Live and Let Live

In response to the latest bigoted outcry on the Syrian Blogsphere against Homosexuality.

I never ever imagined that there will come the day when I would have to stand up and fight for the right of homosexuals to be what they have chosen to be. I don’t condone their outlook on life, I don’t concur with their preferences, I don’t truly understand their choice but this is how far I go. My personal judgment and bias should not blind me from seeing that they exist and that I have to shut the fuck up and abide by their freedom of choice.

How can we stop ourselves from repudiating all forms of nonconformity? Should we start cleaning our society (as if our society is clean to start with) from homosexuals and then relentlessly go down the list. Let us clearly identify the next targets (victims) of this moral crusade.

Atheists, adulterers, drinkers, un-hijabed women, un-bearded men, lovers, nightclub patrons, beach bums, hot chicks, artists, poets, communists, irreverent writers, people who look funny… free bloggers. Alas, it is a desperately long and all-encompassing list.

Where do the dimwits intend to stop?

What are they to do with all these non-conformists? Leave it to these religious tartuffes and they are likely to replace us with a bunch of brainwashed zealots, ardent celibates, devout cretins, faithful crusaders, pious robots and godly agitators who will teach those who are left of us how to live. What to do and what not to say. How to look down and how not to laugh. Why we die and why we should lead austere lives all the way to the grave.

Thanks but no thanks. The fanatics, the fomenters, the hypocrites, the bigots, the knaves gave me no choice but to defend a Syria of multiplicity and to protect my own freedom of choice.

Live and let live.

in November of 2008 I wrote Secular Shivers and Religious Fever and I was partially blamed for seeing the Syrian Blogsphere in Black and White. How do you like them colors now?


Dubai Jazz said…
Totally agree with you. Looks like our friends are on a kind of a crusade. But we probably have to communicate with them in Arabic in order to get better results. What do you think Abu Fares? Let's see how it goes.
Abufares said…
Hello my friend.
You might be right but I'm too old for this shit (pardon the expression). It has to be somebody who believe that such effort is not an exercise in futility.
I watch in wonder where our melting pot of cultures seems to be heading (yes Syria has always been such a melting pot a long time before the discovery of the new world).
Traditionally it has been the role of governments in the Middle East to abuse and suffocate freedom. They eased some "personal and social" restrictions and the first immediate result is the mushrooming equivalent of the detestable "Moral Majority". Their only interpretation of freedom is derived, conveniently enough, from divine text. How can you argue with a person who believes at best that he is a personal friend of God or as is more often the case a servant whose mission in life is to rid the world of the queer and vermin.
Dubai Jazz said…
Walla yehmak Abu Fares, this might sound a bit eccentric but I love arguing about this shit! Probably because at one point I used to agree with them (with reservations), and now I can see all the flaws in my earlier thinking.

I've already brought a bag of popcorn after I posted a comment in Arabic on Mohammad's blog (awaiting moderation). I think it's going to be fun!
Anonymous said…
In support of everything you say Abufares, nothing to add but live and let live, not just in Syria but everywhere.

I read a bit of the person at the origin of this crusade though your link, although I'm not sure I know exactly to whom he is referring, and was increasingly stunned the more I scrolled and read. I've seen enough, and he's not even clever or interesting.

I wish these people had as much courage in fighting the real ills of society, those which really affect us and which can damage more than precious sensibilities. Fight for the real enemies of civilization, people, nations.

Such intolerance is simply intolerable.
Anonymous said…
Dubai Jazz, let us know how it goes, I salute your patience and appreciate your explanation!
KJ said…
there's so much i can add - especially on the psychology part - but it is more or less a lost cause. I am a live and let live person - and love while you're doing that too.

What people do in bed is their business.

How boring would life be if everyone were the same!
Anonymous said…
Frankly I don't understand this crazy preoccupation with homosexuality. I mean, who cares?Live and let live as you say, Abu Fares. And I agree with Razan, if people put all this energy they spend on protesting against homosexuality toward something that really matters - and there are many worthwhile battles to be won out there for humanity, including the fight against discrimination - the world might be a better place. For instance, there's some kook, Fred Phelps (a Baptist church minister), in the states who pickets funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq...not because he's against the war in Iraq but because he believes they are dying because America gave rights to "fags". ( Like WTF? To us reasonable folks this hate monger is clearly wacko...but often its the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. And he has followers. But anyway, your voice in support of human rights is an important one, Abu Fares, and I really like them colours! Isobel
Karin said…
Agreed - 100%!! I am not surprised to discover for the umpth-time, we share ONE ideology, ONE philosophy of life ... TO LIVE AND LET LIVE!

It would never occur to me to judge someone after his or her sexual or any other orientation as much as I would never accept anyone else tell me what or what not to do or say or how to think!

I LOVE diversity, in every aspect ... that's what makes it all interesting! Imagine we were all the same ... a terrifying thought!! And if folks decide for homosexual or lesbian life style - so be it. In my eyes they are not an iota "inferior" to others even though, like you, I do not share nor condone their preferences nor choices. It is THEIR decision .. and that's good enough for me. Besides ... science discovered there MIGHT be more to it - it might be genetically predispositioned ... in that case the whole discrimination-idea would become even more the figment of wicked imagination of some VERY sick minds!

