The Next Time Someone Says Americans Should Be Nicer to Religious Fundamentalists, Tell Them These Stories

The next time someone suggests to you that Americans should sacrifice their First Amendment rights in order to placate religious fundamentalists half a world away, remind them that this is what happens in countries where religious authority supercedes individual rights:

Two Coptic children arrested for insulting Islam in the Upper Egyptian village of Ezbet Marco were released Thursday afternoon pending investigation, according to Ahram Online's reporter in Beni Suef.

The attorney general of Beni Suef told Ahram Online that he ordered the release of Nabil Nagy Rizk, 10, and Mina Nady Farag, 9, "due to their young age."

However the children have yet to be acquitted. A condition of their release, the attorney general explained, is that the "families signed documents confirming they will bring both kids to the prosecution whenever they are needed for questioning." Investigations are expected to take place on Sunday. 

The boys had been detained in the Beni Suef juvenile detention by order of the prosecution since Tuesday, after imam of their local mosque Ibrahim Mohamed Ali accused the children of tearing up pages of the Quran and filed a legal complaint. 

Nabil's father Nagy Rizk defended the action of the boys in a public statement, explaining that they are illiterate and therefore did not know the content of the papers which they found in a small white bag, as they were playing near a pile of rubbish in the street.

Another story from Ahram Online, yet to be published in English, says that Egyptian authorities detained a pregant Coptic school teacher for two days after a student in her class claimed she insulted Mohammed. According to Twitter, the student wasn't even at school the day his Christian teacher allegedly slandered the prophet.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • R C Dean||

    Generally speaking, here's how I handle the whole being nice thing:

    I start out being pleasant, civil, helpful, all that jazz, to everyone. I find its less effort than the alternative, and with most people gets perfectly acceptable results.

    However, if someone decides to get all pissy, threatening, grabby, etc., I respond in kind, in spades. They started the race to the bottom, so I try to maintain a lead until they wise up.

    Such a policy might yield interesting results in foreign policy.

  • Brett L||

    "Never be the first asshole, never be the smallest asshole"

  • R C Dean||

    I actually try to keep the Marine motto in mind ("No better friend, no worse enemy"), but yours works, too.

  • Gray Ghost||

    "Tit-for-tat" used to be a very effective strategy in iterated Prisoner's Dilemmas. Sounds real similar to why I think you're advocating. I agree that I think it'd stand a better chance of success than what we're doing now.

  • ||

    "They started the race to the bottom, so I try to maintain a lead until they wise up.
    Such a policy might yield interesting results in foreign policy."

    Might...as in does.

    On the outside chance that I ever find myself sitting in the oval office, I want you for my Sec of state....or defense RC.

  • R C Dean||

    As Secretary of the Department of Defense, my first action would be to give it back its old, proper name:

    The Department of War.

    Defense is amorphous, impossible to define and thus limit or keep from expanding. And who doesn't want to be defended?

    War, though, is focussed and nasty, and not very many people will admit to wanting more of it.

  • Ashlyn||

    You sure you wouldn't prefer "Minipax"?

    It has a much friendlier sound pattern. Like a cute pink supply kit you can keep in your pocket in case of sudden, dastardly attack.

  • $park¥||

    Well it's either be nice or drone strike. There are no other options so make up your mind.

    /team hack

  • Auric Demonocles||

    You claim to be pro free speech, yet you keep censoring your picture captions!

  • $park¥||

    He's trying to not incite the wrath of peaceful Muslims around the globe.

  • ||

    NOW IT'S TIME FOR INTIFADA

  • Auric Demonocles||

    He's inciting me with his lack of alt-text. Therefore his silence is unprotected speech.

  • ||

    Fret not, Auric -- I'm sure the Supreme Court will soon adopt your interpretation.

  • ||

    Here's my approach:

    1) Pretend these barbarian shitstains don't exist.

    2) If they try some shit on our turf, blow them the fuck up.

    3) Go back to pretending they don't exist.

    They don't deserve the time of day.

