Don't let the chador hit you in the ass...

Timothy Garton Ash finds the middle ground between Islamists screeching about the coming of Shariah law in Eurabia and the anti-Ismlamists screeching about, well, the coming of Shariah law in Eurabia:

Now every man and woman in Europe must self-evidently be free to advance such atheist or agnostic views, without fear of persecution, intimidation, or censorship. I regard it as a profound shame for Holland and Europe that we Europeans could not keep among us someone like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whose intention was to fight for a better Holland and a better Europe. But I do not believe that she is showing the way forward for most Muslims in Europe, at least not for many years to come. A policy based on the expectation that millions of Muslims will so suddenly abandon the faith of their fathers and mothers is simply not realistic. If the message they hear from us is that the necessary condition for being European is to abandon their religion, then they will choose not to be European. For secular Europeans to demand that Muslims adopt their faith—secular humanism—would be almost as intolerant as the Islamist jihadist demand that we should adopt theirs. But, the Enlightenment fundamentalist will protest, our faith is based on reason! Well, they reply, ours is based on truth!...

We have to decide what is essential in our European way of life and what is negotiable. For example, I regard it as both morally indefensible and politically foolish for the French state to insist that grown women may not wear the hijab in any official institution—a source of additional grievance to French Muslims, as I heard repeatedly from women in the housing projects near Saint-Denis. It seems to me as objectionable that the French Republic forbids adult women to wear the hijab as it is that the Islamic Republic of Iran compels them to wear the hijab, and on the same principle: in a free and modern society, grown men and women should be able to wear what they want. More practically, France surely has enough difficulties in its relations with its Muslim population without creating this additional one for itself.

On the other hand, freedom of expression is essential. It is now threatened by people like Mohammed Bouyeri, whose message to people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali is "if you say that, I will kill you." Indeed, Buruma tells us that Bouyeri explained to the court that divine law did not permit him "to live in this country or in any country where free speech is allowed." (In which case, why not go back to Morocco?) But free speech is also threatened by the appeasement policies of frightened European governments, which attempt to introduce censorship in the name of intercommunal harmony. A worrying example was the British government's original proposal for a law against incitement to religious hatred. This is a version of multiculturalism which goes, "You respect my taboo and I'll respect yours." But if you put together all the taboos of all the cultures in the world, you're not left with much you can speak freely about.

I loathe the hijab as a fashion statement, as a mark of faith, and as something I see more and more around my neighborhood. But the French law against it is a perfect demonstration of what's wrong with European policy on Islam—weak on all the things that matter and cruel on all the things that don't. For all the Pat Robertsons in the country, the passive American version of separation of church and state is still vastly preferable to the active European version.

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  • ||

    It seems to me as objectionable that the French Republic forbids adult women to wear the hijab as it is that the Islamic Republic of Iran compels them to wear the hijab, and on the same principle: in a free and modern society, grown men and women should be able to wear what they want.

    The libertarian in me is inclined to agree. But I think it's worth noting that the only two majority-Muslim countries in the world to reach middle-income status without possessing either massive energy wealth, or a substantial non-Muslim minority that forms much of its business elite, are Turkey and Tunisia. And both of these countries have seen fit to push a heavy-handed approach to secularism that, among other things, includes a ban on wearing the hijab in government-owned facilities.

  • ||

    "But I think it's worth noting that the only two majority-Muslim countries in the world to reach middle-income status without possessing either massive energy wealth, or a substantial non-Muslim minority that forms much of its business elite"
    Erm, why is having a non-muslim business elite relevant. I'm guessing it pretty much is there to eliminate Malaysia, which would contradict your theory.

  • ||

    Muslim Spain had some religious restricitons, but it granted religious minorities more rights than most of Europe did at the time. It became a cultural and economic powerhouse.

  • ||

    You out there, Cavanaugh? Cathy Young just broke into your account and made you look like a chump.

    as I heard repeatedly from women in the housing projects near Saint-Denis

    Sure.

    Hijabis are, as noted by this purported "Tim Cavanaugh," suddenly everywhere now, so ask one yourself. Try it. See what happens.

