The Islamic Renaissance, in the Philippines

 

by Lance Corporal X

This article isn’t so much about the BBL, the MILF or Muslim Mindanao.

It’s about the decline of Islam, resulting in a very specific opportunity for the Philippines and Muslim Filipinos. It is in keeping with the spirit of Joe’s first article (“Our own intellectual Truth Commission starting with the BBL” ) on BBL calling for the examination of this document and also the exploration of other possibilities associated with this agreement. On Joe’s second BBL article (“The BBL on defense and policing: changes are needed”) covering policing and defense, I’d like to add that further study into Islamic military jurisprudence needs to be pursued.

Another article (“Mindanao . . . an opinion”) on the BBL was by Taga Bundok, making a case for the MILF being the only game in town. This was followed by josephivo’s BBL article (“BBL? Yes, but peace in Mindanao will be won or lost in the mosques”) also in support of the spirit of the BBL, but urging us to keep a closer eye on the mosques in the Philippines. The last article (“Bangsamoro Basic Law – managing risks”) on the BBL, by Ireneo, warned us of the possible risks, especially meddling from outside Salafi groups.

I attempted to combine the spirit of josephivo’s article (“The Philippines: New thinkers wanted”) calling for the New Philosophers from the Philippines, with the continued spirit of my Church/State article (“Salation by Austerity”), urging the secular State to always protect its Free Thinkers from the tyranny of arbitrary Religious Interpretations.

shariah-law-picture———————-

Thanks in part to a concerted effort by the West to stifle democracy in the Middle East, the slow decline of the Arab world is almost complete. Its last breath will be in the form of the ironically funded, petro-dollar Salafi emergence — which, as we’ve all seen has a very long, violent reach. The world can stand idly by as the Muslim world retreats back to the 7th century, or it can help it out. We can do this by shepherding Islam through the same path we’ve guided the Judeo-Christian faiths, where they emerged less powerful and less literal.

The books of Moses were placed under the microscope and the examination revealed at least four authors with distinct styles and agendas. This type of scrutiny was started by Baruch Spinoza — later hailed as some sort of national hero by Israel. The New Testament — as Desiderus Erasmus attempted a Greek translation and stumbled unwittingly on the Johannine Comma — was exposed to variants prompting non-Greek faithfuls to scurry across the Middle East to find untainted original copies of the Gospels and epistles.

Having been subjected to reason, the Old Testament and the New Testament ceased to be potent weapons of control wielded by men of dubious motivations. Both inspiration and deceit can still be squeezed out of these ancient scriptures, but they’ve lost much of their supernatural magic — replaced instead by the secular State.

The Qur’an, though, is different from the Old Testament. Where Moses was believed to have been inspired by God to write the Torah (“to guide/teach”), the prophet Mohammad was possessed and made followers recite the Qur’an (“to recite/read”) — so, by default, the Qur’an isn’t humanly inspired, it is from God via the arch-angel Gabriel delivered to Mohammad. Which makes scrutinizing it, ala Spinoza, blasphemy.

Also, unlike the New Testament, wherein the 4 Gospels (“good news”) provided enough variants of itself to render the Gospels dubious, the Qur’an in written form seems to be intact since the days of the third Caliph. The ‘Uthmanic Codex, as the authentic Qur’an, has stood unchallenged since the 640s A.D. (the prophet Mohammad died in 632 A.D.). Though the quest for variants is still underway, because all other pre-‘Uthmanic codices were either destroyed or copied over, the possibility of finding variants seem remote.

So the Qur’an isn’t the Torah and it is far from the Gospels. Though it is closest in scope to the Torah, which wasn’t written as an after-thought, but was written in conjunction to the events which unfolded in the life of Mohammad. So the Qur’an was correcting itself as new events or predicaments surfaced ( Surat Al-Baqarah, the Cow,  Ayat 106 ). The spirit of the Qur’an, though, if taken holistically, is one of compassion and respect of the individual, making it similar  — at least in spirit — to the Gospels. In its very 7th century way, every time the Qur’an invokes violence, it does so with compassion, ie. striking an enemy’s neck quickly with a sharp blade, as oppose to subjecting him to unnecessary suffering. And always with the notion of forgiveness in the form of an out, ie. by converting to Islam.

The Qur’an (along with the biographies of the Prophet Mohammad, the Siras and all the rumors from his closest and not so close Companions, which are the Hadiths) are still very ripe for study. Europe, with its academic expertise on ancient sacred texts, cannot completely and openly pursue this study because they have too many angry, young, non-European Muslims. Canada and the U.S. are seeing their young Muslims opt out of the Muslim experience by un-Mosqueing themselves, not unlike the un-Churching of Christians. In the Middle East, if you’re non-Muslim, an atheist/apostate or homosexual, you can get hurt, so studying the Qur’an with a keen eye is not really a good idea if you value your life.

Realistically, the only place an Islamic Renaissance can take place is in Muslim Southeast Asia.

—————–

Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei are way too Arab dependent when it comes to Islamic thought — you can’t really blame them, the Qur’an is in Arabic, it came direct from God, God speaks Arabic, and by default the Arabs who speak the language of God get the special treatment. Maybe it is culture, or because history didn’t really inject Islam in its full dosage in the Philippines, but Muslim Filipinos tend to be more irreverent when it comes to automatic Arab deference, though, like anyone else, they respond kindly to Arab patronage — though arguably an easier problem to solve.

So the Philippines is it.

It’s both West-facing (Catholic, Protestant, and even some home-grown Christian groups — INC, El-Shaddai, etc.) and East-facing (Islam, though with indigenous tendencies). The best times when both Christians and Muslims interfaced was in Spain and Syria, around the 10th century, when both faiths prayed and mingled in each others’ places of worship. If Filipinos can replicate this now forgotten phenomenon, relegated to history, again in the Philippines, the country will be better for it. Better for the free-thinkers who are always at the whim of the more numerous “true believers” and better for the less-fundamentalist, more universalist-type of believer, which means better for the rest of the faithful who’d rather not read, but instead be told about their faith. Basically, better for everyone.

Aceh_becomes asianewsAll sorts of renaissance are open to the Philippines right now, in manufacturing, the arts, business, the internet, and now this. But what’s in it for the Philippines? How will the Islamic Renaissance in the Philippines benefit Filipinos? As I’ve argued in my ACLU article (“A Filipino ACLU and lawyering in the Philippines”), a legal education (whether formal or through the internet) produces a more informed citizenry. Just as ancient sacred texts can be used as binding laws, it behooves anyone to be as versed in these texts as a religious scholar or cleric who intend to use their expertise to control you — no different from secular laws. And all you have to do is read.

That’s the intangible benefit of learning both man-made laws and divine laws — the stories are also cool. The very tangible benefit is security from Sharia Law.

——————

Right now there are three places in the region where Salafi interpretation of Islam is getting official, secular state-sanctioned, recognition:

1. Aceh, Indonesia

Right after the big tsunami of 2004, the Free Aceh Movement (GAM, Geurakan Acèh Meurdèka) and the Indonesian government agreed to a cease fire to get foreign aide fast-tracked. The cease fire was followed through with a peace agreement that was officially signed on 15 August 2005 in Helsinki, Finland by chief Indonesian negotiator Hamid Awaluddin and GAM leader Malik Mahmud. Sharia law wasn’t even on the table, but Hamid Awaluddin offered it as icing on the cake. When tasked to re-examine the constitutionality of the icing he gave away, Hamid Awaluddin again deftly turned his back and gave local governments the last say in this matter. Now Sharia Law is in full effect.

Lesson: Keep a close eye on government officials; make sure Sharia Law doesn’t come about – by mistake or design – because people didn’t keep a close eye on the deal makers.

2. Brunei

The playboy brothers, either because they’ve grown old and wise or because they’re forecasting some sort of social unrest, hence the need to control their populace, have implemented Sharia Law. Another theory is that they are taking a playbook from the Gulf states and switching their economy from oil to more a finance-based one. Sharia Law will help realize their dream of an Islamic Singapore — via Islamic banking for Muslim Asia and Arabs.

The Muslim Philippines can totally steal this idea from Brunei and corner the Islamic banking sector for that region. Only don’t implement Sharia Law for this, its unnecessary — just expand Sharia Law covering economics, which the Philippines already recognizes.

3. Kelantan, Malaysia

This one is the closest, or more similar, to what’s going on in the Philippines — you have a nation that’s becoming more convinced of the Salafi route, while another nation is trying to mitigate an irredentist movement possibly evolving into a global Salafi one. Where Kelantan is analogous to the purview of the BBL and Muslims want to expand to the Patani region of Thailand (southern Muslim Malay Thailand). You give them an inch, and they will take a whole mile, so it’s best to nip it in the bud; no accommodations should be made for Sharia Law.

So the lesson in Kelantan is not only one of unintended consequences, but of expansion across clearly, delineated borders — so nip it in the bud.

Sharia Law has meanings aside from Penal Laws and the Vice/Virtue Rules. In the Philippines, Sharia courts handle mainly economic and marital laws. And if problems arise between Christian or lumad vs. Muslim parties, arbitration can be handled at the barangay level. Certified non-Muslim lawyers can take up cases in Sharia courts. There’s a good system in place right now in the Philippines. Further expansion of Sharia Law into criminal and vice/virtue matters will only create more problems than solutions. For those demanding Sharia Law, the “in”, or foot in the door, is the promise that Sharia will only be applied to Muslims, so non-Muslims need not worry– the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so we see that the last remnants of non-Muslim Arabs are now involved in their last stand in Syria; every where else in the Arab world they’ve been decimated.

source smh dot com dot auBut the best test for the viability of Sharia Law is for Muslims themselves. How will Sharia Law affect Muslims who don’t wear the hijab? Muslims who give friends of the opposite sex a ride in their bike or car? Or just grabbing a bite at the local food stall with them? How about Muslims who want to leave Islam? Or Muslims who want to help other faith groups, say in medical missions or constructing churches? Will there be a moratorium in the construction of non-Muslim places of worship? Will corporal punishment be back on the table? How about capital punishment? Are atheists, missionaries of other faiths, Muslim apostates, protected? These are the questions to ask . . . but the point is:

Expanding Sharia Law in the Philippines to criminal and vice/virtue matters will also adversely affect Muslims, whose basic rights the secular, central government, should and must assume as its responsibility.

———————

From Surat Al-Ma’edah 5 (“the Table Spread“)

Ayat “33. Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment, 34. Except for those who return [repenting] before you apprehend them. And know that Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”

The initial considerations, or your personal interest, when discussing Sharia Law is security from corporal and capital punishment. Or more specifically, from the imposition by others in a way of their own dubious interpretations of ancient sacred texts to visit harm on your person. That Qur’anic quotation above sets the tone for the reasoning behind such punishments, with the call for forgiveness and mercy always tacked on at the end.

Sharia Law as it relates to criminal and vice/virtue matters can be broken down as follows:

(These four aren’t mutually exclusive and many times overlap; I’m using the Western criminal justice categories in an attempt to simplify.)

1. Hudud

Crimes against God. Includes War against God and Corruption on Earth. Also includes rebellion, treason and general mischief against the Islamic community or state (Surat al-Hujurat 49, Ayat 9). It specifically covers theft, drinking alcohol and gambling. Then sexual crimes, to include pre-marital sex, adultery, homosexuality and false accusations of these crimes. Lastly, it covers apostasy (and any act that leads to apostasy).

Capital punishment includes beheading (War against God/Corruption on Earth), crucifixion (for apostasy, especially with seditious intent) and stoning (for sex crimes). Then for theft/robbery and rebellion, treason & mischief against the Islamic community or state that result in murder, it’s amputation. Then flogging for the minor Hudud crimes. This is 7th century stuff; the secular State must not surrender its Criminal Justice system to Sharia Law, specifically Hudud.

2. Qisas/Diyyah

Crimes against Persons. Murder or Homicide per se isn’t considered Hudud, but treated as dispute between two parties. Qisas is basically “eye for an eye”, or the rules for retribution. And Diyyah is “blood money”, financial compensation for death or serious bodily injury.

3. Tazir

Crimes against Property. Vandalism, arson, burglary, etc. is handled by a judge. Punishment may be corporal and/or punitive monetary fine.

4. Siyasah

Crimes against the State (Islamic). Lesser crimes against the state, like espionage or economic sabotage, are treated separately, but since the ultimate end is for the severest punishment, these crimes which are otherwise not found in the Qur’an, get enhanced to Hudud — Iran uses this more than Saudi Arabia.

Though much of Sharia Law is stipulated in the Qur’an, the Hadiths, and the Prophet’s biographies (the Siras), the fact that every mention of corporal punishment is tempered by mercy (if one converts) opens up Sharia to traditions of consensus and interpretation — it is here that Islam can be squared with modernity. For example, in the case of stoning to death (Rajam), it’s not found in the Qur’an, but it is found in numerous Hadiths; this one is the most respected account:

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: ‘Umar said, “I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, “We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book,” and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajam be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses or pregnancy or confession.” Sufyan added, “I have memorized this narration in this way.” ‘Umar added, “Surely Allah’s Apostle carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him.” — Sahih al-Bukhari, 8:82:816

As to why the Verses of the Rajam isn’t in the Qur’an, one hadith attempts an explanation:

Narrated ‘Aisha: “The verse of the stoning and of suckling an adult ten times were revealed, and they were (written) on a paper and kept under my bed. When the messenger of Allah expired and we were preoccupied with his death, a goat entered and ate away the paper.” — Sunan Ibn Majah, Book 9, Chapter 11, Hadith 1,944

Though humorous, this particular hadith is considered “weak” (of dubious transmission), but the point is that the punishment of stoning is claimed to have been part of the Qur’an, only missing. The fact that there are lost verses, not to mention verses superseded by other verses, in the Qur’an should be problematic for non-believers. But for believers, it should be seen as an opportunity to re-interpret and re-establish new consensus.

In addition to the Qur’an, the Sunnis follow 5-7 Hadiths  while the Shi’as follow their own 4 Hadiths and the Ibadis have their own set of Hadiths. In addition to the Hadiths, which deal more with doctrine, Sunnis, Shi’as and Ibadis also follow collections of Siras (biographies of the Prophet) which focus more on history than doctrine — though containing also the latter. There’s a whole comparative science involved in the study of the Qur’an, the Hadiths and the Siras.

xaceh2014The two-pronged approach to preventing Sharia Law from spreading (aside from the secular State nipping such idea right in the bud) is by opening up this religious enterprise to the rigors of academic investigation, similar to what was done to Jewish and Christian sacred texts. Different methodologies must be developed, but the focus should be to lessen the literal view. This will help out the less fundamentalist Muslims, who’ll then piggy-back on these secular developments in Islam, to produce more modern consensus and interpretations of the Holy Qur’an.

You give them an inch and they will take a mile. Salafis will subvert the secular state through increased attempts at Sharia regulations and legislations, based on their interpretation of Islam. So prepare a robust counter to this with new consensus and interpretation, derived from both secular and faith-based approaches.

———————

“The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.” — Thucydides

Words to live by. But that’s also true for the cleric and academic relationship in any society. The separation between the State and Church in the Philippines can be undermined by three forces — the INC, the Catholic Church & Salafi Islam. The usual litmus test to whether a Church will become an existential threat to the secular state is through a Church’s level of austerity, whether or not it practices what it preaches. The INC is basically similar to the El Shaddai scam, just bigger — it’s simply seed faith, the pyramid scheme applied in religious setting. Simply expose the hypocrisy. The Catholic Church not only is in decline, but now with its new Pope, will come closer to its ideal of austerity, so it doesn’t represent a threat to the individual it once was.

The irony with the Salafi threat is that it is actually closer to the austerity ideal than the INC and the Catholic Church — who flex their deep coffers and get things done. The Salafi movement is similar to the Christian movement in the 1st and 2nd century, scurrying around and gaining popularity under the radar of power, hence the difficulty in reading this movement.

There are three types of Salafis, differing more in implementation than in their beliefs. The first more popular are the takfiris (those who make un-believers of others). These are the guys that accuse other fellow Muslims of being unbelievers because they’re not Salafis; they love to terrorize. The second, no different from the first, believe in coopting the state from within; they use the political route. The third is the biggest; these are the guys who cover up their wives and make Salafis of their children — this last group represents the actual movement, which will usher in the Dark Ages (no different really from other religious fundamental movements found in other faiths).

Salafi Islam’s strongest suit is also its weakness; they are basically just lay people. Traditionally Sunni Islam has no clergy, they have experts– called ‘Ulemas. So taking from Arthur Schopenhauer’s “38 Strategems (or 38 Ways to Win an Argument)“, we’ll use Stratagem Number 30 liberally to undermine Salafi thought — we’ll appeal to the Qur’an, the Hadiths and the Siras, by producing our own experts.

The ‘Ulemas can be broken down as follows:

1. Muhaddith– these are the guys that have expertise with the Hadiths and Siras.

2. Mufasir– these guys are experts with interpretation and explaining what’s written in the Qur’an

3. Faqih– these guys are the jurists, using all three sources they can come with an understanding of the laws

4. Mujtahid– these guys are the pros, not only can they do the work of all the above experts, they’re the ones who come up with ijtihad — by creating a new way of looking at something. This is here where creativity and innovation are possible, though don’t call it that as they have an aversion to it.

5. Taqlid– these guys are the mujtahids who did so much that they get their numbers retired for posterity — similar to how saints are viewed by Catholics, to be emulated.

a. Imam– traditionally, an imam is the oldest/wisest and most pious in the mosque or in the room, who get to stand in front during prayers. Usually, the most learned experts will extend the courtesy of leading prayers to the oldest or most pious, but amongst Salafis they tend to let the loudest and most opinionated in the group be afforded this respect. We can change that.

Using our two-pronged approach, we’ll produce these experts from both the academic setting, as well as in religious schools. Others, whether unbelievers or believers of other faiths, should be encouraged to not only study the Qur’an, the Hadiths and the Siras of the Prophet, but regularly visit and work with mosques. The Germans are doing great work in Islamic studies, why not reach out to them? But the most important resources to actualize and operationalize this two-pronged approach are Muslim Filipinos in the West, as well as those in the Middle East. Have them reach out to the more moderate forces in Islam.

The most promising development in Islam right now is the Women’s Only Mosques. There’s one in Los Angeles, called the Women’s Mosque of America. This is a new concept for Muslims in the West, but as it turns out it’s been long in existence amongst Muslims in China. So in this two-pronged approach, women (especially Muslim women) should be encouraged to become Mujtahids. Then, once the center of Islamic learning is shifted to the southern Philippines, China and the Philippines can foster the re-birth of Islam — using this collaboration as common ground to jump start other collaborative efforts in the region.

The MILF must NOT get Sharia Law. In its place, though, the Philippines can offer another opportunity: establish Islamic finance by out-maneuvering Brunei as the Islamic Switzerland or Singapore in the region. What Muslims love to call “the Third Way” is basically theocratic re-distribution, but still largely undefined and unmapped. They’re trying it out in the Gulf states, but they’ll hit a dead-end because of Wahhabism’s aversion to innovation. With new Muslim women Mujtahids in the Philippines, Negosyo Centers can be used as spring boards for micro and large scale banking in Muslim Philippines.

Current Sharia economic laws in the Philippines (right now, confined to Islamic inheritance and alms) can be expanded to include finance and other economic possibilities. This is still unmapped territory and, if given national priority, may prove a wise investment. Bring in all economic experts and have them sit with new Philippine Muslim Islamic experts and have them cobble new laws and legislation. Then use the ASEAN integration as the platform to spread this new expertise and a new Islamic economy that will be worthy of it’s title “the Third Way”.

During the Cold War, the U.S. State Department had a news and propaganda network called the Voice of America. It was very successful and won a bunch of Communists over. They attempted a similar campaign in the Middle East, and it was an absolute failure. This is a problem based on ancient sacred texts. To win over Muslims, you have to use Schopenhauer’s Stratagem Number 30, convince them of the viability of their system, but change it from within by using the the two-pronged approach and with Islamic economics.

 

Comments
352 Responses to “The Islamic Renaissance, in the Philippines”
  1. BBL has Article IX, Basic Rights, and Article X where Shariah Law is handled…

    Have to finish reading the article, but maybe we can have a look at this stuff more.

    http://www.opapp.gov.ph/sites/default/files/DRAFT%20Bangsamoro%20Basic%20Law.pdf

  2. karl garcia says:

    Isis made AlQaeda and JI yesterday’s news. Another thing,am glad BBL got delayed,not because i give props to BBM,there is this rumor that the Malaysians did the draft,and I am beginning to believe that that is the case.

    • The entire style of wording is typically Malaysian, even certain features of the system.

      It is the constitution of a future Malaysian federal state, does not even mention the Philippines but only the “Central Government” – meaning potentially interchangeable.

      • Besides BBMs proposals for amendments are suspiciously similar to mine…

      • Joe America says:

        Malaysian representatives certainly had inputs into the drafting of the BBL, as did Filipinos (Justice Leonen for a time, and others) and I believe other international reps as well (British?). It was not a document drafted by Malaysia and forced on the Philippines. The words are the words, and can be debated as words, irrespective of who put them in the document. You can rummage around and find OPINIONS on both sides, that this a secession document, to the view of Joel Tabora, S.J., that the BBL is exactly what the Constitution demands. https://taborasj.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/the-blbar-is-unconstitutional-pass-the-bbl/

        Malaysia would be absolutely nuts to try to provoke the Philippines, knowing that Sabah is still out for debate. Their greater fear is all the raiders and whacko sultans and terrorists going from the Philippines to Malaysia to kidnap and behead. Of course they are interested in a lasting peace. And if the Philippine National Government does its job well, that will be the outcome, I’d imagine.

        • British reps makes sense, because the style is very British-influenced, something I thought came from Malaysia. But BBL is unfortunately not the same quality as the UNCLOS filing and Aquino’s China strategy is light-years better than his Mindanao strategy – IMHO.

          • Joe America says:

            That’s true, for sure. The BBL does not fall into the class of document that is impeccable for its clarity and logic, but seems more a paste-work of many different ideas.

    • What made ISIS(L) different were these guys, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_of_the_Men_of_the_Naqshbandi_Order Former military officers of Saddam’s regime.

  3. karl garcia says:

    I wonder how this Asean integration especially the buddhist countries like Thailand deal with The Muslim majority economy.indonesia is still the most populous Moslem nation.

    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancasila_%28politics%29

      Pancasila (pronounced [pantʃaˈsila]) is the official philosophical foundation of the Indonesian state.[1] Pancasila consists of two Old Javanese words (originally from Sanskrit): “pañca” meaning five, and “sīla” meaning principles. It comprises five principles held to be inseparable and interrelated:

      Belief in the one and only God (in Indonesian, Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa).
      Just and civilised humanity (in Indonesian, Kemanusiaan Yang Adil dan Beradab).
      The unity of Indonesia (in Indonesian, Persatuan Indonesia).
      Democracy guided by the inner wisdom in the unanimity arising out of deliberations amongst representatives (in Indonesian, Kerakyatan Yang Dipimpin oleh Hikmat Kebijaksanaan, Dalam Permusyawaratan dan Perwakilan).
      Social justice for all of the people of Indonesia (in Indonesian, Keadilan Sosial bagi seluruh Rakyat Indonesia).

      Mabini in his Decalogues was also forward-looking – he mentioned BATHALA, the native name for God, and not Diyos. But the national motto of Indonesia is also significant, coming out of the old Hindu phase of their nation:

      Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is the official national motto of Indonesia. The phrase is Old Javanese translated as “Unity in Diversity”.[1] It is inscribed in the Indonesian national symbol, Garuda Pancasila (written on the scroll gripped by the Garuda’s claws), and is mentioned specifically in article 36A of the Constitution of Indonesia. The Garuda is a mythical bird and the mount of Lord Vishnu.

      It is a quotation from an Old Javanese poem Kakawin Sutasoma, written by Mpu Tantular during the reign of the Majapahit empire sometime in the 14th century, under the reign of King Rājasanagara, also known as Hayam Wuruk. Kakawin contains epic poems written in metres.

      This poem is notable as it promotes tolerance between Hindus (especially Shivaites) and Buddhists.[2]

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancasila_%28politics%29#/media/File:National_emblem_of_Indonesia_Garuda_Pancasila.svg

  4. karl garcia says:

    That link of chempo made me aware that we are one of the pioneers of islamic banking.

  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhinneka_Tunggal_Ika

    Original

    This quotation comes from canto 139, stanza 5. The full stanza reads as follows:

    Rwâneka dhâtu winuwus Buddha Wiswa,
    Bhinnêki rakwa ring apan kena parwanosen,
    Mangka ng Jinatwa kalawan Siwatatwa tunggal,
    Bhinnêka tunggal ika tan hana dharma mangrwa.

    Translation

    It is said that the well-known Buddha and Shiva are two different substances.
    They are indeed different, yet how is it possible to recognise their difference in a glance,
    since the truth of Jina (Buddha) and the truth of Shiva is one.
    They are indeed different, but they are of the same kind, as there is no duality in Truth.

    This translation is based, with minor adaptations, on the critical text edition by Dr. Soewito Santoso.

    ————————————————————————

    Or like an old Kankanai once told me: “Irin-eo, I was always wondering how my grandfather could worship Apo Kabunian, then my father became Anglican because of US missionaries.”

    “I respect my grandfather and my father, so how can one be right and the other wrong”

    “Then I read about how Abraham made a sacrifice to Jehovah, and remembered that my grandfather also made animal sacrifices to Apo Kabunian, so I knew they are same!”

  6. The Philippines in its intellectual development has still to pass three stages the West has passed:

    – Renaissance (retrieving old values and traditions after the Dark Ages – colonialism in our case)

    – Reformation (questioning wooden beliefs and rote to find critical thinking – in school and religion)

    – Enlightenment (actively pursue knowledge and thinking, cogito ergo sum – who is our Voltaire?)

    Constitutionalists, leftists, nationalists and more often just RECITE without understanding the deeper meaning behind received words, the few that understand are of course to be respected.

  7. josephivo says:

    The Enlightenment resulted in a shift of the ultimate power from the religious to the secular in most spheres of live. In the absolute times all was based on a Devine will and revelation through people with prophetic powers: the unlimited power of the rulers, ethics, history, the arguments of the highest court, art, medicine, economics, everything found its ultimate justification in the Bible or other religious institutions. The recuperation of the antique writings via the Arabs, new scientific discoveries, contacts with other working cultures in Asia and especially the Pacific made people aware of “non-religious” truth.

    The Arab world had had a similar reveille centuries earlier but unfit rulers lost it. Much later the Muslim Brotherhood coupled (Sunni) Islam to anti-colonialism after WWI, oil dollars gave (Sunni) Salafism a boom. Shia with it clerics and hierarchic structure was more stable over time.

    Enlightenment requires stability and prosperity, it is a “luxury” product. When I visited Basilan I saw very little of all that.

    • “Enlightenment requires stability and prosperity, it is a “luxury” product. When I visited Basilan I saw very little of all that.”

      Yeah, Basilan’s a mess. I think you’d have to target the Maranaws and Tausugs first, a lot more educated among them. You look at who’s buying property in Zamboanga, and it’s Maranaws & Tausugs— the rest of the Muslims are not up to par just yet.

      As for “luxury” product, I disagree, all this happens in times of hardship, ie. Peloponnesian Wars, Italian Wars, etc. All these great ideas came not from luxury but forged in fire— very similar conditions as now.

  8. Micha says:

    “Then use the ASEAN integration as the platform to spread this new expertise and a new Islamic economy that will be worthy of it’s title “the Third Way”.”

    After acknowledging the decomposing stink of Islam in the Middle East, you are proposing to re-plant the madness of Muslim religion thru economic scholarship that will led to the “Third Way” (whatever that means) in Southeast Asia?

    What’s going on Lance?

    • “you are proposing to re-plant the madness of Muslim religion”

      There’s no re-planting, Micha, it’s already there. It’s been there before the Spanish brought Catholicism. It got there around the same time, or a bit after, Hindu/Buddhism arrived in the Philippines.

      The name of the game here is to mitigate and coopt— and take advantage of an opportunity (chempo talked a bit about how Singapore did this in the previous thread, I hope he can add further; but I don’t think Singapore pursued Islamic finance/economics… Hope he’ll have more input on this as well. )

      So it’s been done. There’s nothing new under the sun.

      • Micha says:

        If, as you acknowledged, Islam has not exactly been a god-sent cultural innovation for the people of the Middle East, why hope for its renaissance in the Philippines? What particular features the country have to be optimistic about re-blossoming of Islamic culture here?

        • Islam in the US and Canada is blossoming. Islam reinvigorated the West once, from its own Dark Ages—- so there’s a quid pro quo element in all this.

          As to why the Philippines… because of the BBL and Mindanao’s ascendance. The friction that created the spark that we saw that gave birth to Socrates, Thucydides and Plato, then again that birthed Da Vinci, Machiavelli, and Leonardo, is similar.

          Most of the best & brightest Islamic scholars right now (ones who can balance Islamic texts to modern thought) are in the West, US and Canada has a bunch. But they’ll not create anything more, because this is Christian country.

          Philippines was Muslim before it became Christian. It straddles two worlds, no other country, can claim this except the Philippines.

          • Turkey and Spain might have been able to, but they both “purified” their countries…

            Been to the Hagia Sophia this summer, the mix of Orthodox and Islam is stunning.

            Next on my bucket list is Andalusia, my sister told me many things are familiar there.

          • Micha says:

            Islam in the US and Canada is blossoming.

            I’m not sure that’s an accurate picture. There are communities with large Muslim population such as in Dearborn, Michigan; but to say that Islam is blossoming is quite an overstatement. Both the US and Canada are open and tolerant societies compared to the home countries of these Muslim immigrants. If they thrived at all it is largely because of this openness and tolerance. Give them enough political power and they will insist on imposing the Shariah Law or the commandments of the Quran.

            Even France and other European states have trouble convincing Muslim immigrants to adapt or assimilate to the cultural norms of their host countries.

            • http://www.euro-islam.info/country-profiles/germany/ – German practice is very similar to that of Singapore chempo mentioned in integrating Islam, even if Singapore is further…

              German practice is to provide denominational religious instruction in schools. Instruction is to be provided by religious communities under government supervision. By law, any community with a sufficient number of students may take part in the program. In various federal states, religious instruction has been offered to children of the Islamic faith on a voluntary basis.31 Nevertheless, it has been extremely difficult for Muslims to establish religious instruction due to regional governments failing to recognize Islam as a religious community, as there is no consensus organization. However, over the last few years some federal states have reached agreements with various Islamic groups concerning instruction. Alevites have been especially successful, and Turkish groups have also managed a small measure of success. In Berlin, the Islamische Föderation (Islamic Federation) has been authorized, although it has been sharply criticized by the media…

              In general, there is a lack of Muslim teachers with the languages skills needed to teach Islamic religious courses in Germany, although a study course on Islamic religious teaching has recently been created at the University of Munster. In 2005 the university started a teacher training program in order to help with shortages of competent instructors and promote more equal treatment of Muslims at German schools. Professor Muhammad Sven Kalisch was appointed professor for Islamic sciences for the subject “Religion des Islam” at the University of Munster. Munster was the first German university that allowed for the qualifying of teachers for Islamic religious education. In 2007 the University of Osnabruck also started to educate Islamic religious teachers through its Master program “Islamic Religious Education” (Islamische Religionspädagogik). However, by 2007 only four students had enrolled in Osnabruck. Twenty applicants from Turkey were rejected since they didn’t fulfill the entrance requirements.35 There has also been political pressure for the training of more imams in German universities, championed for instance by Claudia Roth of the Green Party.

            • ” If they thrived at all it is largely because of this openness and tolerance. “

              Exactly, this is absent in the Mid-East and Europe. But remember they thrived w/out the benefit of the West for quite awhile, then the West benefited from them. There’s a lesson there.

              ” Give them enough political power and they will insist on imposing the Shariah Law or the commandments of the Quran. “

              If you can get a hold of Un-Mosqued documentary, watch it. http://www.unmosquedfilm.com/ Whether it’s because our Muslims are more educated, more well to do, less religious, most aren’t calling for Shariah, the way European Muslims are.

