• Posted on June 5, 2017 9:07 pm
    DeborahJamil
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    Islamic extremism is the child of fear. It knows only weakness and insecurity. The way out of this extremist thought is to find the source of the fear and address it. It has been so difficult to discover what is causing the fear among "Islamic" extremists because what they are fearing is Islam. The extremists, in what they are doing in the name of Islam, are the ones "fighting Islam," not "the West." They are the ones who are disrespecting Prophet Muhammed and all that he taught, not Westerners. The extremists' fear comes from the negative way Islam is taught in homes, Islamic schools and centers in the general Muslim community--with constant over-emphasis on "fear of Allah," fear of Hell, harsh discipline, threats, and punishments. These negative teachings and methods make Islam about fear, hell, harsh discipline, threats, and punishments which drives away the children raised in such a regimen who then drive away everyone else. So, the desired result is achieved when everyone is driven away from a message that is the opposite of patriarchal dominance and control.  

    Extremism
  • Posted on April 21, 2017 10:07 pm
    DeborahJamil
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    Several days after the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, George W. Bush addressed a joint session of Congress and the nation. He said a curious thing regarding the motives of the attackers: "Americans are asking 'Why do they hate us?'. . . They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other." -George W. Bush, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2001 In all my years living in the Muslim community I never heard anyone discuss hating freedom or envy of a particular democracy. I never fully understood what that could mean or what it meant to an American administration or population until recently when I watched an interview on BBC's HardTalk with Parisian philosopher and writer Pascal Bruckner. During this very enlightening interview, something Mr. Bruckner said made it clear it is not just the idea of freedom we are talking about, but that idea in an environment where it may be possible to experience a loosening up of old, rigid thought patterns. From Bruckner: "I think France offers to the Muslim population a unique chance in Europe. The chance to be... To adopt certain religious indifference. The chance to believe and not to believe. That's exactly what France offers to Muslims and that is why the fundamentalists have such a violent reaction because they're very afraid to see all those people from Muslim origin coming from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia or sub-Saharan Africa, little by little abandoning their ritual, Ramadan, their religious practices, and become ordinary believers like we have ordinary Christians or Jews who go to the Mass sometimes, who do religious feats, but don't care about religion." -April 18, 2017. BBC HardTalk: Pascal Bruckner - Philosopher and Writer. Interview between Stephen Sackur and Pascal Bruckner. The point is, religious indifference is an opportunity for religious freedom. With freedom, there is a big difference between the idea of freedom and an environment where there is the possibility to experience freedom. With Islam especially, you have an environment where religious indifference is strictly disallowed. Rituals are mandatory. Adherence to daily practices is mandatory.  

    Freedom of Religion
  • Posted on July 10, 2016 7:33 am
    DeborahJamil
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    From the beginning of my involvement with the Muslim community I was faced with contradictory information about the religion of Islam. Alongside this were countless conversations about the great harm done to the East by Western nations. Discussion and research did not help lessen the confusion until I finally studied classical Arabic at a Berlitz school of languages. For the first time the subject of Islam began to make some sense, but it would be many more years before I would fully grasp what Prophet Muhammed had been talking about very clearly and without contradiction. After this I encountered a far more perplexing situation when I tried to discuss my discovery with educated, Arabic speaking women who knew the meanings of the words and phrases used throughout the religion that clearly demonstrate Prophet Muhammed was teaching the exact opposite of the patriarchal, macho message being propagated today. These women did not argue with me, even confirmed my findings, but they did not want to talk about it, instead going on ad nauseam about how to properly perform the rituals. Their reaction floored me--the men I could understand, but the women? Couldn't they see where this was taking them? My interaction with the Muslim community was derailed by the sudden death of my husband in an accident. Soon after that I found myself involved with the mental health industry and facing the same extremely unhelpful patriarchal, macho attitude I had been living with in the Muslim community for the last thirty years. In discussions and books about psychiatry and mental health I kept running into the word "power." Psychiatrists, drug companies, and the state have the "power" to force their treatments and drugs onto vulnerable, traumatized people, all the while never giving any explanation as to who or what gives them this power. Their use of the word "power" is very misleading, because it infers strength and bravery when what we are actually dealing with is weakness and fear: fear of loss of control, fear of humiliation, fear of scandal, fear of dishonor. This fear leads to the kind of control that is the very opposite of power, because it only breeds weakness. The families of those diagnosed with some "mental illness" demand involuntary treatments and drugs designed to silence, repress, and control unwanted behaviors and speech. Families also use religion to silence, repress, and control unwanted behaviors and speech. And our government uses slavery, disguised as a criminal justice system, to silence, repress, and control unwanted behaviors and speech. The problem is, the more you control, the more you lose control. Balance is necessary for survival, and it is impossible for people to learn balance when they are perpetually being controlled and forced to do everything by someone outside themselves. They lose all sense of the inner self one must be aware of and listen to in order to learn how to balance. So instead of balance, we get addiction to prescription drugs, alcohol, nicotine, street drugs, and above all, addiction to the controlling behavior that leads to the need for something outside oneself to cope with a life out of balance, out of control, out of order--broken in every way.

    Mental Health