The West Is Lavender

Doug Ireland reviews a disturbing book about the lives of gays and lesbians in the Middle East. One interesting tidbit:

In dissecting the wide gap between portrayals of homosexuality in Arab media and official discourse, and the lived reality of Arab same-sexers, Whitaker writes that "Arab portrayals of homosexuality as a foreign phenomenon can be [plausibly] attributed to a reversal of old-fashioned Western orientalism. Western orientalism, as analyzed by Edward Said in his influential book, highlights the 'otherness' of oriental culture in order (Said argued) to control it more effectively. Reverse orientalism -- a comparatively new development in the Arab world -- taps into the same themes but also highlights the 'otherness' of the West in order to resist modernization and reform. Homosexuality is one aspect of Western 'otherness' that can be readily exploited to whip up popular sentiment....Where symbolism of this kind applies, the sexual act must necessarily be described in terms that maximize the reader’s disgust: there is no scope for portrayals of homosexuality that are anything but negative."

For more on this "Occidentalism," see Chuck Freund's pioneering Reason essay of December 2001.

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  • ||

    Fucking barbarians.

  • ||

    As a gay man, this is the primary issue that makes me regard "progressives" as an enemy that hates me. These pompous, stupid "progressives" insist that I lovingly embrace every aspect of Islam or else I am a vicious racist. If I point out that the death penalty for homosexuality is well-accepted in every major school of Islamic thought and represented in the shitty lives of gays in Islamic countries, then I am called a vicious racist.

    Nevermind that Islam isn't a race. Nevermind that there's no such thing as "race" anyway (outside of the single human race).

    You made an enemy out of me, you fetid "progressive" pieces of garbage.

  • ||

    Loundry,

    How many instances can you cite where you've been labeled a "vicious racist" for pointing out Islam's appalling treatment of gays, or are you just arguing with the progressive in your head?

  • ||

    One of the most useful chapters in the book is Whitaker's dissection and refutation of the arguments of Joseph Massad (left), a controversial Columbia University professor and author of a widely-circulated essay ( "Re-Orienting Desire: The Gay International and the Arab World," Public Culture, Spring, 2002) complaining that gay rights in Arab and Muslim countries is an imperialist 'missionary' project orchestrated by what he calls the "Gay International."

    Um... homosexuality was not invented by westerners nor is it exclusive to them. What a prick.

  • ||

    I wonder what cultural origin they attribute to fucking goats? Um, female goats of course. Screwing a male goat would clearly be gay.

  • Warren||

    Gay Arabs = Western Potheads
    Got it.

  • The Lounsbury||

    Charming, the responses:
    Islam's appalling treatment of gays
    Islam is an abstraction, like Christianity. It doesn't do anything.

    Like all the Abrahamic religions (including e.g. the Judaic root, as evidenced by the nice stonings in Jerusalem during the aborted gay pride rally, done by Orthodox), the religious texts are not terribly, how shall we say it, liberal in approaching homosexuality.

    Hardly news, this.

    Of course, if one actually reads Whitaker's text (or know the mate) one gets a rather less demonic picture of the Arab world (nota bene, Arab, not Islamic, nor even Islamic Arab) in re homosexuality. A picture that reads rather like the West c. 1960 or so re gays (in most countries, some of course are rather worse).

    However, it would appear that many a Westerner rather prefers the empty-headed demonization, must much self-satisfying to look down on the Infidel foreigners, eh no?

    (Also see Aqoul's own note on Whitaker's book, based off his sharing his pre-pub galley with eerie and myself.)

  • ||

    If we (and by "we" I mean "other people who look like you and me") treated gays like this X years ago, do we (and by "we" I mean "you and me") really have standing to criticize that others are treating gays like this now?

  • ||

    Charming, the responses:

    Snotty and pompous, your response. Typical "progressive" sanctimony.

    Islam is an abstraction, like Christianity. It doesn't do anything.

    A religion is not an "abstraction". Typical "progressive" cop-out. What Islam does is precisely that which its adherents do in the name of Islam, following the teachings of Islam, for the purpose of increasing the numbers of Islam's adherents or increasing Islam's dominance.

    However, it would appear that many a Westerner rather prefers the empty-headed demonization, must much self-satisfying to look down on the Infidel foreigners, eh no?

    You're one to talk of "looking down" on anyone, aren't you? Typical "progressive" moral equivalence.

    Kiss my gay ass, you stupid "progressive" piece of garbage. I struggle to keep from hating your guts, but only because hating you would do more damage to me than it would to you, not because you don't deserve to be hated.

  • ||

    Wingnut,

    I think Islam is an evil religion and should be either massively reformed or destroyed. It should not be tolerated; rather, it should be mocked, reviled, and eliminated.

    Is this racist of me?

  • ||

    Loundry,

    No, that's not "racist" (for reasons you yourself pointed out) but it is rather hysterical and excessive of you.

    If you talk like that to everyone I could see how you could be called a vicious racist, although, again, I disagree with that terminology. There's a big difference between saying "Islam treats gays poorly" and "Islam must be destroyed."

  • ||

    Jaybird,

    I criticize people who look like me for how they treat gays RIGHT NOW. By doing so, I am saying that people with the same ethnic and cultural background as redneck homophobes (like myself) can be decent and fair to gay people. In other words, I can decry homophobia, and even the cultural traditions that foster it, without denouncing their/my culture as a whole.

    Which is a distinction I suspect Loundry doesn't go out of his way to make.

  • ||

    Ever notice how conservatives describe everything evil done by westerners as contrary to their culture or religion, while everything evil done by Muslims or Arabs is the inevitable, logical extension of their culture or religion?

  • ||

    "If we (and by "we" I mean "other people who look like you and me") treated gays like this X years ago, do we (and by "we" I mean "you and me") really have standing to criticize that others are treating gays like this now?"

    Given that I (by which I mean me) have never treated gays in a detrimental way at any point in my life, I (by which I mean me) feel completely justified in calling these cultural monsters on their barbarism without the least hint of hypocrisy.

    Fucking savages.

  • ||

    Yes, but joe, the cultural conservatives here in the US are led by the one true God, and are therefore both infallible and completely justified in telling you how to live your life.

  • VM||

    "Ever notice how conservatives describe everything evil done by westerners as contrary to their culture or religion, while everything evil done by Muslims or Arabs is the inevitable, logical extension of their culture or religion?"

    That's a good point. One poster here constantly has a drumbeat of 1) what he perceives as "christian bashing" and 2) paints "Islam" with a broad brush. (You probably can figure out who)

    It's not as though there aren't extremely bigoted evangelical christians who really hate gays (and the ones running around with "intolerance is a wonderful thing" t shirts).

    All those hatemongers can go sod off.

    Point is, hate and bigotry suck and need to get jock itch of the uvula. Regardless of source.

    d'oh, Mediageek! :)

  • ||

    andy,

    No, that's not "racist" (for reasons you yourself pointed out) but it is rather hysterical and excessive of you.

    Yes, when an entire religion states that I should be stoned to death and dozens of countries ruled by that religion enforce that law and fund efforts to proselytize in my country then it tends to make my Hitlerhhoids flare up. Maybe I'm not hysterical or excessive at all, and it is, in fact, you who is militantly ignorant vis-a-vis Islam. Time will tell which opinion turns out to be correct.

    If you talk like that to everyone I could see how you could be called a vicious racist

    You defend the "progressives", stupid and pompous and anti-gay as they are.

    There's a big difference between saying "Islam treats gays poorly" and "Islam must be destroyed."

    I wrote: "I think Islam is an evil religion and should be either massively reformed or destroyed."

    Do you think that it is just fine that Islam continue just as it is, with no changes, and that we should tolerate it?

  • VM||

    Is Juanita/Jane/Libby Tarian morphing once again into Loundry? wow.

  • ||

    VW,

    It's not as though there aren't extremely bigoted evangelical christians who really hate gays (and the ones running around with "intolerance is a wonderful thing" t shirts).

    You're incorrect. Today's Christian gay-bashers have learned to be much more passive-aggressive. They claim to shower us with "Christian love" but would happily vote to reinstate the sodomy laws if given that blessed opportunity. They have become more dangerous because they are more clandestine and underhanded.

    They're still preferable to Muslims in most every way, though. I live in the notoriously anti-gay Cobb County, Georgia (you know, the one with the anti-evolution stickers in science textbooks), so I speak with gay authority.

  • ||

    VM,

    Sorry, you reminded me of a German car.

  • dhex||

    "Ever notice how conservatives describe everything evil done by westerners as contrary to their culture or religion, while everything evil done by Muslims or Arabs is the inevitable, logical extension of their culture or religion?"

    dude, it's all about team players. you know that.

    also, systemic analysis is a heady, exciting field. like when "liberals" do this or "conservatives" do that; or your own fondness for what "libertarians" think and do.

    it's only painful when analyzing what seems to be contradictory behavior (as you mention above) or to cherry pick other examples, the whole rushdie affair in the 80s or the varied responses to the danish cartoon thingy.

    the enemy of my enemy is my friend, i guess. for some folks this means taking things a bit too far, obviously.

  • ||

    Loundry,

    You never did answer my question. How many times, if ever, have you been called a racist for merely criticizing Islam, or are you just beating up a strawman?

    Note: 19 year old university students don't count.

  • dhex||

    "Do you think that it is just fine that Islam continue just as it is, with no changes, and that we should tolerate it?"

    uh, what the fuck else are you going to do? maybe start a fund to help gay arabs repatriate to someplace that doesn't totally suck?

    i.e. you can't possibly kill everyone, even presuming that would "work."

    unrelated: "i speak with gay authority" should be a t-shirt, somewhere.

  • Loundry||

    joe,

    I can decry homophobia, and even the cultural traditions that foster it, without denouncing their/my culture as a whole. Which is a distinction I suspect Loundry doesn't go out of his way to make.

    I'm not criticizing culture, I'm criticizing the shitty religion of Islam. There are multiple cultures represented under the religion of Islam (Arab, Persian, Malay, "Indonesian", etc.).

  • Loundry||

    Wingnut,

    It wouldn't make any difference to answer you. You aren't interested in dialog. You're only interested in discounting me as paranoid. I can't help but notice that some people's criticism "doesn't count" to you. Isn't that an example of "discounting"?

  • VM||

    Okay - we'll use you as our one authority on All Things Gay. (And I'm glad you recognized my wheels, BTW!).