              I don’t think the problem’s in our Muslims per se, but in the converts, especially those converted in prison— mostly Hispanics and blacks. Our “heritage” Muslims are doing really well, in contrast to the rest of the population.

              So dis-enfranchisement has more to do w/ this, than religion.

              • Germany is one notable exception… France is often intolerant and that breeds hatred..

                Kaya Yanar is a very popular comedian, making fun of the Christian-Muslim dynamic also.

                Mesut Özil is the best football player on the German national team – a practicing Muslim.

              • Feridun Zaimoglu is one of Germany’s best contemporary writers…

              • “Germany is one notable exception…”

                Ireneo, are there other exceptions? What are the rest of them doing wrong, aside from racism?

              • Britain is another. Aside from Sikhs with turbans checking my passport at Immigration, I have also had lady immigration officers with hijabs. Unthinkable in the USA, I think…

                Britain with its long tradition of Empire knows how to integrate people. Something the USA is presently learning with its Foreign Area Officers to study cultures, something Americans refused to do before. And people like you, shaped by the lessons of the Af-Pak debacle.

              • The Nordic countries are not racist, but they are too tolerant, Polyanna-like…

              • “Unthinkable in the USA, I think…”

                Yeah, we’re sticklers for uniformity. I think there was 1 or 2 Sikhs in the Army that got a chit to wear their turbans (both doctors, or in the medical field), but they nipped that in the bud quick, no others followed.

  9. Guys,

    As in every article I’ve written, this isn’t one big idea—- it’s scalable and modular, ie. if you can scale it down to just one module, that’s read the Qur’an (Siras and Hadiths)… then scale it up and add another module, reach out to your neighborhood mosque and pray with them ( the way Muslims pray now, was basically how early Christians prayed ), don’t be an a-hole, listen more than talk, be part of the fabric– don’t say you wan’t to be Muslim, because that would put you in a bad place from the git-go (you’re Christian, atheist, interested in Islam, and they’ll accommodate you). That’s the start here, from there you can scale it up and add more stuff.

    • Yep, that is exactly what my ex-French foreign legion friend is doing right now in Munich… visiting the mosque and talking to the people there with no pretense just direct dialogue.

      • Mosques are designed for travelers— that’s just tradition. So it welcomes anyone who comes by. Like Rest Areas over here (you guys have similar stops along long stretches in highways, right?).

        They just ask that you wear appropriate attire, long pants and then long skirts for women and head scarf (long-sleeve blouse preferred). From there they’ll teach you about washing, taking off your shoes, prostrating (this came from early Christians), etc. then it’s a whole lot of just sitting around and talking… then break for prayers, you can sit in the back or pray with them. They’ll also have food. Easy peezy.

        When you read the Qur’an use the little stands,

  10. Micha says:

    The Philippines should strive to transition towards a more secular society. Enough of the madness of religion. Enough of theocratic tendencies.

    Beware of economic proposals with religious prefix. Is there such thing as Christian economy? Hindu economy? Buddhist economy? Jewish economy?

    • “The Philippines should strive to transition towards a more secular society. Enough of the madness of religion. Enough of theocratic tendencies.”

      Though I’d agree with you, we both know that the bulk of the Philippines will take a long time to do this. In the meantime, the Muslim world is expanding, with it Islamic finance/economy— the main reason Brunei’s going with Shariah.

      How do you deal with this expansion?

      • Revive true spirituality, the core of all religions. I had an epiphany in Istanbul this summer.

        The muezzins of the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) and another big mosque close to the Hagia Sophia which is a museum now did their thing in the afternoon, alternately. They were competing, hey two Oriental men, but gentlemen, taking turns and making even greater tunes. I understood nothing, but when the last echo of the call to prayer in the time when people leave office faded out, I felt a deep feeling of peace inside of me…

        It’s a bit like Joe and me, or any of us when our voices compete, yet take turns to finally give rise to a greater melody. The spirit must be inspired first, then the mind will follow.

      • Micha says:

        If Islam is expanding largely in parts of the world where poverty and ignorance are more pronounced then humanity as a whole will not the better for it.

        • “If Islam is expanding largely in parts of the world where poverty and ignorance are more pronounced then humanity as a whole will not the better for it.”

          Hence the very real need to mitigate this foreseeable problem. State’s coopt religions all the time, Micha, Hobbes wasn’t the first guy to think this up.

          • Micha says:

            Nope, it’s about time to stop the co opting. It’s not as if the state is entirely hostage to the insanity of religion.

            Secularism is a rational and sensible option.

            • “Secularism is a rational and sensible option.”

              That’s fine, hence the two-prong approach in the article, but something still has to be done about the spread, no?

              • Micha says:

                I don’t think there is the need to do something about the “spread”. We’re not exactly seeing massive conversions of Americans and Europeans. What we have is influx of immigrants to western countries.

                The “spread” is happening largely in Africa and Asia. Is that a considered threat that we need to “do something about”? If people wanted to be a Muslim, why is there a need to interfere or “do something”?

              • Islam did not have the Reformation that Christianity had with Luther.

                The religious DNA of Christianity was changed by that, even Catholicism.

                The Philippines could be the place where the memes of Islam could be mutated.

              • Micha says:

                @Ireneo

                There is already an ongoing civil war between the Sunnis and the Shites. It’s comparable to the schism between protestants and catholics in christianity.

              • I beg to disagree – it is more like the Orthodox/Catholic schism around the Year 1000. There is no true Reformation of Islam – the Alevi Muslims of Turkey are the closest to it, but they are more like the Franciscans of the Middle Ages than Protestants or Jesuits – the Jesuits reformed Catholicism in the Counter-Reformation by adopting similar ideas, by their intellectuality, but injected the DNA of reason into Christianity by their efforts. It is no accident that Rizal was an Atenean, and Fr. Bernas the father of the 1987 Constitution.

              • Micha says:

                If it’s possible at all to reform Islam, let their scholars engineer it in Jeddah or Baghdad – not in a Philippines that’s still trying to shake off the unsavory influence of Christianity.

              • The point of my latest article linked here is that the Philippines needs to fast-forward Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment – the Internet may help in doing that.

                Even many Philippine intellectuals are dogmatic academic Imams, not enlightened.

              • The “spread” is happening largely in Africa and Asia. Is that a considered threat that we need to “do something about”? If people wanted to be a Muslim, why is there a need to interfere or “do something”?

                The spread is mostly due to population, but also conversion— the balik Muslims in Philippines are increasing. If this spread carries with it the Salafi strain, then it is an issue (especially in the Philippines) three examples are cited, but thru out Muslim SE Asia the trend is not one to be optimistic about.

                I don’t think there is the need to do something about the “spread”. If it has the potential to bite you in the ass, in the Philippines especially, then the response shouldn’t be ‘it’s not our problem’– that’s what https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neville_Chamberlain did.

                Be pro-active, this isn’t singing “Imagine” time. It’s do something time.

                If it’s possible at all to reform Islam, let their scholars engineer it in Jeddah or Baghdad”

                There in lies the very unique opportunity, I’m espousing.

            • Not even Christian society in the Philippines is fully secularized. Constitutionalists, leftists and nationalists often quote their respective dogma like a Bible or Koran, rigidly. Europe took centuries to develop secularism. The mindset has to evolve first, but because of the Internet it may go much faster than in Europe from 1500-1800 where all they had was the printing press. You have to pick up people from where they are to bring them elsewhere. You can’t teach lower levels Grad School stuff immediately, K-12 first then University OK?

  11. Ireneo & edgar,

    The act of ijtihad— squaring the Qur’an, to the Siras and the Hadiths, then to the bigger picture by way of “reason”—- requires a lot of going thru different texts, like legal research.

    Is it possible to create a “question answering computer system” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watson_(computer) on the cheap, say by Filipino computer science students (as a project funded by the gov’t), where at least the work of compiling texts becomes a lot easier.

    I think most of the Arabic (in the Qur’an, Siras, Hadiths) already have multiple English translations, so it’s just a matter of crawling thru all this stuff.

  12. “… a goat entered and ate away the paper.”

    The secular world’s equivalent is “the dog ate my homework,” I presume? 🙂

    It is not the religions that produce extremists but the unhinged interpreters of the written words. All it takes is an unstable but charismatic person to craft a siren song and the discontented masses will act like lemmings.

  13. Lately, over here the issue’s been “Radical Islam” (Republicans) vs. jihadists (Clinton)/terrorists (Obama). Why not just call them what other Muslims call them takfiris— those who go around labeling others kafirs, unbeliever.

    Sign reads, “NO Shi’a and NO Sunni, all of Us against Takfirism” (in red),

  14. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. I will disagree with the first sentence that West sought to stifle democracy in the Middle East, in particular in the Arab world.

    1.1. The Arab world is dominated by Islam, and Islam is anti-democratic by nature. This is not to deny that some countries dominated by a Muslim majority – for example, Egypt, Turkey and Indonesia — are republican and democratic. But the religion holds sway over the minds of their adherents to an extraordinary degree.

    2. The thrust of the essay seems to be twofold:

    2.1. To counter Islamic fundamentalism, in particular Salafi jihadism, by (a) fostering a reinterpretation of Islam and (b) by accommodation.

    2.2. To discourage the adoption of Sharia Law — in particular its Penal Rules and Vice/Virtue Rules – in countries or parts of countries where it is not currently practiced.

    3. I agree with the second thrust.

    4. The first thrust, on first thought, seems to be commendable in its approach, in its use of the Schopenhauerian stratagem of “appeal to authority rather than reason”.

    4.1. On second thought, I disagree – mainly because it is an anti-individual enlightenment approach.

    4.2. I am not saying the approach will not work. It might… but it will take a long time. But time is not my main objection. It is that the approach is self-defeating.

    4.3. In the first place, there is no certainty that the new experts will arrive at the desired correct reinterpretations of the Islamic faith.

    4.4. In the second place, the approach fosters the psychological reliance on external authority. This is the disease of Catholicism as against, say, Protestantism. The disease is primary dependence on the authority of the institution (or the religious leaders of the particular sect) rather than on individual conscience. The flowering of individual consciousness in certain areas is discouraged.

    4.5. I have said in the previous blog that the taming of religion lies in the recognition of pluralism. Of the top six of the world’s main religions, only the top two, Islam and Christianity, practice exclusivism… although, admittedly, there have been conflicts between and among the other major religions.

    4.6. Would it not be simpler to inculcate the notions of tolerance and acceptance in the faithful of these two religions? Francis has made moves to bring these notions into reality. And the governments of Muslim-dominated countries, like Indonesia and Malaysia, formally recognize other religions… although in practice there are trends, as has been noted in the blog, toward favoritism and extremism.

    4.7. It is also possible that the task of inculcating pluralism will be taken up by moderate Muslims who will act in their interests to quell the Salafi jihadists.

    4.8. If the jihadists win to a certain extent, as in the Islamic State, their extremism will invite their extinction, as it seems to be happening right now. The danger is that all Muslims will be brushed as Salafists.

    5. One would imagine, as Lennon has done, that the world would be as one without religion. I cannot imagine that religion will ever go away.
    *****

    • “the approach fosters the psychological reliance on external authority. This is the disease of Catholicism as against, say, Protestantism” not with Jesuits.. the Counter-Reformation.

      It is no small wonder that Jesuits produced many scientists, thinkers and philosophers.

    • edgar,

      “1. I will disagree with the first sentence that West sought to stifle democracy in the Middle East, in particular in the Arab world.”

      Maybe not democracy directly (the way we understand it),

      and I agree, “Islam is anti-democratic by nature”, but since Pres. Thomas Jefferson, sent Capt. William Eaton and the US Marines under him to present day Libya, its been to mitigate the threats posed by Muslim nations (the first unconventional warfare undertaken outside the US, reason for “From the Halls of Montezuma, To the shores of Tripoli” in the Marine Hymn).

      The Imamate of Oman sent envoys to the US in 1840 asking for assistance against the Wahhabis, then the Lawrence of Arabia stuff in WWI turned the tide (Hashemites got kicked out of the Hejaz, Saudis in— Wahhabis legitimized), then oil found in Arabia in the 1930s— that was the impetus for direct subversion of democracy, Saudis/Wahhabis now rich.

      “But the religion holds sway over the minds of their adherents to an extraordinary degree.”

      The democracy here, isn’t like Greek democracy, one-man, one-vote ideal. Their democracy was in the fact that they (Sunnis) had no clergy, so they essentially shopped around for better to best fatwas. As in any democracy, it pays to have informed citizens.

      Once certain regimes were favored by the West, and certain interpretations favored by those the West favored, became the norm, the perfect was set.

      “4.1. On second thought, I disagree – mainly because it is an anti-individual enlightenment approach.”

      Remember it’s a two-pronged approach, to ensure (attempt to ensure) it doesn’t sway the way we don’t want it to sway.

      edgar, Our difference has been slight, but when we hit this particular point (around reason & faith and the question of how to win this battle), we part ways. These two responses line us up beautifully, IMHO,

      https://joeam.com/2015/04/27/open-discussion-our-philippines/#comment-120867 and https://joeam.com/2015/11/19/demystifying-the-american-us18-trillion-debt/#comment-148434

      I do appreciate this difference and I’ve wavered most of the time when against your reason— I’d say not so with Micha (who’s espousing something similar, but like his Chinese rant, comes from a dark place). I’d say this wavering is because I do understand your point all too well and that of blow-back, “no certainty that the new experts will arrive at the desired correct reinterpretations of the Islamic faith”.

      But no other viable options exist, at least in my view.

      “4.6. Would it not be simpler to inculcate the notions of tolerance and acceptance in the faithful of these two religions?”

      The Christians over here will eventually have to face off with the products of 2 universities, Liberty (Falwell’s) and Regent (Robertson’s). That’s the coming storm.

      Islam ‘s fundamentalism seems to be taking the opposite route, from places like Al-Azhar (Cairo) and Abu Nur (Damascus) diminishing, to more of a house-holding process in application of Islam, kinda like how early Christianity spread, house-to-house.

      “The danger is that all Muslims will be brushed as Salafists.”

      The takfiris and Muslim Brotherhood-type, political, groups will shoot themselves in the foot, but the essential fundamentalism of Salafism will be carried further by the largest portion of the movement, the Quietists— folks who’ll not bother anyone, who’ll just keep turning the clock back to the 7th century. They are actually the main threat— like the Evangelical movement is the main threat over here.

      It’s the Quietist I’m worried about, not so much ISIS or MB. They’re the reason for this article.

      • “isn’t like Greek democracy, one-man, one-vote ideal” over there it’s more like one man, one goat – at least…

        I know Southern Sudanese who were refugees in Germany. They are Dinka, now in Australia, tall enough to jump with the kangaroos – used to be our Pinoy team “imports”…

        They made fun of the goats of the Northern Sudanese who are mainly Arabs, dark Arabs, but Arabs as opposed to the Dinka who are a proud African warrior race…

        • https://joeam.com/2015/11/16/banking-in-the-philippines-part-i-the-fundamentals/#comment-147531

          josephivo’s contribution is of note (so re-posting),

          Journalist John Foster quotes an investment banker based in Dubai:

          We create the same type of products that we do for the conventional markets. We then phone up a Sharia scholar for a Fatwa … If he doesn’t give it to us, we phone up another scholar, offer him a sum of money for his services and ask him for a Fatwa. We do this until we get Sharia compliance. Then we are free to distribute the product as Islamic. “Top scholars” often earn “six-figure sums” for each fatwa on a financial product. (Wiki)

          The system when coopted with ill intentions will buck, my question in this article is what happens when our intentions are honorable, encouraging this democratic Islamic process?

      • edgar lores says:

        LCpl_X,

        Thanks. I will accept our differences.

        I am a bit confused. In the article there is no mention of Muslim Quietism only of Salafism. And yet now you say your main worry is Quietism.

        As I understand it, Islam is divided into two traditions: Quietism which is non-active and non-political Islam, and Salafism which is activistic and political Islam.

        But Salafism itself is composed of Quietists (majority), activists (middle group), and jihadists (minority).

        Your worry reminds me of the Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, who fears that Islam will conquer the world by accretion. His stance might be more right-wing than yours. There are many who share your view, not least many Muslims themselves.

        If you scan the links provided by Irineo, I am not sure your fears are well-founded. Within Quietism, there are attempts to form linkages between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds in the legal, political and religious domains. The attempt to establish an interfaith accord between Islam and Catholicism is bilateral. As well, interfaith dialogue is going on all the time.

        From Wiki: “The first week of February, every year, has been declared a UN World Interfaith Harmony Week.”

        I think this article, in its purpose to prod Quietists, is well-intentioned. But for me, the main worries are still the extremist groups: Islamic State, Boko Haram, Taliban, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf, Jemaah Islamiyah, etcetera.

        Even so, I am not sure that these front-headline groups pose a greater threat to civilization than the no-headline drug cartels.
        *****

        • There are three types of Salafis, differing more in implementation than in their beliefs. The first more popular are the takfiris (those who make un-believers of others). These are the guys that accuse other fellow Muslims of being unbelievers because they’re not Salafis; they love to terrorize. The second, no different from the first, believe in coopting the state from within; they use the political route. The third is the biggest; these are the guys who cover up their wives and make Salafis of their children — this last group represents the actual movement, which will usher in the Dark Ages (no different really from other religious fundamental movements found in other faiths).

          “I am a bit confused. In the article there is no mention of Muslim Quietism only of Salafism. And yet now you say your main worry is Quietism.”

          edgar,

          I did. That’s it above. I don’t usually refer to this third group as “Quietist”— since it gives off the wrong connotation. Their’s is the confidence of this certainty that chempo‘s also caught unto: “They don’t need to fight now, just be patient.”

          I don’t know if you’re noticing it in Australia, but it’s definitely in Europe, and over here, though not much in California, you’ll see them. Sort of like you see the Amish take tours across the US, they stick out. Same with FLDS Mormons, or orthodox Jews, with their styles of dress. This coupled with chempo‘s metrics below, suggests a very real trend.

          “If you scan the links provided by Irineo, I am not sure your fears are well-founded. “

          I’ve read thru Ireneo’s links, and I do agree there is a whole reaching out process going on. But it’s a different process, from what I’m espousing. Those activities, to me, are too Kumbaya-ish, like those COEXIST stickers you see everywhere these days, don’t know if you see ’em too in EU or Australia,

          A totally different understanding, or framing, of the problem, IMHO. Again, chempo‘s provided the numbers, I’m just expressing a shared gut worry— hence, the need for some action, that is nuanced but doesn’t come from a lovey-dovey angle, with comes from false equivalency when comparing the dimensions of the problem.

          “But for me, the main worries are still the extremist groups: Islamic State, Boko Haram, Taliban, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf, Jemaah Islamiyah, etcetera.”

          These guys will fizzle out quicker, see RHiro’s comment below.

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            I disagree with RHiro. He sees most everything through an economic lens. I will agree that it is about power. But it has to be about religion mainly.

            How can it not be about religion?

            Osama Bin Laden was a billionaire. He had money and power. But he used these for the purposes of jihadism.

            How can it not be about religion?

            The central aim of the Islamic State is to fulfill the dreams of the Prophet to build the ultimate caliphate.

            How can it not be about religion?

            When in every country with a burgeoning migrant Muslim population, there is a push to build more mosques and adopt Sharia?

            Islam as a religion is a comprehensive system — political, legal, economic and social.
            *****

            • I remember more than a decade ago when 9-11 happened I forced myself to understand what was happening, I am still trying to understand but I totally agree with your last statement.

              As long as the basic conflict with modern society exists with how Islam almost pervades the whole existence of its members it will be on a collision course with non-members.

              Of course when the oil runs out the Middle East may depopulate and the non muslim nations may or may not close it’s borders.

              If (and this if is slowly vanishing) we do not become extinct through climate change, I fear a bloody integration will happen.

            • chempo says:

              Mohamed was a business man before he was a prophet.
              Why was pork disallowed? My best was his wife was selling goats in the market. In economics/marketing you call this substitute product?
              Pork was never banned in the Koran. I think the ban was on the cockerel. That was in deference to the cockerel which crowed and awoke the prophet at an opportune time where he escaped an assassin.

              When in every country with a burgeoning migrant Muslim population, there is a push to build more mosques and adopt Sharia? — Answer — Power and Control.

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                And what is the basis and the purpose for gaining power?
                *****

              • chempo says:

                Some construct their Maslow’s pyramid differently. The ultimately thrill is Power.

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                It is true that Power can be an end in itself. But, more often than not, Power is a tool to attain a goal.

                Why is every Tom, Dick and Harry gunning for the presidency and the vice-presidency? It is not power for power’s sake. The privileges, the chance at immortality, and the spoils are enormous. Also, ostensibly, it is to push the nation forward.

                Why does the Catholic Church engage in power play? It is not power for power’s sake. The Church has a Godly mission. And part of it is for self-aggrandizement and self-preservation.

                For Islam, the bases for gaining power are the teachings of the Prophet. That is, Religion.

                For Islam, the purpose for gaining power is to live, practice and spread the Faith according to the teachings of the Prophet. That is, Religion.

                The martyr jihadists go willingly to their deaths not for power nor for money. It is their ultimate form of worship. That is, Religion.
                *****

  15. Vicara says:

    Creating a groundswell of “civil Islam” would naturally have to come from within, so I’ve wondered while reading this post about the use of “we” doing this or that to effectually block Shariah while bringing about an Islamic renaissance. Hoping it’s not the imperial Manila or outsider “we” that’s being proposed as the key agent for this cultural/political/religious engineering. Also, it’s a bit eyebrow-raising–maybe even hair-raising–to come across sweeping one-sentences summaries of Basilan and “Tausug” and “Maranaw,” and talk about Mindanao Muslim affairs as if none of them can or will read this post, or indeed make similar analyses with conclusions of their own. There are Maranaw, Maguindanao and Tausug and Yakan etc–men and women–who have passed the national bar, are practicing lawyers, and are also grounded in shariah. And they have been at multiple regional fora on the issues raised above. Business groups in Moro areas have formally recommended to the national government the development of the Islamic banking sector–yes, the Amanah bank–since the late 1990s, when the signing of the 1996 peace agreement with the MNLF paved the way for the integration of Mindanao’s economy, which has steadily expanded since. They may be interested to learn about this discussion re their situation–likely some are already sharing this post as I write this.

    • http://www.mindanews.com/mindaviews/2014/05/04/crucible-overarching-foundation-and-reform-in-philippine-shariah/ – thanks for reminding me, Mindanews shows that civic society in Mindanao is far more advanced than in hidebound, self-centered Manila…

      http://www.acommonword.com/philippines-filipina-to-join-catholic-muslim-seminar-in-rome/ – this is another source which shows an example of a Philippine Muslima in interfaith dialog.

          • Vicara says:

            Nice online finds, Irineo, esp the one from the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos. Skimming through it, I was reminded of the effort–ongoing for some time–to help madrassahs in Mindanao conform their curriculum with the Dep Ed curriculum in order to ensure better quality education–or at the very least education qualifications that are recognized. This is similar to Catholic schools following secular Dep Ed guidelines, and would ensure that graduates are on the national education track and won’t have difficulty in post-high school training or college–and in entering the formal workforce.

            Let’s put aside for a second the sensationalist bogey of madrassah schools as the incubators for an international training network of suicide bombers: The fact is that through the years of isolation of Moro communities during the Marcos regime and the volatile post-Marcos period up to the signing of the ’96 peace agreement (which some would say was more flawed in concept and implementation than the BBL, but which opened the way for positive social/economic development) madrassah were the ONLY schools available in the more remote Moro towns and barrios. And the Philippines being on the outermost reaches of the Muslm world, the teachers were not equipped to teach anything much beyond the most basic tenets of faith. But kids are supposed to go to school, and to the nearest madrassah they go. (As for suicide bombing, touch wood, it hasn’t caught on here; because it really IS more fun living in the Philippines.)

            As in the Christian world, Islam has its missionaries, and a number have made their way to Mindanao. This has resulted in a rediscovery and strengthening of faith–what is known informally and widely in Mindanao as balik-Islam–and conversions like that of the actor Robin Padilla. But to give this a bit more perspective, there have been Christian missionaries as well in areas with mixed Muslim/non-Muslim populations. The Jehovah’s Witnesses even set up shop in Basilan at one point. (As Lance Corporal X may have heard, it went badly.)

            Education in the ARMM areas has had its many problems–lack of teacher qualifications, regional Dep Ed administrative issues, and the highest dropout rates in the country, to name just a few of the most pressing–but the ratio of female students to male students is excellent–with female graduates often outnumbering male graduates. Always a good sign (pardon me, gentlemen of the Joe Am community; and the Lord help you if you should find yourself in divorce proceedings facing a qualified Integrated Bar of the Philippines/Shariah lady lawyer–they’re fierce).

            • What is the feasibility of sending mainstream (non-Muslim) teachers in Muslim areas of the Philippines? Is it safe for them to be there? Pardon my ignorance but it is my understanding that mainly Filipino military personnel are there now?

              As I related here before, the bad blood between Ilocanos and Pampangos in Tarlac was bridged by a few Ilocano teachers who were brave enough to teach in areas populated by Pampangos. The fear of the unknown and preconceived notion were the prime factor in the separation of these two tribes. Most participants (teachers, students, parents and community folks) learned that the stereotypes and generalizations they ascribed to each other were far from the truth and a paradigm shift based on facts was formed. Intermarriage between the two ethnic groups as a result of the mingling, shed a lot of light into the strongly held preconceptions of both groups and most couples lived happily, ever after – with blessings from both sides. Could this happen in areas populated by Muslims in the Philippines? Why or why not?

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                Muslims frown on interfaith marriages. The disapproval is greater when applied to Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men. This is to preserve the faith.
                *****

              • Our former kasambahay of almost 6 years is married to an amateur boxer, with 7 children in Davao. A nagger that she is, she was made a punching bag by his boxer husband so she stayed in Metro Manila to get away from him. She met a tricycle driver in our subdivision and had a relationship with him, of course we voiced our concern, so unknown to us, she and her boyfriend got “baptized” as Muslims and got married, she dressed in their traditional robes and veil while in the mosque, but wore shortie shorts while at home and in zumba work outs to the consternation of their imam.

              • Vicara says:

                There’s no shortage of teachers in Mindanao–education is the most popular major in colleges there, because once you get into the Dep Ed system it’s pretty much lifetime civil service employment, and there are not many other jobs available in some provinces, particularly the ARMM areas. What are sorely lacking are qualified good teachers–and this can be addressed through better training, at the very least. Throughout ARMM, the Muslim/non-Muslim ratio of students varies, but I’ve been in schools where you have Christians teaching a student population that is mostly Muslim, no problem (as in the private Notre de Dame de Jolo high school, where Catholic brothers as a matter of course teach classes which are 95 percent or more Moro), and in Dep Ed schools where you have Moro teachers with a mixed Muslim/Christian/lumad student population. Yes, there have been intermarriages and conversions and friendships and business partnerships cutting through a religious divide which doesn’t loom over daily life to the degree the more sensationalist news media would have us believe. Intermarriage is frowned upon still, and creates family tension, but it doesn’t have the stigma it used to.

                As to the military personnel–some few areas have a heightened AFP presence, but then that also depends on fluid conditions. If the gulo is local and is cleared up, then they lighten up. And in some other areas, they’re there all year round. But really, much of Mindanao is just like much of the rest of the Philippines. Some areas are not so good–but then you could say the same of certain areas in Metro Manila.

                And to answer your last question with an anecdote: While waiting at the Gen San airport I fell into conversation with a Maguindanao woman trader from nearby Sultan Kudarat province, where I had just been. She mentioned that her companion was an Ilocano. I was confused, because her companion was wearing a hijab, was hoping to find work in the Middle East as a DH, and spoke shyly in Maguindanao. The trader explained that her companion was the great-granddaughter of Ilocano settlers who had migrated to Gen San in the 1930s and set up a farm further up north, towards Cotabato City. Somewhere along the timeline to the present some of the family had intermarried and converted, and now spoke as locals did–but their descendants were still known as Ilocano. Regional and provincial alliances make life more interesting in melodrama-prone Philippine society, but time wears away a lot of things.

                I don;t have data, but would venture to guess that there’s more intermarriage now that there are sizeable Moro communities (in La Union and Baguio, for example) living outside Mindanao.

              • @edgar

                You are right. I read about “honor killings” in the US, Canada, Europe and ME. It looks like in the US, a sizeable number of Muslims in 2009 married outside their faith according to the study below. An excerpt from it seems to indicate that interfaith marriages among US Muslims is not strict though there still the disapproval among first generation migrants:

                “For marriage, not all Christians or Jews marrying to a Muslim have to convert to Islam because there is flexibility in Islam for a man to marry a Christian or Jew without conversion, as they are considered, al-kitab, or “People of Book.” However, Islamic women are forbidden to marry outside the faith. This can be overcome if the non-Muslim boy friend converts to Islam before the Nikaah.”

                http://www.interfaithshaadi.org/blog/?p=173

                I also read that there are two school of thoughts about the prohibition of Muslim women from engaging in interfaith marriage. The first one is about the strict adherence to the wisdom of Muslim jurists who believe that men were given permission by the Qur’an to do so but women were not. The second one involves “ijtihad,” the use of one’s intellect in making judgement when faced with difficult challenges such as interfaith marriages. A Muslim woman is believed to have the permission of The Prophet Mohammed to use her mind and follow her conscience in making decisions.

                http://www.scholarofthehouse.org/oninma.html

                The point of all this is, maybe there is a possibility of interfaith marriage among PH Muslims and Christians.

                Maybe, even the mere socialization of PH Muslims with Christian and mainstream Filipinos through government efforts of posting non-military personnel in the Muslim populated areas could overcome the fear and prejudice of most participants.

              • Juana Pilipinas says:

                @Vicara

                Thank you for your response. I did a little reading about interfaith marriages among Muslims and non-Muslims and you are right on the money. It looks like PH and the world in general, are embracing inclusivity and interfaith marriages are becoming more accepted.

                The anecdote is refreshing. I think Ilocanos are very pioneering people. I have been in a few places around the world and the manongs/manangs seem to be the ubiquitous globe explorers.

              • Juana Pilipinas says:

                @Mary

                Thank you for sharing another anecdote. I hope her marriage works out and she will soon find the discipline to behave according to her faith. Bless her heart…

              • Christian Filipinos and Muslims Filipinos were very similar in their expressions of macho-ness. Not all, but most had girls on the side (official mistresses or patronizing sex workers, or both). The difference amongst Muslim Filipinos was that they had the 4 wives doctrine, which legitimizes the extra flings— Christian Filipinos didn’t have this. But it’s the same, just a small difference in optics when it comes to extra-marital stuff.

                As for inter-faith marriages, I would say that it was a pretty common occurrence— which again is where the Philippine situation is unique. You don’t see that in the Mid-East or S. Asia, Christians in the Arab world have tattoos of the cross when they’re young to ensure they don’t switch sides. The lines were also a lot more distinct in Indonesia and Malaysia (maybe chempo can add his take on this re Singapore).

                So usually the female marrying a Muslim, will take the shahada (declaration of creed), voila! Muslim. It goes the other way too, mostly female Muslim, marrying a non-Muslim. It’s usually the females doing the switching sides, but males too— though not as many.

                The conversion that should be of note, though I haven’t found any statistics, were Christian Filipinos, converting to Islam, they’re called balik Muslims. There were actually a bunch from the police and the military— at first I figured they saw Tom Cruise in “Last Samurai”, and endeavored to know their enemies, but I found they were real conversions.

                I do see and understand the appeal for warrior-types in Islam, there’s a lot of chivalry and rules of conduct embedded in the narratives, where Christianity only espouses one view (turn the other cheek), which if you are engaged in unsavory actions, seem inconsistent.

                The balik Muslim were an interesting group because they possessed a level of curiosity and idealism that those born into the religion didn’t have. As for the marital converts, it’s hit & miss, Mary’s shortie shorts is apt, though there are also many who become true Muslims. A bunch of Christian Filipinas working in the Arab world, “convert” to Islam to get promotions, then parties and shortie shorts back in their flats.

              • karl garcia says:

                More on interfaith Marriages.

                Openness to marrying outside the faith is greatest in Albania and Russia, where at least half of Muslims (77% and 52%, respectively) say they would be comfortable with their son marrying a Christian. A majority of Albanian Muslims (75%) also would be comfortable if their daughter married a Christian, but significantly fewer Russian Muslims (39%) say the same.