  • Tman||

    Except we never follow through on #2. Sure we chased the goatfuckers responsible for 9/11 out of Afghanistan in to Iraq, and then we got rid of the guy who was welcoming them in with open arms, but then they blended in among the population and we were reduced to nation building. Again.

    It's been said before but until these Jihadists receive an adequate beatdown that sends a clear and unmistakable message that they are never going to defeat us, they will continue to rabble rouse.

    All this hand wringing about winning the peace and trying to "understand Islam" better is pointless, and sends a message of weakness. The Benghazi disaster could not have been a worse set back in terms of the message sent.

    "Bomb our sovereign territory and we will uh....I dunno. Fuck it. We're outta here."

    As Instapundit has said, put flame throwers around the perimeter and next time shoot the bastards.

  • ||

    Ergo the error of Afhanistan. We should have launched a lightning, but total, strike, leveled all of it, and left the next week. Instead, BUILD BRIDGES AND ESTABLISH RELASHUNSHIPS HERPA DERP.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    How does one level dirt and mud?

    Jus' sayin'

  • ||

    Glass it from orbit.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Sure we chased the goatfuckers responsible for 9/11 out of Afghanistan in to Iraq,

    You misspelled Pakistan. But no way were we going to invade those guys, or even try to root them out of the NWFA.

    Let 'em rabble rouse. Whether the Taliban succeeds or fails, or insert any of the other rebel groups in Muslim countries succeed or fail, shouldn't be the U.S.'s problem. Do let them know though that attacks on Americans (on U.S. soil, civilian aircraft, etc...) won't be tolerated and will result in the overthrow of their government. Basically, the adequate beatdown I think you mentioned.

    But conflating the Taliban with AQ hasn't gone well, and is doomed to failure. There's just too many of the former, and too much cash and help from our erstwhile allies in the MidEast for us to defeat the Taliban. Sorry. Invade their sanctuaries in Pakistan, which we kinda' are already doing with drones---and you might have a shot.

    Still, how many Pashtun are there in AfPak? 50 million? How many are Talib sympathizers or otherwise hate our guts after 10 years of occupation and all the Wahabbi that SA can buy? 5%? Think we have a shot at killing or cowing 2.5 million people from plotting attacks on U.S. service members? Me neither.

    You can get at the AQ guys---there's a lot less of them. No way are you killing that many Pashtun. Well, not until they detonate a nuke over here.

  • Tman||

    Well, they pretty much scattered in all directions. Many went to Pakistan, no doubt and I agree with you-attacking Pakistan was not an option.

    But many of them did go to Iraq, including Zaraqawi, one of the lead goatfuckers and he took a bunch of his knuckleheads with him. Taking out Saddam was a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned.

    As PJ O'Rourke put it -"He won the lifetime achievement award for evil".

  • Gray Ghost||

    I don't want to derail this thread with yet another debate on the Iraq War. Neither of us are going to change our minds. So I will merely say that I disagree that taking out Saddam was a no-brainer.

    Further, do you have data that shows that it was an evenly distributed diaspora for AQ? My impression was that the vast majority of them went to the NWFA and other parts of Pakistan. Invading and blocking the dozen or so passes between Afghanistan and Pakistan at around the time of Anaconda would have done much more for the success of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan---kill AQ and Taliban---than what we ended up doing. But that would probably have meant the fall of the Pakistani gov't, and God knows what with their nukes.

    Re: Zarqawi. Saddam disliked him about as much as we did, if the Senate Report on Pre-War Intelligence on Iraq is to be believed. He joined AQ in 2004; i.e., after we invaded the country in which he'd set up shop. Nowhere to run to, at that point. (Maybe Syria?) He certainly had a hard-on for the Jordanians, but that's not our problem. And he certainly was a nice effigy the U.S. could point at as some sort of Cobra Commander, instead of realizing that a good chunk of the Baathist power apparatus (and Army) was going to hate our guts whether AQ in Iraq was there or not.

