Islam and the Intolerance Problem

Comparing the attack on Gabrielle Giffords with the murder of a Pakistani politician

While the attempted murder of an American Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, has prompted an outpouring of grief and soul-searching, the fatal shooting of a prominent elected official in another country around the same time has provoked a very different reaction. After Salman Taseer, governor of the Pakistani province of Punjab, was murdered by his own bodyguard, there was a wave of support for the murderer—from religious figures and ordinary citizens, from several political parties, and even from a group of lawyers. The reason? Taseer had spoken out against Pakistan's blasphemy laws and in support of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

Such harrowing stories cannot be ignored in the discussion of Islam and religious tolerance. Last year, the controversy over Cordoba House, the planned Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero, turned into a debate about Islam and "Islamophobia." There is no question that some of the rhetoric in that debate crossed the line into anti-Muslim bigotry—the portrayal of all or most Muslims as "the enemy"—and that the self-proclaimed "anti-jihadists" who spearheaded anti-mosque campaign, such as bloggers Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs and Robert Spencer of JihadWatch, routinely traffic in gross caricatures of Islam as inherently and uniquely evil, oppressive, and violent. But all too many in the pro-mosque camp argued as if violent extremism in Islam today was as much of a fringe phenomenon as in Christianity or Judaism. This month's events in Pakistan remind us that is simply not the case.

There is not a single majority Christian nation today that executes or imprisons people for blasphemy or apostasy. Several leading majority-Muslim countries punish these offenses with death, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan. The Aasia Bibi case is a frightening example of the precarious position of religious minorities under these laws. Bibi, a rural laborer, was asked to bring water to a group of other women with whom she was working in the fields. Some of the women refused to drink the water after it had been touched by an "unclean" Christian. Bibi got into an argument with them and defended her faith—and was reported for blaspheming against Mohammed. The mother of five was sentenced to death after a trial during which she apparently had no access to a lawyer. Leading Pakistani clerics have urged President Zardari to reject her clemency petition.

Even in some Muslim countries where such barbaric punishments do not exist, they have the support of depressingly vast portions of the public. In Egypt and Jordan, recent polls have shown, over 85 percent of the population supports capital punishment for anyone who converts from Islam to another faith. Many prominent Islamic religious scholars, including some reputed "moderates" such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, continue to defend the death penalty for apostasy.

Does this mean that intolerance and fanaticism are uniquely Islamic evils? Hardly. The Bible calls for blasphemers and idolaters to be put to death in language similar to that of the Koran. Capital punishment for offenses against religion was the norm in Christian Europe for much of its history. In France, as late as 1766, a 19-year-old provincial nobleman, the Chevalier de la Barre, was tortured and beheaded on charges of singing blasphemous songs and spitting on a crucifix. (Ironically, the case, like that of Aasia Bibi, involved claims of blasphemy laws being used to settle personal vendettas.) During the Middle Ages, most Islamic states treated religious minorities with considerably more tolerance than did Christian rulers, despite valiant attempts by Spencer and other propagandists of the "Islam is evil" school to deny or obscure this fact. Catholic-vs.-Protestant enmity led to deadly violence in Northern Ireland only a generation ago. Even today, violent extremism on the Indian peninsula comes from Hindu as well as Muslim militants; recent reports indicate that some of the terrorist attacks blamed on Islamists in the past decades were actually the work of a radical Hindu network.

None of this, however, negates the fact that at this point in history, extreme fundamentalism and violent zealotry in majority-Muslim countries—as well as Muslim communities in many other countries—are a particularly massive and severe problem. There are many reasons for this, some of them having more to do with the last hundred years of history than with 1,400-year-old religious tenets: In many parts of the world including Pakistan, repressive and corrupt regimes have for decades used Islamist indoctrination as a means of controlling the populace.

Even in modernized Malaysia and Indonesia, where the law formally guarantees religious freedom and equality and which have been touted by many (including Imam Rauf) as models of equal and peaceful coexistence between religions in majority-Muslim states, the picture is not as sunny as is often claimed: in practice, sharia courts have the power to place virtually insurmountable obstacles in the path of Muslims who want to convert to another faith or marry a non-Muslim.