    Unless you've got a TV camera on your shoulder or one of those old-timey PRESS cards in your hatband, you won't get fed a fake feminist talking point about the dehumanizing cruelty of equally applied face-concealment laws--a crock of shit exuding fumes so intoxicating they make even Reason approvingly reprint mad railings against the "faith" of "Enlightenment fundamentalist" "secular humanism" and describe that as a "middle ground."

    It's, uh, not.

  • ||

    "But I think it's worth noting that the only two majority-Muslim countries in the world to reach middle-income status without possessing either massive energy wealth, or a substantial non-Muslim minority that forms much of its business elite"

    Erm, why is having a non-muslim business elite relevant. I'm guessing it pretty much is there to eliminate Malaysia, which would contradict your theory.

    I don't know much about Malaysia, but I'm assuming Eric II wants to show a relevant example where it's the Muslim populace themselves who are participating in the drive to middle-class prosperity by taking a less-restrictive, more secular approach, because it's the behavior and resulting progress of Muslims that he wants to consider.

    An example where a non-Muslim minority is driving a nation's rise to widespread prosperity wouldn't tell us very much about the Muslims' behavior and their rewards.

  • ||

    "But I think it's worth noting that the only two majority-Muslim countries in the world to reach middle-income status without possessing either massive energy wealth, or a substantial non-Muslim minority that forms much of its business elite"

    Erm, why is having a non-muslim business elite relevant. I'm guessing it pretty much is there to eliminate Malaysia, which would contradict your theory.

    I don't know much about Malaysia, but I'm assuming Eric II wants to show a relevant example where it's the Muslim populace themselves who are participating in the drive to middle-class prosperity by taking a less-restrictive, more secular approach, because it's the behavior and resulting progress of Muslims that he wants to consider.

    An example where a non-Muslim minority is driving a nation's rise to widespread prosperity wouldn't tell us very much about the Muslims' behavior and their rewards.

  • ||

    Fucking whore servers.

  • cicero||

    What exactly is the "middle ground" between "reason" and [revealed] "truth"? (three sets of scare quotes, beat that) I know. I'm a big dumb randian. It was silly of me to even ask.

    On the bright side, in America our terrorists drive taxis during the day instead of being on the dole. Good thing Europe is there to attract all the terrorist welfare queens. (In every jest...)

  • ||

    For a review of secular humanism, read up on Epicurus. He founded a school of secular humanism in Greece with interesting results.

  • ||

    In Malaysia, much of the businesses (and big corps) are in the hands of an ethnic Chinese minority.

  • Windypundit||

    It's such a simple and beautiful idea: You can practice any religion you want. Same for everyone else. Therefore, you can't force anyone else to practice your religion.

    Why isn't that a more popular idea?

  • ||

    I agree with this article, except that I think hijabs are really pretty, and if they weren't also a signalling device for (a) sexual conservatism and (b) a family that would kick my ass, especially since I'm not Muslim, I'd so date a girl who wore one.

  • ||

    Retarded as the anti-hijab laws are, they serve a likely unintended purpose. Simply put, they call out the crazies. When there is a problematic situation, with no clear prospect for making it better, sometimes the best thing you can do is exacerbate it. Increases the problem in the short, but forces a solution and saves in the long term.

    Right now, the French law is adding to other problems that result in the still ongoing rioting by largely muslims youths. While only the right blogosphere seems to take note of this except when it is at it's highest levels, they view it incorrectly. They are criticizing the French police for not making arrests, not bashing heads and running away. But sober assessment of France during the 90's with it's Algerian problem will illustrate that they wait and then hit back hard. There are a large number of people that got sucked down into deep dark French prisons with no trial and no prospect of release.

    I suggest that right now France is taking names, and when things are at a boiling point, which will come sooner rather than later due to the anti-hijab laws, they'll have a cleanse far quicker and more brutal than most expect.

