'Alaykum salaam

JeremyNorth
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'Alaykum salaam

Ah, I knew that would get your attention.

 

I'm an atheist from the U.K., about to start a postgraduate degree in Islamic history. I read Qur'anic and Classical Arabic, and I'm pretty well-read in my specialism (pre-classical Islam; c.610-833) already; so if there's an obscure point of historiography or translation that needs checking out, I can probably help.

 

I first encountered R.R.S. on 'that debate' on Youtube. You know the one I mean. Didn't realise they had a forum until today.

 

It's good to meet you all.

 

J.N.


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hello.  i have my

hello.  i have my bachelor's in religion.  i don't read any arabic and i've always found the quran dreadfully boring, but i love islamic history, particularly anything regarding the shi'is.  i'm interested in the ismailis and the zaydis of yemen, but i don't currently have the time or resources to go into them thoroughly.

i'm much more conversant in my other areas of interest, buddhism and rabbinic judaism.  if i ever go back to school i'll have a hard time specializing.

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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Hi!

Hi!

I always found the idea of studying 'religion' tricky, given the vastness of it. That said, there's much to be gained from comparison. I stumbled into Islamic history quite by accident, and part of the pleasure I get from it is comparing Biblical with Qur'anic scholarship, or trying to place Islam accurately amongst neighbouring religious movements: messianic Judaism, the Christian heresies, Mazdak- and Manichaeism...

I enjoy reading the Qur'an in Arabic, because I'm a language nerd; in English it does nothing for me, either.

Much obliged, iwbiek.


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Welcome Jeremy

                   From Canada myself.  You said you like scholership and compareing Qur'anic views, so maybe this link will catch your interest; or not.                           http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/29946  

 

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 Yup it got my attention.

 Yup it got my attention.  Welcome aboard!

 

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Allah chocolate bar to you

Allah chocolate bar to you too. Just out of curiosity, are you a former Muslim or were you raised in a Muslim culture?

Welcome to the forums. We need more Muslims and or former Muslims here and we certainly need Islam historians. Where are my 72 virgins?

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Hello

Jeremy, where do you stand on the historicity of Mohammad?


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Historicity

I'm fairly comfortable with the mainstream academic position: that there was a monotheistic prophet of the tribe of Quraysh who made his power base in Medina, found temporary allies in the local Jews, led raids on trading caravans, conquered or co-opted Mecca, and died in the early 630s, before the Conquests. I happen to think, for lack of an alternative, that he was named Muhammad, but since Arab society was very fond of epithets, it's possible that he was given this name by supporters. The Tradition, made up of hadith, maghazi and sira, is fairly unreliable in its details, but useful to historians for other, more technical, reasons; the Qur'an was probably composed by Muhammad in large part, if not entirely, but it's important to bear in mind that serious analysis of the Qur'an is a very new field, and we're only scratching the surface these days.


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Sadly, no.

@Brian37 My family history is depressingly dull: white-European, Protestant, and monolingual.


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Welcome! Damnit, I thought

Welcome!

Damnit, I thought for a moment we had a genuine moslem here. So rare. Ah well.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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JeremyNorth wrote:I'm fairly

JeremyNorth wrote:

I'm fairly comfortable with the mainstream academic position: that there was a monotheistic prophet of the tribe of Quraysh who made his power base in Medina, found temporary allies in the local Jews, led raids on trading caravans, conquered or co-opted Mecca, and died in the early 630s, before the Conquests. I happen to think, for lack of an alternative, that he was named Muhammad, but since Arab society was very fond of epithets, it's possible that he was given this name by supporters.

for what it's worth, i second this, particularly given the spiritual climate of arabia at the time.  it's my understanding (mostly from reading an article by josef van ess) that the style of the quran is very close to the rhetorical style of the ecstatic soothsayers and poets, thought to be possessed by jinn, who proliferated in 6th century arabia and had a long tradition before that.  in fact, the quran seems to go out of its way to emphatically state that muhammad is not one of these people, which i think shows insecurity on muhammad's part (not to mention the fact that the quran also documents muhammad's initial doubts about whether or not his revelation came from allah or a jinni).

i never considered the issue of the name, but i love how salman rushdie went out of his way to call muhammad "mahound" in the satanic verses.  it's a pity so many in the west don't get how much that pisses off hardliners.

i have a question.  have you ever encountered any evidence outside traditional islamic historiography for a group of muslim meccan refugees who supposedly sought asylum from the negus in ethiopia--specifically east african evidence? 

