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Old 13.09.2016, 11:13
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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In some parts of the Balkans most traditional Muslims are actually of Turkish or Tatar ethnical origins, legacy of the Ottoman Empire.
I don't know what's the situ in ex-Yugoslavia, but back home they identify more with an ethnicity/culture than with a religion. They're proud Turks, not proud Muslims. I don't remember the tiniest conflict in those areas that are indeed very multicultural.
There are a lot of differences between the gentle Islam they practice and the religious ethos from other regions, you can't even compare. They were practically "assimilated" into the main culture and are one of the most loyal minorities. (along with the German minority)

Edit: I miss the coffee from "the Turks". :-)

Actually often in the Balkan region, but also in other regions, culture gets confused with ethnicity. The Turks converted some folks to Islam whereas other resisted. The Ottomans on the whole were smart rulers and understood the concepts of carrots and sticks and also of recognizing talent when they saw it and giving people opportunities. And they weren't racist. they didn't discriminate according to ethnicity. So the son of a goat herder from an outlying region could work his way up to high office and then later in life return home, bringing with him Turkish culture and values and Islam. Ethnically there isn't much difference between a Bosnian Mulsim and an Orthodox Serb. Culturally the divide is bigger.

Also elsewhere in easter Europe, people would identify themselves by their language rather than their ancestry. And typically switching to the language of the ruling group opened doors to social mobility. This is how German spread into Eastern Europe for example, but also Hungarian in the days of the Doppelmonrachie. This is how Russian spread into outlying regions of the Tsarist empire. And this is how Islam and Turkish spread acroiss the Ottoman empire. It's also why people in the USA dropped their ancestral languages and adopted English.

Of course the reverse side of the coin is that this linguistically enabled social mobility means you get a ruling and middle class speaking an adopted language whereas the peasants and poor speak their ancestral language. Language thus becomes a class identifier and also a rallying point for nationalism and insurrection. The Ottomans felt this when one by one the Balkan nations rebelled against them and it also fuelled the irreversibility of the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

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  #562  
Old 13.09.2016, 14:12
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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In some parts of the Balkans most traditional Muslims are actually of Turkish or Tatar ethnical origins, legacy of the Ottoman Empire.
I don't know what's the situ in ex-Yugoslavia, but back home they identify more with an ethnicity/culture than with a religion. They're proud Turks, not proud Muslims. I don't remember the tiniest conflict in those areas that are indeed very multicultural.
This is generally true. There are two big exceptions, however, worth mentioning. The first is former Christians who were converted to Islam during Ottoman times (called Pomaks). The village neighboring the town where my dad grew up was a Pomak town and they are a noisy, smiling, cheerful and generally friendly bunch. As kids we often cycled there to play football with the Pomak kids. Never, ever had a problem. The other exception is much more troubling. Over the past decade or so substantial resources were invested into converting atheistic gypsies (but not only) into Muslims by mostly Saudi money. These days you can see whole towns who just a decade ago were completely oblivious to religion getting swamped by Burqas and are increasingly intolerant towards Christians. Its getting to the point where in Bulgaria there were a couple of cases, downplayed by international media, where local intelligence were tipped off and captured a few imported radicals preaching aggressive Suni Islam. This created massive consolidation among the newly converted Muslims, who are now convinced the state is their enemy. Given the fact that Bulgaria neighbors with Turkey, another less and less tolerant country, with porous borders both on the south and on the north, its only going to get worse before it gets better.
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  #563  
Old 13.09.2016, 14:49
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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This is generally true. There are two big exceptions, however, worth mentioning. The first is former Christians who were converted to Islam during Ottoman times (called Pomaks). The village neighboring the town where my dad grew up was a Pomak town and they are a noisy, smiling, cheerful and generally friendly bunch. As kids we often cycled there to play football with the Pomak kids. Never, ever had a problem. The other exception is much more troubling. Over the past decade or so substantial resources were invested into converting atheistic gypsies (but not only) into Muslims by mostly Saudi money. These days you can see whole towns who just a decade ago were completely oblivious to religion getting swamped by Burqas and are increasingly intolerant towards Christians. Its getting to the point where in Bulgaria there were a couple of cases, downplayed by international media, where local intelligence were tipped off and captured a few imported radicals preaching aggressive Suni Islam. This created massive consolidation among the newly converted Muslims, who are now convinced the state is their enemy. Given the fact that Bulgaria neighbors with Turkey, another less and less tolerant country, with porous borders both on the south and on the north, its only going to get worse before it gets better.
Yes, the situation is changing because of the Saudi money. Think also of Albania, Bosnia too.
All I was saying is that traditional Muslims from certain regions of the Balkans/Eastern Europe don't (naturally) identify themselves with these Islamic movements, they are rather integrated and modernised. But, with money and propaganda you can achieve almost everything....I guess. Note that Bulgaria has indeed a large Turkish minority and things might be even more different than back home.

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Actually often in the Balkan region, but also in other regions, culture gets confused with ethnicity. The Turks converted some folks to Islam whereas other resisted. The Ottomans on the whole were smart rulers and understood the concepts of carrots and sticks and also of recognizing talent when they saw it and giving people opportunities. And they weren't racist. they didn't discriminate according to ethnicity. So the son of a goat herder from an outlying region could work his way up to high office and then later in life return home, bringing with him Turkish culture and values and Islam. Ethnically there isn't much difference between a Bosnian Mulsim and an Orthodox Serb. Culturally the divide is bigger.
.
Yeah, that's a very romantic view of the way the Ottomans conducted their business. In reality, it was a lot of bloodshed around the area, tributes to pay etc. And an overall delay in development...;-)

Last edited by greenmount; 13.09.2016 at 15:17.
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  #564  
Old 13.09.2016, 15:12
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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All I was saying is that traditional Muslims from certain regions of the Balkans/Eastern Europe don't (naturally) identify themselves with these Islamic movements, they are rather integrated and modernised.
I completely agree on this. I still remember how during my summer vacations as a kid, we "celebrated" the end of Ramadan which for us meant getting sweets from our neighbors who were Muslim. I also recall seeing them on almost every Christmas celebration congratulating us.

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Note that Bulgaria has indeed a large Turkish minority and things might be even more different than back home.
With regards to the Turkish minority in Bulgaria, all that could be said is that their treatment by the state is a shameful part of communist Bulgaria's history. The policy towards them was similar to the apartheid policy towards Blacks in South Africa. The tipping point came when they were forced to change their names which promptly triggered a mass exodus to Turkey. The ones that remained are obviously no longer treated like this, but the bitter memory remains, which explains their antagonistic attitude towards ethnic Bulgarians and why they tend to vote in parliamentary elections for a completely corrupt, but Turkish party. The ones that have moved to Turkey 20 years ago still have their Bulgarian IDs and they use them to vote as well essentially giving the Turkish party a much bigger weight in local politics than they would have otherwise had. This creates a host of political issues,but its for another topic
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Old 13.09.2016, 16:46
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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The Ottomans on the whole were smart rulers and understood the concepts of carrots and sticks and also of recognizing talent when they saw it and giving people opportunities. And they weren't racist. they didn't discriminate according to ethnicity. So the son of a goat herder from an outlying region could work his way up to high office and then later in life return home, bringing with him Turkish culture and values and Islam.
You must have read a particularly perverse history book. If life under Ottoman rule was only honey and milk, as you describe, why would all those peoples under Ottoman rule constantly fight for freedom? There is a grain of truth in what you said in the early times of the Ottomans, when they were a consolidated power that swept an area bitterly divided among many small rulers who were constantly battling each other and the common folk was naturally suffering. When the Ottomans occupied the Balkans, they brought a certain sense of stability. However, they very quickly disintegrated into a society into which religion (Islam) and class-belonging (spahi) was above everyone else. They were brutal against each other (after Sultan Mehmet all Sultant were killing all their male relatives as a matter of policy to ensure to contest to the throne), they were brutal against the Christians (the son of a goat herder who you describe was much more likely to have his son taken at a very early age to feed the ranks of the military, forcing him into Islam and never to see his family again. Sometimes, such units were sent to destroy the very same villages from which they were taken as kids)
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Old 13.09.2016, 16:51
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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You must have read a particularly perverse history book. If life under Ottoman rule was only honey and milk, as you describe, why would all those peoples under Ottoman rule constantly fight for freedom? There is a grain of truth in what you said in the early times of the Ottomans, when they were a consolidated power that swept an area bitterly divided among many small rulers who were constantly battling each other and the common folk was naturally suffering. When the Ottomans occupied the Balkans, they brought a certain sense of stability. However, they very quickly disintegrated into a society into which religion (Islam) and class-belonging (spahi) was above everyone else. They were brutal against each other (after Sultan Mehmet all Sultant were killing all their male relatives as a matter of policy to ensure to contest to the throne), they were brutal against the Christians (the son of a goat herder who you describe was much more likely to have his son taken at a very early age to feed the ranks of the military, forcing him into Islam and never to see his family again. Sometimes, such units were sent to destroy the very same villages from which they were taken as kids)
Well, I said they were smart. I never said they were nice.
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Old 13.09.2016, 21:54
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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You must have read a particularly perverse history book. If life under Ottoman rule was only honey and milk, as you describe, why would all those peoples under Ottoman rule constantly fight for freedom? There is a grain of truth in what you said in the early times of the Ottomans, when they were a consolidated power that swept an area bitterly divided among many small rulers who were constantly battling each other and the common folk was naturally suffering. When the Ottomans occupied the Balkans, they brought a certain sense of stability. However, they very quickly disintegrated into a society into which religion (Islam) and class-belonging (spahi) was above everyone else. They were brutal against each other (after Sultan Mehmet all Sultant were killing all their male relatives as a matter of policy to ensure to contest to the throne), they were brutal against the Christians (the son of a goat herder who you describe was much more likely to have his son taken at a very early age to feed the ranks of the military, forcing him into Islam and never to see his family again. Sometimes, such units were sent to destroy the very same villages from which they were taken as kids)
We have these Christian martyrs - a prince who chose to see his sons killed before his eyes than convert to Islam. Such were the days...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantin_Brāncoveanu
Anyway, the whole history of the Balkans/Eastern Europe is troubled and I believe we can't glorify any empire. All of them are guilty of some things. What people from there want today is exactly what everyone else wants - peace, education, health care, safety. A good economy, democracy, freedom of press, human rights, no-one is stuck in the past. Ex-Yugoslavia is a long way from those wars, it was a bitter lesson for all of us.

Last edited by greenmount; 13.09.2016 at 22:25.
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Old 14.09.2016, 01:32
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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basically - the more religious the person is, the more likely to be mysogenic, racist, violent.
Nonsense. People responsible from the most violent period in history, WW2, were non religious. 50 million people were methodically killed by non-religious, educated, smart people.
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Old 14.09.2016, 09:31
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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Nonsense. People responsible from the most violent period in history, WW2, were non religious. 50 million people were methodically killed by non-religious, educated, smart people.
Perhaps you need to educate yourself. Here's a few examples to get you started:

Sunni Shia Conflicts - 1400 years of bloodshed
Thirty Years war
Sudan Civil War
India vs Pakistan
The Crusades
Huguenots in France
Israel - Palastine
The Irish Problem
Jihadism
Armenian Genocide
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Old 14.09.2016, 09:52
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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Nonsense. People responsible from the most violent period in history, WW2, were non religious. 50 million people were methodically killed by non-religious, educated, smart people.
Indeed. I believe religion can exist in a modern society only if we're willing to separate it from the state (administration, justice system etc etc). Religion has very much to do with traditions, culture, you simply can't erase it from society. Live and let live, but that doesn't mean accepting compromises on the rule of laws and what was OK two thousands or one thousand of years ago cannot be accepted as normal ways today.
The sooner some people understand that, the better for every member of a society.
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Old 14.09.2016, 09:59
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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Nonsense. People responsible from the most violent period in history, WW2, were non religious. 50 million people were methodically killed by non-religious, educated, smart people.
I beg to differ. Although WW2 was not a religious war, but I think it would be a mistake to say that those involved were "non religious". All sides were engaged in an all out battle with an enemy who was seen as a threat to their world view, and a large part of the rhetoric was at the very least moral, if not explicitly religious. Wherever there is war there will also be righteousness, which is rarely far from "God talk".
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Old 14.09.2016, 10:05
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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Indeed. I believe religion can exist in a modern society only if we're willing to separate it from the state (administration, justice system etc etc). Religion has very much to do with traditions, culture, you simply can't erase it from society. Live and let live, but that doesn't mean accepting compromises on the rule of laws and what was OK two thousands or one thousand of years ago cannot be accepted as normal ways today.
The sooner some people understand that, the better for every member of a society.
The issue is that by nature every religion's aim is to convert and assimilate as many people as possible. If everyone would just practice their religion privately and leave everyone else the hell alone then there wouldn't be a problem.

The zeitgeist changes, and it's time for religion to get cast into the annals of history.
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Old 14.09.2016, 10:17
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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If everyone would just practice their religion privately and leave everyone else the hell alone then there wouldn't be a problem.
.
The vast majority of believers from all sorts of religions does. I don't believe you've ever been assaulted by a Russian Christian orthodox babushka, for instance.
As I said, live and let live. It pays off in the end you know...;-)
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Old 14.09.2016, 10:17
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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The issue is that by nature every religion's aim is to convert and assimilate as many people as possible. If everyone would just practice their religion privately and leave everyone else the hell alone then there wouldn't be a problem.

The zeitgeist changes, and it's time for religion to get cast into the annals of history.
There's an inherent problem with religions that are antagonistic to 21st century. By design, ANY religion is meant to separate you from the "rest", not unite. Whether its an assertive proselytizing religion, like Christianity or Islam or a more mild one, like Buddhism, its still meant to show you're somehow different. When in effect modern societies are trying to unite.
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Old 14.09.2016, 10:32
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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There's an inherent problem with religions that are antagonistic to 21st century. By design, ANY religion is meant to separate you from the "rest", not unite. Whether its an assertive proselytizing religion, like Christianity or Islam or a more mild one, like Buddhism, its still meant to show you're somehow different. When in effect modern societies are trying to unite.
Not all religious believers engage in proselytizing. Many do, but not all. For many it is just a way of seeing, and making sense of the world.

I'm not entirely convinced that all modern societies are trying to unite. There is a group which has gone down the route of measuring themselves against each other on an economic front, which would seem to cost less lives, at least amongst the nations playing in the same league. It may seem more innocent, but that isn't necessarily the case. There is at least as much proselytizing going on in the economic sphere as there is in the religious one (and the arguments are remarkeably similar when you boil them down).
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Old 14.09.2016, 10:47
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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Not all religious believers engage in proselytizing. Many do, but not all. For many it is just a way of seeing, and making sense of the world.
Which major religion does not proselytize? Moreover, the major problem i outlined is not about proselytizing, but about embedding a sense of being different and better.

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It may seem more innocent, but that isn't necessarily the case. There is at least as much proselytizing going on in the economic sphere as there is in the religious one (and the arguments are remarkeably similar when you boil them down).
Of course its more innocent. More importantly, economic proselytizing (whatever that means) is subject to change simply by its academic nature. Academia by definition is an environment which gets constantly challenged both internally and externally in order to progress. The only way to rein in religion is by external force. This is why Christianity is timid. Not because of religion itself, but because it was separated from the state and later subjugated.
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Old 14.09.2016, 10:59
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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I beg to differ. Although WW2 was not a religious war, but I think it would be a mistake to say that those involved were "non religious". All sides were engaged in an all out battle with an enemy who was seen as a threat to their world view, and a large part of the rhetoric was at the very least moral, if not explicitly religious. Wherever there is war there will also be righteousness, which is rarely far from "God talk".
I disagree.

During WW2 most of the propganda and thetoric was along the lines of "lets get those huns before they get us" and "let's show them the true Britisg fighting spirit", so all the usual war jingolism. You can find planty of wartime newsreels on youtube full of this type of statment.

The whole "Hitler was the evilest man who ever lived" thing didn't really emerge until after the war was over, as the details of the Holocuast became better known etc.

WW2 at the time and to the common man was not a religious war against the evilest man ever but just a regular war full of regular bog standard jingolism and sanguinity.
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Old 14.09.2016, 11:14
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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Which major religion does not proselytize? Moreover, the major problem i outlined is not about proselytizing, but about embedding a sense of being different and better.



Of course its more innocent. More importantly, economic proselytizing (whatever that means) is subject to change simply by its academic nature. Academia by definition is an environment which gets constantly challenged both internally and externally in order to progress. The only way to rein in religion is by external force. This is why Christianity is timid. Not because of religion itself, but because it was separated from the state and later subjugated.
I was making a distinction between Church and Congregation. Many churches and religious organisations are politically and economically active without demanding conversion by the recipients, but rather with the aim of bettering the life of those who are being helped. People who go to the third world to help with health care, education, or the provision of clean water under the auspices of a religious organisation are sharing their knowledge. If you speak with them you will find that they don't appear to believe that they know better, but rather that they know more about something very specific and not in the least religious, and that they feel a call to help where they can (which is certainly a sense of "different" but more with respect to the population whence they came, than where they go). This is hardly proselytizing, or would you disagree?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not claiming that all religions and churches are exclusively good. What I am claiming is that they are not necessarily all exclusively bad.

If economic relations are so balanced and empirical I guess we can ignore the need for Britain to find good negotiators for Brexit, as the final solution would necessarily be fair and to all participant's benefit. Perhaps I am a bit naive.

"The only way to rein in religion is by external force." seems to presume that all religions need reining in, and that the only way to do this is by the use of force. On the one hand I dispute that all need reining in, on the other that force is the only possibility.
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Old 14.09.2016, 11:34
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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If economic relations are so balanced and empirical I guess we can ignore the need for Britain to find good negotiators for Brexit, as the final solution would necessarily be fair and to all participant's benefit. Perhaps I am a bit naive.
not even sure how and why you are bringing the self-inflicted wound of Britain into a religious discussion. There's nothing religions in this, apart from the fact that now the pro-EU voters have only prayer left as a consolation means.

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"The only way to rein in religion is by external force." seems to presume that all religions need reining in, and that the only way to do this is by the use of force.
Yes, thats EXACTLY what i mean. All religions should be subject to the rule of law in the state, separated from that state and be subjugated to the level of hobby. You can practice any hobby you want, in private and as long as its not disrupting social life.
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Old 14.09.2016, 11:35
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Re: All about Muslims (in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe)

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I don't believe you've ever been assaulted by a Russian Christian orthodox babushka, for instance.
Does being held captive at Easter or a wedding, and forced to eat an endless supply of food constitute assault?
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