    Whether Saddam was worse than other 20th century dictators is up for debate. I'd include him in the lower Bolgias, if I got to judge.

  • Tman||

    I agree, let's not rehash the Iraq war. We will not convince the other.

    But I will say it wasn't just Zarqawi, there were several others. Some of whom were already there. And the intelligence I read stated that not only did Zarqawi go to Iraq before we did, he actually received medical attention from Iraq hospitals for wounds he received in Afghanistan.

    But whatever, it's over now.

  • albo||

    All this hand wringing about winning the peace and trying to "understand Islam" better is pointless,

    I bet the average American Christian knows more about Islam than the average Muslim in an Islamic country, especially post 9/11.

    The local newspaper reminds us every time Ramadan comes around with a large spread on what it is and why it's celebrated. I'm sure a Saudi or Iranian newspaper has never done even one articl on Easter.

    F-em. Until they make an effort to understand the morals and ideals of the West, let's not give a shit about them.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I bet the average American Christian knows more about Islam than the average Muslim in an Islamic country, especially post 9/11.

    You're right.

    They should learn to understand us better.

  • Mike M.||

    If they try some shit on our turf, blow them the fuck up.

    Does this apply to terrorist attacks, or does it have to be an actual military attack on our soil executed by uniformed military personnel authorized by a foreign government?

  • ||

    Whoever perpetrates the attack. What difference does it make?

  • Mike M.||

    Let's say, for arguments' sake, a dozen or so terrorists perpetrate another attack here and blow up a building or something. Say two of them are from Saudi Arabia, two are from Yemen, one is from Egypt, you get the idea.

    Do we then bomb the crap out of all of these countries, and if so, for how long? Do we strictly limit our attacks to their government and military facilities, or do we target the general population as well?

  • ||

    Hunt down and destroy their groups/cells. If it's just a terrorist group, I don't think we can justify waging war on entire nations, even if they're 13th-century micro-caliphates.

  • R C Dean||

    The way we played it in Afghanistan (before we settled in for nation-building) is actually the way to do it.

    Demand that the government where the terrorists are operating from hand them over.

    If they don't, then that government is deemed to have adopted the terrorists and their attack, and becomes a legitimate target itself.

    The classic Westphalian sovereignty paradigm doesn't have to be a barrier to 4Gen warfare. In fact, if you make a good enough example of the first government to thumb its nose at you and harbor terrorists, you're likely to see some improvement generally (as we did, for a little while, after Afghanistan).

  • Tman||

    The same argument could be made about Iraq, in that once they ran from Afghanistan in to Iraq, we gave Saddam the same ultimatum.

    He chose.....poorly.

  • Mike M.||

    I don't believe that any factual connection between the 9/11 terrorists, the Taliban, Bin Laden, and or K.S.M. to Saddam and Iraq was ever truly established.

    I remember Dick Cheney at one point trying to make a weak case that there was a connection there, but I'm pretty sure it was all B.S.

  • ||

    Why let facts get in the way of mass murderin'?

  • Tman||

    It's not that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11, it's that after we chased folks like Zarqawi out of Afghanistan they went to Iraq and were harbored by Saddam and company.

    We told him the same thing we told the Taliban. Hand over the goatfuckers or face the consequences.

    I never understood why this was so hard for people to understand.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Meh, faithful people love to get martyred, so it works out for everyone really.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's possible to be both shockingly forthright with people without insulting their religious convictions.

    ...but most people aren't very good at that.

    Most people's reactions to Muslims being intolerant is to be intolerant of Muslims. ...and that ain't ever gonna help anybody.

    But Obama apologizing to fundamentalists for our free speech principles is just as bad or worse than anything some idiot said in YouTube video, that's for sure.

  • ||

    "It's possible to be both shockingly forthright with people without insulting their religious convictions."

    "You're a murderous tumor of a man, and die in a fucking hole" is about the only thing you can say to these sorts of people without addressing the root of the problem -- their religious dogma. So no, it really, really isn't possible.