    Shame there aren't other gay posters here with different takes and different experiences. And don't get hysterical about Islam. I'm sure a good friend, who posts here, (from Egypt, originally) appreciates being painted in that way by you.

    (just think your broad brush, ignorant opinions - when applied to fundie christians, or gays or whomever would be met with outrage. Joe's point is even stronger in light of your frothing)

    You can prefer one form of hatred over the other, whatevs. This citizen decries, denounces, and damns hate and bigotry, and I happen to think that Fundies (regardless of religion) that seek to eliminate or hurt or whatever suck. (As everybody knows, that "hate the sin, love the sinner" still has that operative word, "hate").

  • ||

    Loundry,

    "I can't help but notice that some people's criticism "doesn't count" to you. Isn't that an example of "discounting"?"


    You're a piece of work. But allow me to rephrase myself: Name some sober, non-idiotic progressives that have done what I said. I won't deny that there's some wacky-ass "progressives" out there, but it seems you were painting them all with the same brush.

  • Loundry||

    dhex,

    uh, what the fuck else are you going to do?

    I surmise it's starting to sink in with you. You're not OK with Islam NOT reforming, but what are the alternatives? Instead of venturing an answer, you've decided to throw it back at me. Cognitive dissonance sucks.

    maybe start a fund to help gay arabs repatriate to someplace that doesn't totally suck?

    And why do the places where they currently live "totally suck"? Is it because those places are ruled by Islam, and Islam is a shitty, evil religion?

    i.e. you can't possibly kill everyone, even presuming that would "work."

    You're beginning to see the scope of the problem. This isn't just about gays, but I just can't help but take that aspect of it rather personally, in a juicy-Hitlerhhoid-flareup-inducing way.

    "i speak with gay authority" should be a t-shirt, somewhere.

    Better yet: tatooed on my tremendous manly pecs.

  • ||

    "Shame there aren't other gay posters here with different takes and different experiences. And don't get hysterical about Islam. I'm sure a good friend, who posts here, (from Egypt, originally) appreciates being painted in that way by you."

    I totally have friends who are fundamentalist Christians and when people call fundamentalist Christians "fundamentalist" they get all hurt and upset because, hey, *THEY* aren't like that.

    I also have relatives from the South and people say that there is a lot of Racism in the South, they get really hurt because they aren't racist.

    I can't believe how hurtful you libertarians can be. (and don't pull this crap about how maybe "libertarians" are hurtful but you are an exception because I can see through that bullshit from a mile off)

  • Loundry||

    Wingnut,

    You're a piece of work.

    The contemptuous feeling is most mutual.

    Name some sober, non-idiotic progressives

    There is no point in doing that. You'll just discount them as wacked-out and idiotic if they don't fit what you're trying to show, and that is for me to be paranoid.

    it seems you were painting them all with the same brush

    I ignore all "You're stereotyping!" arguments. You'll have to try a different tactic.

  • Rhywun||

    Reading this article, I kept noticing the alternating references to "Islam" and "Arab" and wondering, "Well, which is it?". Having a loved one living in Malaysia--majority Islam and not Arab--this topic is of rather great interest to me.

  • ||

    My god, Loundry, I give up. When you're ready to have a serious, adult conversation please come back.

  • VM||

    Jaybird - exactly! Well spake!

    Rhywun - my dear sir - does this mean that the visa snafu wasn't resolved? I'm sorry.

  • Rhywun||

    VM,

    No, it was not. And it's not a snafu so much as "you've stayed your arbitrarily alotted time - now get the fuck out".

  • dhex||

    "You're not OK with Islam NOT reforming, but what are the alternatives? Instead of venturing an answer, you've decided to throw it back at me. Cognitive dissonance sucks."

    no, it's an actual question. what the hell are you going to do about it?

    i'm not defending islam's vicissitudes in various countries here; i am probably less pro-abrahamic than many here (though not as much as others). but i notice a definite lack of stonings in jersey city, or dyker heights, brooklyn, where there are large religious arab populations, etc.

    so clearly something else is at work here.

  • VM||

    I'm sorry, Rhywun.

    Just remember - allowances to marry and get the green card is a privilege for heteros only. If you would like to have that privilege, too, you'll get accused of wanting "special treatment", and a lot of posters here will give the standard cop out "gov't out of marriage" without addressing the other issues.

    Balls. I hope it works out. And I'm sorry that you're separated from your Beloved due to bureaucratic bullshit.

  • Loundry||

    VM,

    Okay - we'll use you as our one authority on All Things Gay.

    I ask that you use me as your one authority on All Things, but I'll settle for merely being an authority on All Things Gay. For now.

    And don't get hysterical about Islam.

    You've pegged me wrong. I am strident, angry, and merciless toward Islam. I can tell you exactly how shitty Islam is in calm, well-reasoned phrases allowing you ample time to question and respond.

    I'm sure a good friend, who posts here, (from Egypt, originally) appreciates being painted in that way by you.

    Is your friend a lax Muslim? There's millions of those, but what are they doing to thwart the mujahedin who sucessfully argue from Koran, Hadith, and sira that Muslims should dominiate non-Mulsims (and kill all gays) through force and fraud? Lax Muslims seem completely incapable of forulating an Islamic theology which supports the peaceful and equal coexistence of Muslims and non-Muslims. I invite you to direct me to this theology if it exists, for I have yet to see it.

    This citizen decries, denounces, and damns hate and bigotry

    Very "progressive" of you. I decry, denounce, and damn anyone or anything which acts to deprive individuals of life, liberty, or property through force or fraud. Islam does that in a big way, and that is precisely why it sucks planetoids through vole capillaries. The "kill all gays" theology which is present in every single Islamic school of thought is diarrhea frosting on a cake made from rat carrion.

    But decrying "hate" and "bigotry" allows you a lot of wiggle room and the requisite amount of self-loathing that is so hip and cool in "progressive" circles nowadays.

    and I happen to think that Fundies (regardless of religion) that seek to eliminate or hurt or whatever suck.

    Yes, this doesn't have anything to do with the religions, it's all about fundamentalism. This is the "progressive" meme which states "Christianity is just as bad as Islam". It's ripe bullshit.

  • ||

    "If we (and by "we" I mean "other people who look like you and me") treated gays like this X years ago, do we (and by "we" I mean "you and me") really have standing to criticize that others are treating gays like this now?"

    Nope. You see that way I'm free to treat all black folks like that dick that mugged my friend. It's a win-win.

  • Loundry||

    Wingnut,

    My god, Loundry, I give up.

    You really started off on the wrong foot with your condescending "Prove yourself to me!" argument. It's unrealistic for you to expect me to want to engage you when you patronize me like that from the get-go.

    When you're ready to have a serious, adult conversation please come back.

    Again, the sentiment is most mutual.

  • ||

    You don't need help being patronized. You do it very well to yourself.

  • Loundry||

    dhex,

    no, it's an actual question. what the hell are you going to do about it?

    It's a good question. Are you interested in my answer, or are you merely interested in shooting me down and painting me as an intransigent bigot?

    i'm not defending islam's vicissitudes in various countries here;

    Under the persian rug go Islam's many, many evils!

    i am probably less pro-abrahamic than many here (though not as much as others).

    "Abrahamic" was the sobriquet that the odious Morgan Spurlock used in his rancid television show "30 days" which aimed to equate Islam with Christianity and Judaism. It's part of the "progressive" template in regards to religion and how to cope with the clash of values between Islam and multiculturalism.

    but i notice a definite lack of stonings in jersey city, or dyker heights, brooklyn, where there are large religious arab populations, etc. so clearly something else is at work here.

    I see the same thing. What do you think accounts for the low rate of jihad activity in American Muslim groups? What do you think of Muslim groups in Dearborn, MI?

  • VikingMoose||

    wow. "progressive"? "that's" quite an "insult". Did you go to M1EK charm school, perchance?

    I'll bet you're actually a black-beret wearing foreign film major at Illinois Wesleyian college who is trying out ideas for a book report.

    In fact, I'll bet that you have all the wiggle room you need to be hip and cool, and then you tell your little friends at the malt shop how internet tough you are.

    Or you're the genetically-created lovechild of Juanita and Dave W.

    Either way, I love it how your eyes flash and that little bubble of spittle forms on the corner of your mouth when you're internet angry. You're sort of a techno punk rocker. With a Plus 5 Searing Tongue of Lashing!

    Mein Gott. I think I'm going to model my day after you.

  • Loundry||

    Wingnut,

    You don't need help being patronized. You do it very well to yourself.

    It makes me horny when you condescend to me! Please, continue. :)~~~

  • VM||

    "froth" you "barg" "blap-a-ding-dong" and garrrh! durkadurka. gnash gnash.

    flubba wronk neener. quaggle-flox rum.

    spittle spittle. rage rage.

    mmm. You are just so precious.

  • Loundry||

    VikingMoose,

    Yes, Cobb County, Georgia is in Illinois.

    I think I'm falling in love with you.

  • Rhywun||

    "Internet angry". I'll have to remember that one.

  • ||

    "It makes me horny when you condescend to me! Please, continue. :)~~~"

    Hmmm, I don't just condescend for anyone. I'm far too attractive for that. Do you have a pic? ;)

  • dhex||

    "t's a good question. Are you interested in my answer, or are you merely interested in shooting me down and painting me as an intransigent bigot?"

    i don't know if you're a bigot, but you're definately a bit of a fuckface. that aside, for the third time today, what are you going to do about it, aside from accusing everyone online of being a "progressive" ?

    "I see the same thing. What do you think accounts for the low rate of jihad activity in American Muslim groups? What do you think of Muslim groups in Dearborn, MI?"

    a difference in political and social cultures. immigration patterns. etc.

    in other words, other factors than just their religion.

  • Loundry||

    Wingnut,

    Your pic gets mine. :)

  • Loundry||

    dhex,

    i don't know if you're a bigot, but you're definately a bit of a fuckface.

    I feel the same way about you! That's something we have in common. :)

    for the third time today, what are you going to do about it, aside from accusing everyone online of being a "progressive" ?

    I hate to be stubborn, for I am open to discussing that, but I'm not going to bother answering it if your only motivation is to denounce me. So, seriously, do you honestly give a shit what my answer is, or do you just think that I suck and you're waiting for my answer so that you can prove it? It is absolutely necessary that I know what your motivation is.

    in other words, other factors than just their religion.

