I'm shrugging off the degradation of women. So we're clear, I find it despicable, repulsive, and insane. All I am arguing is that it is ludicrous to portray Islam as a whole as oppressive towards women. It's not something inherent to the religion. It's something inherent to a lot of developing nations, regardless of their religion. Islam is used to justify it in parts of the Middle East, just as Christianity is used to justify it in parts of Africa and Hinduism used to justify it in parts of India.

It's just ludicrous to portray Muslim women as passive victims, their usual role in Western media. It dismisses the amazing women's rights movements in Islamic countries right across the world. That is a great insult to all the women actually involved in fighting back against the oppression or focused on trying to bring equality to their regions.

Lightknight:
I'd love to find out more about the intricacies of these studies. For example, how many of the surveyors were female? That number being significant at all could significantly skew results due to the customs I mentioned. In a culture where men don't usually talk to women, the kind of people who respond are already those who don't follow the local customs. They say that they did this in an unbiased way but I'd love to have access to regular footage of them performing the surveys and where they performed them. For example, did they go from house to house or did they do it largely in colleges or other such places?

...Did you watch the video? They went to peoples' houses. They mostly used women to interview women and men to interview men. They went deep into rural areas, even conflict zones, in order to gather opinions.

Lightknight:
If there's anything I've learned from all the coursework I did in statistics, it's that surveys can be biased in three ways. The wording of the questions, the way survey collectors conduct the surveys, and the way that the sample is randomized. The absolute most important component is that the sample be random. You can even forgive the other two points of bias to a significant extent if the sample size is large and random enough. If the study is done right, then the numbers speak for themselves. Some people would say that interpretation is another area for bias but how the group performing the study interprets them is meaningless when the numbers stand firm.

Not sure what point you're making there. You seem to just be casting a vague aura of doubt over the study without actually accusing it directly of anything. Everything you say is absolutely correct, but also... rather unnecessary unless you follow it up with a point. This entire paragraph just seems to be trying to imply that the study is inaccurate without actually saying as much. If you do think that, say so and why.

Lightknight:
It is what Islam teaches, it is not necessarily what Muslims practice. These aren't only religious beliefs, but also legal beliefs as I've explained. There is a difference when a national religion has been established in a way that involves it in the legal process.

The legality holds in, what, five or six countries? With optional sharia law in a few others. And even in countries like Iran and Pakistan, which do have it written into law, the interpretation varies by region and they sometimes outright ignore it. One of those countries, for example, has a theocratic head of state while the other has a democratically elected one. In Nigeria, Sharia Law is used to justify harsher punishments, but they flout that parts that actually require a great amount of proof first. And for the vast, vast majority of the Muslim world, Sharia Law is not actually the legal system that they live under. That affords most Muslims in the world just as much ability to flout the parts of the Qur'an advocating the oppression of women as it gives Christians the right to not stone homosexuals to death.

Lightknight:
What makes you think Christians don't believe that women are to obey their husbands? I'd say the numbers of people who don't follow that is increasing but it's still a VERY common belief/practice. It is even regularly taught from the pulpit.

I didn't say there weren't any. My point is that there are Christians that don't follow those parts of their holy book, just as there are Muslims that choose not to follow that part of their book. It's not a problem inherent to Islam. It's a problem widely found in developing countries that are still working on getting their equality and general acknowledgement of human rights up to scratch.

Lightknight:
I don't know why your experience would be particularly relevant. What verse/belief that I presented would be something that would have impacted you? As I stated regarding the "fight unbelievers" verse, it's out of context despite being a controversial one. Did you go there shouting that there is no Allah or something like that to disprove the verse's acceptance.

If I have to shout at people I know to be religious that their religion is nonsense in order to find out whether or not they believe in that law, I can't imagine it matters. That's so incredibly situational, and quite a dick move to do to someone that you know is religious, that I can't imagine that law impacting anyone all that often.

Lightknight:
Were you a Muslim's wife for a time and did you mouth off more than three times?

No, but being as a sizeable portion of my extended family is Muslim (and living in the Middle East), and that a lot of the Muslim women I know have no problem harassing, badgering, or mouthing off to their husbands without getting beaten, I can honestly say that I've never seen this one in effect.

Again, I'm not saying this stuff doesn't happen. It does, and it's appalling. But it's not a universal part of Islam and it's not as widespread as western media would have you believe. It's a problem that needs to be changed, but not an indication of a root problem in the religion. It's far more of a cultural and social issue that needs to be dealt with using a knowledge of local culture, rather than a widespread condemnation of the religion they all happen to be part of.

Lightknight:
Are you a female who successfully drove a car around Saudi Arabia without being properly attired and having a male escort? Were you a ten year-old female whose father was attempting to entice a 40-year old wealthy man into marrying you or something?

I'm not sure how you'd really come across these things that largely happen behind the scenes.

Two example of laws that need to be changed in those countries where they are in effect. But, again, the overwhelming majority of Muslims live in countries where women are allowed to drive and where child marriage is just as illegal as in the West. When it happens in those countries, and it does on occasion, it's a violation of the civic law and no different from the cases of child marriage we still get here in the West. More widespread, because a lot of the time we're talking developing countries with a more ineffectual legal system, but it's a part of the religion that most do not follow and not indicative of the culture as a whole.

Lightknight:
I dare you to say this exact paragraph within a populated Muslim establishment in pretty much any of the Islamic nations. "What do you think of these Qur`anic verses," "I interpret them as kooky laws written down centries ago...". If dealing with American Muslims, they very well may agree with you thanks to the integration into our culture but you'd likely get offense in the same way Christians would be offended. I wouldn't anticipate violence though. If dealing with Indian Muslims your speech may be angrily tolerated or you may be physically removed from the establishment and taught a lesson out back. I fear for your very life at the blasphemy you've spoken in say, Iran. Either at the hands of the locals or even the government itself.

Let's not even get started on apostasy, an automatic death sentence in nearly every Islamic nation, both locally within the culture and legally.

Personally, I don't make it a habit of offending the religion of anyone. I know full well that even in the "civilised" west, mouthing off about someone's religion in that way is a good way to cop a beating regardless of their religion. And in Iran... again, I don't agree with theocratic states. What I disagree with is portraying Islam as being like Iran's interpretation of it. Everything I've been trying to say in this topic has been in respect to Rath's article that we need better representation of Muslims in video games. Since we mainly portray them as terrorists, and terrorists make up much less than 1% of all Muslims, I don't think that's inaccurate. And in the broader media, we have a habit of focusing on the least savoury aspects until people like you think that they represent the religion as a whole.

Lightknight:

What's interesting is that people like you project their own sensibilities onto these very different cultures. You think that just because you and I believe these verses to be archaic that these other countries would too. But that's not the case. They're several decades behind us at least and that's only assuming that they're progressing our way thanks to the distance diminishing force that is the internet.

I'm confused now. I'm speaking from a mixture of personal experience with some supporting statistics and facts. I've also acknowledged that all the bad stuff happens, and shouldn't be forgiven. My main argument is that that is not representative of the religion. And now you're accusing me of projecting?

Lightknight:
A question you should ask is what would happen in most Muslim cultures if you were to walk into the street and burn a Qur`an. Yes, you'd be stupid for doing something like that in any culture. But the ability to offend Islam is not present at all.

