RationalWiki talk:Project Islam

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A Caveat...[edit]

I would like very much to get involved with this project as I think - much more than the evolution/science side of things, it plays to some of my strengths - and will allow me to bone up on some stuff I need to bone up on in terms of my own academic work.

Here's the caveat - remember Dr. Dolittle? Editor here around Christmas last? Dutch, perhaps? Liked to pile on the Muslims? This project runs the risk of attracting explicitly anti-Arab, anti-African, anti-whatever contributions. Islam, more so than Christianity, can be thought of as a religion with a particular set of ethnic associations (even though Muslims may be found anywhere from the former Jugoslavia to Indonesia)) that means it can be easy to slip from criticising ideas to piling on people.

Christianity and Islam are both doctrines/ideologies that merit critical inquiry. But they are doctrines/ideologies that are invested with meanings to living, breaqthing, feeling human beings that differ profoundly from other doctrines such as conservatism, liberalism. socialism, etc. So we need to undertake our critiques with a certain degree of respect.

As long as this project bears all that in mind, I'm game. Gimme an assignment. PFoster 16:47, 13 April 2008 (EDT)

I have spent a lot of time thinking about this before I put it up. It feels different criticizing/harshly analyzing Islam then any of the articles on Christianity. I think it comes down to the central point that I culturally identify with Christianity. Before I was old enough to really think much about it I was dragged to the local Presbyterian church and called myself a Christian (that ended about age 11), but most of my friends/family/media revolves around it. December is the Christmas time of year. April has Easter. I have read the Bible in a nauseatingly thorough manner ...I am an atheist so I am clearly not Christian but as cultures go I am of the "Christian culture." So I can feel like I can criticize the idea without criticizing a culture because I am "one of them."
This seems a common occurrence in human psychology, if your a member of the group identity being criticized, mocked whatever you get away with a lot more than if you are outside the group. You can see that in racial identity, cultural identity, hell professionals identity. No one loves a good lawyer joke like a lawyer!
Islam is clearly of a different culture from me. It is a different people socially, politically, historically, geographically, hell even different climate! There is a lot of criticism from the right-wing/Christian elements of our society against Islam and Muslims and Muslim countries. But it is really an in-group/out-group "they are different so we hates them mentality. The common right-wing criticism is not really criticism but a label. They are placing the "Muslim" label on a person and then assuming the label is enough to shun them.
Clearly we walk an interesting line with this. I don't know how best to work it out but thats what collaboration is all about. I can't promise you we will do it perfect, but do no I am aware of some of these issues and am thinking about them. Hopefully everyone will and we can all learn something. tmtoulouse heckle 16:59, 13 April 2008 (EDT)


As for assignments, the project page itself needs help in recommending needed articles and finding articles on this site that fall into stub/mission critical or maybe we have a few food articles. Getting those listed and easily accessible will be a help. Then the thing to do is look at the list and pick one of the articles we need or one that needs expansion/alterations go about writing it or expanding it. Pick whatever has your interest, add more to the list, etc. tmtoulouse heckle 17:04, 13 April 2008 (EDT)

"It is a different people socially, politically, historically, geographically, hell even different climate! "[edit]

THIS is where it gets complicated - how does this statement hold true for the Muslim family in apartment 6B down the hall from me? PFoster 17:04, 13 April 2008 (EDT)

