Thursday, May 9, 2013

There's a reason I disagree...

The way it is, not the way I want it to be…    For years, I’d sought answers, had asked psychologist friends to help me understand her behavior. Most often, I received little more than sympathetic shrugs. Some looked askance as if I were exaggerating. Not until after I chose to escape that inexplicably dark marriage did I finally find a counselor who explained by saying, quite simply, “Read this.”

She’d given me a copy of I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me, a book about borderline personality disorder. [please see: I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me:  Understanding the Borderline ... While the public is familiar with more mainstream psychological diagnoses…, the only knowledge most individuals have of borderline dont-leave-me..] That book liberated me, offered profoundly relevant insights; I could have written every page. I’d lived every word.

Those who knew both of us defended her, claimed her as a true friend. I couldn’t argue, and didn’t have to. Eventually, she manipulated them as she had me, without regret and without an apology.

“What can I do?” I asked another counselor, when I accepted that I’d better learn to protect myself. In essence, his words boiled down to a simple phrase, “Stay away!” He seemed to know I was outmanned.

When I asked what she could do to help herself, he told me that most who have that disorder seek help as they approach 40. Failing to do that, he suggested, led to a life of struggle and denial.

I took his advice. Still do. Indeed, when I see other instances of intentionally deceptive acts by anyone who is unable to apologize or unwilling to accept their role in the disruption of a potentially peaceful relationship, I’m on guard. Often I search for truth as a check on both my perception and theirs.

Of late, I’ve found that to be necessary as a result of dialogues with those who are at odds with my perception of Islam. Some tell me about their Islamic friends; one mentioned good guys who are Islamic cabbies in New York City. Still others claim that very few have anything to do with jihad.

Of course, all of them are right. That’s why I try to differentiate; it’s not Muslims per se who concern me. It’s Islam, its worldview and its tenets. Its truest believers hold that the Koran is a perfect text that cannot be changed or reinterpreted. In fact, Mohammad’s acts and deeds and comments are regarded as sacred; he is a role model and his actions cannot be questioned. His simplistic worldview harbors violence; the world is made up of believers and non-believers. Those who don’t believe must be provided the opportunity to convert. Should they refuse, their lives and their belongings are fair game.

That was Mohammad’s way; the most righteous seek to follow his teachings to the unadulterated letter. Therein lies great danger and extremism that defies compromise or peaceful cohabitation on our crowded planet.

When I’m chided for this claim, it’s often because I see the harm that caused when we voluntarily overlook the existential threat, especially of jihadis who pride themselves in asymmetrical warfare.

Doing battle with them is essential. When I get lambasted, it’s because I don’t believe in fighting a gentleman’s war with them. If they don’t fight by our more civil rules of engagement, we must learn to fight them by using theirs. Otherwise, we’re deceiving ourselves by casting the battlefield in a much too rosy hue.

It’s anything but. One of my Net correspondents, a woman who’s scholarship I respect, stated the problem succinctly as it applies to Egypt following its makeover after the deception formerly known as the Arab Spring:

For starters, the doors to ijtihad, as they say [Ijtihad - New World Encyclopedia
Ijtihad (Arabic اجتهاد) technical term of Islamic law that describes the process of making a legal decision by independent interpretation... -], slammed shut on the Sunni side centuries ago. There is no more ijtihad - there is fiqh, which is the study of jurisprudence, but that is about knowledge of the shariah and application of the shariah, not its interpretation. Consensus of the scholars (ijma) was achieved by the 10th century on all aspects of shariah and all that is left to modern day jurists is its enforcement [my emphasis](and the occasional new situation raised by modern technology, for example - but for that, there's qiyas  - not really ijtihad).

Then, you should have a look at the 1990 Cairo Declaration of the OIC, in which every Muslim country (and there are more members today than then) withdrew from the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and instead defined "human rights" as purely those rights granted under shariah. Note especially Articles 24 and 25 in this regard. [again, my emphasis]

So, when the Egyptian constitution renews and reinforces its submission to shariah, it is on that basis - no "international norms." Shariah.

The legal definition of Hudud is Muslim law: divine punishments; the category of crimes most egregious and therefore most severely punished.] punishments can be enforced to this day under shariah in Muslim-ruled places where shariah is fully enforced - or why legal inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims is a bedrock of this new Egyptian constitution (note the removal of language about "citizens" - which would imply equality). It is also why the clauses in the new Egyptian constitution referring to women are very careful not to grant them equality with men - because that would be a violation of shariah. [my final emphasis]

                                                B.Koplen 5/9/13

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