Our Non-War Over Islam

Tolerance and assimilation are the real story.

If you arrived here from Mars in the last couple of months and watched a lot of TV news, you would quickly reach this conclusion: Americans hate Muslims, and Muslims hate America.

On the one side is widespread opposition to the proposed Islamic center near ground zero in lower Manhattan, which the Republican nominee for governor of New York has promised to forcibly stop.

A Florida pastor threatened to hold a "Burn a Koran Day." Many conservatives think the country is in dire peril because Barack Obama is (in their imaginations) a Muslim.

On the other side, you have the Lebanese-born man arrested for allegedly trying to set off a bomb near Wrigley Field in Chicago and Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, accused of killing 13 people in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood.

You also have the cleric behind the New York community center warning ominously that "Burn a Koran Day" would have "enhanced the possibility of terrorist acts against America."

There is no question that feelings on both sides are running higher than usual. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, says the Pew Research Center, 59 percent of Americans had a favorable view of Islam, but today, the figure is 30 percent. A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations blamed the recent slashing of a Muslim cab driver in New York on "hate rhetoric."

But all these events get attention for the same reason that airplane crashes get attention: They are unusual. Considering the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and considering the U.S. invasion of two Islamic countries, the surprise is not that feelings between Muslims and non-Muslims in this country are so bitter and angry. It's that they are so amicable.

The "ground zero mosque" has elicited a great deal of opposition—but, for the most part, restrained opposition. A Fox News poll found that while 64 percent of Americans do not want the facility at that location, 61 percent—including most Republicans—say the group has the right to build it there.

Most people don't perceive all Muslims as a lurking danger. Asked whether Islam is more likely than other religions "to encourage violence," 35 percent of Americans said yes—but 42 percent said no.

Nor is the American Muslim community a seething swamp of violent militancy. There are estimated to be at least 1.3 million Muslims in this country—plenty to furnish an unending stream of suicide bombers, if the motivation existed. But it doesn't. If there is anything striking about the home front of the global war on terrorism, it's the extreme rarity of domestic jihadists.

Most American Muslims are about as radical as Jay Leno. A 2007 survey by Pew found that only 5 percent have a favorable view of al-Qaida—a number that drops to 3 percent among foreign-born Muslims. Far from praying daily for the rise of Islamic extremism, 61 percent said they were worried about it.

Unlike the alienated Muslim populations of Europe, American Muslims do not feel estranged from society. "Most say their communities are excellent or good places to live," Pew discovered. Most also believe women are better off in the United States than in Muslim countries.

Their overall satisfaction with the state of the country is no different, according to Pew, from the overall satisfaction of everyone else. They don't sound like a violent cult plotting to impose Taliban-style Shariah law on the infidels who surround them. They sound strangely like ... Americans.

Which is what they are. For the most part, Muslims have achieved integration and acceptance. Only a quarter of them say they have ever suffered discrimination. Most have many non-Muslim friends.

Could that be because non-Muslims do not regard them with fear and loathing? Hate crimes against Muslims do not support the charge that Americans are frothing Islamophobes. In 2008, there were only 105 anti-Muslim incidents, compared with 1,013 against Jews.

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  • Suki||

    Another in the We Don't Do Backlash series.

    Good morning reason!

  • Alain Jean-Mairet||

    "Muslims mostly identify with our way of life."

    Oh but they did in Europe, too. Back then, when they were only a tiny few.

  • Charles Martel||

    ahem.

  • Alain Jean-Mairet||

    Well, not THAT far back indeed.

  • ben||

    So some sort of Muslim shield is needed? Or is this why we allow the Mexicans in to counter the influence of muslims? Should Europe start importing Mexicans?

  • ||

    There are estimated to be at least 1.3 million Muslims in this country—plenty to furnish an unending stream of suicide bombers, if the motivation existed. But it doesn't.....A 2007 survey by Pew found that only 5 percent have a favorable view of al-Qaida

    Apparently, Chapman has an inability to add, also. 5% of 1.3M is 65,000. You can have a favorable view of an organization who's sole purpose is violent Jihad but since you haven't acted yet you lack motivation? Is AQ now some sort of Islamic scouting organization?

    To bad Chapman didn't link to the Pew study. A favorable view of AQ was listed beneath a belief in violence to advance Islam, of which even more responded favorably.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Oh good. Only 1 out of every 20 American Muslims have a favorable view of Al-Qaida. Thanks for quelling all my irrational neo-con fear Chapman. I don't know why I've been such a pants-pissing Islamophobe all this time.

    Just so I don't jump the gun and prematurely relapse into my former state of hate and fear from which I've purged myself, when does salivating bigotry become rational fear of an existential threat? 5/20 pro Al-Qaeda American Muslims or is it more like 10/20 pro Al-Qaeda American Muslims?

    By the way, do we know what percentage have a favorable view of Hammas?

  • ||

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0vItJqpQ8U

  • Rich||

    Hate crimes against Muslims do not support the charge that Americans are frothing Islamophobes. In 2008, there were only 105 anti-Muslim incidents, compared with 1,013 against Jews.

    Need more info. IMO, "hate crime" data are immediately suspect. Along these lines, there are significantly more Jews than Muslims in the US, and I suspect (yes, I know, "Racist!") Jews tend to be in positions more, um, susceptible to "incidents", of "hate" or other kinds.