                Elsewhere in Southern and Eastern Europe, as well as in Central Asia, fewer than four-in-ten Muslims say they would be comfortable with either a son or daughter marrying outside the faith. After Albania and Russia, acceptance of interfaith marriage is greatest in Kazakhstan (36% are comfortable with a son marrying a Christian, 32% with a daughter doing the same), and lowest in Azerbaijan (8% son, 3% daughter).

                In the other regions surveyed, three-in-ten or fewer Muslims say they would be comfortable with a son marrying a Christian (or Buddhist, in the case of Thailand), with single-digit acceptance in Pakistan (9%) and Indonesia (6%). Almost no Muslims surveyed in Egypt and Jordan would be comfortable with an interfaith marriage for their daughter. Elsewhere, fewer than one-in-four Muslims would be comfortable with their daughter marrying a Christian.

                In the countries surveyed in Middle East and North Africa, Muslims consistently express greater acceptance of interfaith marriage for sons than daughters. Muslims in Egypt and Tunisia, for example, are 17 percentage points more comfortable with a son entering into an interfaith marriage than a daughter doing the same. Among the other countries surveyed in the region, attitudes differ in the same direction by nine to 12 percentage points.

                In many countries surveyed, Muslims who pray several times a day are less accepting than those who pray less often of a child marrying outside the faith. This is especially true in Russia, where only a minority of Muslims who pray several times a day are comfortable with their son (35%) or daughter (12%) marrying a Christian. By contrast, 61% of Russian Muslims who pray less often say they would be very or somewhat comfortable if their son married a Christian. Roughly half express the same level of acceptance with the idea of their daughter (53%) marrying a Christian.

                http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-interfaith-relations/

              • JP, yes I agree. The new husband tries to remind her that she might be whipped/ lashed for her clothing insubordination.

              • “The new husband tries to remind her that she might be whipped/ lashed for her clothing insubordination.”

                Mary,

                You mean in a kinky way, or in a Sharia way— because the latter would be spousal abuse, and thank god the Philippines still does not have Sharia Law. Though a little spanking on the tush invigorates the marriage, so I’ve heard.

              • @ LCpl_X

                The new husband is more serious in following the Muslim traditions, our former kasambahay is less. I can say this because we have Muslim women in our zumba class who had their robes and veil even when in our work outs. What she had on was spaghetti strapped blouse (with a plunging neckline) which displays her navel each time she raise her hands, and as mentioned above, a shortie short (almost mini shorts) which leaves almost nothing to the imagination. I had no idea if the other Muslim women outed her to the imam.

              • sonny says:

                Strictly FWIW and taken from a combox of another blog:

                “… Q. I read recently, a bishop at the Synod noted that Christian women who marry Muslims give up Christ for Islam. I would not place much hope or faith in Christian women.

                A. I have to wonder if that “bishop at the Synod” has any first hand experience with the Islamic culture.

                What I know about the Islamic culture (Sunni) comes from my mother, who was a civil lawyer practicing in the Philippines. She had clients who married Muslim men. So she had to understand something of Sharia Law. Philippine Law accommodates Sharia Law here in the Philippines.

                When a woman (Christian or otherwise) marries a Muslim, it is assumed that she becomes his chattel (ie property). Her conversion to Islam is entirely beside the point.”

              • “When a woman (Christian or otherwise) marries a Muslim, it is assumed that she becomes his chattel (ie property). Her conversion to Islam is entirely beside the point.”

                sonny,

                I think (and Vicara can verify here) more divorced Muslim women get a better shake than Catholic women who end up living apart— divorce laws and inheritance laws. It depends on who they marry (rich/poor), but Filipina Christian women who convert to marry Filipino Muslim men, if divorce or separated, usually get a pretty good deal.

            • “Always a good sign (pardon me, gentlemen of the Joe Am community; and the Lord help you if you should find yourself in divorce proceedings facing a qualified Integrated Bar of the Philippines/Shariah lady lawyer–they’re fierce).”

              Vicara,

              Aside from this notion of intentional interdependence, the other point to this article is also the ascendancy of women in Islam. Women get a bad shake under male interpreted laws, so they are the natural antidote to Salafism.

              And you are exactly right, the women lawyers and women “ulemas” are on the rise.

              Not so much on the lawyering/Sharia side (I didn’t really get to see that part, but took note of divorce among Muslim Filipinos), but I noticed Filipina Muslim women were a lot more vocal in the Philippines– definitely not in the Mid-East and S Asia and Indonesia/Malaysia in comparison, I would rate the Philippine Muslim south as female vibrant in these matters,

              so a reaching out (vice versa) to women ‘Ulemas setting up shop in the U.S. and Canada would only be natural, https://www.facebook.com/WomensMosque/ would be a great start.

              Can you talk more of these women Sharia lawyers, Vicara? Are they mostly Muslim women? How did they come to specialize in Sharia? How’s the money in this field? If it’s lucrative, more motivation for aspiring non-Muslim Filipina lawyers to ply their expertise down south, no? Can these Filipina lawyers assume the role of ‘Ulemas just as well, you think, if tasked to do so? Are there schools right now in the Philippines that train or at least encourage women mujtahids?

              Here’s a really good film (from Syria) about women Islamic scholars,

            • “The Jehovah’s Witnesses even set up shop in Basilan at one point. (As Lance Corporal X may have heard, it went badly.)”

              Jehovah’s Witnesses just don’t get it. They knock at my door at inopportune times, when I’m polite, they interpret that as being open to their delusion, so they end up coming back. I don’t usually yell at missionaries, but I yell at Jehovah’s Witnesses almost as a rule.

              If I were a Salafi I’d target Jehovah’s Witnesses exclusively for being extra annoying.;-)

            • ” I can say this because we have Muslim women in our zumba class who had their robes and veil even when in our work outs. What she had on was spaghetti strapped blouse (with a plunging neckline) which displays her navel each time she raise her hands, and as mentioned above, a shortie short (almost mini shorts) which leaves almost nothing to the imagination. I had no idea if the other Muslim women outed her to the imam.”

              Mary,

              I think so long as she’s with other females (Muslims or not) she’s fine— the whole point to ‘modesty’ is the male gaze and the avoidance of that male’s blue balls, which as a male I can totally empathize with this frustration.

              Amongst other women though, female Muslims aren’t duty-bound to be modest.

              The weirdest thing about the Middle East was their lingerie stores. I’ve been inside Victoria’s Secret, and the original Frederick’s of Hollywood, when any seemingly respectable male customer can ask the young female clerks to try on a lingerie or two for viewing.

              But the stuff they had on display in the Mid-East made me blush.

              • Our instructor is male, and we have males too, in the group. It’s their concern, not mine, I just posted it when I remembered the “whipping/lashing warning” that might result from the insubordination, to be meted by the Muslim groups (although I haven’t heard of it being done here in Metro Manila or elsewhere) uttered by the hapless husband, who is probably torn between the Muslim and the Christian traditions, with him and his wife just newly converted.

            • ” than in, say, central Paris, where it definitely wasn’t a good time for anyone who looked remotely Middle Eastern (an MNLF commander who trained in the ME in the 1970s remarked that I reminded him of Syrian girls).”

              Both Lebanon and Syria were known for the ultra-mini skirts, then starting in the 90s with Salafism on the rise, more and more women opted for the covered look. Though, Alawi women (the ethno-religious group Pres. Assad belongs to) up until the Arab Spring were seen in mini-skirts, maybe still — in Latakia, Syria.

              (Osama bin Laden ‘s mom was an Alawi woman from Latakia, Syria— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamida_al-Attas )

    • “Hoping it’s not the imperial Manila or outsider “we” that’s being proposed as the key agent for this cultural/political/religious engineering.”

      Vicara,

      I know you have direct knowledge in Mindanao, so your comment carries a lot of weight for me.

      “We” here is not Manila or the US, but the Society of Honor (and those of like mind, who may not post but are reading regularly), here described by edgar, https://joeam.com/2015/11/10/from-naga-with-love/#comment-148583

      “6.1. However, I will say this: our discussions here in the Society are generally in the form of advocacies, observations, ideas and insights. One may agree or disagree with any of these forms, in whole or in part.”

      Also, it’s a bit eyebrow-raising–maybe even hair-raising–to come across sweeping one-sentences summaries of Basilan and “Tausug” and “Maranaw,”

      Basilan is hit & miss for me, on one that’s where the friction is, on the other, away from the friction areas, you get the idyllic rural Philippine vibes. But that’s where the friction is, not military, but cultural.

      In your opinion, using pie or bar graphs, if you had to compare Tausugs, Maranaw, Magindanaws, Samas & Yakans (then the other smaller groups)— how would you rate them, in whatever metrics you choose. How would your reading look?

      That would help greatly, Vicara, but you’re right I’m painting with broad brushes here.

      • Also, the “we” has a literary function— of taking ownership.

        “They may be interested to learn about this discussion re their situation–likely some are already sharing this post as I write this.” I hope they are, their input is crucial.

      • Vicara says:

        Thanks for your clarifications, Lance Corporal X. Regarding the rating of the different Moro groups you mention: well, I’ve made casual mention, myself, of stereotypes like Maranaw are lawyers/traders, Maguindanaw work the land (stereotypes which even Moros toss around in conversation), the situation on the ground is much more complex in terms of identification and does not lend itself easily to metrics. Most of the people I’ve met–from the thin middle/upper classes to the local village level–have to navigate and work through complex loyalties which overlap or contradict each other.

        There is, for example, loyalty to the broad Moro cause, which could work out to one’s supporting the MNLF old guard, or for the MILF, because your daddy fought for one side or the other. But–just as an example–one’s identification with the MNLF cause could be further complicated by one’s clan loyalty (through direct bloodline or intermarriage) to a datu who might also be a known MILF commander at odds with the MN. And maybe your clan’s datu/MILF commander is ALSO an elected mayor–from a political party different from that of your uncle who through his mother’s side is caught up in a blood feud (rido) of long standing against a clan that you may owe a debt to from the previous election. And of course your own MNLF loyalty is only to the Maguindanaw side of MNLF, and not the Tausug MNLF, because the two ethic groups are not meant to get along, your Maguindanaw grandfather always told you so.

        It’s complicated that way. I used to wonder why it took so long for some of my MIndanao respondents to agree to some things, until I figured out that it was because of complicated ruminations similar to above, that had to worked through before they could give me their decision. Lot of data processing going on.

        Also, as to the character of different places–I guess it would depend on what’s going on locally at the time. I’ve visited for work both Basilan and Jolo (mostly before 2005, with some more Mindanao trips a couple of years back) and I always felt more comfortable in the former than in the latter, where the hair on the back of my neck was always tingling. But, then maybe I was in Basilan–and in specific towns there–during a relatively “good” time. I would have preferred to have been there in Lamitan last week rather than in, say, central Paris, where it definitely wasn’t a good time for anyone who looked remotely Middle Eastern (an MNLF commander who trained in the ME in the 1970s remarked that I reminded him of Syrian girls).

        To return to the main topic of Islamic renaissance: What you say is true, about the “Philippines was Muslim before it became Christian. It straddles two worlds, no other country, can claim this except the Philippines.” And in common with other southeast Asian Islamic societies, prior to the 20th century it accommodated for hundreds of years a multi-polar power setup with busy sea trade routes plied among them. It’s more sophisticated that way, compared to Arabic societies scattered on vast stretches of arid land.

        To echo your remark to Micha, Islam is in Mindanao to stay, of course; but how it expresses itself would depend on complex factors–roiled up as we all are in world events–including jobs and livelihood (most of all), education, openness, social inclusiveness, national political stability, and room for collective and individual aspirations to live a better, saner life with wider horizons. And also–and this goes for the whole country–the political will to craft and implement well-intentioned policies such as the BBL, at both the national and local level.

        • You became tina in this response..haha.

        • @ tinacuyagan,

          Just to make sure, tinacuyaga=Vicara?

          So I think we have pretty similar readings of the 4 main Muslim groups in the Philippines. And yeah, I agree with you that it is nuanced as you peel further.

          As for places, yup, I think people in Mindanao are a lot more worried about these shake-downs by bandits/NPA-types and with their bus bombings. So criminal activities top people’s worries, than Muslim attacks— since there’s usually warning signs associated w/ these.

          As for kidnappings, it’s not a Muslim specific problem, a bunch of people are doing it— not just Philippines but the rest of the 3rd world.

          “but how it expresses itself would depend on complex factors–roiled up as we all are in world events–including jobs and livelihood (most of all), education, openness, social inclusiveness, national political stability, and room for collective and individual aspirations to live a better, saner life with wider horizons.”

          Did you get to participate in mosque or Muslim activities while there, what’ s your take on non-Muslim Filipinos participating in Muslim activities there? Can you share some experiences? Any best/better practices? Thanks.

  16. The underlying solution here is the creation of intentional interdependence. I’m not Filipino, you guys have a keener understanding of this possibility. But most haven’t lived in Mindanao, nor among Muslims— I have, though for a short time.

    The question,

    Is it possible for Catholic Filipinos from Luzon or the Visayas (and Mindanao) to visit Muslim mosques and begin this interdependence process. Then from it, interdependence in other facets, ie. Negosyo Centers, etc.

    Right after 9/11 Dept of State increased funding for Arabs (especially from Arabia, though not Syria— the biggest mistake of these programs) to study over here, thinking that by them living here they’d magically just become pro-Americans (like Sarkozy, this guy was the poster boy for these programs), it turned out more Arabs went home with bad tastes in their mouths.

    This whole Salafi rise is also due in part to the negatives of modernity, so what these Arabs saw in America post-9/11 was materialism/consumerism gone awry, confirming their biases.

    So in this path to intentional interdependence, if your best foot forward is American/capitalist values, you’ll have a push back, similar to what we’ve been experiencing from that region. The current Pope’s values seem in line, are there Catholics now already with said values able to interface with Muslim Filipinos? (FWIW, I do know that most rich Muslim Filipinos are indistinguishable from rich Christian Filipinos, only maybe in name and dress, the interdependence is not so much towards them, but those who’ll readily embrace Salafism)

    • intentional interdepence – that is what is missing among Filipinos. Many from Manila won’t give a Visayan the time of day, much less a Mindanawon or even a Moro or a Lumad.

      The chic crowd that wants to be left protests against Lumad killings but I doubt they get them, have talked to any Lumad, Ilaga, Maranao, Davaoeno, Pagadianon in their lives…

      Many who worry about Binay getting poor peoples votes won’t set foot in the slums.. which makes me respect mestiza Bikolana Atty. Leni Gerona-Robredo even more for doing that!

      Peter the Great of Russia worked as a carpenter in Dutch shipdocks to learn firsthand about a modern country and was a great modernizer – Mar Roxas worked in a New York bank, and mind you not one of these sitting pretty elite positions rich Filipinos get at home.

      Great rulers in Europe dressed as poor men to travel amongst their people undercover and get a feel of the real stuff on the ground, here the real opinions about their kingship, much like Aragorn son of Arathorn walked Middle Earth as Strider before becoming King.

      • BUT many Filipinos are getting to know their country better… in the 1970s tourism was something very few Filipinos did, only crazy white men… mad dogs and Englishmen stay in the sun said the Indians I think, or was it the Singaporeans I must ask chempo about this…

        As an intermission, an example of a Filipina who tours her own country and takes pictures – not only of herself but of village kids etc. – not for devout Muslims, this picture is HARAM!

        • Nice! I wonder if she got some sort of Bloggy’s award—- speaking of Bloggy’s what’s the update, did Wil get to do a speech?

          • Yep, she did… I mined the bloggy site for some stuff to feature for my FB page crowd…

            1200+ strong and growing, lot of millenials and a lot of Muslim names too.. some likes for this article as well, but I guess it still has to sink in.. might do an abridged Filipino version, not exactly a translation, something which gets to the Filipino crowd, tickles their pride, gives them the feeling WE can be at the forefront of global change… something like the article about Jolibee opening in UK and Italy, time for us to do some colonizing in return.

  17. karl garcia says:

    Abstract
    This study confines on the relevance of Islamic economy to global trade, investment and industry in Muslim Filipino areas. It is useful, valuable and a reference material in the formulation of economic policies, plan and strategies.
    Islam encourages legitimate economic activities. It condemns usury, hoarding, business monopoly and speculative business and believes in free trade. Its basic principles (truthfulness, honesty, and justice) and other significant elements are acceptable to the Muslims and adoptable in the Philippine setting.
    It is suggested that orientation programs on the global business be conducted in the Muslim areas. Capital must be available to Muslim businessmen by way of responsive financial institution. Communication, transportation and tourism facilities be provided and improved. Accreditation of Islamic organization to examine goods and commodities in accordance with Islam. Peace and order must be maintained. Establishment of Islamic pawnshops.

    http://dirp3.pids.gov.ph/ris/dps/pidsdps0507.pdf

    • chempo says:

      @ Edgar “..Islam will conquer the world by accretion”. The growth of Islam frightens me. It is not a growth by conversion of new faithfuls. They know they will populate the world. Accretion is in fact a strategy, but they don’t tell you that. Non-Muslim world are genuinely ignorant or too polite to discuss this. Because of irresponsible wanton growth in numbers, many Muslim communities drag themselves into poverty. Without oil, the whole Muslim world would be in poverty. And the rest of the better-off world reach out to help them out of poverty so that they have better health to procreate more.

      The don’t need to fight now, just be patient.
      Their strategy — (a) accretion (b) Muslim by birth – no choice (c) renunciation of Islam is haram, Islam allows you to get out of your mommy’s tummy, not out of Islam, (d) marry in – Islam allows you to marry anything that walks on 2 feet, but they must marry into Islam. Everything is WIN-WIN for them.

      Until the Muslim world exercises austerity in procreativity to save the Earth and show us that everyone of whatever faith, has same rights to this God-given place, my personal views remain. I am not a hateful person, and I write this not with hate in my heart, but fear.

      These are the realities in the world today:

      Where muslims are UNDER 2% of the population
      They are considered PEACE-LOVING, not a threat other citizens
      0.6% – USA
      1.5% – Australia
      1.9% – Canada
      1.8% – China
      1.5% – Italy
      1.8% – Norway

      Where they are 2% to 5%
      Muslims begin to convert other ethnic minorities & dis-enfranchised groups
      Recruits from jails and street gangs
      2.0% – Denmark
      3.7% – Germany
      2.7% – UK
      4.0% – Spain
      4.6% – Thailand

      Where they are 5% – 10%
      They exercise excessive influence – introduce halal food preppreparation and jobs
      Get govt to allow them to govern themselves in their localities under shariah – furtherance of ultimate goal – shariah worldwide
      8.0% – France
      5.0% – Philippines
      5.0% – Sweden
      4.3% – Switzerland
      5.5% – Netherlands
      5.8% – Trinidad & Tobago

      Where 10%-20%
      Increased lawlessness – as a means to complain about their conditions
      Non-Muslim actions offend them – uprising & threats — eg Amsterdam and western cities– theo van gogh daily incident
      10.0% – Guyana
      13.4% – India
      16.0% – Isreal
      10.0% – Kenya
      15.0% – Russia

      Where 30%-40%
      Hair trigger rioting, jihad militia formation, sporadic killing burning churches synagoues
      32.8% – Ethopia

      Where 40%-50%
      Wide spread massacres , chronic terror attack, ongoing warfare
      40.0% – Bosnia
      53.1% – Chad
      59.7% – Lebanon

      Where 60%-70%
      Unfettered persecution of khafirs and non-practicing Muslims
      Sporadic ethnic cleansing, use shariah law as weapon and impose jeziah –tax on infidels
      70.0% Albania
      60.4% Malaysia
      77.5% – Qatar
      70.0% – Sudan

      Where 80%-99%
      Daily intimidation, violent jihad, some state run ethnic cleansing, dirve out infidels to move to 100% Muslims. some genocide,
      83.0% – Bangladesh
      90.0% – Egypt
      86.1% – Gaza
      86.1% – Indonesia
      98.0% – Iran
      97.0% – Iraq
      92.0% – Jordan
      98.7 % – Morocco
      97.0% – Pakistan
      99.0% – Palestine
      90.0% – Syria
      90.0% – Tajikistan
      99.8% – Turkey
      96.0% – UAE

      Utopia — 100%
      Peace at last because all are Muslims
      Madrasha is the only school in town
      Imams are the only teachers in town
      Quran is the only Word in town
      The most radical kill the less radical
      100% – Afghanistan
      100% – Saudi Arabia
      100% – Somalia
      100% – Yemen At 100%

      There are 1.5 billion Muslims today, making up 22% world population
      By the end of this century it will be 50%
      Don’t believe? — Go check their population growth rates in comparison to the rest of the world. The 800,000 Syrians in Europe will be 8 million in 20 years time.

      • R.Hiro says:

        It is completely delusional to paint the problem with Al Qaeda and Daesh as Islamic terrorism..Both groups have succeeded in creating the narrative that this is a civilizational conflict…

        Let us look at the competing sides in the Syrian civil war..

        Assad, Hizbollah, Iran and Russia vs.free Syrian Army, Syrian Muslim brotherhood, Daesh, Al Nusra, Nato, Turkey, Kurds. Turkey is fighting the Kurds, while Al Nusra and Daesh are also fighting NATO.

        It also is a proxy war between S.Arabia vs Iran… Sunni vs. Shia…

        So far this Sunni led insurgency vs Western interests has had great success in the formulation of the narrative…

        The roots are off course Wahhabism propagated by Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth…

        The nineteen men, who crashed the planes into the WTC were 15 men from Saudi Arabia, two from the UAE, one from Egypt and one from Lebanon…All sponsored by Al Qaeda…The same with attacks in Spain, London and now Paris…

        Now Daesh has struck Paris through their converts to their anti- West insurgency…

        Daesh of course an offshoot of the Sunni insurgency vs the U.S. in Iraq…They are fighting Western influence in the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan)

        In any struggle the formulas for insurgency is well known…Agitate, Organize, Mobilize and Attack…The agitation is well known… The brutal treatment of Bosnians, Chechnians, Palestinians, Sunni’s in Iraq and Syria…

        All spread around mosques and madrassahs paid for with oil money from Saudi Arabia…

        Daesh would like nothing more than for NATO led by the U.S.to invade the areas under
        their control…

        It would create more followers fore them…How does one go from secular dictators to civil society led states?

        How does one solve the seemingly intractable conflict between Shias and Sunni’s. This is not about religion..This about power and wealth…

        Cultures emanate from the superstructure of politics and economics…

        Those disaffected, alienated and unemployed petty criminals turned to becoming pyschopathic killers. The Nazis were successful in the narrative about them being the Master Race…The came about from a period of severe economic distress and created scapegoats for their failures…Marcos did the same with the communist tag vs his opposition… How many disappeared and were tortured and killed?

        Refugees from all over are seeking peace and stability.. Look at the areas where these psychopaths emanate from…

      • NHerrera says:

        I have placed your post in a text file for reference. I find very interesting and useful your characterization of the general behavior of the Muslim Groups relative to the Muslim population fraction in the countries; the present worldwide fraction of Muslims to the total population (22%); and the projection of their percentage come the end of this century — 50%. Scary when related to your characterization (behavior versus fraction of the population). I took note too of your note about Non-Muslims tendency to stick their heads in the sand: “Non-Muslim world are genuinely ignorant or too polite to discuss this.” Thanks for the info, chempo.

        • chempo says:

          Note:
          The % sub-heading should read with an ” and above’ e.g.
          Where 40%-50% and above.

        • Vicara says:

          NInety-four percent of Filipino Muslims live in Mindanao.

          At the start of the 20th century, 90 percent of people in Mindanao were Muslim.

          At the start of the 21st century, after waves of settlers coming in from other Philippine regions over the course of a hundred years, only 17 percent of people in Mindanao are now Muslim.

          This kind of population shift is scary, no? Imagine how a Moro would view this. There would be a fear factor, wouldn’t you agree?

          Chempo, I agree that your late prime minister Lee Kuan Yew “that in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society, the majority that rules must always look-out for the minority, otherwise, all hell will break loose one day.”

          Here I take “look out for” to mean “take care of” rather than “beware of” or “mold.”

          • chempo says:

            Words can be dangerous if one are careless. Yes, and thank you, I meant ‘look out for’ as in ‘take care of’.

            I do agree the 17% Moro point of view. The fear is equal.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        “Peace at last because all are Muslims.”

        And then:

        “The most radical kill the less radical.”
        *****

    • Vicara says:

      Karl, sorry for this late response, but you’d be happy to hear that orientation on global business have been held for–and BY–Muslim business groups in Mindanao since 2000, with assistance by the Mindanao Business Council, international donors, and the government’s MIndanao Development Authority. Financing needs to be provided–and this is why shariah banking is always on the business community’s agenda and regular proposed to the national government.

  18. karl garcia says:

    Below is a link about the impending collapse of the petrodollar system

    http://ftmdaily.com/preparing-for-the-collapse-of-the-petrodollar-system/

    • chempo says:

      Great link, Karl. Thanks. I’ll post this link in the US Debt article.
      Adds credence to my article. Great insight on the pertodollar. Coincidentally, our articles used the same printing machine haha.

      I’ve heard of the oil angle on Iraq, ditto Eqypt, which the writer did not discuss.
      The last part on Afghanistan is where history now. I know of all these oil-pipeline developments, but could not connect the dots. This part of the world is explosive — everbody that matter seems to be there. The lame duckies are the Afghans. So the Great Game plays on.

    • karl,

      thanks for the links.

      Ever since Obama let loose the oil/gas industry on the American public (w/out prober watch dogs in place), it’s been a nightmare—- a few miles from me, they are fracking, when I go to the beach I 8-10+ oil rigs off shore (where before there were only 2-3).

      That pipeline they wanted so much from Canada to TX, was for the Asia market. So we don’t even get to enjoy our own oil– they pay more in Asia.

      I don’t know the finance aspect to this, but the farmers I used to get my oranges and strawberries, can now set their taps ablaze (not to mention all other harmful chemicals now the norm here),

  19. siboomito says:

    Joe,

    On Aceh. Chief Indonesian negotiator Hamid Awalludin was my classmate and buddy when we were both at the American University in Wash DC. Both Indonesia and the Philippines were under dictatorships at the time. Hamid was true to democratic principles when he left it to locals to decide on Sharia Law.

    Why pick on Sharia Law? Why is Sharia Law all of a sudden the enemy? Sharia Law is different from American and western law but it’s not evil, it is only different. For every thing bad you can point to in Sharia Law, something bad can also be pointed out in Western Law. Sharia Law is based on Islamic princiles or beliefs, western law is based on the Judeo-Christian tradition.

    There was a time when there was no separation of church and state in the Christian world, it was a Roman Catholic world then. But over time the control of Rome/Pope over the western world waned, politicians came into their own, and separation of church and state became the outcome. Under Sharia Law the state and religion are still one. Maybe that’s because Islam has no Pope, because it does not preach infallibility of the Pope so there is no one person to overthrow.

    Sharia Law stands for the rule of law over the rule of men. Rule of law is vital to democracy. It is as vital an ingredient as government of, for, and by the people. So here is Aceh, its people chose Sharia Law. What is wrong with that? Only the western-centric would find that choice objectionable, only those who associate terrorism and extremism with Islam will find it objectionable.

    The call for Islamic Renaissance, when it comes from the West, comes across as a westernization of Islam. In effect the establishment of a separation of church and state. But there is no church in Islam that is like the Catholic church of the west. Muslims do not have a Pope, a final word, to tell them what is right and what is wrong. Islam is similar to all those protestant sects that have their own bible thumpers telling them what is right and what is wrong. In a way, it was protestantism that undermined the Pope’s power and led to the separation of Church and State. Separation of Church and State is not a self-evident truth. It was created by politicians who were tired of having to answer to Rome. It was a liberation movement by politicians and businessmen just like all the anti-colonial independence movements from America all the way to Vitenam.

    Let Islam be, just like we let protestant sects be. Let’s not remake them for our convenience. We have to learn to live with them before we can ask them to learn to live with us.

    • Joe America says:

      I defer to Lance Corporal X, and others here, who are much mores studied than I am on the matter. With regard to your last line, I would only say I think it is not necessary to have a before and after, just that both must learn to live with the other, today, now, on a best effort, good faith effort. I believe that is the purpose of the BBL.

      • siboomito says:

        True learn to live with each other now. The BBL would do that by empowering the moros so that we can live with each other as equals

        • “The BBL would do that by empowering the moros so that we can live with each other as equals”

          That’s my whole issue, with Sharia Law sneaked into the BBL, siboomito, it becomes this,

          • http://www.opapp.gov.ph/sites/default/files/DRAFT%20Bangsamoro%20Basic%20Law.pdf

            Page 52: Section 4. Sources of Sharia Law – the following are sources of Shari’ah Law, among others:

            a. Al-Quran (Koran)

            b. Al-Sunnah (Prophetic traditions)

            c. Al-Qiyas (analogy)

            d. Al-Ijima (consensus)

            • Page 51, Section 3: Laws on Shari’ah. The Bangsamoro Parliament shall enact laws pertaining to persons and family relations, and other civil law matters, commercial law, criminal law, including the definition of crimes and prescription of penalties thereof. These laws on Shari’ah shall only be applicable to Muslims.

              • Page 55: Bangsamoro Shari’ah High Court….

                looks this is the final recourse, no appeal to the Philippine Supreme Court?

              • “These laws on Shari’ah shall only be applicable to Muslims.” The same way it’s been affecting non-Muslims in other Muslim lands should be the worry.

                And I agree w/ you on the undermining of the Philippine Supreme Court. Undermining the State is the whole point after all.

              • It gets even nicer on Page 62:

                Justices from the Bangsamoro

                Section 27. Justices from Bangsamoro. It shall be the policy of the Central Government that at least one (1) justice in the Supreme Court and two (2) justices in the Court of Appeals at any one time who shall be qualified individuals of the Bangsamoro territory.

                I left the Shari’ah part of the BBL outside of my analysis when I wrote my article, as I only was concerned with basic risks and did not see myself qualified to look at that part…

                but now it looks very much like they want to have their cake and eat it too.

            • That’s the problem, the Qur’an and the Sunnah (from Siras and Hadiths) are 7th century. Like officializing https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_of_Kalantiaw , I know it was deemed a hoax, so too can the Qur’an, whether or not a document has true believers isn’t as important as what’s in the document– bad ideas are bad ideas, no matter how many people believe ’em.

              c. and d. are where opportunities are evident, and the point of this article.

              But,

              Section 20. Shari’ah Academy (pg. 60), looks like a good place to insert, the Singaporean model and/or Islamic renaissance concept. This Academy should be expanded— I’m thinking of your Jedi Council here.

              • If Islam is one big rug stretching from Morocco to the Southern Philippines, the Southern Philippines is the only part of the rug that can be raised to remove the dirt under the rug… this is probably the whole point of the Islamic Renaissance idea.

              • I left the Shari’ah part of the BBL outside of my analysis when I wrote my article, as I only was concerned with basic risks and did not see myself qualified to look at that part…
                but now it looks very much like they want to have their cake and eat it too.”

                Ireneo,

                I’m glad you now share my worries.

                God’s laws trumps man’s— so from the git-go there are no concessions, there’s just sneakily adding things here and there to get there. The BBL doesn’t have the good fortune of one Hamid Awalludin who gave Sharia Law in a silver plater to Aceh (even when it wasn’t requested), but still take notice. The writing’s on the wall. But if your Manila negotiators are folks like manuel below, you guys are in for a rude awakening.

                As for that rug analogy, that’s very apt— only in the Philippines can Islam be re-interpreted.

              • Joe,

                Under categories on the home page can you create another title specifically for BBL, and stack all 6 articles in there for all interested?

                This manuelbuencamino fella is really bringing me down, I hope to God he’s not the guy representing the Philippine gov’t during the the tit-for-tat on BBL.

              • Joe America says:

                We have a category on religion, and I’d prefer not to dice it any thinner. MB is a seasoned journalist and worth listening to, I’ve found. Sometimes I disagree with him. Other times I learn a lot.