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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Thanks

JeremyNorth wrote:

I'm fairly comfortable with the mainstream academic position: that there was a monotheistic prophet of the tribe of Quraysh who made his power base in Medina, found temporary allies in the local Jews, led raids on trading caravans, conquered or co-opted Mecca, and died in the early 630s, before the Conquests. I happen to think, for lack of an alternative, that he was named Muhammad, but since Arab society was very fond of epithets, it's possible that he was given this name by supporters. The Tradition, made up of hadith, maghazi and sira, is fairly unreliable in its details, but useful to historians for other, more technical, reasons; the Qur'an was probably composed by Muhammad in large part, if not entirely, but it's important to bear in mind that serious analysis of the Qur'an is a very new field, and we're only scratching the surface these days.

I look forward to more serious analysis of the Qur'an as I know little about it.

It may keep me away from the likes of Abul Kasem.

Serious analysis of the bible has been very productive.


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Not a sausage.

iwbiek wrote:

i have a question.  have you ever encountered any evidence outside traditional islamic historiography for a group of muslim meccan refugees who supposedly sought asylum from the negus in ethiopia--specifically east african evidence? 

No. There is none.

I wouldn't deny the possibility that some followers of Muhammad sought exile in Ethiopia. Communities are known to have migrated far further for far less. These proto-Muslims resembled Christians or Jews more than did the Ethiopian animists, and their denial of the Trinity probably sounded Jewish, or, at worst, like a Christological heresy of the sort found in Egypt and Iraq. If the Ethiopian Christians were fairly open-minded, they could feasibly have tolerated a small, heretical sect of foreigners.

I don't accept that they converted the Negus, however. Ethiopian sources are sparse in the seventh century, so one might retort that there is nothing contradicting the stories about the Negus; but there are good reasons to doubt the early Arabic accounts.

Ethiopia was recognised by the Byzantines as a rival Christian territory of diplomatic and theological importance. One imagines that they'd have noticed the conversion of the Negus; that the Ethiopian monks would have been scandalised by a king who denied Christ's divinity.

Maybe the sources were right that a local magnate accepted Islam, but wrong about his being Negus. Pre-modern sources do exaggerate. Just as we're told that Hashim, Muhammad's great-grandfather, negotiated a trade agreement with the Byzantine Emperor himself, it's easy to imagine that a true story was simply magnified. There's nothing unusual about this, or particularly devious. People elaborate on their anecdotes all the time.

And, most importantly, early Muslim sources just love conversion stories. They positively brag about the conversion of prominent rabbis and tribal leaders, and the idea that a foreign king would submit – as the exhortatory letters from Muhammad to the emperors suggest – must have been very enticing.

Especially since he died soon afterwards, so there was no risk of being proven wrong. Ho-hum.


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i never actually heard that

i never actually heard that the negus converted to islam, just that he sheltered muslims.  which sources say he converted?

karen armstrong in her first muhammad biography seems to accept the story as likely, but karen armstrong is the biggest fucking flake that ever was and i still don't understand how she's accorded scholarly status by so many.

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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i never actually heard that

i never actually heard that the negus converted to islam, just that he sheltered muslims.  which sources say he converted?

karen armstrong in her first muhammad biography seems to accept the story as likely, but karen armstrong is the biggest fucking flake that ever was and i still don't understand how she's accorded scholarly status by so many.

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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i never actually heard that

i never actually heard that the negus converted to islam, just that he sheltered muslims.  which sources say he converted?

karen armstrong in her first muhammad biography seems to accept the story as likely, but karen armstrong is the biggest fucking flake that ever was and i still don't understand how she's accorded scholarly status by so many.

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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iwbiek wrote:which sources

iwbiek wrote:

which sources say he converted?

I'm really glad you asked me this, because I've found some interesting material on it.

