Thoughtful debate

Having just begun doing my Masters degree on “Intercultural Relations in Asian Contexts” and realising what a mouthful it is (!), I have also realised that I am going to need to do some research to get through it! With that in mind then, I putting my toe into the waters by submitting my first poll. Please answer it, add your own answers if the ones below don’t fit (I added them just to get you started) and share this with others on facebook, Twitter etc.

The aim is to get a general perception from a range of different people, different backgrounds, different faiths, different countries to see what terms like “Islam” mean to people in a day-to-day sense. There is no hidden agenda here and I would be interested in your comments and other feeback. I have added a similar poll on my facebook if you would prefer to answer there.

The Degree itself isΒ sociological, anthropological, theological and culturally orientated in its basis – which is no less wordy than the degree title itself! Believe me, it gets no easier in the course itself. Not easy for a north of England lad who grew calling a spade a “ruddy great shovel”! So, help me out here and get me thinking about research questionnaires and how to present them. I hope you find it interesting too!

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25 Responses to Thoughtful debate

  1. Pingback: Holidays, Sundarbans and catch ups | kenthinksaloud

  2. Michael Ford II says:


    I must admit, I have a slightly negative view of the Nation of Islam. But, I would also be willing to admit that much of my opinion is based on ignorance.

    I have not taken the time to try to fully understand Islamic values, so my perspective is based on the testimonies of others, and what I have heard on television for the most part.

    I, therefore, do not have an extremely credible stance on this topic.



    • Thank you Michael for you frank and honest comment. I suspect I thought much like you before I went out to Bangladesh 3 years ago. Everything I knew about Islam was from the press which gave mostly negative views of Muslims and at the same time said you could not say anything bad about them. Since then I have got to know many Muslims and read even more books by Muslims and have a much better understanding of their faith and lifestyle. I have enjoyed learning and have much more to go yet but have found that people, on the whole, are pretty much the same wherever you are and just want to get on in peace. I have a great deal of respect for my Muslim friends and their faith and find them very open to discuss things and even more open to welcome you into their homes. I have always received the greatest of hospitality in any Muslim home I have visited. And I can tell you that Eid has become one of my most favourite times of the year as a result!


  3. SR says:

    I hope good thoughts. God Bless, SR


  4. SR says:

    Hey Ken,

    I voted again but this time “great historical significance.” Who can possibly even begin to imagine that Islam does not play a part in this, as it certainly played a BIG PART in the Old Testament. You cannot read the OT and not see Islam in there. God Bless, SR


  5. SR says:

    Ken, Will be back later today. Am busy still catching up. God Bless, SR


  6. I have had many, many responses to this poll now and as the ‘others’ has built up a quite a lot I have added more choices – some positive, some negative – according to the popularity of similar answers. If you are visiting again and put down an answer in ‘other’ I invite you to re-submit your answer if I have no included in the list. You can vote multiple times if you wish – this is not a strict academic poll! Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to contribute here πŸ™‚


  7. SR says:

    You are most humbly welcome and thank you for your kind words as well. I try to live my life as such, If I lie to myself then I have only myself to blame, when I am in search of the truth and cannot find it. Have enjoyed your blog. God Bless, SR


  8. SR says:

    I voted to me Islam as being complexed. Stating that however, I am a Catholic and we seem to be as complexed to many, as Islam is. So why I have to ask myself, “Is Islam complexed to me?” I can only go back to the answer in which I give to myself for the Catholic Church. Lack of understanding of the beliefs, prayers, way of Worship, and the practice of their faith. So maybe I have some learning to do. God Bless, SR


    • I think that was tremendously honest of you and very truthful. There is too much ignorance in the world and too many people who ‘think’ they know what others believe instead of being able to admit that actually they don’t get it. Thank you for your honest explanation πŸ™‚


  9. Frederica Venn says:

    Hi again, now you rightly have the ‘submission’ box included, I see it is gaining fast! Relieved, especially on the Eve of Eid, where here in Islamabad the air is filled with moo-ing and baa baa-ing all around me, from roof tops and gardens, bit culturally unnerving for over sentimental Brit, but my warm and best wishes to all Muslims contributing to your site.