  • sunny_black||

    I used to be share Chapman's overly simplistic and naieve view. Then I actually interacted with South-Asians Muslims. In Manchester, UK, Portland, Maine, and the Caribbean. I interacted amongst them and within their small, cloistered group (i.e. no white folks around). And the cumulative effect of those experiences is this:

    I reject the default assumption that all Muslims are basically decent, hard-working, religion-of-peace types. That doesn't mean I think the plurality are the exact opposite. It means, I know enough about what they say when they're in their group, to not buy into this politically correct jargon about how they're patriotic Americans just like you and me. That's not exactly true.

    People don't want to make the same mistakes they made with regards to race, sexual orientation, etc. I get that. No one wants to even appear to be a bigot. But if Reason is about free minds, how about taking a really careful look at how Islam itself feels about free minds?

  • Kicks to Try||

    Care to elaborate? Sounds like an interesting experience...

  • Wegie||

    Ameicans don't hate Muslims...if they did all the Muslims would be dead!

  • Wegie||

    Steve the editors got your article all screwed up. "They sound strangely like ... Americans." I am sure you meant. They sound like....strange Americans.

  • ||

    If you arrived from here from Mars in the last couple of months, you'd apparently have a better grasp on reality than Steve Chapman.

  • ||

    Along these lines, there are significantly more Jews than Muslims in the US,

    Let's accept the 1.3M Muslims figure (which sounds low to me). Oddly, estimates of the number of Jews seem to be all over the map, but 6MM seems reasonable. Call it four times as many Jews.

    Which means that there are around 4-5x as many hate crimes against Jews as Muslims, per capita.

  • ||

    Any assessment of the attitudes of mainstream Muslims that does not at the very least consider the factual existence of the concepts of Taqiyya and Abrogation will fail miserably to analyze and predict the behaviors of Muslims.

    I am dumbfounded at how many people attempting to claim nice-nice and politically correct about Islam have never considered dishonesty in their game theory. History has shown time and again that aggressive forces always attempt to look like lambs while acting like wolves in the background...mind what people do, not what they say.

    Evidence: Holland, UK, Spain, France, Germany, etc.

    The strategy seems to be: Act like a bunch of decent, loving purveyors of fine silks, hookahs, and coffee until there are enough of you around to start openly beating infidels, enslaving women, and generally being barbarians, and then prey upon liberal openness by claiming it's part of your "culture" to destroy humanity.

  • Lyle||

    Just wait until Muslims block gay marriage in California (I sort of Josh).

    Yes, America doesn't really have a problem with Muslims... cause Muslims are human beings and we're the human being nation, not the despotic Arab state or mono-ethnic European or Asian state.

  • Contemplationist||

    Really Steve. If you consider yourself an honest, forthright journalist, you would have asked a strident opponent to your view in this article for his views. How about say, Robert Spencer? I assure you he will reply to you courteously and factually. Let's see if you have the courage to do an INTERVIEW with that gentleman. I suspect not though. Don't worry, when Muslims are 5-10% of the population, and more cartoonists and artists go into hiding by death threats, more accommodations are made by using anti-discrimination lawsuits in workplaces (special time for prayer just for muslims), segregated swimming pools, perpetual outrage at any "offense" and then burning cars and riots at 10%, then yeah. get back to the rest of the world who might've a teeny bit of experience with Islam. Say, like Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Nigeria. etc.
    Its okay. PC will rule. I don't expect anything to change around here

  • ||

    "Most people don't perceive all Muslims as a lurking danger. Asked whether Islam is more likely than other religions "to encourage violence," 35 percent of Americans said yes—but 42 percent said no"

    Plus or minus three percent error rate and you basically have a tie - there is a lot of un-poll-able fury right under the surface and as long as the economy is in the dump that is going to continue...it sucks, people's anti-muslim feelings are wrong and dumb but its true...

  • ||

    sick and tired of "rational fear based upon actual atrocities committed in reality by Muslims" being redefined as "anti-muslim feelings."

    Do the people who speak like this understand that their smug attitude is resultant from the lofty view they have from atop a raging tiger?

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Change "likely to encourage violence" to "likely to commit violence" and you wouldn't need to poll Americans. You could just research and compare and publish the empirical murder rates of different religions. That way people could base their feelings on reality rather than Chapman's method of basing his view of reality on people's feelings.

  • ||

  • ||

    Asked whether Islam is more likely than other religions "to encourage violence,"

    Kind of a dumb question, but really, is there any other religion that has a subculture implementing a worldwide terror organization? Seems to me like the answer is "yes." But that's just me. Because I can't think of another religion with as much violence associated with it as Islam.

  • ||

    is there any other religion that has a subculture implementing a worldwide terror organization? Seems to me like the answer is "yes."

    I think you meant "no" or did you have another religion with a terror subculture?

  • ||

    You also have to consider what is provoking their violence such as the European taking of land from the Palestinians, the killing of a half million children in Iraq from our sanctions and the stationing of our troops in their holy land and our general meddling over there. Wouldn't Christian nations also be engaging in violence if they were so treated? These people aren't resorting to violence just because they're naturally evil.

  • ||

    No, Bookworm, they resort to violence because they are misled by their rulers, who have a vested interest in seeing Islam/Shari'a worldwide.

    Much like yourself, they hate us because they have been told to do so.