    Watching European cops was an interesting lesson for me when I visited. In both France and Germany, the cops were so polite and apologetic in many circumstances, I took them for pussies. Then I saw what occurs when that immaterial line got crossed. On several occasions i saw beat downs beyond Rodney King. Talk softly, carry a big stick. Seems some one was paying attention, at least on a local level.

  • ||

    cicero,

    "What exactly is the "middle ground" between "reason" and [revealed] "truth"?"

    Keep in mind that the subject is the role of government in advancing one or the other as the foundation for laws governing personal expression, the middle ground is neutrality.

    Tim wasn't writing about which is the best way to discover the objective truth about the universe, but about which one people should be allowed to base their personal decisions on.

  • ||

    If the message they hear from us is that the necessary condition for being European is to abandon their religion, then they will choose not to be European.

    Mmmmm...the point (and perhaps the problem) is that the Muslim immigrants have already chosen not to be European.

    Europe isn't telling them they have to abandon their religion. They just have to abandon the penchant for violence and murder everytime they encounter something they don't like.

  • thoreau||

    Europe isn't telling them they have to abandon their religion. They just have to abandon the penchant for violence and murder everytime they encounter something they don't like.

    Fortunately, 99.9999% of Muslims in Europe don't engage in violence.

  • ||

    madpad,

    "Europe isn't telling them they have to abandon their religion. They just have to abandon the penchant for violence and murder everytime they encounter something they don't like."

    Wearing a hijab is an important part of the religous life of many Muslims. If you tell someone that they have to stop wearing it to be European, you most certainly are telling them they have to abandon their religion.

    What if the law forbade wearing yamulkes, or crucifixes? What if it forbade the consumption fo the Eucharist? They're not forbidding the religion, just the practices of that religion? Give us a break.

  • ||

    Fortunately, 99.9999% of Muslims in Europe don't engage in violence.

    Unfortunately, that statement's just a load of crap. Really obvious crap, too.

  • thoreau||

    Maybe I added a few too many decimal places, but the point remains the same.

  • dhex||

    it may be as low as 98 or 95%.

  • ||

    Fortunately, 99.9999% of Muslims in Europe don't engage in violence.

    Unfortunately, that statement's just a load of crap. Really obvious crap, too.

  • ||

    Thoreau,

    There are between 20 and 24 million Muslims in Europe.
    http://www.sedos.org/english/fitzgerald.html

    You are allegedly a physicist, so I will let you do the math on how few .00001% of 20 million is. But to give you a hint it is 200. Wow there is only 200 violent Muslims in all of Europe including Russia and the former eastern block? I never would have guessed.

    You are pretty good at calling other people out when they throw some obviously stupid false statistic flippantly out there. So, I kind of expect better from you. The truth is that European prisons are full of violent Muslims and the suburbs of European cities have large violent and poor Muslim ghettos. The causes of that is more than just Islam. But please spare us the "Muslims are so wonderful peaceful people" bullshit. Europe has a huge assimilation problem and a huge crime and violence problem as a result. That may not fit your preconceived notions of the world, but hey sometimes life is like that.

  • thoreau||

    John, I apologize for my hyperbole. The fact remains that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Europe do not engage in violence.

  • ||

    Denying that Muslims are especially prone to violence is not the equivalent of asserting that they are especially peaceful.

    Damn you, thoureau, you hit the number 9 too many times! How can we possibly take anything you have to say seriously? And here I thought that the figure "99.9999%" was the output of a meta-analysis of decades worth of criminological studies.

  • ||

    Maybe I added a few too many decimal places, but the point remains the same.

    OK - you meant to write "9% of Muslims don't engage in violence" but your keyboard musta slipped.

    From wikipedia and any number of other sites:

    "Muslims constitute the overwhelming majority of prisoners in France, home to Europe's largest Muslim population, with recent estimates at 70%. Surrounding nations reportedly have similar figures."

    And the Mulsims are only 0.000000000000001% of the French population. Oops, my keyboard slipped! But you get my point - actual statistics are meaningless when you can invent your own.

  • thoreau||

    Also, we should distinguish between violence of the religiously motivated variety and violence of the "I'm stuck in a ghetto because this country has an inflexible job market that inhibits class mobility, so I'll join a gang" variety.