    • Ha ha yes indeed Frederica – I am missing not celebrating Eid in Bangladesh. I LOVE this time of the year and all the animal noises involved (although my vegetarian daughter is less keen!). I too wish Eid Murbarak to all our Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world. πŸ™‚


  10. kitty0nline says:

    Thankyou for visiting my blog at and thanks for having me here for the vote.i Would just like to mention very shortly one thing.
    Islam word derived from SALAM and Salam in arabic means Peace. Shalom is the sister word in hebrew for salam.
    Islam means Total submission to ONE and ALONE God (ALMIGHTY ALLAH) + Believe in the Prophet hood of Muhammad (Saws) as Hith Final Messenger and Slave.
    Islam has 2 major believes further . 1 is called Iman ne mufasal and 2nd is called iman e mujamal. i would just explain here shortly.
    These two including a belief in them as. Having belief in all prophets of Almighty Allah i-e Noah Abraham,Moses,Jesus,John the baptist,etc etc and final of them Our beloved prophet. also belief in Angels (not the christian version for details you can see at my forum’s catagory) ,Having belief in all books major are. Taurait (Torah) , Zubour, Injeel (bible),and Holy Quran.
    Thanks for reading
    Fe aman ALLAH


    • Thank you for sharing these thoughts and explaining some of the origins of the word ‘Islam’ which I am sure many of my readers would not have known. I am grateful for your contribution and feel blessed that you took the time to write this. I enjoyed your blog and look forward to reading more πŸ™‚


  11. Sajib says:

    My vote went to the first two options.


    • Thank you Bhai! I should point out at this point to everyone reading this that the poll randomises the order of the options each time you come to it. Please – no one think that Sajib bhai went for something that might be seen as terrible!!


  12. Frederica Venn says:

    Oops, I got your notice shared via a website, so sorry if got that bit wrong. I am working in Pakistan and may have been oversensitive a tad, I am a volunteer working as a Community Artist, and despite my own affiliations, am actively passionate about promoting peace and harmony, good relations and wiser understanding. Am also a thicko technical duffer, so how do I see your blog, and do you share the other comments? Sounds like you want gut reactions but are getting deeper ones if so many tick ‘other’. Respect., and good luck with your project and thank you for your response. Frederica


    • No worries Frederica! As long as no one is spamming me I welcome all comments – good, bad, critical or supportive – so you are more than welcome here! πŸ™‚

      If you check my blog you can see that I work in Bangladesh (though currently on leave for 6 months back in the UK) and that I love this country and it’s people passionately and – like you – care about promoting peace and understanding too. From what I can see, there is not often a lot of that especially here in the UK and this poll is merely to have a little look at gut reactions. I will publish all comments as and when they come in and feel free to subscribe/follow the whole blog as well as this particular one – just go to where it says to put your email.

      And yes, the other poll contributions have indeed been deep – I look forward to see what else comes up!


  13. Frederica Venn says:

    I do not want to sound offensive, and fully apologise if I do, brought up in Scotland I may not be as blunt as you, but I found the few questions you put forward to be something I might have found in the Daily Mail! Completely inadequate, what would you write for Christianity I wonder? I suppose you might pose exactly the same inane questions! Am quite upset to find this on a Christian website, where most of us work daily with Brother and Sister Islam, how ever different our spiritual beliefs and paths are. Jesus talked freely with ‘other faiths’ remember, like the Woman of Samaria.

    I am cheered though that the ‘Other’ slot got the most response – hope that was your intention! Would be interested to see what they said.

    Peace be with you.


    • Thank you, Frederica, for your thoughts. I should correct you that this is not a Christian website but a blog that deliberately steers clear of any particular religious bias.

      You are entirely right that this is very “daily mail” like and blunt – that is the point and I am looking for a snapshot of views – quick and basic – to get a raw view. The danger behind a more intellectually tight kind of question is that you get intellectual answers from a small and elect group. I know that many, many people read this blog – including many Muslims, Hindus, Atheists and other faiths – and I am wanting those views as much as any other.

      I almost certainly will ask “what does Christianity mean to you” as a poll at some point as this is just as important in the research I am doing and I hope for just as much “gut-reaction” responses then – good and bad. I’m not looking – at this stage – for indepth, thoughtful and intellectual responses.

      I think you are also right that the “other” response is getting most responses – and I am interested in what those other responses were as much as you! Having looked at them and seen several from Muslims (thank you my friends :)) I have now added a common response – so this is changing all the time and responding to the valuable comments people give.

      So, apologies that you feel this is offensive, but I stand by this (unless I get a lot of fierce reaction) and I hope you will forgive me for that.


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