    Their war on us goes back much farther than the last century. Our war on them ended a millennium ago.

  • ||

    Boy, are you living in a fantasy world, Meph! This Arab violence didn't begin until the beginning of Zionism at the end of the 19th Century. Before then, Muslims, Jews, and Christians got along well in Palestine. This talk about Muslims expecting to push Sharia law on the world is just a bunch of lame brain conspiracy mongering. It seems that people have to have an enemy to justify their lust for war and the continuance of our expensive war machine that is breaking us. The Islamo/fascists have been elevated into that role to take the place of the Commies.

  • ||

    Ah, so the Barbary pirates weren't Muslims. Okay.

  • ||

    They also were'nt trying to force Sharia law on us.

  • ||

    I really would love to meet these people who have a lust for war. My gut tells me they are as imaginary as winged unicorns. In fact, the only people I could reasonably suggest have a lust for war are the ones who are so regularly attacking Westerners in the name of their god...

    Your antisemitic take on Palestine is at odds with the reality on the ground there. Every single attempt by Israel to live peacefully is met with the ultimatum that Palestine will be at peace when Israel no longer exists.

    Does the vast war-mongering, blood-lusting West invent lengthening list of Imams calling daily for the advancement of Shari'a and subjugation of the West? Am I imagining them? I'll just take my SOMA and shut up, then.

  • ||

    One thing that really ticks me off is when people call me anti-Semitic because I'm opposed to Zionism. That's like calling somebody a racist who's opposed to Obama's policies.

    Regarding Israel wanting to live in peace, sure, they would love for the Palestinians to just lay down and let them roll all over them and take as much land from them as they possibly can. It's Israel's actions that are promoting the hatred and violence among the Palestinians and the Arabs.

    Regarding people who have a lust for war, I believe there are plenty of people who do. There are plenty of people in the military-industrial complex who thrive on war. That's how they make their living. It was necessary for them to create a new bogeyman to continue to justify the continuance of their big industry.

    Regarding Sharia law, sure there are some who would love to rule the world with Sharia law, but just how many of them are there and what are their chances of doing so? I see this as overblown hysteria that justifies the continuance of our wars.

  • pmains||

    Jews have lived in Israel far longer than the state of Israel has existed. So have Arabs. However, there was no Palestinian state prior to the establishment of Israel. Typically, Palestine was under the rule of various empires. To suggest that the Palestinians deserve their own state while the Israelis do not is not reasonable. However, if you take anti-Semitism as one of your premises, it makes perfect sense.

    So, that in a nutshell is why you might be considered an anti-Semite.

  • Some Dork||

    What if you don't want Israel or a Palestinian state? What if you'd rather see a country that doesn't define itself as embodying any specific tribe?

  • ||

    Anti-Semitism is when you hate the Semitic race. I don't hate the Semitic race. In fact, I'm part Jewish myself. I'm opposed to Zionism. Being opposed to Zionism doesn't make you anti-Semitic.

    When an empire is overthrown as the Ottoman Empire was, the people of the lands that the Ottoman Empire ruled over are entitled to self-rule. The people who inhabited Palestine were therfore entitled to self-rule as far back as 1917, but the British controlled that land, and then in 1947, that land was given to outsiders who had no previous roots there in that their ancestors had never lived there. Their ancesters were from Kazaria who converted to Judaism during the Middle Ages.

  • DLM||

    bookworm - You seem to have no problem with Arab imperialism, but you get bent out of shape over a sliver of land the size of Deleware. Truly odd.

  • Some Dork||

    'Every single attempt by Israel to live peacefully is met with the ultimatum that Palestine will be at peace when Israel no longer exists.'

    Has there ever been an attempt by Israel to live in peace? At least since 1968? Even on those occasions when the Israeli Government has made some sort of attempt, other parts of the Government have worked very hard to sabotage the effort-- eg The Oslo accords were followed by an intensification of settlement construction in the West Bank.

    Of course, the Palestinian Authority has behaved the same way, with hardline factions ramping up violence while the PA was feebly trying to keep to its part of the 'Peace Process'.

    It's not my intention to excuse either side. I'm just sick of Israel constantly being portrayed as a moral, peacefull regime by most Americans.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    You must not live in the same America as me. I'm just about the only person I know who finds Israel to be a moral and peacefull Nation.

  • ||

    Hussein prevented the food and medicine from getting to his own people. I can't believe people still use this as an excuse.

  • ||

    Where did you get this information, Rufus? Sounds like neocon propaganda.

  • pmains||

    I don't know if you're stupid or a troll, but here's what you're looking for. Now, the link doesn't mention all of the money that was embezzled by Saddam. It just explains the program that was meant to keep the Iraqi people from starving.

  • ||

    We're talking about two different things. You're talking about the oil for food program. I was talking about the sanctions which took place previously.

  • pmains||

    The sanctions were introduced in August of 1990. When a crisis developed, the UN attempted to give aid. From August of 1991 until April of 1995, aid was rejected. Even then, it took until December of 1996 for the Iraqi government to accept a framework under which they would accept the aid.

    So, if Saddam had not invaded Kuwait, no sanctions. Had Saddam immediately accepted aid to his people, no humanitarian crisis. Of course, "the West" gets blamed for Saddam's behavior.

  • ||

    What about when Madelyn Albright was asked about the deaths of all those children due to the sanctions and was asked if it was worth and she said, "We think it's worth it"?