None of the hadith collections says this explicitly, but several confirm that, after the Negus' death, Muhammad called him "brother" and had the Muslims pray for him. These hadiths were formulated at a time when jurists were debating whether pious non-Muslims could enjoy Muslim funeral rites, and whether impious Muslims should have second-rate rites. Such debates were often swept up into the greater argument over what constituted a Muslim – this being more ambiguous in early Islam than in most religions, because it had no ceremony for conversion, no baptism or suchlike – so the question of where the Negus was buried and how many takbirs were said for him then took on legal significance far beyond the original intent of the stories.

The idea that the Negus was Muslim probably derives from al-Tabari's Tafsir: a collection of anecdotes providing exegesis and context for obscure Qur'anic verses. The verse is 3:199:

"And indeed, among the People of the Scripture are those who believe in Allah and what was revealed to you and what was revealed to them, [being] humbly submissive to Allah . They do not exchange the verses of Allah for a small price. Those will have their reward with their Lord. Indeed, Allah is swift in account."

Here's al-Tabari's gloss:

"The Prophet prayed that the sins of the Negus might be forgiven, and said the funeral prayers for him when the news of his death reached him. He said to his Companions, 'Pray for a brother of yours, who has died abroad'. Some Hypocrites said, 'He prays for a dead person who is not of his own religion'. Then God revealed Q. 3:199."

Did al-Tabari intend to prove that the Negus was Muslim? I doubt it. But at some point, it became 'common knowledge' that the Negus, whose theological stance had always been ambiguous in the sources, had actually converted (what does that even mean in this context?), and today you can see that claim in hundreds of books; even by people who should know better.

 

iwbiek wrote:

karen armstrong is the biggest fucking flake that ever was and i still don't understand how she's accorded scholarly status by so many.

Hear, hear.


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 Hello Jeremy!I have a

 Hello Jeremy!

I have a question for you. We often hear how bad is Islamic culture and government, we heard of misogyny, fanaticism, stoning, mutilations of face and genitals, murders of honor or even of that alleged 6-hour necrophilia law in Egypt. Then there are Muslim problems in France, where they have way too much influence, block streets with prayers, burn cars and so on. 

I often keep hearing that this stuff is not from Koran, that these are ancient tribal customs that we know from the Jewish Old Testament. 

Tell me, how much of that is in Koran? Or better said, how bad the Muslim culture would be, if they would abide by Koran only? Would things like circumcision or wife beating disappear? I know there is this stuff about killing unbelievers, but let's say we're liberal and metaphorical readers of Koran. (let's say we kill the unbelievers by piling many years on them)

Muhammad might be a pedophile pervert as it was apparently common in that culture at the time, but I keep hearing his actual teachings aren't that bad, as opposed to the Old Testament stuff that someone else got into Islam. Reputedly, some of his teachings resemble Jesus', keeping in mind that Jesus is described in Koran as a prophet too.

I'm curious also because my country apparently produced large numbers of small decorative Koran pendants, readable with a magnifying glass and exported them to Libya. Together with airplanes. So how much did my people contributed to the Islamistic threat? Could I appeal on Muslims to return to the pure teachings of Koran (liberally and moderately interpreted) and stop these disgusting tribal customs?

I also heard that a lot of this fundamentalist Muslim culture was adopted in 18th century or so.

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JeremyNorth wrote:and today

JeremyNorth wrote:

and today you can see that claim in hundreds of books; even by people who should know better.

yeah, it figures.  i'm not very familiar with modern islamic (or perhaps i should even say islamist) apologetics, mostly because what few youtube videos i've seen on the matter are so unbelievably stupid, i can't bear to watch them.  some of those guys make jimmy swaggart or oral roberts look like hans kung. 

do they really even believe their own shit?  i mean, honestly?  i remember seeing an interview with a muslim apologist where he insisted that satellite data had "proved" that strong electromagnetic waves were emanating from the kaaba all across the earth.  ok, believe whatever you want about the "magic powers" of the kaaba, but how could he convince himself in his own mind of such an out and out lie about "satellite data"?  or do muslim apologists just flat-out, unashamedly lie?

this is why i prefer to stay back in the times of people like al-tabari, averroes, and ibn battuta.  i may believe they started from a false premise, but at least they don't make me sick at humanity.

