Greetings of Peace. This blog contains selections from my correspondence and other sources on a variety of subjects related to religion, philosophy, and spirituality. I hope that they may be of benefit to the interested reader. Concerning the title of the blog, read this entry.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Obstacles to Understanding

Greetings of Peace. Your reason for being removed from the forum was not due to censorship, as contrary to many of the other participants I welcome the discussion of challenging and controversial subjects. It was due rather to a lack of tact and sensitivity to other members who are predominantly of a religious persuasion. One manner in which this might have been avoided would have been to state something to the effect of, how do Muslims and others sympathetic to Islam view and/or justify the marriage of the Prophet Muhammad to his wife Aisha, when her age at the time of the consummation of the marriage is commonly held to be as young as nine years old, an age difference that severely contradicts contemporary western social mores.

It is important when seeking an audience with Muslims to take into consideration the fundamental perspective concerning Muhammad -Peace be upon Him, that he is a prophet, a sacred figure, and by virtue of this fact that the various elements of his life take on a sacred quality that is a priori not subject to serious question. In most cases, the possibility of the Prophet performing an action out of vice or some other serious human limitation simply does not arise owing to the acceptance of his magnanimity and superior character as exemplified in the numerous testimonies to this fact concerning his life before and after taking on the prophetic function. Due to the fact that you are a materialist and atheist, if you do acknowledge the reality of the sacred, your conception of it is far different from that of tradition based upon revelation, precluding thereby the acknowledgment of the reality of things such as prophecy.

It is because you have not demonstrated an effort to think about the differences of these perspectives and attempted to be sensitive to the very people that you are trying to dialogue with that it seems you may not have been very serious about achieving some kind of understanding, whether of your own ideas or of the traditional perspective concerning Islam and other religions.

I can empathize to a degree with the ideological persecution that you have suffered while living in a Muslim country, though of course certainly not the same degree. I appreciate the intellectual freedom provided by the fact of living in the west, but Islam is by no mean a luxury for me and others like me. Rather it is a matter of the utmost seriousness and sacredness. We are not without our own sometimes severe persecution particularly due to the undue emphasis upon Islamic fundamentalism and extremism following the events of 9/11. Generally speaking, the prevailing scientific ideologies of many academic institutions oftentimes make it difficult to communicate reasonably many of our ideas and many Muslims suffer religious persecution, alienation, even physical abuse in many parts of the United States at the hands of Christian fundamentalists and secular people.

It is owing to many of these attitudes that I tend to be somewhat reserved when discussing my religion at work and at school, instead seeking out the occasional sympathetic ear, or otherwise dialoguing with those who are capable of mutual respect despite serious disagreements.

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