  • pmains||

    What about when Madelyn Albright was asked about the deaths of all those children due to the sanctions and was asked if it was worth and she said, "We think it's worth it"?


    [crickets chirping]

  • DLM||

    RE: Madylyn Albright

    This is the kind of thing politicians at the national level are supposed to decide. Life is full of tradeoffs and someone has to make hard decisions. (Whether the decision was the right one or not is a different issue.) Albright apparently never learned the proper euphmisms and weasel words.

  • ||

    Are you effen serious?

  • ||

    By Palestinians you mean the people that refused to live anywhere else and are constantly used by governments in the Middle East to push a political agenda? (I.E. make Israel give concessions?)

  • ||

    By Palestinians you mean the people that refused to live anywhere else and are constantly used by governments in the Middle East to push a political agenda? (I.E. make Israel give concessions?)

  • ||

    >Because I can't think of another religion with as much violence associated with it as Islam.

    Think harder.

    P.S. IRA

  • DLM||

    Irish is a religion? I suppose to some it is.

  • ||

    In 2008, there were only 105 anti-Muslim incidents, compared with 1,013 against Jews.

    Wonder who's committing those anti-jewish 'incidents', y'know? Because there's this thing about Muslims not liking Jews....but probably not--after all, they're just Americans, right?

    Here's a thought. There's a whole lotta space at Reason used to deride(maybe not 'deride', but certainly diminish) the various folks who like to babble about the bearded guy in the sky--but one kinda gets off lightly.

    Guess no one at Reason wants to join Molly.

  • ||

    And Christians don't have a record of hatred and violence towards Jews?

  • ||

    Christianity doesn't, no. There's nothing in the bible that says 'kill the jews'.

    Now, various peoples who practiced Christianity had issues with Jews, but, again, it's not a part of their faith to do so.

  • ||

    Azathoth, I am really at my wits end to see how this point is not easily accepted by any reasonable person.

    Christians, even nutjobs claiming that their god told them to do so, are not widely acclaimed as examples of good faith when they act in violence.

    Yet, Muslims dance in the streets when their nutjobs kill and maim in the name of Allah, and still, people will claim that Christianity and Islam are equally violent.

    This is insanity. Christianity is not without blemish, but to claim that "all religions are equally destructive" requires one to ignore all of history.

    Our very notion of liberty comes from the Judeo-Chrisitan interpretation of Greek philosophy. If the evangelical Bible thumpers had never been kicked out of England, there would never have been a USA. Does that mean we have to accept every hair-brained idea that ever came out of a bible thumper's mouth? NO! But to say that because Bible thumpers once burned women at the stake for witches, Christians are no different than modern Muslims, who currently enslave and murder in the name of their religion is ludicrous!

  • ||

    I agree that Muslims need to come out of the Dark Ages regarding the treatment of their women. Fortunately, Christianity has been tamed by the Age of Enlightenment. Hopefully, it won't be long in coming before secularism also tames the Muslim religion.

  • ||

    And their treatment of gays. And anybody who has a different religion. And the whole church/state thing.

    Secularism will have a hard time "taming" a religion which believes their holy book is the perfect, unedited, untranslated, uninterpreted word of God. Imagine what Christians would be like if Jesus wrote the entire Bible in Aramaic, and they believed it's a precise replica of God's copy in heaven (because God speaks Aramaic, of course). And you thought Christian fundamentalists were bad now!

  • ||

    Ofcourse, most Christians probably do believe that every word in the Bible is inspired by God, most fundamentalist Christians, that is.

  • ||

    There are huge differences you are ignoring. Outside of a few ignoramuses, nobody believes the Bible was written in English. The Bible is said to be inspired by God, written by dozens of different people in three (IIRC) languages, in different cultures, over hundreds of years. There's a LOT of room for interpretation/secularization. Not so with the Koran.

  • ||

    I just got told God actually wrote the Old Testament..in every language.. at once..

  • DLM||

    Ofcourse, most Christians probably do believe that every word in the Bible is inspired by God, most fundamentalist Christians, that is.

    Inspired by and written by are two different things. The first acknowledges the possibility of misinterpretation (which allow for flexibility). After all the inspiree is merely human. However, since God is perfect, what is written by God must also be perfect.

  • ||

    "Hopefully, it won't be long in coming before secularism also tames the Muslim religion."

    Outside Turkey, is there any evidence they have even begun the process?

  • Richard Nous||

    Um...inside Turkey "the process" is taking a step backward.

  • J_L_B||

    Once Islam reaches the level of hatred directed at Christians and Jews in America, perhaps then they will be able to complain about being targeted.

  • ||

    Is there really hatred directed against Christians in this country?

  • J_L_B||

    Try gauging the reaction after producing a movie called The Last Temptation of The Prophet Mohammed, or have his image portrayed in the same manner as the Virgin Mary and Jesus have been portrayed in contemporary artwork. Christianity is mocked to the same degree that Islam is protected from mockery by PC standards.

  • ||

    Christianity deserves to be mocked just like most all religions do.

  • ||

    And yet here you are, defending Islam. I guess that religion is the exception that proves your rule?

  • ||

    I'm not a fan of Islam. I think it is just as absurd as most other religions. I was only pointing out that Arabs/Muslims/Palestinians aren't committing vicious and violent acts out of a vacuum. Our policies in the Middle East have promoted a lot of their hatred towards us.