Of course modern Islam is not monolithic. There are many Muslims who have condemned and stood up against terrorism, include those who have recently volunteered to serve as human shields for Christian churches in Egypt after church bombings by Islamist fanatics. There are Muslim scholars who are advocating a revision of Islamic orthodoxy on issues ranging from women's rights to blasphemy and apostasy and challenging the age-old clerical doctrine that the Koran's earlier, more peaceful and tolerant verses are nullified by the later, more militant ones.

Yet, for change to take place, the problems of the present must be recognized and honestly confronted. It is, of course, absurd to suggest—as Newt Gingrich and a few other opponents of the lower Manhattan mosque have done—that America should not allow mosques to be built until Saudi Arabia permits the building of Christian churches: such a position places us on a par with the very intolerance we oppose. But as long as murderous bigotry remains common in the Muslim world, opposing anti-Muslim bigotry in the West will be a difficult and graceless task.

Cathy Young writes a weekly column for RealClearPolitics and is also a contributing editor at Reason magazine. She blogs at http://cathyyoung.wordpress.com/. This article originally appeared at RealClearPolitics.

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  • Suki||

    Support Veena Malik!

  • Warty||

  • Old Mexican||

    Islam and the Intolerance Problem


    Cathy, let's not jump to conclusions! Let's wait until we get the facts! Let's not indulge in knee-jerk reactions!

    Comparing the attack on Gabrielle Giffords with the murder of a Pakistani politician


    There's no comparison! Palin did it! Palin did it!

    [A day in the life of a lefty pundit. Applause!]

  • Old Mexican||

    The Bible calls for blasphemers and idolaters to be put to death in language similar to that of the Koran. Capital punishment for offenses against religion was the norm in Christian Europe for much of its history.


    A "tu quoque", as cogent argument,
    baby, it's time to thiiiiink,
    Better beware, be canny and careful
    not to indulge in fa-lla-ceeee!

  • ||

    It's a valid argument to counter the common excuse for the WarOnIslam: "Their religion commands them to be terrorists!"

  • Underzog||

    Pedstrian Infidel: a proposed Constitutional amendment to ban Islam

    Expel the Arabs from Israel and the LIBERATED territories

    "And thou shalt call him Ishmael and he will be a wildman. His hand against everyman and everyman's hand against him"

    Genesis 16:12

    "The Arabs are savages who just don't want to use their minds."

    Ayn Rand

  • ||

    if the religion of christians, jews etc. "demands" them to do something and they don't do it, but the religion of muslim demands them to do it and they DO do it, well then... there is no comparison.

    this isn't about religion as written in a book. this is about religion AS PRACTICED in the world we know it

  • Old Mexican||

    It is, of course, absurd to suggest — as Newt Gingrich and a few other opponents of the lower Manhattan mosque have done — that America should not allow mosques to be built until Saudi Arabia permits the building of Christian churches: such a position places us on a par with the very intolerance we oppose.


    Indeed. I would say, let's not build a single mosque until Christian churches are allowed to be built in Afghanistan, the very country the US occupies! That would show just how tolerant "we" are!

  • ||

    "We" don't build any mosques at all. Muslim people buy some land and sometimes they build a mosque on their land.

    Do you have a problem with what people do with their own land?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Capitol l,

    Do you have a problem with what people do with their own land?


    Your sarcasm-o-meter is broken...

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Yeah. Well.

    They're like climbing ropes: only rated for so many pegs before you're supposed to discard them.

    But if you try that around Hit&Run; you'll go broke buying meters.

  • ||

    Oops, I thought that you had started experimenting with Sukithought™ .

  • Realist||

    Yes, when they take off the tax rolls.

  • Realist||

    ...when they take "it" off....

  • ||

    Pakistan (like, apparently, Afghanistan and too many others) is apparently all too willing to wallow in primitivist barbarism.

    There's nothing we, as a nation, can do about that. We should stop trying.

    But, you cry, what about Pakistan's nukes falling into terrorist hands?

    Let the Pakistanis know that if one of their nukes leaks out and is detonated against a US target, we will not be impressed by their claim that it was an independent, rogue organization. Consequently, we will apply our doctrine since the Russians went nuclear, and retaliate with nukes of our own.

    And we have more, and bigger.

  • Esteban||

    You would really support nuking a random city in Pakistan if some extremist group got its hands on Pakistan's nuclear weapons and used them?

