inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #76 of 281: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Tue 18 Jan 05 08:38
    
Those are interesting articles, Farooq.  But I did not see an explicit
mention of imposing capitalism as the solution.  Perhaps that's
implicit?  Debt relief would certainly help in the short term, but if
the underlying causes of underdevelopment are not addressed, I fear
long term it won't make any difference.

I don't know how Britain views this, but I find it strange that the US
places a high priority on democracy for developing nations, when that
is not necessarily indicated.  Japan's foreign policy, for instance,
holds that development must occur first, and that democracy can follow
after that.

Personally, I think Japan is correct.  I again refer to the "Asian
Tigers."  Note the third bullet point in this article:

  "Non-democratic and relatively authoritarian political
   systems during the early years"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Asian_Tigers

Would an Islamic economy seek to trade with other nations?
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #77 of 281: Farooq Khan (farooq) Tue 18 Jan 05 11:25
    
>What nations are there that practice Islamic economics today?  Where
are the best examples of it?<

I really wish I could point to a current example but there just isn't
any example one could point to in the current reality.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #78 of 281: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Tue 18 Jan 05 11:35
    
Really. Farooq?  Not Iran?  Not even Saudi Arabia?

Since those two countries appear to be Muslim nations (to many of us
non-Muslims), how would you describe the difference between what they
actually practice and what the true practice of Islamic economics would
be.  What changes would they have to make in order to become an
example to which you could point?
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #79 of 281: Cthulhu Saves--in case he's hungry later (jmcarlin) Tue 18 Jan 05 11:49
    

> It would be good if someone wrote an article about whether
> capitalism can really eliminate poverty. Or whether the Islamic
> economic system can achieve such a lofty goal.<

I would maintain that nothing will achieve that goal as long as greed is a
significant motivation for billions of people. First we need to discuss
how to reduce greed and all that flows from it such as corruption.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #80 of 281: Chad Makaio Zichterman (makaio) Tue 18 Jan 05 12:40
    
>Forgetting about Native Americans is a common error, even among
people
who know better.   I'm sure it was unintentional.  Calling people
names doesn't help.<

Two quick comments on this:

1) that such an egregious and white supremacist error is so common
indicates to me that it is a major problem, not that it should be waved
off with a "oh, he probably didn't mean it;"

2) I didn't call anybody any names in the post you responded to nor I
have done so in this one, so I'm not clear as to what you're reffering
to.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #81 of 281: Farooq Khan (farooq) Tue 18 Jan 05 12:41
    
>Not Iran?  Not even Saudi Arabia?<

No, this will no doubt surprise many people in the west because the
media describes these countries as 'Islamic States'. Many Muslims were
also duped but people are becoming much more knowledgable about Islam
and see the inconsistencies and contradictions of these governments.
Some basic points as to why these countries are not Islamic which is a
judgement of the system and not the people. Sometimes people get
confused when you say Saudi Arabia or Iran are not Islamic states.

With regards to Saudi Arabia, the ruling system is monarchial which
contradicts Islam. Article 5(a) of the constitution states, "The system
of government in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is that of a monarchy."

With regards to Iran, the ruling system is republican which again
contradicts Islam. Article 1 of the constitution states that, "The form
of government of Iran is that of an Islamic Republic."

These ruling structures contradict Islam. This is because Islam has
specified the ruling system which is the caliphate. 

The economic solutions also contradict Islam on a number of different
levels. With respect to oil we find that it is not public property but
is largely privately owned, which is the case in Saudi Arabia - Aramco.
We also find that economic solutions are dervied from free market
thinking, which is evident in the privatisation process in Iran. The
problem here is with the basis of thinking. Islam specifies what is
public, private and state ownership. Iran is going from one extreme to
another, from nationalisation to privatisation.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #82 of 281: Farooq Khan (farooq) Tue 18 Jan 05 12:44
    
This motivation for privatisation is coming from a mixed bag of ideas
which is largely unfluenced by capitalism.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #83 of 281: Chad Makaio Zichterman (makaio) Tue 18 Jan 05 12:50
    
now, back to the focus of the thread:

I would especially like to hear from Farooq or Sajjad on this
question:

*What do (either of you) view as a positive emerging vision (or
visions) for an Islamic society, if any, which can accommodate the
necessary level of pluralism implicit in any non-coercive and
potentially democratic setting?