Oh come on, you're just being ridiculous. You say so yourself. Insulting someone's religion is never a good idea. To start with, it's just flat out impolite. I have no idea what point you're trying to make here beyond making yourself look good, but since you can't even to say it without admitting to yourself that it's ridiculous I can't say it does a good job.

I wonder, what would happen if I were to walk into a street anywhere in the world and act as offensively as possible towards the local beliefs and traditions?

Lightknight:
For all my studies and interactions with peaceful Muslims. I've very much wanted to consider Islam peaceful. But that would be a lie. Islam is incompatible with pluralistic ideals and Western culture without significant revisions. The current movement to make it out to be peaceful is to counteract the very real and very wrong persecution of Muslims by Americans who are quick to stereotype individuals around them. I understand this motivation. I understand wanting to do anything to protect innocent people who don't deserve such discrimination and even persecution. But the way to do that isn't to lie about something. It's to come down hard about prejudice, something that is intrinsically evil.

The religion, on the whole, is peaceful. Individual people, sometimes with the backing of a local cultural consensus, can do terrible things. Sometimes there are even whole countries that fall into this trap. But, and this is all I've been arguing, this is not a problem with the religion as a whole. I agree that prejudice is pretty much intrinsically evil, which is why we should stop being so damned prejudiced against Muslims in both video games and western media in general.

Lightknight:
Meaning we don't depict Taliban forces like they're just charging troops with kittens and candies? Perhaps the Al Qaeda forces in video games should be secretly trying to get into tickle fights.

Again, you're being ridiculous and acting like you didn't even read the article. It means showing that some of the bravest people fighting the Taliban are local, unarmed translators. Without them we wouldn't have a hope in the region, and they risk not only their own lives, but the lives of their families and friends by helping us. It means showing that the local population by no means supports the Taliban. It means showing that there's more to Islam than the Taliban. Not all of that is necessarily possible within the context of a single game, although a good chunk of it certainly is, but at the moment all we're really getting is the Taliban.

Lightknight:
The issue isn't that Muslims are being misrepresented. It's that the groups that aren't extreme or militant aren't relevant to the stories we see them in. The groups being represented are entirely apt but by no means make up the normal Muslim.

There are two problems here. The first, it's really easy to have characters like the aforementioned translators in the common MMS. It's easy to things like having the local military supporting you in some capacity. It's easy to have American Muslims in your squad. There are plenty of ways to have a fairer representation without changing the format. And of course the second big problem is this idea that we have to tell this kind of overblown, prejudiced, and ultimately unrealistic story. In real life, the groups that are neither extreme nor militant are incredibly relevant to the war efforts in those areas. That they apparently aren't to the games we choose to tell to those games is just a total and utter failure on the part of those games.

Lightknight:
Right. This is why I'm specifying that I do not believe the context of that verse to be what people assume it is. I thought it may be beneficial for you and me to discuss this as we're likely in agreement here. As long as individuals do not directly insult Islam or publically practice their faith, they're generally safe. Those verses in context generally refer to other nations who are militant and is the grounds for taking over another nation to impose Sharia law moreso than harming the individual. This is what people confuse when they think of spreading Islam by the sword. They (people who have not studied Islam) believe that terminology means that they demand people convert or they kill them. That is not (or should not) be the case. It's an overall spreading by military conquering which may still be upsetting but certainly has a different opponent than the individual. Individual entities within an Islamic nation are then only confronted for doing something contrary to Sharia law.

And my entire point is that terms like "an Islamic nation" are inherently meaningless without more specifics. There are a lot of Islamic nations in this world, and not all of them use sharia law in any capacity. Of those that do, most use it as an optional court for Family law. And Sharia law in each of these countries has its own idiosyncrasies and differences.

Lightknight:
Because it's part of their laws. Sharia law is a derivative of Qur`anic passages and the specific Hadith source that the relative school of law adheres to. Western criticism and political pressure has made their enforcement of these laws a lot more difficult but only on cases that catch the public eye. Men are legally allowed to treat their wives that way as well as to allow those marriage practices and it's fairly common in the bedouin societies still. Add that to commonly know practices like female circumcision and being a female in an Islamic society can be quite the hard knock life.

Regrettably, as I've said time and again, there are problems in a lot of Islamic countries. This is not because of Islam. It might be used as the justification, but as I've pointed out Sharia Law, when used as you describe, is being used to support a local culture or tradition. And these cultures and traditions are not universal in the Islamic world. Almost all of the problems you name are common problems in a lot of developing nations regardless of their religion.

Lightknight:
No, I am judging the actual letter of their laws that are often criticized by other nations when particularly egregious examples surface.

Have you actually studies the Islamic faith and the resulting Sharia law? It honestly sounds like you're projecting your Western culture onto other cultures. Essentially, you're doing the same thing you think I'm doing. Just in the other direction.

I am, regrettably, only a few years into my studies on Islam. I've spent a lot of time in South-East Asia and the Middle East, know a lot of Muslims and so on, but my academic studies into it have only been for the last three years. I do have one friend that spent close to a decade in the Middle East working at universities and interviewing Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip as part of his PhD, and I wish I had half that experience. While I know that, like all human beings on the planet, I have my own biases and a tendency to project them, I feel pretty damned confident in saying that Rath's article is pretty damned good and that the depiction of Islam in the media is generally not representative of the religion as a whole.

Lightknight:
A mainstream belief is an orthodox/accepted belief. Particularly one that has found its way into law. Tell me, in a Sunni nation, what do you think the law has to say about someone who blasphemes? Do you believe that there is no such law that regards that or do you know full well that it exists and how extreme the punishments can be? I mean, hell, these are nations that cut off the hands of thieves regardless of the extent of the theft as long as they're repeat offenders (two, for example). Why? Because the Qur`an says to. We are literally looking at a theonomistic religion that is in the seat of power over several nations. That makes a difference.

And the fact that you think the term "a Sunni nation" has any meaning in respect to the law is really telling. Javed Ahmed Ghamidi once made the point that nothing in the Qur'an actually supports blasphemy law. But now I'm going to pick a case of a blasphemy law that somewhat supports your case, because I'm trying to make it clear that I'm not arguing in an opposite direction. I'm arguing in terms of variation and representation, not that there is a total absence of anything you describe.

So, with that in mind, let's look at Indonesia's Blasphemy Law. It is, after all, the world's biggest Sunni nation, and it presents a fascinating case. "Indonesia prohibits blasphemy by its Criminal Code. The Code's Article 156(a) targets those who deliberately, in public, express feelings of hostility, hatred, or contempt against religions with the purpose of preventing others from adhering to any religion, and targets those who disgrace a religion. The penalty for violating Article 156(a) is a maximum of five years imprisonment."

So, it's more or less a law that guarantees religious freedom and prevents people from trying to prevent others from following a religion. The punishment for this is five years in prison. So, you're right, if I were to go to Indonesia and tried to stop people from attending their mosque, I could be thrown in jail. But it's not all good. Oh no. Although parts of Indonesia's one are actually pretty admirable, it has some clauses that have been used to imprison people just for making outlandish claims or denigrating Islam. But again, for the umpteenth time, what goes for one Muslim country does not go for all the others. Blasphemy law is not universal. And, above all, we are mainly talking developing countries here. It isn't Islam causing the unjust actions in any of these countries. It is merely being used as the excuse. I don't expect these countries to have the same level of respect for human rights as certain Western countries, but I do expect them to reach that level hopefully within my lifetime. And I don't expect their religion to pose an obstacle, at least no more than Christianity did for the West. Do you understand yet what I'm saying? Islam is not the problem. And more than that, Islam varies. Region, local culture and traditions, these inform the way in which the people in any given place follow Islam.

