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Author Topic: Judaism accused of fomenting Racism by Canadian Islamic Congress
Mishei
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posted 13 February 2004 05:25 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
A friend has sent me this latest Bulletin of the Canadian Islamic Congress.

Frankly I was shocked at the article which basically blames Judaism for racism, the annihalation of North Anmerica's Aboriginal people and most of the rest of the world's ills. Pretty shameful.
-----------------------------------------------

quote:
Most notably, the Qur'an rejects the Jewish
concept of racial superiority; that is, the status of their being a
chosen people. This concept is not only racist, but directly
contradicts the Qur'anic worldview of racial equality. Unfortunately,
the Jewish idea of being "chosen" not only institutionalized racism,
but also set a terrible precedent for human history in general, where
racial superiority claims became the norm, the divisive standard by
which all others, those not like us were to be judged and treated.

..This belief in chosen people also formed the Protestant evangelical
psyche that spawned Church-sanctioned colonial slavery and the virtual
annihilation of First Nation peoples in the United States, and to a
significant extent in Canada as well.



-------------------------------------------------

In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
The Canadian Islamic Congress Friday Bulletin
Friday, February 13, 2004 - Zul-Hijja 16, 1424, Year:7 Vol:7 Issue: 18
**********************************************************************
* SUPPORT THE CANADIAN ISLAMIC CONGRESS * OPEN * TRUSTED * CANADIAN *
http://www.canadianislamiccongress.com/CIC-monthly-donations.pdf
http://www.canadianislamiccongress.com/support.php
http://canadianislamiccongress.com/scholarships.php
**********************************************************************
THIS FRIDAY BULLETIN CONTAINS SIX ITEMS:

1. THE SLAVE NAMED BILAL: A FORGOTTEN PAGE IN THE HISTORY OF ISLAM
2. A DIASPORA MUSLIM? -- NOT I !
3. ISRAEL, U.S. AND U.K. KNEW IRAQ HAD NO WMDS SAY ANTI-WAR VOICES
4. U.S. MILITARY'S COVERT IRAQI CASH DEAL RAISES SUSPICIONS
5. FROM THE CIC ARCHIVES: WHEN TAXPAYERS BECOME SILENT KILLERS
6. E-MAIL RESPONSES

================================================================
1. THE SLAVE NAMED BILAL: A FORGOTTEN PAGE IN THE HISTORY OF ISLAM
[By Wahida C. Valiante]
================================================================

February is Black History month in Canada, an opportunity for children
of many different faiths, colors, races, and cultures to learn how one
race of people enslaved another because its people have skin of a
different color. And because of this darker color, they were subjected
to rape, physical and psychological abuse, deprivation of their basic
rights, and loss of their humanity and self-identity. They were also
forced into accepting an alien religion and culture that offered
neither equality, freedom, nor liberty, to them or to their children.

During this month, Canadian children will also learn about the
indomitable human spirit of an enslaved people who refused to
surrender and went on to win hard-fought battles for their equality,
freedom and liberty. Sadly however, those milestones have yet to
materialize into a permanent victory for their descendents, who even
to this day continue to suffer from the deep-seated malady of racial
prejudice that festers in the soul of America. It is a malady fed by
power, arrogance and greed, a malady that undermines human ideals and
potential, spreading discord, destruction, and hate among countless
people of different races, colors and nations.

America's malady is also worsening in our own back yard, with the
advent of ethnic and racial profiling of Arabs, Muslims, and blacks in
Canada. In the case of Toronto Raptor, Dee Brown (reported in the
Toronto Star, April 17, 2003) the court ruled that there is
significant evidence it (racial profiling) exists. In the words of
Brown's defense lawyer, it is now clear, beyond dispute, that racial
profiling is a reality in this province, in this city.

Recently, I was asked by several non-Muslims I met during a conference
in Trinidad, why I think African Americans are embracing Islam in such
large numbers. Instead of telling the famous story of Hajj by Malcolm
X (Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Makkah and is a prime example of
the multi-racial aspect of Islam), I chose instead the story of a
slave named Bilal.

Bilal's story begins with the advent of Islam in Arabia. At that time,
the most striking characteristic of Arabian society was its diversity
of languages and religious practices, for unlike the Jewish tribes,
pre-Islamic Arabs were not a distinctive entity or separate
nationality. If anything, they were more like Christians, in being a
community of believers comprised of diverse cultural, linguistic and
ethnic streams from throughout the Arab world.