  • thoreau||

    Also, we should distinguish between violence of the religiously motivated variety and violence of the "I'm stuck in a ghetto because this country has an inflexible job market that inhibits class mobility, so I'll join a gang" variety.

    I suggest we make this distinction because some people claim that Muslims are especially prone to violence. Burning a car because you're pissed over living in the ghetto is wrong, but it isn't something that's unique to any religious or ethnic group. The same pathologies apply the world over when inflexible economies inhibit assimilation and trap people in ghettos.

  • ||

    c'mon, thoreau. I was speaking in reaction to the situations that HAVE resulted in violence. The relevance of my post is in the final paragraph of the article regarding laws being passed in Europe to prevent the incitement of violence.

    I wasn't indicting ALL Muslims, all though a quick reread of my post indicates how it could be taken that way. Sorry 'bout that. But the larger point is still the elephant in the room.

    Violence has already been on display and just last week the fear of violence resulted in an opera being cancelled in Berlin. So don't tell me violence - either real or feared - isn't an issue.

    Joe, you're correct that France's restriction runs counter to ensuring religious freedom and no, I don't agree with it. It is an obvious exception to my statement which should have been better thought out.

    A large part of the Europe's relationship with Muslims involves assimilation problems. Many of those are certainly due to clunky ill-thought out laws that deliver unintended consequences.

    But many are also due to intolerance and inflexibility on the part of Muslims themselves. As the writer points out, much of that hits directly at free speech. People are censoring themselves or the government is doing it for them in the name of preventing Muslim violence.

    With all due respect, joe, that ought to be as much of a concern to you as freedom of religious expression.

  • thoreau||

    Violence has already been on display and just last week the fear of violence resulted in an opera being cancelled in Berlin. So don't tell me violence - either real or feared - isn't an issue.

    Violence is very much an issue. The best way to deal with it is to zero in on the elements that pose a threat, rather than make generalizations. I now realize that you were not trying to make the generalization that others on this forum have hinted at, and I apologize for my mistake.

  • ||

    madpad,

    I agree with you about the free speech restrictions. I don't even like European countries' band on Nazi imagery. Primarily because they intrude on individual liberty, but also because they provide the bastards with an outlaw glamour, and because the existence of laws banning even as objectively repugnant things as anti-semitic diatribes punctuated with "Seig Heil" puts those countries in the position of either extending those laws to cover less-clear offenses, or picking and choosing which groups and which issues get protection. So don't misunderstand my position.

    Now, as far as your overly-broad statements about Muslims, my reaction isn't just based on opposition to prejudice and stereotyping, as big a problem as they are. It's also a question of dealing with the very problem you identify, the integration of Muslims into society, and European societies'/governments' failure to do so successfully.

    Obviously, people who support honor killings and FGM shouldn't have their beliefs and practices treated as acceptable. But your choice of headgear? Your (non-harmful) religious practices? The language you use when you call your own kids to dinner? None of these things are even remotely relevant to whether you can live peacefully and productively in society.

    If we, and the European countries, tell immigrants that they have to choose between being Pierre La Francois or a Talib, people who simply are not willing to forget their Arabic, bare their heads, and stop praying five times a day - but who would be perfectly willing to be peaceful Muslim citizens of France, if given a chance - are going to choose their religion and families.

    Sure, there are belligerent, violent reactionaries in the European Muslim community who would never integrate the slightest amount, no matter how liberal the government is. They are a problem. We should not be doing them the favor of telling moderate Muslims that the only other path they can follow is to abandon their faith and culture wholesale.

  • ||

    I suggest we make this distinction because some people claim that Muslims are especially prone to violence...The same pathologies apply the world over when inflexible economies inhibit assimilation and trap people in ghettos.

    Hmmmm...I don't think that's accurate, thoreau. I think the current observations are that Muslims, in fact, are more prone to violence. Probably more so in Europe than anywhere else.

  • ||

    "it may be as low as 98 or 95%..."