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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@Luminion

 

Firstly, the so-called 'necrophilia law' is a hoax. I've lived in Egypt, and I love that country (although it is as mad as a box of frogs), so I was glad to hear that there's no such plan.

You've asked a lot, and I'm not sure how to answer. I'm not a theologian, or a student of Islamic law; I'm an historian, and a not-very-experienced one at that. Still, I hope that this background information can clear some things up for you.

The Qurʼān can't be understood on its own. It was revealed piecemeal, each group of verses responding to a particular problem facing the proto-Muslim community. Over time, the verses' context was forgotten: nobody during Muḥammad's lifetime thought to write a handbook to the holy book, understandably enough. A few decades passed, during which the Islamic Conquests brought a Muslim empire to the Middle East. There was no precedent for this achievement, and the Muslims – increasingly literate and self-confident – demanded a legal code to regulate their behaviour according to God's will.

The scholars who started work on this were based mostly in Iraq, during a different age and in a different civilisation from Muḥammad's. To them, the obvious source for law was the Qurʼān; but they could not make sense of many obscure, archaic verses. In order to find context for the text, they approached people whose families had known Muḥammad, and collected their anecdotes about him. In theory, these stories could explain when and why verses were revealed. Inevitably, they included examples of extraordinary piety and wisdom on Muḥammad's part, and it became clear that he, having been chosen by God, could function as a source for law alongside the Qurʼān. The prophet's exemplary conduct is called the Sunna.

So the materials for Islamic Law (Sharīʻa) are as follows: the Qurʼān itself; a large corpus of exegetical material explaining the Qurʼān's meaning (Tafsīr); and the biographical sources for Muḥammad (Ḥadīth and Sīra).

 

 

But not all medieval scholars acknowledged the authenticity of the same materials, so there are divisions between juridical schools, and, more starkly, divisions between Sunnīs and Shīʻīs. This means that there is no such thing as The Islamic Law: there are several schools of Sharīʻa, none of which can be reconciled with another. (It's a bit like asking the Church of England to acknowledge the Catholic Catechism: ain't gonna happen.)

 

I'm telling you this to emphasise the point that Muslims who believe in following the Qurʼān alone – and yes, they do exist – are swimming against the tide of fifteen hundred years' scholarship. Given the connexion between Islamic law and ethics, it would be a monumental achievement to 'reinvent' Islam in the way you propose.

For example, only one (I think) qurʼānic passage appears to condone capital punishment: “do not kill the soul which God has made sacred, except for justice.” Another comments that, after the murder of Abel, God “decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul – except for a soul or for corruption in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely.” Here, a sort of lex talionis is advocated; but there is also the ominous idea that 'corruption' may be punished by death, and that's where the fun starts for the legists, as they argue over what exactly constitutes 'corruption'. Abolitionist Muslims might insist that the first verse only permits, but does not demand, the death penalty for murderers, and that the second verse only applied to the 'Children of Israel', whose law has been superseded. Sadly, they are struggling against a classical legal tradition which has grown out of extra-qurʼānic material.

Stoning is not mentioned in the Qurʼān, but is frequently practised in reports about Muḥammad: that is, stoning can be Sunna under particular circumstances.

  Male circumcision is considered part of a clean lifestyle. It is recommended by Sunna, but it is not mentioned in the Qurʼān. A man needn't be circumcised to be Muslim. Neither Qurʼān nor Ḥadīth comments on female circumcision, with one exception: an ambiguous report which is not generally accepted by Muslim scholars. Inevitably, cultures have tried to excuse female circumcision within an Islamic framework, but it's almost universally acknowledged that this practice has no Islamic basis. I agree, not that it matters.

 

  There was nothing contentious about Muḥammad's marriage to ʻĀʼisha; her age was entirely appropriate to that culture and, in fact, to most pre-modern cultures. Early marriage served a political purpose, uniting two families as quickly as possible; it also allowed the partners to try for children as soon as the girl was menstruating. There's no reason to think that Muḥammad was a paedophile. Thing is, if Muḥammad did something, it can be seen as Sunna – with obvious ramifications for today's young Muslims. Qurʼān-only Muslims may criticise childhood marriage, but they will face stiff opposition in some cultures.