Even today, there persists a popular myth in the West that Islam is a
"new" religion and that Muslims worship a "different" God, called
Allah, not the God Yahweh or Jehovah of Jews and Christians. But the
truth is that Muslims worship the same God and follow the same
Prophets as Jews and Christians, their brothers and sisters "of the
Book." In fact, this is clearly stated in the Qur'an, where anyone of
normal intelligence can read it. However, differences between the
Qur'an and the Torah and Bible are evident in how the Qur'an views
human equality and in how its teachings seek to eliminate inequalities
that exist between races. Most notably, the Qur'an rejects the Jewish
concept of racial superiority; that is, the status of their being a
chosen people. This concept is not only racist, but directly
contradicts the Qur'anic worldview of racial equality. Unfortunately,
the Jewish idea of being "chosen" not only institutionalized racism,
but also set a terrible precedent for human history in general, where
racial superiority claims became the norm, the divisive standard by
which all others, those not like us were to be judged and treated.

In his book Jewish History, Jewish Religion, the late Israel Shahak,
an Israeli holocaust survivor, states that because of this psychology
of racial superiority, Jews can never accept non-Jews (goyim), much
less accept Palestinians as being their racial equals.

This belief in chosen people also formed the Protestant evangelical
psyche that spawned Church-sanctioned colonial slavery and the virtual
annihilation of First Nation peoples in the United States, and to a
significant extent in Canada as well. There is little talk or
acknowledgment in America, either of slavery and its sinister impact
on the lives of countless men, women and children, or of the holocaust
of disease and abuse that nearly wiped out the aboriginal peoples, and
destroyed so much of their culture and sense of self. Both of these
prolonged atrocities were carried out openly by the American
government and its people, with the blessing of the Christian Church.

oday's Christian fundamentalists, like their colonial predecessors,
still suffer from the same racist malady as reflected in their view of
Islam and Muslims. I was appalled to read that as America was
unleashing its bombs on Iraqi civilians, Billy Graham's son Franklin
was also gearing up to attack Muslims with his brand of Christian
indoctrination, camouflaged under the guise of humanitarian help in
colorful "non-sectarian" shoeboxes full of goodies -- including
Christian tracts -- distributed to Muslim children. The arrogance of
these 21st-century evangelists is nothing less than dangerously
destructive and divisive for world peace and security.

Who was Bilal? Bilal was a former Ethiopian slave, bought and freed by
the Prophet Muhammad's father in-law Abu Bakr. In Islamic history,
Bilal is associated with a very important decision taken by the Prophet
Muhammad( peace be upon him)concerning the issues of race and color.
In a harsh, highly charged, and difficult social and political
environment, Prophet took the brave and risky step of choosing Bilal,
a freed black slave, to perform the Azan, the call of the faithful to
prayers. His decision was based primarily on the Qur'anic teaching
against racial discrimination, which explains the rationale behind
Allah's creation of humanity in different tribes, colors, religions,
and races, so that you know each other (Li Ta'arafu).

"O people, We created you from a single pair of a male and a female,
and made you into tribes and nations so that you may know each other.
Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is the one who
is most righteous of you." (49:13)

Bilal possessed neither a prominent racial lineage nor power and
wealth -- only his profound faith and dying loyalty to its cause. The
Prophet was well aware of Bilal's upright character and honored him by
choosing him to be the first Muezzin (the one whose voice calls the
faithful to prayer) in the history of Islam. But some Muslims could
not bear to accept Bilal as a rightful Muezzin because he was black-
skinned, and when they heard him call -- which was often -- they even
prayed that they could die, so as not to have to hear the Ethiopian's
voice (Azan) ever again. Yet against such discouraging odds, Bilal was
to become one of the greatest people in the history of Islam.

Even today, in the most advanced societies where the cries for human
rights are loudest, many are still prohibited, only by the "crime" of
a different skin-color, from advancing to rightfully earned
promotions, living in the homes of their choice, attending the schools
and universities fitting to their abilities, and on top of these
injustices, they are also targets of police abuse and racial
profiling. Yet some 1400 years ago, Islam -- born amid one of the most
ignorant, tyrannical, tribal, and aristocratic regions of the known
world -- stood up to its obstinate adversaries and tirelessly fought
against racial prejudice.

