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Toward an anti-Authoritarian Islam

News ArchiveSubmitted by Salim:

Sorel Prison, Quebec
September, 2004


Natural Islam
By Salim



In the Name of the Divine, the Creator (bismillah al-khaliq)


We are all products produced and cultivated to have a value a
commodity society has only one interest in each individual and that interest is commercial. Only the crazy one’s are defective and lose out on this commodification. The one’s that think differently are able to understand how society uses individuals for profit. The
modern oppression is not solely economic; the modern oppression is sociological and pathological. It is not a question of the haves and the have nots anymore. A former luxury item like a television can now be bought at any thrift store. The modern cake is a $4 value meal at McDonalds or Burger King engineered to make the consumer fat. The modern idea is competing logos on super hero physiques between Adidas and Nike. Hercules is not simply a mythic typo today Hercules is a pitchman for a corporate body. The future of Aldus Huxley’s “Brave New World” is here. Except we are not birthed in factories but our minds are. The collective consciousness of our society is engineered solely for the purpose to produce and consume within a feudalistic system governed by rich corporations which may even have a revolving door in the board room where even the elites perform a temporary duty before being replaced by a apparatchik that is of the latest, fastest and smartest product line of CEOs.

Production and Consumption is the Yin and Yang of the modern society.
The fatal flaw in the modern mantra is that only mass suffering will be next in line through ecological devastation, capitalism will
collapse on itself there is no ethical endogeny built into the system a product is not more valuable because it produces a good or better social or ecological outcome. A product has more value because it is more desirable. We live in a system based on animalistic desires not on intellectual intelligibles. Our system in Christian eschatological terminology is a system based on the sign of the Beast, people are sociologically conditioned to now “choose” with their “freedom” such things as driving SUVs rather then ecologically sustainable
alternatives. To choose to eat factory farmed animals rather then healthy alternatives. We are sociologically conditioned to choose comfort over sustainable living. Where freedom even includes choosing to destroy the natural offspring of human life in the name of
“freedom” of the person to participate in this modern pathology of a culture of death and consumer “freedom” where capitalist want to give you the “choice” of consumerism.

This culture of production and consumption is not limited to what is
known as the West. Even those that have cloaked themselves in holy garments like the Saudi Royal Family daily participate in the
unbridled ecological destruction of the earth through it’s Oil
exports. Likewise those that carry out life destroying terrorist
attacks are just participating in another brand of oppression,
control and consumption. Al-Qaeda has no mutually beneficial plan for sustainability rather they seek to replace one brand of
oppression with another. Violence is just another aspect of the
culture of death. War is a direct result of the need for control and competing elites engaged in competition for market share no matter what the market is, land, oil, shoes, televisions, peoples minds,
etc.

The real question is, “Is change possible?” And there is no simple
yes or no answer to this question. I would say there are only two routes possible for change to happen and those are:

A) Direct Action [see end note 1]

B) Autonomy [2]

Of course to most people what is really missing from this answer is Democratic Reform and to a small minority the other answer may be Armed Rebellion [3], differentiated from “self-defense” which is always a right. And I will answer the negative solutions before expounding on the positive solutions of Direct Action and Autonomy.

There are some, usually having no military training, that believe you
can fight the system with arms this is pure foolishness and just
another brand of social conditioning by the oppressive system that says violence is liberation. The system will always be able to raise a larger force; this system already possesses the means to destroy the entire earth with nuclear weapons. You cannot fight the system in armed combat head on.

There is a large majority of people that say you can change the system
through democratic reform. They say that we live in a democracy and through the mechanisms of the state change can be brought. Although there is some instances where this is true and it varies from state to state depending on the structure of the government (i.e. US, Canada) in the US this is less true then in Canada, for instance Canada is moving toward proportional representation and has four major political parties from conservative , liberal, socialist and green. The problem is corruption [4] and bureaucratization of governments. The
corruption has occurred with policy being decided by economic powers of large corporations and their conservative and neo-liberal
benefactors. The bureaucratization has occurred with the increase in size of governments with the decision making occurring at higher and higher levels rather then locally where people live their lives. The combination of corruption and bureaucratization has made democracy vulnerable to undemocratic practices at hierarchical levels of
government. With the governments corrupt the rule by the people is no longer a working reality so what we have is the word “democracy” but whose meaning is lost in corruption.

If democracy is no longer a valid source of change then the people are
left with only a handful of options and chief among these options is Direct Action or what is also known as Civil Disobedience. When
corporations are passing laws literally writing laws to put the
commercial interests of a minority over those of the common peoples altering society to turn every citizen into a producer-consumer devoid of individuality then the individual citizen is obliged to disobey those laws through civil struggle like that of Martin Luther King
until the laws reflect the will of the people informed by objective facts rather then commercial interests and their propaganda.

In tandem with Direct Action is the need for Autonomy from the
culture of death and destruction. We must, by any means, first by legal means, construct alternatives to the culture of destruction
such as sustainable development, cooperative enterprises, ecological manufacturing and the use of co-empowering technology. There are
some of us that refuse to participate in the culture of destruction no matter what, many of us are labeled crusty punks, but we are not punks we are individuals that desire revolutionary change from the culture of destruction and oppression. But putting a label on
something is just another means of branding of merchandise saying a set of people are “crusty punks” is just a matter of demarcating the good product, “producer-consumer” [5], form a bad product, a
autonomous individual. This is the destructive, un-natural and
de-humanizing effect of living in this system where packaging is more important then understanding the individual attributes of the member of a community.

Today in prison on the television news Msr. Dumat of the ADQ, the
regional conservative party in Quebec, proposed that Quebec have its “autonomy” from the Canadian federation: Autonomy is not such a
strange concept. The ADQ has been making gains electorally. Of
course this in a way does prove how much more sophisticated the
Canadian parliamentary system is from the US system—the fact a
separatist party or parties can exist within the Canadian federation which would not be permitted in the US, this can be traced back to the different perspective Canada and the US have on citizenship, one is multi-ethnic and the US is uniformist and assimilationist. But what will this Autonomy be, will it allow Quebecois to live free of
corporate control, provide sustainable and ecological alternatives or is it just the introduction of a new brand, a new flavor with the same old recipe: “Buy Quebec, 100% more French!”

Branding is everywhere in our society and all segments of society
engage in it because of the sociology and pathology of our modern
society even Anarcho-Punks are just another brand within our
communities. The Anarcho-Punks, of which I am sometimes a member of, engage in the producer-consumer mentality. You have to have the right kind of packaging to belong, the right clothes, the right behavior (usually swearing and drinking 40ozers and knowledge of riding trains, hitch-hiking, petty crimes and squatting). And if you do not conform to this then you will be ostracized usually under a pretext of a being a “manarchist” a “infiltrator”, a “reformist”. Everyone in this
society is being socially engineered to act in a competitive and
destructive manner, checking out from the dominant brand does not
change this behavior.

The means of fighting the sociology, this social engineering of
individuals into producer-consumers is not political; every political ideology from religious fundamentalist to communist (did you buy your Che shirt for $15?) can be co-opted and turned into another brand. The means of fighting this socio-pathology is fundamentally a
spiritual path—which is distinct from a religious ideology or
organized institutional religion. It is not based on a materialism or socio-scientific praxis, it is based on seeking values and expressions which at their source are as non-material as the earliest shaman
traditions which eventually transformed into prophetic traditions. It is based on transcendental praxis and motivations that which goes
beyond the individual or what is within the individual. I am not saying that we should all be blindly obedient (taqlid) to prophets [6] and shaman, we need a thoughtful and disciplined, even scientific understanding of religious or shamanistic psychology, but the core values of naturalism are embodied in the spiritual psyche not the
sociology of the producer-consumer. Some of these values are communal consultation (shura), stewardship of the Creator’s creation
(istikhlaf), equality (`adl), non-aggression (salam), mutually
beneficial economics [7] (mudarabat), sharing and giving (sadaqa wa zakat).