Lightknight:
The 5 schools of law (4 Sunni, 1 Shi`ite) take commands of the Qur`an and their respective hadith source and literally rate each command from outright demand to recommended but not compulsory. It's typically a 5-point scale that even rates brushing one's teeth (Muhammad had a habbit of brushing his teeth with a root and so the action has been considered righteous and therefore given a religious/legal rating. I forget the rating but I don't believe it was compulsory like not drinking or eating pork are).

And, for the final time, very few Muslim countries have any of that enshrined in law. They each have a different system, and even in the areas where Sharia is enforced, it's often done on a tribal rather than national level.

Considering most muslims in my country (Holland) think that what happened to the jews in World War 2 was fantastic, I think muslims should first try and better represent themselves.

Many schools here seriously just don't even mention the Holocaust during history class, because it pisses off the muslim students.

Lightknight:
It is very brave of you to speak up here. I appreciate being able to see your response to this, thank you.

Arif_Sohaib:
I looked through this thread earlier and found someone quoting two passages from the Quran, saying they aren't consistent.
There is no inconsistency, you have to keep in mind the context of the Ayat. Before it was revealed, Muslims weren't allowed to fight against anyone at all, no matter how much they were mistreated or even tortured, look up what happened in Al-Taif or before the migration to Abyssinia. Even after the first Muslims escaped to Madina and kind of had a state, that state was not allowed to go to war in any condition. This Ayat was revealed when they were finally allowed to fight. What it is saying is if anyone fights the Muslims, we are allowed to fight but are to cease immediately as soon as they do.

This is exactly correct and what I've been trying to mention regarding Islam being against attacking people who are non-combatants. There are specific ways to treat people of other faiths but at worst it's usually something like a special tax in trade and general discrimination. Not wanton murder. This is why I was shocked that around half of the Muslims surveyed seemed to think that the 9/11 attack had some merit.

The Muslim Empire also adopted a mission to spread Sharia law by the sword. I have been interested in the exact justification of that. I doubt that Spain had been attacking them in North Africa when they invaded them in 711. They seem to have adopted that practice super early.

May I ask what particular expression of Islam you follow? Sunni, Shi`ite, other?

Now as for games, everyone agrees that we need more diverse characters, right? Why not Muslims?

There are a lot of Muslims in games. Why not friendly Muslims should be a more apt question. The problem at hand is they only portray you guys as hateful war hungry monsters with kitten fur socks instead of real people with hopes and dreams and compassion for the innocent.

Joking aside. Muslim lore is remarkably rich. I'd like to see more Arabic settings in general and not just Prince of Persia/Aladin stuff.

And another thing, don't talk about Muslims as if we can't make games on our own. WE can and we have. Iran has a God of War like game called Garshap, Pakistan has made the most complex cricket game ever with Cricket Revolution and personally I intend to go into video game development myself from Pakistan. I am planning to make a game for my Final Year Project in Computer Science too. What I will ask from the international audience is to not just dismiss games because they come from Muslim countries, or talk from a Muslim or any foreign point of view (I think some Americans probably passed on Witcher or Metro because of that).

It would be great to start seeing some legitimate Muslim-made video games making it to the big time over here. Good luck on your efforts!

Metro 2033 was one of my very favorite games. I look forward to picking up Last Light soon. If you make a good game that's worth playing, rest assured that the majority of us don't care where you're from.

And from American developers, if you want Muslim villains, give them proper character and if you want to put Muslim countries in games at least do some research on them. Black Ops 2 had Arabic in Lahore, no one speaks Arabic in Lahore, my mother is from Lahore, some Lahoris don't even speak Urdu properly and use Punjabi. Modern Warfare 2 had Arabic in Karachi, I live in Karachi and no one speaks Arabic. And ISI does not have a full scale uniformed army. And where exactly did a flood come from in Lahore? Karachi I could understand because we border the sea and our sewage system sometimes works above capacity, not Lahore's. And why would the ISI be shooting people using drones when that is something that they are very clearly against when America does it? And don't you think any higher ups of that guy would notice, the Pakistani top army brass would have that ISI leader killed if they learned of his plans.

Haha, exactly! If they're going to do it at all, they need to do it right.

I won't be coming back to this thread, I don't want to make myself angry.

That's unfortunate. You've provided the best insight on the topic yet. A real benefit to the conversation. Most prejudice is born out of ignorance and you diminish that with your presence.

I did not want to come back to this thread and as soon as you start spreading baseless accusations against Islam(not Muslims, blame us all you want), I will leave.

I am a Sunni but I have Shia friends and there is no conflict most of the time. If it happened all the time it would not be on the news as something unique every time it happened.
And in my Islamic Studies class in university, I was told some Fiqahs(sects) follow some Sunnahs and others follow others, both can be true and in this way all Sunnahs are followed.

The people leading the "Muslim Empire"(there was no such thing unless you are talking about the first 4 Caliphs) were humans too and they too followed some parts of Islam and ignored others. There was no justification for Spain and because of that 300 years later Muslims lost it.
The invasions during the original Caliphate, however, were justified. The Romans and Persians were at war with the Caliphate and they were arming rebels against it on their borders so they were attacked in revenge or preemptive strike.

And 9/11, I think others already cleared it up well. Anyone approving of it did so because of the hatred the US already had against Muslims and their foreign policy against Muslim countries, supporting hated dictators and kings, regime change at will(remember what happened before the Iran Revolution?) and several other political reasons. Even now the US has made only one or two statements against Burma and the 969 monks, yet you want to fight Syria, also nothing against American-allied Bahrain or Yemen.
Ever seen the alternate ending to I am Legend or read the book? To some Muslims and several others America is the monster of their legends. America has the power to do almost anything to them, you spy on even your own people, you launch drones from far away, you change regimes at will, we never know if you rigged our votes(Several Pakistanis believe you were responsible for the last 5 miserable years under the PPP and Zardari) and the worst part to them is they can't do anything about at all.

As for games, games don't need just friendly bland Muslims. They can have Muslim villains but tell the audience why they hate them. Like a Muslim Raul Manendez or Ali Shaheed from Alpha Protocol.

If you really want more Muslim perspective, watch The Message(1976 movie about the begining of Islam) and Khuda Ke Liye(Pakistan's take on the war on terror, it even covers issues like extremism and forced marriage and a Muslim who is kind of an atheist and his Comstock-like attempt at redemption).

bjj hero:
You have justified the killing (whether you believe your justification Ill not judge) of people not in the military in an allied country, away from any war zone, without trial, jury, right to appeal. Along with anyone standing nearby as collateral damage. Personally I disagree but there will be people who believe in what you wrote. I would hope their are people being held accountable for errors but I seriously doubt we will ever see any trials from a drone strike.

I do not generally believe that a soldier must have a warrant before shooting an enemy combatant. The drone program is, again, "Supposed" to be military action without endangering our soldiers. I do believe this to be the next step in military involvement but I do NOT agree with striking without certainty that they are the military combatants being sought. The face of war has transformed into something really strange. Military forces and groups that span nations while not necessarily being parts of those nations. As such, this step is necessary and it is fighting a war of sorts (I do wonder why we haven't used this against the drug trade, not to kill but to find drug crops and perhaps ruin them). But in today's society, much smaller forces can mobilize and communicate as efficiently as a national army. So we can't just not go to war with these groups just because they don't have a particular border they fit within.