    Yes, clearly there are other things at play; otherwise, all Muslims would be the same. Do you think it's true that Muslims tend to commit more acts of jihad when they think they can get away with it?

  • ||

    Personal experience and observation for your reference:

    The only man to hit on me was a Jordanian in Aqaba, Jordan. My male roommate in Cairo was stalked by a man in our neighborhood.

    (In the interest of neutrality and fun I also disclose that a friend was hit on by a yeshiva student in Jerusalem.)

    Homosexual and bisexual behavior, like other taboos, in Arab societies is treated with a "hear nothing, see nothing" approach. Unless it is so obvious as to be impossible to deny, it is ignored.

    Ironically, it seems the open secret of bisexual behavior among single men is inadvertently encouraged in the most conservative Muslim societies, like Saudi Arabia, by the extreme separation of the sexes.

  • ||

    Is your friend a lax Muslim? There's millions of those, but what are they doing to thwart the mujahedin who sucessfully argue from Koran, Hadith, and sira that Muslims should dominiate non-Mulsims (and kill all gays) through force and fraud? Lax Muslims seem completely incapable of forulating an Islamic theology which supports the peaceful and equal coexistence of Muslims and non-Muslims. I invite you to direct me to this theology if it exists, for I have yet to see it.

    So, a Muslim who isn't murdering gays, blowing up major landmarks, or cramming the Koran down peoples throat isn't a "real" Muslim? And "no true Scotsmsn" puts sugar on his porridge either, right?

    Yikes! And people accuse me, an atheist of the Dawkins/Harris school of thought, of painting religion with too broad a brush.

    "Abrahamic" was the sobriquet that the odious Morgan Spurlock used in his rancid television show "30 days" which aimed to equate Islam with Christianity and Judaism. It's part of the "progressive" template in regards to religion and how to cope with the clash of values between Islam and multiculturalism.

    No fucktard, Islam is a "Abrahamic" religion because they all profess to believe in the God Of Abraham as do Jews and Christians. It a goddamn academic term, moron.

    I don't know what's sadder, Loundry's brainless comments about Islam, or his paranoid obsession with "progressives" and "multiculturalism."

  • ||

    Loundry

    Dude, living in Cobb County doesn't mean you speak from "gay authority". It means you speak from gay paranoia (and who could blame you). Also, you keep throwing around the epithet "progressive" (I tremble before your scare-quotes). I just want to point out that very few commenters here would ever refer to themselves as "progressive".

    I can't dispute that most Muslims, at least in the middle-east, hate your guts. But you aren't the only one here whose personal behavior puts you on the sharia death-list. And yes, I think we would all like to have your answer to "what are you going to do about it"?

    There was a time when almost all Christians would burn you at the stake for being gay. That time is thankfully past (now only some of them would like to kill you, and burning people at the stake is out of fashion. It does nothing to encourage change in the Muslim world to simply declare them evil. I'm not saying you are wrong, I'm saying you are not thinking pragmatically, but letting a visceral gut reaction control your opinions.
    Side question: have you ever met an actual Muslim?

    Back to the topic of the post, this labeling of homosexuality as a "western decadence" phenomenon makes me think of the Soviet's labeling of it as an example of "bourgeoisie decadence".

    "well the protestants hate the Catholics/ and the Catholics hate the protestants/ and the Hindus hate the Muslims/ and everybody hates the gays"

  • ||

    (is "visceral gut reaction" redundant?)

  • Loundry||

    Akira MacKenzie,

    So, a Muslim who isn't murdering gays, blowing up major landmarks, or cramming the Koran down peoples throat isn't a "real" Muslim?

    That is precisely the argument that the mujahedin use against lax Muslims, especially when they are exhorting lax Muslims toward jihad. The mujahedin claim that their Islam is the "true" Islam. They certainly produce a case that is more compelling in regards to the Koran, Hadith, and Sira. Are you going to use the "no true Scotsman" to dismiss them as well? Probably not. We all know that "fundamentalism" is the real enemy!

    Yikes! And people accuse me, an atheist of the Dawkins/Harris school of thought, of painting religion with too broad a brush.

    Did you see that South Park when Richard Dawkins was screwing Mrs. Garrison? "Nail my monkey hole!" Classic!

    No fucktard, Islam is a "Abrahamic" religion because they all profess to believe in the God Of Abraham as do Jews and Christians. It a goddamn academic term, moron.

    It's excellent spin to equate Islam with Christianity by calling the "Abrahamic" moniker "academic". It's better than calling it "factual" or "historical" because "academic" implies the pompous snottiness that goes hand-in-hand with the tired old "fucktard".

    Perhaps you'd like to comment on how much of Islam is merely Judaic stories that were ripped off from the Talmud? That, too, is "academic".

  • ||

    Is your friend a lax Muslim? There's millions of those, but what are they doing to thwart the mujahedin who sucessfully argue from Koran, Hadith, and sira that Muslims should dominiate non-Mulsims (and kill all gays) through force and fraud?



    So, does that make any Christian or Jew who doesn't stone a gay man to death per Leviticus lax? I don't understand the argument. If you are saying that Islam "is a shitty, evil religion" yet conceed that "clearly there are other things at play; otherwise, all Muslims would be the same." Either all adherents to Islam are evil or there is room for secularism and fundementalism as with Christianity and Judeism. Which is it? If there is indeed room for secularism, then there is room for Islam to follow the same path as Christianity and gain tolerance.

  • dhex||

    "Yes, clearly there are other things at play; otherwise, all Muslims would be the same. Do you think it's true that Muslims tend to commit more acts of jihad when they think they can get away with it?"

    religiously-inspired warfare is a crime of opportunity?

    suicide bombers are definitely interested in clean getaways, to be sure. you may have a point here.

  • VM||

  • ||

    It's excellent spin to equate Islam with Christianity by calling the "Abrahamic" moniker "academic". It's better than calling it "factual" or "historical" because "academic" implies the pompous snottiness that goes hand-in-hand with the tired old "fucktard".

    Perhaps you'd like to comment on how much of Islam is merely Judaic stories that were ripped off from the Talmud? That, too, is "academic".


    It seems to me that your gripe is with the fundemenatlist adherents to any pan-abrahamic religion instead of with the religions themselves. How is Pat Robertson any different than Ayatollah Sistani? Also, using Afghanistan, Iran and Malaysia as good examples, how much of the influence the Imams hold is due to the mingling of religion and the state?

  • Loundry||

    citizengnat,

    Dude, living in Cobb County doesn't mean you speak from "gay authority".

    That you preface your argument with "dude" means that I am your authority; gay, straight, and bi. Feel the gay power, dude!

    It means you speak from gay paranoia (and who could blame you).

    Why would I be paranoid? I've never had any problems living here, and we're quite out. Oh, that's right, "paranoid" is an easy way to dismiss me without having to contribute to the discussion.

    Also, you keep throwing around the epithet "progressive" (I tremble before your scare-quotes).

    "Progressives" have struggled very hard for those scare quotes, and I will not deny them what they have rightly earned.

    It does nothing to encourage change in the Muslim world to simply declare them evil.

    I didn't declare Muslims evil. I insist that Islam is an evil religion because it teaches evil. Specifically, it teaches violent subjigation of non-Muslims, oppression of women, murder of gays, slavery, brutal punishments, and massive suppression of individual liberties. I really wish it would reform, and it is evil until it does.

    I'm saying you are not thinking pragmatically, but letting a visceral gut reaction control your opinions.

    I disagree. This isn't about my feelings, but about how grossly and egregiously Islam violates my principles of what is right and what is wrong. It is wrong to treat women like property. It is wrong to sentence all gays to death. It is wrong to own a slave. And a religion that teaches these things is evil. Period.

    You are more than welcome to disagree with anything I have asserted, but don't label my opinion as emotional when it is not. (Though I do admit that I get just a tad bit emotional when an entire religion of one billion people clearly teaches that all gays must die. Can you blame me?)

    Side question: have you ever met an actual Muslim?

    Yes, several. They are lax Muslims, clearly, since they can bear to be my friend. If they were devout Muslims, then they would hate me with halal hatred as an kafir, and they would insist that I be executed under Shari'a law for being gay.

  • ||

    NordicRuminant,
    Glad to see you back on these here boards!

  • ||

    woah, libertarian Muslims. my mind is blown.

  • ||

    That is precisely the argument that the mujahedin use against lax Muslims, especially when they are exhorting lax Muslims toward jihad.

    So you have to share in their fallacy and condemn a large population of peaceful people? Brillant!

    It's excellent spin to equate Islam with Christianity by calling the "Abrahamic" moniker "academic". It's better than calling it "factual" or "historical" because "academic" implies the pompous snottiness that goes hand-in-hand with the tired old "fucktard".

    That anti-intellectualism shit might get you props on O-Really or Hannity's daily two-minute hates, but around here, you're jingoistic bullshit won't fly. Unlike others here, I'm going to call and duck a duck:

    You're a fucking bigot who's beneath my contempt, and the contempt of every other human on this planet.

  • ||

    citizengnat | January 5, 2007, 2:14pm | #
    woah, libertarian Muslims. my mind is blown.


    I second that.

  • ||

    "They are lax Muslims, clearly, since they can bear to be my friend. If they were devout Muslims, then they would hate me with halal hatred as an kafir, and they would insist that I be executed under Shari'a law for being gay."

    I always go to people who openly despise a certain belief system or cultural group when I have a question about the authenticity of someone's belief in that system.

    Ergo, Julian Sanchez isn't really a libertarian, because he's nice, and doesn't hate poor people. At least, that's what I read at The American Prospect.

    And Joe Lieberman is the embodiment of authentic foreign policy liberalism. I know this because National Reivew told me.

  • ||

    Loundry

    I interpreted your statement about Cobb county to mean you were a gay authority because you had seen the face of the enemy or somesuch. If that isn't what you meant, my mistake, and my statement about your paranoia makes no sense. I did not mean by the word to dismiss your arguments, as I would have thought the tenor of the rest of my post made clear.

    That said, I feel you have picked the easiest parts of my post to refute. I can hardly prove, for example, that you are speaking more from anger than considered argument, that was just my subjective speculation. You didn't address any of the harder questions or points, including the one that you continue to refuse to answer, what are you going to do about it? You correct you called Islam itself evil, not muslims themselves. My mistake. I still consider this statement, even if true, to be unhelpful. If that is all you have to offer than you are no use to your own cause.

