Old 09-18-2001, 06:15 PM
bladeohlsson bladeohlsson is offline
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 43
I was looking at a BBS run by some Muslim youth group or something and they keep referring to Westerners (or non Muslims) as Kuffar, or Kuffar scum, etc.. I gather that this means non-believer, but it sounds really derogatory in it's usage. What does it mean?

Also for those of you interested in the BBS take a look. I don't know what to gather. It seems like most of the people there are good Muslim people, but there are a few that are really trying to brainwash the others into joining together for a Jihad. Check it out, what do you think? You can see where posters are from and it seems most sre from the USA and the UK>>???


Old 09-18-2001, 06:27 PM
Revtim Revtim is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 20,189
I think the word is kafir, and it you are right, it means "non-believer in Islam".
Old 09-18-2001, 06:54 PM
Lawmill Lawmill is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 269
Related question:

In the book The Guns of the South, the South Africans in the story refer to the black slaves as "kafirs". Why?
Old 09-18-2001, 07:22 PM
arara123 arara123 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 93

It literally means "savage" but it's used as a strong insult, like the "n-word" in the U.S.

As a side note, Kfir means "lion cub" in Hebrew, it's the name of one of an Israeli jet.

Also, can any liguists out tell us if there's any relationship between the three words.
Old 09-18-2001, 07:24 PM
jaimest jaimest is offline
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 427
"Kafir" is a term used in South Africa for "blacks". Actually it is a pretty rude word - not much different from n*gger.

It was originally used by Muslim traders to describe the non Muslim peoples of Africa's interior - but the Afrikaners twisted the meaning.
Old 09-18-2001, 07:43 PM
Revtim Revtim is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 20,189
I used to work with a guy from South Africa, and he claimed that "kafir" was worse epithet than "nigger". He told the following story to me once:

As a child, my friend (who's white) had a black maid or nanny. He asked her to get him some hot chocolate, but she refused for some reason.

My friend went to his father, and told him "I asked her to make me hot chocolate, but the bloody kafir wouldn't make me any!"

The father was furious. "You will not call the niggers 'kafirs' in this house!"

I gathered from this story that "kafir" was about as offensive as "nigger" is here, but "nigger" obviously wasn't quite as offensive, at least it wasn't forty or so years ago when he was living there as a child.
Old 09-19-2001, 10:40 PM
cmkeller cmkeller is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: New York, NY, USA
Posts: 12,774

As a side note, Kfir means "lion cub" in Hebrew, it's the name of one of an Israeli jet.
While you are correct about this, I'd wager that the Arabic term "kaffir" is more likely related to the Hebrew verb "Kefirah," which means "denial." (The noun form, "denier", would be "Kofer") In Hebrew, a "Kofer B'Ikar" is one who denies the truth of the fundamental principles of Judaism...in other words, a non-believer or infidel, as a "kaffir" is to Muslims.
"Sherlock Holmes once said that once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible. The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks."
-- Douglas Adams's Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective
Old 09-20-2001, 01:20 AM
Russell Russell is offline
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 16
i picked up the following from cast glossary at http://www.fatwa-online.com

Kaafir (pl. Kuffaar, Kaafiroon)
-literally means "one who covers up the truth". It is used to refer to someone who is made aware of the message of Islaam but refuses to worship Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta'aala). Commonly known as disbeliever.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:50 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017