I, personally, have found the best defense against the
producer-consumer sociology in my personal interpretation of Islam. Many will doubt, given the modern gross depiction in the West from both Muslim [8] and non-Muslim, of what Islam is able to be an
anti-oppression path. However, to me it is the basis of resistance to the consumer-producer ideology and sociology. I am not saying it is the only means of resistance to the culture of destruction but one that I have found that has inspired my resistance in what I have come to understand as Islam al-fitrah (natural Islam) [9]. I have received death threats from conservative Americans and I have received death threats from reactionary Muslims. What beliefs could generate such viciousness from people that are sworn enemies of each other? My
understanding of Islam is what they view as threatening, I have even been called an apostate [10] and unbeliever (kafir) by other Muslims even though I observe the pillars of Islam, according to Jafari fiqh, in my personal life. Similarly, I have been called un-American even though I am a veteran of the US Navy and served on anti-terrorist
missions in the Middle East.

I suppose first and foremost I should address the question of
authority .[11] Traditionally speaking in Islam religious authority has been inter-twined with the state. First in the role of the
Prophet [12], then in the role of the rightly guided Caliphs and for those of us that believe in rightly guided Imams in the Wiliyat of `Ali and his descendants (a.s.) This role became perverted in Sunni Islam with the introduction of the `Umayyad clans control over the state where innovations were introduced, innovations which have been fought by the guided Sunni reformers which have appeared from time to time. This same usage by rulers of states to use religion as a means of control also occurred in Shi’a Islam when the Ilkhanid Mongol
rulers of Iran forced the populace to convert to Shi’ism and
transformed the cleric class into the primary means of controlling the populace. In both Sunni and Shi’a Islam the state and the religious clerics have been intertwined as a means of control over the populace [13]. I am not saying all clerics are corrupt there have been many inspired laity. I am simply pointing out the traditional corruption of the role of religion and of rulers.

However, Allah [14] (the divinity) has not left the people without
vision (kashf) specifically in Shi’a Islam is the conception of Hikmat (wisdom) which has been a guiding principle in such schools as the Illuminationist tradition, the school of Mulla Sadra [15], the
teachings of Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa`i [16]. I am an adherent of these teachings. Hikmat is another source of interpreting law aside from textual deduction. Roughly it is inspiration or unveiling. Mulla Sadra taught that to come to philosophical deductions as well as legal deductions via rationality (`aqli) was not enough rather one must
confirm deductions with inspiration, which is a transcendent source. Also, such unveiling of truth can come in the form of dreams or
visions. Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa`I had a vision of Imam al-Mahdi which he claimed to derive his authority to make judgments from. The point is that in Islam we can have continuing guidance aside from the textuality or usuli deductions as practiced by the clerical elite. I would argue that we all have the ability and responsibility to make intelligent reflections in concert with good intentions and form our own opinions on religious matters. Using shuratic principles we can come to common communal well being through our differing views.

My understanding of Islam is based in a mystical understanding it is
based in gnosis (ma`rifat) not just fiqh (jurisprudence). Authority in Islam is not confined to the ruling clerics. Even in Shi`a Islam, guidance form the hidden Imam is open to all. Thus, in my
understanding of Islam we are all equal and our affairs should be
governed by communal consultation (shura) [17], there can be no
hierarchy of the “righteous” no need for a Guardian Council as it
exists in the Iranian political system. So what is the meaning of what I have termed Islam al-fitrah [18] (natural Islam)?

The Islamic belief in stewardship of the Creator’s creation is
known as Istikhlaf. This is the concept that humanity has the
obligation to uphold the natural order as created by the Creator
(it is not necessarily anthropocentric), humanity must not alter
this natural order as it is currently doing for example the global warming caused by mass industrialization. Additionally, this is
seen in factory farming, the Prophet taught that you must not be
brutal or over consume. In fact the Prophet taught it is better to eat vegetables with a minimum of animal consumption, today we have alternative protein sources to eating animals. At the base of
Istikhlaf is the Prophetic hadith:


“I [al-lah] have forbidden oppression to Myself. Therefore it is forbidden to you.”


Plainly we can see how the current rulers of this world, the United States does engage in oppression, by continuing to pollute and destroy the natural ecology [19] and by waging aggressive warfare to further their global aspirations of economic dominance over all. According to Islam a Muslim is not permitted to engage in aggressive warfare, nor is a Muslim to live in a war state (dar al-harab) such as the US. A Muslim must immigrate to a land of peace (dar al-salam). Yet, how many Muslims continue to do business in the US pay the US government taxes and engage in non-Islamic economic practices.

The US is an oppressor it uses military means to acquire it’s goals
not the power of ideas. Oppression is forbidden to a Muslim,
including oppressing the earth, the animals, the natural order (fitrah al-nazm) as created by al-Lah. Ecological devastation is no different from any other form of oppression, yet the US, the largest polluter and consumer of natural resources [20] continues to deny that global warming is real, that human industrialization is the single greatest source of this ecological oppression.

There are many forms of oppression, Islam is a natural religion, it is
organic and can adapt to new circumstances and conditions. Islam is a source of universal empowerment to all that are oppressed regardless of what that oppression is natural Islam is opposed to racism, sexism [22], classism and all forms of oppression, even anthropocentrism.

The United States has demonstrated its opposition through its actions
to universally recognized standards of basic rights. How can any
Muslim say I am a Muslim and ally themselves with such a government? The US is a racist state [22], a military belligerent, an ecological devastator, a supporter of global feudalism through economic
institutions it controls and directs such as the World Bank and IMF. The US seeks not to work in cooperation with other governments and peoples but to dominate. The United States government has
systematically eliminated any meaningful dissent by Americans with COINTELPRO [23], the PATRIOT Act [24] and superfluous criminalization of dissent and free speech-- with the criminalization of dissent and it’s subsequent ability to imprison the opposition, the US Government uses non-violent tactics to accomplish the same ends as the European Fascists did in the 1930s. With the criminalization of free speech such as at the Miami, Boston and NYC protests Americans have lost all meaningful instruments of dissent. More and more activists are being branded as terrorists with FBI security bulletins labeling non-violent educational gatherings as terrorist threats [25]. The elimination of all national opposition parties has also led to a further devolution of dissent in the US. Only capitalist inspired political parties and unions are able to function in the US. The corporate dominance of the US political system is total and complete any opposition to this is eliminated even to the point of assassinating ecological activists.

It is for some of these reasons I am sitting in a Canadian prison
today. I committed no acts of violence. I walked through a field
seeking freedom in Canada and was hunted by the US Border Patrol on Canadian soil. My non-violent political activities were branded as a terrorist threat [26] and openly associated with terrorist groups on no grounds whatsoever by the US government. My friends and loved ones systematically arrested and taken off the streets, their homes raided, their cars broken into and tracking devices installed on them, not for what they were doing but for what they were saying. I have watched Muslim institutions, some of whom I organized with, labeled with no evidence, terrorist fronts, religious gathering raided, innocent
people wrongly imprisoned, systematically destroyed by
neo-Conservatives abusing their new found unbridled powers, even
charities which are the sole life line for suffering Muslims living under ruthless military aggression eliminated. For these and other reasons I have sought refuge in Canada. I urge all people to take a stand for freedom, for true peace, for liberation. Their jails cannot contain the truth anymore then their institutions can contain the
Creator.