Thanks Abufares ... I always thoroughly enjoy reading your posts!!
Best regards to Maha!
MJ said…
let me put it in a different way as to my comment on chaos's blog, a person's freedom ends when other peoples' freedom starts. We cannot pretend that we as humans can live normal lives without rules and laws, thats how everything in this universe runs, so why are we an exception?

I agree with KJ that what people do in bed is their business, but once that goes out on to the streets then its everyone's business, and that gives people the right to discuss these things.
saint said…
I do not appreciate the mixing of national affair and social affair from some blogger. Still beating any taboo is useful.
I think the guy who is running the campaign has two sides, he is a wonderful honest person but his extremism takes him to uncharted territories, such to incite hate and extremism. He does not fully understand the freedom of expression which he himself uses and claims that he defends. Like when he says:
الهدف الثاني هو الدفاع عن حقنا أيضاً في وقوفنا ضد هذه الأفكار و ذاك الشذوذ المرضي.
He is saying that he is defending his right in standing against such ideas and the homosexuality. He did not realize that he fell into the hypocrisy of what he is defending, the freedom of expression, and he started a campaign against freedom of expression. I wish he at least gave them the chance to defend themselves, but he want to shut them up and make them disappear.
Anyway, there is no such thing as bad publicity, it is a good thing, so let them start TALKING, about everything and anything, may be they will be bitten by the bug of freedom of speech. Syrian bloggers like an old man in his 60s and suddenly doctors operated on him and opened his sealed lips and started to TALK.
Cheers abu Fars, )
Abufares said…
I told you so:-)arguing with the proscriptive mindset is like "tilting at windmills".
They will continue to regurgitate their torpid logic for as long as they can. If and when they rid the world of homosexuals and other "sick" people they will turn against each other. Ah, if only they learn from history.
Luckily for the rest of humanity their reasoning is fizzling and no matter how loud they shout... nobody will be there to listen.
Abufares said…
"Such intolerance is simply intolerable".
Perfect as usual.
What do you mean fight for the real ills of society. Do you really expect as much of them. While we're casually and freely exchanging ideas, Arab Tartuffes and Totalitarians are in bed together, experimenting on more sadistic ways to repress freedom of speech and expression.
Abufares said…
I wish that when I was your age I knew what you seem to know very well already.
It is indeed a lost cause and apparently they never contemplated "how boring life would be if everyone were the same."
I really don't know what is more offensive in an abstract sense, homosexuals or homoweddings (wedding parties attended only by men or only by women for those who have no idea that such things exist).
Abufares said…
Unfortunately we have more than our fair share of Fred Phelpses.
The tragic common trait of these cleansing campaigns is their relentless effort to eliminate the other. Over the centuries they have caused loss of life and limb but they never prevailed.
They never will.
Abufares said…
Diversity is the most precious characteristic of any society. In the West it's often unknown that Syria, the cradle of civilizations, is also the crib of divergence.
How can anyone claim today to represent the majority? There is no fucking majority (pardon my French). We are neither an Islamic nor a Christian country, we are not only Arabs and we are not only Mediterraneans. AND NO NOT ALL OF US AGREE THAT HOMOSEXUALS ARE SICK PEOPLE.
I do, however, believe that those who lead supposedly pious lives to the very end in the hope of finding little boys in heaven are SICK.
Abufares said…
I have to thank you for always caring to engage in dialogue.
But just out of curiosity what are you willing to tolerate on the streets? Let's, for the sake of argument, ban any explicit display of homosexuality in the streets (BTW it's banned in all Arab countries). What next?
Would you accept a heterosexual couple kissing, holding hands, leaning on each other?
Would you allow miniskirts (for women) and shorts (for men). Would you approve of an open cafe where people (men and women) can have a cold beer or a Diet Coke and laugh out loud. Would you tolerate nightclubs. Would you condone bikinis on public beaches?
Don't you think it's much easier to turn your head the other way when you happen to see something you don't like instead of regulating every single aspect of behavioral diversity.
This is what I'm forced to choose from my friend, being a conformist or siding with homosexuals.
I didn't even give it a second thought.
Abufares said…
I frankly don't see anything wonderful or honest about this and other persons with a similar disposition.
As far as I'm concerned they are the direct descendants of the Christian Crusaders who wreaked havoc on the Levant, of the Zionist Jews who raped Palestine and of the Muslim terrorists who killed innocent bystanders in the trains of Madrid.
Their words and weapons might vary but they follow the same theme.
poshlemon said…
Nothing to add to what has been said above other than I love this post and I am glad to read it.
MJ said…
Yea of course it is very much possible to look the other way, but do you think that everyone thinks that way?!
Sarkozy in France is luanching a campaign to slowly rid the french society from excessive alcoholic consumption; in the early 1900's alcoholic beverages were considered illegal in the USA.
Women wearing clothes that expose most of their bodies does them more harm then benefit, and what is the point for a women to wear a miniskirt other than to arouse the sexual instinct of men?
Not everything the west does is good, and mind you most of the things done in the west is driven by sexual desires..
It is always an argument between islamic tradition and western modernity, unfortunately islamic traditions are usually mixed with local traditions (for example women driving in saudi and honor killings in syria) and when the western world is moving towards post-modern societies we in our societies are making up arguments to move towards modern societies which the west is abandoning.

in my opinion its really unfortunate.
Abufares said…
Thank you for being here. I'm even gladder you loved this post.
Abufares said…
I disagree with you completely but you are of course very welcome to express your opinion.

