• Source: BBC’s HardTalk–Philosopher and Writer Pascal Bruckner, April 18, 2017: Stephen Sackur talks to writer Pascal Bruckner and asks, is something rotten in the Republic of France? Is France living through an age of decline? Stephen Sacker: "But you also seem to question the very notion that in France today there is a worrying strain of Islamaphobia. ... Do you deny that is a problem?" Pascal Bruckner: "Yes, I totally deny it and I'm going to tell you why..."    [ ... ] Stephen Sackur: "Let me quote you perhaps a significant voice around the world, that is the UN Secretary General, who just the other week said, 'One of the things that fuels terrorism is the expression in some parts of the world of Islamophobic feelings and Islamophobic policies, and Islamophobic hate speech.' He has no doubt that there's such a thing as Islamophobia." Pascal Bruckner: "Yes, I knew this quote and I think it puts everything upside down. Why has Islamaphobia started at the first step? Because there were all those terror attacks during the last 20 years. The terrorists have generated hatred of their own religion. They have generated Islamaphobia, the hatred of Islam..." People who know little or nothing about Islam have no reason to fear it. They may fear Muslims who are committing violent acts as well as fear the Islamism that motivates those acts, but they have no reason to "fear Islam." The Muslims who fear Islam know the Arabic language and something of Prophet Muhammed's life and the times he lived in. Fear of Islam--Islamophobia--does exist among Muslims, but to accuse "non-Muslims" of it only confuses the issue. And, the issue is Muslims' fear of Islam.

    Posted on May 15, 2017 10:01 pm
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    Freedom of Thought, Muslim Problem
  • From BBC's HardTalk-Philosopher and Writer Pascal Bruckner on April 18, 2017 with host Stephen Sackur: Pascal Bruckner: "...I don't think the issue is terror. The terrorists won't win, they have no way to transform the population. I think the strategy of the fundamentalists is much more clever. They want to win through predication* and persuasion..." Stephen Sackur: "Let me ask you a very blunt question, do you think France has a Muslim problem?" Pascal Bruckner: "Yes, like most countries in Europe. [...]" *Predication: archaic a:  an act of proclaiming or preaching b:  sermon. "...predication and persuasion." Therein lies the problem. Male authority figures sermonizing about a higher male authority figure (God or Prophet) that cannot be questioned. No debate or discussion is allowed--only acceptance, repetition, and memorization. Even if you're having a "discussion," the feedback will be a repetition of what was already shoved down your throat previously by way of proclamation. Few recognize "the problem" because we are conditioned from the beginning to accept without question the proclamations of the male authority figures that run our government, justice system, schools, medical industry, and military-industrial complex. From the time we're born we are taught to follow mindlessly instead of question, challenge, discuss, think about life's issues. When we do otherwise, as Pascal Bruckner is doing in this interview for HardTalk, we are "inciting," "islamaphobic," "extremist," and associated with the far right. When I was living in the Muslim community I was consistently accused of "fighting Islam" simply because I expressed curiosity for who or what is served by the mindless repetition and parroting of the Quran, prayers, and rituals so many have lost the real meaning of as a result of all the repetition and parroting.   Citation for definition of predication: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/predication. Transcription of entire interview can be found here: https://subsaga.com/bbc/news/hardtalk/2017/04/18/pascal-bruckner-philosopher-and-writer.html  

    Posted on April 24, 2017 10:27 pm
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    Freedom of Thought, Muslim Problem
  • Copyright: bialasiewicz / 123RF Stock Photo

    When someone does something we disapprove of, like shoot-up a school, we immediately focus all of our attention on that person and try to figure out what is wrong with them and how to punish them and see that justice is done. It is always about "them," never "us." We are doing our bit by holding down a job and paying our taxes. As long as we have a job and pay our taxes, we are absolved of all responsibility for others' misdeeds. It never occurs to us that the job we are doing and the taxes we are paying could be contributing to injustice, discontent, and anger. The "always them, never us" mentality pervades the religions and mental health field which are supposed to be about self-awareness, self-introspection, mindfulness, listening and consulting in order to head off trouble before it begins. Without this, all the good intentions in the world are worthless, even harmful as we've seen unexamined "good works" so often have negative consequences.

    Posted on January 5, 2017 11:08 pm
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    Freedom of Thought
  • Copyright: rolffimages / 123RF Stock Photo

      A body that the spirit has left can be made to appear as if still alive by a skilled embalmer and make-up artist. The same can be done for a religious or government body by skilled clerics, politicians, social workers, justices, educators, etc. These professionals are paid to create the appearance of morality, caring, fairness, justice, where none exists. The numerous places for locking up unwanted, unattractive, undesirable people--our prisons, nursing homes, mental hospitals, schools--demonstrate our value for keeping up an attractive outer appearance with little or no concern for human rights. I once read a Sufi story about a king who would never hire anyone for his court until he had dressed as a beggar and gone to their back door to see how they treated the vulnerable, indigent members of their community. That king was interested in something besides "keeping up appearances."

    Posted on December 28, 2016 7:58 pm
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    Freedom of Thought