About the Author:

Salim is a libertarian socialist. He is a member of the Shi’a Muslim
Sufi Community. His academic papers on Islamic Philosophy have been published in the United States and Iran.




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

END NOTES:

[1] On the theory and background of direct action see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_action

[2] Autonomy is directly related to being Autonomous, which is
self-organized, see http://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Self-organization On Autonomy see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomy

[3] Many Muslims claim that jihad is armed rebellion, such as espoused by
al-Qaeda. However, what is ignored is that the Prophet himself (s.a.s.) engaged in Direct Action passive resistance tactics in the early days of Islam. This resistance involved non-violent tactics as well as
self-defense. The need for armed struggle only came later after the Hejira when the Muslims were part of a city-state and only under limited conditions. Passive Resistance, to me, is part of the greater Jihad (jihad al-akbar) that every Muslim engages in on a daily basis in her life against a globalized neo-liberal world with non-Islamic economic systems dictating it’s terms to the rest of the world.

[4] For a major industrialized western democratized nation the United
States finished only 18th in terms of least corrupt governments, see report at http://www.corporatecrimereporter.com/corruptreport.pdf

[5] Some may say that “consumer-producer” is another brand, however there
is a difference between branding and naming.

[6] In Islam the Prophet is not absolute ruler, the Prophet is a
spiritual guide and in matters concerning the community, in political matters, all members have equal say in the matter. See Qur`an 3:159


[7] In Islamic economics the concept of collective ownership is know as
mudarabat, see
http://www.failaka.com/Library/Articles/Usmani%20-%20Modes%20of%20Finance.pdf
Obviously for anarchists this concept is a loose analogy for our views
on collectivism and can be a basis for a new interpretation of Islamic economic laws. One attempt at modernizing Islamic economics is by Prof. Choudhury, see http://faculty.uccb.ns.ca/mchoudhu/ipe.htm whose work is secularised under the heading of “humanomics”.

[8] A new politically more correct brand of Muslim is now forming, with
progressive values,
http://64.233.179.104/search?q=cache:ojlsqSavC78J:www.progressivemuslims.com/+progressive+muslims&hl=en

[9] On Naturalism and Islam see an orthodox interpretation from a
jurisprudential perspective,
http://www.islamonline.net/fatwa/english/FatwaDisplay.asp?hFatwaID=64315

[10] see a study of the political use of the term apostate in Islam at
http://www.exorthodoxforchrist.com/islam_-_apostasy.htm

[11] for an interesting discussion of authority from a Muslim feminist
perspective see
http://www.crescentlife.com/spirituality/religious_authority_in_islam.htm For a more comprehensive discussion of authority In Islam see
http://www.csss-isla.com/IIS/archive/2001/july.htm

[12] For a Muslim essay on the political legacy of the Prophet, including
his pluralism, see http://www.ispi-usa.org/muhammad/muhammad10.html

[13] Priests are condemned in the Qur’an see 9:30-31.

[14] In Islam, the divinity, usually translated as God, has no sex and
any anthropomorphic characteristics associated with the Divinity is to be avoided, the attribution of calling the Divinity “He” is not correct, what is more correct is to call the Divinity is “It”.

[15] Mulla Sadra was an Islamic existentialist (wujudi), more info at
http://www.mullasadra.org. He is recognized as the greatest Shi’a philosopher of all time by the orthodox Mullahs of Iran.

[16] Information on Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa`I can be seen at
http://www.alahsai.net/ the site is in Arabic.

[17] Shura is akin to the consensus process used by many anti-capitalist
groups.

[18] For a reading on “deep ecology” in Islam see
http://www.islamonline.net/english/Contemporary/2003/02/Article02.shtml or
http://www.islamonline.net/english/Contemporary/2002/08/Article02.shtml or
http://www.islamonline.net/fatwa/english/FatwaDisplay.asp?hFatwaID=60686

[19] One must recognize that the US is deliberately destroying the
environment to maximize capitalization. The Muslim majority state of Bangladesh will loose 44% of it’s territory due to global sea levels rising directly from global warming caused, in most part, by US
pollution. It is hard to predict how many will be displaced and how many thousand will die as a direct result from this US oppression of the natural creation. See related story
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/04/0420_040420_earthday.html

[20] For a story on the US impact on the global environment see
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0109-02.htm for academic
discussion of human impact on global warming see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attribution_of_recent_climate_change

[21] I include queer liberation under the heading of sexism. There are
Muslim based queer liberation groups, like Al-Fatiha,
http://www.al-fatiha.net. I disagree with many of the interpretations being espoused by people to justify homosexuality. I believe a Muslim can be queer and be Muslim because the textual arguments are based on a bad analogy: that ancient homosexual rape used as a political tool or the practice of temple prostitution
(http://www.worldpolicy.org/globalrights/sexorient/bible-gay.html) is not the same as a modern same sex partnership based on mutual attraction or love. Marriage Laws in Islam primarily were concerned with protecting the rights of the children brought forth between heterosexual coupling. I believe these laws need re-interpreting in the context of the modern needs of our pluralistic society.
For a discussion of Islamic Feminism see
http://www.geocities.com/pmndc/ExploringIslamicFeminism.htm. I think it should be noted you cannot determine a persons beliefs based on whether they wear a hijab or beard or not.

[22] One example: the 13th Amendment only conditionally eliminated
slavery, slavery is still valid as a penalty for committing a crime. A vast disproportionality exists between white and black prisoners in the US.

[23] for information on COINTELPRO see
http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/cointelpro/cointel.htm

[24] For information on how the PATRIOT Act takes away civil liberties
see http://www.aclu.org/SafeandFree/SafeandFree.cfm?ID=12126&c=207

[25] The FBI released a terrorist alert regarding educational workshops
relateing to Jeff Luers (see http://www.freefreenow.org), a corporate media report on the alert is here,
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,122290,00.html

[26] see this report on FBI intimidation of activist groups,
http://www.aclu.org/SafeandFree/SafeandFree.cfm?ID=17098&c=207 and this report http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/081704V.shtml also see “Save Our Civil Liberties”
http://www.saveourcivilliberties.org/en/2004/12/830.shtml
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Toward an anti-Authoritarian Islam | 65 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
comment by ian ward
Authored by: salim019 on Monday, January 10 2005 @ 11:14 AM CST
I am not sure if you are saying all religious people are justifying morality by a "punishment" paradigm. However, morality in Islam is taught by different schools in different ways. As a Sufi Love is the cheif motivation behind being moral or having good character (akhlaq). Alot of anarchists espouse a Utilitarian Moral Philosophy. This has been taught by some Islamic schools as well under the heading of muslah or istihsan "communal well-being". So it is pretty diverse in terms of Islam. So I was not sure if you were assuming that all moral consciousness amongst Muslims is based on "punishment". I don't base my morality on punishment so really can't answer that question directly.
comment by Salim
Authored by: salim019 on Monday, January 17 2005 @ 12:02 PM CST
Cosmos as Meditation: Sufi and Shi'a Muslim Reflection on the Spiritual
Cosmology

(go to http://www.geocities.com/druidarab/cosmos_index.html for on-line
text. Zip archive available at link below.

the following work is a compilation of studies I have made of the symbolic
cosmology of the mystic Muslim schools of Shi'ism and Sufism. In it you
will find philosophical explanations of esoteric doctrines of the Shi'a
and Sufis. Some of this has been presented at the Hajj Mehdi Arjomand
Colloquia on Baha'i Scripture, while part 5 was presented at the World
Congress on Mulla Sadra in Tehran in 1999. Part 7 was to be presented at
an academic conference in Israel which I boycotted in protest of the
occupation of Palestine. Parts of this work have already passed academic
peer review, such as parts of part 3 and all of part 5. If you are
interested in discussing this work you can subscribe to the Shi'a Esoteric
discussion list "irfan" at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/irfan/. My next
work in terms of Islamic studies will be on theories of the State from a
Muslim perspective which is part of a series of articles I am working on
about different theories of State governance: Liberalism, Socialism
(Anarchism and Marxism), and Conservatism.

