Originally posted by sk0rpi0n
But its a good thing that you are differentiating between Mohammad and the practices of later rulers. Its obvious that Muslim leaders didn't always
govern in accordance with the laws laid down by Mohammad. Regarding taxes / conversion, the later Muslim rulers were acting on their own by
discouraging conversion for the sake of wealth.
So with that we can establish that the Muslim rulers who discouraged conversion did so out of their own. Muslim leaders had their own personalities
and acted on their own, whether for good or bad.
Akbar actually abolished Jizya... and neither did he forcefully convert.
Shah Jahan was wine connoisseur, despite drinking being prohibited in Islam.
Jahangir was an opium addict.
So there's no need to cherry pick what later Muslim rulers did and say "Muslims did this or that".
A good point to make. Muslim leaders, in common with leaders of any kind, are but men, fallible, subject to the same passions that seize other men.
Being Muslim doesn't give them any super powers to resist temptations any more than Christian leaders can resist temptations, or, for that matter,
People are people. All have their weaknesses, and will usually act upon them given opportunity. This is the one problem I have with even accepting
leaders at all - those who would lead usually do so out of greed and desire for power over others. Some times, that can be a good thing - see
"Akbar" above. Other times it can be a matter of indifference, indulging in personal vices like drink and drugs, without spilling over into misrule
of the general population. Other times, however, the greed and lust for power extends to power over others, and that power can never be satisfied to
merely be, it also craves exercise.
It's a rare man that can rule fairly. No institution, religious or secular, has a monopoly on good leaders, nor an immunity from bad ones.
That's why I think it's better to study and decide for yourself in matters of religion, as your God leads, rather than follow the lead of other,
fallible, men. Some may lead well, and others may lead you astray just to exercise their OWN power over you, independent of the wishes of deity, and
in an effort to gain more followers to exercise power over, merely for their own aggrandizement.
Your own mind, your own soul, the books you hold dear, and reasoned conversation with peers (as opposed to accepting the religious edicts of leaders)
is far more likely to lead you to the path God would have you follow, and away from the one which some man seeks to lead you down, astray.
Extremists are an example - no one is born an extremist. Some guy with an agenda and an axe to grind against someone else seeks after power over
others, in order to use them to accomplish his own goals. Soon, he will sway a group of converts, and then rather than "some guy", it becomes "a
group of guys" who are preaching the peculiar brand of "power religion". The fact that it is now a group of guys preaching it lends it a degree of
strength in convincing weak minds - how could so many be WRONG? - and the next thing you know, it grows to dangerous proportions, threatening to
eclipse the real religion behind the political ploys. As it grows, it gains "legitimacy", and will in time come to replace the religion it once used
In the case of extremist brands of Islam - not just al Qaeda, but other, seemingly more benign manifestations of extremism or political maneuverings
over religion, such as the Muslim Brotherhood - it is reaching a critical mass. Not strong enough yet to take over the main religion, but fast
approaching it. AQ are but extreme extremists. A bad example to draw attention away from the other political extensions alleging themselves to be
"Islamic" and allow them to flourish unnoticed while everyone focuses on a DIS-organization such as AQ.
Better to, as someone has already mentioned, let the OIC clean house with their own regional force, and keep us "foreigners" out of it. If that is
delayed too long, however, then all will be lost, because extremism is taking hold in the middle east, even of governments, and we can never expect
the OIC to take care of extremism after extremists are running the majority of the member nations.
Mali is but the most recent example of extremism thinking itself grown to proportions large enough to take the government of a nation. Better get it
before it grows.