So it's perfectly reasonable to agree with the notion of a drone program without agreeing with the way this administration is currently performing it. I would like to see the success rate. How many innocents killed or harmed in a strike compared to how many actual targets are taken out. I feel like that would be the only true success or failure rate in such a program. There is bound to be a margin of error, but it has to be an actual error and not a foreknown error that they deemed acceptable except in the most extreme and movie-esque of examples.

So again, there is a significant difference between the attempted targeting of military combatants and the purposeful murder of civilian non-combatants. Let's also not forget that these fragmented and regional groups showing their teeth on 9/11 is the entire reason for the drone program being necessary. Without them doing things like that, we'd still be stuck in border to border warfare as usual. They've literally brought tribal warfare back into viability. The history books being written regarding this period should hopefully touch on that.

Justifying attrocities against civilians is not a muslim thing. People do shitty things for ideology whether christian/catholic/muslim/free market capitalist/marxist/patriotism... I could go on. The IRA are catholic, they killed and maimed civilians attacking infrastructure on mainland Britain with funding and support from white, decidedly none muslim Americans amongst others. Someone felt justified to do this.

If they percieve America to be at war with Islam, then a military attack would be entirely justified by the Qur`an and the hadiths of practically any Islamic group. A civilian attack would not be. So the attack on the Pentagon would be justified by their faith if it hadn't also cost the lives of those civilians on the plane and the attacks on the twin towers would have been entirely unjustified. What's interesting is that suicide attacks don't really have a place in traditional Islam. There was no bomb equivalent so to die a martyr was either under oppression or during battle with combatants. Never strapping a bomb to yourself and clocking out.

Our best response should have been to encourage a deeper understanding of their faith. It's a shame that our government didn't know how to respond to such things culturally instead of just by force. I think they've learned thanks to this past decade. But it may be too little, too late, and I don't see evidence that they've really been willing to put that information into practice. They just keep shaking the hornet's nest, thinking that that's the way to pacify them.

Looking at the twin towers it could be justified (wrongly in my opinion. I dont believe in killing to meet goals) as an attack on America as an institution, hitting commerce and the "centre" of American capitalism. The civilians were collateral damage, in a similar way the IRA and supporters felt the Manchester city bombing was legitimate and justified. That was an attack on a shopping district and there was no mention of Alah.

Christianity doesn't have a clause to go out and kill people at any point or for any reason. At the very most, you'd maybe find verses where self defense is justified when Jesus said that the few swords the disciples had amongst them were plenty.

There is a difference between a group who enacts violence in the name of a peaceful religion and a group who enacts violence in order to adhere to a religion. If they felt that America was at war with them, then it is practically a command to fight back. That's not necessarily even the problem, it's that they fought back by attacking non-combatants. Something they aren't supposed to do.

You have to abide by the laws of the country you are in or face the consequences. Its why people smoke cannabis in bars in Amsterdam but not the US. Why Ill happily Jay walk in the UK, Why people dont drink outside in dry states. Some of the American laws and sentencing seem draconian from over here in Europe. In the US you get some awful reactions if you dont pay attention during the pledge of allegance or the singing of the national anthem, the horror caused by flag burning. Things that seem very alien to someone growing up in the UK. Its cultural differences.

Americans live free from the fear of death at performing those actions. Try burning the national flag of Iran or Pakistan in public in those countries. In America, people talk rudely to you and such but you don't have to be afraid that someone is going to kill you or that the government itself will put you to death for it. Draconian laws? Hardly. Here you have the literal right to piss and burn any religious text you own.

Alcohol is easy to get in Pakistan, can be legally bought and consumed in Egypt and UAE. You talk about Muslim culture but as the article said its multiple countries split into multiple regions full of individuals and not one faceless group with the same mind and culture. There were women attending night clubs in Mini skirts under the Shah in Iran when they were unheard of in Britain, Spain was tolerant of other faiths under muslim rule when believing in anything but the bible would have you tortured and killed in Christian Europe. There are mulitple interpretations of any religion and it will vary from person to person. Culture and religion are not the same. Most people will let you get on with your thing if it doesnt affect them. The police and law dont always feel the same.

I've already used Spain as the example that Islam is typically peaceful towards non-combatants of any faith. They do practice direct discrimination and do prohibit public displays of other faiths, but they don't kill them and such. My discussion here has mostly been towards civil injustices contained within the faith. Discrimination against women, children and non-believers. The mandate to return violence is more reactionary and the mandate to spread the borders of Islam is a military mandate rather than causing civilian death. Still, that has consequences that we may not like.

You'll notice that a lot of Christian evils were committed at the hands of specific countries rather than the Christian Church itself. The Spanish Inquisition and such could be an easy example of an atrocity attributed to Christianity that was instead performed by a government who had been at war with Muslims for the past 700 years. England's and Spain's crusades were also quite brutal and in the name of Christianity for stupid reasons but were still national actions. You also have a number of centuries where the popeship was fought over by the equivalent of mafia families who knew that the pope was actually an emperor and so you had significant corruption within the RCC during the dark ages. But you, like so many others, forget that the RCC was just one of the Pentarchy. Rome, Jerusalem, Antioch, Constantinople, and Alexandria were all originally full fledged centers of the Christian church. All the way up until the great schism in the 11th century when Rome demanded deferrence from the others and they would not allow Rome's arrogance to corrupt the Church. The fact that this has largely been forgotten is testimony to Rome's success through being corrupt and also Islams success in the regions of the other four when Rome did not rally others to their aid. Only Jerusalem got special treatment and that was ridiculous. I guess we could have seen trouble brewing when the tradition goes that Rome adopted Christianity after they believed it to give them success in battle. Of course Rome would then use it as a tool to achieve their means.

What we see historically is that governments will abuse religion to their own ends. This says nothing about the religion itself unless the religion teaches that those actions are a good thing. Make no mistake, Rome and the Pope were actually governments using the faith to their political ends for several centuries. Christianity itself, however, was a religion that grew out of persecution and the message was to be good and noble despite oppression. A Roman soldier demands you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two. That's an almost unique message. The Roman Empire adopting Christianity was a good thing for the spreading of the faith but an absolute travesty to the spirit of its practice. People make a leap when they say that Christianity did those things. It's more a commentary on human nature and the corruption that power causes in us. There is a reason why protestantism was necessary. The RCC in that time period was finally too weak to respond to teh split and yet still corrupted enough to warrant a split. Christians had tried to split off earlier, seeing the extreme corruption of the RCC but were put to death by a government who did not wish to lose power.

Islam was a religion founded on having been oppressed and then physically overcoming the oppressors. It was being written and developed while its people were at war with other tribes in the reason and so it had the position of law whereas Christianity was written in the position of being under law. As such, you have a natural hornets nest kind of religion. One that if you strike it you will get messed up for doing so but one that really won't usually harm you if you leave it be (notice I resisted saying "...leave it bee", namely because hornets are not bees...). Interestingly enough, Hinduism took a route of creating a class system that was insanely discriminatory but not so outwardly violent. Judaism and Islam went an ultra violent "Us against them" route but Judaism at least confined its military endeavors to holding one particularly plot of land while Islam was not so contained and was encouraged to be spread. Buddhism and Christianity are the interesting outliers. Other religions I've researched have also been mostly on the war side.