Part I:Symbolic Cosmology and Interpretation
a discussion of sufi symbolic interpretation and principles of
intepretation contained within the Qur`an.
(http://www.geocities.com/druidarab/cosmos1.html)

Part II:Cosmos' Being According to the Qur`an
a discussion of the Qur`anic creative process.
(http://www.geocities.com/druidarab/cosmos2.html)

Part III:Cosmic Vocaubulary in Islamic Philosophy and Sufism
a comparitive analysis between Neo-Platonism, Isma`ilism and the Baha`i
viewpoints on the doctrines of the One and Intellectual Principle
(http://www.geocities.com/druidarab/cosmos3.html)

Part IV:Ithna Ashariyya Cosmology and Mulla Sadra's Teachings
a discussion of the symbolic cosmology of Shi'ism and the cosmology of
Shi'a philosopher Mulla Sadra. Includes a discussion on the concept of
Unity and Diversity (wahdat wa kathrat) of Mulla Sadra and how the Baha'is
and Sufis viewed this concept.
(http://www.geocities.com/druidarab/cosmos4.html)

Part V:Witnessing, Quiddity and Knowledge
a discussion of Knowledge and it's impact on the doctrines of Mulla Sadra
regarding Unity of Being (wahdat al-wujud) and the doctrine of Unity of
Witnessing (wahdat al-shuhud).
(http://www.geocities.com/druidarab/cosmos5.html)

Part VI:Baha'i and Sufi Cosmology
a discussion of the symbolic cosmology of the Sufis and the Baha'is, both
are based on the same symbolic
cosmology.(http://www.geocities.com/druidarab/cosmos6.html)

Part VII:The Ineffable in Context: A Study of Sufi Symbols in the Haft Vadi
a discussion of the Haft Vadi of the Baha'i teacher Mirza Husayn-Ali Nuri
(Baha'u'llah) and how it relates directly to Sufi teachings regarding the
same subject matter. (http://www.geocities.com/druidarab/cosmos7.html)

This study is available in Rich Text Format (RTF) and as an HTML archive
at Cosmos as Meditation Zip Archive
comment by infoshop mod
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 20 2005 @ 03:29 AM CDT
WARNING
comment by Salim
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 20 2005 @ 07:12 AM CDT
I do not have any harsh feelings against religious people. In fact, I was raised Catholic, and most of my family is deeply religious (I'm atheist).

However, the idea of a "Christian Anarchist" does not make sense to me. I understand that it is a reconiciliation between Christian altruism and anarchist philosophy-- but do these people read the bible? Do they even know the political viewpoint of their deity, Jesus?

While often called a "radical" by leftist Christians, Jesus was no enemy of the state. This was a guy who defended tax collectors with lines like, "Let Caeser take what belongs to Caeser." (Not exact-- don't have a bible handy).

Jesus never did anything to challenge Rome, the gross imperial power of his time.

In the face of American imperialism, are we to turn the other cheek?

No!

I'm sorry, but it's just a bad joke to see people picking the bones of a religion's history, looking for an antiauthoritarian history to re-make its church foundation on.

The Judeo-Christian tradition is one that is authoritarian to its very core.

I would not refuse to work in a movement with people, simply because they were religious. But I would not, and do not, take them seriously as true anarchists. Perhaps it is just my opinion, but, for me, the heart of the anarchist philosophy has always been: no gods, no masters.
comment by Salim
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 20 2005 @ 07:33 AM CDT
As an afterthought, I didn't mean to ignore the topic of the conversation (Islam), but I saw that the author had posted about "Christian Anarchists" and so I thought I'd put my two cents in on that specifically.

In the end, I just see this as another example as futile reformism. Trying to create a "touchy-feely" (or "anti-authoritarian") religion out of an organized faith with a bloody history. Like Christianity, Islam seems to have been used primarily as a means of social control.

I think it's extremely racist for secular white anarchists to ignore these issues when engaging with people of color (many of whom are not religious, by the way) or otherwise religious people, in order to "win them over."

Much of the middle classes enjoy investing stock in ruthless corporations. Should we say alright, that's okay to support globalization, child labor, deforestation, etc. etc. Let's find common ground, an anti-authoritarian capitalism, if you will. Hell no! That would never happen.

Thus, I don't think it's right to say it's okay for people to embrace ignorance (religion) just because they're poor or not white.

I was raised in a working class, extremely authoritarian Catholic household. As a child I was very pious. But as I got older, I educated myself and came to see the world very differently.

You should give people a chance and not assume that they are ignorant sheep just because of their race or socio-economic background. Most people are not encouraged to think critically at all during their lives, but once given the chance to, I think that most people choose to view the world through reason rather than faith.

I'm sorry if that was rambling, but I think this is a very important issue. I very strongly (although, hopefully not impolitely) disagree with the author's post.
comment by ctresca
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 11:39 PM CST
Many people in American \'identify as christians.\' So therefore we should be christians too?

No, we just shouldn\'t be assholes.
comment by dogboy
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 11:37 PM CST
this was a verey good peace to read and I cant wate to see more of his work


also I have no problum with people and religon heck evin sicence is a religon I onley get anoid with judgementel or evangelical religous people.
comment by fruittidurruti
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 11:09 PM CST
Although I agree with 90% of what you just stated, I don\'t agree with your anarchist stats. There are WAAAAAAY more than 10,000 anarchists. There are like 10,000 in the U.S., easily. In the world, it\'s more closer to over half a million. Just look at the sizes of the anarcho-syndicalist organizations alone, and you got plenty.

Here\'s a link to a good directory...
http://www.anarchosyndicalism.net/directory/

And some links to anarchist organizations...
http://zabalaza.net/links.htm

The syndicalist unions have 10s of thousands in them!

The other anarchist organizations combined probably have over 10,000 themselves, and then think of the thousands worldwide that aren\'t in either of these camps at all.

I propose a recount. We are more than you think. Though you are rght about your stereotyping the U.S. average anarchist. You hit the nail on the head. The case is way less so outside of the U.S. though. In Europe and canada, especially Quebec, atheism is much more popular, and that\'s where the absolutism comes from. But most anarchist political organizations with majority atheist members have propaganda that rarely declares, \"FOR ATHEISM!\" We are more inclined to state, \"AGAINST CLERICALISM!\" or \"AGAINST FUNDAMENTALISM!\"
comment by e
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 04:09 PM CST
Uh, whoa.

I\'ve never understood the whole \'religious anarchist\' thing.

I\'ve been reading the autobiography of Malcolm X, and its made me lose a ton of respect for him.

The classic story of living like a total piece of shit, then making up for it by being insanely religious - a pious, judging, \'family man\'.

Granted, I haven\'t got the part where he ditches Islam.

Anyway, \'anarchist christian\' (or Jew, Muslim, whatever) is a total contradiction to me, not least annoying because they treat anarchism like yet another evangelistic religion - just with more meetings and even less helpful actoin.
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 04:29 PM CST
ya worship of lifeless insitutions is self alienation aka cogishness
comment by infoshop mod
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 04:40 PM CST
Trollbait deleted.
comment by Chris Acheson
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 05:03 PM CST
You people are either kidding or trolling, right?