  • ||

    This is a naiive view.

    Our policies in the middle east are capricious enough to be used by the tyrants who rule in those lands as a means to engender hatred and violence toward us. That is not the same thing as our policies causing actual hatred.

  • ||

    When people see a half million kids die from starvation and lack of medical care, it doesn't take tyrants to cause them to hate us when they know that it's us who are behind the sanctions. When Palestinian Muslims and Christians are tortured, killed, mistreated and treated as second class citizens by their Israeli captors and see how the US is always defending Israel at the UN and sending them billions of dollars a year and war materiel, tyrants don't need to tell them to hate the US. When they see their families get bombed by our bombs and drones and see their loved ones tortured, raped, and killed by our soldiers, they don't need to be told by their tyrant leaders to hate us. When they see our soldiers occupying their holy land, they don't need to be told by their tyrant leaders to hate us.

  • ||

    Bookworm, you don't seem to know much about the history of the Middle East. Muslim persecution of Jews started with Mohammed, not the founding of Israel. Israel, Iraq, etc. are just the latest excuses.

  • ||

    And Christians have also been persecuting Jews throughout the ages. Some even argue that Christian persecution of the Jews has actually been worse than Muslim persecution of the Jews throughout history. Muslim persecution of Jews has intensified since the beginning of Zionism. People don't take to kindly about having their land taken away from them.

  • ||

    Forget the "throughout history" evasion and concentrate on the last century or so. Big differences abound in recent generations. And the "their land" thing is largely b.s. Are you saying the area traditionally known as "Judea" somehow "belongs to" Islamic Arabs? Jews are from around there, too, you know.

    After the end of colonialism after WWII, they divvied up the Middle East, and the Jews got a tiny, barely inhabited sliver of it. The Arabs got the rest (including the parts with all the oil). They need to get over it and stop blaming others for their shitty countries.

  • ||

    Read Sclomo Sand's new book. He shows that the Palestinians are descendants of the original Hebrew people. They converted to the Muslim religion to avoid having to pay taxes. The Ashkenazi Jews who represent about 80% of the Jewish population in Israel are descendants of Kazarians who converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages. The Sephardic Jews are also mostly descendants of converts to Judaism. The Palestinians have roots to the land that go back way into ancient times. The Ashkenazi Jews and most Sephardic Jews don't have roots to the land except through religion. It would be like saying Christians are entitled to take over land in the Middle East because that's where their religion originated.

    By the way, Schlomo Sand is an Israeli Jew.

  • ||

    My point is that the whole "our land" thing is b.s. Colonialism ended, countries got formed, Jews got a sliver, Arabs got the rest. Get over it. It's not the "cause" of problems except to Jew-haters, and getting rid of Israel won't solve anything. Hateful, conspiratorial, whining Arabs will just find something else to blame their problems on.

  • ||

    It is the cause of problems when Israel continues to illegally build more settlements. It is the problem when Palestinians are tortured, killed, and treated as second class citizens. What Israel need to do is set up a true democracy with a constitution that respects individual rights for all people. Right now, Israel has an apartheid government. It's hard to "just get over it" when these things are still going on.

  • Genghis Khan||

    Borders conquered by war has precedence throughout history. Israel's biggest mistake was giving even an inch of it back. The Jordanians and Egyptians didn't/don't even want the Palestinians.

  • ||

    "It is the cause of problems when Israel continues to illegally build more settlements."
    How can a nation illegaly build more settlements in your own country within your own borders?

    "What Israel need to do is set up a true democracy with a constitution that respects individual rights for all people."
    So, on one hand, you seem to advocate Palestinians need their own country, then on the other hand you're saying Israel needs to reconstruct their political foundations to accomodate for the people that are going to be in that separate country..

  • DLM||

    People don't take to kindly about having their land taken away from them.

    So I guess you understand how the Jews feel, then.

  • ||

    Bull shit. It's but one tiny, aspect. Truth is, Islam has been in slow, steady, violent decline well before the arrival of the West. We didn't help matters sure, but you've bought the bit as us being conveninet scapegoats.

  • ||

    Rufus, who are you replying to, me or Papaya?

  • ||

    You, bookworm.

    And don't pull that "necon propaganda" shit. There is truth in what you say, but when you consult history and the long,big picture, in my opinion, it's only part of the problem.

    My point is we vastly under estimate how much of a role Arabs themselves have played in their own decadence.

    We can deflect blame, and sometimes it has some merit, but in the end the mirror tells the truth.

  • ||

    Remember also that we put alot of those tyrants in office and that's one more big reason why we're so hated over there.

  • ||

    Name some "we" "put there."

    Your arguments track perfectly with all the excuses Arabs make for their faults. It's always the fault of the Jews, the Americans, the British, whatever. Apparently none of their problems and hatreds are ever their own doing. They are pure innocents, totally at the mercy of outside forces.

    But you know what? If the Jews and Americans and British vanished from the Earth tomorrow, the Muslim world would not be improved one whit.

  • ||

    EXACTLY.

  • ||

    A classic example of a tyrant being put in place by the US is the Shah of Iran. We overthrew a democraticly elected leader in order to install a puppet dictator.

    We may have not put Hussein in power, but we sure helped build him up.