    The US has a violent crime rate of under 2% (1.8 crimes per 100 persons), and we can assume a substantial portion of those crimes are committed by repeat offenders, so why would we assume the average Muslim in Europe is more likely to be violent than the average American?

    99% is probably closer than 98%, 95% is way off.

  • ||

    The best way to deal with it is to zero in on the elements that pose a threat, rather than make generalizations.

    Good idea. How do you do that?

    The non-violent elements are frequently intertwined with the violent ones. We have the same problem here in our own ghettos and high crime areas. We can't figure it out either.

  • ||

    thoreau & joe,

    I realize my previous statement may come off wrong. Inrecognize and understand your sensitivity and objections to sterotyping and prejudice.

    I'm not advocating either.

    Your earnestness to relegate violence to some minor abberation within a larger group to prevent others from being unfairly labelled or attacked is admirable and I fundamentally agree.

    But in the case of Islam - especially as regards the growth of violent or aggressive expressions of the faith - I think you're not recognizing some very serious realities.

    We have some luxuries here in the states. Despite, 9/11, we have not been the victims of widespread violence. The examples of Muslims adherents in America are quite peaceful and, in most cases, patriotic as well.

    This is not the case in Europe and the Middle East. Violence in the name of Islam, or the fear of it, is on the mind of many folks over there.

    It is also an acknowledged genuine threat as terrorist attacks in London and Spain, riots in Paris and murders in Holland all attest.

    I don't pretend to know what the right answer is. Certainly dictating headgear and religious practices is not a good approach. But pretending that violence has NOT become a very visible facet of a very prevalent religion is equally so.

  • thoreau||

    madpad-

    I understand that you are not advocating indiscriminate bigotry. I would say that the more serioust the threat, the more important it is to carefully identify it.

    We need to distinguish between the normal ghetto pathologies, and the organized fanatics. We also need to distinguish between the violent ones (whatever their number) and their more numerous non-violent neighbors. Failing to draw distinctions will alienate the people whose help will be most crucial.

    Also, it only takes a handful of violent thugs to cause a very serious problem, but that shouldn't lead us to stop drawing distinctions. It only takes one person to murder an actor, playwright, journalist, politician, or whoever. The existence of even a handful of those nuts can have a very chilling effect, and I don't deny it. But lumping those nuts in with their neighbors is counter-productive. A problem can be serious in terms of effects while being small in terms of raw numbers of adherents.

    I don't have easy answers, but failing to draw crucial distinctions will make the problem more intractable, not easier.

  • ||

    The problem is not that a majority of Muslims are violent. A majority of them are not. But a majority doesn't have to be violent. A small minority is all it takes to get the job done. How many Nazis were violent thugs participating in Krystalnacht or ever actually killed a Jew? A pretty small percentage. The problem was not the number of violent Nazis it was the huge numbers of Europeans who supported the ones who were. The problem is that a majority of European Muslims either support, condon or excuse the violent minority. Yeah, the guy working at the doner kabab stand may be a great guy and not violent, but when he goes to a mosque and supports an Imam calling for Sharia law and death to Jews and homosexuals that is a problem.

  • dhex||

    "The US has a violent crime rate of under 2% (1.8 crimes per 100 persons), and we can assume a substantial portion of those crimes are committed by repeat offenders, so why would we assume the average Muslim in Europe is more likely to be violent than the average American?"

    because i was making up a ballpark figure? ta-da!

    i mean, with folks like pepe le mur it's all about how endemic and inherent muslim violence is. but 5% of a population is a small number (to me) and still makes the overall point that only a small portion of muslims are engaging in this kind of violence.

    and while the reaction in the states to theo van gogh getting killed was, to say the least, really disappointing (if he'd been gay and killed by a christian, etc etc and so forth), as joe and thoreau have pointed out, there are a lot of factors going in to this than the usual ZEE KULTURS KLASHING! type stuff.

  • ||

    I have known only a few people who wore headscarves, but just from that I have to say to people who want to ban them: you can do that when you're prepared to walk down a public street in the middle of the day stark naked. After all, why are your standards of modesty objectively superior to everyone else's?

