The Word "Infidel"

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Michael, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, it's never meant just "non-Muslim". The religio-political connotation is ongoing. Why is this even a discussion?
     
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  3. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    Some Islamic Apologists suggest Infidel is simply a way to delineate someone who isn't of the Muslim faith. Like saying non-Atheist I suppose.
     
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  5. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, but it's patently obvious that isn't its full meaning. I expect Southern rednecks in the US defended the use of the "n-word" also. It just doesn't wash, for the obvious reasons.
     
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I disagree. I think they're just saying that no matter how pious you claim to be, if you're corrupt then you're not really a Muslim.

    Christians sometimes say the same thing about other Christians who fall way short of the standards of the faith. "You're no Christian!"

    And of course, at least in the modern era, Judaism is entirely a religion of laws rather than doctrine. So if you don't follow the code and live a decent life, then you really aren't Jewish.
     
  8. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    I disagree strongly with the first sentence, Fraggle. "Infidel" is clearly directed at non-Muslims, rather than insufficiently pious Muslims.

    The user might lump impious Muslims with non-Muslims, but I don't think the meaning is arguable. I've seen the latter perspectives applied to Christians deemed insufficiently Christian, but none of them would seriously debate what 'unbeliever' or 'infidel' or 'Christ-killer' et al was meant to address. Very few would use the first two terms (out of practicality or civic/humanitarian consideration) and not few enough the second (out of bigotry and hatred), but they would implicitly understand the meaning of the term.

    Of Jews I cannot say, although I do believe the meme you describe exists therein, as among Christians. But again, I don't think it extends so far as you're proposing.
     
  9. Emil Valued Senior Member

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    In my language we have one word for "infidelitate"(adjective "infidel") and"infidelity."
    (What is the adjective for "infidelity"?)
    fidelitate-infidelitate noun in English Fidelity-Infidelity
    fidel-infidel adjective and google translation does not translate correctly faithful-unfaithful, that is only one of meanings.


     
  10. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    Infidelity generally does mean unfaithful in marriage/serious relationship and comes from Infidel which means without faith. Of course, for countless numbers cultures and for multitudes of different peoples, Muslims have intolerantly labeled all these different cultures and peoples as "Infidels" - which is wrong, in fact most, of these people do indeed have VALID faiths endemic to their native culture. So Infidel means more than without faith per say. It means without a valid belief. And for many Muslims that means any culture that is not Islamic.

    Very Intolerant IMO.

    Get this, when one starts out at Infidel and Unbeliever, I mean, this is a STARTING premise?!?!? Well, even a blind man riding by on a bus can see it's is a clear indication of moral bankruptcy. When your starting position is at Nigger, don't expect much in way of advancing the human condition. Which is exactly what we see in societies where this meme us tied around their cerebral cortex of social members dragging them into the muck of idiocy. Get this, it didn't take long before the "Religion of Peace" was violently plundering ancient Arab cultural heritage, beheading the Infidels who built said societies, and this was considered Good Works! Talk about Bizarro-World.

    Publicly scorn the parents who raise their children to think with such hateful bigotry.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
  11. Emil Valued Senior Member

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    I believe that the origin of the word fidelity is older than the "modern" religions.
    "Fidelity is the quality of being faithful or loyal. Its original meaning regarded duty to a lord or a king, in a broader sense than the related concept of fealty. Both derive from the Latin word fidēlis (A III adjective), meaning "faithful or loyal"
     
  12. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Sorry about the OT, but this seems like the appropriate place for this. In case anyone was wondering, persuing to the ancient debate on whether "kafir" is an insult...

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    How many times does one have to be right before one is right, I wonder? But maybe they mean that in a good way.
     
  13. Red Devil Born Again Athiest Registered Senior Member

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    KAFIR

    The language of Islam is dualistic. As an example, there is never any reference to humanity as a unified whole. Instead there is a division into believer and kafir (unbeliever). Humanity is not seen as one body, but is divided into whether the person believes Mohammed is the prophet of Allah or not. Kafir is what the Koran and Islam call the unbelievers. Kafir is the worst word in the human language.



    From an Islamic site. Ah the intransigence of religion. If Kafir means non believer then I am proud to be Kafir.
     
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    It is an inflection of the verb kafara, which means "to conceal,' and from that came to mean "to deny." So a kaffir (the standard spelling in English) is one who denies the alleged truth of Mohammed's teachings.

    Originally the word was applied to all non-Muslims, but during the Ottoman era it was narrowed to mean only Christians, if the context of the discourse did not suggest otherwise.

    But the Christian missionaries in Africa borrowed it in its original sense, which is an almost perfect translation of our word "heathen." They applied it to the Bantus, and by extension it came to mean any of the native peoples of South Africa. From there it developed in almost the same way as the Spanish word negro (meaning simply "black person" with no judgment implied) developed in the USA, as Southern dialect changed the pronunciation to "nigger" and made it an ethnic slur. By the early 20th century "Kaffir" was regarded as an ethnic slur and in post-apartheid South Africa it is now understood to have only that meaning.

    In South Africa today it is not just oafish but illegal to call someone a kaffir, and people can be arrested for it. This makes it much worse than our N-word.

    * * * * Hey I'm only going to spell the whole word out once in a month. I don't want to trigger all the filters that will block this website from corporate, educational and family computers. So don't think it would be cute to repeat it twelve times. I'll edit your posts immediately! I don't really expect that to happen because you folks who post on the Linguistics board are much more mature and sensible than some of our other members.

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    The South Africans certainly agree with you. But it's not because it means "infidel." It's because it's an ethnic slur that developed from a religious slur!

    In any case, every culture has "fightin' words" as we say in English: words so inflammatory that they are guaranteed to start a fight. In fact they are one of the very few exceptions to our constitutional tolerance for free speech, in the same category as fraud, libel, copyright violation, incitement to riot, conspiracy to commit a crime, and advocacy of overthrowing the U.S. government by force.

    And they change with the generations. Afro-Americans beat us over the head with the N-word in their rap songs and laugh about it because our laws always lag one generation behind culture so if we use it we might be prosecuted. Asian-Americans were using rude English slang words for their people when I first moved to Los Angeles fifty years ago, and today if you say "Buddha-head" most people will have no idea what or whom you're talking about. Does anybody even remember "wop" for an Italian and "mick" for an Irishman?' My parents would never have dared to utter those words in mixed company when they were growing up in Chicago in the 1910s. "Frog" for a Frenchman and "kraut" for a German are now acceptable as humor and there's even a style of music called "kraut-rock."

    So "kaffir" will surely become passe during this century.
    Nonetheless it behooves all of us to not go around casually making people uncomfortable with our choice of words. There are millions of moderate Muslims in the USA who A) don't use that word and B) don't believe that non-Muslims are bad people but C) are not quite as assimilated and cosmopolitan as our grandparents were. If you call yourself (or anyone) a "kaffir" in their presence you'll just embarrass them and make them squirm. Why do that?

    It's just about exactly the same as learning another language's profanity before you learn how to speak the language, or even before you learn much of anything else about the culture. It's an insult.

    How would you feel about a person from Ghana or Tanzania who just arrived in America and can't speak a word of English, except he goes around spouting the words "bullshit," "asshole," "motherfucker"... and the N-word?

    That's exactly the way those moderate Muslims will feel about you if you tell them, "I'm proud to be a kaffir."

    Be nice to people. It will make them feel good and it will also make you feel good.

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  15. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    That's a filthy lie, concealer.

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    Another filthy, filthy concealer
     

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