An interesting note is that when the Muslims were kicked out of Mecca, they fled North and West. North to Medina, West to the Christian tribes who took them in. While the Muslims were quite appreciative of that shelter, there was also a non-trivial amount of conversion there. This is why if you read the 5th Surah you'll see significant language about not communicating with non-believers and no longer taking shelter with despite the fact that they were originally sent there by the prophet and despite the same Surah also establishing Christians and Jews as children of the book and therefore having nothing to fear on the day of judgment. The same terminology is also used in the 2nd Surah, verbatim, but without the rest of the terminology about not communicating with them (but don't make the mistake of thinking that it being 2nd was necessarily written before the 5th, there's some debate on the exact chronological order of the surahs and if they were medinan or meccan). Jews, Christians, and Sabians. Note that for the first year or so in Medina the prayer direction (Qibla) was actually towards Jerusalem and Medina also had some Jewish tribes in it that were under the Prophet's rule until he had to expel on of the tribes due to some disagreement.

I agree it would be good but this is part of American culture I struggle to understand. In the UK we have TV shows with American protagonists, Belgian, Australian. TV made abroad and we screen it as is. In America this doesnt fly, networks feel the need to have to remake it replacing everyone with Americans. the Office and Top Gear spring to mind. If someone is human its possible to find that common ground without being from the same country. Having a family, caring for people and things, goals, interests hopes and fears make people relatable. You dont have to have an American to do this.

The Office in particular is a bad example. There are some nuances in regional humor that can make the original Office difficult to watch at times while making the American Office more solidly in our vein of humor. I think we're beginning to see things like this change but jokes that do well here won't necessarily do well elsewhere either. Top gear though? I much prefer the UK version of that. Being Human is one I prefer the American version more but I may not have given it as fair a shot after having only found the British one later.

But do you feel like the UK is particularly anti-Muslim? What nations do you think would benefit most from games in which they're made more sympathetic to a Muslim individual by being put in their shoes? The more they have in common with them, the more they'll be able to consider how they'd feel in the situations the protagonist is put in. Even with your shows that have people from multiple countries, do you not perhaps identify a little more with the main characters who are from the UK? As humans, we have naturally been doing this for millenia. We have a thoroughly developed tribal mentality that I don't see going away as long as it benefits us in the social strata.

Arif_Sohaib:
I did not want to come back to this thread and as soon as you start spreading baseless accusations against Islam(not Muslims, blame us all you want), I will leave.

I assure you that anything I say is out of earnest study of your Qur`an, Hadiths, and incredible history under Muslim tutelage in a secular University (as opposed to a Christian seminary or other biased institution). If I say anything that is baseless then I'd appreciate your correction. I am a scholar and the truth is my highest pursuit. I didn't spend years specializing in Islam just to put it down. I spent that time to learn and understand the culture.

I am a Sunni but I have Shia friends and there is no conflict most of the time. If it happened all the time it would not be on the news as something unique every time it happened.

Some Sunnis actually advocate accepting the Shi`ite Hadith as legitimate but such a notion is not getting much traction due to significant authoritative differences in successors. There are also some Shi`ite practices that are particularly offensive to Sunnis. Allowing icons would be the easiest example, where Shi`ites may even have posters of the Prophet in their Mosques where as Sunni groups will often destroy any icons they find due to the Prophet's destruction of icons in the Kaaba (though he did leave Christian icons unharmed according to the tradition).

And in my Islamic Studies class in university, I was told some Fiqahs(sects) follow some Sunnahs and others follow others, both can be true and in this way all Sunnahs are followed.

Yes, this is what I was saying regarding the four schools of law within the Sunni expression of Islam that emphasize different hadiths (Sunnahs) to establish law. You may know them as the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali rites. Hadith is commonly used interchangeably with Sunnah now that the Hadiths have undergone a stringent validification process that has made them a reliable Sunnah source. The Sunni faith in particular accepts six major hadith collections. Each Fiqh then takes those hadiths and interperets the degree of importance or necessity of verses and hadiths being emulated in every Muslim's daily life. The example I used before regarding the Prophet's habbit of brushing his teeth with a particular root. This practice is recorded in various hadiths and then each Fiqh decides whether or not that habbit is something every good Muslim should adhere to or if it's merely a recommended but not commanded action. The scale has five components. Obligation (fardh), Recommended (mustahabb), Permissable (mubah), Recommended against (makrooh), and Prohibit (haraam). So that's basically what the schools of law decide. They read the hadiths and the Qur`an and place those somewhere on that scale. Eating pork, for example, would of course fall under haraam. I believe the tooth brushing practice falls under mustahabb/recommended if I recall correctly. I don't know why I particularly latched on to the laws regarding brushing one's teeth. I just found it fascinating.

The people leading the "Muslim Empire"(there was no such thing unless you are talking about the first 4 Caliphs) were humans too and they too followed some parts of Islam and ignored others. There was no justification for Spain and because of that 300 years later Muslims lost it.

Interesting. Is it a widely accepted belief that there was no justification for invading Spain or do you believe this due to your college training? For example, I believe things that are contrary to the most common beliefs in my region because I've studied them to a point that made me think my region's common beliefs were wrong. While I've heard it commonly said that there is a mandate to spread the faith through conquest, I have not found a corresponding reference in hadiths, fiqh, or in the Qur`an. However, historically there does appear to be some credence to the notion as Tariq Ibn Ziyad invaded Spain under the order of the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I. The Arabic Empire expanded significantly during even the Prophet's life.

The Muslims held regions in Spain for over 700 years. 711-1492 a.c.e. Very impressive and Muslim influence is still very present today. Especially in architecture. So I'm not sure where you get 300 years from as they were still going strong by 1000 a.c.e. and only really started becoming fragmented after the Marinids took over in 1269. It being successful or a failure does not legitimize whether or not it was appropriate, does it? I recall a battle in which the Prophet himself was struck on the face by a rock that even broke his teeth. The battle of Uhud which the Muslims lost to the Meccans whom they were clearly mandated to defeat. The Qur`an says that the loss was to test believers and admonishes the tribe that fled just before battle, stating that the many lives lost would not have been lost had they stayed strong. So a loss doesn't necessarily mean a lack of Allah's blessing so much as it may mean a faltering of the faith of the individuals.

As for why Spain was invaded, this is extremely disputed due to a tremendous lack of information on the topic from that era. Anything from the Muslims siding with their allies during a civil war to just a general invasion. The only real source we appear to have on the reason near the time was the Chronicle of 754 and that is somewhat vague despite being considered accurate. I'd say a 700-year rule isn't something to diminish. Not even a 300-year rule is anything to scoff at.

Do you know of any significant populations that believe Muslims should spread the faith through conquest (regardless of what you personally believe)? I've heard it said often enough that I must remain somewhat undecided of the veracity of this claim, having not actually seen those corresponding beliefs.

And 9/11, I think others already cleared it up well. Anyone approving of it did so because of the hatred the US already had against Muslims and their foreign policy against Muslim countries, supporting hated dictators and kings, regime change at will(remember what happened before the Iran Revolution?) and several other political reasons. Even now the US has made only one or two statements against Burma and the 969 monks, yet you want to fight Syria, also nothing against American-allied Bahrain or Yemen.