More specifically, what do you view as some of the more positive
examples (if any) of groups or movements attempting to structure
communities on Islamic principles while recognizing ahead of time that
not all people within a given community are or will be Muslims?  (i.e.
does nearly everyone have to be an adherent to the proposed version of
Islam in order for the ideal to work?)

I ask this because I consider respectful peer-based relationships and
constructive coexistence across ethnic, religious, class, etc. lines to
be *the* toughest challenge to democracy; people of like mind can and
do establish some very smoothly operating communities on small
(sub-national) scales, but there seems to be a size limit and it
appears to be closely related to considerations of how large a group
one can find where most of the people are an ideological match.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #84 of 281: Chad Makaio Zichterman (makaio) Tue 18 Jan 05 13:07
    
Regarding distribution and redistribution of wealth:

Without the relevant cites, I don't know for sure what Marx' take was
on the relationship between continual redistribution of wealth and
violence.

However, if Marx' view indeed was that such requires continual
violence, so far history seems to be proving him right.

We live *today* under a global economic regime which continually
redistributes wealth...UPWARD.  This regime is very much based upon
massive and routine violence, both through state and non-state actors.

Since I favor democratic ideals, this suggests to me that the only
general way to have an ecologically and politically sustainable system
which does *not* continually involve massive violence is to:

1) proactively wipe out massive disparity such that we live in
universal wealth (not to be confused with the rightist strawman of
universal poverty);

2) just as proactively, explicitly dismantle all institutionalized
mechanisms by which such disparity recurs.

In the case of Islamic (or would-be Islamic) communities, so far
Muslims seem to follow the same pattern as adherents of other faiths
when it comes to politicoeconomic systems, i.e. you have a handful of
people who stick up for economic justice within any faith, but the
majority take the windvane approach and just go along with whatever
regime is dominant.

In Islam we can see things like Ramadan, which involve clear appeals
to consider the plight of the poor.  In Christianity we have things
like the "eye of the needle" passage and a host of callings to
transcend the temporal world of earthly possessions in favor of
spiritual wealth.  In Judaism there is the notion of healing the
world...and so on for every major faith community I can think of. 
However, the overwhelming majority of adherents to each of these faiths
seems perfectly content to settle for piecemeal gestures towards
economic justice while tolerating (if not openly celebrating and
participating in) inherently exploitative and violent economic regimes.

The minority who stick up for the oppressed are what makes it possible
for me to see some worth in religion...while the majority who don't
are what inspires me to maintain a general suspicion of the integrity
of their faith.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #85 of 281: pardon my amygdala (murffy) Tue 18 Jan 05 13:34
    
I'm jumping in late because I've been out of town. I have a review
copy of New Civ. It's a good looking magazine and I admire its goal of
fostering dialogue. It makes some interesting points and, I think,
dubious ones. Generally I'm wondering if, given its attempt to be
steadfastly grounded in Islam, it can have much appeal beyond the
Islamic community. I also wonder how representative of modern Islamic
thought it is. Is it really offering me a window into the thinking of a
significant portion of the non-western intellectual world?

In Farooq's article, "Redefining the Globalization Debate," he tries
to make a case that Islam is a truly global world view that "transcends
ethnicity:"

"This view is based upon an understanding that all of creation is
created by a Creator -- Allah -- and is subservient to his natural law
..."

So, before we take a step further in the argument we're encountering
considerable problems -- the existence of God et al. But I'm willing to
go along with the premise just to see how the argument turns out.
Farooq states that Islamic law, grounded in the above premise, does not
differentiate between Muslims and non-Muslims ...

"Rather Islam views people in their capacity as human beings and
citizens of the Islamic State. So no differentiation is made between
Muslims and non-Muslims, both are viewed in their capacity as human
beings and are treated as such by the Islamic rules."