"Women wearing clothes that expose most of their bodies does them more harm then benefit, and what is the point for a women to wear a miniskirt other than to arouse the sexual instinct of men?"

So! What's wrong with that? They want to arouse the sexual instinct of men. Who are we, you and I, to stop them???

"when the western world is moving towards post-modern societies we in our societies are making up arguments to move towards modern societies which the west is abandoning".

Where did that come from? Who in the west is abandoning freedom of expression???
Aren't the words "Islamic tradition" similar in vanity to Christian tradition and Jewish tradition??? Who are we, you and I, to decide which is better if indeed there is a better one out of the three mentioned.
Yazan said…
My dear Abu Fares,
Your post betkaffi w zeyadeh!
Anonymous said…
@ Jabi: "most of the things done in the west is driven by sexual desires." Like technology? Education? Science? Medical breakthroughs? That's mostly driven by sexual desires? Well, then long live sexual desire.

In honor of the subject of this post, I should also point out that some women wear a miniskirt to arouse the sexual instinct of ... women.
MJ said…
Rime I was talking in regards to society, not science and technology.

Abufares what I meant by Islamic tradition is the actual teachings of the Quran and Hadith. If you want to know which one is better look at which one when applied produced a civilization that was great.

Well when those women get rapped do not wonder why they did..
Abufares said…
Thanks man.
I always suspected that the main cultural division in our part of the world is between Religious Conformists and Non-Conformists. There's less and less social interaction between these 2 main broad groups. There's less intermarriage, less friendship, less camaraderie, less tolerance and less affinity between them.
Every time I travel in Syria I see this divide widening further and soon enough everyone will notice that we are living in the same country but have very little in common.
I guess we have to thank religion(s) for this wonderful achievement.
Abufares said…
"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within."
Will Durant

Even the "great" Islamic Civilization carried its own seeds of destruction from within the stagnant pond of its arrested development.

You are going to get most women (and many men) angry at you with that artless remark about rape. But I won't go into that. Instead and just as a suggestion, have you ever considered that you and your ecclesiastical doctrines might not be 100% right. If you haven't then it will be virtually impossible for you to engage in any type of open discussion because you would be unable to admit that you are or even might be wrong.
Dania said…
And again it all goes back to the Secular Shivers and Religious Fever.

it's funny how people can pretend using "freedom of expression" to attack the "freedom of existence" to people who differe from the "GODDESS" majorty.
Shadi HIJAZI said…
"I never ever imagined that there will come the day when I would have to stand up and fight for the right of homosexuals to be what they have chosen to be. I don’t condone their outlook on life, I don’t concur with their preferences, I don’t truly understand their choice but this is how far I go. My personal judgment and bias should not blind me from seeing that they exist and that I have to shut the fuck up and abide by their freedom of choice."
Very well said Abu Fares, as usual!
Totally agree with you, this blog brought to me an old saying that my grandmother was saying all the time:
"كل مين على دينو الله يعينو" which summarizes the folk wisdom in the "melting pot" we live in, the color rich Levant...
I think the next step be for these "moral crusaders" would be painting and purifying the poetry and the tales of the "Islamic Era"!
Abufares said…
Hello my friend
It is indeed "the tyranny of the masses".
Dubai Jazz said…
"most of the things done in the west are driven by sexual desire"

Let me rewind that statement for you, one way or the other, most things done in the weast AND the east are driven by sexual desires. The most basic and primeval force in human history, the instinct to survive, mate and give birth to offspring and then take care of them until they're on their own. Your holier-than-thou attitude may not admit it, because the Shiekhs had put my penis on the top list of their priority and made it their own business to control. ...Anyway, I've posted about this here, where I almost jizzed in my pants.

p.s. sorry for the shameless plug Abu Fares!!
Abufares said…
Yeslam Hal Tem
I really don't understand those who insist on changing others to conform with their own code of ethics. When they can't find a valid reason for their aggressive behavior, and there is no reason, they bring the SCRIPTURES (in one of its different and somehow contradictory forms) forward.
Can't they really grasp that "faith" is a very intimate and personal matter?
OK, they can't.
Can't they comprehend that not all people agree with the SCRIPTURES?
No, they can't.
Gone are the days when you could shove religion down the throat of INFIDELS either by physical threat or financial burdens.
It's funny how the 3 monotheist religions have very contradictory theological notions. However, they agree completely on one point: The need to repress sexual desire. They have gone out of their way just to stress this point, the regulation of sex. This is a very thorny point for religion as it insists that basic human nature (FITRA) dictates conformist sexual pattern, preferences and behavior. If it's basic human nature (FITRA) then why did it waste so much time, energy and space on trying to teach us what is right and what is wrong.
Abufares said…
Long Live the Penguins :-)