  • ||

    "Classic example": you can find lots of things in history, but right NOW there are no tyrants we "put in place."

  • ||

    The point is, that we have been meddling in the Middle East for a long time and still are. This is why we're so hated, not for our freedoms as George W. Bush said.

  • FUCK!||

    The "democratically elected leader" was a communist puppet of the Soviet Union. Besides Jimmy Carter reversed that. How well has that worked out for the Iranian people?

    But...but...but...the Shah of Iran was brutal by having that country looking Westward and killing about 3000 dissidents during his reign. Mind you those the Shah put down were of the sort we are hunting in the WoT and who lead that country now perpetuating the 72 virgin theory and supporting Muslim extremist around the word.

    How well has that worked out for Iran?

  • Contemplationist||

    You are pathetic scum. Your myopia and/or mendaciousness is easily exposed by expanding the radius of conflict beyond the middle east. Beheaded Buddhist monks in Thailand and Christian schoolgirls in Indonesia can't be scrapped up to those pesky jews in Israel, so they are not mentioned. Also, expanding the focus of discussion solely from Jewish or American policy to yknow LISTEN to the damn Arabs and/or Muslims themselves would be enlightening. Hey what are those damn orientals saying anyway? Do you want to take them at their words or not? Their leaders have everywhere declared their intent to spread Islam and Shariah norms on non-muslim societies. Just because the neo-con, murderous American empire is in the middle of it does not mean that you can ignore what they themselves have been saying.

    BTW you may want to visit Malmo in Sweden or the banlieus of Paris. Also Rotterdam, and Gothenburg. Hmm, also add in Bradford.

    Burnt cars, soaring sexual assault rates, threatening of free speech. yeah in that damn imperial, colonial Sweden!

    Idiots like you are the scourge to an intelligent conversation. Just like the neo-con warmongers.

  • ||

    These people who talk about spreading Sharia law are all huff and puff. You're so overrating them by taking them at their word.

    Do you think that a religion that represents .8% of the American population has any chance of bringing Sharia law on us?

    People who can't discuss the issues without resorting to namecalling are the scourge of intelligent conversation.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "These people who talk about spreading Sharia law are all huff and puff. You're so overrating them by taking them at their word."

    When you say such things, there is no intelligent conversation left to be ruined by name calling. It is vicious and disgusting to belittle what has been done by "these men who talk about spreading Shari'a Law" by calling it "huff and puff". 9-11 was not "huff and puff". They intend to achieve their goal and are happy to kill as many as it takes in the process, and their actions bear this out.

    Do you think that a religion that represents .8% of the American population has any chance of bringing Sharia law on us?"

    When the same religion constitutes 24%
    of the world's population and growing...there's cause for concern.

  • Richard Nous||

    Most other religions?

    So, which religions are not absurd in your opinion?

  • Some Dork||

    Christianity is simply in a peacefull mood right now, while Islam is undergoing a fit of violent insanity. It could easily happen the other way around, and often has throughout history. People need to look at how religions have behaved long-term before they make any naive remarks about one religion being more inherently violent than another.
    The current wave of fanatical violent Islam has really only existed for a century, and most of it has occured in the last few decades. And the extremism has mostly been confined to the 'Fanatic Belt'-- the Arab countries, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The rest of the Muslim world has been more tolerant and peacefull, and the wars that have occured (eg, Bosnia, Chechnya, Southern Phillipines) have been primarily ethnically-motivated, rather than due to religious fervor. Unfortunately, though, the extremism is spreading, with Saudi missionaries being a major cause.

    But Christianity has also gone through these psychotic periods. The Crusades being a prominent example, with fanatical Christians being assured by their leaders that anyone killed fighting a Holy War would gain automatic entry into Heaven.
    But I think the most illustrative example is the Protestant 'Reformation'. Western Europe went completely insane during this period of religious confusion. Witch hunts (rare during the Middle Ages, when most accused witches were acquitted) became very commonplace, the Inquisition (both Italian and Spanish) was at its most active, Spain launched the greatest naval fleet ever seen to that point to forcibly bring England back to the side of God. There was the Thirty Years War, the English Civil War, the Gunpowder Plot, the expulsion of the Huguenots, the Defenestration of Prague, various small massacres and other persecutions, and chronic terrorism campaigns that lasted for a very long time. And it coincided with the beginning of the Colonial Age, and some of the religious fervor was exported to other parts of the world.
    I think that the turmoil currently underway in many Islamic countries is similar to this period in Europe. As the world changed around them, old religious certainties are less certain now, and that always produces fear amoung the faithfull. What we are seeing today is primarily a struggle between traditional views of Islam and more moderate and tolerant ideas. It is not a struggle between Islam and Christianity or Islam and Western Civilisation. It's Them vs Them, not Us vs Them.
    Christianities previous periods of violent extremism ended mainly because people became sick of fighting. I suspect the same thing will happen with the current Islamic wave of fanaticism.

  • ||

    So, we should just give them a little time...

    What a relief!
    *rolls eyes*

  • Richard Nous||

    "Christianities previous periods of violent extremism ended mainly because people became sick of fighting. I suspect the same thing will happen with the current Islamic wave of fanaticism."

    I suspect you believe in fairies and unicorns. Shia and Sunni have been killing each other over interpretation of the text far longer already than Christians did since Reformation.