    This threat would be a bluff and everyone would know it.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Are you sure about that? Frankly, I'm not sure the U.S. would stop at nuking Pakistani cities, but would include Iran, Libya, North Korea, and any place else that could conceivably have made one. At the very least, there'd be gigantic sentiment along the lines of, "When we are done, the Japanese language will only be spoken in Hell."

    A nuclear device---even a small fission one, even a fizzle---going off within the U.S. would make 9/11 look like nothing: in casualty tolls, $$$, and scale of retaliation.

  • CaptainSmartass||

    If we wanted to survive as a culture and a people, we'd have to do it. That doesn't mean we'd have the stones to actually do it.

  • herp||

    HERPADERP

  • ||

    ^^THIS^^

  • pmains||

    Catholic-vs.-Protestant enmity led to deadly violence in Northern Ireland only a generation ago.

    Oh, please. The Catholic-Protestant divide was a transparent proxy for the Republican-Union struggle. Catholicism was feared in Britain due to Bloody Mary, Irish Catholic collaboration with royalists against Cromwell, etc. This lead to brutal repression of the Catholic Church in Ireland, giving Catholicism a political meaning to the Irish. The struggle is about self determination rather than ecclesiastical authority. If you want to find a conflict where people were really trying to convert or kill the non-believers, try the 30 Years War.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: pmains,

    If you want to find a conflict where people were really trying to convert or kill the non-believers, try the 30 Years War.


    Or the Huguenot Wars... Or the Albingesian Crusades...

  • ||

    Sometimes high fences make for good neighbours, the Russian and American governments should not act surprised when meddling in the Islamic world creates the awful consequences.

    Likewise the Islamic world cannot ask for respect and then want practice Shariah in the Western world. One can hope that the practice of Sufism will one day surpass both the more traditional Sunni or Shiah practices and create both more spiritual and liberated Islamic countries.

    Label me and Islamaphobe if you must, but having pizzerias not serve bacon because of religious complaints, or women not allowed to wear minis in some places, or cartoonists requiring bodyguards are not signs of Europe becoming freer. Islam needs to have an enlightenment like Europe once did, and no it must not be forced on them by the West.

  • The Left||

    But but but it is horribly, terribly racist not to allow as many immigrants in as want to come!

  • Libertarian Cant||

    Borders shouldn't exist.

  • scrat||

    tall fences; wide gates

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    One can hope that the practice of Sufism will one day surpass both the more traditional Sunni or Shiah practices and create both more spiritual and liberated Islamic countries.

    PROTIP: Despite what you might half-remember from one of your high-school level "World Religions" courses, Sufis are not the hippies of the Islamic world.

    First of all, tasawwuf, or Sufism, is not a school of Islamic jurisprudence, it is a form of mysticism that can be applied to both Sunni and Shia Islam.

    Secondly, while some Sufi mystics might be peaceful, there is nothing inherently non-violence about Sufism proper. For example, the Deobandi movement, which is the ideological basis for the Taliban, is a primarly Sufi order.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    How does a mystic, who believes that the most important knowledge can't be acquired by rational means or by any means other than revelation, persuade others to agree, obey and follow? Force.

    Here's my edit:

    One can hope that the practice of reason will one day surpass both the more traditional practices of religious or nationalist/collectivist mysticism and create countries which protect individual rights.

  • Old Mexican||

    "[...]the fatal shooting of a prominent elected official in another country around the same time has provoked a very different reaction. After Salman Taseer, governor of the Pakistani province of Punjab, was murdered by his own bodyguard, there was a wave of support for the murderer — from religious figures and ordinary citizens, from several political parties, and even from a group of lawyers."


    Luke 23-13. Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people,
    14 and said to them, "You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him.
    15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death.
    16 Therefore, I will punish him and then release him." 17 []

    18 But the whole crowd shouted, "Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!" [...]

    24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand.
    25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

  • jtuf||

    Ever since this story was written about 2 millennium ago, it was held up as an example of what not to do.

  • ||

    Uh, I don't know what version you are referring to, OM, but what Pilate said was "Wewease Wodewick the Wobber!!!"

    I can't remember the rest of the exchange, but I do recall Biggus Dickus helping out.

  • ||

    I have snipers for each of my bodyguards, and snipers for my snipers. The bodyguards protect me from the sniper-snipers, amongst others.

  • ChicagoSucks||

    Call me crazy, but I think any belief system that advocates the execution of an individual for drawing a picture is inherently immoral.