\"Only white atheists can be anarchists.\" Give me a fucking break.
comment by yippie
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 05:12 PM CST
more mindless drivel from close minded anarchists about religion. to be expected, luckily i have already discounted most anarchists as nothing more then couch potato political activists although you do come across a couple hard working collectives then and again. lets see there are about 1.3Billion Muslims, and about oh maybe 10,000 anarchists in the world. gee... i wonder what is more relevant solpsistic anarcho-pups or all those Muslims in the world??? Hard question. It\'s funny somehone comes along and tries to give some meaning to anarchism to others and all some anarchists can do is dump their drivel catch phrases, but that\'s to be expected. how many times have i seen anarcho-christians yelled down with \"No Gods, No Masters!\" ad nauseum.
comment by an idea
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 05:34 PM CST
If the \"employing class\" has nothing to do with the \"working class\", then neither do anarchists have anything to do with the working class. For starters, most working class people identify as Christians, usually pretty strongly. Same case for lower middle class people. Most of them have pretty strong feelings about it, too, and if you tell them that anarchism and Christianity (or whatever) can\'t both exist together, and that anarchists have to be non- or anti-Christian, then they might politely show you the door, more likely they\'ll kick your ass when you call for anarchist revolution and do the \"No Gods, No Masters\" gig.

So, e, grow up and look around you at the 99% of people who aren\'t anarchists. Unless you can convince a significant number that you have a better way, you won\'t have a revolution, you\'ll have an ugly fight which will result in your quick demise at the hands of those whom you sought help from. Christian Anarchism is possible, and anarchists had better figure out some way to appeal to grownups, rather than just punk rockers and frustrated art/sociology students. They managed to do it in Spain in the 20s and 30s, so it *can* happen here too.
comment by UnderTheCobblestone
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 05:43 PM CST
While I don\'t whole-heartidly agree with yippie, I do find the comments of the first three simply rediculous, especially borp\'s comment about \"Anarchist Person of Color\" being a contradiction. I may not be religious in the least, but that doesn\'t discredit the faith of others. True some religious practices are harmful to their practicioners, but to some religion can be quite liberating - not \"cogish\" - and a very important element of their life. As for yippie, it\'s stupid to assume that most anarchists are \"couch potato political activists\" especially without providing any real backing to the claim. I\'m not sure where you live, but I find Anarchist collectives, generally, to be among the most productive. Actually, that\'s how I got into Anarchism to begin with: Anarchists were organizing and doing actual work while the Marxists sat in coffee shops talking about inane philosophy.
comment by another (A)
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 06:07 PM CST
I completely agree. This piece here is one of the best pieces I have seen in along time on Infoshop, let alone all anarchist writings. And all people can do is complain about religion. I believe that those folks probably have not been around long enough and through enough hard fights to really understand the meaning of equality and being open-minded. Yes, it is true that there is a very strong fundamentalist streak through almost all world religions but then again there is also a libertarian socialist steak also. They probably have never heard of the Catholic Workers movement or even liberation theology and the revolutionary priests in Latin America or even in Northern Ireland. When the anarchists in Spain were fighting the church they did it because the church was collaborating with the fascists and not because some people hated this concept of religion. Salim is a true revolutionary writer and fighter.
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 11:26 PM CST
actually mohammends role in history - at least from what we collectively can make out - is that of liberation
comment by dogboy
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 11:37 PM CST
this was a verey good peace to read and I cant wate to see more of his work


also I have no problum with people and religon heck evin sicence is a religon I onley get anoid with judgementel or evangelical religous people.
comment by 33
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 07:27 PM CST
Have any muslims ever looked at Irshad Manji\'s work?
comment by tothebarricades.tk
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 08:59 PM CST
There have been many legitimate religious anarchists. Creating a dominant culture of atheism without tolerance is just as bad as doing so with any particular religion. Personally, I\'m agnostic but enjoyed the article and enjoy studying religion (beliefs and texts - not a big fan of the institutions)

About borp, he\'s most certainly a troll.
comment by Worker Independence
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 09:01 PM CST
tou can be be any religion or have no religion and be an anrachist. Anarchism is not about religion.


personally I do not mind religous people, up until they satr talking about how everyone is going to hell execpt everyone in thier small religous sect. there is a differance between spiratuality and fundamentalism that cannot always be mesured in which religion you belong to.

You cannot assume all working class people in the US are Christian many do not evan give a shit about religoin either way,they have got bigger things on thier mind.
your ideologicall support for a working class anarchist revloution can not be mesured by the amount percentage pionts of working class people who support ararchism. that is redicuolus. you organise the working class people who are on board and educate the ones who are on the fence.
comment by maks
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 09:07 PM CST
what about it? good analyses, but all of a sudden she turned into an apologist for american imperialism. the aspers were parading her around saying \"look, we got one of them female muslim gay ones! this should distract all of those parading-our-on-agenda-for-israel allegations...

[and then under their breath]

how long till we actually get power and can start the damn purges?\"
comment by D. Umpster
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 10:52 PM CST
Can people please limit there comments to the article posted. I am sick of hearing people rail on about how you can\'t be an anarchist and religious at the same time.
comment by e
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 10:53 PM CST
Look, I\'ll admit that I have severe personal issues with religion, but I\'ll try to keep that out of it, because I know that for some people, it can occasionally help them.

But I just don\'t see how believing the preposterous lies of Christianity, or Islam, or most other religions has anything to do with anarchism.

These religions were always about power - I have no doubt that aside from the few founding \'prophets\' etc, 99% of the people who promulgate religion have done so for their own sick purposes.

Look at what Mohamad did with Islam - conquered and pillaged, no different from your garden variety Christian. Whether they\'re conquering whole nations or just the minds of 50 title-paying suckers, it doesn\'t matter.

So, yeah, people adopt the (literal) teachings of Jesus or whoever, yet rebel against institutional religion - but what\'s the point? Can\'t one just be a good person without some devine order? Or without fear of reprisal in an imaginary afterlife?

Many people in American \'identify as christians.\' So therefore we should be christians too? No, we should show them that they are the farthest thing in the universe from what Jesus would have liked, and then tell them that Jesus was a fraud. That, or as Upton Sinclair said, the original anarchist.
comment by Reverend Chuck0
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 10:55 PM CST
Right. Folks need to turn down the anti-religion rhetoric and allow people to discuss this article in different ways. Every article on religion should not be an excuse for an anti-religion flamefest. And this discussion is disrespectful of the author.
comment by e
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 22 2004 @ 10:56 PM CST
By the way, I don\'t mean to trash Malcom X, or anyone who takes the time to read Infoshop.

Reading more into it, I think that the Nation of Islam really had a profound effect on American society - but ultimately, it failed.

Hopefully, APOC will have more luck!
comment by Nil
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 12:45 AM CST
Well, there isn\'t a part of his life where he ditches Islam, actually.

But the Autobiography of Malcolm X is not the best exhibit of Malcolm X\'s radical and revolutionary thought and action. See \"Malcolm X Speaks\" ISBN: 0802132138, a collection of speeches given by him in the last year or two of his life instead. And if after reading that, you don\'t have a whole lot of respect for the man, then I don\'t know where you\'re coming from.
comment by pannekoek05@yahoo.com
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 12:58 AM CST
Hopefully this kind of bridge between anarchism and islam will bring more mainstream people to the cause, and make them give up religion all together. Whatever works, works. This is religion stripped down to the barest of esstentials to still call it a religion, and then hopefully people will progress to a total rejection of religion. Could someone proofread the articles from prisoners before posting them though since it was kind of a choppy read, and I have much sympathy for the author whos stuck in the pen right now.
comment by Nil
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 01:02 AM CST
Everything associated with those religions was always about power? (I assume you mean maintaining it, rather than contesting or resisting it). Couple thousand years of history, numerous people and groups associated with it, and all of them were unanimously about maintaining power? Really? Dorothy Day? St Francis of Asisi? The largely Catholic East Timorese resistance? The Sanctuary Movement? Archbishop Romero? I know less about the history of Islam, but come on, over a thousand years of history and millions of millions of Muslims, you think it\'s monolithic?