I want everyone to read your hilarious post on your blog:

Thank you for "flashing" yourself here.
Abufares, it has been an honour to translate this post, thanks for allowing me to do so

I can only add what I told you earlier today, I’m deeply disturbed by the extent of the polarization trend sweeping the Syrian society these days. Over the last few years I was away from home every time I travel back I feel saddened by what my beloved Damascus is changing. And as you said, who’s next on the list?
Anonymous said…
@Jabi: "Well when those women get rapped do not wonder why they did.."

You have a great misconception about rape and I feel its important to address it. When a woman is raped, the problem is not with the woman but rather with the man who raped her. A woman's choice of clothing has no bearing on whether she would be raped. The reason for rape has nothing to do with sex but is about controlling and/or injuring the victim. Your statement, although an unfortunate common one, is careless and offensive.

Do some reading:
Yazan said…

I'm afraid your comment about rape is not simply offensive to women, it is equally offensive to men. I don't appreciate being viewed as a sex freak who can not control his penis and who has to force himself on anything that arouses his sexual instincts. I am not like that and I presume most of my fellow humans are not like that.

And that's that.
Abufares said…
@Syrian in London
thank you for taking the time and putting in the effort of translating my post on your blog.
Because I know you personally, I am honored to say that you are a perfect example of a rare breed of young women in Syria who fully understand and live by the fact that religion is a very personal matter without going over and falling into the bottomless valley of extremism.
If the present tragic trend continues there will come the time when 2 people (like you and me) can never be in the same place at the same time to enjoy and appreciate each other's company on a level unknown and unexperienced by these hypocrites.
Gabriela said…
Hello Abufares:
I use to say that a lot of courage is needed in order to "get out of the closet". Being different is not, and has never been, an easy task.
Live and let live... easier to be said than to be done. And yet, tolerance is the key word here.
Saludos desde Lima.
The Syrian Brit said…
My dear Abu Fares,
I said it on this Blog before, and, with your permission, I say it again:

"Je ne suis pas d'accord avec ce que vous dites, mais je me battrai pour que vous ayez le droit de le dire."


(I do not agree with what you say, but I will fight for your right to say it.)

If only we could learn!...

As you quite rightly point out, once the thin end of the wedge of 'moral cleansing' is firmly in place, who knows what will it lead to??.. Before you know it, those self-styled defenders of morality will be targeting anything and anyone who is simply not to their liking, never mind those who do not conform to the self-righteous, vacant and hypocritical standards that those bigots want to impose upon us all..
I must admit, some of the comments on the blog launching this rabid campaign make depressing reading... the venom that some commentators have been spewing out was just shocking...
But rest assured, as long as there are open-minded and enlightened people like you and your readers, this kind of intolerance will not prevail...
Haifaa said…
Abu Fares,

This has nothing to do with tolerance. Tolerate what? This has to do with humanity. I am so proud of you for posting this, Abu Fares.

I hope all of us can be with the one we love.
Abufares said…
The way I see it is that bigots who don't approve of people coming out of closets should find a hole in the ground and hide in it until they realize that the world is dynamic and ever changing. That it's not centered around them personally or about their beliefs. And that they'd better accept it and live and let live.
Abufares said…
@The Syrian Brit
We can't be as eloquent as Voltaire or half as wise.
It is indeed shocking that these fossils quite believe that they hold the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Arguing with people who start with this premise could lead nowhere. I find it very amusing when religious leaders from different faiths get together and discuss immorality. In principle, they don't agree on the basic foundations of theology. As a matter of fact every single one of these religions is exclusive of the other on the most basic level. But give them SEX as a topic, anything even remotely related to sex or women, and they would agree in an instant and later kiss each other's stinky beard (or ass).
Abufares said…
@Az3ar's Fan
Ever so precise and unwasteful of words.

I hope your wish come true and that we can all be with the one we love indeed. This in my opinion is the major role of GOD.
Lujayn said…
Shit, I missed this entire post and conversation!! Great one, Abu Fares, and love the discussion!
Abufares said…
Ever since you got married... well obviously you have less time for the rest of us :-) But your late entry is always fashionable.

This entire post, in my opinion, would've been totally unnecessary if we didn't have the fossilized remains of homo erectus amongst us in this age and place.
Lujayn said…
Not true, Abu Fares. Its not the husband, its facebook. He's complaining too, poor thing! :)

The problem with me is I usually read relatively-like-minded blogs, and it kind of insulates me from the neanderthals like the guy that set off this long discussion. I shouldnt forget they exist, and in large numbers, which I tend to do. His reasoning, or lack of, assumes that he and his ilk are the keepers of the truth, and the rest of us are just misguided and in need of being brought back to the straight path, pardon the pun.