  • Esteban||

    Is it the belief system, or some believers' interpretation of that belief system.

  • ChicagoSucks||

    It is the belief system that sets the precedent, and the believers that then act on that precedent.

  • ChicagoSucks||

    To clarify, by "act" mean either a direct or indirect action. A believe directly acts on a religious precedent by actively enforcing it, or indirectly by allowing it to be enforced.

  • paloma||

    Is there a difference?

  • paloma||

    Is there a difference?

  • ||

    who cares? nobody cares about what's in a box if nobody (or almost nobody) acts on it. at least nobody REASONABLEY cares. if the koran said "bludgeon to death anybody who posts on reason.com's blog" but it had never happened and probably never will... who cares?

    the fact is that people who draw frigging cartoons are in physical danger... from islamists

    people who promote a draw mohammed day on facebook are advised by the FBI to go into hiding...

    and it's not unusual for somebody to scream "allahu akbar" before mowing down a bunch of innocents (ft hood).

    as long as shit like that happens, there is no comparison to be made.

    but then the liberals say "but the crusades but the crusades" etc.

  • ||

    One thing about the Crusades. They started in 1095.

    Muslims conquered Spain in 711 and were only stopped from invading more of Europe by being defeated in the Battle of Tours in 732.

    So, if you're going to go back to the historical well to justify your violence, go all the way back.

  • ||

    at some point, the hatfield/mccoy shit gets old on both sides.

    let's concede, almost any group (religious or otherwise)/nation with sufficient power to fuck over others - did so at some point or the other.

    let's moveon(.com)...

    the ones who are doing it now ... in the name of religion... are islamists.

  • ||

    Yep, pretty pointless to look back centuries for grievances.

  • pedant anarch||

    During the Middle Ages, most Islamic states treated religious minorities with considerably more tolerance than did Christian rulers, despite valiant attempts by Spencer...

    This sounds like Spencer could have stopped Islamic states in the Middle Ages from tolerating religious minorities.

    Otherwise, looks like a great piece, thanks, until someone shows me otherwise.

  • ||

    That's a ridiculous claim. Of course I couldn't stop them; all my valiant attempts failed.

  • ||

    During the Middle Ages, most Islamic states treated religious minorities with considerably more tolerance than did Christian rulers

    You know, I keep hearing this, but never seem to see any basis for it. Sharia demands second class status for non-muslims 'of the book'(meaning Christians and Jews). So there's that.

    And, were there 'Christian rulers'? Or just rulers who were Christian? was medieval France a theocracy after the fashion of Islamic states? I don't think so.

    The conditions of non-Christians in medieval Europe were not, in fact, wholly wedded to Church dictates. They were conditioned more on money, patronage and a whole host of things having nothing to do with Official Christianity.

    So why is this trope so endlessly repeated? Simple, to put the West at a disadvantage in any discussion that includes the historiocity of Islamic intolerance.

  • Esteban||

    The Papal States were ruled by the Pope, though on the other hand, that was nominal at many points and locations.

    On the third hand, the Ottoman Empire, the most significant 'Islamic' empire was most likely indistinguishable (in effect) from European empires that existed during similar periods (Holy Roman Empire). The Sultans were usually just rulers that were just Muslim.

    Not that this excuses the behavior of present-day Muslim states.

  • CaptainSmartass||

    The Ottoman Empire was a Caliphate, headed by a caliph who was both the secular and religious leader of the nation. So yes, it was an "Islamic nation-state", as far as we understand those terms today.

    By the same token, other than the Papal States, none of the nations of Europe were such until Henry VIII of England declared himself such in his own realm.

  • Esteban||

    Sure, they claimed the Caliphate, but de facto governance was like the Papal States or the Holy Roman Empire.

  • ||

    Sorry, Esteban. The Ottoman's were essentially a theocracy. No European nation existed under the same rule as that. They mostly were "guided" by the church, whereas the caliphate was run by the head of the church for the empire.

    That, and they genocided a bunch of Armenians. What Christian nation did that during the middle ages? (Before you even say crusades, I'll ask for proof, please)

  • Alan Vanneman||

    OK, Cathy, you win. Great column!

  • ||

    ... which may be a first ...

  • hmm||

    The more I hear about the culture in Afghanistan and other Muslim countries the more I wonder what the fuck is wrong with that part of the world. It's not the best position to take, but there sure are a number of that religion making the religion as a whole look like shit. I mean hell, the Catholic priests diddling boys is bad, but these fellas are working on putting the entire history of the Catholic church to shame.

