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Nathan Thurm

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Recent posts by Nathan Thurm

This may be changing. I cannot speak about the US, but today a strongly-worded letter is going out from the largest group of Muslim clerics in the UK completely condemning violence and urging that all Muslims do their part to foil the groups of extremists who are recruiting Muslim youths and young men for terrorist actions. The letter urges British Muslims to cooperate as fully as possible with the authorities.
I haven't read the letter yet but the newspaper accounts of the wording impressed me with it's sincerity and lack of any attempt to justify terrorism and violence.

Sounds like the letter got sent, generating this response:

Sheikh says Muslims must be tight-lipped
LONDON, April 1 (UPI) -- A British Muslim leader says Muslims cannot cooperate with local authorities against other members of the faith, The Telegraph reported Thursday.
Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad made the remarks on a BBC Radio program in reaction to a call from the Muslim Council of Britain for the community to play its part in the fight against terrorism.

This, to me, is more discouraging than what happened in Fallujah regarding fighting the war on terror.
[ April 02, 2004: Message edited by: Nathan Thurm ]
18 years ago

No one is asking for an apology. But a condemnation is definetly necessary. On the other hand, I listen to ordinary American muslims call up talk radio stations and do exactly the opposite. They do not condemn the barbaric acts outright but instead lead the discussion down the path of "Why Americans are there..". One guy even dodged open invitations by the host to condemn such acts
Look, Americans being there or not is a totally different discussion and the 4 people who were butchered yesterday were definetly not there from a military stand point. They were providing security for the delivery of free food to the Fallujah area. And they were butchered! Why cant these people openly condemn such acts. They still dont!!! I just provided you an example of what the CAIR has said.

They're not going to condemn this because according to the experts 80% of American Mosques are controlled by the Wahhabi and CAIR and other organizations are a front for the Wahhabi religion, which is the same sect that has taken root in Fallujah and were the same people who strung the four Americans from the bridge yesterday. I don't think anyone knows what side American Muslims are taking individually but it seems to me that there could be any number of reasons why as individuals they're not condemning these attacks ( possibily condoning them, possibly fear, possible distrust of the US, etc.)
And yes, RK, from what I see this is largely religious, since Fallujah is the stronghold of Wahhabism in Iraq and it's the one city that really has stayed out of the hands of the Americans, I don't think this is a coincidence. Loyalty to Saddam also seems to play a part. On a global scale though, look around at all the hot spots involving Muslims in the world and you'll find that the Wahhabi is behind most of the violence, especially the escalated violence that has turned some conflicts from regional disputes into religious wars.
[ April 01, 2004: Message edited by: Nathan Thurm ]
18 years ago
It's starting to make more sense to me now. The very consistent factor in all of this terrorism doesn't seem to be "land" or "politics" or even fanatic vs moderate but instead seems to be Wahhabism vs non-Wahhabism. And unfortunately, Wahhabism is more widespread than I realized.