Its quite disturbing and sad. They live tied up in knots about shoulds and shouldnts, for themselves and for others.
Anonymous said…
In my opinion those "...bunch of brainwashed zealots, ardent celibates, devout cretins, faithful crusaders, pious robots and godly agitators..." usually have something personal to hide and that is why they stand behind their zealot believes!

Futile to try to open their hearts and narrow minds.

Abufares said…
I am like you in the sense that I have completely stopped visiting the (self-righteous) blogs and only a very few very well written Arabic ones.
But every once in a while we get hit smack in the face by some wise ass on Syplanet (for instance) advertising himself (like an old dirty flasher) and exposing his genital mind.
Now so there will be no misunderstanding, everybody is entitled to their opinion by writing about whatever they choose. But to be rude to the point of promoting a campaign against others is totally unacceptable. If you, I and everybody else started hate campaigns in an effort to make those we hate less hateful to us (i.e. acceptable) then we would have really, as a culture, sunk down to the lowest level of animality.
We would be even more despicable if we believe that we represent Islam (for instance) while those who approve of the homosexuals' right to live by their choice are not real Muslims (for instance).
They consider that the Quran and the Hadith have been fully interpreted and the door closed once and for all. Or at best, they will argue that no one can criticize either even when it sounds archaic and outdated. They refuse to accept that somethings are no longer valid and if anyone dares say so then he/she is not a Muslim (infidel is a popular adjective).
Well, as a person who normally doesn't interfere in the business of others I'm quite offended when they stick their noses up anybody's ass and start complaining about the stink. And the stink is always and will forever stay in their heads.
Abufares said…
But of course they have something to hide. Many things as a matter of fact. They are hiding their cowardice in being afraid to question authority. They are hiding their inability to think on their own. They are hiding their dependency on the supernatural because they can't face the natural world. They are hiding their mental impotency. They are hiding their inability to love and be loved.
Is that enough???
Now that I talked to you, I feel much better:-)
MJ said…
whats so offensive about that? people get rapped, some are sexually molested, others choose to be gay or lesbian, all people at some time in their lives are straight, some people are prostitutes. This is reality, if every time people are going to be sensitive and angry about such little but significant issues then we will never get anywhere. and now i know why Arab countries are still struggling to catch up with the west.. some of you need to watch a question-and-answer session in parliament with Gordon Brown and David Cameron, and see what i mean.
As much as i hate to say this but yea I do believe that my beliefs are right, not because i think they are 'divine' but because it is common sense, in this case since there are men and women and men are naturally meant to have sex with women, then naturally a man having sex with another man is not right, it is not natural, otherwise we would have been asexual species and there wont be a need to have two genders. Simple. and that's it. God created adam and eve.. not adam and steve..

Or for the people who refuse to admit that there is a God then it can be said that 'humans evolved into adam and eve...'etc

same as above. But i dont understand why you guys get angry because I said women get rapped because of what they wear, the fact is that men are sexually stimulated visually while women are not. Unfortunately I dont have a link for you to read. however there are anthropological research done on that.

i was sure that someone will understand it that way, all i was trying to say is that women are not doing themselves any favor by wearing revealing clothes, and thats exactly what i said in my previous comment..

Anyhow seems you guys are a sensitive bunch today.. :)
good day..
Abu Fares,
This homophobic campaign has left me so disgusted that I considered moving my blog to a more tolerant "Planet". But we should not yeild to the push of intolerant fanatics. Thanks for pushing back. Once I have a moment, I will have my two cents to say about this as well.
Abufares said…
I will of course reply to my part of your comment and will try to make it brief. Suffonsifisms & Yazan are more than welcome to reply to theirs.

Jabi, have you considered a non-confrontational approach to life in general? Why is there always something in others that you need to change? What common sense are you talking about? Despite the abundance of scientific evidence supporting evolution for instance you still refuse it completely and entertain us with Adam and Steve.
I think you should try love for a change, that is to love someone and to be loved back. Life is too short to waste without love:-)

One final statement, although I promised to only answer my part. I'm certain that Suffonsifisms would not leave that strangest thought of you unanswered but I couldn't resist.

"the fact is that men are sexually stimulated visually while women are not."

Are you out of your mind? Do you really believe that women are not visually stimulated? Hahaha, I have a BIG surprise for you, women go nuts with visual stimuli. They love us as much as we love them and enjoy every little tiny bit (and the big one of course) of our masculine anatomy as much as we enjoy the inherent beauty of their butts, boobs, legs and all of their exquisite contours.
Abufares said…
@Abu Kareem

You can't move my friend. We are as much a part of SYRIA as they are. They might be louder, more organized and certainly more aggressive but that's how far they go. We are much more fun:-)
Looking forward reading your two cents.
Yazan said…
You know what struck me the most, your reasoning is identical to those who blame a freedom fighter for his suffering or a prisoner of conscience for his captivity.

So it is the sexy writings of Michel Kilo which sent the regime "jizzing in its pants" and sticking him behind bars for 3 years, not the actual brutality of such a regime.

You know what, people have the right to expect to be safe and how they dress, or look like should be irrelevant.