  • ||

    Anyone who can liken the Crusades--which began in retaliation to Islamic incursion--to the Allah generated imperative to spread Islam by any means necessary is arguing from an incorrect starting point.

    Likewise the idea of martyrdom. In Christianity, one can be martyred by dying for one's Christian belief or in defense of those beliefs. Martyrdom does not extend to attacking/murdering to somehow further those beliefs through fear of violence.

    The violence during the Reformation was largely internal. The Reformation was not directed at spreading Christianity to Hindus and Muslims, but rather at 'reforming' the base Church.

    And, while fervor may have ridden along with the explorers of the time, it was not a reason for the exploration or the colonization until much later--and, even then, when colonies with religious charters were formed, those colonies primary purpose was not to force others to follow their faith.

    The current turmoil in Islam is a function of it's conquering imperative, it's competing sects, and it's obvious failures in the face of it's older fellow faiths.

  • ||

    " And the extremism has mostly been confined to the 'Fanatic Belt'"

    *ahem* *ahem* *ahem* *AHEM* *AHEM* *AHEM* *AAAAHHHEEEEMMM!!*

  • ||

    This thing about "yeah but Christians are no better" is a damn, weak strawman. Right now, and it can't be refuted, Islamic terrorism is the single most important threat we must pay attention too.

    I'm not saying go out and lynch and create draconian laws; just be wise about it and don't try and downplay it.

  • ||

    The biggest threat I now see in the Middle East is Israel. If they attack Iran and bring us into it, they will destroy the world economy. People are so concerned about Iran getting nukes, which I'm not so sure they intend to, but even if they do, do you think they would really be so stupid as to nuke Israel? It would be suicide. If they do get nukes, it will be more for defense. They know they would be less apt to be attacked if they had nukes. Israel knows they wouldn't attack them also. Israel only wants Iran to not get nukes because they would lose their hegemony. They would no longer be able to bomb the Palestinians and their neighbors as they please. They would no longer be able to steal anymore land.

  • ||

    The leadership of Iran has stated that destroying Israel, even if it means the destruction of Iran, would be worthwhile. Do you think suicide is some sort of unthinkable and forbidden concept among Muslims?

    And Iran wouldn't need to "defend itself" with nukes if they weren't sponsoring terror and threatening Israel all the time.

    The "hegemony" of Israel is the hegemony of a man surrounded by a blood-thirsty mob that repeatedly fails in trying to kill him. I don't think that word means what you think it means.

  • ||

    "The leadership of Iran has stated that destroying Israel, even if it means the destruction of Iran, would be worthwhile."

    Show me where the leadership of Iran said this.

    "Do you think suicide is some sort of unthinkable and forbidden concept among Muslims?"

    They may be extreme, but they're not stupid. Just having nukes doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to use them. It seems that we're automatically holding Iran guilty for something they haven't done and as far as we know they won't do. Iran is under constant monitoring. There is no evidence that they have diverted uranium for military purposes. We talk about Iran getting nukes when Israel has 300. How do we know Israel won't use them. I would be more afraid of Israel or the US using them against somebody who doesn't have them since they know they don't have the ability to attack in kind. Maybe we should force Israel to give up their nukes to keep them from using them. I don't believe that, but it would seem to be just as justified as keeping Iran from getting nukes.

    "And Iran wouldn't need to "defend itself" with nukes if they weren't sponsoring terror and threatening Israel all the time."

    And Iran wouldn't be sponsoring terrorism against Israel if they weren't treating the Palestinians the way they are.

    Israel at the present time is a hedgemon thanks to their advanced weaponry that we and the West have given them. It was a mistake to have ever put Jewish people in the middle of that land. They were not entitled to that land. It was stolen from others and I don't blame the Arab people for being angry. The Jews are safe in America and other Western countres, much safer than they are in Palestine, so the argument for the sake of their safety just doesn't wash.

  • ||

    Your knowledge of the internal workings of the Iranian and Israeli nuclear programs is quite remarkable. The CIA should hire you.

    See also: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10.....-iran.html

    Democratic Israel is doing better things with their land than the bloodthirsty, terror-supporting tyrants surrounding them are doing with theirs. If Israel disappeared, the world would be no better off. If the Palestinians did, it would be.

  • Richard Nous||

    Since the end of WWII and the dividing of India, Muslims populating areas of sovereign countries and demanding their own sovereignty ever since. What is most striking once you realize this is that this is happening all the world in different cultures/ethnic groups. The only common denominator is Islam whether it be Muslim separatist in the Phillipines, China, Chechnya, Kashmir or Palestine etc... The only common denominator is the Quran itself and low and behold if you've read it, there it is plain as day, it is a Muslim's duty to conquer the world for Allah.

  • Richard Nous||

    Forget about war for a moment and realize the pols are doing a fine job of destroying the world economy with policy.

    Also, your equating reason and rationalization to a country that perpetuates the 72 virgin theory is astounding. Religious zealots are not subject to reason.

    Don't take my word for it, take Ayatollah Khomeini's.

    "We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah. For patriotism is another name for paganism. I say let this land burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world."

  • DLM||

    Would that be 'creative distruction'?

  • DLM||

    The biggest threat I now see in the Middle East is Israel.

    Don't be an idiot. Israel is just an excuse. If it didn't exist at all, they would find something else.