Here\'s one translated story from the Attar\'s 12th century compilation of \"Memorials of the Saints\":

http://www.mythfolklore.net/2003frametales/weeks/week04_sufi/pages/03.htm

Fozail and Harun al-Rashid


One night Harun al-Rashid summoned Fazl the Barmecide, who was one of his favourite courtiers.
comment by Reverend Chuck0
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 02:10 AM CST
The vast majority of American anarchists don\'t belong to explicitly anarchist organizations, so take the number known to belong to anarchist organizations and go from there.
comment by Reverend Chuck0
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 02:12 AM CST
Ok, there have been enough anti-religion remarks in this thread. In the interest of preserving our scarce bandwidth, any further comments should touch on specifics in the article, preferably from other religious anarchists.
comment by Reverend Chuck0
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 24 2004 @ 04:43 PM CST
You wrote the \"largest anti-war group\", not the \"largest Marxist anti-war group.\" ANSWER is not the largest anti-war group by any stretch these days.
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 07:49 AM CST
Spain was also one of the most heavily Catholic countries in the world in the late 1930s, which serves to disprove your point.

The point is not to tell people they have to stop believing in god, the point is to *show* them why their belief in god is being exploited to keep them subservient and poor.
comment by Salim
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 08:37 AM CST
Hi All and Salaam `Alaykum,
I am a bit overwhelmed by all the comments. My shock artist schooling is going alright this is stirring shit up! Anyway, there really is nothing anyone can say to me to debunk \"religion\" because to me it is not about \"religion\" but about \"spirituality\", \"religion\" is a western concept so is the concept of \"God\" that atheists don\'t believe in, to me personally, in my opinion, very important I statements to me.
In prison one of my cheif support people spent the first half-hour debunking my religious beliefs, she is an atheist Marxist from Turkey. So it is nothing new to me to hear hard line opinions on religion, again many people use many rationalizations to oppress other people and themselves. I could tell you personal stories of freinds tortured as Muslims by other Muslims because they were not of the right \"opinion\" for party Islamists or idealogues. So I hoped people would read this with an open mind and discuss the issues in it. I actually anticipated three kinds of responses from this article:

1. atheist anarchists railing against \"religion\"
2. fundamentalist Islamists railing against \"secualrism\" or whatever they want to call tolerance.
3. conservative Amerikans railing against my anti-Americanism.

The real reason I posted it was so that other Anarcho-Muslims, yes there are many, would see that there are people out there that think like them and are willing to state it publicly which in our times is not an easy thing to do. However, as a white American Muslim I consider it my obligation to speak out against the US and against Islamist statist fundementalism. Again, there is nothing anyone can ever say to me to get me to not believe because my beliefs are not based on Ideas or Critiques they are based on my personal relationship with al-Lah.
All this talk about \"religion\" instead about the issue of the US oppression and the oppression of fundementalism is exactly what Authoritarians want. Sufis will continue to do what we do no matter what others think of us, we have been doing it for almost 1500 years and will keep right on doing it because there is a force behind our hearts that is not temporal or based on human whims.
Sorry if it appears to be choppy. I wrote this under some extreme conditions initially. I don\'t think prisoners need their works to proof read they need to be read, period. Then again I often wonder why there aren\'t more anarchists in prison considering what is going on in the world, but that is my opinion. If you want to discuss this article with me email me directly.
comment by Somebody
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 09:14 AM CST
I find little difference between religion and ideology. Both revere some sort of \"greater good\". There will always be those who are dogmatic and have little tolerance to a variety of world views. Inter-faith groups are interesting, since one can see people of varying faiths attempting to find common ground.
comment by Salim
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 09:25 AM CST
I wanted to address one gross misunderstanding that exists about Islam, this misunderstanding is propoganda put out by conservative Christians against Muslims.

Regarding Islam being spread by the Sword. I know of no academic that has ever claimed that Muhammad (s.a.s.) ever used the sword other then to defend himself. Actually, he never picked up a sword. He stayed in a tent meditating while the battle were going on and was protected by his closest companions.

This is part of the Umayyad corruption that occured to Islam after the Prophets re-union with al-Lah (aka his death). The Umayyad clan was responsible for the Islamic wars of expansion which were actually clan wars of expansion for power. The Umayyad clan was the most powerful clan or tribe in pre-Islamic Makka. It was the power that Muhammad (s.a.s.) rebelled against in early Islam. If you read the footnotes there is a link to a Muslim account of the Prophet\'s political career. I alluded to all this here:

\"This role became perverted in Sunni Islam with the introduction of the `Umayyad clans control over the state where innovations were introduced, innovations which have been fought by the guided Sunni reformers which have appeared from time to time.\"

The Umayyad clan also led the rebellion against the Imamate of `Ali (a.s.) of which Shi\'a Muslims believe in. In the grand political conflict that existed after the end of the Prophets earthly life there where four groups at work:

1. Shi\'a of `Ali (to which I believe in) 2. average Muslims that followed the proto-sunnah of the Prophet (Sunnis) and fought along with the Shi\'a of `Ali and with the Umayyad depending on their personal allegiances. 3. The politically ambitious Umayyads that wanted to preserve their political base and power and use Islam towards that goal. 4. The Kharijis, an ulta-orthodox group which believed it was right and everyone else was wrong and assassinated Imam `Ali.

The wars of aggression, which I stated was against natural Islam under the doctrine of Salam, were waged by the Umayyad political dynasty not by some sort of religious fervor. In fact most Muslims became Muslim through the interaction of traders, an early example of globalization, during the Abbasid Empires relatively peaceful dominance of the Middle East. This is why most Muslims are Asian, not Arab.
comment by sunrise
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 11:20 AM CST
I am an evangelical Christian with strong anarchist/primitivist tendencies. I love this article. I fully recognise and am embarrassed by the authoritarian history of the church, but how come people dont look at the authoritarian history of athiests. Humans of every stripe have been corupt throughout history, if those of us who are anti-authoritarian of whatever stripe cant work together, then that is a real shame.
comment by August
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 11:35 AM CST
Yeah, Malcolm X is one of the coolest and most cogent radicals in American history. He never did ditch his Moslem faith he just converted to a more traditional \"orthodox\" Islam. After performing Hajj and witnessing Muslims of many races and nationalities in Mecca he no longer saw racism as a proper tactic for black liberation nor for the living of a holy life.
comment by Juan
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 11:49 AM CST
Yeah, she has an interesting viewpoint: the need for muslims to rediscover the tradition of Ijtihad. She comes from a politically liberal stance and therefore has a lot of the reformist baggage that goes along with it but she deserves to be read and not just by muslims. Her website is www.Muslim-Refusenik.com
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 11:57 AM CST
How are you comparing APOC to the Nation of Islam? They both have have black members, I geuss.
comment by afxgrin
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 12:35 PM CST
Can we please stop talking about \"converting\" people away from religion. Who cares - they\'ll still believe what they want to believe, and if we keep treating people like they need to be converted, we\'ll just turn them against us.