Oh and one thing else, you were not "simply" stating a "fact" you were hinting that women are the ones responsible for themselves getting raped, rather than the monster who committed the act, and that is offensive no matter what angle you look at it from.
Lujayn said…

I need to ask you a question. Is the only thing that comes between you personally raping a woman what she is wearing? Your argument basically is that every man including your father, grandfathers, brothers, male cousins and male neighbors, is a born rapist, but the fact that your mother, grandmothers, sisters, female cousins and female neighbors cover up prevents them from carrying out their urges, right? I find that insulting to all the men around you, as well as to the women. I would think the thing that prevents the men in your life from raping women is their conviction that they have no right to violate another human being, regardless of what that human being is wearing or acting or saying. Needless to say, many women who are veiled are raped anyways, seeing as rape is rampant even in conservative societies such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan.
Dubai Jazz said…
Look, I don’t want to sound like I am just taking another ‘Jab’ at you after Abu Fares, Lujayn, and Yazan. As far as I am concerned you sound like an intelligent person and you could probably detect the flaw in your own reasoning. I am especially amused by your statements:

and now i know why Arab countries are still struggling to catch up with the west.. some of you need to watch a question-and-answer session in parliament with Gordon Brown and David Cameron, and see what i mean.

I couldn’t tell if you’re kidding or not ?? I mean, I watch these grueling sessions in the House of Commons every now and then and it’s as you said, quite open and ‘no holds barred’. But please be honest with yourself and tell me, would you accept this kind of questioning of your own beliefs? I mean, do you not agree that within the House of Commons there is no taboos? Everything is open for discussion, again: 'no holds barred' . Leave your religious beliefs at the door and please come on in and let’s have some fun. I wonder if any of the Turbaned-Heads would survive 5 minutes in that room without declaring everyone who disagrees an infidel?

Besides, let’s not forget that the kind of discourse at the House of Commons that you seem to like too much, is pretty much the product of separation of church and state (or mosque and state in our case).

Jabi, you are not only certain that your beliefs are right, you are certain that at no point in the future there will come a time when you will pause to examine them, even for a little while. And that, my friend, is very sad indeed.
MJ said…
lol I agree, let me rephrase, men are 'more' visually stimulated than women. Do we agree? :)

We choose who we want to be right? I don't blame a freedom fighter for his suffering, but that is what he/she chose to be, and they knew that they will suffer. There are those who will leave and decide not to fight and those who will fight and accept that they will suffer.. these people know the consequences of their actions.

I donno how this discussion went into women who expose themselves, seems everytime I discuss someting on abufares's blog (whom I thank for allowing this discussion to take place) I end up talking about women in miniskirts. anyways women who wear indecent clothing must know the consequences of their actions. Unfortunately they don't and neither do many of you acknowledge the fact that there are consequence even if they were infinitesimal consequences, I still stick to the point that indecently clothed women might get themselves rapped. I understand why many of you find it insulting but I was hoping that you would actually understand that comment without me having to explain it in detail. I am not saying that a man will rape a woman instantly but then again a man constantly viewing half naked women will lead to sexual frustration and the way that person releases that frustration will vary, and rape is one of them. Now this is what I believe unless someone can prove it wrong, someone who knows a psychologist or something ask them if there is anything wrong with this argument please and let me know.

Lujayn: same as above

Dubai Jazz:
A person who stops examining his/her beliefs is a person that does not think. What am I doing here other than debating my beliefs? atleast that is what I am doing, I donno if taking a 'Jab' is similar to debating. Unlike those who had a problem with the person (mohammad online) and his campaign who went and thrashed his beliefs, and him personally and didn't even bother to discuss it with him (except DJ) and wrote it in another language that that person might not understand. Let me just say that I am not here to ridicule your beliefs, neither can I or anyone else force you to live the way we see as acceptable. However i do think that the majority of syrians will have the opinion that homosexuality is not acceptable in our society.

I have personally, always questioned my beliefs, since january I have attended 5 talks, and 2 debates regarding islam and Christianity and faith in general. I havn't been always a person who believed in religion the way I do today, 5 years ago I was doubting if there was a god, but its the experiences that we go through that make us who we are right? and alhamdullah I am where I am and I am very much more comfortable with my beliefs and the way I am living my life.

I don't understand why this attack on muslim shiekhs or as you refer to them as Turbaned-Heads. I have personally had a couple of talks with sheikhs and other dua'at (du3at) or preachers to islam and they were more than welcoming in answering our questions, on the other hand I once was questioning a christian preacher and all he did was talk over me and didnt let me speak and then left claiming that he had to go somewhere (must admit it was late). You live in dubai why not go and talk to the sheikh of your local mosque? if that is too much, there are alot of videos on youtube you can watch as well.
It is either that you have the same misconceptions and stereotypes that are present in hollywood movies or you havnt really questioned your religious beliefs before. And one last thing regarding this matter, why should they leave their beliefs behind while you don't leave yours behind? are you assuming that your beliefs are right and theirs are wrong thats why they have to leave their beliefs behind?