    Yes I know, a somewhat narrow minded intellectual view, but fuck they are the ones making hard not to hold that view.

  • Coeus||

    You should try visiting. Then you'd understand where they're coming from. An atonal yodeling alarm clock every single morning at 4:50 a.m. and you might be looking for an excuse to behead some people too. That shit gets old fast.

  • jtuf||

    Enlightenment did reach the Islamic world during the 19th Century in the form of the Baha'i movement. There are also a handfull of small tolerant Islamic movements. Unfortunately, the governments of Muslim-majority countries oppress these tolerant Muslims and the Baha'is.

    The USA is activley supporting many of these oppressive regimes and calling them "moderates". When the State Department mentions "moderate Muslims" they mean slightly less violent Muslims that control armies in strategic locations. The true moderates in Muslim-majority countries don't control armies, therefore the State Department has no interest in allying with them. The USA should either pull out of the region or make a principled policy of only supporting truly tolerant groups.

  • Esteban||

    How can you support only the 'true moderates' and not be accused of meddling and the eventual dreaded 'blowback?'

  • jtuf||

    My preference is to keep our hands off. I'll settle for only supporting the true moderates. Supporting the true moderates creates less blowback than supporting dictatorships does, because fewer people resent the true moderates.

  • Dave||

    When he writes that Islam has historically been more tolerant, that is false. In Medieval times the Islamic world was no more or less persecutorial to Jews than Christian Europe. Like in Europe the Muslims had massacres and expulsions. In Europe the persecution was dependent on what era and where, same thing in the Islamic world. He reiterates the myth that the Muslims were always better towards the jews until recent times. Like with Europe there was on-off persecution, good times and bad. So don't make it out that they were better. They both were just as intolerant, Just today it seems to be only them

  • herp||

    DURRRRRRR

  • jtuf||

    True, David. It all depends on the nation and the decade. Maimonides fled the persecution in Muslim Spain to the relative security of Muslim Egypt a thousand years ago.

  • Dave||

    When he writes that Islam has historically been more tolerant, that is false. In Medieval times the Islamic world was no more or less persecutorial to Jews than Christian Europe. Like in Europe the Muslims had massacres and expulsions. In Europe the persecution was dependent on what era and where, same thing in the Islamic world. He reiterates the myth that the Muslims were always better towards the jews until recent times. Like with Europe there was on-off persecution, good times and bad. So don't make it out that they were better. They both were just as intolerant, Just today it seems to be only them

  • Gregory Smith||

    I'm so sick of people who apologize for Islam or excuse it by saying that the Catholic Church used to burn witches or that the IRA used to blow up stuff. Are they doing it anymore? No. Is there any Christian country putting people in jail for heresy? No. So what's the beef? Islam is the threat now. Don't believe me? Ask Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Theo Van Gogh. Actually, never mind Van Gogh, he's already been killed by a Muslim for making Fitna, Ayaan is still alive though, so hurry up and ask her before Islam gets her.

  • Esteban||

    I think that Islam certainly has blame in that it is used to enforce violent intolerance, though I think the Middle East was so far behind the West in development that absorbed the violence and tolerance that often accompanies a lack of advancement and development. There have been plenty of atrocities in 'Christian' sub-Saharan Africa, though of course those atrocities have not been religiously justified.

  • Gregory Smith||

    That is true, but there's plenty of enablers and apologizers in the west. Why for example is it not ok to burn qurans yet it's perfectly fine to display anti-Christian art at The Smithsonian? Both are examples of free speech, yet the one that wasn't funded by the taxpayers got condemned by der fuhrer Obama and military people while the anti-Christian art crap was only condemned by the right.

  • ||

    people got criticized by the left as 'fascists' for opining that maybe an art display that desecrates symbols sacred to christians should not be publically funded.

    otoh, burning a koran is "hate speech"

    fortunately, both are constitutionally protected in our country.

  • ||

    In theory, although in practice the government put pressure on the guy who was planning on the Koran-burning demonstration to call it off.

  • ||

    We haven't had one of these pissing contests in a while. Maybe some popcorn is in order.

  • ||

    Considering all the bed-wetting, "pissing contest" describes it perfectly. Bravo.