Thus Bilal's name adorns the pages of Islamic history as a reminder to
all those who incite discord and disunity among peoples, races and
nations -- but especially to Muslims -- not to transgress the will of
Allah in their behavior and thinking. Sadly, as we look around and
reflect on the current religious practices and social conditions of so
many Muslims in today's world, we find them divided along artificial
lines of nationality, ethnic identity, culture, nation state, rich and
poor, elite and ignored, weak and powerful.

From this state of affairs, one can draw only the sad conclusion that
Muslims have forgotten their illustrious history and the message of
Bilal's story as a reminder of Islam's teaching of Li Ta'arafu. The
Qur'an has emphasized that if we would aspire to be honored both in
this world and the next, in place of racism, greed, and power,
righteousness should be our foremost practice.

Mrs. Valiante is national vice-chair of the Canadian Islamic Congress.
She is a professional family counselor and he can be reached at
nvp@canadianislamiccongress,ca

[ 13 February 2004: Message edited by: Mishei ]


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Mandos
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posted 13 February 2004 05:34 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yeah, she spoke stupidly and loosely. She should have said "Old Testament notion of Chosen People" or something like this. It's standard Islamic theological interpretation that the Chosen Status on the Jewish people is rescinded by the advent of Christianity. And it's a misinterpretation on her part, IIRC, to say that the Chosen People thing is something the Jewish people arrogated on themselves, since most Islamic accounts admit that at some point in history the Jewish people were Chosen. The racism is said to emerge from the fact that the Jewish people haven't accepted the rescindedness of the status. So she has it backwards.
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Mandos
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posted 13 February 2004 05:38 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Nevertheless, your title is a loose misrepresentation of the article too. She didn't say "Judaism", she referred to the reading of the holy books by Jewish people and the transfer of these ideas onto Christian thought and the effects of the abuse of the idea on aboriginals, etc, etc. She is not the only one to make this point, just awkwardly put. She uses it to justify her claim that Islam was/is the panacea for these problems--standard boilerplate in Islamic theology.

So I don't think you can call it racism. Comparative religion, especially when dealing with such an emotional subject as Jewish history, is a very easy place to make an indelicate statement. But it isn't racism.


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Mishei
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posted 13 February 2004 05:40 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Not to mention that the issue of "Choseness" has nothing to do with superiority but with faith.

In fact Jews believe that G-D chose them to spread the word of a "single omniscient omnipresent G-D" in a time of idolotry. That's it . Nothing to do with superiority or racism. That she would engage in this offensive rhetoric perpetuates antisemitism.


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Rufus Polson
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posted 13 February 2004 05:41 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It does seem a tad over the top. I mean, the doctrine of being a chosen people *is* basically racist, or was back when the text was written and Jews really all belonged to fairly tightly-knit tribal groups. But then, pretty much every group in existence at the time had about the same attitude. The only difference is the oral and/or written traditions of most other people extant at the time are long disappeared, where Judaism remains a live tradition--quite a feat, but one which means the atavistic ramblings of their far-off ancestors are available for scrutiny, where everyone else's are not.

I really don't think Protestants, or Catholics, ever needed Jews to teach them how to be racist.

Now, actually existing Judaism has strands which embrace the atavistic racism of thousands of years ago, even though there's no longer a "race" of Jews to be chosen--but then clearly actually existing Islam has strands which are racist without any real doctrinal excuse. I'm not sure that says anything significant about either religion.


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Mishei
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posted 13 February 2004 05:59 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Rufus Im not sure what you mean. In Judaism even back then the message as interpreted was "chosen" to spread the word of a single deity. Many did give up their idols and adopted Judaism. They were not rejected but embraced. This smacks neither of racism or superiority.
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Mandos
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posted 13 February 2004 06:15 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think that you are santizing the notion of "chosenness" too much. Yes, that may have been the intent, but I hardly believe that the concept was never chauvinistically abused. The concept of a People having any sort of special appointed mission lends itself very easily to a dark side of racism, no matter how good the mission is.
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Mycroft_
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posted 13 February 2004 06:27 PM      Profile for Mycroft_     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I find the topic of the article ironic, though, considering the slave trade in the Sudan and the history of Islamic slave traders in Africa during slavery's heyday.
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Mandos
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posted 13 February 2004 06:31 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yeah, every group likes to idealize itself. *shrug*
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Mycroft_
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posted 13 February 2004 06:34 PM      Profile for Mycroft_     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Not that the holy book Jews and Christians share doesn't basically say slavery's ok as long as you follow certain rules. It's just that it's one of those issues where none of the three religions can point figers about.