  • Loundry||

    Kwix,

    So, does that make any Christian or Jew who doesn't stone a gay man to death per Leviticus lax? I don't understand the argument.

    Allow me to explain. There is much more room for interpretation in Christianity than there is in Islam. This is why there is both Focus on the Family and the Sojourners within Christianity -- they just interpret scripture differently. It is widely taught and understood within almost all Christian circles, both right-wing and left-wing, that scripture is not literal and must be interpreted.

    (I know very little about Judaism, so I cannot comment about it.)

    Under Islam, however, the principle of interpretation (ijtihad) is very strictly, if ever, applied. The Koran is the literal word of God, period. This is why there aren't very many sects of Islam, each following a separate interpretation, as there are in Christianity. The two major sects in Islam, Sunni and Shi'a, differ because a dispute over the rightful succession of the prophet Muhammad, not over interpretation of their scripture.

    If you are saying that Islam "is a shitty, evil religion" yet conceed that "clearly there are other things at play; otherwise, all Muslims would be the same." Either all adherents to Islam are evil or there is room for secularism and fundementalism as with Christianity and Judeism. Which is it?

    I can't accept your analysis because I don't accept the "as with Christianity and Judaism" part. The situations are only superficially comparable. Islam is an evil religion becasue it teaches evil. The reason why not all Muslims do evil is because not all Muslims adhere strictly to the rules of Islam. Hence, I call them "lax" Muslims. I would really, really love for there to be an Islamic reformation so that a new and, quite frankly, acceptable verson of Islam could arise and Muslims could choose to adhere to that version as the "True" Islam. (I'd much rather them abandon religion altogehter, but I'll take what I can get.)

    If there is indeed room for secularism, then there is room for Islam to follow the same path as Christianity and gain tolerance.

    I think that's a very superficial view of the religions. Islam cannot "follow the same path" that Christianity did because the religions are more different than you think they are.

  • ||

    You see, I could swear at you and call you a bigot, as many on this board have chosen to do. But I feel that treating you with respect which you may or may not deserve is much more usefull in what I hope is a mutual pursuit of truth. If a proponent of strict sharia law were to post to this board I would similerly try to engage him. You would tell him he was an evil peice of shit. Most likely neither of us would get anywhere, as I feel I am unlikely to get anywhere with you, but at least I would make the effort to engage his evil peice-of-shit ideas.

    I guess that probably makes me a "progressive" and thus you don't need to answer me at all.

  • VM||

    Hi Kwix! Merry New year to you!

    Akira - correct.

    This twaddlenock who fears "progressives" is such a quixlenofish nerf herder that he really can only be said love child of Juanita and Dave W.

  • Loundry||

    Akira MacKenzie,

    So you have to share in their fallacy

    You claim it is a fallacy for the mujahedin to portray their violent, expansionist version of Islam as the True Islam? Please explain why this is a fallacy. Make sure you use Islamic sources to show why their interpreation is wrong.

    That anti-intellectualism shit might get you props on O-Really or Hannity's daily two-minute hates, but around here, you're jingoistic bullshit won't fly.

    I love intellectuals, but they are so rare nowadays. Today we have to cope with the ersatz versions who confuse "your" with "you're".

    You're a fucking bigot who's beneath my contempt, and the contempt of every other human on this planet.

    I feel the same degree of contempt for someone as vapid and fake (not to mention weak) as you are, yet I'm not nearly pompous enough to pretend to speak for "every other human on this planet". Is that a flavor of bullshit that does happen to fly around here?

  • ||

    It is wrong to treat women like property. It is wrong to sentence all gays to death. It is wrong to own a slave. And a religion that teaches these things is evil. Period.


    Then both Judeism and Christanity are evil, period. Sorry, but you are condeming Islam for teachings that all three religions share.
    Women as Property = Genesis 3:16, Exodus 21:7
    Gays as Abomination and worthy of death = Leviticus 20:13 and Timothy 1:9-10
    Slavery as Normal = Exodus 21:20-21 and Ephesians 6:5-9

    Christ elevated the status of women but the early church relegated them back to second class status. In the time of the Second Temple, the golden era of Judeism, women were required to be double veiled to go outside and could not speak with strangers. Sound familiar?

    As for homosexuality, there is no doubt in the bible(the Torah and New Testament) that being gay is a crime punishable by death at the hand of man and exclusion from heaven by God. Every Christian who thinks otherwise is, in your words, lax.

  • ||

    "I love intellectuals, but they are so rare nowadays. Today we have to cope with the ersatz versions who confuse "your" with "you're"."

    Allright, you are an asshole if you think critisizing someones spelling or grammer somehow means you have scored an intellectual point. I fucking hate that shit. Good spelling and grammer does not an intellectual make. Comeon dude, rise above! I know you can do it!

  • ||

    This is why there aren't very many sects of Islam,

    On what planet do you live?

  • Loundry||

    citizengnat,

    Sarcasm off. I do appreciate the respectful and reasonable way you are treating me.

    That said, I feel you have picked the easiest parts of my post to refute. I can hardly prove, for example, that you are speaking more from anger than considered argument, that was just my subjective speculation.

    I understand. Those kinds of speculations tend toward the personal rather than the factual and, thus, they aren't very helpful in the discussion.

    You didn't address any of the harder questions or points, including the one that you continue to refuse to answer, what are you going to do about it?

    That's a very good question, but I must restate for you, as I have for others here, is that I must know your motivation in wanting me to answer it. Do you think I suck, and you want me to answer so that you can prove it? I apologize, but I must know, because I have no desire whatsoever to walk into another pit of name-calling.

    You correct you called Islam itself evil, not muslims themselves. My mistake. I still consider this statement, even if true, to be unhelpful. If that is all you have to offer than you are no use to your own cause.

    I understand what you're saying and why you think it's unhelpful. The reason why it doesn't "help" is because it seems to create a problem as opposed to solving one.

    The reason why we aren't seeing eye-to-eye at this point is becasue we differ on what "the problem" actually is. One of the problems that we Westerners have is that we live under the notion that "all religions basically teach the same thing". It is a comforting and very liberating belief because it allows us to give others what we expect for ourselves: individual freedom of conscience. If "all religions teach the same thing", then everyone can follow whatever religion they choose to follow, and that feels good to us Westerners becasue it is fitting in with one of our core values: indivudal freedom of conscience.

    The notion that Islam is evil and that Islam teaches evil jars mightily with this Western sensibility. It means we have to deny some individuals their freedom of conscience, and that's a bitter pill to swallow.

    If a proponent of strict sharia law were to post to this board I would similerly try to engage him. You would tell him he was an evil peice of shit.

    I probably would. I call a duck a duck. (Kisses, Akira!) I am not obligated to respond with kindness and reason toward individuals who wish to do me ill or treat me disrespectfully. As you might have noticed, I fight fire with fire and make no apologies for it.

  • ||

    The best cure for Occidentalism is to learn a little something about the Pre-Christian European tradition.

    This is why there aren't very many sects of Islam,

    Yeah, there is only a sect for every male descendent of Mohammed for like 10 generations.

    Seriously, welcome to earth. You may want to study up on it a bit.

  • Loundry||

    Allright, you are an asshole if you think critisizing someones spelling or grammer somehow means you have scored an intellectual point. I fucking hate that shit.

    Normally I do, too, but he was begging for it.

  • ||

    Loundry

    I can speak only for myself, but I ask because I really do want to know. There are a lot of evil ideologies out there, including large sections of Islamic thought and law. The only tool in my box is to hold up my side, the western-liberal tradition, and hope to win through the rightness of my beleif. Is there another way to go? A further problem with your method is that you alienate possibly your best allies, those "lax" Muslims you refer to.

    So, my motivation is honest. I just want to know if you've got a better idea.

  • ||

    And I really hope it doesn't involve invading anybody.

  • Loundry||

    Kwix,

    Then both Judeism and Christanity are evil, period. Sorry, but you are condeming Islam for teachings that all three religions share.

    You are confusing scripture with religion. The religion comes from the adherents, not (necessarily) from the scripture. I am an ex-Christian and I am very, very knowledgable about the Bible in general and especially Biblical errancy.

    The key difference between Christianity and Islam is that Christianity allows for wide interpretation wheres Islam only barely does. The testament to this fact is that there are very few Churches which openly teach that all homosexuals should be executed. This violates the Bible, but interpretation fixes that. It also fixes the death penalty for violating the Sabbath, which millions of Christians do every single week.

    Every Christian who thinks otherwise is, in your words, lax.

    No. They just interpret scripture differently. We don't see such a thing in Islam, and therein lies the difference.

  • Loundry||

    anon,

    On what planet do you live?

    Uranus. It stinks.

  • ||

    I think Kwix's point is that if you looked at medieval Christianity you would see it as equally incapable of reforming. And yet, it did. I too fail to see the distinction between your "lax Muslims" and your Christians who interpret scripture differently. Is it the lack of intellectual justification for this lax Islam? It is small, but there are moderate and even liberal imams out there. By calling Islam "evil" you only reinforce the paranoia which sends Muslims to conservative and radical interepretations.

  • Loundry||

    citizengnat,

    I can speak only for myself, but I ask because I really do want to know.

    Fair enough.

    The first thing that has to happen to for us Westerners who believe in the goodness of Western culture to accept what Islam is, and that necessitates us for us to accept that Islam teaches evil. As you might have noticed, this is precisely what I'm doing on this board right now. Libertarians cling so strongly to the notion that "all religions basically teach the same thing" and that "everyone is the same everywhere" that many of them will be highly resistant to this idea. I am a small-l libertarian, by the way.

    Once enough people are jarred enough out of their comfortable Western sensibilities, then we need to have many more expressions of intolerance toward Islam on both the local and the national level.

    * We must ban the hijab, as it is oppressive to women
    * We must investigate every mosque and every Islamic school to ensure that they are not teaching jihad
    * We must examine every source of Islamic funding from other countries
    * We must legally fight every legal attempt by Muslims to use the law to force people to give respect or show adherence to Shari'a law
    * We must publicly denounce and desecrate the verses in the Koran (especially 9:29 and 4:34) that are inimical to Western enlightenment traditions
    * We must expose and publicly humiliate Muslim "soft jihad" proponents (such as CAIR) for their lies (taqiyya) and their ties to violent jihad
    * We must participate in anti-Islam propaganda
    * We must put an end to Muslim immigration to Western countries
    * We must put an end to the construction of Mosques on western soil until Islam allows churches to be built on Muslim soil
    * We must foment war between the Sunni and the Shi'a

    I agree that all of these ideas suck. They are all better than:

    1. Allowing Islam to continue spreading unchanged and unchallenged

    2. Going to war against all muslims

    What I'm proposing is the middle path between those two alternatives. It is our grim, nasty future. But pretending that there is no problem will make things worse, not better.