  • QuietDesperation||

    Ooo! Bacon flavored, please!

  • QuietDesperation||

    Ooo! Bacon flavored, please!

  • ||

    Bacon flavored popcorn would actually make me interested in popcorn again.

  • Underzog||

    What's with Ekaterina Jung these days? Is she covering up for the death cult of Islam again?

    And why is there all this stuff on the Tuscon massacre, including falsely blaming Sarah Palin, and none on the Ft. Hood massacre in which Islam was certainly responsible?

    "There's no need to fear. Underzog is here!"

    "There's no need to fear. Underzog is here!"

  • Underzog||

    Maybe Ekaterina Jung likes Islam so much because she will be able to hide her face under a burkha or chador. All women will look alike under such a tent so she won't feel jealous.

    "There's no need to fear. Underzog is here!"

  • ||

    You would really support nuking a random city in Pakistan if some extremist group got its hands on Pakistan's nuclear weapons and used them?

    Not a random city. Islamabad.

    And yes, I would. If Pakistan wants to have nuclear weapons, it is fully, completely, 100% responsible for every single one of them. If it doesn't want the responsibility, get rid of them.

    This threat would be a bluff and everyone would know it.

    I don't think so. If a US city got nuked, a President who didn't retaliate in kind would completely, politically, stone cold dead. I wouldn't be surprised to see him impeached and removed from office.

    Nuking a city would be orders of magnitude worse than 9/11. The American public would demand an eye for an eye, at a minimum.

  • ||

    Well, we could eschew the nuclear attack for total invasion, with old school indemnities and colonization, sending the population to, say, Afghanistan.

    Worse yet, we could invade, conquer, and hand off to India.

  • ||

    Evacuate the city, then nuke it. A reverse neutron bomb.

  • DK||

    Doesn't nuking a city, killing hundreds of thousands or even millions of people, go against some basic ideas about just war? It is not the people of Pakistan who decided to pursue a nuclear weapons program, lose/sell a nuke, and use the nuke. The responsibility falls on the Pakistani government and whichever terrorist organization used the weapon. Sure, you could argue that the people of Pakistan are responsible in that they elect and support the leaders who took these actions. As a libertarian, I would hope you see where this slippery slope leads.

    A more justifiable position would be to execute Pakistani leaders individually. Or carry out precision strikes on every military and high level government complex in the country. But killing millions? I'd hope we can do better. Sadly, though, I think that such a response is the most likely outcome.

  • Dr. Strangelove||

    Thee point of this [M.A.D. policy] is to put in the enermy the fear to attack...

  • ||

    Under my plan, there's no nuking.

    Under SugarFree's plan, there's nuking, but only with the population evacuated beforehand.

    My plan--especially the Plan B portion--is more evil than nuking, because most Pakistanis would rather die than become slaves to the Indians. Or so I gathered from watching Gandhi.

  • ||

    Like Inda wants a US/Afganistan type mess, plus how much tax money are you spending?

    I'm with RC, if they use a nuke, we use one back targeting the capitol city, and maybe a couple of others. Let them know it up front. Shooting a nuke would actually be a return on an investment.

  • ||

    Oh, I dunno. I bet there are people in the Indian government that would love to have Pakistan--and its nukes--under their thumb.

  • Smart Arse Indian||

    Why would we want nukes whose manuals are in Chinese?

  • ||

    ""I bet there are people in the Indian government that would love to have Pakistan""

    Maybe. But if they did, they probably wouldn't want the Pakistanis that come with it.

  • ||

    Or you could higher Ashton Kutcher to be special envoy to Pakistan after the attacks.
    We warn them, then 'nuke' them..

    but without the warhead attatched..
    Could you imagine the ratings? Holy shit..Just to see the looks on their faces. We could even set it up to have some Hiroshima survivors on a tour of Islamabad when it happens..
    HAHAHAHHAAAHA..

  • ||

    RC, no President would order a nuclear strike on civilian population center in response to a nuke on a U.S. city. After a few days of reflection, the U.S. would retaliate as we always do in the modern (post Vietnam) era, with a measured, targeted response.

    What that would mean would be total nuclear obliteration of all major MILITARY installations in the country, followed by a conventional invasion and replacement of the government with the puppet of our choice.