This is, I suppose, an admirable attempt to embrace diversity but it's
chock full of problems when you think it through. Imagine the ideal
Islamic State exists. Could non-muslims (and by non-muslims I mean
those who reject Allah, the Quran as a miracle, Mohammed as the prophet
and the legitimacy of Islamic Law) really have a significant place in
the Caliphate? Wouldn't the system be intrinsically biased toward
Islamic beliefs, making it extremely difficult for someone who did not
accept them to assume a position of authority?
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #86 of 281: sufi flute (micronesia89) Tue 18 Jan 05 13:55
    
As my limited understanding of Islam, I see an "inner self" way, an
intuitive divine truth of the individual very similar to the native
American Iroquois where The Creator speak to individual hearts,
prayerful, meditative hearts of average people. From reading these
postings I feel conformation for this view. It's a good place to start
building bridges of understanding... and healthy economies.

I have always been impressed at how Islam has specific controls on
rates of return on loans and not requiring payments out when there are
no profits made. I wish I could put my humble checking account into a
bank with this kind of ethic.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #87 of 281: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Tue 18 Jan 05 19:16
    
> I wish I could put my humble checking account into a bank with this
kind of ethic.

Actually, I think you can.  I've heard of Islamic banks and Islamic
investment funds.  I'm sorry that I can't recall any further details.

Sajjad?  Farooq?  What can you tell us about that?
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #88 of 281: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Tue 18 Jan 05 19:41
    

(Note: If you are not a WELL member and would like to post a question
or a comment in this discussion, please send it to 
<inkwell-hosts@well.com>)
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #89 of 281: Michael E. Marotta (mercury) Tue 18 Jan 05 20:07
    <scribbled by mercury Tue 18 Jan 05 20:11>
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #90 of 281: Uncle Jax (jax) Tue 18 Jan 05 23:14
    
>No, this will no doubt surprise many people in the west because the
>media describes these countries as 'Islamic States'. Many Muslims
>were also duped but people are becoming much more knowledgable about
>Islam and see the inconsistencies and contradictions of these
>governments.


Say rather that we of Western Civilization learned centuries ago that
*any* government which claims to be divinely guided is talking
nonsense. So when a gov't. claims to be Islamic, we take them at their
word, because we understand that theocracy is probably the worst form
of government known to humankind.

And if there is one obvoius lesson from the bloody history of the 20th
Century, it's that absolute government by sincere idealists is a
perpetual living horror.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #91 of 281: It's a new sun to me (nukem777) Wed 19 Jan 05 02:08
    
I don't get the sense that the Caliphate Farooq and Sajjad are talking
about fits that description <90> Jack. 

Farooq and Sajjad, would you please talk a bit more about the
Caliphate in this regard? What are the balances of power? Wouldn't the
Imams have a lot of interplay? How do the people find recourse for
injustices - imagined or real? How determined is the culture and
lifestyle? How would this play out in transforming countries in the
Middle East and Indonesia? And more importantly, how is this going to
work in pluralistic societies like England, France, etc.? Would there
be local direction of the communities or would they be following
directions from some 'head man' in some other part of the world?
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #92 of 281: Farooq Khan (farooq) Wed 19 Jan 05 07:37
    
>But I did not see an explicit mention of imposing capitalism as the
solution. Perhaps that's implicit?<

I tend to take these things as a given because economic thinking and
solutions are derived from a capitalist context. That is to say we find
that there are different interpretations and models of capitalism but
nonetheless these models in their generality are the same but differ in
the specifics. The economies of Europe and America differ on many
issues especially areas of social justice where socialism has a much
stronger influence upon European economics than it does in America.
What is also interesting is the polarisation between liberalism and
neoconservatism in America with many thinkers and politicsia saying
that religion has to have a place in society.

>I find it strange that the US places a high priority on democracy for
developing nations<

I think the US has realised that imposing a free market upon nations
which have not adopted the thoughts which underpin the free market is a
recipe for disaster. Escpecially because the free market creates
economic problems by widening the gulf between rich and poor. I think
Amy Chua's book 'World on Fire' gives an excellent analysis of this. As
Fareed Zakaria also points out secular culture needs to take root and
one way to achieve that is through democracy. So I can see why the US
has adopted this approach and was reflected in Condoleeza Rice remarks
yesterday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

"We must use American diplomacy to help create a balance of power in
the world that favors freedom.  And the time for diplomacy is now."