              • OK. A journalist I can respect. Asking questions, Socratic-method, all that good stuff— I just figured being buddy with Hamid Awalludin, that he was also a Philippine diplomat of sort. Because defending something, you don’t know too much about isn’t too wise in my book. Now defending the wider principle behind BBL, that’s another thing— was I unclear in my support of BBL on principle?

    • “So here is Aceh, its people chose Sharia Law. What is wrong with that? Only the western-centric would find that choice objectionable, only those who associate terrorism and extremism with Islam will find it objectionable.”

      Thanks, shiboomito, for taking the time to reply.

      On your point above, with Sharia Law, what happens to Muslims who decide to become non-Muslim?

      There’s da’wah https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawah encouraged or duty bound for Muslims to share Islam, so what happens to non-Muslims who also want to share their faith?

      So basically, how much lee-way is given to fellow Muslims under Sharia, especially those who ask a lot of questions and don’t go with the flow?

      And for those non-Muslims who also feel strongly about their non-Muslim faiths, are they protected under Sharia? Or will they be given an offer they can’t refuse?

      “On Aceh. Chief Indonesian negotiator Hamid Awalludin was my classmate and buddy when we were both at the American University in Wash DC. Both Indonesia and the Philippines were under dictatorships at the time. Hamid was true to democratic principles when he left it to locals to decide on Sharia Law.”

      I’ve always wondered about this guy, so was Hamid Awalludin a Salafi? I hope you can reach out to him and have him drop a comment here.

      • siboomito says:

        LCpl_X (@LCpl_X)

        (1) What happens to Catholics when they become non-Catholics? What happens to Christians when they become non-Christians?

        (2) Depends on what you mean by sharing Islam. Do you mean it as what we mean it to be when we say practice christianty with all human beings? Or are you talking about preaching as in reading from the Holy Book hoping to convert them to your religion? I think what happens to non-muslims who want to share their faith by preaching is similar to what happens to muslims in christian countries you want to share their faith by preaching. Happens in atheist states too. Happens between HIndus and Sikhs too. You advocate against mosques in christian lands, don’t you?

        (3) The same kind of leeway Catholics and christians would experience if they questioned and did not go with the flow of their respective beliefs

        (4) As for those non-muslims who also feel strongly about their non-Muslim faiths are they protected under Sharia? Sharia is for muslims.

        Or will they be given an offer they can’t refuse? I guess they will recieve the same hospitality as those muslims who strongly feel about their muslim faith. No short skirts in our land, no nurkas in our land.

        (5) As for my good friend Hamid, we talked about everything except religion. So I have no idea if he was Salafi or what. All I know is he is muslim. He knows I’m Catholic but he does not know whether I am a regular Catholic, an Opus Dei Catholic, a liberation theology Catholic or what have you.

        If you want to know more about him search the BBC Hard Talk archives, he was questioned lengthily about the Aceh. You can limit your search to around the time when the Aceh talks or peace signing was in the news.

        • 1. Nothing happens to Christian/Catholics who become apostate, there’s no punishment save maybe social reprecussion. But right now in Aceh, there’s a “re-training”, read detention & imprisonment (with more severe punishment granted). That’s very different, siboo.

          2. I personally think any groups can build churches and mosques. But right now in Aceh, non-Muslims cannot build churches. As for non-Muslim preaching to Muslims, they get kicked out or suffer the same fate as Muslim apostates— though they’ll just leave. How’s that for democracy?

          3. In Malaysia, they requested capital punishment specifically for Muslim apostasy, that got negotiated down to detention (re-training). But since death as punishment is actually in the books, time will tell.

          4. http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/inside-sharia-law-sbs-reporter-patrick-abboud-reveals-life-under-the-morality-police-in-aceh/news-story/86725b95e2d56a933317e5de1ad4bc7c (that’s a good photo summary).

          5. The weirdest think about what your buddy did was he offered Sharia Law, when it wasn’t even under negotiation. The Aceh rebels didn’t demand it, so the central gov’t had the upper hand. Thanks, I’ll check out Hard Talk.

          siboo, are you still working for the gov’t now, if so is that your stance on Sharia Law in Muslim Philippines, that they can just have at it, w/out a fight? It’s really worrisome, at least to me, so I was wondering if you can provid more rationale vis-a-vis what’s happening on the ground right now, re Sharia Law as practiced in the Mid-East, S. Asia and now in SE Asia? Connect all that to current Philippine penal laws. Thanks, man.

          • manuelbuencamino says:

            LCpl_X (@LCpl_X)

            (1) Why do muslims have to fight for Sharia Law in Bangsamoro?

            (2) My issue with your essay is your bias against Islam and Sharia Law, a bias that comes from an assumption that the Judeo-Christian way is superior.

            (3) The simple answer to your 4 points above is you don’t have any business telling others how to play in their playground.

            (4) And what was wrong with Hamid offering Sharia Law even if it was not on the table? Why are you so negative about Sharia Law?

            • So, manuelbuencamino=siboomito? (Joe, what’s up with these two named accounts?)

              1. Because the Philippines isn’t a Muslim theocratic state. Muslim Mindanao isn’t all Muslim, there are non-Muslim, but most importantly there are Muslims who aren’t Salafis– that’s why, the State must protect its minority.

              2. Bias w/ Islam? Read “Salvation by Austerity”, and you’ll include bias against Judeo-Christian way as well. Read again the opening of my article,

              3. “you don’t have any business telling others how to play in their playground”. Why not? Sharia Law isn’t in effect yet. There’s still freedom of speech.

              4. Negotiations 101, you DON’T give free-bees, unless your buddy was a secret Salafi (who had other agendas), it’s just not good diplomatic practice.

              “Why are you so negative about Sharia Law?” I explained it in the article, manuel— Sharia Law will infringe on basic rights (ie., the right choose your own beliefs, whether you’re Muslim or non-Muslim in the Philippines)

              • Joe America says:

                I don’t know why the two different names. MB is a noted Philippine journalist, a long term on-line acquaintance of mine, a mentor of sorts, who encouraged me to look at things through the lenses of the people I am writing about, rather than through my own distorted lens. He is doing the same with you.

              • He is doing the same with you.

                Got it. Hopefully he’ll answer my questions also then.

              • manuelbuencamino says:

                Sorry for the two names. I was going to e-mail Joe about the mistake. I jumping from window to window and I made a mistake which I only realized when I saw you calling me by that other namen. Someone was asking me if Manuel was this person she knew and I answered siboomito.

              • manuelbuencamino says:

                1. “Because the Philippines isn’t a Muslim theocratic state. Muslim Mindanao isn’t all Muslim, there are non-Muslim, but most importantly there are Muslims who aren’t Salafis– that’s why, the State must protect its minority.”

                Salafis as I understand it are fundamentalist muslims. We have fundamentalist christians as well, we do not do anything until they break the law, right? Do we have a keep moderate and liberal christianity safe from fundamentalist christians?

                3. “you don’t have any business telling others how to play in their playground”. Why not? Sharia Law isn’t in effect yet. There’s still freedom of speech.”

                (a)You are allowed to fulminate against and praise to high heavens and keep silent on any issue whatsoever under our bill of rights. Note: OUR bill of rights. But what I said wass, as a non-muslim it seems out of place for you tell muslims how to be muslims.
                (b) sharia law is not yet in effect but our civil code allows muslim marriages and divorce, a clear demonstration that the judeo-christian and islamic world can co-exist.

                4. “Negotiations 101, you DON’T give free-bees, unless your buddy was a secret Salafi (who had other agendas), it’s just not good diplomatic practice.”

                (a) Again you paint salafi and salafists as evil. They are fundamentalists like fundamentalist christians. In the secular world their equivalent are those who believe that the US supreme court should make decisions based on a fundamentalist interpretation of the constitution, or what they think the founding fathers had in mind.

                Sometimes, we should not limit ourselves and our vision to the boundaries of a table. Sometimes we have to look beyond what’s in front of us. It may not have been on the table but maybe Hamind sensed that dealing with the issue of Sharia Law before it became a divisive problem was appropriate. Negotiations 101 is merely a subject in the baccalaureate of Life and Reality.

                Hamid is not a secret Salafi – anyway to be fundamentalist about one’s faith is not inherently wrong or evil so if calling him a secret Salafi is your way of casting aspersions on him and all Salafis then you have just debunked your claim of being unbiased and objective, and citing articles/posts becomes irrelevant. I know Hamid is not a Salafi, secret or otherwise, because he never behaved like a fundamentalist. In Catholic terms, Hamid did not behave like an Opus Dei member.

                5. Sharia Law will infringe on basic rights (ie., the right choose your own beliefs, whether you’re Muslim or non-Muslim in the Philippines).

                Malaysia’s official religion is Islam. There are christians, hindus, sikhs, and buddhists in Malaysia. They are not covered by Sharia Laew but Muslims are. The non muslims are governed by Malaysian Law just like the muslims but muslims have the sharia law on top of the secular laws. And that’s how two systems of laws co exist.

                But going beyond actual practice, the most basic right that a human being has is the right to choose freely. And when individuals form a society, or become recognized as a people, then the right to choose becomes known as the principle of a people’s right to self-determination. In other words, if a people chooses Sharia Law for their own community then no outsider has any business over-turning their choice.

                You remind me of an infamous Henry Kissinger quote on Chile and Allende: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” Substitute Islam for communist and that’s basically where you’re coming from.

              • @manuelbuencamino:

                I don’t see LCPL_X as representing old American thinking… in fact he is of a new breed, those who have learned a bit from Dubya’s Wars, just like Joe is from the generation that was shaped by the Vietnam War and its mistakes.

                Finally the fight now going on is human beings who are truly human, more or less, against inhumanity. Inhumanity can be: neoliberalism, communism, Salafism and China’s actions.

                The quest should be, all in all, for a more humane world, specifically for a more humane region (ASEAN in this case) and of course for a more humane country (Philippines).

                Everything that helps should be welcomed, what does not help kept outside or diminished (TPP, China, Salafism, NPA, American adventurism in case it comes back) all strictly IMHO. The possibility of ISIS infiltration via Sharia and Bangsamoro is real, what can be done?

              • “The quest should be, all in all, for a more humane world, specifically for a more humane region (ASEAN in this case) and of course for a more humane country (Philippines).”

                Exactly, man!

            • Vicara says:

              Thanks for your input, Manuel Buencamino.

              A counternarrative to ISIL has to be generated from within the Muslim world, and not from outsiders fearful of Islam and seeking its containment. Sorry, everyone, but some of the discussion in this thread thus far has been disturbingly off-kilter.

              Appearing in today’s NYTimes: “Leading the challenge is Nahdlatul Ulama, an Indonesian Muslim organization that claims more than 50 million members … As world leaders call for Muslims to take the lead in the ideological battle against a growing and increasingly violent offshoot of their own religion, analysts say the group’s campaign is a welcome antidote to jihadism.”

              http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/27/world/asia/indonesia-islam-nahdlatul-ulama.html?action=click&contentCollection=Arts&module=MostPopularFB&version=Full&region=Marginalia&src=me&pgtype=article

              • excellent… and coming from the new cultural epicentre of the world, Southeast Asia… 🙂

                Wo Gefahr ist, wächst das Rettende auch, said German poet Hölderlin: where there is danger, that which rescues also grows.

              • “A counternarrative to ISIL has to be generated from within the Muslim world, and not from outsiders fearful of Islam and seeking its containment. Sorry, everyone, but some of the discussion in this thread thus far has been disturbingly off-kilter.”

                Vicara,

                That part of Manuel Buencamino’s argument, I agree with—- hence, the two-pronged approached: 1) non-Salafi Muslims and 2) concerned world Citizens (non-Muslims who’ll get affected either way).

                “A counternarrative to ISIL has to be generated from within the Muslim world”

                This is being generated , but largely from Muslims in the West. Those generating counternarrative from the Arab world, are the same forces that created the rise of discontent that created ISIL, so it generally false flat. All the rest are too scared because they’ll be labelled as apostates or un-Islamic.

                non-Muslims’ contributions though I think has the potential to totally change Islam (again, same way its changed Jewish and Christian hegemony), contrast that to non-Salafi Muslims extent of their contribution which will largely be in the realm of interpretation, ie. killing apostates is in the books, but compassion/community should prevail because it’s not the 7th century anymore—at the end of the day they are still constricted by ancient sacred texts.

                This was why all along there has to be the two-pronged approach. So everything’s been consistent, Vicara, at least on my part.

                ——————

                My issue with manuelbuencamino‘s (by the way, Shariah translates to Buen Camino, the Good Path, the Way… I just realized that now) stance here is that he doesn’t want to address the problems with Sharia Law in the Mid-East and South Asia, which is now in SE Asia, and soon to be in Muslim Philippines. So with clear examples of the abuses of Sharia Law, he’ll still take the “let-them-do-it”, it’ll only affect Muslims anyway, route.

                There’s an even greater hypocrisy in that stance, IMHO.

                My point is that it’ll affect everyone, so it behooves everyone to have an informed opinion in this matter.

                Now once everyone’s informed, then we can have a discussion.

                For example, your input on women lawyers exploiting Sharia martial laws to ensure women benefit, that’s the type of positives that need to be culled from Sharia (or better yet, made into secular law so Sharia doesn’t have monopoly on good marriage/divorce laws— people over there should wonder why 7th century Islamic martial laws are better than secular laws, and update their laws accordingly).

                But that Muslim Filipina benefiting from better marital/divorce laws, can now be subjected to whippings if raped or simply detained for wearing the wrong style of clothing—- that’s my concern.

                The criminal laws over there, were copy/pasted from the US and Spain. Philippines went the EU route re capital punishment, suspended indefinitely. I actually think given the choices of American capital vs. Saudi capital punishment, that getting your head chopped off by a sharp blade is a lot more humane than lethal injection, http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/issues/death-penalty/lethal-injection

                So I’m by no means saying we are perfect, only that when it comes to freedom to belief whatever you want to believe or express how ever you want to express yourself, so long as it’s not hurting anyone, this freedom is sacred. I’m not arguing Judeo-Christian principles when I say it’s sacred, I’m arguing for all the Baruch Spinozas out there– this is the principle I’m fighting for here.

                Anything that attacks these basic rights demands our attention, a closer examination by one’s we’ve appointed to represent us/also those in the Press (it’s the same over here too) and shouldn’t be swept back under the rug, is my point, Vicara. Place everything under the microscope.

                A. Mustofa Bisri, the spiritual leader of the group, and the Nahdlatul Ulama group, aren’t helped by people like manuelbuencamino, but by people like us who take the time to have an informed opinion on this matter and actually take part——— than just simply walking away, or sticking your head in the sand, because this stuff only affects Muslims and not you.

                Groups like Nahdlatul Ulama , would have its work cut out, had people like Manuel’s buddy Hamid Awalludin actually consulted this group before surrendering Sharia Law in Aceh. I’d also want to know what Nahdlatul Ulama is specifically doing in Aceh to fight the Salafis— because this report says, Nothing!, “But nobody is willing to stand up to it because of the political risk of being branded anti-Islam. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/28/us-indonesia-religion-idUSKCN0SM2SO20151028#ETJeEOKPw11gXRuM.97

                Which means we loop back to my original comment on the two-pronged approach, 1) non-Salafi Muslims and 2) non-Muslims —- because non-Salafi Muslims need all the help they can get.

                From the same article, “With a membership of 7 million, Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) is small compared with Indonesia’s biggest Islamic group, the moderate Nahdlatul Ulama, which has about six times as many members”. — the minority coopting the majority, sounds familiar?

              • Joe America says:

                An encounter with 8 ISIS sympathizers occurred yesterday in Sultan Kudarat. They were all killed by Philippine marines, who had tracked the group as they worked extortions on local farmers. The article is interesting. Clearly, these are gangsters and not indigenous locals. The locals don’t want them there.

                http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/742814/8-gunmen-carrying-isis-flags-killed-in-clash-with-govt-troops-in-sultan-kudarat

              • There’s an even greater hypocrisy in that stance, IMHO.

                My point is that it’ll affect everyone, so it behooves everyone to have an informed opinion in this matter.

                I wonder if many in the Philippine elite care if it affects everyone. Because…

                The criminal laws over there, were copy/pasted from the US and Spain.

                the true spirit of the laws and having democracy were never truly understood… it may only be window-dressing for some, only for the elite for many and not for “ordinary people”.

  20. chempo,

    I hope you don’t mind me copy/pasting your comment on Islam & Singapore on here, https://joeam.com/2015/11/19/demystifying-the-american-us18-trillion-debt/#comment-148527

    • I had no idea Singapore did this, I wasn’t even aware Singapore had Muslims.

      My question, how many gov’t agencies were tasked to do this? Are they still around, in play, or de-commissioned? And do these Singapore Muslim clerics reach out to neighboring countries?

      • chempo says:

        The Spore govt approach is ‘inclusivity’.
        I think we have considerable success mainly because we are a nation of city dwellers. Educational level is generally higher. There is better interaction on people-to-people levels.
        Lee Kuan Yew made a great contribution long time ago with his view, and he walked the talk, that in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society, the majority that rules must always look-out for the minority, otherwise, all hell will break loose one day. That same comment to made to Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike who as Prime Minister of Sri Langka, the majority Sinhalese implemented measures which marginalised the Tamils. That led to years of civil wars when govt forces fought the Tigers army.

        In Spore, we tried all sorts of ways to get the Malay Muslims into our mainstream. We have other minorities like Indian Hindus/Buddhists. Integration with all other races/religion is no problem, but with Malays/Muslims is so very touchy touchy. Islam is a religion that wants to distance themselves from others. Pork, to me is just an excuse, and that is one of the main bases for the divide. So they will not eat with others, some will not even share tables, some will not eat from utensils that has served non-muslims. Morality is another divide. To me this is hogwash, holier than thou attitude. Sitting on high horses in public, in private, they are no different from another other race or religion. It’s a race that has the highest incidence of incest, for heaven sake. So we had to work with these difficulties. Fortunately, the Muslims in Spore has been caught up with the progress of the nation. Slowly they are in the same rat race, their children slowly getting into the pressure cooker educational system that is Spore. And we have seen their kids getting the grades and the occassional top positions here and there. That to me is a very good sign.

        Lately, domestic pressure building up over the influx of foreign workers seems to have given Singaporean nationalism a bit of a boost. We see Malays and Chinese Singaporeans often on the same stand when it comes to agitation with workers from China.

        We have structures in place, but I’m not well-informed in this. It is a continual work-in-progress. Racial harmony is one of the key principles that our community is built on. And we are very much aware that all this can come tumbling down very quickly if we are not careful.

        I do not know if our clerics proactively reach out of our borders. I’m inclined to think no, because we generally frown on interferences in religion which is a touchy matter.

    • josephivo says:

      As I said before that was long time ago, no Facebook, no U-tube. In France today 2% of the Muslims with terrorist sympathies are radicalized in hate-mosques, most on internet, than in prisons, than recruiters, than friends – lost the % on all these categories. So today only 2% of the root problem lies in mosques. Lee’s approach would be to collect actual data and develop a strategy to block hate sites, have better separate or re-education in jails.

  21. Time for a bit of a broader sweep… from superstition to religion to science…

    ——————————————————————————————————

    1a. Life in the Stone Age and just after it was unpredictable. People needed something to explain the world. The first to tell people stories of the perceived order behind things were practically the first intellectuals. They tried to make sense of things based on observing nature, and their way of explaining it was spirits and gods. Science was to later quantify many things, but in days without reading or writing, science could not yet develop, so it was a guessing game over generations.

    1b. Enter the first civilizations with writing. Scribes in ancient Sumer were the first IT specialists. Cuneiform writing was developed first of all to keep track of stocks in the granary, just like quipu used by peoples in South America were developed to facilitate counting – and Chinese abacus.

    1c. Counting allowed measurement. Measurement made building larger structures possible.

    1d. Point 1) was continued with means of measurement – pyramids were aligned with the stars.

    1e. Complexer ancient societies went beyond simple spirits to gods (plural) – the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks. Greek gods were quarrelsome and unpredictable as Filipino politicians.

    ——————————————————————————————————

    2a. The oldest Empire, that of the Pharaohs, had a very simple form of writing – pictures basically. Chinese had that too, but made pictures into something abstract – their present writing.

    2b. Among the Egyptians, the Pharaoh was a god-king. The Chinese Emperor was likewise seen as the Son of Heaven. The Japanese Emperor also saw himself as a god or a kind of spirit.

    2c. The Pharaoh Echnaton did away with the other gods and declared himself beholden only to the sun-god, Aton, formerly Amon. The old Egyptian priesthood did away with his legacy later.

    2d. A group of slaves from Egypt (Jews) may have been inspired by the ideas of Echnaton, who knows they might have been a sect, a holdover from that time, a group that decided to flee.

    2e. The Phoenicians (ancestors of Lebanese) were the first to make a real alphabetic writing system, simplified from parts of hieroglyphics. Jews, Arabs, Greeks all were inspired by this…

    ———————————————————————————————————

    3a. No small wonder that it was the Jews who wrote the Old Testament, and the Greeks who started writing the first philosophical and scientific books. An alphabet made it much easier.

    3b. Greeks were in Southern Italy. Romans got the idea of the alphabet from them, modified it.

    3c. Romans created an empire. The emperor was also a God. Saying there was only one God was practically treason, something both Jews and Christians paid for heavily in the beginning. Jesus was just a rebel against the hypocrites among Jews, Paul made his teaching into a bit more.

    3d. Constantine gave up being a god and made Christianity the religion of the later Empire. The split of the Empire along old Greek/Roman language divisions created Catholicism + Orthodoxy. The garments and colors used by bishops of the Roman Catholic Church come from old Rome.

    3e. Barbarian invasions destroyed Western Rome and severely weakened the Byzantines. The time when Mohammed created Islam must have been a time of severe disorientation in the Orient. Possibly this could be the reason why Islam is a system that covers nearly everything.

    ——————————————————————————————————

    4a. On the ruins of Western Rome, the bishop of Rome became the Pope. The eastern bishops refused to recognized this, differences in doctrine were merely used to justify church politics. The Pope carried forward the idea of a universal empire even after the Roman Empire was gone.

    4b. Islam started with the idea of Caliphs. Shiites did not recognized the Caliph, Sunnis did. The last Caliph was the last Sultan of Turkey, deposed in the early 20th century.

    4c. The Orient kept many old Greek writings during the European Dark Ages. Algebra was invented by Al-Khwarismi, whose name is the basis for the word “algorithm”. Some say that these people flourished inspite of Islam, but possibly also because of Caliphs and Sultans as protectors.

    4d. The Crusades were about access to the Silk Road. But they also brought many ideas from the olden days back to Europe. Knights Templars may have played a role in this process.

    4e. Moorish rule in Spain was tolerant for the most part. The Spanish persecution of Moors and Jews which came afterwards was anything but tolerant.

    ——————————————————————————————————

    5a. With the fall of Constantinople to Sultan Mehmet, the title of Caesar was assumed by the Russians – the Czar. Their writing was derived from Greek, their form of Christianity Orthodox. The Turks totally blocked the Silk Route, forcing the Iberians to find another way, sailing out…

    5b. The Renaissance revived the memory of the classics. Galileo questioned the Church, but so did Martin Luther. The Enlightenment finally brought rationality to the forefront. Kings that had ruled by divine right were no longer seen as being entitled. Modern democracy got started.

    5c. America was founded on democracy, but also has a tradition of religious zealotry – many who went to American came from Protestant sects too extreme for England or Europe – like Puritans. In God we Trust, but also E Pluribus Unum. This contradictions is part of America to this very day.

    5d. The Ottoman Empire – and thus the Caliphate – increasingly weakened in the 19th century. Napoleon conquering Egypt, Greek independence, Balkans increasingly independent.

    5e. The present Middle Eastern problems result from the collapse of an Empire and the weakness of the states that arose out of that Empire – plus the oil that was found, way to easy money for all.

    ——————————————————————————————————

    What a wacky world we live in. America, founded on rationality and democracy, but with a vein of zealotry that comes out every now and then. Russia, whose leader still acts like a modern Czar. China which still thinks it is All Under Heaven, and Xi Jinping who acts as if he’s the Son of Heaven.

    Mohammed’s idea to spread Islam everywhere was a product of the times he lived in – disarray so he decided to create a New Order for his known world. The total coverage of his religion may also have been an answer to the possible disorder then, just like the extremely strict moral laws – who knows what kind of bedlam was going on in that area during those days after both Roman and Byzantine Empires left it to itself. Trouble with old memes – Moscow as Third Rome, China as All Under Heaven, America’s occasional zealotry, Islamic total control – is that they persist very long, even after the original reason for them is no longer appropriate. And many just act according to these memes, because that is all they know – Putin, Dubya Bush, Xi Jinping, Osama Bin Laden.

    • Edgar asked why seek power? That is an interesting question… we are primates after all, not baboons where the alpha male gets most resources and women, but some of us are…

      Early bands of hunter-gatherers like the Agta, well-observed by Fedor Jagor in 19th century Bikol, hunted in groups. Those who were to lazy to take part didn’t get a share.

      Tribal societies started having chiefs who were also priests and politicians, explaining the world to their people by a mixture of truth and bullshit. Later the priests became separate.

      The first complex societies – the Fertile Crescent and the Nile Delta – needed someone to coordinate resource allocation. Irrigation had to be controlled – Fedor Jagor noted that there were sophisticated systems of irrigation along the Bikol river, possibly a rest of the old Ibalon kingdom whose capital was in the Bikol river delta, close to present-day Naga – the irrigations systems of the Inca survived for centuries after the last rulers after all also.

      Superstition became religion to cement power – God-Kings = Pharaohs, Sons of Heaven, the Roman Emperor as a God, the Divine Right of Kings in Medieval Europe. A people of former slaves – the Jews – made God into an abstraction, the Christians continued with it.

      —————————————————————————————————–

      Islam used the idea of God to form a theocratic state in an area with a power vacuum from parts of the Eastern Roman Empire losing control. The Pope symbolically continued the Roman Empire, theoretically the Kings of Europe all owed obedience to him.

      The Caliph was Mohammed’s successor and a King – a Pope-King instead of a God-King. Science was tolerated by Islamic rulers, while science and Reformation eroded the authority of the Pope in the succesor states of the Western Roman Empire.

      Rationalists like Jefferson and Franklin – and religious zealots too extreme for the Reformation – formed America, which has changed to world with missionary zeal.

      —————————————————————————————————–

      Finally power is partly because of a need for order, partly due to egoistic people’s needs. Superstition – religion – rationality were the successive ways of making people follow power, but also attempts to understand the world -> mental models composed of various memes.

      State philosophies like democracy, communism, authoritarianism are like religions also models of how societies should be organized. Their interplay with religion is very diverse. The areas with the least religion in them nowadays are China – and Western Europe.

      • Why is pork forbidden in Islam – and in Judaism? Because pigs can cause diseases, modern ways of preparing pork were as yet unknown then. Halal food (the rules for preparing food among Orthodox Jews are exactly the same) is like old FDA rules…

        Both the Torah and the Shariah are about stemming the forces of sexuality and greed, and also rules for hygiene – before the days of condoms epidemics may have happened that were interpreted as Divine Punishment. Imagine AIDS/HIV happening before science…

        Old Testament and Koran rules about not taking interest may have been due to things similar to the Kuwaiti Souk crash and our present economic crises – preventive measures.

        Regulating sexuality especially faithfulness keeps people from killing each other…

        Moses saw his people dancing around the Golden Calf, destroyed the first tablets, went up the mountain again and came back with 10 simple commandments – everything his people were probably not doing in the desert. Must have been similar with Mohammed.

        ——————————————————————————-

        Before the days of effective law enforcement based on a rationally organized state, morality was needed to curb the animal in all of us – some have it more, some less.

        We now have RH bills and knowledge to take care of the health, Family and Divorce Codes as well as alimony rules to take care of the consequences of infidelity, the FDA and other authorities to make sure our food is clean. Islam comes from the time before that.

        So does Judaism and Christianity. Monotheistic religions replaced God-Kings as a symbol of unity among people. Judaism just for the Jews. Christianity and Islam for larger groups. In tribal days, other people barely counted as human, could be killed or even eaten…

        ——————————————————————————-

        Now going by Edgar’s global view… there are 5 major ideas about how the world should be run today – American, European, Russian, Chinese and Islamic.

        America and Europe are united against Russia… Europe cooperates with Russia economically while America trades a lot with China… Europe and the Islamic world have many ties… America, Europe, Russia and China unite against ISIS.

        The Philippines is in the fault zone between American, Chinese and Islamic worlds.

    • Just for comparison.. the Byzantine empire in 555 AD, then in 600 AD…

    • finally the spread to Asia…

      and Southeast Asia…

      it came to the Southern Philippines 200 years before Catholicism.

  22. Beno says:

    Hot news, Crime-fighting Philippine mayor Duterte jumps into presidential race.

    In regard to Aquino’s past, let me bring up some personal history:

    One month before this year’s anniversary, one of my favorite cousins passed away at 100 years of age. During the war, her husband left their house in Manila to serve as a medical doctor in the Filipino-American army, which retreated to the Bataan Peninsula as invading Japanese forces advanced. She never heard from him again.

    It was only three years later, after Manila was liberated by General Douglas MacArthur’s troops and Filipino guerrillas, that she learned her husband had been summarily executed, along with three other doctors, while trying to escape from a prisoner-of-war camp. Many of his comrades suffered the same fate upon their surrender to the Japanese. During the weeklong Bataan Death March alone, the Japanese killed 18,000 of their 72,000 Filipino and American prisoners — a mortality rate of 25 percent in just seven days.

    My cousin was left with three young children to raise alone, a situation shared by many women during the Japanese occupation.

    The Japanese military regime in the Philippines was unrelentingly brutal. Innocent people suspected of aiding the guerrillas were routinely tortured and executed. My uncle was bayoneted and left for dead when he refused a Japanese officer’s order to take down the American flag at his school. My father was beaten with a baseball bat in Fort Santiago, the Spanish-era fortress in Manila that the Japanese converted into a prison and torture center. He was lucky to survive.

    Young women and girls, some as young as 11 or 12, were rounded up to serve as sex slaves for Japanese troops. Nobody knows for certain how many Filipinas were forced into sexual slavery, but historians estimate that up to 200,000 women from the Philippines, Korea, China, and other countries occupied by the Japanese suffered this fate. Some 400 of these “comfort women” have surfaced in the Philippines since the 1990s, but this figure is probably only a fraction of those who were actually forced into sexual service. Many others preferred to keep silent.

    Overshadowing even the Bataan Death March as a war crime was the indiscriminate killing spree that Japanese naval infantrymen unleashed in Manila as the war drew to a close. Filipino author Joan Orendain has rightfully asserted that the “Rape of Manila” rivaled the better known Rape of Nanking in its brutality, with “100,000 burned, bayoneted, bombed, shelled, and shrapneled dead in the span of 28 days.” Unborn babies “ripped from their mothers’ womb provided sport: thrown up in the air and caught, impaled on bayonet tips.” Rape was rampant, and “after the dirty deed was done, nipples were sliced off, and bodies bayoneted open from the neck down.”

    One element that hasn’t been adequately examined, but which is likely to have played a role in Aquino’s endorsement, is his class memory.

    Aquino comes from a class whose experience of the Second World War was very different from that of ordinary Filipinos. Aquino is better known as the son of two icons in the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship, Cory and Ninoy Aquino. But he’s also the grandson of Benigno Simeon Aquino, Sr. — who is chiefly remembered as the Japanese-designated speaker of the National Assembly during the puppet regime, and earlier as the director general of the country’s only political party during the occupation.

    Possibly the only reason Aquino Sr. escaped death at the hands of Philippine partisans was that he spent the closing months of the war in Japan. Brought back to the Philippines one year after the cessation of hostilities, he was arraigned on charges of treason at the People’s Court before being released on bail. However, he died before he could take advantage of his friend Manuel Roxas’ general amnesty for local quislings like him.

    Did psycho-biographical factors play a role in Aquino’s unquestioning endorsement of Abe’s moves? It’s inconceivable that one whose parents or grandparents suffered under the Japanese occupation would have provided such enthusiastic support for Abe’s quest to project Japanese military power. True, Filipinos have generally become more positive towards Japan, but few would cross the line that Aquino did.