  • ||

    So using your logic: someone steals an American nuclear bomb, detonates it in Russia, then Russia is in its right to strike back at the USA because they lost a bomb. After all the US was responsible for it. I suggest they target the city where you and your family are staying in, then there will be at least someone would have agreed with the Russian nuclear strike on their city !

  • ||

    Yes, that's a scary precedent to set. I'm in favor of using reasonable force, since we have options other than making vast parking lots out of countries.

  • ||

    The reason we used nukes on Japan is becuase it saved more lives than an invasion.

  • herp||

    Source?

  • ||

    It was also done to demonstrate to the Russians what would happen to them if they chose to turn their numerically superior armies against the U.S.

  • ||

    You can't steal a nuclear bomb in the US. Someone would have to let you have it by allowing you access.

    Even if you got one, you probably couldn't make it detonate.

  • roguepatriot||

    What's said is that the biggest cause of radical Islam is the US presence in the region. The CIA pushed Islamic doctrine to encourage the Afghans in their war against the Soviets.

    Our continued wars of occupation will further radicalize the region.

    On that note, out military presence in S Korea, Japan, and the Yellow Sea have resulted in a military build up by China.

    End the Empire now.

  • Esteban||

    China is building up its military because the US is in S. Korea? Really? I think China is building up its military as a natural result of its economic development.

  • ali||

    screw this cathy!

    "the tea party movement inspired loughner"

    "**islam** (as if it is one homogeneous entity) inspired the killing Taseer"

    this muslim here is a major supporter of taseer and against the barbarism of those who support the killer. and yes i am a muslim and a libertarian.

    does this change your statement, cathy?

    seriously, fuck this stupidity!

  • Ted S.||

  • Ted S.||

    screw this cathy!


    Actually, I'd like to screw the other Cathy.

    (Unfortunately, server squirrels prevented me from posting this when I last opened the thread in the 4:00 hour.) :-(

  • ||

    Can some please tell me that the casual way some people are endorsing the usage of nuclear bombs is sarcasm and not me accidently stumbling onto the Genghis Khan faction of American hawks.

  • Realist||

    Karl was right about one thing. "Religion is the opium of the people."

  • ||

    Evacuate the city, then nuke it. A reverse neutron bomb.

    I could see giving them some advance notice, sure. I'm not completely heartless.

    Doesn't nuking a city, killing hundreds of thousands or even millions of people, go against some basic ideas about just war?

    I don't believe that retaliation in kind is prohibited by just war doctrine.

    So using your logic: someone steals an American nuclear bomb, detonates it in Russia, then Russia is in its right to strike back at the USA because they lost a bomb.

    You seem to believe that a nuke can wander off without the active collusion of the government in charge. Which I doubt.

    Look, if governments are going to insist on having nukes, they get the baggage that goes with it. If it goes off, well, it was your nuke. It went off in our city. Why exactly isn't that your responsibility again?

    If this leads nations to seriously rethink their nuclear arsenals, so much the better.

    Yeah, my retaliation in kind would set a precedent, but not retaliating in kind also sets a precedent. One that isn't going to deter future "independent rogue" nuclear attacks.

  • Richard Brannigan||

    Libertarian (n): A man who believes that any person in the world has a right to punch him in the face.

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  • Talents of Afghanistan||

    Art can ease the tension between religions.
    Please take a few minutes to visit this awesome virtual gallery featuring young Afghan artists:
    http://www.talents-of-afghanistan.com

  • David||

    The issue is not the particular religion - as everyone has noted, many/most/all? religions have texts that have some passages that can be taken to urge violence against outsiders. The issue is the use of a religion as an instrument of state power. When the power of a group with the ability to direct force depends upon a particular interpretation of a religion, we shouldn't be at all surprised to see force used to reinforce that interpretation. We frequently saw this when there were Christian states of this type. We now see this predominately in Islamic theocracies because predominately theocracies are presently Islamic. The details of the religion play a small role, if any.

  • Mark Yelka||

    Tolerate the intolerant? Did tolerating Hitler work? No, eventually he had to be opposed. So, why are we tolerating Islam? Is it because we're hoping they'll follow our good example and be tolerant with us? Appeasement. Sounds familiar.

  • Just another observer||

    "Even in modernized Malaysia and Indonesia, where the law formally guarantees religious freedom and equality and which have been touted by many (including Imam Rauf) as models of equal and peaceful coexistence between religions in majority-Muslim states, the picture is not as sunny as is often claimed: in practice, sharia courts have the power to place virtually insurmountable obstacles in the path of Muslims who want to convert to another faith or marry a non-Muslim."