Pot. Kettle. Black and all that.


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Cueball
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posted 13 February 2004 06:52 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It seems to me that given the layout of the site, that this thread is not about the Middle East. Pardon me for being paranoid, but is someone trying to link muslim racism (real or otherwise) in Canada to events surounding Israel, to show the all encompassing nature of the racist conspiracy? Or are they trying to distract from those issues raised about Israel by others by pointing at Muslim racism in Canada?

I dont care, really. Its an interesting discussion but its location is odd. In anycase, go on...


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Mishei
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posted 13 February 2004 07:40 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mandos:
I think that you are santizing the notion of "chosenness" too much. Yes, that may have been the intent, but I hardly believe that the concept was never chauvinistically abused. The concept of a People having any sort of special appointed mission lends itself very easily to a dark side of racism, no matter how good the mission is.
Thank you for your historical perspective based on what exactly?

Theologians and biblical historians from eminent scholars such as Max Dyment, Professor Robert Wistrich Dr. Joesph Telushkin to name but a few completely disagree with you.

You may hold on to any theory you believe in your mind but know that no legitimate scholar in the field supports you.

Oh BTW, the only other ones that use the "choseness" argument to deride Jews are of course white supremacists and the like.


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Cueball
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posted 13 February 2004 07:47 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Actually I had a Jewsish friend say to me once: "'Chosen people.' Whats not racist about that?" He was a computer programmer, not a nazi.

Thanks for elucidating a more refined view of its meaning, it is an importnat defintion, and one that should be expressed more often. It is easy to misinterpret.


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Mandos
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posted 13 February 2004 07:53 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Mishei, I am talking about the internal logic of the concept. However positive it might have been historically, the concept of Special Mission easily lends itself to abuse. It has and it does.
quote:
Theologians and biblical historians from eminent scholars such as Max Dyment, Professor Robert Wistrich Dr. Joesph Telushkin to name but a few completely disagree with you.

You may hold on to any theory you believe in your mind but know that no legitimate scholar in the field supports you.


Not exactly relevant to what I am saying, and smacks of credentialism/fallacy of authority.
quote:
Oh BTW, the only other ones that use the "choseness" argument to deride Jews are of course white supremacists and the like.
They say all sorts of things. This is a tedious guilt-by-association game.

I think this digression is going nowhere.


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Cueball
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posted 13 February 2004 08:06 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Not exactly relevant to what I am saying, and smacks of credentialism/fallacy of authority.

No. Because how leading theologians interpret the text is important, when discussing theology. They are also leaders, and therefore how they interpret and teach effects opinion generally.


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Stockholm
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posted 13 February 2004 08:11 PM      Profile for Stockholm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Being of Jewish descent I have to say that one of the things that I find most nauseating about Judaism (apart from trying to stop people from enjoying a steamed lobster) is the whole attitude that Jews are supposed to be special and chosen.

Its like a joke I once read in a book called "Jewish as a Second Language" a tongue in cheek guide for non-Jews marrying into a Jewish family. They have a glossary of terminology for the reader that includes the word "not". The meaning of "not" is as follows: "your culture, religion, nationality, ethnicity etc...." as in "He's Jewish and she's not" (sic.)

Similarly it makes me sick to hear my 90 year old grandmother say "did you hear about the plane crash? there were four Jews killed" (of course the fact that 200 other people also died is of no consequence to her).

We(?) are not special, we are not chosen, we are no better or worse than anyone else. We are just another one of the hundreds of ethic/religious groups that inhabit this planet. Let's get off this high horse and just get on with life.


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Jacob Two-Two
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posted 13 February 2004 08:21 PM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This is interesting Meishi. So you're saying that Jewish people (in as much as we can talk about them all at once) no longer consider themselves favoured by god? I thought that was still cultural doctrine.
From: There is but one Gord and Moolah is his profit | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mishei
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posted 14 February 2004 12:11 AM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Jacob Two-Two:
This is interesting Meishi. So you're saying that Jewish people (in as much as we can talk about them all at once) no longer consider themselves favoured by god? I thought that was still cultural doctrine.