I was saying that my beliefs (regarding this matter) are right, not because they are divine but because they are common sense.
Non of you presented me with information (suffonsifisms provided reasons for rape but not whether or not my comment was true or not unless I am to talk his/her word as a fact? in which case i will have to look up myself) that I can say that hey you know what, this person has a solid argument against my opinion. All you guys were doing was insulting my beliefs and my understanding of things and then saying how insulted or offended you were because i said "women get rapped".

Why do we have a system that bases its policies and regulations on sharia'a in syria? Are we ruled by the Mufti of Syria? Is Bashar Al Assad a religious figure?

interested in reading the replies to this comment :)..
MJ said…
wow.. didnt notice it was that long.. sorry Abufares!
Kano said…
Abou Firas

Thank you very much for allowing this great discussion on your blog. I am not a blog writer or even a blog reader to that regard. It is only I have a big exam tomorrow and naturally I am looking for ways to "waste time".

I will have to say i was shocked and disgusted when I came across this hate campaign we are discussing. I wasn't shocked that a bigot somewhere in Syria started this. I came across loads of these "Talibanic" types through the years. My shock was to the amount of support he had, and from who? From Bloggers! These are supposidly the educated, open-minded, young voice of the new Syria. I would have never imagined there is that much hatred and bigotted views in our socity.

May be because I lived in London for almost 6 years now I stopped seeing the true Syrian society. I come home for Holidays and move and meet a small sector of the society. I only see this part of Syria with thier open-minded views thier aspiration to make it a better place. I didn't see the big devide in our society.

Anyway I'll stop talking. Just want to say, thank you Abou Firas and everybody who wrote on this page.

Keep up the good work guys.

"Live and let live"
Anonymous said…
If you do believe that homosexuality is such an offensive sin, then you have to realize that those who are gay or lesbian didn't "choose" or be open about their sexuality without realizing the harsh consequences they may face in every day life. Then why do you think restrictions or persecution will change their behavior or preference? Why not leave it for God to judge? For if their actions are as offensive as you believe, then their punishment will be more righteous and harsh than anything you can inflict in life. Meanwhile, let them live their life.

For if you raise your children correctly, then why should you worry about homosexuality or sexual temptation, for your children should be strong enough to resist.

(Having trouble posting on Blogger so if this response appears twice or my earlier post magically appears after I post this one, please forgive me)
Dubai Jazz said…

I am glad that you found the answers in Islam. I am very happy for you. And I support your right to believe and live your life the way you want, as much as I support the right of others (gays, lesbians, left-handed, dyslexics, cock-eyed, fat, argelih smokers, atheists) to believe and live the life they desire. This is 'live and let live' for you, and it's really that simple...

It was a little hasty conclusion on your part to conclude I am not a Muslim. Why can't I be a Muslim? do I need to love the mashaykh to become a Muslim? I actually hold little respect for most of them whom I've met in my life. The reason being-- and please don't take this as an attack on your own believes because it's not-- that for the most part they are fear-mongers and hate inciter. There were occasions where I was told I have to hate Jews and distrust Christians. Atheists? don't even think about it, illa jahnam wa be'sa al maseer. And since your soul will be resurrected with those it loves at the day of judgement, you are advised strictly not to have any non-muslim friends. Maybe if you brush by an atheist and you like him/her, your soul will be chained to them and you're doomed. Fear mongering man. The relentless search for purity through conformity and total adherence and complete excommunication of any one who deviate a little. And this is not only within the Muslim clergy; Christians, Jews..etc.. they all hold the same polarized views about the others. Because this is the nature of the preacher, he need to sow fear to reap allegiance. No thanks. I am happy to be a muslim without having to ask anybody AT ALL to think on my behalf or interpret life and scripture for me. And this is exactly the reason I detest mixing politics, statesmanship or governance with religion. I like me a secular state, where your religious beliefs (and mine) are as important before the state as the brand of your mobile phone. (come to think of it, why should I bother if you own Nokia or Mottorlla? at the end of the day it's all personal matters, I'd only start caring when you become obsessive and start excessively brandishing and showing off your mobile phone in front me, I'd then say "please put that away or keep it to yourself").

But I salute your courage to talk from the point of view of common sense, let me ask you then; from a common sense point of view, why is homosexuality bad for your envisioned society?
Lujayn said…
Rape, my dear Jabi, has little to do with sexual frustrations or sex, altogether, and everything to do with controlling, dominating, degrading and inflicting pain on its victims (men, women and children). The release of a bit of semen doesn’t cure the rapist of his need to violate another person because the problem isn’t in his penis, it’s in his brain. The victim (and what they’re wearing) is irrelevant. If, however, you mean horny teenagers, then no amount of clothing is going to come between them and their erections. I’m sure you were a teenager once. It’s a natural phase and passes when boys mature. Rapists are not horny teenagers.

As for the religious debate, your belief system isn’t right because its common sense. I can assure you, billions around the world think your belief system is as far removed from common sense as possible. That doesn’t make them right, because common sense isn’t a basis for right or wrong. Hell, I don’t even know what common sense means or covers. My common sense says not to go bungee jumping but my husband thinks its great fun. Everyone’s common sense is different. Your belief system is right for you only because you believe it to be so. Only. My belief system isn’t common sense. It’s a belief system that I choose to accept and live by.