All of you who keep ranting about religion, and not specifying organized religion, sound a lot like some Bolsheviks ...

I don\'t want to work with people who are so secular. I know plenty of Muslims and most of them are very good people who really need our outreach these days.

Hey - all you white atheist anarchists - we\'re pretty much the only group of white people willing to talk to non-white Muslims about serious issues like religion, authority and capitalism. Let\'s not distance ourselves from another group of oppressed people who have already reconciled their religious beliefs with their political ones.
comment by Smile Inducer
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 01:19 PM CST
I think it\'s very important to not discount spiritual people completely. There are anarcho-christians, anarcho-muslims, anarchist jews. There are many arguments and texts and books written about each of these religions and how they have anarchist tendencies. Anarchists should not be working so hard to destroy spirituality and insult religious people but to get those people to reject the authoritarianism that the \"leaders\" of those relgions in the modern world try to put across.
comment by still hating dogma
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 03:01 PM CST
yeah, great article, the fundamentalist christians dont realize that muslims invented almost everything the renaissance folx claimed to come up with.

but its important to note that anarchism\'s like a religion or dogma itself, 90% of the \'anarchists\' i know are to anarchism what fundamentalists are to religion. but there\'re a few good ones.
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 06:00 PM CST
\"lets see there are about 1.3Billion Muslims, and about oh maybe 10,000 anarchists in the world. gee... i wonder what is more relevant solpsistic anarcho-pups or all those Muslims in the world???\"

is membership really what makes a belief system relevant? Is Christianity more relevant than judaism? Capitalism more than communism?
comment by agatha
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 05:19 PM CST
I think that this article is possibly one of the most articulate interesting, and (most importantly) relevant pieces of political theory posted on this website. Islam constitutes a powerful geopolitical force, and the emergence of a radical, anti-authoritarian current within Islam could do more for the global struggle for liberation than we could possibly imagine. Consider too the popularity of Islam among prisoners. Now constrast this article with the writings of primitivists, whose ideology is about as relevant to geopolitics as a fart in a sandstorm. My point is that this is an important and powerful meme that should be nurtured and propogated rather than being shot down by dogmatic closed-minded fools. I agree wholeheartedly with \"still hating dogma\" that the anarchist movement is full of people who are slaves to their ideology, and are more concerned with being a \"pure\" anarchist than they are with actually constructing liberatory situations.
comment by Reverend Chuck0
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 10:30 PM CST
Can folks cut out the trash-talking against groups of anarchists? If you can\'t, I will start deleting posts. If this problem continues, I will ask the Infoshop collective if we should turn off comments in Infoshop News. I\'m sick and tired of people thinking they can trash anarchists here.
comment by Salim
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 11:32 PM CST
Reading some of these comments, and I am really happy there are so many comments, I am reminded of something I noticed for a long time in activists circles that is that we seemed to have an ingrained factionalism in us. I often though that this was just part of the state\'s apparatus to control us. So I just did a quick search on \"COINTELPRO divide\" on google and found some interesting stuff. For example:

\"William Sullivan, former head of the FBI Intelligence Division, testified that, \"We were engaged in COINTELPRO tactics, to divide, confuse, weaken, in diverse ways, an organization. We were engaged in that when I entered the Bureau in 1941.\" The Senate Intelligence Committee found that by 1946 the Bureau had a \"policy\" of preparing and disseminating \"propaganda\" to \"discredit\" its targets.\"

and \"to foster factionalism...\"
see http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/FBI/COINTELPRO90s_WAH.html

I think that is all pretty self-explanatory. I believe that we can use communal consultation to avoid factionalism and respect each other through and integrative approach.

Now, on the topic of Christian Anarchists. I learned anarchism from Christian Anarchists. In DC when I lobbied for human rights for Muslim groups, such as the American Muslim Council, I lived with some Christian Anarchist, at the time I was an orthodox Muslim and believed in the whole Islamic Republican idea, earlier I was a Democratic Socialist. So anyway, these Christian Muslims, some with the Catholic Worker and the Proposition 1 Committee, really inspired me and made me reconsider anarchism.
comment by Salim
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 23 2004 @ 11:51 PM CST
This is very interesting, a comprehensive listing of all the COINTELPRO divide tactics and methodology used to destroy the Black Panther Party. I have seen alot of these tactics at work, specifically with the North Coast Earth First! group I am a member of back in California.

http://www.wakeupmag.co.uk/articles/method.htm
comment by don't sell out now, anarchists!
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 24 2004 @ 03:04 AM CST
\"Anarchists were organizing and doing actual work while the Marxists sat in coffee shops talking about inane philosophy.\"

No need for jabs like that; the largest anti-war group in the USA claims to be marxist so you\'re wrong.

an idea,

Most workers identify with christianity -- in North America. In Europe, attitudes are very different. In the Czech rep, atheists are actually the largest group. The French mostly don\'t care either way. Backwards England is sadly another story.

It\'s not necessary for anarchists to contstantly denounce religion (although it\'s good if they do). Yet it is necessary that they don\'t water down their own platform just to gain the abstraction of being \'tolerent\'. It won\'t help you in the long run.

Revolutionaries should be supporting secular Arab groups, when they are large enough to support and when it is possible. For example, I would take the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine over Hamas. The PFLP is actually a viable alternative.

In the context of what is happening in Iraq I would definitely support Muslim anti-imperialists; they\'re the only ones who can defeat the occupation. But never would I think that they could be described as \'anarchist\'. *laughs until crying*
comment by Reverend Chuck0
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 24 2004 @ 10:53 AM CST
UFPJ is Marxist? Or are you referring to the American Friends Service Committee?
comment by Reverend Chuck0
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 24 2004 @ 10:55 AM CST
I\'m glad that Salim wrote this article. Progressive Islam is a movement which deserves our support. We anarchists should think about devloping ally relationships with progressive Muslims.
comment by mick
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 24 2004 @ 03:00 PM CST
Interesting article, would anyone have more information on where this was 1st published, or contact information for Salim?

Salim, are you able to post to infoshop.org from prison? (it appears this is the case).

Salim, are you in touch with anarchist-infulanced Quebec-based groups like No One Is Illegal (Montreal), or various non-status comites?

Here\'s the email and phone # for NOII:
noii-montreal@resist.ca or 514-859-9023



comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 24 2004 @ 03:11 PM CST
Chuck,

The American Friends Service Committee is Quaker. I was referring to ANSWER (Act Now to Stop the War and End Racism).
comment by ishi
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 24 2004 @ 04:17 PM CST
i am not a muslim. my religion would be more like \'stochastic electrodynamics\' (SED) and related fields (doubly special relativity, bimetric general relativity, VSL theories, as well as the ever-popular \'evolution\'). one of my best friends is a muslim, and a sufi-style. but, still a bit homophobic, as a start, though feminist. the other muslims i have met tend to be anti-feminst too. but i think this is not stable.
my religion, stochastic electrodynamics, does not have much of a position on \'human issues\' (whether you should wipe with your left hand, as say a \'leftist\' or use your right). so, i dont really care what interest you have so long as it aint cross mine. i do know that religious people in general are not interested in things like hydrodynamic models of the ether or other groovy topics in SED. so sometimes i am \'antireligious\' because these people try to devalue the way i use my time, or waste it the same way i might waste theirs discussing the Polyakov lagranigan or whatever (and thats superstrings, not SED). exact same way i often dont like \'hunters\' because i dont like to hear shooting when i am doing other things.

alot of this is irrelevant. hunters can find their own areas, and SED types and muslims, or punk rockers and jazz musicians can each find their own niche. but they got to remember to avoid treading on others.