I thought I explained this rather succinctly. Please read above. "Favoured by G-D?"...No.chosen by G-D to spread monotheism quite different.

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Mishei
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posted 14 February 2004 12:23 AM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Not exactly relevant to what I am saying, and smacks of credentialism/fallacy of authority.
Let me understand this, experts are not to be believed because they know too much about their chosen field of expertise? That is absolutely ridiculous.

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DrConway
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posted 14 February 2004 12:38 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mishei:
Oh BTW, the only other ones that use the "choseness" argument to deride Jews are of course white supremacists and the like.

Thanks! I didn't know I was a white supremacist or "the like" for being an atheist and having profound antipathy for the notion of any religion elevating its people above others.

I'll sign my name "(myself), white supremacist" from now on, Ok, Mishei?


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Mandos
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posted 14 February 2004 01:05 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I didn't say that, Mishei. I attacked the proposition that I am necessarily wrong because of your appeal to authority. I didn't claim that the authorities were necessarily wrong, which is what you just claimed I claimed. A fallacy of relevance.

But what you cited from your authorities wasn't directly relevant to what I said, so it really doesn't matter.


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Jacob Two-Two
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posted 14 February 2004 08:29 AM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I thought I explained this rather succinctly. Please read above. "Favoured by G-D?"...No.chosen by G-D to spread monotheism quite different.

Being chosen by god to spread his word above all other people is definitely being favoured. Do you believe this is still the case?


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aRoused
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posted 14 February 2004 09:23 AM      Profile for aRoused     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It's generally accepted that the monotheistic worship of G-D emerged from prior worship of a pantheon of gods. The Torah was set down circa 500 BCE, compiling earlier text and oral traditions, and the full Old Testament canon was developed in the subsequent centuries.

Now, the Torah, and the equivalent books of the Bible and Qu'ran, present an image of the faith as always having been one of monotheism, with occasional periods of slipping into idolatry, which are corrected by wise prophets (I'm glossing a bit here for brevity's sake). This is not unexpected, the old adage about history being written by the victors holding.

So immediately, the notion of the 'chosen people', of whatever stripe, as laid out in the Bible, is somewhat suspect, given that the texts do not accord with what is known archaeologically, textually from neighbouring states, and through the close scrutiny of the Bible itself, which itself occasionally 'slips up' and provides evidence of being written to promote the sole worship of G-D in the face of competing deities. The 'chosen people', effectively chose themselves, taking upon themselves the role to spread their particular (monotheistic) faith to their polytheistic neighbours.

However, given these lacunae in the historical record, it's impossible to say on the basis of historical documents alone how early worshipers of G-D treated those they were trying to convert. To say otherwise is to ignore the very real problems of inferring real events from historical documents originally intended to promote a particular ideology.

So:
It's impossible to claim that the notion of the 'chosen people', as it was understood in the 5th century BCE, was either racist or not. The (textual) evidence simply isn't there. On the basis of archaeological evidence and common themes of human interaction, the safest suggestion is that the Israelites behaved no better and no worse than any neighbouring group. The notion that 'chosen' means 'chosen to spread the monotheistic faith' is likewise one for which there is no good evidence either for or against, given once again the difficulties of inferring from a single set of religious propaganda texts.

Furthermore, the notions of race and racism are post-Enlightenment constructs and their applicability to any period before that is suspect.

And finally, while not discounting their considered opinion, I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that a similarly erudite and degreed set of scholars can be found who say exactly the opposite. Academia's like that.


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Mishei
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posted 14 February 2004 10:19 AM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You may be right ...either way I think we all agree that The CIC has entered into bleak waters. It smells and clearly brings the writer into serious disrepute
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DrConway
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posted 14 February 2004 01:56 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, some people will interpret doctrine in some weird ways.

But I looked closer at the article you pasted, Mishei, and it seems to me that the basic reasoning is actually somewhat valid. Here's why:

The Christians who came over to the USA (or, at the time, "British North America") had a notion of "manifest destiny" that later morphed into the idea that the USA had a God-mandated mission to conquer all of North America. They believed that they were divinely inspired to convert the aboriginal peoples here, and by force if necessary. So did the Spaniards who came over, if memory serves.