    So one is left with the question: Was it more than coincidence that a dangerous new course for the region would be launched by the joining of hands of Aquino, the grandson of a despised collaborator, and Abe, the grandson of a war criminal?

    • Joe America says:

      This is a strange comment unrelated to the topic of the blog. Would you kindly let us know your nationality, location and interest in the Philippines? We’ve had numerous visits from Chinese trolls basically working to undermine alliances and otherwise spread their propaganda. Your comment is consistent with that effort.

      Your comments will be moderated pending assurances that you are here for discussions rather than peddling an agenda.

      • Joe America says:

        This was Beno’s response to my note:

        “You better show some respect Kano, you still a guest in my country.
        You have no idea how we suffered. Our country is taking a dangerous new course, our children’s could suffer again from your ignorance.”

        I don’t get threatened very often by Filipinos, here, in my own house. So I’d guess that Beno is not really Filipino. Nor is he here for discussion. So further comments from him will go directly to spam.

        • Joe America says:

          Also notice the difference in grammatical construction between his original note, and this one.

          • Vicara says:

            Paid trolls, whether the local variety, or China-issue, appear to work in shifts. From some call center somewhere. You can tell when one shift ends and the other begins by a sudden change in syntax or logic. I’ve wondered if they’re paid according to number of posts, or words. Or are they like SM workers, contracted for five months only? Is there a grading system according to their level of sophistication (e.g. T-1 for entry level, T-5 for multilingual pundits with a postgrad degree?

            • Joe America says:

              I wonder if that’s why they never answer the questions: what nationality, location, and interest in the Philippines? One guy could make up a story in his head, but couldn’t easily pass it to the next shift. Some of the writing is very good, but the arguments are always a bit flaky. A stretch, a bending of truth to fit the goal.

            • chempo says:

              They get paid by the number of response they get. More than 5 per thread gets a bonus.

      • Annalissa M. valdez says:

        If Joe is Filipino, would you believe him? I have MORE respect for the man than a thousand Filipino I know. Yes he is a foreigner which all the more make him authentic for he does not carry the centuries old crab mentality we have and he offers FRESH POSITIVE perspective on the state of affairs of our nation. He is quick to recognize that Filipinos given the right data will be able to sort out the wisdom in it. Look at the immense knowledge that you (if you can only open your mind) can get from contributors here. Joe is NOT SELFISH for he allows us (including you) to present your idea so we can discuss it here. Is it too much to give him the respect? He is not afraid to admit he can be wrong (remember his piece on Poe?). He can whine about the heat, poverty, traffic, red tape, food, racism and the downright outright ignorance of even the most kearned ones – yet he deliberately CHOOSE to highlight hope for,this country! He loved this country more than you and me! Read each line and feel it, damn it! He is more nationalistic than those who screamed and rally on our streets for God-knows-what! He put the safety of his family down the line to let you and me savour the freedom that we have! Love every minute of your freedom. God forbid, He listen to your tirade and give us what we deserve – the Marcoses, the Binays, the Estradas, the Revillas, the Enriles and the Dutertes – and then talk to me again!!!!

        • Joe America says:

          Got you riled, did he, Annalissa? 🙂 I appreciate the backing, for sure. I was thinking about how to deal with people who have a problem with my blogging here, or the anonymity bit. If they read the blog regularly, they know. They know more about Joe than they do about their neighbor or a lot of friends, and they generally hold the same respect that you illustrate. If they don’t read the blog, then why, really, should I care? They are just making stuff up. So I’ll just keep doing what seems right, writing and learning and writing.

          • http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/john-locke-part-1-chapter-1/ – Joe, I have just translated the first chapter of the first part of John Locke’s “Treatises on Government” into Filipino.

            It is a beautiful diatribe against entitlement and dictatorship worth sharing with Filipinos…

            And of course it is the pool of ideas, the democratic “Koran” or “Bible” of the “Prophet” John Locke, from which “Imams” and “Caliphs” like Thomas Jefferson derived the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and more… after Sun Tzu, this is my next installment of great foreign works that I am translating into Filipino so our folks can have more of their ideas… it will be done in installments, just like the Sun Tzu translation.

      • josephivo says:

        Beno too is living in another timeframe than 99.9% of Filipinos. The past for Filipinos is this morning and yesterday, older than a few months is ancient history. (WWII and Magellan are in the same timeframe and didn’t our hero Lapu-Lapu kill another hero bringing our Christian fate? With no perceived conflict) The Chinese are the opposite, the past for them is what happened when there are no more children of those who lived through the events, as parents are clearly still part of the now, for many WWII is still a current event.

        • hehe, just like I can see as Page Manager on my FB page that the John Locke translation has many readers already, but no likes yet as anyone can see. Entitlement and the authoritarian mindset is so ingrained in Filipino culture that the thinking of this father of democracy who inspired Jefferson, the US Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution is alien to them, especially in Filipino where the true meaning is clear to them.

          • First like is from a Bikolana, from Legazpi City. I am proud of our people when I see this – we are among the most independent-minded and rebellious of Filipinos…

            Liberty is a virtue of the vicious, said Oscar Wilde, and Bikolanos can be truly vicious. 🙂

    • manuelbuencamino says:

      @Beno

      Ridiculous. Pres Quezon ordered nationalists and many other loyal govt officials to “cooperate” with the Japanese occupation force because he believed that a facade of cooperation would make the occupation less brutal. Some of them, Laurel included, were brought to Japan before the American occupation.

      So the psycho-biographical factors are in your head. Your final question reveals that you wear a tin-foil hat, so full of conspiracy theories….was the Manchurian Candidate one of your favorite movies of all time?

    • @ Beno

      After Pearl Harbor, World War II and Hiroshima/Nagasaki, the US and Japan became Allies, with the latter welcoming the former in their country and in their bases. You cannot move on after 7 and a half decades, you are sowing intrigues for an agenda only you know. Don’t sell that to us, we don’t need it, we are for moving on, for development and security. If you want to stay in that dark period of our history, don’t attempt to include us there, you’re on your own.

      Now, when it became clear that Joe will not be a party to your agenda, you suddenly turn your vitriol on him. Compared to him, you are irrelevant, Joe is for stability, security and welfare of this country he has adopted as his second home, whereas you would like to stay in the dark with your bitter hatred of the Aquinos and the Japanese. Go back to that dark hole where you came from, (probably with the Binays, Marcoses, Poe, the Chinese trolls and other PNOY haters); leave us alone in our struggle for continuity, stability and security.

      • Joe America says:

        I doubt if he has a hatred for anyone, MG, but is just doing his job with a set script to plunk here and there. Note the lead sentence to make it appear he’s up on things, then the shift to his off-topic work to sow division between the Philippines and Japan. He’s a functionary. Like a call center worker. He may even be in Shanghai.

  23. wangad says:

    This is about a law. A law is not good if it is not enforced. In order to enforce, there has to be power to enforce the law. And power has to be projected so it will have an effect. Law, Enforcement and Power… people abuse these for self benefit. Colonizers, preachers, managers, groups, etc. committed mistakes that made people suffer because of laws, enforcement and power…this is specially with man-made laws. Nature enforces natural law. It is when people misinterpret laws, proper enforcement, and power projection that chaos prevails…the ugly does the bad to look good,…or the good does ugly to look bad, … or the bad does good yet still ugly. Follow the law…convert or be damned.

    • josephivo says:

      Carrot and stick. Miss the carrot. Internalize the law and than listen to your conscience. Good laws are those with a good logic that people can buy into. Most people have a strong and good conscience, they understand and appreciate the function of a traffic light. A few don’t, that’s the only reason we need enforcement.

    • Joe America says:

      You cause me to think about how laws are passed and ignored in the Philippines. The BBL, or whatever replaces it, is an important law. It ought to have commitment attached.

  24. Just after the Tunisia attacks, I saw this on the walls of Arab FB friends…

    The Muslims who want to live and not die like the extremists are those who must be won, an a Reformation of Islam would help that… maybe having a look at the Turkish Alevis would help…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alevism#Alevi_women

    According to John Shindeldecker “Alevis are proud to point out that they are monogamous, Alevi women worship together with men, Alevi women are free to dress in modern clothing, Alevi women are encouraged to get the best education they can, and Alevi women are free to go into any occupation they choose.

    I know an Alevi who told me – we don’t make trouble for our sisters if they have boyfriends… when my sister started having a boyfriend I did hang out nearby to make sure he respects her, then I left them alone after a while… now I personally don’t think that is bad just protective, even nice.

    • “now I personally don’t think that is bad just protective, even nice.”

      The Arabic in the above photo reads, “Oh, Lord, protect our Land”. That’s the Tunisian flag. The Arab Spring began in Tunisia, because some guy decided to burn himself— didn’t wanna kill others, just got sick & tired of the whole system over there, so he set himself on fire. Since then the Salafis have ridden that tide of discontent and made it theirs. The Salafis (takfiris, political, quietists) don’t represent the Muslim world, though

      their discontentment are also shared by moderate Muslims as well as secular Muslims, ie. unemployment, bad government, cronyism, etc.

      I know for sure that the Kurds are similar to that Alevi account you shared, Ireneo, they’re as liberal when it comes to controlling their women-folk, cosmopolitan in world view.

      The moderate Sunnis, especially the young, may not be as cosmopolitan, but since they have a system in place wherein women are encouraged to marry or date 1st cousins (or 2nd, 3rd, within the family arrangement), then similar worries are mitigated.

      I totally agree with you that these guys must be won over and separated but most importantly protected from the Salafis.

      That’s my main issue with this manuelbuencamino character above, and it’s similar to how Liberals over here view this Muslim retrogression, that we (non-Muslims) should just stay out of it— All that is needed for the forces of evil to succeed is for enough good men to remain silent.

      When that view is converted to public policy, ie. offering Sharia Law without examining the ramifications of such policy, you’ll place the very Muslims we are trying to win over into the lion’s den.

      This ignorance is bliss approach to BBL is irresponsible.

      At the very least, reach out to Muslim dissenting voices, instead of defending an idea you’re ignorant of. I’ve talked to moderate Muslims who feel Sharia is a good ideal (I can respect that), only it needs to be interpreted correctly— is their caveat, with compassion & community in mind. So if you have a bunch of clowns with sticks doing the enforcing and punishments, then hands down

      secular laws are superior, for this reason most moderate/secular Muslims will choose secular laws over Sharia Law interpreted by Salafis. Though my personal view is that there are no God’s laws– just more laws made up by men, for men.

      So no matter what route we took to get to the conclusion that secular laws are superior, to God’s laws—hence must be upheld— the point is we agree.

      The dilemma for these reasonable Muslims is that if they dissent it will automatically be construed as apostasy— hence the importance of these women Mujtahids and the use of Schopenhauer’s stratagem #30, http://coolhaus.de/art-of-controversy/

      • I’m hoping you can touch base with those Quran scholars in Berlin, Ireneo and get us an assessment as to viability of secular Quranic scholarship in the Philippines— the 2nd prong of the two-pronged approach here. Here’s a good video to prime the conversation (have you seen the documentary these guys are critiquing?),

      • Ibn Warraq http://ibnwarraq.com/ is the pen name of an author critical of Islam. He is the founder of the Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society (ISIS) and is formerly a senior research fellow at the Center for Inquiry, focusing on Quranic criticism.

      • I see two things that made the BBL what it is, a bad document for all good intentions:

        1) the folks in Manila seem to have little horse sense in dealing with Mindanao. You either have hawks or doves, Delende Bangsamoro or let them do their own thing, but few realists. Which is why I let Prof. Tony La Viña of Mindanao advise me on my BBL article.

        2) the BBL drafters were strongly influenced by the UN school of thought, this is obvious. The UN has nearly always failed to find lasting solutions for peace, because they went by a misguided idealism that ignores the reality of human nature and tenacious conditioning. The EU also made that mistake with letting the half-Oriental Greeks into the Euro without checking on them, or letting the Mafia-ridden countries of Southeastern Europe in too fast – it took an East German realist named Angela Merkel to save the Euro – and the EU…

        Many of those who are for BBL without reservations and realism are like those who were way too nice to Arafat before and only woke up after 911, seeing how the Israelis feel.

        God was the ultimate authority those who shaped the first human communities – Moses – appealed to. Western society shook off the need for God, because conditioning had made them real communities, just like they shook off the need for Kings. Cultures that have not internalized real community still need God or father figures – many Arabs, many Filipinos. Who needs a Caliph and extreme rules like veiling women? Those who would not behave if stripped of these external factors. A Turkish man I know well once told me, well if we didn’t have these rules, we would screw every woman outside our clan we could get hold of, and kill each other all the time. He said he admires the Germans, told me a tent with hundreds of drunk people, different families and attractive women full of Turks would have people killing each other in no time. So a lot of the extreme order of fundamentalist Islam is just a superstructure to keep the old Oriental mentality from surfacing – eye for an eye. Or like certain conquerors in ancient days, from the area that is now Iraq, boasted that they burned the cities of their enemies, killed the men and raped the women. Order was a brutal king, Saddam-style or a God-King like the Pharaoh – Caliphs were nearly the same.

        • “Western society shook off the need for God, because conditioning had made them real communities, just like they shook off the need for Kings. Cultures that have not internalized real community still need God or father figures – many Arabs, many Filipinos.”

          Totally agree, man, but the difference with Filipinos is they’ll take on another culture, mode of thought, style, etc. not their own if they’re convinced— Arabs (and others from that region), because, their roots run much deeper, are more difficult to dissuade.

          So that’s a plus for Filipinos, Muslims or not.

          “A Turkish man I know well once told me, well if we didn’t have these rules, we would screw every woman outside our clan we could get hold of, and kill each other all the time. He said he admires the Germans,“</b.

          The more I'm reading about Germany vis-a-vis Salafi thought and winning over non-Salafi Muslims, the more I'm impressed with their approach,

          http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-02-26/germany-seeks-undermine-islamic-extremists-religious-education

          The way to compete with the extremists, according to Chalid Durmosch, is to go at them directly with Islamic principles. Durmosch is a Syrian-born Berliner with a non-profit that works with Muslim youth in schools. He says the goal is to immunize young people against radical Islam by giving them an alternative version of Islamic ideology.
          “It’s part of their identity,” he says.

          You guys did good in accepting those Syrians. It’s a shame we don’t get it over there, we just don’t get it— Syrians are anti-Salafis, it’s their Sufi background. Canada though is poised to accept 10,000 to 15,000 Syrian refugees.

        • chempo says:

          “So a lot of the extreme order of fundamentalist Islam is just a superstructure to keep the old Oriental mentality from surfacing – eye for an eye….”

          Irineo, I’m not a learned person when it comes to phsycho-analysis stuff, but based on my own simple reasoning, I have decades ago, even in my youngish days, came to this similar conclusion. Most of these Muslim peoples are all just one or two generation away from their bedouin civilisation. The savage beasts within still ravaging to surface all the time.

          • The civilization of Sumer, Assyria, Babylon was hardly any different… Nebuchadnezar who is mentioned in the Bible was an ancient version of Saddam Hussein.. while Egypt’s Pharaohs were pagan versions of the later Caliphs, let my people go said Moses.

            Seems that the spiritual descendants of the oldest civilizations keep much ballast while the newcomers are always one step more advanced:

            1) The Jews started out as Egyptian slaves… yet the abstraction of a universal principle of morality and order – Jehovah or God, probably inspired by Echnaton’s one and only Sun God, the Aton, is something both Christianity and Islam owe to them.

            2) The Greeks started out as pirates, looked down upon by the Orientals. Troy shows that they were raiders and tricksters in the beginning. Now they are among the most backward among the Europeans, together with the Russians who adopted a lot from them.

            3) The Romans were a peasant people, the Greeks looked down upon them as illiterates, much like many old-school Europeans look down upon Americans as illiterate. Their spiritual descendants, the French, formed the core of European civilization.

            4) A rebel among the Jewish Pharisees, Jesus Christ, whose kingdom was not of this world as he said himself, instituted the principle that Church and State are separate, something even the European Middle Ages kept, or was the Pope the King of very much at any time?

            5) The Germanic tribes that destroyed Rome. Their later descendants that reformed the Church. Their Anglo-Saxon descendants that invented Puritanism and Liberalism (Locke) – and crossed the sea to become the most modern civilization that rules today’s world. Yet sometimes they still have the sense of being right and the invasiveness of their ancestors, the Germanic tribes, and the zealotry that Protestantism often has as its negative side.

            6) China remains the way it was for millenia – thinking they are “All Under Heaven”, a kind of God-Kingship and universal rule similar to Egypt and a writing similar to hieroglyphs..

            7) Islam keeps much of the old Oriental spirit, they have stayed where they are.

            8) now finally there is a Southeast Asian civilization emerging, I am even bold enough to venture that the Philippines is at its center, and that Philippine civilization will be the most modern of all, copying aspects of everything else, in the boondocks just a while ago… but it has always been like that in human history… http://biblehub.com/matthew/20-16.htmSo the last will be first, and the first will be last. – Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

            Singapore is more modern than China… Malaysia more modern than any Gulf State, Indonesia more modern than India.. the entire civilization of the descendants of the Nusantao, expelled from Southern China around 3000 years ago, will supersede China.

            • There are aboriginal hill tribes in Southern China that dance something like Tinikling…

              There are the Tai-Kadai tribes who speak languages similar to Thai, also tribes who speak languages related to the Vietnamese… Han Chinese drove their ancestors southwards…

              The Southern Chinese themselves are darker than the Northern Chinese, so who knows how much Nusantao blood they have… modern gene tests may prove this, so the many overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia could be part of the Nusantao as well…

              Pedro Archanjo, the voodoo priest, bum and writer hero of Brazilian novelist Jorge Amado, who IMHO is even greater than Marquez, writes in one of his treatises that mixed races are of true vitality, not pure ones, and that mixture is the strength of Brazil…

              There is an enormous vitality emerging in two areas of the world that are mixed – South America and Southeast Asia. And the most vital area of the Philippines is the Bikol region, mixed in race and culture. Legazpi City has been called the Philippine Rio de Janeiro. America has grown more vital ever since it accepted it is more than just white, after mixing the different white people already who came from Europe… inbred China will fall someday.

              • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tent_of_Miracles_%28novel%29

                Tent of Miracles was written three years after the military overthrew Brazilian democracy, and it is part of a series Amado called “The Bahia Novels”, works exploring the region’s past. The novel chronicles the chaos that results when a prominent Columbia University professor arrives in Brazil, with nothing but praise on his lips for a long-forgotten local Bahian writer and self-taught social scientist named Pedro Archanjo. The year is 1968, which Levinson announces is the centennial of Archanjo’s birth, setting off a media stampede to figure out who Archanjo was so that they can profit from a celebration of his life. When a few people finally uncover who Arcanjo was and what he espoused, media barons and advertisers are horrified to discover that he was an Afro-Brazilian social critic, womanizer and heavy drinker who died penniless in the gutter. So, they invent their own Pedro Archanjo, which they hype in various advertising-driven events, enlisting some Brazilian academics who are as superficial and self-promoting as Levinson.

                The novel moves back and forth between events in the life of the historical hero, Pedro Archanjo, and the present. Most of the characters are types that lend themselves to the author’s relentless satire. The historical setting is the colorful old Pelourinho neighborhood of Salvador, Bahia, that flows down the hill from the main plaza, where Archanjo works as a lowly runner at the School of Medicine adjacent to the cathedral. The place of the title is the home of the hero and his best friend, Lidio Corro, which also serves as barber shop, cultural center, print shop and artist’s studio. The historical sections explore Afro-Brazilian culture and racial discrimination. Author Jorge Amado once declared that “Brazil is a racial democracy”, and the novel is consistent with that belief, because he situates all racism in the past.

                The hero’s male children are all over the city, but he is father to none. They call him “godfather,” and he takes one of his “godchildren,” Tadeu, under his wing to help him pursue an engineering degree. The womanizing of the hero serves to highlight the belief of both Pedro Archanjo and the novel’s author that uninhibited sexual passion between people of different races and colors (and the resulting mixed children) is Brazil’s unique solution to racism. The theory behind this view was disseminated by Brazilian sociologist and historian Gilberto Freyre in his treatise Casa-Grande & Senzala (1933), translated into English as The Masters and the Slaves. A number of the female characters in the novel are highly sexualized in ways that, according to critics, represent racial stereotypes. Freyre’s theory is now discredited among most Brazilian and foreign scholars of race relations, but the belief still is used by some Brazilians (mostly white men)[who?] in their denial of their country’s racism.

                MRP, you should read Jorge Amado’s tent of miracles… it makes fun of the preference for the whiter people in Brazil, and how the dark are looked down upon. Where are you?

              • Have you read this one, Ireneo? Don’t bother reading it, if you haven’t already. But take note of the thought pushed by the novel,

                “The well-known 1959 novel Children of the Alley (or Children of Gebelawi, according to the first edition of the English translation), by the Egyptian Muslim Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, tells the story of a neighborhood in Cairo, its troubles, and the men who fix its troubles. At the same time, it is an allegory for the history of man and the prophets whom God sends to help him.

                The first hero of the neighborhood is a man named Gabal (“mountain”—a reference to Sinai and therefore Moses), who deals with the neighborhood’s oppressors by collecting a chosen group of people who lead a rebellion and establish a just—yet severe—law. Next comes Rifaat (a name that means “lifting up” and is meant to call to mind the ascension of Jesus), who is gentle and prayerful. He preaches forgiveness to the people of the neighborhood. While some are attracted to his message, the troublemakers plot against him and kill him.

                Finally, Qassem (an allusion to Abu l-Qasim, one of the Prophet Muhammad’s names) arrives. Qassem is a reliable and practical leader who drives out oppressors and hooligans alike, and establishes an equitable law.

                While Rifaat is a sympathetic character in Mahfouz’s Children of the Alley, his role in the story is to highlight the excesses of Gabal and to prepare the way for Qassem. If Mahfouz’s story later led some Muslims to accuse him of blasphemy (in part because even Qassem has character flaws, including an unseemly love of women), it nevertheless reflects a standard trope of modern Islamic apologetics: Moses was a prophet of law, Jesus a prophet of mercy, and Muhammad a perfect combination of both.

                According to this way of thinking, Muhammad is the only prophet who is both good and practical and Islam is the only religion that can lead to flourishing societies. Muslims find support for this notion in the Qur’an: “Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that ye may be witnesses against mankind.” This notion, furthermore, explains the confidence with which the Muslim Brotherhood employs the slogan: “Islam is the solution.”

                To Muslims who share this perspective, Jesus was a good prophet, a holy prophet, and yet his principal contribution to humanity was to correct the excesses in Jewish law and thereby to prepare things for Muhammad. Jesus taught his followers to focus on the next world because Moses taught people to focus on this world. Muhammad, on the other hand, taught his followers to focus on both. Jesus was the prophet of forgiveness because Moses was the prophet of justice. Muhammad was the prophet of both. Thus Muhammad, and only Muhammad, is the prophet who can set things straight.”
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_of_Gebelawi

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                1. Conceptually, the book is less than comprehensive.

                2. If Moses was the prophet of law and Jesus the prophet of mercy, what does it mean that Muhammad was the prophet of both?

                2.1. Between justice and mercy, I think, is the judicious application of penalty. This may be the import of Sharia.

                3. True, being judicious means being discerning, being wise. But discernment should not be limited to the application of the law. If it is, then the only concern of religion becomes obedience. Which is what Islam demands.

                4. Beyond obedience is freedom. And freedom involves thinking, believing and doing things beyond the traditional confines of religion.
                *****

            • sonny says:

              Singapore is more modern than China … deja vu – the 100 kingdoms of Malaya, Sumatra & Java trading with the Coromandel Coast of India (222 – 280 AD).

              • “in The Messiah, a 2007 Iranian film directed by Nader Talebzadeh. Also titled Jesus, The Spirit of God, The Messiah was a considerable success in Iran and was later dubbed into Arabic and shown widely in the Middle East. It opens with a lone figure—Jesus—walking in a desolate landscape through the fog as an eerie soundtrack of acoustic guitar and female chanting plays in the background. Jesus is found next in front of his twelve disciples, looking a bit like Gandalf the White with long wavy hair and a white robe as he gazes off into the distance.”

                http://www.firstthings.com/article/2013/12/jesus-the-muslim-hippie

  25. “You remind me of an infamous Henry Kissinger quote on Chile and Allende: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” Substitute Islam for communist and that’s basically where you’re coming from.”

    manuelbuencamino,

    Joe, seems to think highly of you as a journalist, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt here— that you actually know more than you’re representing, and that this is just your way of soliciting information, playing Devil’s advocate. But on the off-chance that you are truly naive about Salafism and its spread, as they say in the Marines, we’ll break it down Barney-style.

    As for the Kissinger quote, no matter what happened tactically or operationally (which I’ll concede much was wrong), strategically the West won the Cold War, right? Stalin-Mao-Castro type communism is done. Socialism, per Sen. Bernie Sanders is up again, but all that goose-stepping crap’s over. The question now is, after 25 yrs or so of the Soviet fall, can the West keep the peace—sadly, we screwed up post-9/11.

    So from a big-picture perspective, I’ll stand by what Kissinger said of Chile and Allende (He and Nixon also opened up China). The Salafi tide isn’t just a Muslim Filipino issue, it’s an issue for everyone there in the Philippines, whose press should be examining closer— that’s where your responsibility comes in, one I don’t think you’re taking too seriously, manuel.

    My answers will be in bold below,

    1. “Because the Philippines isn’t a Muslim theocratic state. Muslim Mindanao isn’t all Muslim, there are non-Muslim, but most importantly there are Muslims who aren’t Salafis– that’s why, the State must protect its minority.”

    Salafis as I understand it are fundamentalist muslims. We have fundamentalist christians as well, we do not do anything until they break the law, right? Do we have a keep moderate and liberal christianity safe from fundamentalist christians?

    That’s a big difference, manuel, that you don’t seem to be understanding here, fundamentalist Christians, whether there, or here, or in EU, aren’t the law— so when they do break the law, secular laws are invoked. Salafis, through their interpretation of Sharia Law, are the law. How many fundamentalist Christians around the world can simply chop off the heads of apostates? Answer, NONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So no, we don’t have to keep moderate Christians safe from fundamentalist Christians, because right now and since the Enlightenment, these fundamentalist Christians have not been able to wield their power as state actors. Your ignorance in this matter stems from false equivalency— you think the state of Salafism now is equivalent to fundamentalist Christianity. Correct this, please, or your reporting on this matter will always be flawed.

    3. “you don’t have any business telling others how to play in their playground”. Why not? Sharia Law isn’t in effect yet. There’s still freedom of speech.”

    (a)You are allowed to fulminate against and praise to high heavens and keep silent on any issue whatsoever under our bill of rights. Note: OUR bill of rights. But what I said wass, as a non-muslim it seems out of place for you tell muslims how to be muslims.
    (b) sharia law is not yet in effect but our civil code allows muslim marriages and divorce, a clear demonstration that the judeo-christian and islamic world can co-exist.

    a). If it’s going to affect me, other Filipinos, or Muslims who don’t agree with Salafism, wouldn’t you want to either opine or at the very least study the issue further? I’m just writing an article on JoeAm, you are the Press, manuel—- your responsibility is ten-fold here. I’m not the Press, I’m merely a concerned person with on the ground experience, which makes me privy to a better reading of all this. ———————— b). Economic laws and Marital laws in the Philippines I’ve mentioned specifically in the article… Economic Laws I’ve suggested be expanded to cover Islamic finance, Marital Laws have benefitted Muslim women (as confirmed by Vicara).
    Again you’re playing the false equivalency game here…. Economic and Marital Laws under Sharia, isn’t the “criminal” Sharia being discussed here, they are not the same. This article is about “criminal” Sharia Laws. Hudud as explained in the article is irreconcilable with secular criminal law in the Philippines—-example, can some random Christian Church simply kidnap its members for “re-education”, I hope not, but under Hudud questioning of the faith or all-out leaving Islam, will result in prison time, this is what they do in Aceh and Kelantan (I think Brunei’s got a system in place now for re-education proceedings).
    One’s beliefs shouldn’t be subjected to re-training by others, that just goes opposite of what the Enlightenment gave us—- would you like to be re-trained in some detention facility because your interpretation of something doesn’t jive with those in power? That’s the essence of the issue here, manuel, I hope you can grasp that it’s a basic rights issue.

    4. “Negotiations 101, you DON’T give free-bees, unless your buddy was a secret Salafi (who had other agendas), it’s just not good diplomatic practice.”

    (a) Again you paint salafi and salafists as evil. They are fundamentalists like fundamentalist christians. In the secular world their equivalent are those who believe that the US supreme court should make decisions based on a fundamentalist interpretation of the constitution, or what they think the founding fathers had in mind.

    Again, false equivalency, fundamentalist Christians aren’t the same as Salafis— Salafis in Aceh now prevent Christian Churches from being built— do Christians, fundamentalist or not, have this power over Salafis? Same with Constitutionalists, they cannot stop Muslims (fundamentalist or not) from building mosques, that’s the point of a FREE country, manuel

    Sometimes, we should not limit ourselves and our vision to the boundaries of a table. Sometimes we have to look beyond what’s in front of us. It may not have been on the table but maybe Hamind sensed that dealing with the issue of Sharia Law before it became a divisive problem was appropriate. Negotiations 101 is merely a subject in the baccalaureate of Life and Reality.

    Did your buddy Hamid, foresee punishments for Muslim apostates, Christians in Aceh being controlled and Salafi interpretation becoming the only form of Islam in Aceh? “maybe Hamind sensed that dealing with the issue of Sharia Law before it became a divisive problem was appropriate” That’s like saying infecting people with Ebola is the same as dealing with the problem— it’s not, it only proves ignorance of the problem at hand. Hamid didn’t have to open Pandora’s Box, but he did, and after Finland, he had another chance to put it all inside the box, he chose not to. So either he was too naive for his own good, or he had an agenda. Which was it?

    Hamid is not a secret Salafi – anyway to be fundamentalist about one’s faith is not inherently wrong or evil so if calling him a secret Salafi is your way of casting aspersions on him and all Salafis then you have just debunked your claim of being unbiased and objective, and citing articles/posts becomes irrelevant. I know Hamid is not a Salafi, secret or otherwise, because he never behaved like a fundamentalist. In Catholic terms, Hamid did not behave like an Opus Dei member.

    When was the last time you actually hung-out with Hamid? How do you know he didn’t turn Salafi after? Calling him a Salafi is my way of making sense of his action, no right minded person will offer something that will becoming a liability for the state, something that undermines state power, something that negatively affects the majority of its citizenry, something so ill conceived that young women wearing the wrong fashion now becomes open to punishment they were otherwise protected from before, all this be an act of a simple ignorant man— so my assumption is that he is a Salafi—- that, or criminally negligent, take your pick.

    5. Sharia Law will infringe on basic rights (ie., the right choose your own beliefs, whether you’re Muslim or non-Muslim in the Philippines).

    Malaysia’s official religion is Islam. There are christians, hindus, sikhs, and buddhists in Malaysia. They are not covered by Sharia Laew but Muslims are. The non muslims are governed by Malaysian Law just like the muslims but muslims have the sharia law on top of the secular laws. And that’s how two systems of laws co exist.

    So why can’t Christians build anymore Churches there? Isn’t this indication of being affected by Sharia? Christians can’t proselytize now in Aceh, but Muslims can proselytize and impose their values in Aceh… where before they could, isn’t this simply retrogression? The rights that were there before, are now absent. Two systems of laws also “co-existed” in the South— they called it “Separate, but Equal”. “but muslims have the sharia law on top of the secular laws” So before, women couldn’t be punished for dressing a certain way, but now because they have Sharia laws they can be punished— what an improvement!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    But going beyond actual practice, the most basic right that a human being has is the right to choose freely. And when individuals form a society, or become recognized as a people, then the right to choose becomes known as the principle of a people’s right to self-determination. In other words, if a people chooses Sharia Law for their own community then no outsider has any business over-turning their choice.