This may warrant a military attack, like the one on the pentagon. But not on civilians/non-combatants. Would you agree? The adoption of bomb usage in public areas completely undermines the spirit of Islam's call to attack only those who are at war with you.

Ever seen the alternate ending to I am Legend or read the book? To some Muslims and several others America is the monster of their legends. America has the power to do almost anything to them, you spy on even your own people, you launch drones from far away, you change regimes at will, we never know if you rigged our votes(Several Pakistanis believe you were responsible for the last 5 miserable years under the PPP and Zardari) and the worst part to them is they can't do anything about at all.

I recall the original black and white movie in which the Vampires/Zombies/Whatever were actually sentient in a completely meaningful way.

We struggle with this as well. There's a major push to make our government more open. Make no mistake, a lot of the actions performed by our governments are done in secrecy moreso out of fear of our (their own citizen's) reactions than even international backlash. For example, if it became known that even one drone strike was carried out knowing full well that they were just attacking civilians then we'd want to see people imprisoned. There has already been SIGNIFICANT political backlash regarding attacks performed without certainty that the individuals were actual combatants. I don't have a problem with drone attacks hitting absolutely verified militants (just as I fully understand Muslim military actions against invading forces as them defending themselves) as long as avoiding collateral damage is entirely avoided. Please do not forget that your countries also have drone programs, Iran leading the wave. Drone strikes will be the next form of warfare.

As for games, games don't need just friendly bland Muslims. They can have Muslim villains but tell the audience why they hate them. Like a Muslim Raul Manendez or Ali Shaheed from Alpha Protocol.

I think we have a lot of generally poor writing anyways. Meaningful villains are sorely needed regardless and you're right that bland friendlies wouldn't do anyone any good. Great perspective.

If you really want more Muslim perspective, watch The Message(1976 movie about the begining of Islam) and Khuda Ke Liye(Pakistan's take on the war on terror, it even covers issues like extremism and forced marriage and a Muslim who is kind of an atheist and his Comstock-like attempt at redemption).

I'll have to check those out. Though I am fully versed in the birth of Islam. I'm good all the way up through the first four Caliphates before my knowledge gets spotty.

@Lightknight
There is nothing about spreading religion by the conquest in Islam, as you mentioned in the post above the one where you replied to me. If someone attacks, we fight back otherwise we are not allowed to start a fight. There is part of an Ayat that says that Allah does not love aggressors.
It is forbidden to forcibly convert anyone.
It is also forbidden to oppress non-Muslims in a Muslim country.
And the tax you mentioned earlier as discrimination is there, I think, so Muslim soldiers know where part of their salary comes from so they won't oppress non-Muslims.
And a few of the Jewish tribes of Madina were exiled, not because of a disagreement but because they were actively supporting the Meccans during the battle of Uhad. Those who did not support them stayed.

And the 300 years, I might have confused that with the Mughal Empire. Still Muslim Spain was a great achievement and was the most scientifically advanced and tolerant society in Europe at the time, one of the very few places in Europe where Jews were not oppressed.

About 9/11, it was never justified, no attack on any civilians is ever justified, but try to look from a poor and/or illiterate Muslim's point of view. Non-combatants in Muslim countries had suffered or were told they had suffered at the hands of Uncle Sam and now they got to see the other side suffer, simple as that.

And about America and the Muslim world, just imagine a nation not friendly to you with influence on the rest of the world and even your own government and with the ability to attack you without any significant consequence at any time, the ability to change your government at its will with or without your knowledge, the ability to spy on you without consequence and with rumors that it even has devices to control the weather and cause earthquakes. Imagine living in an alternate reality Cold War with the USSR having much more power, unimaginably advanced technology and influence and power over the entire world and the US having almost nothing, then you will understand what makes some Muslims so afraid of and angry at the US.

Lastly, I thought this thread was supposed to be about games and Muslims, why is it descending into something that should be in the religion and politics section? The last few posts have almost nothing about games so I make it a point to mention them in all my posts here.

Azahul:
[
Right, I'm cutting up this paragraph because I think it's critical to our disagreement here. You are correct in that, theoretically, this is supposed to be what the denominations teach. The reality is that even preachers rarely teach a lot of the examples you cited, and the reality for individual Muslims and their beliefs vary dramatically. And above all, if it isn't what Muslims actually believe, it's fundamentally irrelevant. What's the point in harping on about something as indicative of a culture if the majority of that culture doesn't believe in it?

Alright, to get right to the point, and trimming this down. Your argument basically boils down to the fact that you believe that the problem is with a radical fringe, I, and a few others, believe that it is instead a majority of Muslims that represent the problem with the "Fringe" being those that are actually peaceful and believe in co-habitation with other cultures and religions without any special allowances being made for them. Given that the issue revolves around the majority also not being up front about this, as they cannot engage in a "standing war" and instead rely on terrorism and deniability, the basic argument is that you cannot go with what people say is the truth when you have a gun to their head. Simply put it's part of the strategy of the Muslim Metaculture to convince people to think like you, by playing to the media, paralyzing the US military, while we run around chasing an endless array of terrorists and insurgents rather than going after the core of the problem.

You mention things like Indonesia, but the truth is that there are a lot of countries and even religious factions that don't get mentioned specifically very often. The focus tends to be on where we're fighting right now is part of the problem. The point of referring to "The Muslim World" and a "Muslim Metaculture" is largely because all of these nations need to be address as well as they tend to quietly provide support when it comes to dealing with other nations and cultures even to various Muslim factions (drawn by whatever line) they are normally enemies with.

This serves as a response to more or less everything I've gotten in disagreement recently since it pretty much comes down to claims of "that isn't true", "yes it is!", back and forth, which is when I withdraw from discussions. Especially seeing as I notice nobody here really wants to do any research when it doesn't fit what they want to think. When I provided my initial links, right from the beginning I said it was a small sampling and more could be found easily. I notice that the "defense" commonly being used here is that several of those links (but not all of them) are from Palestine. the problem is of course that I myself said that you could find pages of that garbage if you wanted to, across the entire Muslim World, but surprise, surprise, nobody wants to even check out other links from those pages (to similar Youtube videos) or check into what might disagree with them and teach them something. Now, I could fill up a couple of pages full of links, and assuming anyone bothered to actually check them, I'd still probably be getting "yeah buts" for whatever area I didn't put a link up for... which in short means I fail to see the point.

For example, you yourself bring up Indonesia as an example of peacefulness and how wrong I am but with simple searches you can find tons of garbage about Indonesia as well:

http://www.indonesiamedia.com/2012/08/19/indonesia-hit-by-anti-christian-hate-speech-video/

I mean you go onto Youtube and say type in "Indonesia Hate Speech" and well, there you go. The above was pretty much the first link that came up searching for Indonesia in the news.

I'm going to try to weed out parts of our discussion that don't appear to be going anywhere. Let me know if I miss a part that you believe warrants further discussion. Please let me know if you feel insulted by me at any point. Certainly not a goal of mine. Try to imagine me talking evenly while reading this or perhaps imagine me petting a fuzzy bunny while meniacally laughing and staring out a window. Either way is good as long as you don't imagine me angry at you or something.