  • ||

    I'm all for a secular government, but banning hajibs in government space seems anti-religious, not secular. The purpose of a secular government shouldn't be to make the people secular, just to give them a forum on neutral ground to make their case. While I think the scarves are stupid, I'm sure I have some really stupid traits that have been with me forever that would make me less me if I were to be forced to give them up.

  • ||

    For all the Pat Robertsons in the country, the passive American version of separation of church and state is still vastly preferable to the active European version

    Amen to that.

    Although i I'm not sure it's fair to describe the first section of the first amendment as a "passive separation".

    It's that the US consitution guarantees the "free exercise" of religion; religion enumerated as a form of speech that can't be regulated.

    For me it's less about either active or passive "keeping them apart", and more about the rights it guarantees people.

    JG

  • ||

    Banning headscarves is a convenient way for the French govt. to looking like it is doing something about the very real problem of muslim fanatical violence, while actually doing nothing productive about it. Which seems like the prefered French MO for everything these days.

  • ||

    madpad,

    "Good idea. How do you do that?

    The non-violent elements are frequently intertwined with the violent ones. We have the same problem here in our own ghettos and high crime areas. We can't figure it out either."

    It is a thorny problem indeed, but if you look back at anti-crime strategies during the 1990s, some cities achieved a great deal of success, usually with a "community policing" strategy. This involves the police working to familiarize themselves with, and to, the public. When the cop on your block isn't just some violent asshole who hates everyone in your neighborhood, but is Donny, the cop on your block, the passive majority becomes an ally against the criminal minority.

  • ||

    when he goes to a mosque and supports an Imam calling for Sharia law and death to Jews and homosexuals that is a problem

    Ok. And what does one do about this 'problem' in a society that protects free speech?

  • ||

    The problem is not that a majority of Muslims are violent. A majority of them are not. But a majority doesn't have to be violent. A small minority is all it takes to get the job done. How many Nazis were violent thugs participating in Krystalnacht or ever actually killed a Jew? A pretty small percentage. The problem was not the number of violent Nazis it was the huge numbers of Europeans who supported the ones who were. The problem is that a majority of European Muslims either support, condon or excuse the violent minority. Yeah, the guy working at the doner kabab stand may be a great guy and not violent, but when he goes to a mosque and supports an Imam calling for Sharia law and death to Jews and homosexuals that is a problem.

  • ||

    The problem is not that a majority of Muslims are violent. A majority of them are not. But a majority doesn't have to be violent. A small minority is all it takes to get the job done. How many Nazis were violent thugs participating in Krystalnacht or ever actually killed a Jew? A pretty small percentage. The problem was not the number of violent Nazis it was the huge numbers of Europeans who supported the ones who were. The problem is that a majority of European Muslims either support, condon or excuse the violent minority. Yeah, the guy working at the doner kabab stand may be a great guy and not violent, but when he goes to a mosque and supports an Imam calling for Sharia law and death to Jews and homosexuals that is a problem.

  • ||

    "Ok. And what does one do about this 'problem' in a society that protects free speech?"

    You shut down the Imams who preach this garbage and you call them out on it. Free speech does not allow the advocation of the destruciton of the society or the incite of violence. Or, you can sit back and wait to die for the principle of free speeck for everyone. I will take the former.

  • ||

    "Ok. And what does one do about this 'problem' in a society that protects free speech?"

    You shut down the Imams who preach this garbage and you call them out on it. Free speech does not allow the advocation of the destruciton of the society or the incite of violence. Or, you can sit back and wait to die for the principle of free speeck for everyone. I will take the former.

  • ||

    joe, you hopeful bastard you. Seriously, you make some good points - among them being that this is a problem that takes time, patience and concerted effort to solve.

    It's limitation, of course, being time. The good example of that limitation being those community policing strategies from the 90s going away when some conservative politician convinces a populace with a short memory that they need to throw every one in jail and create more SWAT teams so they can "get tough on crime.".

    Hopefully Europe won't be so bowled over by appearances that they can see the wisdom in a solution like what you propose.