    "Most people's reactions to Muslims being intolerant is to be intolerant of Muslims. ...and that ain't ever gonna help anybody."

    Clarify.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "It's possible to be both shockingly forthright with people without insulting their religious convictions."

    Obama could have said:

    "The first responsibility of the President of the Untied States is to protect people's rights. Among these rights, is the right to criticize other people's religious beliefs--and even their Prophet! Please feel free to exercise your right to denounce those who offended you and your Prophet. Even if what Muslims say in their criticism is offensive to other people, it is my job to protect the right of Muslims to speak their minds freely, as well.

    Love,

    Barack Obama"

    "Most people's reactions to Muslims being intolerant is to be intolerant of Muslims. ...and that ain't ever gonna help anybody."

    Oh, let me see if I can think of a good example. How 'bout:

    "Muslims are a murderous tumor on the world, and they should die in a fucking hole"?

  • ||

    "Obama could have said:"

    You didn't say anything about it being Obama/politicians generally. What Obama says would be political gaming, so I don't give a shit one way or another.

    As for your example, sure. Except it would have had absolutely no effect on the people to whom such a proclamation of intent would be addressed -- namely, the jizzstains burning down embassies and, say, lynching homosexuals in a tempestuous rage over what some Danish cartoonist drew in his weekly issue.

    You can't reason with these sorts of people. Period. The belief that you can is hazardous wishful thinking. They won't care about your declaration of good faith, because unless that awful, awful filmmaker is apprehended and executed for being an infidel and a blasphemer, everything you say will be construed as weakness or noncompliance with the dikakts of holy law.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I promise you, more than 99.9% of the Muslims out there didn't burn down any embassies or lynch any homosexuals over a cartoon.

    You can't reason with these sorts of people. Period. The belief that you can is hazardous wishful thinking.

    Who, exactly, are you talking about? To say such a thing about 1.5 billion people is absurd. The violent fundamentalists may be beyond persuasion, but they're not the only hearts and minds in play. What about the other 1,499,999,000 Muslims who didn't do anything violent in response to some stupid cartoon? Why shouldn't we try to reason with them?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I promise you, more than 99.9% of the Muslims out there didn't burn down any embassies or lynch any homosexuals over a cartoon.

    You know, you should put your abilities of telepathy to better use than commenting on an Internet website. I'm sure many good organizations need a person who could read the thoughts of over 1 billion people simultaneously.

    Or, the more likely secnario, is that your soft racism leads you to believe that those 3rd world Brown people aren't sophisticated enough to express their viewpoint on American foreign policy, which you believe to be exactly the same as your own (surprise, surprise!), so when they hold up signs that say "Behead those who insult Islam" or "Go to Hell with your Freedom of Expression, they can't possibly mean that?

  • Ken Shultz||

    It doesn't take any telepathy to know that more than 99.9% of the Muslims out there didn't burn down any embassies in reaction to some cartoon somewhere.

    See, that's an action. Actions are like facts--they don't require mind reading. Either fewer than 0.1% of the 1.5 billion Muslims out there engaged in burning down embassies after the cartoon controversy--or they didn't.

    And since fewer than 15 million people burned down embassies back then, I don't have to read anybody's mind.

    If you're ascribing violent thoughts to people who have not engaged in violence, on the other hand? Then you're the one claiming to be a mind reader...

    Can you guess what I'm thinking of your ability to think rationally right now?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Can you guess what I'm thinking of your ability to think rationally right now?

    But that's the point, you can't think, because you're a hack. You're also a clown and a ignoramus who bloviates on topics he (admittedly) knows nothing about.

    In every interaction with you, you have argued in bad faith, misconstruing my arguments and putting words in my mouth.

  • ||

    Why shouldn't we try to reason with them?

    Because trying to persuade the 1.4999999 billion who do not represent a threat to the United States (by your numbers) is a far worse use of resources that dealing with the 1 million who do.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Well, please consider that I'm contrasting what I would have said with what Obama actually said.

    What Obama said, IMO, almost amounts to capitulation on the issue of free speech.