It is to be recalled, as well, that the Mormons developed this nutty idea that they were the chosen ones returning to the Biblical Eden in, of all places, Utah. At least they had the (at the time) radical notion that the Indians were their brothers, not slaves to be dominated because of their doctrine that the Indians were "Lamanites". But even in Mormonism the chosenness doctrine was still evident.


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Rufus Polson
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posted 14 February 2004 05:01 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by aRoused:

Furthermore, the notions of race and racism are post-Enlightenment constructs and their applicability to any period before that is suspect.

Bah. I've heard that claim before, and I've never seen anything serious to back it up. It's a bunch of postmodern language-ist sophistry. The argument always comes down to "well, people talked about it slightly differently after the 'Enlightenment' (and the 'Enlightenment's eeevil totalizing project) so that shows it wasn't racism before".
It's got as much credibility as the notion that romantic love was a creation of the high medieval period in France because the bored ladies at some courts coined some phrases, invented some games, and hired some troubadours. There were plenty romantic love stories from classical Greece on up--take Orpheus and Eurydice. Sure, in practice arranged marriages were often the norm, but you can look at Bollywood to see how much the practice of arranged marriage slows down the idea of romance.


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Mishei
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posted 14 February 2004 05:40 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
But I looked closer at the article you pasted, Mishei, and it seems to me that the basic reasoning is actually somewhat valid.


It is never valid to perpetuate hate against anyone. The article paints Jews (the followers of Judaism) as being the progenitor of racism. It is wrong, spiteful and in the present milieu potentially dangerous.

To me it goes hand in hand with the accusation that Jews and Judaism are responsible for the murder of Christ. Come on Doc I hope you are smarter if not more sensitive than that!!!


From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 14 February 2004 06:30 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This is the key quote from the article:

quote:

Most notably, the Qur'an rejects the Jewish concept of racial superiority; that is, the status of their being a chosen people. This concept is not only racist, but directlycontradicts the Qur'anic worldview of racial equality. Unfortunately, the Jewish idea of being "chosen" not only institutionalized racism, but also set a terrible precedent for human history in general, where racial superiority claims became the norm, the divisive standard by which all others, those not like us were to be judged and treated.

But the racist element of the text is not the debate of 'choseness' and how that is interpreted. That is in the domain of theological debate. The problem is that the author then goes on to establish, more or less, that it was the Jews who invented racism (in bold above.)

It's fine to discuss whether or not the idea of choseness is racist, or whether or not it can be put to racist ends. It is even fine to suggest that it influenced Protestant ideas about natives, through a theological liniage.
But to suggest that 'choseness' is a purely Jewish invention is at best sloppy, at worst racist.

The article presumes that their was no racism before the Jews invented the 'choseness.' Completely unsuportable.

[ 14 February 2004: Message edited by: Cueball ]


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Courage
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posted 14 February 2004 06:42 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Rufus Polson:

Bah. I've heard that claim before, and I've never seen anything serious to back it up.


You mean besides scads of history where the concept is completely absent from literature? The concept of 'race' as it is used now was developed within the confines of post-Enlightenment biological and anthropological discourse - with a nod to Aristotle, of course.

Please show a piece of text pre-dating the period in question which used the concept of 'race' in an exacting manner, just as it is employed today.

I guess the point is about relevent dissimilarity: how different does a something have to be from its
antecedents in order to constitute a new thing?

The so-called 'language-ist sophistry' is simply (and very much in the spirit of empiricism, in fact) calling attention to the subtle and not-so-subtle differences in the concept of 'race' compared to certain loosely analogous concepts.

quote:
It's a bunch of postmodern language-ist sophistry. The argument always comes down to "well, people talked about it slightly differently after the 'Enlightenment' (and the 'Enlightenment's eeevil totalizing project) so that shows it wasn't racism before".

Right back at you. Paraphrasing Arendt, just because some women might put nails into the wall with a shoe doesn't make it a hammer.

[ 14 February 2004: Message edited by: Courage ]


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Cueball
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posted 14 February 2004 06:49 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Just because people have not put a name to something, and defined it in language, does not mean that it does not exist.
From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Courage
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posted 14 February 2004 06:53 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Cueball:
Just because people have not put a name to something, and defined it in language, does not mean that it does not exist.