I would still argue that the Muslim cultural identity regardless of where it is act in a particular place is largely a product of different influences then the Christian cultural identity. And that those differences in the cultural identity stem from emerging in places that were different in all of the above ways and more. tmtoulouse heckle 17:10, 13 April 2008 (EDT)
"THE Muslim cultural identity." This is no good - you're presuming that a particular set of beliefs - Islam -leads to a particular "cultural identity" that is monolithic in nature. Islam is a religion with a wide geographic spread and a long history. To presume one cultural identity binding all of that together is, frankly, intellectually lazy. Muslims in Bosnia have very, very different histories and cultures from Muslims in Sudan. For that matter, so do Catholics from the Philippines and Catholics from Quebec.You can look for the ideological/doctrinal commonalities that bridge those gaps, but they won't really tell you very much. What's important is to properly historicise particular instances - and to think about each culture in terms of its own context. PFoster 17:18, 13 April 2008 (EDT)
I am not claiming a monolithic identity anymore than claiming that I am a member of the Christian cultural identity means that I personal share the same belief system and outlook as Andrew Schlafly. There are an infinite number forks the divide off from a central idea, but this is not really the central point of my thesis. My thesis is that there is a uniting identity in most of western culture that makes even the staunchest atheist feel more a part of a "Christian identity" and a "Muslim identity" and that internal psychological allegiance is what acts either as a block towards criticism of things viewed as part of the "Muslim identity" or as a license to go to far in ones criticisms of those things in the "Christian identity" (which is probably a matter of perspective).
Your leveling criticisms and worries about articles on Islam that we have never worried about with our articles on Christianity. Why? Thats all I am getting at. tmtoulouse heckle 17:25, 13 April 2008 (EDT)
I'll note en passant that such criticisms have in fact been leveled at our articles on Christianity, although not with much effect. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 06:52, 14 April 2008 (EDT)
Well, just as we have tried to do with Xtianity, we have to be specific about what we are criticizing about Islam when we do it. The fundamentalists and the radicals can be specifically described and decried. Any prevailing "myths" can be addressed directly, if there are sects or divisions of Islam that hold them to be true (much like our Flood & c. articles). Islam is not one monolithic entity, of course. I guess what I mean is that if a "modern", moderate Muslim were to read our critiques, they should be confortable, just as I would hope that a modern moderate Christian would not find much fault in our critiques of some aspects of Christianity.
By the way, the same goes for other religions, although as the project page itself states, Islam has problematic issues that dwarf most other major religions today. humanUser talk:Human 17:33, 13 April 2008 (EDT)
I generally agree with most of whats being said, I think things will become clearer as we work. tmtoulouse heckle 17:37, 13 April 2008 (EDT)
(edit conflict) Toulouse - as for why I'm expressing these concerns re: Islam as opposed to re: Christianity- I think there are a number of reasons for that. If, as you hold, we all are "cultural insiders" in terms of Christianity, then there are fewer issues that arise (not none, but fewer) in terms of participating in what becomes, essentially, an exercise in self criticism (i.e. the question at hand is "Where have we gone wrong?") By turning our gaze onto something we are less a part of - and know way less about, it will become very easy to have the stakes read like : "Here's where YOU have gone wrong." And frankly, the Muslims have had enough of that shit. Read Said's Culture and Imperialism if you haven't done so already.
Also, there's a real risk of essentialising inherent in the project when what it calls for is to try to talk about, classify, categorise, and then critique the Other. One thing to consider: already in the list of required articles, there is a call for an article on FGM/female circumcision. No need to see this as uniquely as a Muslim thing - consider the ways in which young Kenyan women during Mau Mau used FGM as a means of protesting colonialism (see:"'Ngaitana (I will circumcise myself)': Lessons from Colonial Campaigns to Ban Excision in Meru, Kenya." In Female "Circumcision": Culture, Controversy, and Change, Bettina Shell-Duncan and Ylva Hernlund, eds.,(Boulder: Lynne Reinner, 2000), 129-15.) Why call for an article on FGM and Islam but not for one on Zakat? PFoster 17:47, 13 April 2008 (EDT)
I am not calling for it to only apply to articles related to Islam, but it clearly is a significant part of some fundamentalist Muslims. It does relate to the project at hand, that is why it is their, because it is here does not mean that it can only be discussed in one context. tmtoulouse heckle 17:52, 13 April 2008 (EDT)


I have mothballed all the other wiki projects, but this one won't go down. Can I pretty please stick my template on top? - π 03:07, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Go ahead, Marcus is the only one who is arguing, right? Someday we can reactivate these when we have 1,000 active users... ħumanUser talk:Human 06:19, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
That would give Larron some problems. - π 06:47, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
"Good" problems, I hope. Would it make you more rational? I doubt it ;) ħumanUser talk:Human 08:29, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm quite sorry. I was hoping to develop consensus on the talk page first. It seemed there were arguments between Human and pie over whether the template should be put up. Just doing my Christian duty and attempting to avoid a clash of personalities. MarcusCicero (talk) 08:34, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't care which way it goes. Please don't redlink random words. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:37, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
What do you mean by random words? Why does that have such an effect on you? Did your mother poke you with a red stick when you were a child? MarcusCicero (talk) 09:59, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
It was a blue stick in my household. Necron99 10:09, 15 July 2009 (UTC)