"Our third great task is to spread democracy and freedom throughout
the world. I spoke earlier of the grave setbacks to democracy in the
first half of the 20th century. The second half of the century saw an
advance of democracy that was far more dramatic. In the last quarter of
that century, the number of democracies in the world tripled. And in
the last six months of this new century alone, we have witnessed the
peaceful, democratic transfer of power in Malaysia, a majority Muslim
nation, and in Indonesia, the country with the world's largest Muslim
population. We have seen men and women wait in line for hours to vote
in Afghanistan's first ever free and fair presidential election."

I found this aspect of her remarks very interesting:

"We also must realize that America and all free nations are facing a
generational struggle against a new and deadly ideology of hatred that
we cannot ignore. We need to do much more to confront hateful
propaganda, dispel dangerous myths, and get out the truth. We will
increase our exchanges with the rest of the world. And Americans should
make a serious effort to understand other cultures and learn foreign
languages. Our interaction with the rest of the world must be a
conversation, not a monologue. And America must remain open to visitors
and workers and students from around the world, without compromising
our security standards. If our public diplomacy efforts are to succeed,
we cannot close ourselves off from the world. And if I am confirmed,
public diplomacy will be a top priority for me and for the
professionals I lead."

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/wh/rem/40991.htm

I think its clear in my mind that the US and the west in general seek
to spread the secular ideology to the rest of the world. 
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #93 of 281: Farooq Khan (farooq) Wed 19 Jan 05 07:39
    
Not that they haven't been doing that already!
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #94 of 281: Darrell Jonsson (jonsson) Wed 19 Jan 05 08:55
    
One of the most heartening things last year was the publication
of the following book.

The Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation, John M. Hobson 
http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=0521547245
which illustrates a growing thread in academia to break
from a Eurocentric point of view. It will take longer to seep
into the political and public imagination but it is starting.

I admit though I do have a problem with the discussion of
"Civilization" in general. What we in fact have are Civilization(s),
and no short supply of them. 

IMHO  "Western" and "Islamic" civilizations are more similar than not,
and may there be mercy on any other civilizations that lay in their
path. Both are coated with no shortage of destructive tendencies while
sharing the immediate painful mutual need for an equitable 'social
index'. 

<Farooq> "I think its clear in my mind that the US and the west in
general seek to spread the secular ideology to the rest of the world."

Are we sure about that? Maybe they just want to increase sales, expand
markets, secure resources and maintain trade routes? 

What does the ongoing exportation of missionaries from the west
demonstrate? I think Mormonism and Evangelicism are two western
exports that show no signs of ceasing to expand, is this secularism?
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #95 of 281: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Wed 19 Jan 05 09:20
    
(<94> slipped in)

> I think the US has realised that imposing a free market upon nations
which have not adopted the thoughts which underpin the free market is
a recipe for disaster.

Farooq, I think your response to my puzzlement is a fairly accurate
characterization of the US position.  The problem to which I was
alluding, though, is that I think the US position has generally been
misguided.  I say so mainly because a survey of what routinely takes
place in developing nations ought to be seen as convincing evidence
that trying to impose democracy on a people who are living in utter
abject poverty is ALSO a recipe for disaster, as the sheer number of
coups in sub-Saharan Africa in the past, say, 50 years, clearly
demonstrates.  

It takes time and patience to develop democracy to the point where the
masses can benefit from it.  And time and patience are difficult to
come by among people who are hungry.  Democracy requires stability in
order to take root, and there can be no stability among a population
that is suffering from an array of ills that plague the underdeveloped
world, such as lack of food, lack of access to clean water, disease,
etc.  That's the reason why many development economists believe that
development must occur first before democracy.  Hungry people don't
care about capitalism versus socialism.  They just want to eat.  Once
they and their children are fed, clothed, sheltered, and healthy, they
can then begin to think about what type governance they believe will be
best for them in the long run.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #96 of 281: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Wed 19 Jan 05 09:26
    
>><Farooq> "I think its clear in my mind that the US and
>> the west in general seek to spread the secular ideology
>> to the rest of the world."