Of course not. This isn't really germane, however. This is because we are dealing here with a linguistically constructed concept (race) - an artifact of speech and communication.

[ 14 February 2004: Message edited by: Courage ]


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Courage
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posted 14 February 2004 06:56 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
And now for the laundry....
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Cueball
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posted 14 February 2004 07:00 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
But part of your argument seems to be that the comcept...

quote:
...is completely absent from literature?

And this then establishes something?

Surely, the idea of racism was a post-enlightenment construct, but its descriptive value is not lessened by the fact that it was not in use in the historical period we may be discussing, since we are discussing it in the here and now, not in the past.

But of course when you de-contextualize something the lid comes of Pandora's little box of meaning.

But then I'm not a very good philospher, or post-modernist but it seems to me that the author of this article suggests that it is the Jews who invented racism.

[ 14 February 2004: Message edited by: Cueball ]


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Courage
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posted 14 February 2004 07:11 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Cueball:
[QB]But part of your argument seems to be that the comcept...

And this then establishes something?


Yes. Simply that it is a modern historical artifact. That is was not in use in the specific fashion that it is used now previous to it's inception as part of a certain scientific discourse. It's just a matter of geneology, that's all.

quote:
Surely, the idea of racism was a post-enlightenment construct, but its descriptive value is not lessened by the fact that it was not in use in the historical period we may be discussing, since we are discussing it in the here and now, not in the past.

I don't disagree at all. You are quite right, in fact. All history is revision - a retelling of 'then' with the concepts of now. There is no way out of this problem that I can see, and so I have no problem with the use of 'new' concepts to describe past phenomena to a certain degree. I think their needs to be a little caution, however. Otherwise you can just call things anything you like as long as there is some similarity with some other thing which is called by the same term....

I was merely responding to Rufus' point that there was no evidence that 'race' was an post-Englightenment concept. It is. As for it's usefulness as a description, and the problems of application, this is a different question, IMO.

[ 14 February 2004: Message edited by: Courage ]


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Cueball
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posted 14 February 2004 07:14 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I see.
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DrConway
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posted 14 February 2004 07:39 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mishei:
It is never valid to perpetuate hate against anyone. The article paints Jews (the followers of Judaism) as being the progenitor of racism. It is wrong, spiteful and in the present milieu potentially dangerous.

To me it goes hand in hand with the accusation that Jews and Judaism are responsible for the murder of Christ. Come on Doc I hope you are smarter if not more sensitive than that!!!


I'm well aware that the article's conclusion is bosh. Racism didn't get started with the foundation of the Jewish religion. It got started when some idiot decided skin color was the defining characteristic that overrode all others.

Are you denying, Mishei, that some Christian sects in British North America swiped the "chosenness" doctrine, and reinterpreted it to suit their own ends, with disastrous consequences for the existing aboriginal populations?

Re: the Christ-killer part. Trying to paint me as a supporter of that part of balderdash is a bit low, Mishei.

I might point out that YOU are not an idiot either (though some might wonder...) and YOU know better than to characterize me as a Jew-hater.

[ 14 February 2004: Message edited by: DrConway ]


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Mandos
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posted 14 February 2004 07:41 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
We use racism in a general way, these days, not to refer to the "scientific" concept of race (...paging Sisyphus for his defense of the concept...), but to dislike of foreign identifying characteristics in general, as opposed to the specific biological and anthropological claims made during the post-Enlightenment period.

In this way, I would be surprised to find out that racism used in that colloquial way did not exist in the past, even if it was not so labelled.


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Courage
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posted 14 February 2004 07:44 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by DrConway:
Re: the Christ-killer part. Trying to paint me as a supporter of that part of balderdash is a bit low, Mishei.

I might point out that YOU are not an idiot either (though some might wonder...) and YOU know better than to characterize me as a Jew-hater.

[ 14 February 2004: Message edited by: DrConway ]



Hmmmm...would this violate the dictum that, "It is never valid to perpetuate hate against anyone"?