Schwartz: Wahhabism is official in Saudi Arabia. It is influential in Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. It has a substantial following in Yemen, which also has many Shia Muslims. It is unpopular in Bahrain and irrelevant in Oman.
Outside the Peninsula, Wahhabism is generally unpopular. But where trouble is found, Wahhabism may thrive. Hamas in Israel represents pure Wahhabism. Forms of neo-Wahhabi or Wahhabized ideology have been powerful in Egypt (the Muslim Brotherhood) and in Pakistan � in both countries neo-Wahhabis lead attacks on other Muslims and other faiths. But in both countries mainstream Muslim scholars continue to struggle against Wahhabism. Wahhabi aggression was defeated in Algeria and Tajikistan.
Wahhabi infiltration continues in Chechnya, to the detriment of the just struggle of the Chechens against Russian imperialism, and in Kashmir, where it is an obstacle to resolution of the conflict. Wahhabi extremism and terrorism continue to plague Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, and the Philippines, although its real supporters in these countries are few in number.
But Wahhabi infiltration failed in Bosnia-Hercegovina and suffered a smashing repudiation in Kosovo. Albanian Muslims in Macedonia and Albania dislike Wahhabism, more intensely in the former than in the latter. Wahhabism and its surrogate, the Deobandi ideology of the Taliban, has been defeated in Afghanistan. Wahhabism has no real following in among the Muslim masses in Francophone West Africa, Morocco, Libya, the rest of Central Asia, India, or Malaysia.
As to other Middle Eastern regions and states: Saddam Hussein has used Wahhabism to give his regime an Islamic cover, but Wahhabism is deeply unpopular in Iraq.
Kurdistan is mainly Sufi in its Islam and aside from a handful of mercenary extremists, Kurds reject Wahhabism.
Syria, although a radical Arab state, is Islamically pluralist and rejects Wahhabism completely.
Jordan is ruled by Hashemites, who are traditional enemies of Wahhabism.
Turkish Muslims loathe Wahhabism because of its role in subverting the Ottoman caliphate.
Iran loathes Wahhabism as much or more, because of its massacres of Shias and wholesale destruction of Islamic holy sites, among other issues.
And other trouble spots: Sudan is a case unto itself, although Wahhabi influence has been present in the Khartoum regime.
Wahhabi infiltration is a serious problem in East Africa.
In the Western European immigrant Muslim communities, Wahhabism has a presence in France but has been weakened by the atrocities in Algeria. Britain has a loud Wahhabi, neo-Wahhabi, and Wahhabi-wannabe element but little real support for it among local Muslims. Wahhabism and Islamic extremism in general are weak in Germany, where most Muslims are Turkish and Kurdish.
Lopez: How much of a threat is it within our borders?
Schwartz: Unfortunately, the U.S. is the only country outside Saudi Arabia where the Islamic establishment is under Wahhabi control. Eighty percent of American mosques are Wahhabi-influenced, although this does not mean that 80 percent of the people who attend them are Wahhabis. Mosque attendance is different from church or synagogue membership in that prayer in the mosque does not imply acceptance of the particular dispensation in the mosque. However, Wahhabi agents have sought to impose their ideology on all attendees in mosques they control.
The entire gamut of "official" Islamic organizations in the U.S., particularly the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) are Wahhabi fronts. In other such groups, like the American Muslim Council (AMC) and the Muslim Students Association (MSA) Wahhabism is in crisis, because of the devastating effect of 9/11. In addition, the Wahhabis are deeply compromised by the exposure of individuals like John Walker Lindh, Richard Reid, Jos� Padilla, and John Muhammad.

[ April 01, 2004: Message edited by: Nathan Thurm ]
18 years ago

Fallujah, on the Euphrates River 30 miles west of Baghdad, has a reputation for being a stronghold of support for Saddam Hussein, ousted last month by U.S. forces, and his Baath Party forces.
But residents bristle at the link, calling it a media creation. They acknowledge, however, that, unlike elsewhere in Iraq, senior party officials in Fallujah were not run out of the city or attacked.
Two of Saddam's murals in the city stand defaced, but much of the graffiti glorifying Saddam is left intact. "Saddam: a genius leadership," one reads.
Still, residents say the secular origins of the Baath meant that many shunned Saddam's party in this city of 200,000 people, who overwhelmingly adhere to Wahhabism, the same strict sect of Sunni Islam that rules in Saudi Arabia.
I think this helps explain the violence against foreigners/Americans in Fallujah, due to Saddam loyalism and Salafism/Wahhabism (among other factors) and, hopefully, it's the exception rather than the rule in Iraq though after today I am very concerned.
A silver lining to this I'm realizing is that maybe the war on terrorism will shift to become more of a war on Wahhabism instead. 15 of the 19 WTC
terrorist, the Taliban government, and finally the achictect of the Madrid bombings (link below) followed Wahhabism.
I would think that this might have broader international support, including from secular Muslims.
[ March 31, 2004: Message edited by: Nathan Thurm ]
[ March 31, 2004: Message edited by: Nathan Thurm ]
18 years ago

Did you read this, "Insha'Allah I'll fill you in after I get my politics degree in a few years. ;-)".
It says that all the countries where there is problem, its because of politics, it has nothing to do anything with religion.