I don’t get your inference about the Shari’a basis for Syrian legislation. Are you saying that its justified (common sense) because even the current secular regime concurs it?
Abufares said…
You're very welcome. BTW, my name is Abu Fares not Abu Firas.
Firas is the neighbors' kids but I swear I have nothing to do with him, lol.
You're right. When you visit Syria you are more and more likely going to meet people on your side of the religiosity divide. With every return, those on the other side will be even more distant and in due time you will forget that they exist at all.
This is the way we're heading unfortunately. Until we mature as a culture, there's very little space for improvement.
Abufares said…
I don't think you were addressing your comment to me because the only sin I believe in is hurting others intentionally. And, I do agree with your point of view.
Welcome to my humble home.
Abufares said…
I need to answer another of your points of yours. Problem is you tackle so many different topics in each attempt it's hard to keep up with you.
I have made a second attempt to read this guy's blog and the ensuing comments after you made a point about us criticizing him without actually involving ourselves in a dialogue. Jabi, you must be kidding me. Listen I'm not better than anyone out there but this guy and the rest of his band leave no place at the bottom for worst. Did you actually read the comments, the replies and the counter-comments. I don't think any self-respecting person can tolerate that atmosphere even if he agrees with their thesis to start with. DJ's noble effort was a thankless one. There is no point.
As for writing in Arabic rather than English you might have a point there but it's not going to be me. I might be a benevolent man over all but I'm not going to waste my time and effort on self-righteous people regardless of who they are.
I have to give you this. You are trying to bridge the gap in a way but I personally think that you should be more lenient with others and harsher on yourself. Give it a try. It might do you some good.
Anonymous said…
I just hope that life treats you well and that no one in YOUR "correct and common sense" family gets raped, be it female or male. It would be a real tragedy to see you treat that person as your common sense seems to dictate and judge.

Anonymous said…
Jabi:I heard some stories from Syria,Women raped men?!!!!!
Although they didn't wear shorts or they were naked?!! Is it true?
And, half of Saudis are gays and lesbians?
Please anyone has any idea!

Nour said…

Many of the claims and arguments you presented are simply put, false and baseless. However, there are two main ones that I think are important to respond to.

1. Being visually attracted to a woman does not lead to rape and has nothing to do with rape. Women in the western world commonly and regularly where clothing that you would consider inappropriate. If your postulation were true, then women should be getting raped automatically everyday.

2. God created neither Adam and Eve nor Adam and Steve. Life evolved into various different life forms, one of which is humans. Generally, humans, along with other animals, are sexual beings that reproduce through sexual intercourse by opposite sexes. This, however, does not mean that individuals cannot be born with traits that are not in conformity with the general natural trend.
Anonymous said…
As a Pagan - I find this so hard to understand. For us, as part of a spiritual and not a religious, following - we have but one creed. Do what you will but harm none.

So simple ... yet so difficult to implement.
Abufares said…
Pagans should have no serious issues with the sexual behavior and preferences of others. It's only those who believe that God whispered the absolute truth in their ears who consider themselves on a higher plateau of morality.
Abu Fares,

I'm landing here too late, may be. I sometimes follow the principle of:
يطعمك الحج و الناس راجعة

Just to say: I support your post. People should be what they are.

I ventured into a discussion with one of the "leaders" of the so-called campaign against homosexuality. It's here:

Frankly, it's becoming more and more difficult to reason with those blokes, but I keep trying.

Abufares said…
Welcome anytime. Better late than never.
I think, and this might be too harsh on my part, that even arguing and commenting on these blogs give them unwarranted credibility.
Any ideology, philosophy, social or political ideal and, ehem... religion which refuses the existence of others or tries to change them despite themselves is not to be taken seriously, if it is to be taken at all.
Am I contradicting myself here? Not really. I believe that they exist. I believe that they have the right to exist. I just don't like them.
Cheers to you
Abufares said…
Thank you for dropping by. It's always my pleasure to be visited by Tartoussis.
Apparently my choice of words was not as good as it could have been when I talked about the "choice" homosexuals made.
I have better understanding now perhaps. Some men like women the normal way. Some like them a lot and the extent of our love is evidently not a matter of choice. Under this light I can see the preferences of homosexuals as something which they do not have control over.
I might have needed the stupidity, bigotry and chauvinism of certain Syrian bloggers and the writing of this article and the associated comments to further realize a few facts of life about homosexuality but I'm happy I finally did.
Bringing religion into this argument is not different than bringing it into any other. It's totally senseless and meaningless.
The most important safeguard for any society is a set of laws which does not rely on religion in its first and foremost reason: Civil Rights to all on equal basis. Religion makes equal only those who believe and adhere to it and even then to varying degrees as far as gender is concerned. It defeats its own claim at universality and absolute truth simply by starting with bigoted assumptions.
Again, thank you for being here and I look forward reading more of your comments.
Anonymous said…
can you explain the picture more?

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