  • ||

    So - by your logic, this guy should be in jail?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/24/politics/24robertson.html?ex=1282536000&en=da9666acff1cf450&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

    Evangelicals = all would-be assassins as well?

    The anti-abortion movement has had it's violent spurts http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_viol.htm

    Why do we let Catholics continue to spew 'anti-social' rhetoric??

    Or do you mean, well, we should keep free speech *here*, but dammit those Euro Muslims are just way too nuts? Maybe they could give all the muslims crescent-moon armbands, John.

    You could say we have the Calvinists to blame for the US Civil War. Why did we ever let them go on with their "anti-slavery", society-rendering rhetoric?? The sensible people should never have let them stir up so much trouble. Wouldnt it have been better if we'd just made sure those troublemakers stayed quiet?

    Sorry John, I'm not feeling your 'free speech for me but not for thee'. Who exactly do you feel should be empowered to "shut down" people who preach stuff you consider to be anti-social? The new GOD-SWAT team?

    "Everybody on your knees now with your hands above your head!! It's the GODSWA.... oh, ok.... well, yeah... just stay like that!"

  • ||

    dhex

    "because i was making up a ballpark figure? ta-da!"

    I know, I know... I just wanted to point out that even your ballpark figure was probably too high.

    People who make the argument that Islam is inherently violent will jump on 5% and point out that one and half million violent muslims are plotting across Europe.

    Pedants already jumped on the too conservative figure posited by Dr. T, I thought it important to set the lower bound as well.

  • ||

    Hey John,

    Have you ever seen any figures on what Catholics think about contraception?

    Clergymen yammer about all kinds of things. But going to mass is nice, and it's a good idea to be on good terms with them when you need a wedding, baptism, or funeral.

  • ||

    You shut down the Imams who preach this garbage and you call them out on it. Free speech does not allow the advocation of the destruciton of the society or the incite of violence. Or, you can sit back and wait to die for the principle of free speeck for everyone. I will take the former.

    There is a fine line here that is sometimes difficult to see. Free speech protects the right to say: "It would be a good thing if X were murdered" but not the right to say "As a ranking member of this organization, I hereby command lower ranking members to murder X".

    It is important to distinguish between the expression of an opinion that approves of violating others' rights and instructions to violate the rights of others given to people who might plausibly take such instructions seriously and try to carry them out.

    The government should arrest and prosecute people who make the latter kind of statement as they do in the case of a typical mafia boss who had a subordinate do his dirty work for him.

    The proper response to the former kind of statement is to ridicule, often and publicly, vile opinions and the people who express them. For example, we should point out the reasons why the beliefs like: "Allah will reward you for it if you murder unchaste female relatives" are false, idiotic, and repugnant. We should point this out especially to the intended audience of those expressions. One should not however be subject to criminal charges for expressing that view.

  • ||

    John,

    Clear incitement to violence is already illegal. Telling your flock to go do bombings or train in a camp in western Pakistan to fight the Jews will get you arrested, even here in the states.

    But what about the Muslim equivalent of our friend, Mr. F. LeMur, standing on the dais and proclaiming that we're in a Kulturkampf, and we all need to fight the infidels? Is that allowable, or do you want to arrest Mr. Le Mur? Or are we to treat these cases differently based on the speaker's religion?

  • thoreau||

    1) MainstreamMan, you kick ass. I strongly urge you to come and comment at my blog:

    www.inactivist.org

    Seriously. You kick ass.

    2) joe, you make damn good points about how the congregation and the clergy don't always agree, and how F Le Mur could be accused of agitating for a clash of civilizations. Oh, he'd insist that they started the clash and he just wants to win, but they'd probably say the same.

    I'm tempted to suggest that we lock F. Le Mur in a room with a radical Islamist, except I'm afraid that they'd join forces against the sane people of the world.

    I'd invite you to comment on my blog as well, but you're already there.

  • Jadagul||

    Hey, Joe, if you're still around, I thought you might be interested in this article. I remembered that you were always in favor of community policing efforts, so when I saw it I thought of you.

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