Azahul:
It's funny that you mention that, because you're basically agreeing with my main point. Indeed, with Rath's first argument. That Islam does not equal a predisposition towards hating the US. Your suggestion, that they should exclude any "peaceful regions" and just focus on those nations with, well, a history of war with the US... you clearly see that that would lead to different results. And it would. Not because the people being polled are Muslim, but because they have a history of violence with the US that would predispose them towards seeing that those actions are somewhat justify.

Note that even then, it's still "somewhat justified". We're only talking a small percentage that believe it's fully justified, and it's my view that regions like Palestine and Pakistan would massively skew those results due to the widespread distrust and history of fighting Americans and American allies.

I did not say that Islam equals any kind of predisposition for or against the US. I was just remarking on how many stated that the attacks were warranted. It was surprising to me because I anticipated a lot more Muslims would have been against attacks on civilians/non-combatants. Then again, perhaps if they had been pressed further to distinguish between the Pentagon attack and the Towers attack that they'd answer differently to each. While I don't agree with the attack at all, I can at least percieve the attack on the Pentagon as an act of war while the attack on the Twin Towers would be purely an act of terrorism.

As I said a few posts back, nearly every country in the world with a predominantly Muslim population condemned 9/11, just as you say they should. Even terrorist organisations like the Taliban and Hezbollah condemned it. Iran, which you bring up, condemned the attacks on a massive scale.

This 55% number you're bandering around is misleading. Answering "somewhat justified" (another 20-something %) does not equal the same level of support that the 7% of "completely justified" responses indicate.

55% said they were not justified. It's less than half that said the actions were at least somewhat justified but 8% gave no response. So less than half believe that the 9/11 attack had some merit at least. This number is still higher than I expected. Ant that's all my comment was for. I was surprised that so many people thought that 9/11 was justified in any way.

I would have liked to see that data split up by country. I would anticipate Muslims in regions that are not at war with the US presently to have a very different take on things. We don't seem to disagree.

First of all, these questions were phrased in the local languages. Now, in the context of an opinion poll of this sort, "qualified" pretty clearly means that they have the physical and mental capacity, along with the requisite skills and experience, to perform the job required. As we're talking about an experienced polling group with an in-depth knowledge of the regions they are conducting the poll in, I think it's best to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they actually know how to phrase their questions correctly.

Pretty clearly? What are you basing that assumption on? Our useage of the term qualified? Why do you assume that? You're projecting English linguistics on how an unknown translation would have been recieved. Surely you can understand why this warrants finding out? You can't just go into another country using similar dialect and assume everything will translate perfectly. All your base are belong to us and all that.

Never let it be said that I'm shrugging off the degradation of women. So we're clear, I find it despicable, repulsive, and insane. All I am arguing is that it is ludicrous to portray Islam as a whole as oppressive towards women. It's not something inherent to the religion. It's something inherent to a lot of developing nations, regardless of their religion. Islam is used to justify it in parts of the Middle East, just as Christianity is used to justify it in parts of Africa and Hinduism used to justify it in parts of India.

And this is where I disagree. It is inherent to the religion. Everything from Muhammad marrying a 6-7 year old girl, wife beating being recommended and being an action of the Prophet (he is cited as having beat his young wife in the chest), and a clear establishment of women as inferior. It even directly says that a woman's testimony is half that of a man. Imagine a court system where it takes two women testifying to equal just one man's testimony. It's literally the equivalent of Jim Crow laws being put into religious text. Don't get me wrong, other religions have them too but Islam is a lot more blatant and discriminating against women than most others. This is why I said these are the things that would clash with Western thinking moreso than violence that isn't expressed in the way people think.

It's just ludicrous to portray Muslim women as passive victims, their usual role in Western media. It dismisses the amazing women's rights movements in Islamic countries right across the world. That is a great insult to all the women actually involved in fighting back against the oppression or focused on trying to bring equality to their regions.

Saying that Islam as a faith is against gender equality diminishes the fact that women are having to fight for equality? I'm pretty sure that just establishes cause and effect more than anything else. I'm sorry, but you appear to be unaware of Islamic tenets regarding women. If you knew them and had studied them you would likely not disagree here. I have a feeling some of our disagreement is out of the feeling that you need to defend Muslims when I'm mostly just defining accepted beliefs. Interestingly enough, your defense against these beliefs may actually be more offensive to some than me just referencing beliefs.

...Did you watch the video? They went to peoples' houses. They mostly used women to interview women and men to interview men. They went deep into rural areas, even conflict zones, in order to gather opinions.

I watched it, yes. I just feel like this would be a really difficult study to actually get a random result. I'd like to know their rejection rates and I'd also anticipate some individual surveyor bias (if you can indeed call a surveyor not going up to certain scary looking individuals to ask questions, biased...). I'm sorry if I seem like I'm just disagreeing in the face of numbers. But this is quite an undertaking that warrants skepticism on face value. Having worked in marketing where surveys were our main job, I have to say that there's almost no end to the number of ways a random sample size can be compromized in its randomness. I just feel like I need more information and I need it not to filtered through them. Do you have a link to the actual text study?

This entire paragraph just seems to be trying to imply that the study is inaccurate without actually saying as much. If you do think that, say so and why.

It's not saying as much because I actually don't know. This study could be a random sample done well enough to have valid answers and the questions may have been translated in a way that completely side stepped cultural nuances that would prevent accurate translations.

The entire point of anything I've been saying about the study is just to get more information. Not to say its false. I also pointed out that these people are jumping to conclusions that do not mean what they're saying they mean. That I'm seeing assumptions made in the video doesn't bode well for how competent they were in conducting the study but I also have to admit that it doesn't necessarily negate it. You have to understand that this is how any person who has studied and even performed statistical analysis looks at studies. We look for the cracks and holes FIRST before concerning ourselves too much with the data. You'd be surprised how many studies had a sample size of 13 that wasn't even randomized properly.

A well done study is a refreshing cool oasis after dragging one's ass through a desert and practically just as rare.

The legality holds in, what, five or six countries? With optional sharia law in a few others. And even in countries like Iran and Pakistan, which do have it written into law, the interpretation varies by region and they sometimes outright ignore it. One of those countries, for example, has a theocratic head of state while the other has a democratically elected one. In Nigeria, Sharia Law is used to justify harsher punishments, but they flout that parts that actually require a great amount of proof first. And for the vast, vast majority of the Muslim world, Sharia Law is not actually the legal system that they live under. That affords most Muslims in the world just as much ability to flout the parts of the Qur'an advocating the oppression of women as it gives Christians the right to not stone homosexuals to death.

I'm sorry but you're likely just unaware of the extent of Sharia laws in governance. Consider this, how many laws in the US were originally from the Bible in some way? These other countries are basically the same way but based on the Qur`an. Except where modern laws have done their best in America to divorce us from religion, Sharia-based systems aren't typically moving away from religion. I'll give you some examples from ol' wiki answers regarding just the countries that enforce blasphemy laws:

Death for Blasphemy:
1. Afghanistan
2. Bahrain
3. Iran
4. Mauritania
5. Oman
6. Pakistan
7. Yemen
8. Saudi Arabia
9. Gaza

Imprisonment for Blasphemy:
1. Algeria
2. Bangladesh
3. Egypt
4. Iraq
5. Kuwait
6. Libya
7. Malaysia
8. Maldives
9. Morocco
10. Somalia
11. Tunisia
12. United Arab Emirates

Some specific examples of Sharia law in other nations (the honor killing bit is regarding reduced sentences for honor killings):

1. Jordan (2 years or less for honour killings)
2. Eritrea (Girls as young as 8 can be married, spousal rape is not recognized)
3. Syria (1 year or less for honour killings)
4. Niger (girls can be married off before they reach puberty)

Basically, there are many nations where Sharia law is at least partially enforced at the government level as well as plenty of nations where it is summarily enforced. That's not including countries where the local tribal level carries out the law that would otherwise not be enforced at the government level.