    We're still at war with two predominately Muslim nations, and there are terrorist organizations out there that are recruiting all the time. Speaking to the masses those terrorists are trying to influence and recruit from makes a lot of sense to me.

    So, I think speaking to Muslim peoples on the issues they get especially upset about probably is our business right now, and I won't fault the president for addressing Muslims everywhere on the issue...

    ...but what he said was atrocious.

  • ||

    "Most people's reactions to Muslims being intolerant is to be intolerant of Muslims. ...and that ain't ever gonna help anybody."

    Rational people's reaction to Muslim intolerance is to be intolerant of Islam, not Muslims. There's an astranomical difference -- one you'd do well to remember.

    "Muslims are a murderous tumor on the world, and they should die in a fucking hole"?

    Stop putting words in my mouth.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Ken gets off on being the White Razzia (al-Ghazi 'abyadu).

    Best to ignore him on this one, for he'll still feel his unwarranted sense of moral superiority up until the moment his head is seperated from his neck to shrill ululations and cries of ā ʾilāha ʾillà l-Lāh!

  • Ken Shultz||

    Are you one of those people who thinks the Muslims are going to take over the United States and make all our women wear burkas?

    Because that's dumber than truthers, birthers, or creationists--and may be dumber than all of them combined!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Are you one of those people who thinks the Muslims are going to take over the United States and make all our women wear burkas?

    No.

    But you keep attacking those straw men, Ken. No amount of reason is going to keep you from disingenuously representing my arguments.

  • Ken Shultz||

    So, if you don't think the fundamentalists are going to try to take over America, why do you think I should be worried about Muslims separating my head from my neck?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    So, if you don't think the fundamentalists are going to try to take over America, why do you think I should be worried about Muslims separating my head from my neck?

    You have the creativity and wit of an invertebrate.

  • ant1sthenes||

    No, the horrors Europeans experience in the next few decades will educate the U.S. to be more cautious, I expect.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Stop putting words in my mouth.

    I wasn't putting words in your mouth.

    You asked me for an example--I gave you one!

    If you want one that's completely original, ask Heroic Mulatto. I guess I'm just no good at coming up with that shit myself.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Ken Shultz||

    He was looking for an example of someone offending Muslims' religious convictions in response to their protesting our free speech...

    Inserting me into your gay fantasies aside, got a nice anti-Muslim knee jerk reaction to contribute?

    C'mon! I know you want to say something terrible about them!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Again, all you have to contribute are slurs and lies.

    Instead of insipid Gen-Y snark, you should attempt some wit at least. That way you'll at least be entertaining; you'll still be a self-righteous ass, but at least an entertaining one.

    p.s. As an aside, how many Muslims do you interact with daily? For me, currently, I teach 9 Saudis, 8 men and 1 woman. I also interact with Jordanians, Palestinians, Morrocans, Iraqis, Libyans, and two Iranians on a daily basis.

    Not that you will respond to this post, because the truth is you know no Muslims.

  • Chris Mallory||

    Clearly we just need to open our borders and bring all these hard-working foreigners to America. The fact that they belong to an alien culture doesn't matter at all.

  • The Hammer||

    Have you ever had an actual thought? Did it hurt?

  • GILMORE||

    Yes he did. It involved a dystopian future where the nation is overrun by leprous mexicans and led by billionare Hindu technology entrepreneurs. Ever since then the medications prevent the visions from returning.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I am still interested in knowing how numerous and influential the extremists actually are.

    They may be a majority in some countries, or not. From their rhetoric, they seem to think that a lot of their fellow-Muslims are backsliders who don't care enough about Islam to blow shit up.

    But then, if your method of winning friends and influencing people is to blow up Muslims who don't share your interpretation of Islam, then you're going to have a certain bloc of people in the Muslim world who aren't going to disagree with you in public.

    If we set an example of timidity in the face of extremist threats, we won't with a straight face be able to reproach people in the Muslim world for *their* timidity, or whine "where are all the moderates, lol?" They're doing what we're doing - appeasing the heck out of the people with guns.