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Cueball
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posted 14 February 2004 07:53 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Perhaps it would be apropos for someone to comtact Mrs. Valiante and ask her to join this disussion, or get her to explain whether or not she believes that it is the Jews who invented racism. Perhaps she was just being sloppy.
From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mishei
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posted 15 February 2004 12:27 AM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Or not
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Mandos
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posted 15 February 2004 12:29 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
We have no idea.
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Rufus Polson
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posted 15 February 2004 01:31 AM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Racism is about hatred or contempt of the outsider defined in terms of physical difference. There's been plenty of that stuff for as long as there's been enough travel for people to meet outsiders who were physically different.
Probably there was very little racism per se back when tribes were small and everyone you hated looked just like you; then no doubt they had "minor-differences-in-customs-ism". But the ancient Greeks defined themselves racially, and thought everyone else was inferior. True, their word for everyone else was linguistically based, and their disdain was, officially, cultural--everybody else were barbarians because they spoke weird languages that went bar-bar-bar instead of Greek, and hence must be uncivilized. But a Persian or an Iberian didn't become a Hellene just by learning Greek. Similarly, "the West" often defines its racism in terms of how wonderful our culture is and how lousy "the East's" culture is, or the black peoples' culture is. Doesn't mean it isn't racism, or that "darkies" become instantly OK if they assimilate.

More recently, Chinese and Japanese racism (with words for white folk meaning "ghost" and "long-nosed devil" respectively) fairly clearly did not derive from their deep assimilation of Enlightenment ideas.

It is certainly true that before certain scientific ideas arrived it was not possible to conceive of race as a category based on biology. But that kind of thing was always more of an excuse than a prime mover. Before the science was available, the late medievals defined relationships between peoples in terms of things like the Great Chain of Being, and certainly figured that rude, barbaric peoples were further down the chain than europeans, just as peasants were further down than kings and vegetables were further down than animals. In polytheistic times, it was doubtless common to consider that foreigners were inferior because they were created by inferior foreign gods. More recently, some groups with little knowledge of or fondness for either science or the enlightenment define their racism in terms of descendents of Ham or Cain.

I just don't think the particular excuse used to justify racism is that important; it may to some extent shape the expression of the hatred, but not enough to justify using a completely different term for what is basically the same phenomenon. The later "Enlightenment" saw an increase in racism, but more because there was a particularly large amount of travel, mixing, and especially colonization happening relative to past eras, which required a lot of dehumanizing the victims. So they needed a particularly good-sounding excuse, and they used pseudoscience to manufacture one. But that doesn't make the "scientific" part of scientific racism a particularly foundational part of what was going on, nor make the whole thing very different in kind from age-old human behaviours.


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Cueball
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posted 15 February 2004 03:46 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
We have no idea.

Mandos.

Then we are left only with this statement:

quote:
Unfortunately, the Jewish idea of being "chosen" not only institutionalized racism, but also set a terrible precedent for human history in general, where racial superiority claims became the norm, the divisive standard by which all others, those not like us were to be judged and treated.

It would seem that she does by the above statement. Mishei is correct, the article (whether or not the person means it to), "paints Jews (the followers of Judaism) as being the progenitor of racism..." "...by setting a precedent for human history in general, where racial superiority claims became the norm..."

Meshei is right to challenge it.

[ 15 February 2004: Message edited by: Cueball ]


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Mandos
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posted 15 February 2004 12:25 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I already agreed that it could be challenged. I believe she was being sloppy with comparative religion. Of course, she is going to claim that Islam is better than Judaism. Supercessionism (wrt Judaism and Christianity, at least) is standard and unavoidable in Islamic theology. I'm tending to think that she didn't really understand the full consequences of what she was saying and treated "Jewish" as an abstraction or catch-all phrase for an interpretation of the Old Testament.

I receive the CIC Friday Bulletin, and there doesn't appear to be much trace of specific scapegoating of Jews per se in any of her other writings, that I remember.


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Coyote
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posted 15 February 2004 01:57 PM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It is a racist statement, period. Remember how we react whenever someone paints Islam as an intrinsically violent religion? As if no one had ever used God as an excuse to kill other people before Mohammed went to the mountain (or the mountain to Mohammed . . . I digress).

The debate about what constitues racism, and its roots, is a non-starter in my opinion. Certainly, the post-Enlightenment focus on the biological requirements of race should be studied and refuted, but at their base they are the same appeal to the tribe that has always existed. Sadly, human history is littered with reasons - scientific, theological, or otherwise - that 'we' are better than 'them'.


From: O’ for a good life, we just might have to weaken. | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged

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