    “the most basic right that a human being has is the right to choose freely” Exactly. Hence my initial questions to you, ones you’ve not answered yet, which is convenient. Here they are again, simply What happens when Muslims leave Islam? What happens when Muslims don’t agree with Salafi interpretations? What happens when Muslims convert to Christianity and actively proselytize (a right protected under secular laws, as FREE speech) to current Muslims? These are all choices as well, ones not examined by the Press over there.
    “if a people chooses Sharia Law for their own community then no outsider has any business over-turning their choice” The state still has to grant them that, so they’ve not chosen yet, and it’s your responsibility as the PRESS to get answers to the questions just above, unless you can answer them now, manuel. That’s the point of journalism, to get the facts. Now, I understand why Joe’s so critical of the Press over there, too much assumptions, not enough facts— or at the very least a working understanding of what you’re talking about.

    ps— manuel, if your beat isn’t Mindanao or Muslim Philippines, then that’s cool, but your false equivalencies are an issue, and are considered a type of bias, which will affect objectivity, so please fix that so you can be the Press that the Philippines deserves. 😉 I’m no Press, but I’m sure that’s a problem in itself, so please rectify.

    • http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-24/indonesian-aceh-province-enacts-islamic-sharia-criminal-code/6882346 – damn, LCPL_X, this is worse than I thought…

      Indonesia’s conservative Aceh province has fully enacted a strict Islamic criminal code, local government officials say, criminalising drinking alcohol, adultery, homosexuality, and public displays of affection outside of a legally recognised relationship…

      Last year, an Acehnese woman faced being caned by the Banda Aceh Sharia Police despite being a victim of rape.

      Rights groups warned the new law could criminalise consensual sex and create hurdles to reporting rape.

      “To punish anyone who has had consensual sex with up to 100 lashes is despicable,” Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s South-East Asia campaigns director, said in a statement.

      “This is a flagrant violation of human rights and must be repealed immediately.”

      THIS IS NOT WHAT SOUTHEAST ASIAN ISLAM USED TO BE. THIS IS NOT THE KINDNESS OF THE MALAY RACE. THIS IS ARAB CULTURAL COLONIALISM!

      Anybody who protests about Allende should protest this, otherwise he is guilty of a double standard. Anybody who upholds the Philippine Constitution should disallow a BBL with Shariah that cannot be appealed above the courts in Bangsamoro, as the present BBL states. Those who uphold human rights when they are against Duterte must also be against the potential violation of human rights if Sharia in Bangsamoro becomes anything like in Aceh, even creepingly or better said creepily, principles are principles.

  26. Joe America says:

    I found the following article very pertinent to this discussion. From the New York Times, the title of the article gives you the idea: “From Indonesia, a Muslim Challenge to the Ideology of the Islamic State”. Indonesia has embarked on a campaign to challenge extremism within its own Muslim community. I hope the Muslim community in the Philippines becomes equally engaged. And in Malaysia.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/27/world/asia/indonesia-islam-nahdlatul-ulama.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

    • sonny says:

      You come through again, Joe. Thank you. For once, NYT has something worth printing, for me anyway. For so long, I’ve been looking for some light at the end of the tunnel/conundrum of religion in its modern forms. At least for me, this article on Islam and Indonesia (read, the Malay lens) has come as a world view to life. Entry points: Islam and Indonesia, Christianity and the Philippines; a 257 million-strong Indonesians and 100 million-strong western cultural Filipinos. Their commonality is Animistic Malay. Cue in PiE pls.

      For now, allow me to savor this theophany. 🙂

      • sonny says:

        PS. The NYT article above comes on the heels of this article on Islam, Christianity and secularism. As usual, in the interest of light not heat.

        http://spectator.org/articles/34768/islam-and-closing-secular-mind

        • Joe America says:

          Wow, great addition to the bibliography that can be constructed by going through the comments of this blog, sonny. I strive to end blogs with a take-away punch, and this article does that well:

          “Put another, more troubling way, one of the West’s greatest impediments in its struggle against religious extremism may well the fact that the secular part of its soul turns out to be far less enlightened than anyone imagined possible.”

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            “And that perhaps points to the greatest tragedy of the secular religious mind’s remarkable close-mindedness to any serious contemporary conversation about religion pluralism. Its core operating assumptions, historical unawareness, and reliance upon numerous legends for legitimacy translates into many Western intellectuals theologians having little of a meaningful nature to say about how we address real problems of religiously inspired violence and of truth-suffocating intolerance masquerading as tolerance.

            “Put another, more troubling way, one of the West’s religion’s greatest impediments in its struggle against religious extremism may well the fact that the secular moderate part of its soul turns out to be far less enlightened than anyone it imagined possible.”
            *****

            • sonny says:

              There seems to be a lot of these (isomers) especially in nature as long as there are planes of symmetry, among other things. 🙂 same & different, side by side, sometimes harmless and other times harmful. Good reminder, edgar. thanks.

            • W. Bush gets a lot of flak for nation-building which blew-up on our faces, but Obama’s continued drone wars, to me, symbolize the ultimate lost of moral high-ground. Where W.’s was more a bungled attempt at something, Obama’s is a calculated attempt to fight a war from a distance.

              Whatever that Spectator magazine article is trying to get at, the Drone Wars will go down in history as the war that changed all wars.

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                My reading was that the article was castigating secularism for not truly understanding the need for religion, for attempting to replace religion with secularism on the basis of pure reason, and ultimately blaming secularism for the excesses of religion. But why blame secularism for the excesses? Drones have nothing to do with it.
                *****

              • Joe America says:

                Obama’s drones “symbolize the ultimate loss of moral high-ground.” That is a new perspective for me, as morality is defined by the common values of the people who advocate it, and it seems to me it is the people of the United States who established the morality when they saw their sons and daughters coming home in body bags for a war that seemed a lot like Viet Nam, with little “ownership” of the fighting evidenced by the Iraqis or Afghans. The drone program was a way of fighting the war without losing lives, and it seems to me you are advocating continued bodies on the ground in the Middle East. My main point is that the withdrawal, which has rolled out its own set of complex ramifications, was roundly supported by the American people. So no moral high ground has been lost with the drone program, it seems to me. Unless you are using current events to armchair quarterback decisions made in a different time and context, and re-defining morality accordingly.

              • “Human intelligence beats machine intelligence anytime. Israelis criticized the USA for relying too much on procedures instead of human intelligence. Israeli security forces have the street smarts to spot potential terrorists easily and usually are successful at it.”

                “Come to think of it, Mamasapano may have been a first trial run of such an approach…”

                Ireneo,

                Raids are raids, they’re nothing new.

                The military has done ’em since time immemorial, the most successful American raid is still https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Raid (Philippines). Police raids are newer, since the underlying purpose is to arrest—- because arrest is the point, there’s creativity involved, where many times raids are by-passed for say a ruse that will smoke out the culprit.

                If assassination was the point in Mamasapano, then there were way too many people involved.

                I agree with the rest, but I think you have a better understanding of this than Joe, I think because of your European background—- Now I’m wondering why , what ‘s the difference? Because Joe isn’t the only one that would disagree with me, I would say most Americans (Democrats/Republicans, young/old, liberal/conservative, etc.) are on par with Joe’s sentiments.

                Those who would echo my views will either be military (of these wars) or have travelled those regions.

                Terrorism is not an existential threat, it poses very little threat to national security. In 2001, 42,196 died because of cars, http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx and 29,573 for gun shot deaths, in 2001. If we’re talking about body count, then cars and guns pose a bigger threat.

                We are the threat, as a nation, as a people, If we change course— away from the morals, standards & rules which founded this nation—- to become something we are not. W. Bush changed course in response to 9/11, and then Obama, instead of returning, continued the course W. Bush plotted, in response to this threat, then doubled down on drone strikes.

                So we’ve changed course.

              • LCPL_X, the Euro background makes a difference in terms of geography and history. The entire EU is smaller than the USA in terms of territory, and over here people have seen what vengeance can lead to. Bombs over London caused retribution over Dresden. Nazi troops pillaging and raping in Russia led to the same by Russians advancing and causing East Prussians, Silesians and Pomeranians to flee westwards. I know an old man who was on the refugee trek to the West from Breslau… they wanted to go to Dresden but the trek was so full they did not make it… he saw the fire-bombing of the city from the countryside as a child… now we have the results of the wars in the Middle East as refugees over here.

                Which is the geographical factor. We don’t have our own continent to ourselves over here. Civil wars in Africa and the Middle East mean floods of refugees coming over to Europe. And our having more migrants from those areas means we KNOW more of these folks firsthand, their attitudes and their desperation. Doesn’t mean we aren’t fighting terrorists. France is on its way to fight ISIS, so are England and Germany. Fighting it out directly, even from fighter jets, means more skin in the game. And more respect from those who are undecided on the Middle Eastern side. Just like the King of Jordan is respected there for going into a fighter plane by himself. Drones appear cowardly to traditional cultures.

                And the USA has no small part in the root cause for many of these conflicts. Sponsoring the Sauds because of oil – Aramco helped throw out the family that now rules Jordan, the Hashemites in favor of the Saud family – has indirectly caused terrorist groups to grow. Wahhabism and Salafism are related. Saudi Arabia is very much like the Caliphate the ISIS wants. Al Qaida sprung out of groups in Afghanistan the US supported vs. Russia. America has its own continent, plus it was founded to overcome old tribalism, so true blue Americans have difficulty understanding that the rest of the world is very ethnic and tribal. Military people and those with overseas background have seen how different things are.

              • Joe America says:

                Let me layer some thoughts in here and you can correct me if they are wrong.

                The US developed its appetite for oil during WWII and, in that vein, was not much different than Germany under Hitler who took over new lands for the oil needed to fight the war. The US ramped up industrial productivity in a scale that would have been hard to imagine, and indeed, is hard to imagine today. The entire nation was dedicated to the war effort, factories, citizens, and government, with its generals and troops. It was a scale of commitment unseen before or since. When America finally entered the European war, she brought machines. Tanks and ships and trucks and airplanes. America fought on two broad regional fronts, the Pacific and Europe, and that industrial might provided the gear to get the job done.

                When the war ended, the US had firms previously dedicated to the war effort now with production capacity that they applied to making of cars, trucks, planes and machines with oil gobbling capacity. And so the US became an oil nation, an industrial giant, the most powerful economic force the world has ever known. There was no sense of imperialism that drove Germany and Japan, no lands to add. But there was oil to acquire, and the US did. It struck up friendships with suppliers and didn’t worry too much about their religion or beliefs or politics or tribalism. It was a commercial transaction.

                Austerity was on no man’s lips at the time. The world’s population was a sliver of what it is now, land was cheap and there was plenty of it. The problem was, the capitalistic beast had to be fed. It had to move forward lest there be another 1929, and move forward it did, providing jobs and material goods and making the richest people on the planet . . . except for a few sheikdoms here and there that peddled oil. The cold war only accelerated the need for gear and even exotic fuels for rockets and the man on the moon. Technology blossomed and made life longer and better and more fun, from television to game boys to virtual games to medical gear, and that rush continues. The US became the world’s policeman. Trusted because she did not want to conquer lands, but free them. And acquire goods and resources.

                Today, it is the technology that is the hope of the planet, new fuels, new foods, new ways to keep the machines moving without causing the planet to overheat.

                That seems to be what happened. There was no intent to dominate the world, to conquer the world. There was intent to promote freedom and democracy under a belief that this is a kind and good way to live. There was a need to respond to the perceived “Red Scare” that put all of this at risk, and seems to be the dominant threat yet today. There was Korea and misadventures in Latin America, Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan . . . all which, at the time, in a context very different than today . . . seemed necessary.

                So where should America have done things differently?

                Should not have ramped up industrial might?
                Should not have fought in Europe?
                Should not have switched industrial production from war machines to civilian machines?
                Should not have acquired oil through commercial negotiations, backed by government policy?
                Should not have stood for freedom and democracy against communism, and built the nuclear stalemate and nukes?
                Should not have stood by Europe and Asian nations or tried to find peace in that rat’s nest of tribalism in the Middle East?
                Should not have pioneered technology and gone to space, ceding that platform to Russia?
                Should not fight terrorism, but rather dedicate herself to cutting down domestic traffic accidents?

                Help me to understand how the US got it so wrong.

              • Most of the stuff that you are writing here I agree with Joe.. especially because I was natural born as a Filipino in West Berlin in 1965, just 4 years after the Berlin Wall… if the USA and JFK had not been so engaged in defending freedom who knows what would have been… the other idea of how to run the whole world might have won… Russia also ramped up its industrial capacity in World War 2 under Stalin in a way similar to what China is doing now and had overrun half of Europe, and the USA decided not to go the same way Woodrow Wilson went after WW1, leaving Europe to its own devices…

                The good thing about democracy is that it manages to correct its own mistakes… something those in dictatorial regimes mistake for hypocrisy… dictatorial systems never stop and eventually collapse like the Soviet Union did and a lot of people get hurt. The good thing about America is that it has a conscience and learns.. some people like you Joe who fought in Vietnam devoted a lot of time to understanding Asia better… LCPL_X who was in Bush’s wars is the next wave devoted to the Orient and Islam.

                The imminent danger in any righteous idea is crossing the line into self-righteousness – something both Lyndon Johnson and Dubya Bush did. The European Union – which is a child of the US and NATO – is a vital partner AND corrective to the USA at its fronts. The values are the same, capitalism and democracy, the implementation is different in aspects. Europe is a bit further than the USA when it comes to sustainable and inclusive capitalism, but it does not have the capability to fight its battles alone against Russia and Islam…

                Unchecked market capitalism is a danger for democracy if it destroys the middle class which is the guardian of democracy in any country. Democracy prevents the USA from becoming exactly like China, just run by anonymous greed which leads to power-madness.

                Stronger understanding of other nations by Americans is also important to counter blind messianic thinking of the kind the Russians had as Soviets and still have until now – they think they are God’s gift to their neighbors, but their neighbors aren’t too happy with that. Which is why leaders like JFK and Obama are seen with relief by the European public, and leaders like Dubya and possible leaders like Trump are seen with worry. My two cents.

              • Joe America says:

                Worth a lot more than two cents, for sure. I track right along with you, nodding. Self-righteous is indeed the huge mistake that repeats, way back to include McKinley’s racist condescension toward Filipinos. It is a problem from the US looking outward, a sense of entitlement or exceptionalism (a word I dislike immensely), and it is a problem within as American citizens sort themselves into “real” Americans who look down their noses at other citizens who were born into different circumstances, or who grew their values and thoughts differently because they walked a different path. That, to me, is the second most challenging barrier to a surviving planet, the natural human tendency to sort ourselves into tribes and sneer at those who are different. The first challenge is to think with our heads rather than emotions, a real bugaboo that takes our great strength, passion, and turns it against others and ourselves. We don’t need to be Spock or Data, for passions are enriching, but we could do with a lot less hate.

                Thanks for your thoughts. They are . . . as is the norm for you . . . excellent.

              • “Which is why leaders like JFK and Obama are seen with relief by the European public, and leaders like Dubya and possible leaders like Trump are seen with worry. My two cents.”

                Ireneo,

                I think that Hope thing got everyone, I voted for him twice— so I fell for it as well. Obamacare was his biggest accomplishment, very one sided win. Every other policy though, domestic & foreign, he’s trying to appease both sides, have his cake and eat it too (at least W. Bush knew how to go all in, though in the worst way), straddling the fence—ex. environmental (fracking/sustainable energy), the DOJ (imminent threat in police matters/drones), the Arab Spring (Samantha Power doctrine/stability), etc. etc.

                Inconsistencies more than Hope.

                But I am looking forward to his episode w/ Bear Grylls, Dec. 17 air date, heard that was gonna be good.

                Not much Hope & Change, IMHO, sorry to say.

                We’ve killed more under Obama, but we’ve NOT gotten any safer than with W. Bush—- what we are seeing instead is that it’s spreading. When you notice something like that, and it’s been close to 15 yrs of these wars, you’re gonna have to do some soul searching and take serious stock of the strategy,

                either continue playing Whack-a-Mole, creating a positive loop, whereby the other side wins from Morocco to the south of Philippines, and they are winning the hearts & minds (no thanks to us).

                OR start doing away with programs that only enliven and confirm the other sides’ propaganda machine. You cannot kill your way out of this, and killing more means creating more terrorists—- it’s the proverbial rock and a hard place. We’re investing in conflict.

                Obama inherited these wars from W. Bush, but in my view, he didn’t do much to change course, I’d say he ran with it with more gusto in the same trajectory. Hence, the more energized Salafi spread under his watch.

              • “The good thing about America is that it has a conscience and learns…”

                Ireneo,

                ‘God created war so that Americans would learn geography.’— Mark Twain

                I agree we learn but when the learning curb’s steep, we tend to take our sweet ass time.

                I was just reading this, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/iraqis-think-the-us-is-in-cahoots-with-isis-and-it-is-hurting-the-war/2015/12/01/d00968ec-9243-11e5-befa-99ceebcbb272_story.html “Iraqis think the U.S. is in cahoots with the Islamic State, and it is hurting the war”

                The Islamic State is “almost finished,” he said. “They are weak. If only America would stop supporting them, we could defeat them in days.”

                U.S. military officials say the charges are too far-fetched to merit a response. “It’s beyond ridiculous,” said Col. Steve Warren, the military’s Baghdad-based spokesman. “There’s clearly no one in the West who buys it, but unfortunately, this is something that a segment of the Iraqi population believes.”

                The perception among Iraqis that the United States is somehow in cahoots with the militants it claims to be fighting appears, however, to be widespread across the country’s Sunni-Shiite sectarian divide, and it speaks to more than just the troubling legacy of mistrust that has clouded the United States’ relationship with Iraq since the 2003 invasion and the subsequent withdrawal eight years later.

                It wasn’t “beyond ridiculous” at the start, at the beginning of all this (the Samantha Power doctrine at play),

                http://www.internationalpolicydigest.org/2015/11/29/why-isis-exists-the-double-game/
                The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) said: “The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria…The West, the Gulf Countries, and Turkey support the opposition.”

                Former Defense Intelligence Agency head Michael Flynn said: “I think it was a decision, a willful decision.” ———– yeah, by Obama.

                Quick on the draw, slow to learn, but with conscience. I would say it that way, bro.

            • “But why blame secularism for the excesses? Drones have nothing to do with it.”

              edgar, it has everything to do with secular excesses. It’s not the Holocaust or Soviet Siberia, but it’s related and something new. Yeah, it wasn’t mentioned in the article, but it should’ve been was my point.

              “My main point is that the withdrawal, which has rolled out its own set of complex ramifications, was roundly supported by the American people. So no moral high ground has been lost with the drone program, it seems to me.”

              Joe,

              The American people also largely supported the Iraq war (Bush), and the Afghan surge (Obama’s).

              War is war, there’s nothing new under the sun—– but torture and drones, are something new, the first is something we’d like to think we’re better than, hence done away with awhile back (we thought it was relegated to history) and the last, drones, is un-mapped territory.

              Where Obama countered the excesses of W. Bush in torture. And it was torture, with or without the ticking-bomb scenario. Obama expanded exponentially the drone program. It has nothing to do with the American people because this program is top secret—- until lately, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8pjARXWfbI

              “as morality is defined by the common values of the people who advocate it, and it seems to me it is the people of the United States who established the morality” Rendering this point moot. The extra-judicial nature of these individual (the kill list, Obama and his appointees determine— judge, jury, executioner) and group (on the ground, circumstantial justification) killings assassinations is precisely why this excesses is very problematic.

              Don’t get me wrong, Joe, I appreciate the simplicity, but it’s wrong in two very important aspects,

              Obama has done away with torture— and great for him. The next President who wants to torture will have to bring his own water bucket and rectal feeding tools, because no one will do it. The use of drones,

              1). Even ISIS has a process in place in which capital punishment is meted. When people in the Presidential kill list are dispatched, no external oversight no outside dissenting voice is entertained. And that’s the kill list, designed for individuals. The portion of the drone program which deals with circumstantial evidence, group ie. you have a known van, driven by known terrorist, going to a known site, known to manufacture bombs, also known to be a family compound (or hospital, etc.)… BOOM! Justification: We are at war, those were enemy combatants, casualties of war are acceptable in this scenario.

              ISIS, and Salafis, bound by Qur’anic Rules of Engagement, must offer a warning, or at the very least have compunctions when non-combatants are involved. It emboldens them to have the same visited on us. Hence lost of moral high ground.

              2). It’s assassination plain and simple, no need for legalese or rationalization. The most worrisome example was Anwar Al-Awlaki, American-citizen by birth, who had the gift of gab spewing anti-American rhetoric… BOOM! Justification: anti-American rhetoric, inciting violence (as Ireneo would point out).

              In the first example, we lose moral high ground. In this second example, we lose due process— we already have Predator drones flying in American soil, at the border, if this is left un-checked, soon there will be an American, killed by drone, in American soil… Where before the police and military had clearly defined roles.

              ———————- So from a hearts and minds approach drones are not helping, it’s making things worst, you can’t kill your way out of this. And from an American values perspective, it erodes the due process of the law.

              That’s the foreign and domestic issues at play here, with Qura’nic military jurisprudence ironically holding the high ground and secular laws stateside set to be diminished further if left un-checked. Like torture, if the drone program is no good over here, it should also be no good abroad.

              Solution: Do away with the Title 10/Title 50 uses of drones, http://harvardnsj.org/2011/12/demystifying-the-title-10-title-50-debate-distinguishing-military-operations-intelligence-activities-covert-action/ Re-invoke the “NO Assassination” order (Executive Order 12333). Limit drone use to troop support. Basically, don’t use drones as a short cut to policy— if you go to war, go to war; if not, then don’t… there’s no luxury of a sweet spot in the middle, every avenue of approach will diminish us, how much is the question—– number 2). for me is why I don’t agree… everything everyone ever fought for goes down the drain.

              We’ve already lost the war on terror, we’re just plugging the dam now. Let’s not lose ourselves, is my point, Joe.

              • Joe America says:

                Okay, I’ve seen the point debated regarding using drones on US citizens. But you set up the moral equation when you say war is war. This is a different war in a small planet where the enemy flies into the US on a civilian plane, and, if he doesn’t fly it into a tall building, lands and consorts with his friends to figure out where to lay the next bomb. The old morality book went out the window and now a new one is being written. In WWII, no one worried about the civilians in London or Berlin when those cities were bombed to rubble, because it was war. A bomb then did not have eyes, it just landed and killed. I’m afraid I’m having trouble seeing the distinction between a drone and a bomb, except that the drone is more considerate of civilians by the way the program is run, with eyes in the skies. War is on and your morality requires live bodies in conflict to be moral. I’d say the American people, who indeed do know there is a war on, and approved Iraq, are writing the rules, and they like drones as far as I can tell. Better than sons and daughters on the ground . . .

              • Joe America says:

                I would add, as an afterthought gained whilst dutifully washing the breakfast dishes, it is odd to see ISIS behavior being used to justify moral outrage complaint against the United States. I think you may need to ask “why” five times to get to the root of the problem. It is not US morality.

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                LCpl_X,

                You mean sectarian excesses, don’t you? Sectarian meaning religious. Not secular meaning non-religious.

                That’s a long bow you are drawing linking secularism to drones.

                But, yes, if you meant to use the adjective “sectarian”, then I will concede that there is a link between sectarian excesses and drones.

                The roots of the Afghan and Iraq wars have more to do with revenge for 9/11, the suppression of authoritarian rules and the promotion of democracy.

                The use of drones has more to do with Obama’s promise to end the wars and the reluctance to sacrifice more American blood and lives on foreign ground.

                In this, as usual, America has turned to technology to accomplish its ends.
                *****

              • “I’d say the American people, who indeed do know there is a war on, and approved Iraq, are writing the rules, and they like drones as far as I can tell. Better than sons and daughters on the ground . . .”

                The American people, largely don’t know, Joe.

                Just like they didn’t know, nor cared much to know, when the initial attacks in Afghanistan post-9/11, turned to the Iraq “WMDs” war (remember Agent Curveball, and Sec. Powell’s UN speech), it was Gulf of Tonkin all over again, the difference is the Soviet threat was real—- again, mistakes at the operational level I’ll concede, but the strategy to defeat the Soviets where ever they reared their heads held up.

                Again, the Soviets represented a real tangible threat. BUT when the gov’t used too much military might, people were affected directly. People knew folks drafted in the military. People protested and rioted in the streets. Policy was being affected by the American public.

                These wars, only the military and their loved ones are affected—- now they’re out of it. Yet the military might is still expanding, the ‘too much’ part is now unknown, unlike Vietnam, where we saw footage of the war nightly. There’s no voting process, officially or in the streets. There’s only the perception of threat and escalation of fear– and of pre-emption.

                Don’t get me wrong, I agree with no more boots on the ground—- Ron Paul’s ‘let’s leave them alone’ Mid-East strategy, was the reason I really liked Ron Paul (and his son now, though that’s all I like about the son).

                The American people like drones, because they don’t know about it and it doesn’t affect them. That’s an illusion is my point.

                There’s only two choices, which Obama seems too smart NOT to make—- he wants his cake and eat it too. 1). War or 2). No War— there’ no in between. Choice 2). is NOT a choice— we are at war.

                So we go to war, make that choice— I’ll have no problem with it, just don’t pussy-foot about. But most importantly, understand that this isn’t a war where we bomb people to our will. It’s not WWII. The sooner Obama realizes this, the better. Everything is paid in blood over there, there’s no such thing as a FREE ride, sooner or later the seeds represented by each drone attack will sprout.

                We’re feeding the fire, NOT extinguishing it.

                “The old morality book went out the window and now a new one is being written. In WWII, no one worried about the civilians in London or Berlin when those cities were bombed to rubble, because it was war. “

                The same morality book applies, Joe.

                If you’re talking about slipping into madness and blood lust, then yeah that happens, but our morals are there to guide us. The principle is that we’re not suppose to bomb civilians, that’s always been the principle. The Salafis who flew the planes into 3 different buildings and one open field, rationalized the death of non-combatants by simply stating that they were in fact combatants, since the citizens had a hand in affecting policy abroad.

                At least, they attempted at justification. No attempts were made in WWII.

                In London and Berlin, though more on Nazis in London, was a type of scorched earth tactics. While the atomic bombs in Hiroshima & Nagasaki was rationalized as both a show of force & statistics (few now than more tomorrow). All represent the lost of morality. But that was WWII.

                This is my point,

                Here and now, we can still invoke morality, not the old or new book, there’s no such things, there’s only the same one that’s ever been, the Golden Rule. Depending on how crazy a war gets, time and again, we lose sight of it— that’s been the pattern in wars.

                My point is, though 9/11 and the Paris attacks (and all attacks in between), are pretty heinous, we are still at the point where we can invoke morality. Don’t slip into craziness just yet, re-assess and re-calibrate our response— there’s still time.

                Mir Qazi (Jan. 1993) and Ramsi Yousef (Feb. 1993), for example, were found the old fashion way— Wanted Posters. It wasn’t instantaneous, it took awhile, but the point is that hunting is an on the ground endeavor. When they found these two, it wasn’t Special Ops, just regular Diplomatic Security agents, with law enforcement & investigation as their stock in trade.

                There’s nothing new here, bad guys come up we find them, same way the Earps and other lawmen did policing in the 1800s. Technology might have improved exponentially, but the essence of the work is still very much the same, nothing new.

                We are not in WWII proportions just yet, we still have the ability to keep things small and manageable. Bombs (or drones) need not be used so haphazardly, where we pay more than originally thought. Again there’s no FREE rides, it all catches up to us.

                “I’m afraid I’m having trouble seeing the distinction between a drone and a bomb, except that the drone is more considerate of civilians by the way the program is run, with eyes in the skies.”

                I agree the distinction is slight, but it’s in how they get used and the carnage is the same once it explodes, so the distinction is slight.

                Whether it’s the individual on a Kill List or the circumstantial stuff used to kill groups undertaking certain activities, there have been civilians, women, children & the old, affected every time those drones strike— because they live and travel with families and live in neighborhoods. It’s “considerate” only because it’s fewer civilians as opposed to a carpet bombing— but again it’s the same explosion and same shrapnel, whether dump, smart or drone.

                But however few that civilian casualty toll is, unlike in old wars, they get traction in the media and the internet. This picture is propaganda (there’s a lot more visceral photos), but it does ring true, and it diminishes our standing.

                Again, this isn’t WWII, not just yet, we can’t go around just willy-nilly bombing people, using really abstract notions of pre-emption to justify these assassinations, dictated by bureaucrats, instead of actual cops or soldiers on the ground— who’d have more experience with lethal force, and what justifies it.

                I’m arguing for a much smaller, more precise war, Joe. And that, drones should not take point in this war. Opt for the quieter means to prosecute the war. The irony is that Obama thinks he has a quiet war, when he’s only muffled it. Again, there is no FREE ride. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

                Refer to the solution outlined above.

              • Joe America says:

                I agree the drones are inciting more anger toward America among Muslims, but disagree that Americans are ignorant about how drones are used. I also agree that Americans generally trust their leaders in times of conflict, and it is later that the results turn sour.

                I’m not sure how one gets to a smaller, more precise war when dealing with ISIS and other terrorist bands who are intent upon taking it to France or Africa or the US. I also disagree that this does not rise to the level of a WWII. There is incredible slaughter going on in Syria and Iraq. Indeed, those nations largely no longer exist, geographically. Airports around the world are armed to the teeth with equipment and armed guards. Israel is a pit of bitter fighting. Yemen. Ach . . . I don’t even like to think about it. What takes it to WWII seriousness in your eyes?

              • “You mean sectarian excesses, don’t you? Sectarian meaning religious. Not secular meaning non-religious.”

                No I mean, secular excesses—- the illusion of morality is at play here. Same with our talk re capitalism and Economics, ie. moral, immoral & amoral.

                This whole notion that we can win this war simply by Lawfare is part and parcel of secular excesses, it’s non-religious, kinda like scienticism, though the reliance here is in the ability to massage the law. Similar to how Wall Street bankers were able to massage their way out of an indictment.

                These are all related excesses, only here Lawfare has inserted itself to the realm of war and policing, ie. doctrine of preemptive strikes and assassination in these drone wars.

                Eventually you’ll have ones for ATF, FBI, Marshalls, DEA, then LAPD, CPD and NYPD,

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                In that case, use “Lawfare” not “secularism”.
                *****

              • ” I would add, as an afterthought gained whilst dutifully washing the breakfast dishes, it is odd to see ISIS behavior being used to justify moral outrage complaint against the United States. “

                Joe,

                Remember the name of the game is to win over the Quietist Salafis and the regular Muslims (as well as the world).

                ISIS and other terrorist groups will use this, no doubt as continued proof of American immorality—- my point is don’t give this to them. That’s all I’m saying here.

                There’s other ways, smarter ways, quieter ways, more creative ways, to prosecute this war— that don’t include bombing civilians.

              • Joe America says:

                I suspect there are, but one has to get those ideas to be accepted by people who largely think in black and white (like Trump) rather than nuanced, in layers like baklava.

              • LCPL_X, the drone wars are quite public over here in Europe… and continue to be an argument for anti-American groups of every color… Obama managed to smoothen out a lot of damage to the EU-US relationship but that continues to be a PR disaster until now.

                EU nationals of Arab descent getting kidnapped by the CIA and sent to Guantanamo was bad enough already… over here we don’t look down on Arabs like some groups in USA do, there was a feeling when are native Europeans going to be on the list and for what?

                Same thing about drone attacks… there are large Muslim migrant populations over here… their families are sometimes affected… now at the moment because of Obama’s good image it’s just lunatic fringe groups saying… when are the drones coming at our folks… what will be the reason… not letting Uber do business they way they want to over here maybe… what’s the real difference between the Russkis and the Americans anyway is unfortunately a more common opinion on the street and in dorms for quite a while already.

              • Joe America says:

                I don’t know how to deal with emotions run riot and detached from the core cause, that Muslim extremists are killing innocents. Rather, we worry about American morality. That’s the way Roxas gets skewered for eating his rice from a mug and Duterte gets excused for murder, swearing at the Pope, and philandering while married. A lot of Americans are going extremist against Muslims, so maybe moderates ought not worry so much about drones, and more about policing their own.

                Emotionalism is a two-way street.

              • In that case, use “Lawfare” not “secularism”.

                In my mind, it’s the same thing, edgar.

                Though I’d rather live in a secular world than a religious one, I’ll readily call out each’s excesses— and this is secularism’s excess.

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                It’s an improper use of the term “secular.”

