Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Saito Hajime, Mar 23, 2015.

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  1. So my mum is pretty great. She's a really damn nice woman, to the point she'll do just about everything she can for me and my brother with no thought of reward. She even tried to insist on splitting the cost of, if not outright paying for, a birthday gift we got for her. She works damn hard in an unforgiving job with a bunch of arseholes that do nothing but criticize her at every opportunity, all while continuing to keep house and other responsibilities.

    But even she has her flaws.

    She fervently believes there is a Muslim conspiracy (hence the title~) to take over the world. Every once and a while, we have just about exactly the same debate over whether there really is a Muslim conspiracy, usually prompted by a news story or some other such rot. Every time, it starts with her making some assertion that Muslim people all want to dominate other countries by migrating into them and eventually becoming the dominant culture by forcing others out yada yada etc etc. You've probably heard this before. Me and my brother, we try to make the obvious argument that she has no proof of this conspiracy, and that she cannot possibly claim that all Muslim people are simply tools in some great war against the West. She makes some feeble attempts to justify her position by pointing to ISIS or Saudi Arabia and saying that they represent all Muslims, or at least the core of their beliefs. This continues in a circular fashion for some time.

    Now, her beliefs are one thing, but the worst part is how she treats these discussions. She usually shuts them down by claiming she's tired (which she probably is, but it's besides the point), that we're attacking her, making her the enemy or something along those lines. And then all this is forgotten for the NEXT time she feels like making ridiculous assertions like this. We can try and reason with her all we like, but all we ever accomplish is getting the conversation shut down faster than usual. This isn't limited to Islam either, but that just seems to be the topic of choice lately.

    So, my question is; what on earth am I supposed to do?
  2. What religious belief is your Mother?
    Because you could always pointed at a part of her religious history and show similar arguments.

    Ex: The Crusades was Christian, therefore all Christians are violent people.

    Note: Obviously word this better/more carefully than I did.

    If that doesn't work though and other points you and other's here suggest don't work?
    Remember that people are only open to new ideas when they want to be.
    The best you can honestly do at this point if that's the case is to plant a seed in her and hope the truth comes to her later.
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  3. There's not much that you can do in this situation. At your mother's age and cognitive development, changing her mind or shifting her perspective is going to be incredibly difficult. When you consider where she's coming from, what evidence she produces and her willingness to have a discussion, her conspiracy is quite set in and of itself. As far as the dialogue with your mother, the most you can do is stand your ground and when she brings things up, just present your position. Should she change her mind, then she'll change her mind. If not, then that is unfortunate.

    As for yourself and your brother, so long as you two don't allow her conspiracy to take root with you, then you've done the right thing. Ignorance is only dangerous when it is perpetuated, it's only powerful when it becomes pervasive. Unfortunately, your mother isn't the only person who has this idea, so in many ways, this train of though has already become dangerous. But in so far as your own experience is concerned, continue to champion your own ideas. We may be a long way from harmony in our human condition, but at least we're making progress.
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  4. Basically what @AetherDream said.

    My old man is extremely racist and xenophobic so I know the struggle. Unfortunately it can be damn near impossible to try and change people's minds, especially when they won't hear reason or logic. And as irritating as it is, hearing that kind of bullshit from a person you feel close to, there really isn't a lot you can do about it. Trying to educate them or straight up ignoring it might just be the best thing you can do.
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  5. You could try to redirect the argument by just being honest. Tell her you and your brother don't want to talk about this topic anymore because it makes you feel bad when she shuts the argument down with you are attacking her. If she sees that the argument is really starting to make you upset then as a mother I would assume she will stop talking about it.

    You could just avoid the arguement entirely by just saying "okay mom, whatever you say." But not in a manner where she is thinking you are being snarky or sarcastic. More like "I understand your opinion, but I would not like to discuss this at the moment because of (insert reason)."

    Sorry you have to go through this with your mom. She seems like a really nice person! I sort of understand where you are coming from because a friend of mine has been raving on and on about that NSA and how the government spies on our conversations. She's been obsessed with wiki leaks and its workers to the point that its unhealthy lol
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  6. My Mom's also one of the people who thinks stuff like Vaccines cause Autism.
    So I can also sort of relate to dealing with extreme beliefs from a parent.

    Yet oddly enough despite her stance on Vaccines she was 100% supportive when I said I wanted to catch up on my vaccines when I was older.
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  7. Thank you all for your replies.
    Yes, she's christian, though not all that devout a christian. Yes, we've tried pointing out that Christianity and the West have/had quirks and violent tendencies as well. No matter how convincing the rhetoric sounds to me or anybody else, when it seems like we might've made a decisive point, that's usually where she shuts the conversation down and claims she'll still be suspicious of all Muslims. And then we have the exact same conversation later.
    Yeah, I had a feeling this would be the conclusion this thread would come to. I can safely say my mum's never made a very convincing argument for the vilification of all Muslims.

    Strangely enough, she has a Muslim co-worker who she doesn't treat poorly (according to her). She usually uses this as a shield, but she's still usually claiming we should start barring Muslims from entering the country.

    And Chinese people. Possibly other Asians too, if there's ever a scare about them taking over countries.
    I think we might've brought up the point that we just go in circles with these arguments. Usually closer to the end of one, so I suppose I could try just telling her straight up from the beginning that we should just stop.
    Mine got worse with age. I don't remember any of the crazy when I was younger, and it all seems to have erupted recently. For instance, my brother was offered the opportunity to visit a Mosque by a Muslim friend while he was at university. You can just imagine how that went down.

    And then we heard a year or two later that the same Mosque was under suspicion for radicalizing people. The worst my brother had seen on his visit was the Imam(?) who clearly had a chip on his shoulder about the West.