  Honour killings and defacement are, to the best of my knowledge, unfounded in Islamic law and tradition, and belong to the culture rather than the religion. Here, the more enlightened forces of Islam might even play a preventative role in the future. We shall wait and see.

 

 

 

Your comment about the origins of fundamentalism surely refers to Waḥḥabism. Look it up. It's great fun: currently the dominant Saudi ideology.

  I'm afraid I've not given you the answers you sought. I'm poorly placed to do so. I hope that this little lecture has given you some food for thought; in any case, I take comfort from the words of H.L. Mencken: “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

I do recommend that you look up 'Qurʼān-only' pressure groups and see what they have to say: they could well be the future. But by Jebus, they have a mountain to climb!

 
All the best,

 J.N.

 

 

 

 


 


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Ah, balls.

This forum can't deal with my formatting. *sulks*


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Hello Jeremy. asalam aleykum

Hello Jeremy. asalam aleykum waramatullah

Some q's if you dont mind. What is up with all these scientific and linguistic and all kinds of miracles in the Quran? Is this just some shit muslim apologists say in order to get new converts?

Alot of muslims know Quranic Classical Arabic and they still remain muslims...why? Dont they see that its the word of mere humans? How can they believe it is the verbatim word of a god?

How much of an expert are you in Quranic Classical Arabic. Can you tell that its just a barbaric book written by barbaric people? 

I hope all is well inshallah.


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Hi!

 Clearly there's nothing miraculous about the Qurʼān. We're good at imposing meaning on texts, seeing patterns or allusions where none was intended: if an imaginative Muslim really wants to see a reference to nuclear fusion, say, or global warming, he'll probably find it. It can be hard to credit that people really believe such interpretations, but we should respect them enough not to doubt their sincerity; only their judgement.

I don't know what you mean by a 'linguistic miracle', but it's important to remember the Qurʼān's centrality to the religion. Nothing written by humans can outdo the Qurʼān in beauty or truth, because it is the word of God. In fact, most Muslim denominations believe that God did not create the Qurʼān: rather, it has existed eternally with Him, and was only revealed to mankind by Muammad. Given its extraordinary prestige, Muslims learn to read the Qurʼān with reverence, which naturally affects how they respond to verses that we would consider ugly or immoral.

 This sense of awe is compounded by the book's opacity. Most educated Muslims can read the text of the Qurʼān aloud, but have little of knowledge of the language itself – that is, they can recite the text phonetically without understanding it. A minority of Muslims do have a working understanding of Classical Arabic, but even then, as I've explained above, they can't claim to understand the Qurʼān without extensive exegetical training. When they 'understand' a passage, it is because the text has been given a historical context that shows God's wisdom active in human affairs; when they don't understand a passage, they nevertheless experience the awe of ignorance. A Christian friend once told me, with great hauteur, that God was “begotten, not created”; obviously he didn't understand the phrase, or he wouldn't have used it in this context, but there is a certain magic to archaic, high-register language.

 Given all these factors, Muslims' failure to recognise the Qurʼān as a human creation isn't all that surprising.

 

 As for me. I'm not an expert. I'm well trained in qurʼānic grammar, and I'm familiar enough with the Qurʼān to read it literally and to decide whether or not I'm convinced by particular exegeses. My vocabulary's not strong enough yet to read other classical texts with ease, so I consult translations alongside the Arabic where possible.

 Good historians try to understand cultures on their own terms, so I'm reticent to call the Qurʼān barbaric. Its message is certainly cruel, but no more than the hateful bilge that Christian polemicists were producing at the time. Its language is not especially sophisticated, but it compares well with the dreary, cliché Greek chronicles of the same period. Much of it has a pleasing rhythm, and the rhetorical force of some passages is admirable. It makes good use of litotes and polyptoton. With a certain showmanship on Muammad's part, it must have been rousing oratory of the sort we associate with charismatic leaders in every culture.

 

Respectfully, though, I wouldn't choose it for bedtime reading.

 

J.N.


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JeremyNorth wrote:  I'm

JeremyNorth wrote:

  I'm afraid I've not given you the answers you sought. I'm poorly placed to do so. I hope that this little lecture has given you some food for thought; in any case, I take comfort from the words of H.L. Mencken: “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

I do recommend that you look up 'Qurʼān-only' pressure groups and see what they have to say: they could well be the future. But by Jebus, they have a mountain to climb!