    A further problem with your method is that you alienate possibly your best allies, those "lax" Muslims you refer to.

    I don't agree that they are our "best" allies, but it is the lax Muslims whose hearts and minds we Westerners are competing for against the mujahedin. Who is winning? Is our message of individual freedom superior to the "this is true Islam" message of the mujahedin, especially considering that the recipient is already nominally Muslim and is subject to Muslim tradition and propaganda?

    So, my motivation is honest. I just want to know if you've got a better idea.

    I don't expect my answer to satisfy you. The realization of what we Westerners are up against is severely disquieting, and that's why so many of us Westerners prefer to continue believing that "all religions teach the same thing" and blame the problem on our own behaviors.

  • ||

    The key difference between Christianity and Islam is that Christianity allows for wide interpretation wheres Islam only barely does. The testament to this fact is that there are very few Churches which openly teach that all homosexuals should be executed. This violates the Bible, but interpretation fixes that. It also fixes the death penalty for violating the Sabbath, which millions of Christians do every single week.



    So, what you are saying is that the adherence to the dogma of the religion is more important than the actual scriptural teachings and that the majority Christian dogma has slid away from things like executing gays and witches in the last 300 years.

    This change in dogma (in the West) did not eminate from within the church, it was from without due to the "Age of Enlightenment". Like market forces, enough of the 'unwashed masses' demanded changes from the church and it complied to maintain its power structure. The Pope still condemns homosexuality but no longer calls for the execution of gays. Great strides that started bit by bit.

    What makes you think that the same thing cannot happen with Islam? Hell, look at Turkey, one of the most secular Islamic countries in existance. It is oppressive to be sure, but on par with the Southern US 60 years ago.

  • ||

    Nice defining your conclusion.

    Muslims are X.

    But there are lots of Muslims who are Not X.

    They're not Real Muslims.

    How do I tell a Real Muslim from a lax Muslim?

    Easy. Muslims are X.

  • ||

    The argument that "all religions are the same everywhere" is a strawman. I don't think anyone seriously beleives that.

    I would say I am more than "not satisfied" with your solution. You want to use the violent, repressive power of the state against a minority within our own borders, you want to create large exceptions to the bill of rights in regard to muslims. Just as I cannot except, as a libertarian, such treatment of Nazi's or Communists, or the Cristian Coalition, I cannot accept it here. We don't make exceptions to the bill of rights, not only because of our abstract western ideologies, but because we do not want exceptions made regarding us.

    A few bits of your program are at least acceptible within a free society, though I think them counter-productive for the reasons I've already expressed. Those would be:

    * We must legally fight every legal attempt by Muslims to use the law to force people to give respect or show adherence to Shari'a law
    * We must publicly denounce and desecrate the verses in the Koran (especially 9:29 and 4:34) that are inimical to Western enlightenment traditions
    * We must expose and publicly humiliate Muslim "soft jihad" proponents (such as CAIR) for their lies (taqiyya) and their ties to violent jihad
    * We must participate in anti-Islam propaganda

    You have the right to do all these things. You have these rights because of our constitution.

    now this last point, fomenting war between the Shiites and Sunnis... I am fighting the urge to write you off as a nut. What is the point of this? To cull the numbers of Muslims worldwide? Fomenting violence means actively seeking the deaths of thousands, if not millions of innocent people.

    Just what is it that makes you so afraid of the Muslims? do you think they are on the verge of overwhelming our society and putting you to death? What sort of conflict could possibly justify such terrible wrongs, especially made in the defense of liberty and enlightenment? You would have us destroy the west to save it, and murder and oppress people in the process.

    Good god man. Your ideas are evil. But thanks for finally sharing.

  • ||

    * We must ban the hijab, as it is oppressive to women


    Would you also propose to ban the LDS from having women stand in the back during service or Mennonites from wearing hair covering?

    * We must investigate every mosque and every Islamic school to ensure that they are not teaching jihad


    Would you propose investigating all private schools, temples and churches in the world to ensure they are not teaching religious anymosity regardless of the religion?

    * We must examine every source of Islamic funding from other countries


    What about examining every source of Israeli funding? What about Southern Baptist Funding? What about missionary work in non-Christian countries that promote proslytization and conversion to Christ?

    * We must legally fight every legal attempt by Muslims to use the law to force people to give respect or show adherence to Shari'a law


    Eh, respect to a religion, any religion is as enshrined in this country as it should be. As for enforcing adherence, I agree. Secular government is the way to go.

    * We must publicly denounce and desecrate the verses in the Koran (especially 9:29 and 4:34) that are inimical to Western enlightenment traditions


    You mean like the verses in the Bible and Torah that I quoted earlier? Would you descrate those Scriptures as well? I thought that Islam wasn't about scripture.

    * We must expose and publicly humiliate Muslim "soft jihad" proponents (such as CAIR) for their lies (taqiyya) and their ties to violent jihad


    What about organizations who raise money for Israel and petition the US to intervene on behalf of the Israeli state? What about funding for Christian missionaries and thier war on other religions?

    * We must participate in anti-Islam propaganda


    Bwhahahaha. I already do baby.

    * We must put an end to Muslim immigration to Western countries


    Like the newly elected representative from Minnesota, eh?

    * We must put an end to the construction of Mosques on western soil until Islam allows churches to be built on Muslim soil


    Churches are built on "muslim soil". A great number of them. Not in Afghanistan or Iran but most countries of Islam have Christian minorites with churches.

    * We must foment war between the Sunni and the Shi'a


    Ah yes, the old "let them kill each other off" routine. Excellent. I say let's nuke the Dome of the Rock/Temple Mount and all of Jeruselem while we are at it. Nothing to end religious conflict like destroying all sides of it is there?

  • ||

    "I am a small-l libertarian, by the way."

    based on those prescriptions - no. no you are not.

  • ||

    Ok, legally fighting Sharia I definatly do support. It was hiding among all the nastiness.

  • ||

    For god's sake, we're libertarians! We recognize that there are some things that suck but are unchangeable by us! That's what distinguishes us from the nanny-staters!

    The lousy aspects of Islam are almost entirely aspects that us Westerners can't do anything about. We're still allowed to wish that they'd change, but "what would you do to reform Islam?" is a meaningless question when asked to a non-Muslim from the West.

  • ||

    While we are at it, we should foment war between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland. I think that would be a bloody good idea. Maybe war between Baptists and Anabaptists would be better. Saved in Youth vs Saved as Adult. Smackdown for God.

  • ||

    jb

    There are minor things we can and should do, like issue far more student visas to middle-eastern students, and hope some western ideals trickle back (ok, I think our borders should be essentially open, but thats a pipe-dream right now). We can change our foreign policy, which currently helps the jihadis claim that we are engaged in a crusade to steal Muslim lands and convert them and rape their women and whatever other shit they spout.

    But yeah, good point. Whish we could change things, but their ain't much we can do.

  • ||

    Loundry: And why do the places where they currently live "totally suck"? Is it because those places are ruled by Islam, and Islam is a shitty, evil religion?

    That's so obviously true that only "progressives" are clever enough to trick each other into pretending otherwise.

    "How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property-either as a child, a wife, or a concubine-must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

    Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science-the science against which it had vainly struggled-the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome." - Winston Churchill, "The River War"

  • dhex||

    i'm not really down with this whole "we must become evil to destroy it" thing but different strokes for different folks.

  • ||

    Kwix: You said "Would you also propose to ban the LDS from having women stand in the back during service or Mennonites from wearing hair covering?"

    That one caught my eye. I've been LDS (a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) since 1978 and attended nearly every Sunday since I was born (1971) and I have no idea what you are talking about. Maybe you were remembering something about some other church.

    If anyone is standing in the back of an LDS service they are generally holding a fussy baby in their arms - and the numbers tend to be split pretty evenly between men and women.

    Just sayin'

  • ||

    Islamofascism vs. Christian Fundamentalism: Which is the Greater Threat?

    By Salamantis

    I view the contemporary Islamofascist memeset as currently more dangerous to freedom and tolerance than the Fundamentalist Christian one, for a number of reasons.

    1) Recent History

    The lion's share of mass-killing terror attacks in the past quarter-century have been perpetrated by these people, and not Fundamentalist Christians (although they, too, are on my "Danger, Will Robinson!" list). 9/11, London, Beslan, Bali, Madrid, the USS Cole, the Kenyan and Tanzanian embassies, the Khobar Towers...the list could go on and on.

    2) Fundamentalist Literalism

    Christians believe that the Bible was written by human beings, under Holy inspiration, while the official position of Islam is that the Qu'ran (literally, the Recitation) was dictated to Muhammed, from Allah (God) by the Archangel Gabriel, and is word-for-word accurate and correct for all time. Thus, while there is a reasonable split between Fundamentalist Christians, who take the Bible literally, and the rest of Christians, who see parable, poetry, metaphor, simile, era-linked human prejudices, contradictions and inaccuracies in the Bible, no such split is officially possible within Islam. All observant Muslims are expected to submit to the literalist stance; in fact, Islam translates as Submission.

    3) More Violent Character

    While there are a half-dozen or so peace-and-tolerance passages contained within the Qu'ran, there are also more than a hundred vicious and violent passages to be found there. People say, well, the Old Testament is indeed itself to a significant degree a 'testament' to divinely sanctioned brutality, and this is true. However, most of that brutality was superseded by the pronouncements in the more peaceful and tolerant New Testament, while the Qu'ran is divided into the Meccan and the Medinan sections. The Meccan section, which came first, when Muhammed was militarily weak and was forced to placate his enemies, contains all of the peace-and-tolerance passages, while the Medinan section, which contains many (although not all) of the brutal and violent passages, was written later, and supercedes the more moderate Meccan section. It is as if, in the Bible, the Old Testament came later and superceded the New; if this were so, the majority of Christianity would most likely be much more brutal and intolerant than small sections of it (see the former Yugoslavia) are now.
    In fact, there is no such thing as enduring peace with infidel nations in the Muslim lexicon; instead, they employ truces (hudnas). These are, according to the Qu'ran, supposed to be offered when the Faithful are militarily weak vis-à-vis their adversaries, to give them time to increase their military numbers and augment their armaments. When the weak faithful become militarily strong compared to their adversaries, the hudna is to be unilaterally broken by the faithful, and jihad is to resume. Once one understands the conceptual character of the hudna, it becomes obvious that it is never in a nation's interest to accept one.