I inserted the '...' when I quoted this before because I didn't think that part was relevant since the reply was a quip (including the smiley face) that I didn't think (at the time) added to the comment. It was not my intent to mislead, so I apologize if it came across that way. That is also why I included the link to the page I got it from in case further context would help.
And actually I do thank you for pointing this out, because after re-examining the the reply
and based on your interpretation I do have to come to a different conclusion unfortunately. Instead
of being a straight answer to the question of Islamic violence, it appears that the person I quoted is giving just another dismissive answer that really doesn't seem to want to address why there is so much militant Islamic violence in the world.
Put another way, as someone with Christian upbringing, though I do have some doubts at times, the bottom line to me is that if, for example, there were many, many hotspots in the world with Christian militants involved, if just about everywhere I read about featured Christian terrorists and uprisings in countries like Philippines, Uzbekistan, Middle East, Thailand, Pakistan/India, Nigeria, etc. I would be wanting to talk about just why these countries are finding themselves in these situations with Christianity being the greatest common factor involved. Especially to know just what the true reasons were behind these wars. Blithe reasons like "land" or "politics" wouldn't fly with me, I would want to know why violence seems to be the answer to every problem. And if atrocities were being commited in the name of Christianity I would definitely be condemning them. Case in point, I do condemn Charles Taylor, and how corrupt his administration is and have been following this situation hoping this country is able to sort out its troubles and bring the guy to justice.
I get the impression the same holds true for some other religions. In the thread discussing whether Hindu's were involved in the Madrid bombing, I was amazed that so many Hindus wrote in so quickly to discuss what had happened, how they felt about it, whether condemnations or apologies were in order or not, etc. This, even though hardly any evidence had been gathered at all and seemed illogical that a Hindu would be involved with Muslim Moroccan militants!
But through the media, forums, etc.. it's rare to have a Muslim speak out in condemnation of the militant Islam and Islamic violence. I'll never forget seeing the chief imam of the NY mosque after the WTC Towers went down appearing on Chris Matthews show stammering his way through an interview trying to avoid condemning the attacks or dodge speculation on who did it claiming he's not "a member of the law enforcement agencies". A couple weeks later he was in Egypt. That stuck with me, and it's that same attiude I've seen ever since.
At best, we get a "don't blame me, it's fanatics that are doing this" and once this apparent distance is established any sort of dialogue is dropped.
It's frustrating, because if these militants are so diametrically opposite from what moderate Muslims believe you would think that the moderates would speak out against the hijacking their religion.... but I never,never see it happening, not in this forum anyway, nor anywhere I look. And it's frustrating. That's why I jumped into this thread. Because I saw the conversation going down the same path it's gone so many time and thought I had an answer, but I guess I didn't and I'm back at square one.

I think you are talking about fanatic Muslims.

What's the difference between a fanatic Muslim and a moderate muslim? I don't mean this facetiously. I know that there must be a lot of moderate muslims out there. I'd just like some help defining between the two since the word "fanatic" gets thrown around a lot. Some examples would help.
[ March 30, 2004: Message edited by: Nathan Thurm ]
[ March 30, 2004: Message edited by: Nathan Thurm ]
18 years ago

On the other hand where ever Muslims (and to some extent Christians) get a little bit of foothold, they start causing trouble. Their whole ideology is to 'Islam'wash the whole world. Look what they did to Mideast. And their religion encourages them to do the same to all over the world.

Been following this thread and decided to jump on this point, the latest (though not the last I'm sure) in the back and forth and back and forth discussion about violence and Muslims in the world. For me though I'm done with these mental gymnastics, because I find the following quote from a moderator of an Islamic forum very telling and the most straightforward answer I've read so far. I had been looking for information on the discovery of algebra and found these two questions and answers at the following link:

>15. Why are muslims so violent? Why can't they live in
>peace with their neighbors?
>Chechnya,Kashmir,Pakistan,USA,UK,etc Everytime they
>get a little power, they declare Jihad.
>16. Now saying we give kashmir independence and it
>goes to Pakistan. why can't we live in peace with

15. Who bothers who?... Insignificant to Islam. ...
16. Same as #15 as far as I can tell.

A question asking why can't Muslims live in peace, and an answer that says it basically doesn't matter, it's insignificant to Islam! No guilt, no quotes out of the Koran about whoever saves a life saves mankind, no proofs, no dodges, nothing about land, no dissimulation,no rationalizations, no attempts to point at other religions and say they're violent too, just basically, it doesn't matter whether Muslims live in peace with their neighbors or not. Doesn't matter who're the ones starting the wars or not. Learning to "play well with others" just isn't something they need to be concerned about doing evidently, it's insignificant to their religion.