 
All the best,

 J.N. 

Thanks! Actually, you've answered me quite well. Islamic culture is a mess, but it's mostly an extra-Koranic mess, while keeping in mind that Koran itself is messy. And I'll check out the Wahhabism, sounds like fun (like American fundies). I suppose they're like the ayatollahs who make death threats and make pathetic whiny speeches on how offended they are that someone drew a picture of Muhammad, while their newspapers publish derogatory western caricatures all the time. That's Iran, I suppose.

I'm just trying to understand why are Islamic states so fucked up. It's a cultural stereotype, a local white girl dates a young, swarthy and exotic Muslim immigrant. But just after wedding (or even before wedding if he's stupid enough) he starts to terrorize the girl, manipulate her, have jealous fits of rage - and I kid you not, he'll take trash out of bin to check if that sandwich she made him was really with chicken ham as she said and not pork. 

I know a woman in her 35's, she's a blonde, moderately attractive (her diabetes took toll on her) and her job was to do some business in Egypt. She had Muslim men write her letters of love and stalking her right at the hotel where she lived. You know the stories of female news reporters attacked in Cairo, right? That's another example.

I can see prejudices growing in my head like weeds on a field, right next to a field of prejudices reserved for traditional Austrian family dungeon keepers Smiling

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


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Luminon wrote:I can see

Luminon wrote:

I can see prejudices growing in my head like weeds on a field, right next to a field of prejudices reserved for traditional Austrian family dungeon keepers Smiling

aj cigani, nie?

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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iwbiek wrote:Luminon wrote:I

iwbiek wrote:

Luminon wrote:

I can see prejudices growing in my head like weeds on a field, right next to a field of prejudices reserved for traditional Austrian family dungeon keepers Smiling

aj cigani, nie?

[gypsy talk] To nie su predsudky ale hola pravda, ziadna ina mensina nerobi taky bordel ako cigani. Tuna v okoli nepoznam budovu ktoru by cigani este nevykradli. Jednoho typka tu aj cigan sledoval od nadrazia a zbil ho priamo pred intrakom. (teraz bol u sudu, uvidime co dostal) Chcel by som aby sa zo vsetkych ciganov stali jehovisti, aspon by ku ludom chodili cez dvere Smiling [/gypsy talk]

 

 

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iwbiek
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Luminon wrote:iwbiek

Luminon wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

Luminon wrote:

I can see prejudices growing in my head like weeds on a field, right next to a field of prejudices reserved for traditional Austrian family dungeon keepers Smiling

aj cigani, nie?

[gypsy talk] To nie su predsudky ale hola pravda, ziadna ina mensina nerobi taky bordel ako cigani. Tuna v okoli nepoznam budovu ktoru by cigani este nevykradli. Jednoho typka tu aj cigan sledoval od nadrazia a zbil ho priamo pred intrakom. (teraz bol u sudu, uvidime co dostal) Chcel by som aby sa zo vsetkych ciganov stali jehovisti, aspon by ku ludom chodili cez dvere Smiling [/gypsy talk]

 

 

lol  i understood that, but i don't have the vocabulary to respond.

we have a similar situation here in kosice.  i'm sure you've heard of the famous Lunik IX.  sniffing glue is a huge problem with gypsies here.  i've seen children as young as 10 doing it with adults standing right by them.

i live in a village with no gypsies so i have no experience of them robbing apartment blocks, but my wife's grandmother woke up from a nap one afternoon to find one crawling in her window.  when she asked him what he was doing he told her he just needed a drink of water, then he went back out the window.

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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Gypsies have always confused

Gypsies have always confused me. Probably because there's nothing like them here. I've always been curious about the whole gypsy thing though.

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iwbiek
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Vastet wrote:Gypsies have

Vastet wrote:
Gypsies have always confused me. Probably because there's nothing like them here. I've always been curious about the whole gypsy thing though.

like most americans, i came to slovakia with a lot of righteous indignation and second-hand notions of how awful they are treated and how much they're discriminated against.  now, after 8 years of living here i can honestly say, 90% of what slovaks say about them are true of about 90% of them.