    Anyway, thanks again, everyone who replied.
  8. This doesn't really work. Ever try to talk to somebody with firmly set beliefs? It's super easy to deflect points if you're set in stone.

    If somebody came at me with the Crusades (and I was staunchly anti-Muslim), I'd just say that was literally hundreds of years ago and most of Europe was constantly at war. You can't judge the actions of that time on how things are now because we're an enlightened society and the Catholic church isn't near as warlike of an organization as it used to be.

    I could also reasonably make the same argument that Islam and Christianity have existed for a similar amount of time, but the Middle East seems like a violent backwater place of the world of hatred and ignorance that is adverse to acceptance of outsiders and change from barbaric and cruel practices.

    All of this, of course, isn't what I believe but it's to illustrate that you could make the most rational argument ever with somebody who's so firm in their beliefs that you might as well be throwing rocks at a wall for all the good you're going to do. And when it comes to discussion about political beliefs, agism is a HUGE issue. Our parents' generation is very reluctant to listen to ours because we're younger and don't have nearly the same life experience, and they will always see us as their kids subconsciously, not peers (generally speaking, of course). Ever notice how a lot of protests are younger crowds demanding change, for the most part? Change that either doesn't happen or happens very painfully when there's no other option?

    Have you ever had someone in junior high come up to you to explain to you why you're wrong about something, or you find yourself thinking that they don't know what they're talking about because they simply aren't experienced enough to know the reality of something? Exact same situation.

    My own parents are wonderful people and I love them dearly, but I do NOT speak to them about political matters because it's exactly like Saito's situation; they're very set in their ways and no matter what reasonable argument or examples to counter what they're claiming, their opinion never shifts. The thing is, they spent nearly 20 years raising me from an infant to an adult and their morals and judgements were passed onto me. Having their kid turn around one day and tell them they're wrong about what they think might as well be viewed as a rebellious outburst instead of an insightful comment, no matter how much they respect me and treat me as their equal, I will always be their son, and who I am is largely because of how they brought me up. That doesn't just go away.

    But seriously, go to Youtube, find a comment you disagree with (it isn't hard, as I'm sure you know) and try to convince that person to come around to your point of view. Chances are, they'll never budge and you'll get into an argument. Hell, how many people on this forum have you changed their minds about something that was a deeply rooted belief?

    A big thing that needs to be understood about our parents and grandparents' generations is that they grew up in times where it was impossible to communicate with people who are supposed to be our enemies easily over the internet. Our parents grew up during the Cold War and the fear of communism taking over the world was real, and nobody knew that nobody was going to end up nuking the world. The Soviets were a black and white enemy, they weren't like us and they were forcing their systems on other nations, oftentimes violently and oppressively. Sound like ISIS? And they grew up as the kids of people who fought the Nazis and Japanese where numerous atrocities and war crimes were committed, and that was very black and white; they were the ones doing the genocide, not us. Doesn't help that right as World War II ended, we went right into the Cold War.

    I think part of the reason our generation doesn't universally see Muslims as a universal threat that needs to be stopped is because we have the Internet. We can find things out on our own and actually talk to them, as I mentioned earlier. We can chose where we get our news from, not being stuck with the national news broadcasts that may or may not have their own agendas. Our parents lived nearly their whole lives under the specter of nuclear war and losing their way of life to the communists, and now the enemies our nations are facing are Muslim extremists, and the fact that individuals claiming to be Muslims are attacking innocent people at home. The threat feels real and everywhere, and the fact that ISIS seemed to come out of nowhere and is a walking horror show with substantial military prowess, it's hard not to see refrains of the USSR.

    It's really hard to shake somebody who has that mentality out of that decades-rooted "us or them" mentality. You can't argue that 99% of Muslims are normal people like you or I because it becomes "why aren't they speaking out about it?" and once again, we're younger and more "ignorant". They don't like being shown up or proven they're wrong about something they believe. You can start to make progress, but then somebody shoots up a mall, or takes somebody in a cafe hostage, or like here in Canada, shoots a soldier at a war memorial and then storms the Parliament buildings.

    So, @Saito Hajime, there's not much you can do to change your mom's mind. It doesn't mean she's a bad person, it just means she's grown up in a bit different culture than you were and didn't really have the opportunities you have to understand the whole Muslim situation in her formative years. Imagine people like clay, when it's new it's easy to mold and shape and it can always be reshaped into new things. When it gets old, it gets hard and brittle and trying to play with it too much can snap it. It's good you're trying to show her a better understanding of things, but do consider that change for her's probably uncomfortable, and what progress she makes in being more open minded gets slapped down hard every time something horrible happens in the name of Islam.
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  9. The people here make some very good points and I know that Iwaku is generally a good site for people such as myself, but I still want to make a statement. I can tell you this, how can over a billon people come togather and make a conspiracy of taking over the world? Heck, ISIS are nothing more than frustrated people and their ways are horrible.

    Now, I do support an Islamic State because back in the old times it held and united the Muslims and when it collapsed... well just look at the Middle East. However, what ISIS( or any terrorist group that is doing this) is unIslamic. Killing the elder, unarmed man, woman, or child is forbidden unless they're assisting the enemy(like they have a gun with them and they're firing on ya).

    There are also rules of engagement in Islam such as not destroying livestock unless it is for food. Geez, a lot of people need to ask an actual Mulism, but as Dervish said, thank Allah for the internet.

    Now, I can see where your mom is coming from though. People will only change if they allow it to happen so if you want you can put your opinions and hope that she'll change.
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  10. There's really anything I can really rebuttal with for that. :P
    You hit the nail right on the head there.

    Though I do feel the need to clarify what I was trying to say earlier.
    I wasn't making that "Point at the crusades" suggestion which a high expectation it would work.
    I was more saying "If you hadn't you might as well try. But there's a very good chance it won't work".
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