    4) The Examples of the Respective Primary Protagonists

    Jesus only once became violent in the Bible, when he whipped the moneychangers. Mainly, he preached faith, love of one's neighbors, and nonviolence. When one of his disciples raised a sword against and cut the ear off of one of the people sent to arrest him, he supposedly put it back on. Muhammed, on the other hand, was historically a warrior and guerilla fighter. His life was circumscribed by military conquest. The hadiths, which are records of occurrences in and commentaries on the life of Muhammed and records of his words (when they were not supposed to be dictated by the Archangel Gabriel), are nearly as important as the Qu'ran itself to them.

    5) The Confrontation with Modernity

    Christianity began to behaviorally moderate and domesticate itself around 500 years ago, due to the effects that the Reformation and the Enlightenment had upon it. Islam has yet to go through this confrontation; it is only now just beginning for them. However, in the present era, with the advent of global anonymous communications and travel, and with easy access available to both the materials needed to construct WMD's and the knowledge needed to properly employ these materials, this is a particularly dangerous time for fanatics to lash out from the growing pains. Giordano Bruno conceived of relativity 350 years before Einstein and was burned as a heretic for it, and rockets (fireworks) were already known to Europe by then, due to Marco Polo's sojourn in China; think of what it would have been like if the medieval world had had the option of ballistic thermonuclear conflagration (not to mention genetically engineered plagues and mass-produce-able deadly chemical compounds). There is the added factor that one of the Muslim death-penalty heresies (or shirks) translates as 'innovation' (Islamists are quite willing to appropriate death-dealing technology while rejecting the science behind it - a Pakistani 'scientist' actually wrote a paper that advocated solving his country's energy problems by harnessing djinn (genie) power!); thus it can be dangerous for Muslims to publicly embrace novel concepts - and this will only make it more difficult for Muslim adaptation of include accommodation to other perspectives rather than to simply be comprised solely of the Borgian assimilation, subjugation or elimination of all of their vectors.

    6) The Evolution of Universality and Intolerance in Totalizing Memeplexes

    Mind viruses are unlike the viruses that plague our bodies. If a physically infectious disease kills its host too quickly, that host cannot serve as an infection vector (which is why AIDS is so much more of a global threat than the Ebola virus - the long, symptom-free yet contagious incubation period). This is also why deadly diseases demonstrate the historical propensity to become slower killers as time goes on. However, a different survival strategy presents itself for totalizing mind-viruses, which MUST be cognitively rather than physically communicated, and thus, if they are elaborate and/or involve significant behavioral changes, difficult to contract under the radar of one's attention: to kill and/or enslave all those who RECOGNIZE the attempted dissemination (proselytizing) and REFUSE to be infected (part of these memesets is invariably the inculcation of the desire and/or duty to infect others - this is how they propagate). This eliminates competition for cognitive residence from alternative memeplexes (the dead cannot communicate their competing vectors). Unlike physical diseases, where people may be infected with multiple differing phages simultaneously (like measles AND the flu), a totalizing memeplex must have SOLE possession of its niche, or it cannot be said to possess it at all. And in fact, to reject conversion to Islam is considered by Islamofascists to be an insult and attack upon it, punishable by death.

    Now, remembering that the historical function of tribal religion has been to enhance group cooperation and cohesion, thus giving religious tribes an advantage in warfare against tribes with less mutual commitment and more individualism (and most likely the pre-historical function, too - thus setting up a group selection which would tend to reproductively favor those who were increasingly susceptible to infection by religious memeplexes), let's take a quick look at the evolution of universality and intolerance in Patriarchal Monotheism.

    The memeplex of Judaism originally involved a divine gift of a particular parcel of land to a particular chosen people - Israel for the Jews (although, lately, converts to Judaism, although not sought, are accepted from every racial and ethnic classification). Thus the parameters for the growth of the Jewish memeplex were set by the nature of the memeplex itself - only within ethnic Jews, who were only promised dominion over historical Israel (most Zionists still think this way).

    However, with the evolution of Christianity from Judaism, the ethnic imperative and the geographical rootedness were pruned off, and all one had to do was to accept the memeplex. This allowed Christianity to spread to all sorts of ethnicities, and for them to take control of previously non-Christian lands, as their demographics grew to majority within them. It also had the advantage of spreading the genetic sacrifice idea beyond a tribe, so that multiple tribes sharing the same memeplex could band together and both protect each other and cooperate in the confrontation of common enemies (a feature that the Roman Empire put to conscous use when they adopted Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire). However, Christianity was written so it could be disseminated via persuasion - the Great Charter, which comprises the Christian memeplex's infection module, reads: "Go ye therefore and TEACH all nations". Of course, the construction of this module implies the conviction that the vector is offering a gift of knowledge to the ignorant, and for this reason many have been historically forced to adopt Christianity 'for their own good', even when they were too (willfully or otherwise) ignorant to recognize what their own good was, and sometimes at the cost of their mortal bodies, if in the process their immortal souls were saved.

    Still, the language of Christianity's proselytization module is persuasional rather than coercive, and this left room for the development of tolerance for other faiths, even while missionaries continue to be perpetually funded to 'spread the Good Word'.

    This is a weakness that the evolution into Islam has exploited. The Muslim memeplex explicitly substitutes coercion for persuasion. It is quite precise in what may and may not be done: all 'People of the Book' - that is, Jews and Christians (and I suppose Zoroastrians - they have a single holy book called the Zend Avestra of Zarathustra)- have the option to a) convert to Islam, b) be put to death, or c) live in Dhimmitude, a serfic, subservient state somewhere between slavery and second-class citizenship, characterized by less civil rights, the fact that any Muslim's word will always be legally favored over theirs in courts of Shari'a law, and the payment of perpetual monetary tribute known as the jizya. For all the rest - Buddhist, Taoists, Hindus, Pagans and Atheists - the options are only two: convert or die.

    Islam officially divides the globe into two camps; Dar-el-Islam (the World of Islam) and Dar-el-Harb (the World of War). This stance entails the conviction that the only means by which final global peace may be attained is the total elimination of the Dar el Harb, and the establishment of a Global Muslim Caliphate ruled by Shari'a law. Those who choose to embark upon Jihad (actually, it is described in the Qu'ran as a duty rather than as a choice just like Christian witnessing is in the Bible) and are killed (martyred) while engaging in it, are Qu'ranically assured of a Paradise in which they may perpetually and guiltlessly enjoy practically all of the pleasures that are religiously forbidden to living Muslims; those who live are Qu'ranically permitted to take possession of the spoils of war, be they the property or the women of the conquered and/or slain infidels. This stance is, of course, patently hegemonistic and militantly imperialistic, and becomes even more appealing to poor male Muslim youth, when they see their chances of having their own (appealing) wife as negligible (since the more wealthy Muslims are religiously free to marry as many as four of them each - as long as they can financially support them all). When one takes a look at the historical spread of Islam, primarily by coercion and conflict, from its inception in the Arabian Peninsula some 1300 years ago to its reach from Spain to the Philippines today, and one discovers that, of the forty-five military conflicts extant in the world today, Muslims are fighting on one or both sides of them all, it would appear that this particular module possesses great expansionistic efficacy.

    Supporting this memetic module are some others, such as the doctrine that all humans are naturally born as Muslims, and that those who profess other beliefs have fallen into apostasy (and thus must be rescued from their error or suffer the dire consequences), and the dictum that people are free to convert TO Islam - in fact, as we have seen, the 'inducements' are quite formidable - but that to convert FROM Islam to anything else (or, in the case of atheists and agnostics, to nothing) is a religious crime for which the punishment of death is prescribed. It is also better for one's assimilational purposes if one's infidel target is kept in the dark. Thus, Muslims are religiously free to both deceive infidels as to their intentions regarding them (taqiyya) and to misdirect their attention from those intentions (kitman), in the interests if the greater good - that is, in the interests of the expansion of the Ummah (the fellowship of the true believers).

    Now, I'm not saying that all Muslims, or even a majority of them, are inexorably drawn from live-and-let-live tolerance to Mujaheddin Jihadism in the service of the annihilation of the Dar el Harb and the establishment of the Global Caliphate (Daniel Pipes estimates the number at around 15%), but the vast majority those who are not so drawn are very quiet, because the message contained in the memeplex of Islam supports not them, but the militants, and they are quite reasonably frightened of suffering the Righteous Retribution of the Violent Faithful should they dare to attempt to speak out in dissent (Some exceptions are Salman Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Irshad Manji, Taslima Naslim, and Ibn Warraq; these brave souls continue to suffer for their courage and integrity, and many of their outspoken brethren have been killed).

    Next, let us take a brief look at the particular strain that is presently so globally troubling.

    Imaam Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab was born in and lived in eighteenth century Arabia (1703-1792), and promulgated the idea that Islam had fallen away from its seventh century roots, the Edenic era when Muhammed and the Four Great Caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali) succeeded each other, and needed to return to them. This involved a Puritanical purging of all non-Muslim influences, the return of draconian enforcement of religious edicts against infidels, and the toughening of restrictions upon women. Wahhabism subsequently spread throughout most of the Arabian Peninsula and gained significant footholds beyond, but concentrated itself primarily upon the peninsula itself, as the defender of the purity of the faith in Muhammed's birth land, the Land of the Two Mosques. In the early 20th century, the House of Saud brokered a deal with the Wahhabists, and Saudi Arabia was born.

    Sayyid Qutb was a Wahhabist born in Egypt (1906-1966). He traveled to the US, and sojourned there between 1948 and 1950. This experience shocked and disgusted him. He was horrified by the presence of uppity and voting women, freedom of religion and thought, widespread substance use and rampant sexual licentiousness. He then put forth the idea that the US was the fount of Jahiliyya (a word roughly translatable as pre-Musim Paganism), and, as such, was a danger to Islam and must be forcibly subjected to Shari'a rule. He did not view the US as a military threat, since he believed that life in such a dissipative culture had weakened and softened its citizenry, but rather contended that its various freedoms and vices were slatternly temptations that could seduce the faithful away from the true path. Thus, for the good of both the faith and of all humankind, the US as it was must be destroyed, and Muslim piousness enforced there. He later generalized this view to include, first European, and later all non-Muslim societies.