If you honestly believe that Sharia is not widely practiced in Muslim countries then you're sorely mistaken. You're also unaware of more recently successful groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood whose goals are to actually install Sharia law at the state level.

I'm simply explaining the situation. It is what it is.

I didn't say there weren't any. My point is that there are Christians that don't follow those parts of their holy book, just as there are Muslims that choose not to follow that part of their book. It's not a problem inherent to Islam. It's a problem widely found in developing countries that are still working on getting their equality and general acknowledgement of human rights up to scratch.

I fail to see why Christians not following tenets that are merely meant to be enforced by the individual and no one else would apply to tenets of a religion that is specifically enforced at the state level. Also, lifestyle and belief are two different things. Hopefully those pedophilic priests don't think that what they're doing is good or ok.

No, but being as a sizeable portion of my extended family is Muslim (and living in the Middle East), and that a lot of the Muslim women I know have no problem harassing, badgering, or mouthing off to their husbands without getting beaten, I can honestly say that I've never seen this one in effect.

Two things:

1. Where in the Middle East? It makes a difference.
2. Husbands are not commanded to beat their wifes. It is a recommended way of "handling" them. It's cool that you have Muslim family members who are merciful in that area. That doesn't mean it isn't what Islam teaches. Again, I cannot attest to the individual expression of the faith. All I can tell you is what the religion itself teaches. You presenting personal evidence only tells us your experience. Not how everything else is. As a man, I enjoy lady drinks. Those sweet and colorful drinks that men scoff at other men for drinking. Therefore all men everywhere enjoy lady drinks. Experience equaling truth just doesn't follow.

Again, I'm not saying this stuff doesn't happen. It does, and it's appalling. But it's not a universal part of Islam and it's not as widespread as western media would have you believe. It's a problem that needs to be changed, but not an indication of a root problem in the religion. It's far more of a cultural and social issue that needs to be dealt with using a knowledge of local culture, rather than a widespread condemnation of the religion they all happen to be part of.

I personally think that Islam is a beautiful religion and have been allured by it in the past. I'm merely bringing up legitimate points of contention that require a significant change before the west would deem it appropriate in actuality. Islam does have some pretty troubling tenets that can't just be overlooked that easily. If I come across as condeming of the faith altogether then that couldn't be further from my intention. My original post in this thread was to explain that the violence depicted isn't Sharia induced, that the examples of Islam that are harsh are the laws produced by Sharia law that Westerners wouldn't think are appropriate. Death for apostasy and blasphemy, significant inequality amongst genders, and even strict punishments for lesser crimes like petty theft.

Lightknight:
Are you a female who successfully drove a car around Saudi Arabia without being properly attired and having a male escort? Were you a ten year-old female whose father was attempting to entice a 40-year old wealthy man into marrying you or something?

Two example of laws that need to be changed in those countries where they are in effect. But, again, the overwhelming majority of Muslims live in countries where women are allowed to drive and where child marriage is just as illegal as in the West. When it happens in those countries, and it does on occasion, it's a violation of the civic law and no different from the cases of child marriage we still get here in the West. More widespread, because a lot of the time we're talking developing countries with a more ineffectual legal system, but it's a part of the religion that most do not follow and not indicative of the culture as a whole.

There's usually a mix and match in most countries. Some areas are not oppressive while simultaneously being oppressive in others. Islam even allowed women to own land and property before western countries did with the small side law that women's inheritance is to be half that of their male counterpart's inheritance. But no, most Islamic countries do not have equality.

I will say that gender equality does appear to be getting better.

I'm confused now. I'm speaking from a mixture of personal experience with some supporting statistics and facts. I've also acknowledged that all the bad stuff happens, and shouldn't be forgiven. My main argument is that that is not representative of the religion. And now you're accusing me of projecting?

My apologies. I can certainly see how a claim of projecting your sensibilities would be offensive. My point remains that the Qur`anic verses, the hadiths, and the laws in these regions still actively discriminate against women. Even when the laws are taken down, local cultures continue to enforce those practices out of religious piety. There is no small difference in committing crimes in the name of a religion that the religion does not teach and simply following the commands of a religion that does teach it.

[quote]The religion, on the whole, is peaceful. Individual people, sometimes with the backing of a local cultural consensus, can do terrible things. Sometimes there are even whole countries that fall into this trap. But, and this is all I've been arguing, this is not a problem with the religion as a whole. I agree that prejudice is pretty much intrinsically evil, which is why we should stop being so damned prejudiced against Muslims in both video games and western media in general.

Let me clarify. The intolerance of Islam is what makes me think of it as violent. The idea that a person could lose the faith and be put to death for it cannot be reconciled with peace. Cultural practices have made things a lot more violent but I do not believe that to be necessarily the fault of the faith. As was my original intention for coming here to disagree with the person saying that Islam is just a violent and hateful religion bent on killing innocents. It isn't. It has significant problems, but not that. I thought mentioning those problems would lend credence to my saying that it isn't about killing all non-believers.

Blitzwing:
I call you what you are if you are going to call a faith backwards insulting the millions that follow it then that makes you a bigot plan and simple

Your insult undermines your opinion. So I'm not going to bother with your zealous hateful response.

spunkgarglewiwi:

Blitzwing:
I call you what you are if you are going to call a faith backwards insulting the millions that follow it then that makes you a bigot plan and simple

Your insult undermines your opinion. So I'm not going to bother with your zealous hateful response.

How about actually arguing.

Blitzwing:
snip

Cool your jets bro. I'd edit this quick-smart. Leave the bigots be, you're not gonna change them.

I remember that Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay had Muslims in prison (or at least a very Islamesque religion that involved prayer rugs and praying in a certain direction). That was an interesting side dressing.

Lightknight:

1. Where in the Middle East? It makes a difference.

Exactly. This. This is the core of my argument, the main point I've been making. There is a lot of difference within Islam, and within the Middle East, and video games do not represent that well. You clearly agree.

At this point posts are taking me far, far too long to for me to reply to point by point (I entirely understand your last post cutting out a lot of the discussion, for what it's worth). Especially since we still seem to be perpetuating the same cycle. I think, in essence, most of our conversation comes down to a few key points that have been stated time and again. You find a lot of problems in Islam. I agree that those problems exist, and that they are problems, but disagree that they're an intrinsic problem within Islam (incidentally, this remains my argument for most of your points in your latest post). Even the most widespread problems share a huge amount of overlap with non-Islamic countries in the same economic/development bracket, which shows, I think, that they're hardly problems within Islam and more a problem with equality in the world in general. Heck, most of these problems were shared by the West until the last century. And none of that really has much to do with the fact that video games have pretty much a single representation of Islam, which is the topic at hand.

Still, I do want to thank you. Discussions like this are incredibly interesting and insightful and usually lead me to discovering all kinds of new research projects. It's why I quite like reading Therumancer's posts. I invariably disagree with his opinions, and he really struggles to remain on topic, but even when he's getting wildly off topic he usually presents interesting new subjects to look into.

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