    But not-appeasing isn't the same as invading every country where things are bad.

    It's all very confusing.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I agree wholeheartedly.

  • ||

    This is well-said.

  • GILMORE||

    If you're interested, this is a good clearinghouse for all things 'muslim extremist'-related

    http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/dashboard

    read a bunch of Peter Bergens stuff. He's got the goods. example

    http://counterterrorism.newame....._since_911

    If I recall, these guys CNAS did studies which suggested maybe 10% of any given ME country (at most) represented the Fundies. But the dynamic they described is similar to what you outlined = the history of the fundies since the 60s-70s has been to direct their ire outside the borders of their own country (i.e. the US, Israel, afghanistan etc) to defang them. Or throw them in jail (Egypt). Or go to war with them (Algeria). If they're unrestrained...appease them.

    I think however its wrong when people suggest just because the Muslim Brotherhood, for example, is now a political party in Egypt, that's they're "going radical". The MB in many was *was* just a political party forced underground over decades, and became violent mainly because of political repression.

  • Paul.||

  • Flemur||

    "...in order to placate religious fundamentalists half a world away... "

    Afraid to say "muslims".

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    What? You have heard about Bangladesh's violent Buddhist minority who put mosques to the torch?

    Oh, wait...nevermind.

  • Paul.||

    she insulted Mohammed. According to Twitter, the student wasn't even at school the day his Christian teacher allegedly slandered the prophet.

    And we all know who wants to create a complex web of hate crime laws in this country, where a single member of a certain youth organization can report to a government office that their teacher or their neighbor insulted the diginity of [what the state deems an untouchable subject] and will be jailed an prosecuted.

  • Tonio||

    where a single member of a certain youth organization

    The Campfire Girls?

  • Lisa||

    The Middle East is a very diverse place. Unfortunately, the shit tends to float to the top. No amount of pointing out all of the tolerant Muslims will change the fact that the least tolerant have all the power. I wish people would shut up already with the "not all Muslims are like that!" Not all Germans were Nazis, either. Does that mean we shouldn't have bombed the country?

  • GILMORE||

    Not all Germans were Nazis, either. Does that mean we shouldn't have bombed the country?

    This is in fact a pretty awesome and handy analogy. Surprised I haven't heard it before.

    (*I blame Cable News shows ... who they reduce virtually everything down into idiotic meaningless soundbytes and trap people in a game of being "for" or "against" said soundbyte)

    it suffers slightly from Godwin syndrome (*Nazis~!? YOU AMERIKKA IS THE NAZI!!)... but still, the idea that "there are only a small number of jihadists!" provides some sort of 'write-off' defense for muslims is pretty swiftly erased. 'oh, in that case, I guess I wont get upset about those beheading videos, or the retarded woman with a bomb strapped to her...'

  • ant1sthenes||

    Dude, when you have a group of violent, hateful extremists going around burning another religion's shops and homes and places of worship because of a poorly sourced bit of hate propaganda, I think the Godwin rule is suspended.

  • ant1sthenes||

    But really, the Mohammetards doing the pillaging and rioting are skinheads. Muslims are Germans. What's missing from the analogy (for now) is a Nazi Party and a Hitler -- something to turn that disorganized anger, resentment, and violence into a weapon by which to seize political power and start making aggressive military moves against their neighbors. It's possible that the Muslim Brotherhood will become that sort of thing (the progressive/intellectual infatuation with them certainly calls up a sense of deja vu), but only time will tell.

  • Rich||

    Nabil's father Nagy Rizk defended the action of the boys in a public statement, explaining that they are illiterate and therefore did not know the content of the papers which they found in a small white bag, as they were playing near a pile of rubbish in the street.

    1) Ignorance of The Law is no excuse.

    2) Enquiring minds want to know ... who desecrated The Quran by leaving it in such a place?

  • GILMORE||

    arrested for insulting Islam

    "Yeah, that's right Islam, I was talking to you... and your *momma*"

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement