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People used to look to identity as a unifying force around a particular political project, or social endeavour, in order to protect the interest of a group. However, some view identity to be the biggest hindrance to progress (anywhere), and the most negative heritage that would lead a people to conflicts with no end or solution in sight. In fact, it is a drain of resources (human and natural), and it has taken us Arabs/Muslims (in the Middle East) in the opposite direction to the movement of history. I'm in the process of proposing a new Political Theory, the basis of which will be an effort to unite around a common future goal, best suited for the progress of our (Middle Eastern) society (or any society struggling for justice), to enable us to compete amongst the most advanced nations of the world. The conflicts in the Middle East, especially the one initiated by what became known as the 'Arab Spring', are conflicts that pit one identity against the other, with policies purposely absent, so that foreign policies take advantage of the situation and are forced upon us. As a result, instead of different factions debating political theories and social projects, we have a never-ending struggle of religious and ideological identities. These religions and ideologies, have been emptied of their socio-political essences and revolutionary progressive ideas, so it should come as no surprise that their opinions matter very little to the rest of the world (if they ever show opinions on things that matter!). Throughout religious history, we have examples of socio-political struggle between progressive revolutionaries and the establishment. When Jesus (as) came to revolt against the status-quo of his time, he didn't do so by attaching himself to an existing identity. The Christian identity was established once people started following the teachings of Jesus Christ (as). The same applied to the early Muslims of the Arabian Peninsula, who became Muslim not to be part of an existing identity, but to destroy the status-quo. The Islamic movement came as a social project to 'islamize' the people, and not for it to be carried as an identity. The current conflicts in the region (and many other parts of the world) revolve around identities, with total absence of their original Islamic or Christian essence, i.e. a lack of understanding of the deep and rich meanings that sit at the root of these labels. As a result, they lack understanding of what these ideologies offer in terms of socio-political change. The majority of people in our region have inherited an identity, it is but a few who are truly religious. What I hope to achieve with this new Political Theory is to return to 'Traditional Humanism', which is no different to the True Islam (in the general prophetic evolutionary sense), to propose a fresh and enlightening socio-political project that would benefit everyone. Any reformist project must look back at history, revolt against any negative inheritance that has been accumulated over the years, and learn from the experiences of our ancestors. We are not responsible for our ancestor's deeds, but we can build on them and work towards more perfect policies and social behaviours, setting an examples to the rest of the world. This cannot be achieved whilst hiding behind an inherited identity. Those who hide behind religious identities, have forgotten or misunderstood the true meaning and message of their faith, and instead are behaving more like infighting tribes. Religious and sectarian infighting is the beginning of the end of religion (as was the case in the European wars of religion in the 16th century, that lead to the enlightenment and Europe's eventual secularism). This project is a revolt against inherited religions, because all that remains today are inherited religious identities, filled with fanaticism, and devoid of any sacred, social, political, or economical essence and intelligence.
Salam All was debating whether to put this in the general discussion thread, but knowing SC, this thread will be forgotten about in a matter of days, since mutah and mahdi ism dominate discourse. What got me to writing this thread was, apart from my frustrations, the world people's conference on climate change and the rights of Mother Earth (Gaia), which was held on Bolivia. The countries attending drafted the Universal Declaration of the rights of Mother Earth. When I looked that up it led me to the Gaza foundation, and what caught my eye was, you guessed it, the clear absence of Islamic representation. So, the goal of this thread is to document the absenteeism of Islamic jurisprudence and the scholars researching fields of research working for the betterment of society and the world. Irrespective of the fiqh school you follow, I would like to expose the clear irresponsible behaviour of our religious establishment to contribute in fields we clearly could have influenced. I start with what this: there is a document produced by indegiounous people's around the world that lists the rights of Mother earth and our responsibility towards her. There are zero Muslims/Shia contribution to this document. We need to work towards a universally acceptable Islamic view on how to treat the environment as it is intended to be treated.
(BISMILLAH) (Salam) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0022103183900343 I think a better title would be "Cruel but brilliant" as it emphasises on the cruelty and negativity of these guys. Basically, this lady found some very interesting results in a study she did on book reviews where she found that those who had negative and harsher reviews were often perceived as being more intelligent and as having greater expertise than those who simply went along and gave a nod. A quote from another guy: "Being negative makes you feel smarter. The guy who says 'I agree' never seems as smart as the guy who says, 'I disagree.'"
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