    Notice that, without Qutb, Wahhabism would have remained directed inwards, and without Wahhabism, Qutb would not have had a pious and puritanical Islam with which to compare and contrast the US culture that he encountered. Together, their contributions combine to create the present Al Qaedan stance that the entire globe must be subjugated to a religious regimen that consciously holds itself in the seventh century. Interestingly enough, the head of Al Qaeda, Usama Bin Laden, came from Saudi Arabia (like Wahhab), while Al Qaeda's chief ideologue, Zawahiri, came from Egypt (like Qutb).

    Considering all of these points taken together, it is surpassingly obvious that, in the present era, Radical Islamism is a far greater threat to the continued existence of the secular, nonsectarian governance of open and constitutionally democratic societies than is Fundamentalist Christianity.

    How do we, as free, democratic and tolerant societies, deal with the aggressive encroachments of this virulent memeplex? I believe that we're already on the path to doing so, and this is why:

    The primordial form of government, one that long predated the advent of the written word, is monarchial, composed of royal masters, typically from a single family lineage that served as a simulacrum of the genetic heritage of the tribe, and ruled slaves, who owed the masters familial bonds of fealty. However, this form of government often entailed power struggles and intrigues by the royal relatives to either lay claim to or to seize the reins of succession during the authority change when the king, czar, pharoah or emperor would die, and this was not conducive to smooth and orderly transition and the smooth continuation of civil order.

    Spoken religious myths had most likely been invoked to legitimize royal rule for as long as humans spoke and gathered in tribes. However, with the creation of written language, it was possible to create a form of leadership that would not change or die like rulers did; blueprints - that is, sets of ideas - that could codify the regal rule as divinely sanctioned, serve as abstract monarchs with which to supplement the concrete yet generationally changing kings, provide a common glue which smoothed transitions and soothed the populace while transition happened, and, via the inclusion of explicit tribal history, the encoding of symbolic abstractions of important past tribal decisions within the religious myth, or the insertion of purportedly divinely communicated rules, provide both guidance as to how such transitions should be effectuated, and within what parameters a particular king should circumscribe his decisional alternatives. These blueprints are the holy texts of written religions.

    As time passed, certain written religions spread across several kingdoms each, and the kings themselves became in their turn ruled by their ecclesiastical authorities, who held sway over multiple kingdoms; as religion mattered more, royalty mattered less. In such a manner, genetic monarchies gradually evolved into, or were superseded and supplanted by, ideological monarchies, whose rulers were chosen from within the membership of the religion itself, the successor being decided, whenever a ruler died, via the consensus of the most influential members remaining.

    Where religious government was itself supposedly superseded, in most cases, its supersession was apparent rather than real. Thus with communism and fascism, the god of matter and labor, and the god of the spirit (geist) of the people and its will to power, replaced the transcendent god of heaven, mind and prayer. Still, however, the master and the slave remained; the divinely granted or prescriptively composed sets of ideas and rules were the acknowledged rulers, but the actual rulers were those who mandated to the general populaces what those rules meant. Hegel was the philosopher who first explicitly described this structure.

    The Hegelian master-slave dialectic was composed of Masters (who were willing to risk death in order to rule) and Slaves (who were not willing to risk death in order to not be ruled), and Hegel did not present any manner by which governmental form could evolve past this basic inequity. However, in the past couple of hundred years, a synthetic new level has emerged, that of Free and Independent Individuals, who refuse to rule others, but who are willing to kill and die in order not to be ruled by others - that is, they are willing to, in fact, even desirous of, letting others rule themselves, and will even take pains to free enslaved others, but in return they insist upon the right to rule themselves also, via representatives who are neither divinely chosen nor doctrinally imposed by exclusive vote from within an ideological apparatus, be they priests or commissars, but are instead popularly elected by the populace at large, in accordance with a constitution that, in addition to codifying those ethical precepts contained within both holy and secular precursors which are genuinely ethical, mandates the existence, frequency, and structure of such a process. In a way, the principle of ecclesiastical or commissar vote was generalized to encompass the entire citizenry (just as, in prior times, the Gutenberg printing press wrested the holy texts away from their elite cadres and made them available for perusal and judgment to all literate citizens), and a new memeplex has thus evolved; the constitutional democracy memeplex

    In fact, evolution is an explicit module of this memeplex; whereas holy texts were forever frozen in their revealed forms, constitutions could be amended or modified by elected representatives responding to popular consensus in the face of changing circumstances, like species evolve in response to natural selection acting via changing environments. This capacity for evolution from within relieves pressure for revolution, as popular changes can be made to the established order without the need to overthrow that order in its entirety. However, so that the rights of minority citizens are protected from any oppressive 'tyranny of the majority', basic guaranteed civil and political rights for all are also included as a submodule qualification of the popular evolution module. This submodule grants and guarantees all of the memeplex's citizens equal rights and freedoms to individually pursue their own personal and economic well being. The interpreters of this constitution (the written and codified template of this memeplex) are appointed by the popularly elected representatives of the citizens, and those who amend it via legislation are separated from those who execute its enforcement and from those who interpret its meaning, as a barrier against groups of representatives collaborating in order to create and implement mutually self-serving rather than citizenry-benefitting changes, or issuing and enforcing self-serving interpretations, and to prevent the executors from authoring self-serving provisions which they then may enforce to their own benefit, or from interpreting existing provisions in self-serving ways. Of course, the concrete personal and political reality of a citizenry as codified in their constitution can never completely catch up to their abstract ideal, as this ideal is itself a moving target, in constant evolution in response to evolving and expanding potential rights, responsibilities, opportunities and choices, but, as noted before, their constitution can be continuously modified to progressively approach it.

    Competition between the governments and peoples of countries that embrace this principle, that is, competition between constitutional democracies, is removed from the politico-military sphere (democracies generally do not war with one another - it's counterproductive) and relocated in the economic sphere, comprised of international trade and the competition between producers for consumers via the manufacture of better and/or less expensive products. This competition of course financially and materially benefits the consuming citizenry, at the same time that it furnishes them with gainful productive employment by means of which they may self-support (self-support and self-responsibility being a necessary corollary of freedom and self-rule). Thus, the constitutional democracy memeplex is likely to appeal to a significant percentage of those who presently suffer political and personal oppression and economic privation under theocratic and totalitarian systems, and are prevented by such systems from having an electoral voice in their government's conduct, making personally benefitting economic decisions, exercising personal choice, or changing (or even advocating the changing of) the nature or rules of the system in order to permit themselves to do these things. This appeal renders it likely that the constitutional democracy memeplex can, by offering people the opportunity to achieve concrete and actual this-world economic benefits, expanded ranges of personal choice, and genuine political empowerment, successfully compete for their cognitive memespace with the abstract and hypothetical next-world paradisiacal promises and infernal threats proferred to them by the Wahhab/Qutb memeplex. The hope for the future of secular and tolerant civilization could well lie in this constitutional-democratic memeplex synthesis proliferating through the populations of the globe, siphoning a large enough percentage of their potential members away from the enslaving embrace of the Wahhab/Qutb memeplex that they are unable, after membership attrition via natural and jihad-related causes, to increase or maintain their acolyte population, and finally ridding the world, via democratic revolution (assisted where possible and necessary), of the remaining totalitarian and theocratic enclaves which continue to employ the oppressive master-slave dialectic, and maintain their citizenries in its stifling thrall.

    PS: Do not think that this is a racist stance which I am taking; I am expressing dismay at the propagation of a violent, virulent memeset that may cognitively infect any racial or ethnic classification, and trying to figure out what can be said and/or done to persuade Muslims to refuse to embrace it. In fact, there are quite a few non-Muslim Arabs, and the majority of Muslims are themselves not Arabs - the most populous Muslim nations are Malaysia and Indonesia, and their populations are East Asian, not Arab). Likewise, I am not criticizing Islam alone or in its entirety; the problem we face and the task set before us is to gain enough understanding of the workings of the Islamofascist memeplex to be able to memetically counter the propensity, a propensity particularly inherent in the Islamic memeplex but also present in the memeplexes of the other Patriarchal Monotheisms, to facilitate the spawning of intolerant and murderous mutational variants, such as, in the case of Islam, the Wahhab/Qutb Al Qaedan strain.

    Also do not think that I have written this analysis from the standpoint of a hidden Christian or Jewish agenda. Putting aside the fact that attacking the racial or ethnic membership or the religious affiliation of the author of a position, rather than critiquing the merits of the position itself by assessing the evidence presented and checking the logical links in the chain of reasoning by means of which the items of evidence are connected, is a 2500 year old Greek logical fallacy known as ad hominem, I am neither Christian nor a Jew, either ethnically or as a religious stance; I am English, Irish, Dutch and Native American, and consider myself to be a secular humanist with pagan overtones (I tend towards sympathy with both the gender egalitarianism and the ecologically friendly stance embraced by many pagan faiths and their adherents, as well as their typically tolerant and positive attitude towards the freedom of all to make uncoerced and unfettered personal choices for themselves in matters both political and religious, and their opposition to such matters being dictated by some for others). I am not a fundamentalist of any stripe. Philosophically, I favor existential and hermeneutic phenomenology, Jean Piaget's genetic epistemology, semiotics, and memetics (my BA is in philosophy) and my graduate work (a thesis short of my MA) is in interdisciplinary humanities, including philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, and comparative religion.
    I do, however, believe that the one thing that tolerant people cannot tolerate is the coercive intolerance of others. Once people begin to tolerate such a thing, it is a short and slippery step for them to begin to share those others' intolerances, as well as the coercive manner by means of which they endeavor to force such stances upon people who would not freely embrace them (Tolerance: Between Intolerance and the Intolerable by Paul Ricoeur).

  • Rhywun||

    What makes you think that the same thing cannot happen with Islam?

    Yet the prospect seems so remote. Many of the countries in the Middle East are total basket cases. I'm not aware of any progress towards a free society having been made there in the last fifty years or so. I would think that it would take some sort of uprising to change things, so... why hasn't it happened yet?

    In the more developed countries like Malaysia, there's certainly been some progress, but it always seems like advances in one area are followed by setbacks in another. The economy improves while there's still zero political freedom and gays are still tossed in jail. In fact it seems like they're playing the economic card just like China is: let the people get just wealthy enough to be content; content enough to not make waves with the govt/religious power structure.