Hakim Bey i think may be a Sufi. to me he is a \'poet\' type. i dont have a problem with that, but it aint SED. i like a little bit of it, but i like my own terrain and i dought hakim bey would read what i do.

also, as for fundamentalism and dogma, or \'trashing anarchists\' on this page i note Zerzan has another story in which in the 2nd paragraph he says something like \'everyone knows the enlightenment views of human freedom, etc.\' are wrong. that is fundamentalism, and authoritarianism. it is exactly the same as if a religious person (or a scientific person) made some claim like \'everyone knows that islam/chistianity/science/ etc is wrong\'.

nobody knows jack shit. that is the lesson of science. its all conjecture. if you want to speculate, fine. experiment. cool. but dont presume to be an authority. the Koran is the same as SED is the same as primivitism is the same as the enlightenment.
(also, progressive islam shares more with the enlightenment and science and unitarianism than with any dogma).
comment by Salim
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 24 2004 @ 05:51 PM CST
Hi,
It was first published right here at infoshop.org. I can be reached at autonomous@mutualaid.org. I am out of prison on bail pending a asylum hearing I have a deportation order pending. If you want updates on my case or alerted when I am jailed, which usually happens about three times a year the last few years you can subscribe to this list:

http://lists.mutualaid.org/mailman/listinfo/freesalim

Solidarite,

Salim

p.s. I am in contact with NOII-Montreal.
comment by Salim
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 24 2004 @ 07:43 PM CST
So now that this discussion is cooling off I can back to work on the project I have been working on since being released from prison. My next article won\'t be on Islam actually, although there will be a discussion of the concept of Shura in it referencing modernist Islamic thought on the issue, which has sprung out of the orthodox camp. Anyway, I will next be writing on a paper called \"The Question of the State: Comparitive Analysis and Re-Thinking the Questions that Divide Us\". I will be delineating the philosophy of the State from Liberalism, Marxism and Anarchism. Covering the thought of Hobbes, Locke, Mill, Thomas Paine, Anti-Federalists/Federalists, Proudhoun, Bakunin, Engels, Marx, Lenin, Rocker, Anton Pannekoek and more. My question is how relevant to our modern situation is are the questions from the 19th century that sent Anarchists in one direction, Marxists in another and those for the status quo to maintain Liberalism? On the question of the state is there a real distinction between Libertarian Socialist (anarchists) and Libertarian Marxists (left communists)?

Anyway, if you are interested in this stuff you can find some really interesting books by this guy, until I finish this project, solidarite to all.

Beyond the State
John Hoffman

Citizenship Beyond the State
John Hoffman

Some Papers:
http://www.psa.ac.uk/cps/2004/Hoffman.pdf
http://www.psa.ac.uk/cps/1996/hoff.pdf

You can also read my previous article which was written in prison too, on my experiences with the Autonomous Collective. Just click on the name Salim above and it will take you to the link and my previous posts on Infoshop.

--Salim

p.s. I could use a research grant for this next paper if anybody has a some extra dollars they could spare ;-)

p.s.s. oh, yaeh. Hakim Bey was a sufi and translator of sufi poetry. He was heavily influenced by Ismai\'ilism, I was too when first studying Islamic Philosophy. The Isma\'ilis of the Nizari branch believe the Shari\'ah is no longer in effect and follow the guidance of their liberal leader the Agha Khan who is a leading european capitalist and backer of the United Nations.
comment by mick
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, December 24 2004 @ 10:24 PM CST
Good to know you\'re in touch w/ NOII and out of prison. Best of luck with your refugee claim, are you a US citizen?
comment by chao-ninja
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 25 2004 @ 08:49 PM CST
\"Can folks cut out the trash-talking against groups of anarchists? If you can\'t, I will start deleting posts. If this problem continues, I will ask the Infoshop collective if we should turn off comments in Infoshop News. I\'m sick and tired of people thinking they can trash anarchists here.\"

I am apalled at your failure to aknowledge the trash talk against muslims and folks of religious beleif in this forum and your fascistic threats to control the flow of opinions about anarchists. I would hardly call the critiques herein \'trash talk\', I think these people are merely trying to point out the dogmatic attitude that many anarchists on this website and elsewhere tend to exhibit, drawing a direct correlation between these dogmatic people and the other dogmatic people that they are dissing for being dogmatic. How is that not constructive?

Why should it be okay for you to control our words, especially when those words are badly needed? If you consider yourself an anarchist, then perhaps you should consider the oppressive results of information control.

And to all of those so caught up in this religion vs anarchism thing, maybe you should work harder on trying to understand how the world works. Things are alot more complicated than they may be in whatever small niche you find yourself in. Answers rarely ever come as black and white. Please make an effort to understand this. And please, make SOME sort of an attempt to understand what life is like or people that aren\'t like you. Everyone would do good to read a book about islam, or any group of people around the world you know very little about.
comment by mj
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, December 25 2004 @ 11:58 PM CST
MMMMM.... libertarian socialist steak!
comment by Yay for Jeebus!
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, December 26 2004 @ 02:42 PM CST
Huh? As I understood it, the \"point\" was that there\'s nothing incompatible about Christianity and anarchism, as demonstrated by Spain, a heavily Catholic country. Whereby anarchism today alienates, instead of interests, the faithful. You\'re reinforcing that.
comment by lolo
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, December 27 2004 @ 01:10 AM CST
seeing if this works
comment by Ben
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 03:36 PM CST
Salim-
I liked your list of authors. Have you ever read any Maurice Brinton? His views are like panneokoek\'s, libertarian socialism. Anyway a collection of writings of his was just published by AK Press, it\'s called FOR WORKER\"S POWER. As for a grant, you might be able to get one from the Institue for Anarchist Studies.
www.anarchist-studies.org
comment by The insider
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 06 2005 @ 09:27 PM CST
Living, as a so-called \"white atheist anarchist\" in a muslim country, I read all this with great interest.
I thought you were a Sufi when I read your article, before attaining the part you quite evidently say it (am I wrong?).
Like many, all these sectarian posts saddened me. It\'s funny (ironically) to see people speaking about topics and questions they don\'t really know. I would like to see more people considering the outer world, I mean the Oriental and non-europe like countries. As a foreigner, living in Egypt (say this could reveal me to authorities, unfortunately), I think I know far more about the average muslim and his/her culture than many of those who speak endlessly about Islam vs Christianity.
This is why I won\'t throw in this sterile debate my arguments, although I would be pleased to discuss about it with informed people, and I know there is, even here.
Actually, i would be pleased if more anarchist sympathizers and others from muslim countries could contribute to that topic. Let\'s share our opinions about the arabic world!
That stated, I thank the author. Shoqran! This is a very good article, though I don\'t agree with many of your thoughts about Islam. However, you do describe very well the contradictions of the consumerist system we\'re living in.

Allah yeghalliq (God bless you)

N.B: I know this reference to God looks strange, but this is a common expression, and has lost its religious meaning in Egypt.
comment by Hertani
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 07 2005 @ 10:58 AM CST
hey salim
im a muslim anarchist too!

you live in quebec? im currently in ottawa.
just a few minutes from Hull.
comment by ian ward
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 07 2005 @ 10:52 PM CST
though it seems i risk censor for expressing myself, i think an important point is missed by those who suggest we are being too \'anti-religion\'...or that we should critisize the \'organizational\' aspect of religion, the hierarchy rather than the belief.

the point as yet unmade? that religion includes hierarchy independent of human organization. that it replaces the invisible hand of state with the invisible hand of god.

for instance, Nil writes;
The Prophet added,