  • ||

    You mean, if Israel attacks the country that has that whackjob leader that keeps saying he wants to 'drive them into the sea' and 'the holocaust never happened' for going nuclear, it would be a bad thing? It's one thing to hate the existence of a country, but when the hate is directed PRIMARILY at the the largest ethnic group in that country, I'd be a bit fucking worried about that asshole getting bigger sticks.

  • ||

    "attention to."

    Sorry.

  • ||

    We could try killing them all. We haven't tried that yet. Might work, wtf.

  • Some Dork||

    Oh, I feel that it should be pointed out-- and this illustrates very well how US news media give a very distorted picture of the rest of the world-- that the majority of suicide bombings since the early-1980s have been committed by .... Hindus. Mostly in Sri Lanka, but some in India as well (that's how Rajiv Gandhi died, remember?)

  • ||

    Yeah, but the American media is more concerned about suicide bombings against Americans and Israel, where lots of Americans have ties. This is not surprising. They also report the weather near population centers, too, but that's not really a "distortion," either.

  • ||

    Having lived in Thailand and Malaysia I must say you posters are correct. Muslims are fine until there is a tipping point then when they feel they have enough clout all hell breaks lose.

    One thing that I never see mentioned is once born a Muslim always a Muslim. In the West these Muslims can be non-religious Muslims in places like Malaysia people are forced to carry a Mycad card stating their religion meaning even non-religious Muslims must comply to Sharia.

  • General Pershing||

    Pigs blood is the only way to deal with suicidal Muslim extremist/separatist.

  • DLM||

    Pigs blood is the only way to deal with suicidal Muslim extremist/separatist.

    New secret weapon. Dropping bags of pigs' blood from airplanes.

  • ||

    I've known various Muslims for 30 years. Almost all came here, or their parents came here, to escape that fundamentalist madness in Iran, Afganistan and Saudi Arabia. Like when people defected from Eastern Europe and Cuba to escape Communist oppression. It's easy to hate people you don't even know.

  • smithy||

    Why are y'all wasting your time with this bookworm bitch?

    He likes Muslims because he thinks they might kill you, period.

    Like all Leftists, he thinks "brown" people exist solely to die in a way that can be contrived to make Glenn Beck look bad ("a half gazillion gay Iraqi babies, ooga booga!"), or blow themselves up killing some unfortunate stand-in for Glenn Beck.

    That's why the genocide in Sudan is invisible. If a brown carcass can't be laid at your feet, middle-class honkee, even by the most ridiculously over-stretched of accusations, then that is one worthless, invisible carcass. That's why we can ignore the fact that ZERO Muslim "moderates" give a shit what their brethren are doing in Sudan, none. Their time is better spent poking the widows of firefighters in the eye with victory mosques, which of course tickles the tiny pink balls of this annelid who drools over the prospect of ethnic and religious conflicts. "The government simply MUST do something to protect the good li'l Mooslims from these vewy vewy moiderous tea partiers..." Yawn.

  • DLM||

    Asked whether Islam is more likely than other religions "to encourage violence," 35 percent of Americans said yes—but 42 percent said no.

    This is a pretty irrelevant question. All religions (as any other belief systems) may 'encourage violence' (among other things) depending on how you define that. Some will do so more than others, some less, to varying degrees. The question is way too broad and vague for the answer to be meaningful.

  • CBBTOO||

    One side threatens to burn books, the other threatens terrorists reprisals in response... to the books being burned. Where is each side on the sliding scale between sanity and insanity here? When did any whacko Christian (or Jew or the most evil of them all: atheist) threaten to start a world war over a fucking car-fucking-toon?

  • holger||

    Yup.
    When it was 1930, some of my best friends were fascists, and they were people too.

  • jtuf||

    Sorry I missed this thread. It's the start of a new UN GA session, and I'm in the city often for it.

  • jtuf||

    Chapman, this article is great. It's wonderful to see a reporter talking about the peaceful coexistence that exemplifies interfaith relations in America.

  • ||

    You didn't go into enough detail. If you read Why they Hate, by Brigette Gabriel, you will find you are mostly wrong. In Muslims countries about 60% agree that jihad is part of Islam.
    http://www.memri.org/report/en.....0/4507.htm

    Here a UK Imam who looks right into the camera saying, "Buckingham Palace and the White House will be mosques."
    http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.....-2010.html

    Sharia law is being implemented in the US. Kansas City installed foot-baths for cab drivers. (# of foot-baths in Saudi Arabia? Zero!)
    http: //www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55488

    The FED - Regulation of Islamic Financial Services in US
    http: //www.newyorkfed.org/newsevents/speeches_archive/2005/bax050302.html

    Ft. Hood shooter gave seminars for Dept. of Homeland Security.
    http: //gawker.com/5398253/nidal-hasan-ft-hood-shooter-participated-in-homeland-security-disaster-preparation

    Chanting "USA" at football game is offensive to Muslims
    http: //www.jihadwatch.org/2010/09/now-chanting-usa-at-a-football-game-is-offensive-to-muslims.html

    You do know that Islam means "submission?"
    http: //www.jihadwatch.org/2010/03/anjem-choudary-islam-does-not-mean-peace-islam-means-submission.html

  • tiffany and co||

    you got it!

  • ||

    I really think you guys should start charging admission. You just can't find such concentrated looniness anywhere else.

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