  • Steve||

    Occidentalism? Otherness? How about simple bigotry?

  • ||

    Talking crap about homosexuality because you believe it goes against the Bible and encoding laws that allow for the killing of Gays are not the same thing. They are not even in the same freaking ball-park. A few people need to get a bit of perspective.

  • The Lounsbury||

    Well, glad to see that "libertarians" (that amusing US term for supposed laissez faire liberalism) are not unacquainted with vulgar bigotry and provincialism.

    It would be disappointing should they be immune to such.

    Now, on the first bit of vomitous response:Charming, the responses:
    Snotty and pompous, your response. Typical "progressive" sanctimony.

    Eh?

    Progressive?

    What the bloody fuck does that mean?

    Well, some bit of whanking knee jerking it would seem, I presume I am being accused of some Leftism.

    As a genuine classic liberal of a most classically pragmatic bent, nothing could be further from the truth, but what can one expect from the land of slavering ideologues.

    Islam is an abstraction, like Christianity. It doesn't do anything.

    A religion is not an "abstraction".

    Religion is most certainly an abstraction, what else would it be my dear dim-wit?


    Typical "progressive" cop-out.

    Actually, it's typical of rational, logical thinking unclouded by hysteric ideological reaction.

    Reason, in short, not hysterics.

    What Islam does is precisely that which its adherents do in the name of Islam, following the teachings of Islam, for the purpose of increasing the numbers of Islam's adherents or increasing Islam's dominance.

    Which adherents of the billion odd adherents?

    The majority that don't do much different than every other human, or the mediatised activists?

    Islam is an abstraction, nor can one pretend it is a single entity with any degree of rationality (although very much like the Christianist lunatics to prevalent in the US of A, the lunatics and frothy believers do like to assert they are "the religion" whatever rational objective observation might suggest).

    Childish whinging on as yours merely underlines the irrational bigotry of your reaction - although I suppose it is at once instructive and amusing to see bigotry justify reverse bigotry.

    Wonderous the human condition.

    Does nicely highly why laissez faire non-interventionist classic liberalism is superiour to interventionist Statist prescriptivism; one can't even trust so-called 'liberals' (libertarians) not to descend into irrational bigotry.

    However, it would appear that many a Westerner rather prefers the empty-headed demonization, must much self-satisfying to look down on the Infidel foreigners, eh no?

    You're one to talk of "looking down" on anyone, aren't you? Typical "progressive" moral equivalence.

    Typical progressive?

    Well, in any event, mate, yes indeed I do look down on inferior logic, and irrational ranting on dressed up in the false clothes of "concern" - reminds me of old colonial era faux concern for the native savages.

    However, unlike your ranting, I don't pretend (i) any real concern for anything but the principle of laissez faire, (ii) any respect for anything but for liberty, which means not pretending to impose liberal value either should other jurisdictions / entities chose other paths.

    I am confident in the long run good example wins out.

    Kiss my gay ass, you stupid "progressive" piece of garbage.

    Get a grip, my dear sanctimonious hypocrite.


    I struggle to keep from hating your guts, but only because hating you would do more damage to me than it would to you, not because you don't deserve to be hated.

    I have a tiny violin to play to accompany your hysteria.

  • The Lounsbury||

    I should close by noting that being afflicted by the 'misfortune' of actually being directly familiar with the Middle East (insofar as I live and do business across the region, and have learned the "mohemmedan," as the quaint phrase supra was used, languages), I am amused by the pretend concern shown by the hysteric faux liberals supra. the exagerations, and gross distortions with respect to the dislike infidels rather underline the quality of the actual attachment to liberty.

    The sort of liberal who supports liberalism for his or her own ideas and opinions, but is quite ready to suppress others and impose in a Statist fashion.

    Little surprise, liberty is a harsh mistress and few genuinely love her. Genuinely.

  • Patrick D||

    "Islamofascism vs. Christian Fundamentalism: Which is the Greater Threat?"

    ... or Hindu fundamentalism, or Jewish fundamentalism, or Socialism, or Communism ...

    It is a topic worth exploring to understand the commonalities and differences between them. The answer to the question is all of them are threats to the degree that they undermine individual liberty and are even complementary to the extent one sets a precedent that benefits another.

    "I do, however, believe that the one thing that tolerant people cannot tolerate is the coercive intolerance of others. Once people begin to tolerate such a thing, it is a short and slippery step for them to begin to share those others' intolerances, as well as the coercive manner by means of which they endeavor to force such stances upon people who would not freely embrace them."

    I absolutely agree with this but point out that the overriding objective is to defend individual liberty, democracy and capitalism. When something is proposed that threatens those things, the proper answer should be "no" regardless of the source.

  • Patrick D||

    Sorry. The conclusion of my post is not clear.

    When something is proposed that threatens those things, the proper answer should be "no" regardless of the source. Going on the offensive is such a way as to damage individual liberty represents the nonsense of "destroying it to save it" and effectively assists the enemy.

  • Patrick D||

    "Reverse orientalism -- a comparatively new development in the Arab world -- taps into the same themes but also highlights the 'otherness' of the West in order to resist modernization and reform. Homosexuality is one aspect of Western 'otherness' that can be readily exploited to whip up popular sentiment...."

    To get back to the original point of the string, it is strange that homosexuality would be portrayed as a Western phenomenon. Homosexual and bisexual behaviour were present and tolerated to various degrees in the Islamic world long before the West existed in its present form.

  • The Lounsbury||

    Patrick:

    Not terribly strange, quite logical if one looks at the history of the reaction to public attitudes to homosexuality in the MENA region ( I shan't try to say anything about the Islamic world, since both my experience and Whitaker's are MENA specific ).

    First, of course, as Whitaker's actual book makes clear, and as I have seen in my decade in region, operationally non-exclusive gay behaviour remains tolerated in the Arab world. One need not even be particularly closeted, just show a modicum of commitment to "family values"....

    Second, the relatively recent emergence of "Gayness" in the social identity sense in the West came at the same time, roughly as the colonial experience of the Arab world, and the post-colonial reaction - that is the violent imposition of Western rule and to an extent Western values (or the cartoon image of such imported by those most illiberal Colonial agents).

    No surprise then that social reaction to what is at once a relatively recent and rather... floridly Western secular society development would be at once negative and strangely contradictory to "operational values."

    Typical reaction. One sees the same thing among certain Americans reacting to European irreligiousity and relative libertinism.

    Neither good nor bad in my opinion, merely reaction.

  • ||

    Ever notice how conservatives describe everything evil done by westerners as contrary to their culture or religion, while everything evil done by Muslims or Arabs is the inevitable, logical extension of their culture or religion?

    Let's not blind ourselves to the fact that there is a great deal of truth in that when it comes to religion, okay? Compare the Koran to the Gospels.

    In one, the story is about a guy who was persecuted for his preaching by the authorities, meekly surrendered to them, and was executed.

    In the other, the story is about a guy who was persecuted for his preaching by the authorities, ran into exile, raised an army, conquered the city he was driven from, and then kept conquering neighbors until he had an empire.

    Which story requires less manipulation to justify going out and conquering the infidel? Which protagonist would you rather have a neighbor who doesn't like you emulate?

  • dhex||

    "Which protagonist would you rather have a neighbor who doesn't like you emulate?"

    historically speaking, i'd rather live next to neither.

    i mean, there are plenty of people who believe in a literal eschaton for humanity, either religious or secular (ecological disaster, etc); taken at plain face value, i should be terribly afraid of them, because they've foreseen a world that has an expiration date, often in their lifetimes.

  • Thomas||

    Some sources suggest that male homosexuality is rife throughout the Middle East - although this is mostly homosexuality of the prison variety, with older men dominating younger men and boys, and who identify themselves as opportunistic heterosexuals rather than Western-style homosexuals.

  • Parr||

    Some sources suggest that male homosexuality is rife throughout the Middle East - although this is mostly homosexuality of the prison variety, with older men dominating younger men and boys, and who identify themselves as opportunistic heterosexuals rather than Western-style homosexuals

    In Afghanistan, Western troops refer to it as "Man Love Thursday" and it's very common.

    Women are only for procreation.

    Young men and boys are recreation.

    They don't refer to themselves as anything at all - it's a cultural norm for the area.

  • Burr||

    Well as another gay poster here I think the issue of homosexuality's mistreatment in the Middle East is far bigger and more complex than just pointing the finger at Islam. Let's remember that homosexuality was still a crime under Saddam's comparatively secular regime, which at the same time gave women vastly more rights than any of its neighbors.

    Religion is no doubt a source of the problem, but as others have pointed out most of them have violently anti-gay passages (or at least poorly interpreted as such). To solve that requires changing the culture that ignorantly takes it so literally. We've made great strides in the west towards that end. Most of Islam's problems are tied to this same issue of not being able to let go of fundamentalism. Even if we wiped out Islam, they'd probably clutch onto some other ignorant cultural philosophy to persecute gays.

  • Burr||

    Also, maybe if the west weren't so invasive and meddling in the Middle East to their constant disadvantage, Arabs wouldn't be so quick to scapegoat things as Western and reject them, a counterproductive behavior that impedes progress. Many moderates are caught on the fence between embracing our ideals of freedom and hating our foreign policy, and the extremists capitalize on it.

  • Mark in Texas||

    The Lounsbury:
    I would really, really love for there to be an Islamic reformation so that a new and, quite frankly, acceptable verson of Islam could arise and Muslims could choose to adhere to that version as the "True" Islam.

    I would love that too, but considering that Islam already had a Reformation in the 18th century with Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab playing the role of John Calvin, I suspect that the chances for reform are not real good. Sad to state, but I think that the future is going to look a lot like 15th and 16th century Spain than I am really comfortable with. Still, as unpleasant as that future looks, it is preferable to 15th century Constantinople.

  • ||

    Islam doesn't define many things the way the West does. Homosexuality is one of these.

    1. Sex with an boy under the age of puberty is not considered homosexual.
    In heaven, Muslims are promised the sexual vigor of 100 men so then why only 72 virgins? Because they also get 28 "young, hairless boys."

    2. In sex between two men, only the "catcher" is considered to be homosexual.
    Thus Yasser Arafat, who was a homosexual, could also be a leader.

  • ||

    "A picture that reads rather like the West c. 1960 or so re gays"

    Balderdash.

    Show me the stonings.

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