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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Vastet wrote:Gypsies have

Vastet wrote:
Gypsies have always confused me. Probably because there's nothing like them here. I've always been curious about the whole gypsy thing though.
In America you have black gangs from ghettos and slums. You have native Americans or what's left of them. You have white trash in trailer parks and backwoods hillbilly cousin-marrying folks. Gypsies today are very much like all these together, if they live among other gypsies. They're typical for wearing tracksuit, smelling like a pissed hobo and speaking (or shouting) with a crude, guttural accent. 

Gypsy culture was very rich, artistic and musical. It was also very strict, with clear male and female roles. Showing sexuality in the public (or in front of children) was prohibited. But thanks to their culture Gypsies stayed disciplined, clean, well-dressed and hard-working. (and also not too long at one place)

The gypsy mentality is child-like. They are not like us, they value full belly today more than a full bank account tomorrow. They're highly susceptible to overeating, alcohol, drugs and gambling, just like the wrecks of Amerindians. (I recommend the story of the singer Vera Bila, who was once famous and rich around the world, yet she and her gypsies quickly squandered everything) They don't keep with the concept of private property, they share when they have and take when they can. One white woman married a gypsy man, decent and hard-working. But their house suffered by raids of dozens of their relatives, even travelling from far away, who came and ate all the food they had. It took years for them to learn that their relative married a "gadzho" (honkey) woman. There are many decent gypsies who work and study, but for that they have to sever their ties with relatives.

Another example, there is a young gypsy working at the local sawmill. His wife was pregnant, so as a gift the company bought him a new baby-coach. Shortly after he was asked if his wife likes the baby-coach. He answered he does not have it anymore. His cousin visited him and took it, because he has a baby now, while his baby was not born yet, so he needed the baby-coach more.

 

The gypsy tragedy of Europe begun with WW2. Although Czechs did not actively participate on Jewish extermination (unlike Slovaks, who at the time had some disturbingly pro-Nazi tendencies) the Czechs hated gypsies. And there reputedly was an all-Czech concentration camp for gypsies only. So after WW2 the European gypsies, known for their relatively civilized behavior and expertise at useful crafts became extinct. What we have here today are wild tribes from the east, who don't have any ties to the local land and often don't even speak the local language or have hygienical habits. 

During the Communism era gypsies - as everyone - had to work mandatorily or go to jail. But even then, in some cases gypsy tribes gained the upper hand over the local estabilishment and were allowed to run wild in the surroundings. After the revolution, everyone's mouth was full of their rights. (specially the greatest former communists) And gypsies went rampant. There was nothing to stop them from living completely of the dole and state money. Their impact on the state budget is reputedly small (compared to highest politician corruption), but the damage and crime they do to the civilized society is bad. It is an example what a small, determined minority group can do, if they stick together and swarm the enemies.

There is a joke... A teenager met a gypsy. He asked, "How much is you?" "Seventeen," the teenager replied.
"That's funny, us too!" the gypsy said.

I believe the gypsy communities are on inferior social level, they are hunters-gatherers in the middle of an urban society. Despite of equal human rights, they need a different set of laws and institutions. I believe a self-managed strictly disciplined community in a farming kibbutz is a right environment for them. They should understand and respond well to power and firmness. (and if their own authorities will use corporal punishment, I would not protest) I also welcome strict Slovak laws that take away the family's dole if their children do not attend school.

 

IWBIEK: You might like this video Smiling

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Seems that Gypsys are a

Seems that Gypsys are a problem no matter were they are...  

Portugal has a different history but the problems are exactly the same!

I don't want to generalize, there are "moral" gypsys... I don't any though...

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"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies


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This should be interesting

I'll have to wait till it makes it to Australia, but it is good to see the subject being examined.

Like other religions, it is very likely that the official origins are largely composed of story telling.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/sep/03/c4-islam-untold-story-complaints

Broadcast last week, Islam: The Untold Story was presented by Holland and claimed there was little written contemporary evidence about the origin of the religion. He questioned when the Qur'an was written and suggested that Mecca may not have been the real birthplace of the prophet.

Channel 4 has now received about 1,000 complaints about the documentary, broadcast on Tuesday, with another 200 complaining to media regulator Ofcom.