                Secular means non-religious. The wars between the US and Iraq and between the US and Afghanistan are not secular wars. There is an element of sectarianism in both wars mainly due to 9/11.

                Part of the US motivation has to do with the promotion of “democracy” which is ideological.

                Therefore, the war may be characterized as that between an ideology and sectarianism.

                Democracy and secularism are different. Democracy is a system of government, which at its center means rule by the people. Secularism is a system that rejects religion as part of a system of government.

                True, democracy can embrace secularism. Conversely, it is also true that secularism can be adopted by non-democratic governments, as in the atheism of communism.

                While both are separate, they can be combined, as in the US.

                Therefore, one can say “ideological excesses” in the case of the Iraq and Afghan wars, but not “secular” excesses.
                *****

              • “LCPL_X, the drone wars are quite public over here in Europe… “

                Over here it’s out of sight, out of mind. Hence, the danger. These drone strikes don’t happen in a vacuum, each strike resonates— creating a positive loop.

              • To see Lawfare in action, start with this guy first… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Yoo

                I have a theory though that the foot soldiers for Lawfare, are graduates of Trinity, Liberty & Regent law schools,

              • “What takes it to WWII seriousness in your eyes?”

                When they are here, and not just using small arms. In the mean time, the hearts and minds approach still applies, which the drone strikes undermine. PC-COIN (Population Centric- Counter-Insurgency) didn’t work, it was just another fancier word for nation-building, but hearts & minds is still in play.

                Obama’s current approach of no boots in the Mid-East (at least conventional) still applies. But these drone strikes must be investigated. I’d feel better if the strikes on American citizens were completely stopped. And external mechanisms introduces to these assassinations, instead of Obama being judge, jury & executioner.

                Bring drone operations to light, just like they did to torture operations, where they were able to study its efficacy holistically. From there we can say, it’s useful keep it, or throw it away— find another way.

                WWII is all out war in various fronts, this is still a guerrilla war albeit waged internationally. Populations need to be won over, not bombed.

              • Joe America says:

                “When they are here . . .” They were there on 9/11 and in Boston at the Marathon and the guy with the bomb in his briefs and another in his shoe. But you are like the Redcoats insisting that we keep marching in morally correct lines rather than shooting from the trees with drones. The difference between Obama and ISIS leaders as final executioner is that he does not want to do the executions, but feels he has to to save American lives. It is a pretty noble effort when you put it in those terms. I would guess that he feels pretty wretched each time he agrees with the advice of his staff, to push the button. I also think hearts and minds are hard to reach in the Middle East, for a westerner, especially those who would not choose to reach them by executing the recalcitrants, which is common practice in the Middle East. That’s how they reach minds. I really think it would be a different world if Muslims would try to reach the hearts and minds of Americans, and if China would try to reach the hearts and minds of Filipinos. I think you are still missing the source of the problem and railing at people who want solutions, have tried everything, and it doesn’t work. Because the problem is not with Americans.

              • “Therefore, the war may be characterized as that between an ideology and sectarianism.”

                edgar,

                Secular, to me, just means no-religion. Religion’s not invoked in these wars, and though nation-building and the idea of democracy was touted as justification after no WMDs were found Iraq,

                Obama’s drone wars represent a parting of that thought. Put simply, Obama wants to win a war without assuming risks—- same with Wall Street, rewards w/out the risk. Hence the same excess… and since no-religious doctrines are invoked, it’s secular (I’m not putting a value on this word, I’m using it as descriptive, ie. non-religious).

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                Well, it is an inexact adjective.

                When one uses the adjective that way, someone can then say: “secularism caused the Iraq and Afghan wars.” This is not true at all.
                *****

              • edgar,

                Understood. Yeah, my focus isn’t really on the “secular” but the excess—- since I piggy-backed on sonny‘s article, I get your concern now.

              • “They were there on 9/11 and in Boston at the Marathon and the guy with the bomb in his briefs and another in his shoe. But you are like the Redcoats insisting that we keep marching in morally correct lines rather than shooting from the trees with drones.”

                Redcoats?!!! I’m for guerrilla warfare, Joe, I just don’t think drones is guerrilla warfare. It’s something new and different, one I think puts too much distance between the guy doing the killing and the guy killing— which means all sorts of things can go wrong. Lines are crossed already, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/10/how-team-obama-justifies-the-killing-of-a-16-year-old-american/264028/

                As for 9/11 and other attacks, I’ve taken note of that, and historically we’ve done more killing of ourselves by ourselves domestically than 9/11, ie. from Tim McVeigh, to dams bursting, to the Civil war, and all sorts of mass shootings (or just regular shootings), to vehicular/pedestrian accidents. I’m just putting death tolls in context here—–

                9/11 was 3,000, while the 1906 San Francisco earthquake/fire was 5,000+, in 2001 about 43,000 people died from traffic accidents— deaths resulting from crimes is another big number. These Salafi induced attacks is comparatively just a bump on the road.

                So no, Joe, I still think we are not within WWII proportions. And all the fear and craziness can still be averted. When I say them being over here, I meant similar to when the Japanese took over in the Philippines— which is impossible because they are non-state actors. Remember, over-reaction, is the key to all this— it’s what screwed us up post-9/11, and it’s what screwing us up again with these drone wars.

                If the threat can still be mitigated and the ability to do drone strikes be regulated, then that has to be done.

                “I would guess that he feels pretty wretched each time he agrees with the advice of his staff, to push the button. “

                There’s a very simple solution to that, Joe, open this process up to the courts and/or a grand-jury—–type mechanism. If we have the FISA courts weigh-in on whether or not to tap a group or individual, shouldn’t we have at least something similar for these assassinations?

                ” I think you are still missing the source of the problem and railing at people who want solutions, have tried everything, and it doesn’t work. Because the problem is not with Americans.”

                Solutions are fine, so long as they don’t blow back in our face again.

                We are the ones responding to this, Joe, so it behooves us to understand the problem better. After 14 yrs, no ones gotten the pulse of the problem. We were on the wrong side of the Arab Spring— no W. Bush to blame there. On the wrong side of torture, blame W. Bush, thanks to Obama for stopping it. But we’re on the wrong side of these drone assassinations, this although began by W. Bush, sky-rocketed under Obama, so it’s his, all his.

                The first part to all this is to take stock of the threat and our fears. No matter how you cut it, the biggest threat to my life stateside is vehicular accident and then violent crime. That’s just threat we can readily put a blame on. So recognize that it’s not time to go berserker yet, is the first step.

                Then take stock of policies that undermine American values, torture (which Obama dealt with beautifully), now the drone program—- Are these strikes simply killing terrorists, or are they simply making more of them? I’m convinced they are making more, not less terrorists,

              • Joe America says:

                I think courts are not practical on drone strikes. Information comes in, a high priority target is seen moving to a house, his family is there, type up some paperwork and go to the courts to argue it? The Commander in Chief has and needs authority. Frankly, I can’t imagine judges wanting the responsibility. I know I am repeating myself, but the drone program is not “all his” anymore than invading Iraq was “all GW’s”. They read the will of the American people who are under attack, and follow the advice of people who are paid to understand these things. If they get it wrong, and you and I come along and second guess them without having the info and accountability they have, then I’d say we lack a certain humility.

                Who’s on first? Americans are making terrorists and extremist Muslims are making Western fanatics (the Republican Party among them). No one is making any friends on either side of the divide, but the problem is extremists Muslims. Period. The solution has to start in that community. Beyond that, you don’t like the drone program, and I do. I don’t think morality has anything to do with it, given the starting point is bombing of innocents. I also don’t think the US can win hearts and minds in the Middle East. Middle Easterners have to find their hearts and wage discipline on their minds and control their own.

              • “I think courts are not practical on drone strikes. Information comes in, a high priority target is seen moving to a house, his family is there, type up some paperwork and go to the courts to argue it? The Commander in Chief has and needs authority.”

                Like I said, there’s two parts to the program.

                1) the Kill List, this is determined way in advance, there’s consensus albeit by Presidential appointees, then people are added to that list, here external oversight can play a key role— there’s no ticking time bomb scenario.
                2). the circumstantial assassinations, example, right after https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humam_Khalil_Abu-Mulal_al-Balawi blew himself up and killed 7 Americans, plus 2 others. His handler was targeted, and sought, so he was on the Kill List, where he ended going though is at the heart of this “ticking time bomb” scenario— if ‘we lose him, he’s gone’ dilemma. The decision to bomb was made for fear of losing him, his entire family killed.
                Now, I’ll agree with you that this second part is time sensitive—– but then a bigger issue surfaces, did his entire family really need to die? How was imminent threat determined here?

                These are rules of engagements, Joe, if we had to explain ourselves so too the President, and they’re not meeting the same threshold (not even close) that the average US soldier had to meet out there. Granted there’s only a handful of these examples available in the internet, but the pattern is one of very dubious justifications.

                At least W. Bush’s torture policy was hung out in the open, debated vigorously, and now torture is not such an easy policy to implement anymore. I understand Obama’s drone strikes are winding down, but because it didn’t meet the same scrutiny as W. Bush’s torture policy , these extrajudicial assassinations will never be reckoned with—– allowing successive Presidents to opt-in whenever they feel the need arise.

                There’s a danger there— this type of power shouldn’t be in the hands of one man, it should be diluted and delegated to his police and military (not intelligence, that’s another topic that’s worth discussing).

                “If they get it wrong, and you and I come along and second guess them without having the info and accountability they have, then I’d say we lack a certain humility.”

                There is no accountability is my point!

                We are not simply 2nd guessing, Joe, we are questioning the principles invoked to justify such policies. We’re asking if this is helping or instead hurting us in the long run. We are asking if this policy is successful, and how is it successful? Is the juice here really worth the squeeze? That is how a healthy democracy works, as participants we have to ask the very questions, the media is too scared, or busy, to ask.

                Humility’s reserved for the dead, we ‘re here to make sure they died for something.

                ” The solution has to start in that community. Beyond that, you don’t like the drone program, and I do. I don’t think morality has anything to do with it, given the starting point is bombing of innocents. “

                I agree with community, hence this Islamic Renaissance article.

                You like the drone program, yeah it’s where we part ways… but I don’t like it for very specific reasons, your approval of it seems rooted in blind support of the President, Joe (am I wrong?)— there’s the difference. I can respect that because towing the party line or supporting the standing president is a virtue on its own, but I’m from a different school, one that demands more from its leaders (that’s what I’m doing here, demanding more… that we fight smarter, and quieter)

                Morality has everything to do with it—- because we’re the good guys (this part people keep on missing).

              • Joe America says:

                “Blind support of the President . . .” Hah, I get that here, too, for my support of President Aquino. I’ve stopped being insulted by that deduction, for everyone is entitled to be wrong. My support of President Obama is not blind, but based on trying to walk in a President’s shoes, considering time and context and my own ignorance, and granting some latitude for the latter . . . and then deciding if the decision was reasonable or not. A lot of argument there, like here, is political and from crab-think when decisions go against people, and I try to carve the political gaming out of the equation.

                There are probably as many different moralities as they are people, and you are entitled to yours, for sure, and it’s good that you take the initiative to advocate for government policies that suit your beliefs. We indeed are the good guys, and the hunted, and it is painful when the good die young.

              • Joe America says:

                I would add that my position is really aligned more with the Republican hawks than some kind of blind Obama support.

                http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/drone-strike-hostages-killed-gop-response-117284

              • “I would add that my position is really aligned more with the Republican hawks than some kind of blind Obama support.”

                I think the blind Obama support, stems from the fact that he is keeping his promise, no wars—- and I can appreciate that (I’m sensing this is your point of agreement w/ the drone program). The Republican hawks, are in a quandary, they can disagree and look weak, or agree and then ask for more, by talking tough “RAAAAH, let’s kill more of them!”, so they’ll always try to double down.

                You’ll find no dissenting voice in the political arena, Joe, most of those guys always wanna look tough and sound tough when it comes to GWOT. The drone program is a God-send for politicians, all the rewards w/out the risks (again an illusion).

                Most critical of the drone program will be from the military,

                Read: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/07/retired-general-drones-damage-good-150716105352708.html

                “When you drop a bomb from a drone… you are going to cause more damage than you are going to cause good,” Lt. General Michael Flynn said.

                Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG3j8OYKgn4

              • Joe America says:

                Well, we can always find articles and quotes to support our different positions, and rationalize away objections. But the accusation of “blind follower” is ordinarily levied by those who can’t comprehend that others could look at things differently than they do. Their only way of justifying it is to say the other party is blind or stupid and otherwise not thinking “right”. We’ve had our exchange, and any further commentary would just be going in circles. Readers can figure it out for themselves, I think, and I’d guess there are more doves than hawks in the readership.

              • “But the accusation of “blind following” is ordinarily levied by those who can’t comprehend that others could look at things differently than they do.”

                I’m not saying you can’t comprehend all this, Joe.

                I can list why all this is bad business (I’ve already done so), I can explain why the drone program is a liability; you’ve not outlined why you support Obama’s drone program, except this “trying to walk in a President’s shoes, considering time and context and my own ignorance, and granting some latitude for the latter . . . and then deciding if the decision was reasonable or not”— we’ve disagreed before and that’s fine, when we disagree it’s usually on principle.

                But basically, you’re giving the President a pass— hence blind support. Make no mistake I’m not using blind support the way caliphman and Micha, both use ‘confused’ or ‘ignorant’ in their “discussion”. I’m simply saying you’ve not put your support for the drone program through the wringer, that’s how I’m using blind here. And over here, there’s more of you—– which adds another level to the problem.

                ———- we’re not having a caliphman vs. Micha debate, I’m simply trying to get to the bottom of your support , while attempting to convince you of my criticisms of this program. In the end, it’s a free country and we’re not talking about MMT. 😉 Thank God.

              • Joe America says:

                ” . . . you’ve not put your support for the drone program through the ringer.” How do you know that? My first wife was legitimately psychic and could “see” things. I am not convinced you have that power.

              • “How do you know that? “

                You’ve not put your support of the drone program thru the wringer because your commentary on this is shallow, ie. lacking depth. I don’t have to be psychic, I can read it. It’s similar to W. Bush’s justification of bringing the fight to ‘them’, so we don’t have to fight ‘them’ over here—– that strategic misunderstanding of the problem created ISIS, and you’re echoing it now, Joe.

                Let me connect this to #BlackLivesMatter and the anti-police sentiment the media is fomenting over here— the media has no qualms focusing on each police shooting, but it can’t hold the Administration accountable for drone strikes. Though the bigger picture is about whether or not we are making more terrorists than less out there, the basis of the drone assassinations is the determination of imminence in the imminent threat.

                The imminence of an imminent threat is at the root of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and they did a show of force over the weekend in Chicago over the McDonald shooting, which resulted in sacrificial lambs in the police force yesterday and today— but that’s generally what the brass are for, feed ’em to public outcry. The cop that shot is facing murder one.

                Obama’s DOJ will/has visited every police shooting incident featured in the media, basically calling for more restraint in lethal force, but no similar pleas or justifications for their own extrajudicial killings— pot calling the kettle black, your various morality scenario. The DOJ should have one over-arching principle here.

                They just released a list recently of Americans attempting to join or are communicating with ISIS. The average age was 26, but the most relevant was that these were non-Arab, non-Muslim heritage individuals, who converted to Islam only recently and in prison— many blacks, but also a striking amount of Hispanic converts.

                So like the majority of ISIS leaders who were galvanized in American detention facilities, these American Muslim-converts too were radicalized in our prison system— though in smaller numbers compared to EU, but those guys in EU are Arab or Muslim by heritage, our problematic converts are blacks and Mexicans.

                The essence of DOJ’s stance over these police shootings is that the police have to have restraint—- that imminence of a threat has to be present, otherwise it’s murder one (this last shooting in Chicago has the suspect running towards the cop with a knife– he already attacked one police vehicle— only to walk away last second away from the cop at around 10 feet, at which point cop fired shoots, 16 rounds).

                I agree with the restraint part DOJ is calling for, though the application of that restraint seem out of place in this particular shooting in Chicago, ie. an aggressive man with a knife, who has already demonstrated use of the knife, at 10 feet distance still pose an imminent threat.

                So transpose DOJ’s call for restraint in lethal force in both prongs (kill list & group circumstantial justification) of Obama’s drone program, and what you have are two very different takes on the imminence of an imminent threat.

                Restraint was the whole basis of the Rules of Engagement (ROEs), the basis of military lethal force doctrine. So too in law enforcement. Why not invoke the same restraint in these drone attacks?…. NO. Because we’re at war, because we have to fight them over there, so we don’t have to fight them here, Because they’re more violent, etc. etc.

                There’s a very good reason why restraint is the essence of our use of lethal force, simply because if abused, we not only lose the rule of law, lost of discipline by the gov’t and slip slide directly to chaos, but we’ll lose public support, whether American or not, citizens or non-citizens, anti- American or pro- American—————————– this is the essence of these wars, the killings only beget more killing, it’s a positive loop.

                So again,

                How is imminence in imminent threat defined, how is it determined? Because in the only memo available justifying imminence from the DOJ, it’s very dubious:

                Read: http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/04/16843014-justice-department-memo-reveals-legal-case-for-drone-strikes-on-americans

                Or, go straight to the Meme: http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/020413_DOJ_White_Paper.pdf

              • Joe America says:

                There are two sides on every legal argument. Yours and the one opposed to you. You presume to know what the correct one is, but I’ll await any further judicial renderings findings. Until then, I’ll go with America’s drone program and let you worry about the politics and legal details.

                Relating the morality argument back to the Philippines, during the hunt for Marwan, General Napenas, who headed the SAF raid, testified that he had previously asked that a smart bomb be dropped through the roof of Marwan’s hut. He was denied that resource, I suspect because it would have required direct American engagement, and that is a line not to be crossed under existing rules. If such restrictions did not exist and you were in the meeting room, would you object to the dropping of the smart bomb on moral grounds? If you would object, can you describe a situation when using a smart bomb would be morally correct?

              • “Relating the morality argument back to the Philippines, during the hunt for Marwan, General Napenas, who headed the SAF raid, testified that he had previously asked that a smart bomb be dropped through the roof of Marwan’s hut.”

                Maybe because they attempted this before, in 2012, with negative results… though that was the Philippine military—- http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/14/world/asia/zulkifli-was-not-killed-in-filipino-airstrike-malaysian-official-says.html

                “He was denied that resource, I suspect because it would have required direct American engagement, and that is a line not to be crossed under existing rules.”

                This article says otherwise,

                “Finally, journalist Mark Mazzetti also reported in June: “According to three current and former intelligence officials I spoke to, in 2006, a barrage of Hellfire missiles from a Predator hit a suspected militant camp in the jungles of the Philippines, in an attempt to kill the Indonesian terrorist Umar Patek.” Soon after, a spokesperson for the Philippines Armed Forces denied that drone strike had ever occurred, stating: “That’s against the law. The United States does not participate in [actual] military operations here in the Philippines.” A U.S. special operations officer deployed to the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines revealed that he had no knowledge of any U.S. drone strikes, although he also admitted that he never had direct access into whatever “other government agencies” [i.e., the CIA] were doing.” http://blogs.cfr.org/zenko/2013/03/05/who-is-ultimately-responsible-for-u-s-drone-strikes/

                “If such restrictions did not exist and you were in the meeting room, would you object to the dropping of the smart bomb on moral grounds? If you would object, can you describe a situation when using a smart bomb would be morally correct?”

                A bureaucrat, I think would opt for the drone option every time— he’ll never have to set foot on that ground. This is where I fault Obama.

                I’d object on moral grounds, but moral grounds for me isn’t some liberal love your enemy crap, moral grounds for me is if I have to walk that same patch of dirt again, I want to know that my decision will make me safer not the opposite— I’d extend that moral concern to my buddies (US Marines, other Americans, and other cops/soldiers).

                If we determine that collateral deaths will take place, then the initial assumption is that these deaths will produce more pissed off people— making the situation less safe for me and my buddies.

                All that should be thought of, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay before.

                The only consideration once there, should be the determination of imminent threat. If there’s no imminent threat, entertain other plans. This is where investing in people instead of fancy stuff comes to play—- if your people have been busy ONLY playing SWAT, then you’d not been investing properly.

                I think lack of investigative skills, lack of people following skills, lack of information gathering skills, lack of rapport building, lack of have extra eye & ears— and the ability to have extra eyes & ears, lack of public support, all that make up the perfect storm, of perceiving imminence where there is none.

                Again, smarter and quieter, there are tons of way to skin this cat, but if you put a gun to my head and say I can only use drones to kill Marwan, then I’d wait for him to be on that speed boat in the middle of the sea where no collaterals are put in harms way.

                The issue here is the imminence of the imminent threat in question. Everyone’s falling for the ticking time bomb scenario, when time is actually on our side—- it’s a false dilemma.

              • Joe America says:

                Your article is unverified and says nothing at all. If I believe that article, the next step is to believe no one ever landed on the moon.

                Marwan is linked to bombings that killed 200 civilians. He was linked to a threat to bomb the Pope’s visit. He has been the subject of raids 6 or 7 (number escapes me) times previously, but been warned in advance or otherwise got away. He is (was) a known killer of innocents and is (was) known to be training up other bomb builders.

                You know, you are waffling on your answer, searching for the right formula to protect your position. But the fact is, there is a moral issue in allowing known mass murderers to live and kill again.

              • “Your article is unverified and says nothing at all. If I believe that article, the next step is to believe no one ever landed on the moon.”

                Which one? The 2012 was a strike targeting Marwan, negative results. As for the 2006 strikes, yeah that’s heresy, but addresses this point—- “and that is a line not to be crossed under existing rules”.

                “Marwan is linked to bombings that killed 200 civilians. He was linked to a threat to bomb the Pope’s visit. He has been the subject of raids 6 or 7 (number escapes me) times previously, but been warned in advance or otherwise got away. He is (was) a known killer of innocents and is (was) known to be training up other bomb builders.”

                I don’t dispute that.

                I’m simply saying there are better ways to hunt.

                “You know, you are waffling on your answer, searching for the right formula to protect your position. But the fact is, there is a moral issue in allowing known mass murderers to live and kill again.

                How am I waffling, Joe? You asked me how I’d do it, and I answered, what was wrong with my answer? I stuck to the same big principle I started with, no?

                ” there is a moral issue in allowing known mass murderers to live and kill again.”

                And the moral issue of killing civilians, especially if it negatively affects the troops on the ground making their job less safe, trumps that. That’s the big principle here—- we don’t go around killing civilians, because they do it… remember we are the good guys.

                I’m not saying let them off the hook, Joe. These are highly mobile folks, so catch ’em on the road,

              • Nietzsche said: “those who fight dragons may become dragons themselves”…

                Drone Killings and Duterte Death Squads are related moral dillemas.

                DDS came into being because of the Davao badlands, but Duterte failed to make the shift at the right time to normal law and order, after cleaning up the “Nicaragdao” mess there. Drone killings are even easier than sending assassins, and also TOO easy in the long run.

                Better take down mass murderers via black ops if needed, and only them – DDS style. Best recruitment ground for such people – private contractors – would be Mindanao.

                Human intelligence beats machine intelligence anytime. Israelis criticized the USA for relying too much on procedures instead of human intelligence. Israeli security forces have the street smarts to spot potential terrorists easily and usually are successful at it.

              • Come to think of it, Mamasapano may have been a first trial run of such an approach…

                better use only Wild Geese, no government troops of any sort for such kinds of ops.

                Drone killings really can produce new terrorists with the collateral damage they create.

              • Michael Hayden : “We will people based on Metadata.”

    • https://joeam.com/2015/11/22/the-islamic-renaissance-in-the-philippines/#comment-149305

      I found the following article very pertinent to this discussion. From the New York Times, the title of the article gives you the idea: “From Indonesia, a Muslim Challenge to the Ideology of the Islamic State”.

      Joe,

      I just lightly read the NY Times article, when Vicara posted it. But in response to her before taking off to the desert, I did a quick google of the Nahdlatul Ulama group and confirmed their absence in Aceh.

      The film, “Rahmat Islam Nusantara” (The Divine Grace of East Indies Islam), has been translated into English and Arabic for global distribution, including online. The film explores Islam’s arrival and evolution in Indonesia, and includes interviews with Indonesian Islamic scholars.

      I checked out the trailer of the film mentioned in the article and realized the “East Indies Islam” being promoted is very Sufi– mystical. I have no issue with Sufism per se, but when it comes to countering Salafi-thought, Sufism isn’t the best foot forward. To win over other Muslims, maybe. But winning over Salafis (the Quietists), you have to counter them word for word—

      ie. if they say burn the apostate, you have to be able to find verses in the Qur’an or sayings of the Prophet that counter such sentiments, one can’t just simply invoke love and compassion.

      At the end of the trailer of the “East Indies Islam” film was the logo of the International Institute of Qur’anic Studies— or IIQS (whose youtube account featured the film trailer, its only video under this account). IIQS ‘s website features articles, one pdf article specifically attempts to outline their big strategy, dubbed Indonesia’s ‘Big Idea’, here’s a page of that article,


      Like I mentioned to Vicara, if these moderates’ only point of contention is in interpretation, then comparatively the Salafis stand on solid ground.

      My other issue with this Indonesian ‘response’ is you gotta put some skin in the game. You cannot simply do a documentary film and write articles, and then not have a presence in the very region of your country that’s in need of this very intervention. Before you set your sights on ISIS and the overall Salafi tide in the Middle-East, you have to have some notches on your belt.

      Moderate Muslim Indonesians, IIQS, Nahadlatul Ulama, etc. must be in Aceh, if they’re to get any street creds, they gotta earn their bones NOT in the safety of the virtual world but on the ground, in Aceh, promoting their ‘interpretation’. Without any traction in Aceh, they’ll have no voice in the Middle East, they’ll be viewed simply as lip service.

      Joe, remember those tent-revivals in the Bible-belt? Something similar has to be done in Aceh, and other fast-becoming Salafi regions in Indonesia. And they have to have more than just Sufi or moderate interpretations, they have to counter Salafism verse for verse——- otherwise, they’ ll be labeled as weak, or anti-Islam, or both. Game-over before it even started.

      A winning strategy has to be cobbled.

      • ———————————-

        http://www.iiqs.org/media/Strategic-Review_Indonesia-s_Big_Idea.pdf (That’s the IIQS article, also check out the rest of the site— it looks kinda empty. The skeptic in me feels this is just a scam to elicit Western funding, this wouldn’t be the first time. But hope springs eternal.)

        This was what struck me the most upon re-reading that article,

        “A prevention center based in Indonesia, expected to be operational by the end of the year, will train male and female Arabic-speaking students to engage with jihadist ideology and messaging under the guidance of N.U. theologians who are consulting Western academia.”

        I suggest, the Philippine gov’t jump on that and send reps to study in order to replicate similar centers in the Philippines.

        I would also suggest, sending Filipina Muslims. Also re-purpose those Filipina lawyers working Economic & Marital Sharia courts in the Philippines, to see if they can expand their expertise— specifically look into expanding Sharia Economic Laws.

        Then get every Anthropology, History, Sociology, Psychology, Economics, Mass Communications, Design departments to send reps as representative of “Western academia” to Indonesia.

        There’s an opportunity here to expand what Indonesia’s attempting to do, but with a very Filipino perspective. If you read that NY Times sentence again above, that’s basically the two-pronged approach—

        what they’re missing is the mechanism to self-fund this endeavor, Islamic Finance/Economics (something we haven’t yet dug into).

  27. LCPL_X, some new infos from Berlin: https://www.zmo.de/index_e.html – didn’t get to see them yet, I will plan that for around Christmas time and see if I can prepare and get an appointment.

    What should our questions be to them?

    • my next article is a review of Heneral Luna, watched it yesterday: https://twitter.com/heneralluna/status/664048613832589312 – I wonder why so many Filipino reviewers found him “strict”, I found Tony Luna pretty friendly for what he had to deal with… 🙂

    • ——————-

      “What should our questions be to them?”

      Two-pronged approach (non-Salafi Muslims & non-Muslims) and Islamic finance:

      1). non-Salafi Muslims,

      a). Can ijtihad be automated, or at least made simple, by way of algorithm? Similar to legal research, wherein law offices used to have stacks and shelves of legal books, can you fit all these religious texts (in Arabic) inside a program, that will make the process of ijtihad be more accessible to lay persons— to non-Muslims & non-Arabic readers?

      https://joeam.com/2015/11/22/the-islamic-renaissance-in-the-philippines/#comment-148614

      2). non-Muslims,

      a). Are there other variants of the Qur’an, pre-‘Uthmanic Codex? Is there a possibility that these variants can also be found in SE Asia? Aside from the Syriac reading of the Qur’an, what are other fields of textual criticisms of the Qur’an? Is there already an automated ijtihad program available to Western academics?

      3). Islamic finance,

      a). How else can Islamic finance/economics be expanded? How can it be supported and encouraged by secular Philippine laws?

      (Ireneo, that’s just some questions off the top of my head, we’ll figured out more to ask— we have about a month, after all. I hope others here can also chime in with questions.)

  28. http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/ausland/saudi-arabien-bereitet-den-naehrboden-des-terrors-13934322.html – a recent article on the missionary zeal of Wahhabism, fueled by petrodollars.

    The article writer is Dr. Rainer Hermann, expert on Islam… he says that Wahhabism is the fertile soil on which Salafism thrives… the map in his article shows how they are in the Philippines also…

  29. “Nietzsche said: “those who fight dragons may become dragons themselves”…
    Drone Killings and Duterte Death Squads are related moral dillemas.”

    That’s a very good litmus test for this type of executive power, Ireneo— if we trust Obama with these drone strikes, for some perceived notion (real/or not) that somehow he knows what he’s doing (we trust his decision),

    would we also extend this same blind trust to people like Duterte/Trump (known hot heads or non-intellectuals). How do you square the two types of leaders? Who do you give this power to, who do you restrict this power from—- the intellectual, or the brash? That’s double standard.

    So, we give Obama a pass, but what if folks like Trump or Duterte become President, do we keep the same mechanism in place—- and give one man this license to kill?

    If no oversight for Obama, but then external oversight for the likes of Trump/Duterte would be plain hypocrisy in my book—- double standards.

    • Here’s more on assassination and proportionality,

      “Ten cases of assassination in Laos were extensively researched using standard anthropological field techniques. These cases could be readily classified into three groups: criminal recidivism, dyssocial behavior (witchcraft), and abuse of power by nonelected officials. In addition to the differences among the three categories, there were also certain functional similarities among them.

      Behavior of the victims in all three groups had been deviant in regard to the community’s norms, and it was deviant in such a way that it threatened community well-being in a major way. Assassination also served as a negative sanction to reinforce deference and amiability in interpersonal relations. In addition, it provided a problem-solving function when other means were not available for social problem resolution.

      Assassination in Laos was compared to political homicide in the United States. In many respects, the former resembled the classic vigilantism of the American frontier, wherein extralegal execution was infrequently required for community survival. Presidential assassination appeared to have evolved from neovigilantism, a form of homicide with personal, ethnic, religious, and political overtones.”

      http://www.jstor.org/stable/672343

      • I just read this and thought it connected here— not making excuses, just re-stating the original point w/ current events.

        from the LA Times,

        ISLAMABAD – Tashfeen Malik, the 29-year-old female shooter in the deadly San Bernardino rampage, was a one-time “modern” girl who became religious during college and then began posting extremist messages on Facebook after arriving in the U.S., a family member in Pakistan told the Los Angeles Times.

        The family member, in Malik’s hometown of Karor Lal Esan who asked to not be identified, said Malik’s postings on Facebook were a source of concern for her family.

        “After a couple of years in college, she started becoming religious. She started taking part in religious activities and also started asking women in the family and the locality to become good Muslims. She started taking part in religious activities of women in the area,” the family member told The Times.

        “She used to talk to somebody in Arabic at night on the Internet. None of our family members in Pakistan know Arabic, so we do not know what she used to discuss,” the family member said. The family speaks Urdu and a dialect of Punjabi known as Saraiki.

        Malik’s paternal aunt, Hafza Batool, told a local correspondent of the BBC that the family was in a state of shock. “She was so modern. I do not know what had happened to her. She brought a bad name to our family,” Batool said.