    I guess the beheadings of Christians as well as the systematic burning of Churches and the refusal to allow a church to be rebuild once it has been burned to the ground escaped Ms. Young and her keen investigative mind.

    Put simply the law calls for freedom and local law enforcement looks the other way when the victim is not Muslim. You know there are dictators that allow free elections too, just do not be surprised when they get 100% of the vote.

    "During the Middle Ages, most Islamic states treated religious minorities with considerably more tolerance than did Christian rulers, despite valiant attempts by Spencer and other propagandists of the "Islam is evil" school to deny or obscure this fact."

    I do not think that means what you think it means. I am pretty sure History is not on Ms. Youngs side for this statement. I guess it is a relative standard. I am guessing she means that certain methods of torture and execution are more tolerable than others. I would rather be beheaded than burned at the stake, but mostly I would prefer neither.

  • ||

    More than just a catchy phrase: The only ones who can save freedom of religion for Muslims from Muslims are Muslims. Unless they disown the intolerance seen in Muslim countries, they will come to feel it growing here.

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  • ||

    My message to the world is that ''if u wanna c a religion then go back to the scripting''
    I request u to plz read the holy qur'aan n the authentic hadith(actions n sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).. N olso read and what islamic shariah is.. If u wanna c islam or any religion for that matter you hav to seek the scriptures.. There maybe practicing muslims,partially practicing or non practicing muslims..
    You cannot judge a region by its followers because maybe u dint come across the one's who follow it too.. You can't just islam by few black sheeps in our community..
    May Alllaah grant you hidaaya to seek the truth.. N as per judaism n christianity, no muslim is a good muslim unless he respects another person's faith..
    I'm a practising muslim and I respect people for what ever their faith be.. Refer chapter 109 of qur'aan for our perspective towards non-muslims..
    N about muslims being intolerant..
    Yes,we are intolerant but towards evil, towards falsehood,rapes,injustice,corruption,racial discrimination,the elements of society who hamper its peace,crime,murders,robbery,fornication,premarital relations..
    We are in favor of mercy,communal harmony,peace in societ,good family relations and a family system,fighting against corruption and bringing peace throughout the world..
    I ask you is that wrong??
    Are our beliefs barbaric?? Question yourself..
    Media today makes islam n muslims a scapegoat for ny issue for that matter..

    If u wanna c Wt islam is then go back to the scriptures and with an intention of seeking truth..
    N Inshallah Alllaah shall help to seek the truth..
    N an advice do your own personal research through authentic means before drawing conclusions because anyone with brains would have this approach..
    I'm sorry if you felt I were rude..

  • ||

    My message to the world is that ''if u wanna c a religion then go back to the scripting''
    I request u to plz read the holy qur'aan n the authentic hadith(actions n sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).. N olso read and what islamic shariah is.. If u wanna c islam or any religion for that matter you hav to seek the scriptures.. There maybe practicing muslims,partially practicing or non practicing muslims..
    You cannot judge a region by its followers because maybe u dint come across the one's who follow it too.. You can't just islam by few black sheeps in our community..
    May Alllaah grant you hidaaya to seek the truth.. N as per judaism n christianity, no muslim is a good muslim unless he respects another person's faith..
    I'm a practising muslim and I respect people for what ever their faith be.. Refer chapter 109 of qur'aan for our perspective towards non-muslims..
    N about muslims being intolerant..
    Yes,we are intolerant but towards evil, towards falsehood,rapes,injustice,corruption,racial discrimination,the elements of society who hamper its peace,crime,murders,robbery,fornication,premarital relations..
    We are in favor of mercy,communal harmony,peace in societ,good family relations and a family system,fighting against corruption and bringing peace throughout the world..
    I ask you is that wrong??
    Are our beliefs barbaric?? Question yourself..
    Media today makes islam n muslims a scapegoat for ny issue for that matter..

    If u wanna c Wt islam is then go back to the scriptures and with an intention of seeking truth..
    N Inshallah Alllaah shall help to seek the truth..
    N an advice do your own personal research through authentic means before drawing conclusions because anyone with brains would have an approach of a detailed study through all means ..
    I'm sorry if you felt I were rude..

  • alipay||

    good

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