I realize that this is just one person's opinion, but it seems the most honest, reaonable answer as to why Muslim violence is found in so many countries today. And until this attitude changes, I think we're in a world of trouble.
18 years ago

Hey why do you think I would talk for Saudi/iran/pak (I add it before some inidan nationalist adds it) why do you think that way???
I did not take some kind of "lobbying contract" for Saudi/iran, you are interested not in what I talk but in what I don't .

You aren't going to talk for Saudi/iran/pak but want to talk for the French and tell them what to do? That makes no sense.

Worng, this thread talks about "French minister back scarf ban"
I entered the thread to talk about "scarf" ,
Others are dealing with "French minister back ----- ban"

You have a general discussion about freedom of religious expression going on all around you in this thread and you want to put fingers in your ears and blinders on and pretend to only want to talk about one aspect of this argument. If this title of this thread were " Restriction on Freedom of religious expression - French minister back scarf ban" would that change things? Does the title of the thread restrict talking in principled terms? Of course not. I have never seen anyone on this forum say, "oh, I only wanted to talk about this" especially when talking about the principles underlying the argument would make things much more clear.
NT - Please tell me what whether you support the freedom of a Jew or Christian to wear a religious symbol in any country (including India/France/Saudi Arabia)

yes I support, I can give proof from Sacred text but then everyone will join and ridicule it.

Ok, I would just be happy if you would say "I support the freedom of a Jew or Christian to wear a religious symbol in any country (including India/France/Saudi Arabia)". I also would not ridicule your proof.

Hijab in no way offends freedom of others,.

So is this consistent or inconsistent with freedoms of expression of other religions?
Please get back to us when you're done with SCWCD.
[ January 31, 2004: Message edited by: Nathan Thurm ]
18 years ago

I was talking about one principle of islam called as "Hijab" not about french/saudi/iran/...

So, if we're talking about freedom of Islamic religious expression you have very strong opinions on the subject, but when an example of freedom of religious expression of other religions is brought up, you dodge the question leaving that issue for other people to decide. Nice.
I thought this thread was about freedom of religious expression in general, regardless of the country. Please tell me what whether you support the freedom of a Jew or Christian to wear a religious symbol in any country (including India/France/Saudi Arabia) and how that's consistent/inconsistent with your views on the hijab.
18 years ago
P.McK: I dont judge any of your comments by your name or your profession or your religion. I judge purely based on the conviction you bring forth through your statements.
JD: Purely, surely. So why this next reply???:

originally posted by Paul McKenna just recently:
mm.. Welcome friend.. However I must ask you why you chose the name "Hussein Baghdadi" in particular. It seems like a mix of Saddam Hussein and Baghdad to me.. well Saddam Hussein is not exactly America's best friend and Baghdad isnt exactly very friendly to Americans right now. So why this combination? Or is your real name Hussein and you live in Baghdad..

Two days, and no answer to this question above. Does the name matter or does it not, "Paul McKenna"?
18 years ago
As an American who is very concerned about outsourcing, even as we hear news this week of layoffs at my company due to outsourcing, I'm the last person who wants to see any outsourcing to India occur. However, most of the discussion on this thread is bothering me including the following:

TT:Natural: They looted precious stones, metal from the native countries...Killed the natives and occupied lands.
Human: Enslaved populations...
Economic: The colonies were FORCED not to produce any finished goods....

ME:None of this is news, and it is certainly not particular to treatment of India under the rule of British Imperialism. The practice of drawing raw materials from their colonies and selling back finished products at a greater margin was of course designed precisely with the idea that colonies are money-making ventures.

TT:Thomas Macaulay articulated the goals of British colonial imperialism most succinctly: "We must do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern, a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, words and intellect."

ME: Of course. The aim of an imperialist economy is to replace a colonial culture with an imperial culture to the degree that it benefits the Crown. This again is not news.