        Malik pledged allegiance on Facebook to a leader of Islamic State just as Wednesday’s attack was getting underway.

        The family member who spoke with The Times anonymously said Malik, who was born in Pakistan, moved with her family to Saudi Arabia when she was a child.

        Malik returned frequently to the Punjab region of Pakistan to visit family and then returned to study pharmacology at Bahauddin Zakariya University in the city of Multan in southern Punjab to study from 2007 to 2012, the family member said.

        After attending the university, she returned to Saudi Arabia.”

        Guess what also happened inside Pakistan between 2007-2012, Obama’s “surge” into Afghanistan was also within 2007-2012, but specifically in Pakistan, was this…

        Voltaire’s take on this,

        What’s generally missing in assassinations is the sound of trumpets, so when the rule of proportionality is violated, it resonates—- sometimes violently. The very thing you’re trying to avoid in the first place.

        • Joe America says:

          That is a part of the total picture, yes. And this is another part. http://icasualties.org/oef/ByTheatre.aspx

          All that said, it is too bad that we didn’t have Voltaire around to sort out how to do it right. I think laying the blame for the Muslim problem on Obama is the kind of dividing of America that is very, very unfortunate. He took over from a war machine already in place. You have essentially said that Obama shot those 14 people in San Bernardino County, as if there were any decisions he could make that would not lead to deaths. Or he should listen to Voltaire and you instead of his advisers, or the people who thought that further American deaths in hopeless Middle Eastern lands were wasteful. The problem is not with Obama. If there were a way he could stop this insanity, he would, and for you to suggest otherwise . . . well, low blow would be a mild description.

          • Not Obama, Joe, his policies (specifically the drones).

            And if you look at that graph, the drone strikes are his— not W. Bush’s. My point is that assassinations are a completely different animal, with completely different sets of rules, and Obama went too far. It’s tapered down now, but unlike the whole torture policy (which is off the table now), the drone program is still on the table, only shelved, once another President decides to abuse this power (maybe Trump), it’ll be another cycle. No lessons learned is my concern.

            “You have essentially said that Obama shot those 14 people in San Bernardino County, as if there were any decisions he could make that would not lead to deaths.” At the end of the day, I still think getting hit by a car is my biggest worry (can’t blame Obama for that). As for the shooting on Wed. the couple is to blame, I’m just making a connection relevant to the discussion here.

            “The problem is not with Obama. If there were a way he could stop this insanity, he would,” I’m sure he’s trying his very best to stop it, and I’m sure he means well, I’m simply saying his best isn’t good enough, ie. all the red lines he’s drawn and re-drawn, following the Samantha Power doctrine, etc. And specific to this thread, his shallow understanding of the rules of assassinations—- the use of lethal drones— which is totally different to killing in numbers to the sound of trumpets, ie. proportionality.

          • That is a part of the total picture, yes. And this is another part. http://icasualties.org/oef/ByTheatre.aspx

            Joe, my whole issue is that the number of us dying is suppose to be going down, the fact that it isn’t and is getting worse, means there is something amiss— there is a gamut of stuff we are doing wrong, I’m just focusing on the drone program as something we can fix (like torture).

            “Our strategy is this: We will fight them over there so we do not have to face them in the United States of America.” I’m saying this strategy is flawed, yes we fight them, but if we fight them in such a way, while radicalizing more, then all’s for naught.

            I know FOX News is over selling the shooting on Wed. as the “2nd largest attack since 9/11”, that’s all bs, IMHO, since there’s been more mass shootings by non-Muslims which have taken more lives since 9/11.

            The problem of mass shootings is another issue, I’m just connecting the drone program to the notion of “so we do not have to face them in the USA”—– there’s no FREE ride.

          • Let me ask you this, Joe,

            Would you be perfectly OK, with the same drone program, under a President Trump? Why or why not?

            • Joe America says:

              Yes, unless he articulated a better way. The “why” is that people who are interested in mass murder ought not be allowed to practice their trade with impunity. The matter of “proportionality” is lost on me when I watch replays of the Trade Center towers coming down.

              • Joe America says:

                I also think you would have a better chance of selling your idea if you de-politicized it, taking Obama out of the equation, and postulated realistic solutions that wold make using drones unnecessary.

                I also think the non-Muslim mass shootings in the US take their lead from the terrorist movements, and from the ease of social media stoking up anger and “solutions” like murder. It’s all connected.

              • “I also think you would have a better chance of selling your idea if you de-politicized it, taking Obama out of the equation,”

                W. Bush owns torture, that happened under his watch. The drone program, happened under Obama’s watch, so you can’t separate the two. I wouldn’t know how to de-politicize this, since each own specific policies.

                “and postulated realistic solutions that wold make using drones unnecessary.”

                I already did, external oversight—- the office of the President has the military and police (federal) that can express lethal force for him. These guys will have a better sense of imminence in imminent threat… it all boils down to this.

                Military and police answer to rules and standards.

                “The “why” is that people who are interested in mass murder ought not be allowed to practice their trade with impunity. “

                Exactly the point of proportionality, Joe, those who deserve it and only those who deserve it, if you’re killing more innocent people than truly necessary (collateral), then you’ve violated the rule of proportionality within assassination.

                “The matter of “proportionality” is lost on me when I watch replays of the Trade Center towers coming down.”

                Remember, we are fighting only the terrorists, not the innocent civilians. Are you hinting towards quid pro quo here? Proportionality is very specific, you kill only those that need killing—- remember also that Obama thinks detention of these terrorists is messy (pooof! like magic no more detention), so killing them is convenient.

                Convenience violates proportionality, Joe.

              • Joe America says:

                It get’s de-politicized if you stop attaching names to it and call it America’s drone program.

                Your solution is boots on the ground and that is not politically salable in the United States, in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the US has tried to support legitimate governments with the idea that they were best suited to controlling their own. Fail. It might be salable in response to the horrors of ISIS, where the US is not driving the effort, but is a party to a true multi-national effort.

                No, I am not hinting toward quid pro quo. I think civilian casualties are horrific, no matter who does it. They exist with boots on the ground, too. The recent gunship attack on a hospital was a result of human error, mis-identifying the building. It’s war, it’s tragic.

                Furthermore, you want to hold the US to standards you are not imposing on the enemy. Proportionality works if both sides agree to march in straight lines in colorful uniforms and stay away from towns. It seems to me you want Americans to stay in their lines and uniforms, outside of town, whilst the enemy goes into town and marauds.

              • “Yes, unless he articulated a better way.”

                So with all this criticism of Trump (and Duterte, since both have are similar , ie. Tough Guy, Strong Man, etc.). You’d still trust him with the drone program? I know they don’t have a drone program in the Philippines, Iink the US, so let’s go back to Ireneo’s DDS (Duterte Death Squads).

                So given both potential presidents penchant for “security”, do you think the drone program (and DDS) will increase in use or decrease? Assuming it increases, the very likely scenario, is this good or bad? When proportionality is violated this thing called the Rule of Law suffers too, no?

                Trump hasn’t had the opportunity, though the system is place for him as soon as he takes over; Duterte may just be based on bluster— so assuming here he’s really a Tough Guy— isn’t all this extra-judicial killings (lack of proportionality, because I do agree in calculated, proportional, killings) the reason people shouldn’t vote for Duterte?

                But we’ll give it to Trump on a silver platter? Doesn’t jibe, Joe. Can you elaborate?

              • Joe America says:

                Well, you posed the question, and I answered because I don’t think it is a political issue. It is a military issue. You are right, there are huge risks that Trump would be excessive, based on his wild statements, and I’d never vote for the guy. But you put him in office and I answered for defense, in hopes the office would make the man and constrain some of his excesses. I also would not vote for Duterte because the risks are too high. It jibes. I would not vote for either man, they are knee jerk and high risk. But that is no reason to restrain a legitimate military program. There are a lot of things would get crazy under a Trump presidency, like not allowing Filipinos, Mexicans, Blacks, Middle Easterners or anybody but lily white Evangelicals to be real Americans. I don’t think Trump will be elected, and I would hope Duterte would not be.

                But if you put him into office, and I am tasked to advise him on defense, the drone program would continue.

              • “It get’s de-politicized if you stop attaching names to it and call it America’s drone program.” I guess, I can do that, but I’d feel like I’m being only half-truthful, since much of this program is under wraps, hence not really America’s, ie. how many Americans can explain “signature” strikes?—- that’s kinda the issue here, Joe.

                “Your solution is boots on the ground and that is not politically salable in the United States, in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the US has tried to support legitimate governments with the idea that they were best suited to controlling their own. Fail.” That’s not my solution. Again, I’ve stated I agree with the no boots on the ground strategy (only use SOCOM), which is reminiscent of Ron Paul’s stance in the Middle East.

                My solution is simply external oversight of the drone program, which when implemented will open up the whole imminence justification and hold people accountable for their decisions—- much like the military & police are held accountable of lethal force when used.

                ” It might be salable in response to the horrors of ISIS, where the US is not driving the effort, but is a party to a true multi-national effort.” Obama’s handling ISIS using Green Berets, Marine Raiders, SEALs, Rangers and Air Force Special Ops on the ground. Which makes sense since he’s trying to get the surrounding nations to put some skin in the game (no more American— conventional —- boots on the ground). I have no problem with this.

                “No, I am not hinting toward quid pro quo. I think civilian casualties are horrific, no matter who does it. They exist with boots on the ground, too. The gunship attack on a hospital was a result of human error, mis-identifying the building. It’s war, it’s tragic.” Yeah, but if you can limit civilian deaths, the better is my point all along.

                “Furthermore, you want to hold the US to standards you are not imposing on the enemy. Proportionality works if both sides agree to march in straight lines in colorful uniforms and stay away from towns. It seems to me you want Americans to stay in their lines and uniforms, outside of town, whilst the enemy goes into town and marauds.”

                We have no say on what the enemy does, we do have a say on what our gov’t does on our behalf. Proportionality is a choice you make, it’s one sided—- it’s not an agreement with your enemy, we’re not playing with Geneva rules here.

                We choose proportionality because 1). We hold ourselves to a certain standard and 2). The point of these wars is to win over the population. Proportionality isn’t the only way to win the PR war, but it is a big part—- the notion that we are the good guys will always be lost if we keep killing civilians, because “it’s war, it’s tragic”.

                From the very beginning, we had control, but we chose to lose that control, ie. by going into Iraq, by losing bin Laden, by torturing, by increasing the drone program.

                Proportionality, kill only those who need to be killed— no more no less, Joe.

              • Joe America says:

                You’ve added a new issue, the secrecy of defense activities. It is a separate discussion. The point is that politicizing the discussion loads it up with unnecessary partisan poison, and the facts and arguments get distorted and emotionalized.

                External oversight of the program would be good if it did not make the program, which operates real time, ineffective. Or if it did not divulge necessary operating plans and secrets. There is a comfort to oversight. Having judges review proposed strikes does not work. So you’d have to propose something different.

                The US has been trying to win “hearts and minds” for years. Fail. The audience is not receptive.

                “Proportionately, kill only those who need to be killed.” How?

              • “But if you put him into office, and I am tasked to advise him on defense, the drone program would continue.”

                That still doesn’t jibe, Joe.

                “But you put him in office and I answered for defense, in hopes the office would make the man and constrain some of his excesses.”

                Hope isn’t gonna cut it —- either you constrain him with external oversight and/or open the drone program up to public scrutiny, like W. Bush’s torture program, so it’s constrained permanently.

                But the point is, that you want him constrained (no matter which President, I would hope). Where you’re relying on hope, I’m relying on external oversight. We agree on the end, not the means— but most importantly, your means is unrealistic (whether applied to Trump or Duterte),

                what Gov. Sarah Palin called, “Hopey, Changey”.

              • Joe America says:

                What doesn’t jibe with what? You want to base your military tactics on who might get elected? That doesn’t jibe for me.

                I have no trouble with oversight that does not presume bad faith or make the drone program ineffective. Your proposal to have judges review proposed strikes to me is not practical. Drone strikes are real time.

                What is hope? Is that an emotion? Is it a risk assessment that goes against yours? I don’t know what you are talking about, actually. The drone program is a military program that already has certain oversights (Congress) and the President’s engagement is one of those oversights. If Trump were to go wild, I would guess (not hope, but assess the risk) that he would be curtailed by public response or Congress.

              • Joe America says:

                Please don’t attach anything loopy Sarah Palin said to me. That is an insult. No need to take the discussion personal.

              • “Please don’t attach anything loopy Sarah Palin said to me. That is an insult. No need to take the discussion personal.”

                Sorry, Joe. Sarah Palin’s just misunderstood. I just think Hopey, Changey’s funny. I’ll get back to the points tomorrow.

  30. vanderplass says:

    The Islam has been under huge scrutiny lately and is often criticized for being an aggressive religion… but what about Christianity?
    In this video we disguised a Bible as a Quran and read some of it’s most gruesome verses to the people. This is what they had to say.

    From our Dutch friends
    George

    • Yeah, but it’s how these texts are being interpreted now. Israel, nor Jewish communities in the West, don’t practice these anymore.

      But Saudi Arabia and Iran practice stoning for sex crimes and killing of apostates. So it’s how these sacred texts are being utilized today that’s at issue.

    • Thanks, gian.

      Yeah, I saw Pres. Obama’s 4 point plan earlier this evening, here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/10/statement-president-isil-1

      “First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists…

      Second, we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground…

      Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition. Tonight, I call on Congress again to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters. In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its own people — a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all.

      Third, we will continue to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks…

      Fourth, we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been displaced by this terrorist organization…”

      ———————-

      For me, 4). is too little too late—- non-Muslims have been decimated in Iraq— though they can still be saved in Syria, but only by supporting Assad.

      Number 3). is what me and Joe are partly discussing above re drone program, basically what’s wrong with this counterterrorism program (there’s a lot we’re doing right, but what we’re doing wrong sends us back farther than what we’re doing right, so what we’re doing wrong weighs more). While the tackling of ideology is what the Islamic Renaissance article attempts to address. More focus needs to be applied on 3).— I wanted more details on this, specifically countering ideology.

      1). Airstrikes are airstrikes, but at the end of the day you can’t bomb your way to victory.

      Number 2). for me is where the Obama administration made its initial mistake. Polls have tallied support for Assad by Syrians in Syria from 55% to 70% (the latest was Le Figaro’s)— granted the justification is usually known evil vs. unknown evil, w/ Assad being the known evil.

      Aside from Gen. Austin’s now infamous (or humorous) “four or five” US-trained rebel fighters, here…

      It’s just really hard at this point to train Syrian opposition to fight both Assad and ISIS. This three-some in Syria just doesn’t work, in Iraq the Kurds have a solid experience institution, Syrian rebels (if there really are any, remember Chalabi in Iraq?) have to be vetted. That’s a waste of time.

      Instead of following the Samantha Power doctrine, to oppose every dictator in the Middle East no matter the cost, the Obama administration should’ve recognized the dubious nature of the Syrian opposition (ie., most of our initial support went straight to ISIS early on), bite the bullet and just do what Russia’s doing, support Assad (which means supporting Hizbullah and Iran, which we are already doing in Iraq).

      A three-some in Syria is counter-productive, it was counter-productive from the very start, IMHO, because Assad’s regime represents minority rule, ie. minority rules, Syrian majority suffers slightly; majority rules, Syrian minority gets decimated like in Iraq (and every where else in the Mid-East). The best litmus test for American support in the Middle East is who the non-Muslims over there are supporting— in Syria, they are supporting Assad, ergo we should’ve supported Assad.

      We never wised up to that.

      ——————————–

      As for that vox article I agree with the whole notion of a trap, after all that was bin Laden’s big idea in Afghanistan, then again in Iraq… traps which we kept walking into. But the whole Gog and Magog stuff, I don’t buy, they appear in the Qur’an as Yajuj and Majuj (Arabic: يَأْجُوج وَمَأْجُوج‎ Yaʾjūj wa-Maʾjūj) —- same with Iran and waking up the Mehdi. I understand millenarianism drives a lot of people in the 3rd world, I saw it in Mindanao, and they weren’t even Muslims. Millenarianism, like in the Philippines, only really reaches CDE- types.

      Syria and Iraq under the Baathists produced more professionals, educated minds. So while the majority of those educated have either left or are now hunkered down, if we re-focus our strategy to Number 3). while including these moderates, instead of shunning them or bombing them as collateral, we’ll neutralize the millenarian undercurrent now afoot.

      • According to this report, http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/671462.pdf

        Green Berets are at around 24,000
        Marine Raiders at 2,000 (both are responsible for UW/FID)

        SEALs at 8,000
        Army Rangers at 4,000 (mainly DA)

        w/ Air Force STS at 16,000 (support the above missions and also their pilots)
        +
        ——————————

        SOCOM total 55,000

        Then there’s around half a million Arab/Turkish/Persian/Kurdish personnel.

        If Pres. Obama intends to keep this a SOCOM–only war (first in history, right?), then it looks do-able. So long as local nations pitch in the bulk of the resources.

      • “What doesn’t jibe with what? You want to base your military tactics on who might get elected? That doesn’t jibe for me.” No, we’re simply doing a thought experiment to soften your blind trust of Obama’s program by introducing a what-if, in this case Trump (or Duterte). If you’ve noticed we now agree with the end, constraining this power—- now we’re just discussing means below.

        “I have no trouble with oversight that does not presume bad faith or make the drone program ineffective.” Oversight simply means external opinions, do away with the judge, jury, executioner of the Presidency now. Rendering it ineffective isn’t the purpose it’s accountability—- again same with police and military lethal force rules.

        “Your proposal to have judges review proposed strikes to me is not practical. Drone strikes are real time.” Again, I’ve explained this one, Joe— 1) Kill list and 2) Signature strikes.

        Al-Awlaki and his 16 yr old son’s targeting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdulrahman_al-Awlaki was fought by Awlaki’s dad in the US, but since “national security” was invoked, the dad had no recourse. External oversight would’ve been useful (ie. judges, grand jury, etc.) in eliciting the justification for these two separate killings, both American citizens and the last, his son, a minor afforded more protection under the law. Same with Signature strikes, though this one is the facet that relies on “real time” decisions— judges, or oversight would better serve this process if they were to set-up a method in place for the justification of killing, how targets are ascertained, when to kill, is still very much a mystery.

        “The recent gunship attack on a hospital was a result of human error, mis-identifying the building. It’s war, it’s tragic.” Case in point, the Kunduz (Doctors w/out Borders) hospital strike. My reading of this is simply fog of war, ie. there was an actual battle going on (remember Voltaire’s trumpet and no trumpets). In the heat of the battle, folks who didn’t do their homework in advance by knowing the battlefield, saw enemy forces take shelter in the hospital. Not knowing it was one, called in an airstrike via AC-130 gun ship.

        The AC-130 crew cannot open fire unless there’s direction on the ground. Obama’s drone program, especially Signature strikes, don’t require on the ground verification to ascertain collateral. So an oversight on how this process unfolds, how targets are acquired, how collateral is weighed against the need to kill, how imminence is established, all that process would greatly benefit the program and protect it from abuses, with the added bonus of constraint.

        “What is hope? Is that an emotion? Is it a risk assessment that goes against yours? I don’t know what you are talking about, actually.” Either you’re for constraining these powers, or you’re for turning the other way and not examining how this power is being used on your behalf—- trust but verify, but if you’re not going to verify, it’s Hopey, Changey, it’s blind trust. But since you’re now amenable to the concept of constraining this power, it’s not Hopey, Changey, anymore , Joe. 😉

        “The drone program is a military program that already has certain oversights (Congress) and the President’s engagement is one of those oversights.” Not true, it has the same “oversight” from DOJ and Congress as W. Bush’s torture, rendition and black site program— which arguably only killed a few people, no collateral except maybe in the course of capture (but either military and police were involved, there will be a papertrail). It’s not oversight, unless the before, during and after of these strikes can be explained.

        “If Trump were to go wild, I would guess (not hope, but assess the risk) that he would be curtailed by public response or Congress.” This is the Hopey, Changey stuff I’m talking about, but since you’ve already agree to the need to constrain, I’ll extend benefit of doubt. 😉 Joe, if you have to wait for public outcry for the Congress to get involved then you’re too late, the purpose of oversight is to discourage and prevent abuses from happening in the first place—- so best to have in place before, not after abuses take place.

        “You’ve added a new issue, the secrecy of defense activities. It is a separate discussion.” I’m not talking about endangering our peeps, just constraining lethal power of the Executive branch outside of his military and police, or do-away completely the Executive branch’s power to use lethal force, outside his military and police — that’s all I’m saying re secrets, it’s very easy to invoke “national security” in these types of discussions and indeed they’ve been invoked time and again rendering questions and dissenting opinions a danger to national security.

        Pertinent secrets can be sanitized to be able to discuss the process in question, the process is what I’m driving at, which currently is unchecked— ie. blind trust.

        ” The point is that politicizing the discussion loads it up with unnecessary partisan poison, and the facts and arguments get distorted and emotionalized.” Also, going overly PC (politically correct) on this issue detracts from the problem—- that this is Obama’s program. He owns it. Only he can fix it. I’d feel better if now or before he left office, he’d open up his program for review, just to ensure a Trump presidency won’t benefit from the same veil of blind trust.

        “The US has been trying to win “hearts and minds” for years. Fail. The audience is not receptive.” It’s hard to be receptive, if you have a drone hovering over you 24/7, bombing homes and weddings, Joe.

        “Proportionately, kill only those who need to be killed.” How? By prioritizing mitigation of collateral damage, ie. if it’s in a home full of civilians or cars full of families, elect not too shoot, pretty please. The decision-making process for use of lethal force is broken down piece by piece for the police, so too the military with rules of engagement,

        if imminence isn’t defined for drone strikes, then you’ll always have problems applying proportionality, Joe. How? Oversight will enforce proportionality.

        I’ll rest my case, until something new comes up in your position or in the news. But I’m sure we agree more than we disagree re constraining this power than leaving it unchecked—- you’re just reacting to the anti-Obama tone, I think, which I’ve already explained comes not from FOX news but from being a once Obama supporter (voted twice) mainly because of his stance in the Middle East and seeing him mis-handle the “War on Terror” as bad as the Republicans. That’s where I’m coming from.

      • from Wiki:

        Jean-Paul Marat was a member of the radical Jacobin faction which had a leading role during the Reign of Terror. As a journalist, he exerted power and influence through his newspaper, L’Ami du Peuple (“The Friend of the People”).

        Charlotte Corday’s decision to kill Marat was stimulated not only by her revulsion at the September Massacres, for which she held Marat responsible, but by her fear of an all-out civil war. She believed that Marat was threatening the Republic, and that his death would end violence throughout the nation. She also believed that King Louis XVI should not have been executed.

        On 9 July 1793, Charlotte Corday left her cousin, carrying a copy of Plutarch’s Parallel Lives, and went to Paris, where she took a room at the Hôtel de Providence. She bought a kitchen knife with a six-inch blade. She then wrote her Addresse aux Français amis des lois et de la paix (“Address to the French people, friends of Law and Peace”) to explain her motives for assassinating Marat.

        Initially, she planned to assassinate Marat in front of the entire National Convention, intending to make an example out of him, but upon arriving in Paris she discovered that Marat no longer attended meetings because his health was deteriorating due to a skin disorder.

        She was then forced to change her plan. She went to Marat’s home before noon on 13 July, claiming to have knowledge of a planned Girondist uprising in Caen; she was turned away by his wife, Simonne Evrard. On her return that evening, Marat admitted her. At the time, he conducted most of his affairs from a bathtub because of a debilitating skin condition. Marat wrote down the names of the Girondists that she gave to him,

        then she pulled out the knife and plunged it into his chest, piercing his lung, aorta and left ventricle.

        ——————————————-

        (That above, and this quote from Bob Baer’s most recent book… more food for thought, “Assassination is a fine and subtle craft. Or to steal from Flaubert, the aesthetics of it are the highest form of justice. And in that sense it’s an educative act: The assassin show himself to be unsparing and hard in his clarity. He demonstrates how he’s meticulously and correctly calculated the true value of the person he’s about to murder, what his murder will accomplish, and what it will cost. He doesn’t miss or unnecessarily take innocent lives. It’s a leverage of force like no other.” ———— on political assassinations, from “The Perfect Kill: 21 Laws for Assassins” by Robert Baer)

  31. Joe,

    I almost forgot about this,

    “Her orgasm (inzal) may be delayed, thus exciting her desire; to withdraw quickly is harmful to the woman.

    Difference in the nature of [their] reaching a climax causes discord whenever the husband ejaculates first. Congruence in attaining a climax is more gratifying to her be­cause the man is not preoccupied with his own pleasure, but rather with hers; for it is likely that the woman might be shy.
    It is desirable that he should have intimate relations with her once every four nights; that is more just, for the [maximum] number of wives is four which justifies this span. It is true that intimate relations should be more or less frequent in accordance to her need to remain chaste, for to satisfy her is his duty. If seeking intimate relations [by the woman] is not established, it causes the same difficulty in the same demand and the fulfill­ment thereof.

    He should not approach her during menstruation, immedi­ately after it, or before major ablution (ghusl), for that is forbid­den according to the decree of the Book. It has been said that it would engender leprosy in the offspring. The husband is entitled to enjoy all parts of her body during menstruation but not to have sodomy; intercourse during menstruation is forbid­den (haram) because it is harmful, and sodomy will cause perma­nent harm; for that reason it [sodomy] is more strongly prohibited than intimate relations during menstruation.

    The words of the Almighty state, “so go to your tilth as ye will” [Qur’an 2:223]; that is, “any time you please.” He may achieve emission by her hand and can enjoy what is concealed by the loincloth (izar) short of coitus. The woman should cover herself with a loincloth from her groin to [a point just] above the knee during the state of menstruation. This is one of the rules of etiquette. He may partake of meals with the woman during her period of menstruation; he may also sleep beside her, etc. He should not avoid her.
    If the husband wishes to have intimate relations with one after having had coitus with another, then he should wash his genitals first.
    http://www.ghazali.org/works/marriage.htm

    So my point here is that Muslims, that’s Al-Ghazali’s above (one of the great jurists, theologians and mystics of the 12th Century, who wrote on a wide range of topics including jurisprudence, theology, mysticism and philosophy), can be pretty astute sexually, yet the spread of female circumcision —- declining before— is now on the rise, mostly in Indonesia & Malaysia but now also in the Philippines.

    Here’s one justification: https://islamqa.info/en/45528 “Female circumcision has not been prescribed for no reason, rather there is wisdom behind it and it brings many benefits.

    Mentioning some of these benefits, Dr. Haamid al-Ghawaabi says:

    The secretions of the labia minora accumulate in uncircumcised women and turn rancid, so they develop an unpleasant odour which may lead to infections of the vagina or urethra. I have seen many cases of sickness caused by the lack of circumcision.

    Circumcision reduces excessive sensitivity of the clitoris which may cause it to increase in size to 3 centimeters when aroused, which is very annoying to the husband, especially at the time of intercourse.” I’ve never been bothered by this 😉 —- and have always thought the story of Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf was about this.

    Now the question is where does BBL stand on female circumcision? Is their an agency in the Philippines that keeps track of these things? (or is this just in the purview of Anthropologists?) I know for male circumcision there, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, it’s pretty lax—- some old guy with a rusty meat cleaver shows up to town, guava leaves chewed, CHOP!, insert chewed guava leaves on cut, put on big t-shirt, and run around. A foreskin is a foreskin…

    But with female circumcision, and there are variations, the most important parts are the ones cut off. 🙂

    • “Female circumcision officially known as female genital mutilation refers to a group of
      cultural practices that involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia.
      Female circumcision or female genital mutilation (FGM) definitions was reaffirmed in the
      WHO, UNICEF, and UNFPA joint-statement issued in April 1997. Based on its severity,
      there are four major types (WHO, 1998):

      Type I-Excision of the prepuce, with or without incision of part or the entire clitoris,

      Type II – Excision of the clitoris with partial or total excision of the labia minora,

      Type III- Excision of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching/ narrowing of the vaginal opening (infibulation),

      Type IV- Unclassified, which includes: pricking, piercing or incising of the clitoris and/or labia; stretching of the clitoris and/or labia; cauterization by burning of the clitoris and the surrounding tissue; scraping of tissue surrounding the vaginal orifice or labia majora (‘angurya’ cuts) or cutting of the vagina (‘gishiri cuts’); introduction of corrosive substances or herbs into the vagina to cause bleeding or for the purposes of tightening or narrowing it and any other procedure that falls under the definition of female genital mutilation given above.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_mutilation#WHO_Types_I.E2.80.93II

      ‘Female genital mutilation (FGM) is prevalent in parts of the Philippines. The communities that practice FGM call it Pag-Sunnat, sometimes Pag-Islam, and include Tausugs of Mindanao, Yakan of Basilan and other Muslim communities of Philippines. FGM is typically performed on girls between a few days old and age 8. Type IV FGM with complications has been reported.’ from Wiki

      • Here’s a good backgrounder on this, http://theislamicmonthly.com/a-tiny-cut-female-circumcision-in-south-east-asia/#_edn5

        “There were five religious leaders interviewed for this study. These religious leaders were members of the community and played a great role in promoting Islamic laws.

        All of the religious leaders believe that female circumcision should be practiced. This practice has religious backing and is justified in the hadiths (words of Mohammad), written in one of the ayat (page) of Qur-an. According to Imam Pindatun (one of the religious leaders), female circumcision has already been a practice at the time of Mohammad.

        Mohammad encouraged female circumcision for all Muslim women. According to these religious leaders there are multiple reasons why women should practice female circumcision. They should practice it for cleanliness reason, dignity and honor.

        However, the primary reason is for the practice of Sunnah. Sunnah is the way the prophet lived it. It is written in the Qur-an in providing guiding principles to Muslims. As Mohammad and his wife Sitti Fatima were circumcised, all Muslims are obligated to be circumcised as well. Every Muslim is expected to follow the way of life of prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). Therefore all Muslims should observe this practice.

        Women are obliged to follow this because it is Allah’s message in the holy Qur-an. The prophet also said this in his hadith and their wives did it as proof of their dedication to Islam. Without it none calls herself a Muslim.

        In doing the practice, it was also described in the Qur-an that scraping the external female genitalia assuring not to bleed is obligatory. Religious leaders further explained that female circumcision should be practiced since it is among the rites of and part of fitrah, or the innate disposition and instinct of the human creation.

        The prophet means by fitrah is that if these characteristics are followed by women, she would be described a woman of fitrah so that they attain a high degree of respectability and dignity.

        When asked if they are in favor of this practice, all of them answered that the practice should be continued. There were no sound reason that it causes harm to women. It is found in Qur-an, in one of its hadith. They added that when the person performing female circumcision will do this, they should not overdo it or provide bleeding.

        Female circumcision has its beneficial effect when not overdone which includes cleanliness and you can now be called an Islam bringing honor and dignity to yourself and your family.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevalence_of_female_genital_mutilation_by_country#Philippines

    • chempo says:

      Excuse me Lance, do you know who is the Allah-designated circumsiser? By the hands of men do ye be cut? Or is it a woman-to-woman kind of thing?

      • Women circumcise the girls, chemp. I’m not cool with both male and female circumcisions, for no other reasons but tradition or religious— is insane. Male circumcision is less of an issue when compared to female circumcision because of the part being cut or damaged.

        There’s an uptick of this in Malaysia and Indonesia, and it’s related to the Salafi spread— though there’s some article about the Philippines, I can’t find any statistics documenting rise (but it does happen in the Philippines), so the assumption here is that it’s rising along with Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.

  32. karlgarcia says:

    With the inexorable ASEAN integration.Mega-Bank Mergers like the thing that is going to happen in Malaysa,Will force us to do the same.

    http://internationalbanker.com/banking/three-way-bank-merger-malaysia-worth-22-3-billion-underway/

  33. karlgarcia says:

    Now that the economic sanctions to Iran are lifted,economic partnerships will rise.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2016/01/18/what-lifting-sanctions-on-iran-means-for-india/

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  1. […] This was the same contradiction I found in the military. The best way I think to peel yourself away from the herd, especially once it takes the direction of lemmings, is precisely to spend the bulk of your time cultivating depth of character, living simply and parsimoniously, and lastly balance faith and reason. […]



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