> Are we sure about that? Maybe they just want to increase
> sales, expand markets, secure resources and maintain trade
> routes? 

I think that's an excellent point, Darrell.  "Democracy" is often used
euphemistically to mean "a government that will be friendly to our
business interests."
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #97 of 281: Chad Makaio Zichterman (makaio) Wed 19 Jan 05 11:08
    
>trying to impose democracy<

...is a fatal contradiction in terms right there.

It is absurd that a nation that isn't a democracy itself could, let
alone would, attempt to work for democracy elsewhere.  There are plenty
of individuals and groups who strive for substantive democracy, but
(suprise!) they don't work from within a state apparatus.

It is even more absurd that democracy, which by its most fundamental
definition is based upon true reflection of the political will of the
people, could ever be imposed from without (though once again, that's
clearly NOT what is even being attempted).  Even in those circumstances
where (arguably) most people in a particular society truly do want
substantive democracy, it must be spearheaded and achieved by the
people themselves.  Potential outside allies can help *when invited*,
but not otherwise.

I have yet to see an example of any high U.S. official whose usage of
the term democracy *hasn't* been a variation of the euphemistic sense
mentioned in <96>.

Making a fetish of the *superficial procedural* sense of "democracy,"
in which the mere presence or absence of formal voting mechanisms is
the litmus test (regardless of whether or not such voting actually DOES
anything substantive to/for the de facto policies of a regime) is an
insulting trivialization of democracy.  Substantive democracy does
require some kind of mechanism for people to express their political
will, but expression without effect is only marginally less coercive
and repressive a situation than barring political expression outright.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #98 of 281: Lakota flute (micronesia89) Wed 19 Jan 05 13:17
    
Darrell Jonsson's "trade/market" mode of modern America says it most
clearly. 
Since the 1860's when U.S. Army suppliers took over the government and
created a deficit spending/tax everyone, military industrial complex,
Big Business Interests have used "democratic freedom" rhetoric to pull
the wool over the world's as well as the American People's eyes and
blind them to the bloody reality of imposing dictators globally on any
small nation with economic potential. Look at oil rich Africa, Central
America, Chile, China's WallMart Empire. It's all Business, a bloody
business built on an American Education system that teaches blind
patriotism and racism through sound bite cartoons best exemplified by
the image of a Texas governor who blesses capital punishement upon the
least able of society.
Personally, I can't understand how Americans can be so "studip"
thinking that a War on Drugs and a War on Cancer and a War on
Scare-orism is the answer, yet this is the verbage that spews from the
great hall of the Senate and House with hardly a wimper of opposition.
Aramco is the British/Arab arm of that machine which truely makes the
Saudi Family look like any midevil Pope's extended family, definately
not Islamic, definately very "royal".

I wish the blind Americans would wake up and shrug off their Disney
based racism, their FOX/Murdock sound bite thinking and open their
hearts to the world. Perhaps that's impossible because too many local,
small communities thrive on supplying the government.

Darrnell is right, the face of America has a huge scab on it's face
called the business of war which needs to just fall off because there
is too much good here in this socially diverse, tolerant melting pot of
Rock & Roll, Jazz, Gospel, Country and Cumbia...
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #99 of 281: Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Wed 19 Jan 05 14:28
    
I don't understand how you think you will persuade anyone with a post
like that.  Who is your intended audience?
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #100 of 281: Cthulhu Saves--in case he's hungry later (jmcarlin) Wed 19 Jan 05 15:47
    

#90 <jax>
> Say rather that we of Western Civilization learned centuries ago that
> *any* government which claims to be divinely guided is talking
> nonsense.

For the Islamic/Hindu world, the opposite is the case. In India, the
Avatar Krishna ruled a nation. The Western issue is typically 'divine
right' of kings.

I would say that we should have learned what Lord Action expressed "there
is no greater heresy than the say that the office sanctifies the holders"
  

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