A lot of this was news to me!... so where does this leave us? Is her argument valid or not then? Just because something isn't "news to you" doesn't prevent it from being news to someone else. And even if it's not news, does it mean it's justified or right? Just because you acknowledge or can explain something doesn't mean you've dismissed their point. I don't think this is an argument (I have never seen it used in a debate before), and in discussion that is trying to create a common understanding about something, I think saying something "isn't news" is actually presumptous. I don't think anyone can say what is news for people in the forum, especially as far as Indian history goes.
TT:This is the most shamefull thing that you have done and so while you blame Indians for taking your jobs, just think about it a little and then cry.

ME:Just one thing: We're not Great Britain. Nor are we politically a direct descendant of British Imperialism. This is the US; we're a democracy. We were once a colony too. We rejected that rule, as did India, in its own time and in its own way and beset with its own particular difficulties.

I look at this in the larger sense, I know the Americans weren't the one's colonizing and subjugating India, but I know there was a lot of exploitation of the east in the past, the Opium wars/Boxer rebellion in China come to mind which the US was part of. So, I look at this in the general sense that the west has prospered greatly, and to a certain extent in the past it's come at the expense of the east, so it's not a surprise that these eastern countries that fell behind us and are now with lesser costs of livings are now in a position to take our jobs. So, no I'm not going to blame the Indian/Chinese/whoever for taking our jobs if/when the time comes, especially when its our government who has the greatest control over this (in my opinion).

In general, I am saying that the western countries are really the parasites and not the poor third world countries. What has it got to do with jobs???

I echo the concerns indicated by the moderators. The above quote shows why.. And I would also like to state that I categorically disagree with Teri in this regard.

Last night, the use of "parasite" type economic model was largely defended on the site in another forum, but now when it's thrown back in our face there's concern. Which is it? I know there are different people involved with today's debate, but seriously I think there should have been concern when this comment (especially as unsubstantiated as it was given) was made.

I guess the final thing that bothers me is that it seems that this person has put a pretty good amount of effort into this post which I believe is basically a response to, what I perceived to be, an inflammatory comment made last night in the jobs discussion. It appears she has taken the advice of the moderators of that discussion to try to facilitate discussion in a pretty friendly way and the response to her arguments has been basically this is not news, don't blame us we're not Great Britain, etc.
Personally, while I believe the suggestion to start this thread was well-meant, I don't think anyone should really have to start an argument based on defending whether their country's economic model is parasitic or not. Think about it. For example, I've read so many 'Bush is Hitler' type posts, or 'American's are fascists' type posts on other web sites. Do you really think it's worth anyone's time to start a "Bush is not Hitler" argument for people who believe he is? There's no benefit. There's no way you're going to convince those people that, if this is your opinion as it is mine, that Bush is a pretty good president, no way.
My take, is that I appreciate the intent of the person posting, I actually learned something, but do believe that this thread should be pulled or a replaced by a thread that is couched in more respectful language so that this can be discussed in a less inflammatory manner.
18 years ago

There is a major difference. Accounting is a profession and programming is not. Profession meaning there are certain quality standards, liability, ethics, education requirements. A professional has to conform to those standards, or otherwise he will be not allowed practice. A professional needs liability insurance. If he makes too many mistakes his insurance will go up an ultimately he will not be able to practice. In IT there are no quality standards, no ethics, no liability. For this reason it is easy to outsource or bring in foreign workers. People involved in IT never recognized the need to regulate this occupation and make it a profession, and therefore they pay the price.

In a previous career, I worked as a CPA for a couple years and this is what I learned from my experience.
Accounting is self-regulated by the AICPA which does raise the barrier to entry into the profession to a certain extent by encouraging and even requiring public accountants to be certified depending on the work to be performed.
As for liability, yes, that's absolutely crucial, but by the same token most of the liability is in the hands of the partners and managers who sign off on the work (audits/tax returns) to be performed. The people who actually do the work (supervisors, in-charges, and the staff accountants) have very little liability if any because they are not the one's signing off on it. This arrangement would actually work pretty well from an outsourcing perspective, because the partners/managers in the US could maintain the contacts with clients in the US then electronically transmit the work to be done to India/Philippines wherever. All the accountants in these countries would need would be an accredited degree and preferably the CPA designation from passing the exam. The partner could facilitate the communication by being the intermediary between the client and the CPA performing the work. It wouldn't be too difficult.
Audits would seem to be more involved,but CPA's could easily have a few staff accountants who perform any hands-on work at the site inspecting inventory and verifying invoices, once those items were confirmed. Much of the remaining work could be handled at the CPA office, whether it be in the US or in another country. An example of this, was when I was a CPA that for New York audits, they'd fly us out from the midwest (Iowa) to NY to perform the audit because our rates in the midwest were so much lower. We'd be out there for a few days or so, then come back and work on the audit and tax return for the next couple weeks and be done. I can see something similar working for outsourcing.
It's not something I want to see happen, but it seems like it would be actually easier that IT, especially since most audits and tax returns are more of a commodity than a software project and it would be easier to manage these through outsourcing. I am very surprised that we have not heard more about this.
[ December 01, 2003: Message edited by: Nathan Thurm ]
[ December 01, 2003: Message edited by: Nathan Thurm ]
18 years ago,4149,1265373,00.asp
This Baseline guide offers a comprehensive analysis of offshore outsourcing trends, economic and labor statistics, and company interviews.
In This Report:
Offshore Outsourcing's Hidden Costs Depleting The U.S. Tax Base?
National Security: Off the Radar?
Faith in U.S. Innovation?
Plus: Download a global comparison of CIO and programmer salary info for 12 countries. (Registration required)
I believe this is an excellent analysis of outsourcing pros and cons.
Some data that jumped out at me were:
Unemployment rate U.S. IT industry July 2000 2.1 %, July 2003 5.6%
2003 2015 (projected)
United States $74,486 $85,000
India $6,350 $20,000
China $5,852 $10,000
Poland $8,990 $45,000
Also, the analysis of what will change for each country over 12 years and wild card factors for each country were interesting as well.
18 years ago
Hot jobs now

"Yes, it's been a jobless recovery to date. But that doesn't mean there's been no hiring.
August 29, 2003: 12:59 PM EDT
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Dismal though the labor market has been, there are some industries that are have job opportunities thanks to geopolitical, business or demographic trends.
Among them are health care, agriculture, energy, consumer financial services, insurance, security and energy.
Now you may be thinking, "Yeah, yeah, I know, healthcare's hot. But I'm not a nurse."
Well, you're probably not a farmer, either. But that doesn't mean you might not find a fertile career in agriculture.

That's because the jobs available in some of the hottest industries today aren't necessarily poster-children for those areas.
Take healthcare. Yes, there is an acute shortage of nurses, but that's not the only job available. "There are opportunities for many skills sets and fields," said Steve Pogorzelski, North America president for the job site, which has seen a 30 percent increase in postings related to health care over the past six months. Among them are jobs for accountants, information technology specialists or administrative workers. "
This was actually a pretty encouraging article, indicating which industries had job opportunities, and IT consultants were in demand (though the salary range was a little alarming).
[ August 29, 2003: Message edited by: Nathan Thurm ]
18 years ago

I think it's going to be a reprise of 1983, not of 1993. It's not that far off.....

I don't mean to stray from the article,but I thought it would be relevant to discuss business cycles and labor shortages/surpluses we've been through, especially as they relate to what we're going into. I think this needs to be weighed along with the demographic evidence they present.
1983 - tax cuts weren't enough to turn the economy around, abandoning Friedman's monetary policy also was necessary to start the Reagan boom years
1993 - Internet boom?
2003 - tax cuts + outsourcing + (0 * governmental policies to address free trade and immigration issues (including our border with Mexico, L-1 etc.) = ??
[ August 28, 2003: Message edited by: Nathan Thurm ]
18 years ago

As much as I appreciate the personal stories and viewpoints, I really want people to read this article and provide feedback to the evidence provided in it.

The data about the 10 Hottest Jobs on page 101 of the Business 2.0 article is two years old ( the dates have been curiously omitted, but if you go to the site you’ll see the same data for the timespan 2001-2010). We won’t get an update until February 2004.
Otherwise, I was somewhat encouraged by the article, though I do wonder how the statistics would very if the leaving the work force age was pegged a little higher or lower (say 52 or 56 years of age) to see what effect that would have on employment figures.
18 years ago